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Headlights upgrade: US Sealed beams to CIBIEs

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Headlights upgrade: US Sealed beams to CIBIEs

Post by Val_C » Sun May 01, 2005 8:33 pm

As some of you already know, I bought my Canadian '86 635 "all original" as PO said.
I found later that it was very true, car was never touched by mechanics, may be only at oil change times.


The headlights upgrade was one of the first things in to-do list just after change of control arms bushings but before hand brake fix.


I decided to change headlights for something not too expensive first, but, after checking a few auto parts stores and reading reviews on message boards, I ordered CIBIE CSRs from Daniel Stern Lighting.
The headlights arrived in two weeks after I contacted Daniel Stern, and I was very pleased with lenses quality in compare with other brands that I saw earlier.


Removing the old headlights is a straightforward process, very well described by Joseph Peterson in his headlight upgrade page

There are four screws on front left and right sides of the grills and two nuts on each side, holding the blinker housing in place.
To unbolt those nuts on a 19-year old car was a real PITA, I succeeded to do it on right side, but on left one bolts started to turn in the housing and I ended up with drilling them out from the front side. Since the car had US DOT blinkers, to drill out the bolts I was needed to destroy US blinker reflector.
When blinker housings were finally out, I removed US DOT reflector and drilled out bolts from the right housing also and then glued in new 5mm bolts.
Then I painted housings with reflective paint, tapping contacts with paper first.


I wanted to use built-in city lamps in CIBIEs and, as Joseph, use turn signals only as blinkers, so I cut off extra wires for small driving lamp and rewired driving and ground wires from out of blinker to be connected with low-beam headlights.
I also changed dual filament bulb on single filament No1156. Minor modification of contacts was made.

To remove headlights with buckets assembly three big screws on each side have to be unscrewed, easy job. Take a look on those original headlights out of car: what a rusty buckets. Interesting thing is, that all four sealed beams were E-Code but not DOT.


The headlights buckets were also damaged by rust, although still usable.


I was lucky to get from eBay almost new headlight buckets and, after refreshing them with mat black paint, they were installed instead of old ones.


In the photo above front condition of front wiring is seen very well, I was really disappointed to see disintegrated insulation and old wires, but at this point I am not ready to change all front harness how it have to be done properly, so I decided to use existing one in hope that it will hold.

At this point I had to make minor changes in fuse box wiring, but to be sure that I missed nothing, I asked D. Stern all questions that I worried about again.
Below I just past and copy list of my questions and very kind answers of D. Stern:

Q: As I understood from our previous conversation, no change in wiring will be needed.

A: Actually, you will have to make a minor modification to the wiring in the relay box, as follows:
Open the fuse box and remove high beam relay K3.
Examine it carefully; there should be a circuit diagram on its top or side, and even if not the pins should be labeled.

If you see a terminal labeled "87a", follow this first set of directions:
Access the wires that go to the various socket slots in the fuse/relay box. Take the wire out of the K3/87a socket slot and, after clipping the end off and crimping a ring terminal on the end, bolt it to the very convenient hot (+12V) post in the fuse box. This puts unswitched power on terminal 30 of the low beam relay K4 as required.

If you do NOT see a terminal labelled "87a" on relay K3, follow this second set of directions:
Find the wire (usually white/red) that goes between K3/87 and K4/85.
Cut this wire as close as possible to K3/87. Reroute the wire so that it goes from K4/85 to ground.

Q: Do I have to purchase also some adapters for the new bulbs plug-in or original plugs will do well?

A: You will need to buy eight standard crimp-type 1/4" blade terminals.
You will remove the existing headlamp sockets and install the new terminals on the ends of the wires.

Q: Please, advice, if the low-beam CSR have an opening for euro parking light, and, if yes, do I have to seal it or rewire something for connection?

A: The low beams do have the euro parking light socket and bulb. No extra seal is needed; all seals are included. If you wish to activate the Euro parking light, you run one of its wires to the parking lamp feed, and the other wire to ground. Very easy.

Q: Please, advice, what wires I have to use for the low beam, in original sealed beam there are 3 wires, as I can see.

A: As you look at existing high/low beam headlamp SOCKET, wires pointing away from you:

Left vertical slot: high beam feed
Top horizontal slot: Low beam feed
Right vertical slot: Common/ground
Mount relay centrally (somewhere between LH and RH headlamps)

Wire like this:
Common/ground of LH high/low socket to ground wire of new LH low beam
Low beam feed of LH high/low socket to feed wire of new LH low beam
Common/ground of RH high/low socket to ground wire of new RH low beam
Low beam feed of RH high/low socket to feed wire of new RH low beam

I opened the fuse box, removed K3 relay and found, that it had 87A terminal. So I had to remove 87A socket slot and connect it to positive terminal somewhere.
Note the bolt with three plastic clips around it: it?s holding nut of a positive terminal, have to be unscrewed/tightened from top.


I removed top screws from the fuse box panel and lifted panel up. I was prepared to see some wiring but not such a mess:


Image quality is not good, but greenish plate is the circuit board of the power distribution board, yellow pin in the middle is bolt with two wires attached to it and nut. I quickly found that this bolt is positive terminal, but I still couldn?t find how to remove 87A terminal out of K3 socket.
At this point Joseph Peterson gave me some advices, and I removed 87A terminal, using 1.8 mm screwdriver sticking it down to the slot from the top and pulling wire attached to it from the bottom.
The rest was simple: I cut off original terminal out of wire, attached ring terminal and bolted wire to the positive point (bolt). Then fuse box was reassembled.

To plug in and install new headlights is a ten minutes job. To put back grills and install turn signals is an another half hour.


Everything is working fine, time to find flat area with vertical wall and adjust headlights.

Special thanks to Daniel Stern and Joseph Peterson for their help and patience.
Last edited by Val_C on Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:39 pm, edited 6 times in total.


Post by Manny » Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:17 pm

Hey Val,

Great article. I know how to adjust my lights, but what do i look for on the "wall" when i'm adjusting them? Is there a chart or diagram as to how far from the wall i should do this when adjust the "throw" of the lights? :?:


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Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2004 11:33 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Post by Val_C » Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:33 pm

For headlights adjustment check this article of D. Stern.
BTW, I still have to do mine, just can't find the right flat spot with wall.


Post by Manny » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:38 am

ok, so let me see. Keyless entry, clock, window switches and now the lights?


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