Left Hand Drive Headlights
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  1. #1
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    Default Left Hand Drive Headlights

    From what I understand headlights are biased to the side of the road in whichever country they are made for.
    So if you put LHD lights on you'll not have enough adjustment to bias them correctly for RHD.

    Is this just a myth ? Is it possible to get away with Euro lights here or are we bound to have remade RHD lights to suit? Can you really tell the difference? Is there really any difference? Is it just an April fools joke?

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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Richard W's Avatar
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    Default Left Hand Drive Headlights

    I thought the cut off pattern on LHD low beams was the mirror image of RHD. So on a RHD car, the low beams will cut off low on the right hand side of the road (ie where the oncoming cars are that would otherwise be dazzled) but kicks up higher on the left hand side so you can see the left hand verge of the road further ahead.

    If you were to use LHD headlights here, the 'high' part of the low beam pattern would be on the right hand side of the road and point directly into the eyes of oncoming traffic.

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    Older cars with patterned headlights must put masks on the lights when they cross between Britain and mainland Europe and if they are not fitted the driver can be fined. Therefore there must be some logic in the LHD v RHD argument.

    Newer cars with Xenon lights do not have to have masks applied.
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    The lights on my 203 dip to the right.They have the earliest Ducellier lens pattern.

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    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    On early Peugeots provision was made for LH and RH dipping by partially rotating the globe holder ?

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    There are some circumstances in which you can rotate the lights 180į and swap them to the other side of car. I have a set of stick on labels to comply in the UK but never fit them. Certainly the GS lights would have been a nuisance to oncoming traffic so I re-aimed the Cibie fog lights but never had to use them until we got back to France.
    At the moment the N-S autoroutes are full of English cars and the dipping rear view mirror is a must.
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    The following, whilst not the definitive article may give you an idea of what headlights actually do and how and why:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headlamp
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    1000+ Posts michaelr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    From what I understand headlights are biased to the side of the road in whichever country they are made for.
    So if you put LHD lights on you'll not have enough adjustment to bias them correctly for RHD.

    Is this just a myth ? Is it possible to get away with Euro lights here or are we bound to have remade RHD lights to suit? Can you really tell the difference? Is there really any difference? Is it just an April fools joke?
    Quite true, the asymmetrical headlights (as fitted to older European cars) for LHD and RHD are different. They are generally marked on the front glass with an arrow pointing towards the kerb. If you look closely the shielded dual filament globe (H4 or similar) is inserted into the back of the headlight slightly off vertical resulting in an asymmetrical light pattern when on low beam. In a RHD vehicle the pattern is \___ \___ throwing more light along the kerb side of the road and avoiding glare to oncoming drivers. In LHD vehicles the low beam pattern should be ___/ ___/

    In my Renault R8 and R10 models there was a small plastic "switch" on the bulb holders of the Cibie headlights which could be moved to convert from LHD to RHD. This was located at the base of the bulb holder and could be shifted after removing the bulb to reposition the locating lug on the bulb, rotating it a few degrees left or right of vertical when replaced. I have not seen these "switches" on any headlights since.

    I assume on those adjustable Cibie lights the pattern in the glass was symmetrical whereas most headlights have a non symmetrical pattern so repositioning the bulb might not have a satisfactory effect. I believe new cars with HID lights are not asymmetrical but have a flat topped low beam light pattern and clear lens and so are ambidextrous. _____ _____

    Simply adjusting the aiming of the headlights will not make LHD lights into RHD lights
    Michael
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelr View Post
    I believe new cars with HID lights are not asymmetrical but have a flat topped low beam light pattern and clear lens and so are ambidextrous. _____ _____

    Simply adjusting the aiming of the headlights will not make LHD lights into RHD lights
    I wasn't aware that HID lights were symmetrical.

    Older style lights certainly are asymmetrical - caused me some grief and a lot of searching to get suitable RHD lights for my A310. Having correct lights is mandatory here - a mask is not sufficient.

    On the Dyane it is dead easy to swap the "handedness"- just take the bulb out, rotate it a bit and put it back in.

  10. #10
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    On my 504 with trapazoid biode lights, I think that the globe gets rotated slightly in the holder but I am not sure which way! This is an issue because one of them, I think the left, Is throwing light where it shouldn't. This is not a major issue since it is rarely driven at night but it would be handy to remember how to ajust it correctly for RHD. Neil

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