Aligning driving lights

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 04:35
ThreadID: 25088 Views:17906 Replies:11 FollowUps:4
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OK, what's the secret??? For years I've done it the old fashioned way... Dark isolated road, adjust, turn on, turn off(so as not to blind myself), adjust, turn on...etc. 4 blokes from work recently bought new vehicles with driving lights fitted, now I can't see Nissan paying a bloke overtime to run these vehicles out to a dark road in the middle of the night and spend hours trying to line it all up. All 4 blokes reckon the lights are aligned perfectly so how do they do it??? Mine are out of alignment(thanks to some local punk who thinks himself to be bloody hilarious) and I'm not looking forward to that evening on the dark road in the cold...
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Reply By: Stew53 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 06:38

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 06:38
Method 1.
(a.)With a straight edge or piece of timber hold it horizontally against the centre of the two driving lights; they should be straightened until they are square in every direction. I.e. the outer rims are at equal distances from the straight edge.
(b.) using a spirit level vertically held against the centre of each light straighten the light up so that the top and bottom of the light rim are in a vertical position.
(c.) re-check the horizontal with the straight edge or timber to ensure the lights have not turned whilst you were doing the vertical

Method 2.
(a.)With the vehicle parked straight on level ground facing a wall and about three meters back i.e. the rear of your garage, measure from the ground to the centre of the driving light. Place a horizontal line on the wall at the same height, I use black electrical tape.
(b.) Measure the distance between the two driving lights centers and place lines on the wall at the same spacing.
(c.) turn on the driving lights and focus them onto the centre of the crosses on the wall.
Works for me
AnswerID: 122236

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 13:56

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 13:56
It's funny how you can rack your brain for oh lets say about 13 years and then one day someone spells it out this easily...

Thanks Stew
FollowupID: 377469

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 07:23

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 07:23
Yep, Stew's got it in one.

Option 2 is the easiest method I have found.

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AnswerID: 122238

Reply By: Member - John C (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 08:11

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 08:11
I don't have level ground at the front of our carport, so as soon as I back the car out, it ain't level :-). Problem with living on the side of a hill.

So I go down to the local shops after they have closed and use thier car park, and a wall about 10m from the car, where it is level. Same method, line the car up and make a mark with a bit of chalk for the centre of the car and height of the lights.
Usually put one light a bit high and one a little low, han't found a level bit of road yet when driving, or the car being exactly the same level with the same load on board. Also cross the light beams at about 30m out for the same reason, help with corners and looking into the bush for roos. (A pair of super oscars, both driving lights, 130w h1 bulbs) Use rags to cover all of the lights except for the one being adjusted.

The standard headlights I adjust to get low beam where I want and let high beam fall where ever it does. Usually a bit high, but with low beam not blinding anyone.
(90/100w bulbs, standard wiring isn't up to much more)

What does every one else do?
AnswerID: 122244

Follow Up By: Exploder - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:24

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:24
Stew and John both have it right, but I understand the correct distance from wall to car is 26feet or 7.8 meter’s

FollowupID: 377522

Reply By: Member - Karl - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 09:00

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 09:00

I use a similar method as Stew's method two - it works for me.

AnswerID: 122251

Reply By: Nudenut - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 10:37

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 10:37
i do it inside the garage on door
have three different permanently marked heights so as to allow for- work laden vehicle, almost empty (its never really empty), and fully loaded with trailer
AnswerID: 122258

Reply By: 120scruiser - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 12:59

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 12:59
Take it down to a local inspection station and have them put it on their headlight
I know there isn't as many in vic as in NSW but I know NSW every inspection station has to have one.
AnswerID: 122278

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:29

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:29
Blue, I just take mine out the road, with a couple of towels and a jumper or two, cover all the lights bar the one you're adjusting, then do the other one, works every time, perfect.

Sticks and horizontal....pshaw, often you need the light a tad higher so you dont throw all the light right in front of the car.

Oh and get a air rifle for that pesky kid
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AnswerID: 122342

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:29

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:29
Thanks Bonz, love to take to the brat with more than an air rifle but then he could've lifted them completely... (of course I only assume it's a "he")

I used to do it on a back road in the manner you suggest but, everytime without fail I'd blind myself at least once... Blue spots everywhere makes it hard to know exactly what you're looking at... I might start with the wall method and then go and put the final adjustments in on a back road.

FollowupID: 377536

Reply By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:38

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:38
G'day Blue,
Method 1 has worked for me for the last few years, garage floor, 20cm spirit level for the verticle, and a straight edge that fits between your bullbar uprights and touches all 4 edges of your lights for the horizontal, works every time!
Happy aligning.

AnswerID: 122371

Reply By: Toy_Hilux - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:34

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:34

There was talk in an earlier post of lights, and my pet hate is vehicles with incorrectly adjusted lights. I just wish that when they (the cops) do random inspections for defects, that they would also check these aswell.

Sorry about whinging but that is the truth.

Any-way, getting back to the subject, if you haven't already got a good workshop manual, go and get one. It actually gives a very good description on how to adjust lights properly. I don't know on other vehicles, but on my two Toyotas, the correct distance to true up the lights is 7.6mts from the front of the vehicle to the aiming wall, with centering lines both horizontally and vertically marked on the wall in correspondance with the height of the lights.

I am not going to go into detail but to inform you to get a decent workshop manual like a "Gregory's". For those that have one on the 80series LC in the gregory's range, the details are on page 243 under the Body Electrical heading. It gives an accurate and very easy to follow directions.

As for truing up the lights out on a dark road, forget it. No wonder there are so many people on the road that tend to get flashed even though they are on low beam just due to poorly aligned lights.
AnswerID: 122406

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:03

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:03
Be nice if I could get a manual... even tried to order one from the Technical Bookstore, no joy... I refuse to pay what Mitsu are asking for the CD. Also it's only the driving lights being trued, I'd let the dealer true the main lights under warranty.
FollowupID: 377586

Reply By: muzzgit (WA) - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 00:12

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 00:12
For anyone reading this who wants to adjust normal car lights, not spotties....right side light must be set lower and/or toward centre of road so it doesn't dazzle oncoming traffic.
AnswerID: 122453

Reply By: benno52 - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 19:31

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 19:31
Well I'll be stuffed... all those years doing it the back road way. Simple when you read it hey! My preference is to have lights just up from horizontal (shifts the bright spot down the track) as I find it easier on the eyes. My pet hates are poorly adjusted lights or "one eye out" merchants (ya just hope its the right hand light when its coming down the centre of the road) also hate the low mount "fog" lamps which seem all the rage despite there often is no fog. Pretty tempting to switch on the super oscars so I can see a bit better as well.
AnswerID: 122605

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