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Taurus SHO Headlights

How is the stock headlight engineered?

They are built in 100% polycarbonate which also goes under the name lexan. Lexan does keeps its original shape until 240F. The reflector is made by a special chemical process which is not possible to do at home, because the machines needed are in the range of $10 000 and up. The glass are 3mm thick and clear on the outside, textured on inside. This texture functions as an optical lens. Outer surface is treated so that it has increased scratch and UV resistance.



How do I clean plastic glass?

For outside of the light, just dish soap and lots of water. For the stubborn stains, use Meguiar's plastic cleaner for ~$8, but an acrylic plastic cleaner from Home Depot for $2 is a good alternative. Harsh ammonium, fuel, spirit based cleaners that are ment for real glass must not be used. They will reduce/remove scratch&UV coating.
For inside of lamp use warm water, tiny bit of dish soap and a soft paint brush does the trick. The last rinse should be in purified water, so that water stains are kept to a minimum. Let it sit and drip water out the socket for a few hours and carefully use a hairdryer to get all drops out. You should think that they couldn't get dirty, the bulb seals the unit with a rubber O-ring. But they get dirty.

How do I fix scratches and pitting in my plastic glass headlight?
Can I paint plastic glass headlamps?
How do I protect plastic glass?

All of these topics are of general art and has been moved to my large FAQ: http://faq.auto.light.tripod.com/hl-front-lenses.htm.

Low Beam on newer headlamps:

Its pretty much a wide blurry oval beam with limited vertical focus. Its the most needed light you have and should have the highest quality. The beam conform by DOT standards, and therefore waste some of the light up into the sky. If you put your SHO headlights 10 ft. away from a wall, it will look something like this drawing:

The reason why so much light goes up into to the sky is actually so that you should be able to read signs. According to DOT standards, this illumination upwards is required. You can pretty much imagine how much glare this beam will create if using bulbs beyond maybe 100W..... You should be able to see pimples of passing drivers... very bad.

Low beam on older headlamp:

As you can see, stray light has increased, focus has decreased, and the amount of usable light on the road has decreased. An attempt to compensate for the general lower output by inserting a more powerful lightsource, will make it even more glary to oncoming drivers.

High beam:

High beams are actually same pattern as low beam, except higher.

How do headlights hold up over time?
I'd say thumbs up for the reflector. As long as you stay away from cheap bulbs that emit too much UV rays, the reflector lasts a long time. I have found headlight assemblies on the junk yard from the late eighties Taureses and Sables with great reflectors.
Some cracks can appear in the seal between glass and reflector, which are easily fixed by applying RTV or other clear high temp plastic glue. But, that's not the worst. The worst is the pitting. After 10 years it gets so bad that it reflects maybe 40% of the light back into the assembly, and your beam will have a minor focus straight forward, and lots of stray light in all directions. Unfortunately, glass cannot be ordered separately. 3 thumbs down for the glass.

Can I use the clear lens headlamps from the 1995 SE model on the SHO?

The clear lens headlamps have equal horizontal length for headlamp and turn signal, so this will not fit into the black plastic behind. They don't perform better either.




How to remove stock headligths:

Stock headlights are not fun to get out after they have been on for 4-5 years. But there is a relatively simple remedy. Each lamp has 3 mounting points, 2 on the outside, and one on the inside. They consist of bolt from headlight, rubber grommet and a steel spring clip. The clip sits in a small track on the rubber grommet. The only way to remove headlamp is to get all clips out, and headlamps will be totally loose. The clips are opposite U-shaped and can only be removed upwards. The clips feels like its glued to the rubber grommet, but they are only oxydized/rusted, so the original track in rubber grommet becomes to narrow and therefor very hard move. Using force only lifts the car up. The trick is to soak clip in WD-40 or similar repeated for a few days. Then you should be able to move clip upwards with an L-shaped plier. Stick the tip of pliers into the 2 round holes on each side of the clip and pull upwards. I think u also have to compress (or decompress) pliers slightly while pulling, but will notice the correct direction.

How to aim stock headligths:

Tauri headlights is supposed to be adjusted the 3 retainig clips. If you hav not had them off before, read section above first. You can then rotate the black rubber grommet that is screwed onto headlight mounting bolts. This is how its supposed to work... The headlights that I have come over cannot be adjusted by turning. You have to take the entire headlight out and use BFH on them. This can be a very time consuming process - using force on a frigile headlight assembly! All in all, if you are not able to turn them initially, I found it to be a better solution to actually buy a new set of headlamps. They are probably very pitted anyways, so you have more to gain here.

Where can I buy headlamps except from Ford:

New Gen I SHO headlights are available for $120 each at http://www.3wave.com/arp/ or $71.92 from www.partsamerica.com

New Ford Gen II headlights are ~$125 each from http://www.glen-net.ca/shonutperformance/Lamps.htm

New Gen II Sable headlamps can be had for $78 from directpart.com - they do not come with DOT label, they have the SAE label which means they have this beam pattern.

New Gen II Sable headlamps can be had for $97 from http://www.headlightwarehouse.com

Be aware that aftermarked non Ford headlamps are made in Taiwan. They come with lower quality lens, lower quality reflector, they even seem like an improvement over your golden aged original lamps. But fact is that a Ford headlamp is better and will perform better longer.

Where can I buy an upgraded headlamp for my SHO?

No, there is no better aftermarked headlamp avail for the SHO. There is an almost identical Taiwan copy out there ment for the Sable (see above), but it probably isn't any better than a NEW Ford unit. I have bad exepriences with Taiwan copies in general. Too low quality! Reason for not being a good headlight upgrade available is that SHOs came in low quantity, and its only high volume models (like Mustang, Civics, Accords) that it is economically defendable to make a cool LOOKING headlight. All the headlights u see on the net made by APC, Denji all have crappy optics and perform badly. It costs $5-10000 to set up good molds, and $10-20000 to get paperwork for the headlight. Considering that the first headlight costs $30000, well... it simply is not worth it! The missing link of transforming SHO headlights to something useful is just being tested out. We have thread on our forum regarding making the fluted lens clear. That will open up the chances of mounting Hella Bi-Xenon projetor units in there:

http://www.network54.com/Hide/Forum/thread?forumid=216460&messageid=1075420100&lp=1076904889

This link describes genericly how to mount projector units in a reflector based headlamp:
http://faq.auto.light.tripod.com/procedure-for-install-OEM-projector-in-reflector-headlamps.htm
(I basically wrote this faq) Happy reading!

Electrical considerations:


Over time switches, connectors, cables increases resistance. The loss of luminance is calculated from:

                              Udrop x 100                   (0.208 + 0.105) x 100
Loss (in %) =  ----------------------------     =   -----------------------------------  =>  2.7%  (example from table below)
                        (Ubattery - Udrop)                (11.9 - 0.208 - 0.105)
 

Below is table showing actual voltage drops over time:
 
Date: Battery voltage: Positive line drop in Volts Negative line drop in Volts Loss of light in %
Nov. 1998 11.9 0.208 0.105 2.7%
Nov. 2000 11.8 1.75 0.12 17.4 %
(Loss of light is pretty much linear to loss of power to the bulb)

How do I measure line drop?
Turn the lights on. It doesn't matter if engine is running or not.
Negative line drop: Connect a digital voltmeter with one test pin to the alternator housing, and the other to the black wire on the back of the bulb.

Positive line drop: Connect a digital voltmeter with one test pin from the positive terminal on alternator. and the other to the red or green wire on the back of the bulb, depending if you are measuring high or low beam.

Headlight relays and potential problems:

$3 Radio Shack or whatever mechanical relays don't last forever. They are designed for a certain amount of on and off actions. Fords DRL (Daytime Running Lights) module and higher wattage bulbs do not go together. The DRL unit is not designed for that kind of load. The only way to get around this is using Solid State Relays. So far they have only been available in expensive ($100) industrial versions, but I have seen automotive version. Sorry lost the link.

How do I make my own relay and harness?

Buy 20 feet of black and red 12 gauge wire, 2 high quality relays, Use in line fuse holder by "Littlefuse", 2 ring connectors. 1 inch diameter crimp hose is nice to pack it all together. It will takes  ~5 hours with of lots soldering. I recommend soldering from the fact that quick connectors tend to rust. See the "suvlights" links for lengths and layout.

Where  can I buy headlight harness?
These will install in 30 minutes:

SUVLIGHTS.COM:
http://jen.liu.tripod.com/suvlights/id14.html sells 9007 and 9004 wire harness for $35

There should be at least 5 other options you can compare price with following this link.

All pre made head light harnesses are of course a generic fit and will have too long wires.

Where do I ground my high power lamps?
I strongly recommend connecting black negative wires to bolts on engine.
Right side: Use a 3/8 inch circular terminal on one of the starter motor bolts.
Left side: On alternator bracket bolt that are mounted on the cylinder head.
I do not recommend using the the unibody as ground, like it says on many instruction sheets. The wire(s) from engine to body are not designed for huge amperage draws.

How do I disable "Lamp out" indicator after installing relays?
Its simply done by tricking the Lamp out module to believe that the headlights are not on. See details here.

How much increase can I expect from only installing a better bulb?
Due to the fact that a few year old headlight lens reflect a lot of light back into the reflector, you will only see a minor increase, if at all.

The 9007 $70 PIAA Superwhite bulbs sounds cool, should I buy them?

I think PIAA advertising is misleading. They say the superwhites look like they 85/110W, but that is not lumens. They mix in Kelvin rating into this and whaaaallaa.... mysteriously a high wattage number comes out. Independent test for PIAA H4 bulbs shows that lumens actually is decreased. Here is an excellent story from overboost.com.
    I'd rather go for a low tint, premium Narva bulb that has more lumens than PIAA. They are $20 for a set. If you do not know Narva, it is a daughter company to Philips and have factories in Germany.  PIAA have extremely quality, no doubt. But, they dont last twice as long and they aren't brighter.
Im not a PIAA basher, I just find that paying $50 extra for blue tint is hard to digest. Blue tint can actually be bought separately now, at least in H4. It is a colored cylinder that you can thread outside the bulb. Longevity isn't the best either. Read this story from an unhappy Miata owner. 9005 and 9006 versions are a longer bulb and has been reported to not fit into headlight housings. Returning PIAA bulbs is a real hassle.
 

What premium quality bulbs are available in 9007:

Note that all bulbs below will have reduced lifetime, even as low as 2 months. This is why no OEM cars come with them.
Name: Lumens, Low/High beam Watt at 12.8V, Low/high beam: Kelvin (Color temp): Release date: Price/pair Available from:
Generic bulb 850-1000 55/65 2200 - 5 -
Osram Sylvania Cool Blue 1000/1350 55/65 3500 May 15, 2000 11 autobarn.com
Sylvania Silverstar 1000/1350 55/65 4000 Jan 2002 20-30 Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Auto Barn, etc
PIAA Superwhite Unreleased, my guess - 900 55/65 3800 Jan 2000 70-85 autosupermart.com
PIAA Xtreme White Unreleased, my guess - 1200 55/65 3800 Dec 2001 70-100 Too many places to mention them all
Narva Range Power 1300/2000 55/65 2600? 2001 15-25 suvlights.com
http://www.autob1.com
sportscar-parts.com
http://www.vclassics.com/ojrally2.htm
Narva Range Power Blue (=Philips Bluevision) 1132/1738 55/65 3600 2001 15-25 suvlights.com
http://www.autob1.com
sportscar-parts.com
http://www.vclassics.com/ojrally2.htm
Wagner Brightlights makes wider beam only 55/65 - 1999 ~25 (UAP) NAPA
Wagner Lazer Blue - 55/65 - 2000 - www.federal-mogul.com
Philips Premium 1132/1738 55/65 3200 - 30 www.autooptiks.com
Philips Bluevision 1132/1738 55/65 3600 - 20-30 www.autooptiks.com
Walmart
Hella Optilux Xenon Whites 55/65 taken out of production Pep Boys
Hella Optilux Xenon Whites 80/100 ---  " ---- Pep Boys
Hella High Intensity Plus 55/100 and 80/100 Nov. 2000 29 www.rallylights.com

Generally, the higher Kelvin rating, the bluer look. There is no doubt that "Narva Range Power" has the best value here. As you can see from the table above, there isn't really that much of a difference between them.
 

HIGH WATTAGE 9007 WARNINGS:


Be aware that contact area of each pin in the plug is only 3x5 mm. This is pushing the limit for a 100W bulb that draws 8 amps. (In comparison, a H4 bulb has 6x10mm contact surface.) Unless the 9007 connector are of high quality and non corroded surface, additional heat is created. Which in turn can melt reflector housing. Contact grease might help to lower resistance.
Charging will be a concern if using Under Drive Pulleys and running more than stock wattage bulbs, if most of your driving is in an urban area with close to no highway driving.
 
 

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IS IT WORTH UPGRADING STOCK HEADLAMP TO HID?

No. There are kits available for the 9007 socket. Be aware of the following:

  • High beam will not be available. The 9007 is a dual filament. There is no system available that supports high and low beam for 9007. H4, which also is a dual filament, exist with a dual filament from Bell Of HID. However, it suffers from startup time (2-5 seconds). Newer research on H4 uses a retractable bulb that emulates high and low beam. Bosch has made this on a 2001 model Porsche. Probabilty that this will arrive in 9007 version is equal to null.
  • It will send out lots of glare due to the poor horisontal cutoff beam. Stock taurii (and most other North American headlights) has high levels of light spread upwards. This effect increases with age due to pitting of front lens. HID will increase light in this direction significantly and will cause excessive glare. That is the simplest way to get pulled over. Insurance companies and authorities are more aware than ever when it comes to illigal lighting. If someone claims that they were seeing "a blue sun" during an accident and you werent driving a typical HID car - you will get additional charges.
  • There will be issues with color of the light. Differnt retrofit kit gives differnt color in the same headlamp. Too much green, blue, and yellow has been reported. Sometimes the entire rainbow is represented.
  • Remember you just spend $400+ on HID -  you want to have real quality.
  • Conclusion: Its like putting 3 times the power in your engine, which would be 700HP, without upgrading suspension, tires, brakes and transmission. Totally unbalanced!

  •  

     

    My friend has HID kit on his car. Why not in a Taurus?

    The success of upgrading to HID varys alot from car model to car model. Some cars dont even ignite the bulbs (dont remember car - long story), and others are very successful. Glare levels on (especially older) Taurus headlamp are high. With HID it will be a glare monster. It means that even if HID conversion looks great on the Lexus, it doesnt on the SHO. See http://faq.auto.light.tripod.com/car-tested-retro.htm for cars that has been tested with HID.

    ----- I have put together a few upgrade suggestions based on the fact that only one upgrade really doesnt make that much difference:

    UPGRADE ALT. 1:

    Install a premium 55/65W bulb (see table above), Install relays if voltage drop is more than 0.3 volts (All tauruses with more than 5 years of age will have a significant drop). Sand, polish and paint headlight glass. Alternativly, buy new headlamps - See own section above.
     

    UPGRADE ALT. 2:

    (High wattage bulbs and E4 code headlamps are for off road use only)
    - Install relays if voltage drop is more than 0.3 volts.
    - Install a 5x7.5" (Gen I) or 4x6" rectangular (GenII) units into existing headlights. (See http://cibieusa.com/) The lens has to be cut out. The biggest challenge is aiming of the units. Clear GTS headlight covers ($35) can be added for looks. Be aware that they dont sit tight at high speed unless you use tie-wrap, silicon or similar.
    - Install a premium high wattage bulb 80W and up. There are too many high wattage H4 available to mention them all.  I'd recommend low or no tint to keep lumens high and the cops away. The best light for each watt is probably the Philips Rally bulb. Available from: http://www.powerbulbs.com/rallye.htm
    Prices:
    H4 12V 100/90W £10.50 EACH! free shipping
    H4 12V 130/100W £9.95 EACH! free shipping
    They are designed to last shorter than a 55/65W bulb, so keep a spare in the car!
    You can make these yourself by reading instructions for Gen II.

    UPGRADE ALT 3:

    (For off road use only)
    Install relays if voltage drop is more than 0.3 volts.
    Install H7 based projector lights. Click here for picture of modules. They can later be retrofitted with HID kit (currently USD 450-800). R&R has shown that modules I will be using will require extensive modification to the black crossover that headlamps are mounted on. For the DIY mechanic 2 low and 2 high beam modules is around $280-$400. Contact me for references/purchase. The modules are E1 code, so they are street legal in Canada, but not in US.

    For high beam: these bulbs are available in H7: "Philips Rallye" in 85 watt. "Hella optilux" and "Astra" can be had in 100 watt. The big question, what gives the most lumens? Most probabaly Philips Rally.
    You can make level 3 yourself if u have a lot of time on your hand and read about all details.

    UPGRADE ALT 4: Now that OEM Bi-Xenon are coming on a few high end sport sedans, this is could be a relatively simple install. Bi-Xenon has the advantage of that you are not loosing the high beam which happends with kinds of 9007 kits and pure low beam hid projector units.

    UPGRADE ALT 5: A bandaid solution can be to get some holy shit HID based light is to mount up a set of Xenarc Auxiallary HID low Beam from Sylvania. See here: http://www.sylvania.com/xenarc/x1010.htm
    They are probably somewhat larger than the fog light holes but with some cutting, they should go in there. What to look out for when mounting such powerful ights that low, is the amount of forground light. If foreground light is 2-3 times the light down the road, uld say theu are pretty useless.
    They can be bought directly off the site, lower prices can probably be obtained at your favorite auto accessory store.

    HOW DIFFER alt. 2 AND 3 WHEN IT COMES TO LOOK?

    alt. 2 looks almost stock:

     


    Top: Stock SHO headlight. Lower: modified SHO headlight
    ---
    alt. 3 looks definatly not stock. If you have seen the Hella quad headlights for Ford Focus, you will see
    a similar setup. They have the same modules molded in. I have attatched a picture for your viewing pleasure:

    Click for larger size

    HOW DOES THE BEAM DIFFER?
    Be aware that this is only an indication. Photos cannot give the correct color nor strength of light.
    Note how much better the cutoff is on the projector beam, which means that they are good for HID -
    pictures of that is coming up!!
     


     

    alt. 1 versus alt.2 versus alt. 3

    The brightness on low beam is about the same with similar pattern on alt. 2 and 3.
    The brightness on high beam is higher on alt. 3, because of  a more spotlight looking beam. This is not a
    downside becuse of the fact that you can run with both beams on.

    alt. 1 and 2 restricts you to have either high or low beam on, alt. 3 permits both.

    alt. 2 can take any wattage H4 bulbs.
    alt. 3 can take 55W H7 low beam ONLY, due projector construction, however high beam can take much more
    since they are reflector design in magnesium material.
    alt. 3 will take much longer to install compared to alt. 2:
        alt. 3 installation: 4 lights and 2 turning light needs mounting and alignment.
        alt. 2 installation: 2 lights needs mounting and alignment.

    alt. 1 and 2 can never be upgraded to HID version unless you give up the high beam.
    alt. 3 can be upgraded to HID on low beam. High beam HID upgrade is not recommended because of the fact
    that HID needs up to 10 seconds to reach normal operating temperature.

    If you dont have fog in your area, I would recommend using dollars, time and energy on
    headlamps, not foglights. Because of the low mounting hight of the SHO fog lights, the opening is not ideal for driving/spotlights nor headlights for that matter.

    WHAT WILL IT COST?

    I have used only the best materials and housings currently available and the prices will reflect that. This link shows details.

    Auto Lighting Links:

    H7 bulbs test by the reputable UK magazine "Autoexpress": http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/michaelab/carcare-newsection/print_carcare.php3?id=84

    High quality Philips over wattage bulbs: http://www.powerbulbs.com/rallye.htm

    Auto Lighting Forum:
    Underground automotive lighting forum

    Possible sources for ballast/bulbs from Ford/USA:
    Ballast: P/N # F7LZ13C170BBA or F7LZ13C170BAA $208 (left hand and right hand side - identical)
    Bulbs:  P/N # F8LZ13466AA $128 each
    They are DC voltage to bulb, Philips and Bosch uses AC (which is preferrable)

    Back to my SHO main page

    Email address:
    heranker@yahoo.ca