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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
Join Date: May 2018
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Headlight aim adjustment

My headlight aim on my 1.1 Panda is to low for night country lane driving, which gets worse as the fuel tank level drops!more important considering the slightly damp weather we are currently experiencing I also try to keep main-beam use to a minimum especially around farms and small villages (aren't I considerate!).
Although the setting is good to pass an MOT and ideal for town/city driving to be safer at night I needed to raise them slightly.
I have always carried out adjustments myself and have carried out internet and forum searches, the question has been asked about Panda headlight adjustment before but unlike classic car and bike forums, the answer seems to be 'take it to the dealer'!...what's the point in that or of benefit to the forum and members for that matter.


There are two 8mm plastic hex adjusters on each headlight (2009 1.1 eco active) one white one black.
White is raise and lower
Black is left and right (which should never need adjustment after initial install)
spray the adjuster with wd40 or similar as they are plastic and may snap, the oil will lubricate the seldom used threads etc.
facing the car, turn the adjuster clockwise to raise and anticlockwise to lower. It may take a couple of turns to start the assembly moving as the slack is taken up.

Before starting check tyre pressures are correct and load the car for normal driving with 1/2 a tank of fuel.
Face the car against a flat surface (rule book has a set distance but it dosn't really matter as long as you get a good beam pattern definition), cover one headlight with a blanket and turn them on, mark in chalk the outline of the beam, swap the blanket and do the same with the other headlight.
adjust one headlight to the height desired and chalk mark the final position (if you are measuring iaw the rule book then make sure this is all done on level ground) now turn off headlights measure the distance from first to second mark, make a new chalk mark on the other headlights original position, swap blanket turn on headlights and simply adjust the other headlight to meet the new mark.

For my needs, I marked the beam pattern of my headlights at position 0 on electric adjuster, then set position 1 to lower the beam as if the car was loaded, then adjusted the beams to meet the original mark, so if the headlights are to high on first drive out (150 miles tommorow night)I can select position 1 which will be back to the original setting. (also carrying an 8mm socket to make fine adjustments if needed).


I hope this is helpful information


Johno
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2009 Fiat Panda Eco Active
2012 Microcar MGO SE, 1998 Reliant Robin Estate
2012 Royal Enfield 500 EFI Bullet
2007 Honda Deauville NT700ABS
2x 1984 GL1200 one with Palma Sidecar
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

Thanks for that. I drove mine last night for the first time this winter and - even though I have Nightbreakers - I couldn’t see a thing on dip. Worse, it was dark AND raining, so double dazzle.

Will be spraying WD40 tomorrow and adjusting at the weekend.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

I can live with the stepped adjustments but would prefer a properly variable adjustment. Mine are at 1 for normal driving but can go to 2 when the car is full. This allows them to drop to 0 in bad weather where the beams going out too far cause glare. I'm not sure if that's a big benefit but the best compromise I can find
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

Quote Originally Posted by DaveMcT View Post
I can live with the stepped adjustments but would prefer a properly variable adjustment. Mine are at 1 for normal driving but can go to 2 when the car is full. This allows them to drop to 0 in bad weather where the beams going out too far cause glare. I'm not sure if that's a big benefit but the best compromise I can find
Interesting, I wonder if the numbers are for a different direction on different versions. On my 1.1, 0 is the highest setting , 3 is the lowest.
So in my case there was no option for further electrical adjustment to raise the beam pattern, which made 1,2,3 positions a complete waste of time no matter the loading of the vehicle.
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2009 Fiat Panda Eco Active
2012 Microcar MGO SE, 1998 Reliant Robin Estate
2012 Royal Enfield 500 EFI Bullet
2007 Honda Deauville NT700ABS
2x 1984 GL1200 one with Palma Sidecar

Last edited by 09 johno; 1 Week Ago at 20:56.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

The beam angle motors can stop working.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

You need to make sure the beams don't dazzle other drivers not just best for you.

they have to be level or slightly down


https://www.popularmechanics.com/car...adjust-lights/
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

mine were pointing at the floor, 35mph on a country road was about the limit of vision, but with electric adjustment I can have them raised then drop them down for town and main road driving if needed.
As it happens They are now perfect at position 0 for all roads

Now to fit the Osram nightbreaker lasers
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2012 Royal Enfield 500 EFI Bullet
2007 Honda Deauville NT700ABS
2x 1984 GL1200 one with Palma Sidecar
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

My bugbear with the system is that the electric adjustment only works when the lights are on dipped beam, on full beam the adjustment doesnt work.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

My front end repair is about to start. I plan to try some H4 LED bulbs. H7 LEDs have been great in the bike so looking forward to trying the same tech in the Panda. The big issue can be dipped beam glare and cutoff, but the bike LEDs are no worse that the halogen and probably better. MoT tester was perfectly happy.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on them
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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Re: Headlight aim adjustment

The LEDs in the bike have a passive heat sink that sits out the back. It can't be covered as soon enough the LED shuts down. Sealing the cover was sorted with a rubber grommet under the heat sink, but it took a while to find a solution. An open headlight is asking for water damage.
Later LEDs have a fan cooled back end allowing a domed rubber cover to seal the headlight. When needed, the fan will circulate air within the headlight. This looks a likely option on the Panda headlight.

The very latest LEDs don't have a big heatsink, but I don't know how they compete on performance. They all have small emitters aligned where the halogen filaments would be so beam focus is good. They all quote high lumen values but the high colour temperatures don't work so well for the human eye so they need to shove out more to get the job done.

My bike had a headlight with two auxiliary dipped beam spots. The single headlight beam was close to useless on it's own and potentially dangerous in rain. The single LED bulb gave more dipped beam coverage that the other three put together and without causing dazzle. My MoT tester was so impressed he ordered some of the same bulbs.


Good brand but has a large passive heat sink
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NIGHTEYE-H4-H7-HB2-9005-9006-H11-8000LM-LED-Headlight-Car-Light-Bulb-Hi-Low-Beam/192694639433?hash=item2cdd7edb49:rk:1f:0&var

This time with a fan cooled heat sink
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/H4-9003-HB2-Car-LED-Headlight-Bulbs-High-Low-Beam-80W-9000LM-6000K-White-Bright/172408691768?epid=2145017643&hash=item28245bdc38:g :0mwAAOSwZgxbh6pL:rk:3f:1&frcectupt=true

This has no heat sink but wattage is low. But 1200 lumen is about 50% better than a halogen so not rubbish by any means.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Motorcycle-Cool-H4-White-Headlight-3030-LED-Hi-Lo-Beam-Light-Lamp-Bulb-6500K/253779358800?epid=5021845714&hash=item3b166db450:g :MvAAAOSwMv5bWsu7:rk:17f:0
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Last edited by DaveMcT; 1 Week Ago at 18:24.
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