1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Dim plow lights

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by sjwrangler, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. sjwrangler

    sjwrangler Member
    Messages: 77

    I've got a 92 Jeep with Meyers plow. The plow lights bulbs were cloudy, so I replaced them with new bulbs. These are 2E1 rectangular bulbs. The new bulbs are dim and completely unsatisfactory! My alternator is new (160 amp) and battery is good. What recomendations do people have? Could it be the original wiring be too weak, (low voltage)? What other bulbs are people using? Thanks.............
     
  2. vmj

    vmj Senior Member
    from conn
    Messages: 752

    If it were me i would start with checking the ground wire. Im no macanic,i work with wood.....
     
  3. naturalgreen

    naturalgreen Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    yes check the ground and see where it is grounded engine frame both.
     
  4. naturalgreen

    naturalgreen Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    then try whatever goes with your plow I use the nite sabres
     
  5. sjwrangler

    sjwrangler Member
    Messages: 77

    By dim, I mean not bright. I will check the ground, but I doubt this is the problem. The bulb is just not that bright, and I need better for winter. Do they make better bulbs than the general sealed beam local auto parts store ones to fit the Meyers plow lights? The nite sabres are nearly $300, I should be able to get better bulbs for that kind of money.
     
  6. cfdeng7

    cfdeng7 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 376

    the night sabers are not just bulbs they are a whole headlight assembly. these are a vast improvement on ur current headlights especially seeing as u said they were cloudy.
     
  7. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    If you can spare the amps add more lights. I put a piece of angle iron between my headlights on one truck and added lights to it. That way they were at the same level as the headlights.
     
  8. sjwrangler

    sjwrangler Member
    Messages: 77

    I have the amps, I can look into additional lights. I was hoping to repair the main lights though. I will keep looking for better replacment 2e1 bulbs. Someone must make a good replacment, there are thousands of these rectangular plow lights out there.
     
  9. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Member
    Messages: 94

    I don't know if your lights work through any sort of relay, but if they do you might want to hook up one of the new lights directly to the battery to at least see if it's just the bulbs that are too dim and if they are, perhaps a different bulb or light setup is needed.

    If you hook it up directly to the battery and the light is as bright as it should be, then there is something wrong between the battery and the lights themselves. If there is in fact a relay of some sort, I would then try replacing that relay.

    Basically, just follow the path of electricity between the lights and power. Someone mentioned ground and I know you said the ground is good but here's a problem I solved one time: A good friend had his car in a shop to fix an electrical problem. If I remember correctly, his alternator light was on, his lights were dim. They ended up replacing the alternator and a couple of other things, but still not fixed. He came to my house to ask for help and all I did was pop the hood and looked around really good. Within a couple of minutes I noticed that there was a ground strap between the battery ground and the body of his car under the hood (It was about a '78 Olds Calais). The end that was attached to the body had like only one or two strands of wire still holding on, otherwise it would have completely fallen apart. I grabbed a piece of heavy guage wire I had and touched between the battery and body - problem solved.

    Sometimes it can be the simplest thing but hard to find. Hope this helps.

    Steve
     
  10. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Member
    Messages: 94

    On an additional note, many times you'll find an additional heavy ground strap between the engine block and body as well. You might want to check that too.

    Steve
     
  11. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    From what I get from the post is the lights work fine.They just don't give out enough light to get the job done. You might even try high mounted lights on the top of the cab. Floud type lights might do the trick. Might get your eyes checked too. Sometimes when you get older it sneaks up on you and you don't realaize it.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  12. sjwrangler

    sjwrangler Member
    Messages: 77

    Thanks for the advice. I might mount additional clear fog lights to the plow frame. Yes, my issue is not simply voltage, the lights are simply not that good. The old cloudy OEM bulbs were better. I have researched some H4 type replacements, which should be brighter. I also might upgrade the wires, as voltage drop could certainly be an issue. I was hoping I was not the first person to try to upgrade to old style rectangular plow lights on older Meyers products. I'll bet my setup is 16 years old. Oh, and thanks.....my wife just had me at the eye doctor :)
     
  13. GPS

    GPS Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 268

    If they are the smaller rectangular headlamps, you can get Sylvania Silverstar bulbs with the 2E1 plug. Part # H4666ST They will fit if you had the plastic HP6545 bulbs, H4656 bulbs, or H4666 bulbs.

    You can usually get them at an auto parts store (AutoZone, Advance, etc.), or find them online. http://www.bulbman.com/index.php?main_page=product_bulb_info&products_id=10794

    I use them in my Fisher's lights, and find them to be an improvement over stock. Are they going to beat the latest and greatest Sabers, Boss lights, or Intensifires? No, but they are much cheaper.
     
  14. Ketch

    Ketch Member
    Messages: 48


    I can attest to the Silverstar's - they're wonderful!

    Please, if you have a multimeter, we techs would ask that you just humor us and check both the supply side (bulb removed, red probe on battery "+" post, black probe on supply side of socket with lights on, both high and low) and the ground side (bulb removed, red probe on ground side of socket, black probe on battery "-" post, lights on or off) of your setup, both lamps. Use the resistance or ohms setting on the multimeter, and repost your readings. Also check volts at the bulb socket (red probe on the supply side of the socket, black probe on the ground side of the socket, INSIDE the socket!) with the engine running AND engine stopped. Volts across battery terminals should be 14.0-14.6 with engine running, and 11.9 to 13.0 engine stopped, depending on how long it's sat since you shut it off.

    O'Reilly, AutoZone (Evil Zone) and Advance Auto Parts offer free tests of battery and alternator, I'd advise you get both checked before the season gets too far along, regardless of whether or not you think you have a problem in those areas. We check ours in the shop once or twice a week (on the vehicle) during snow season!
     
  15. sjwrangler

    sjwrangler Member
    Messages: 77

    Please, if you have a multimeter, we techs would ask that you just humor us and check both the supply side (bulb removed, red probe on battery "+" post, black probe on supply side of socket with lights on, both high and low)

    Could not get a reading, meter trouble/operator ineptitude

    and the ground side (bulb removed, red probe on ground side of socket, black probe on battery "-" post, lights on or off) of your setup, both lamps. Use the resistance or ohms setting on the multimeter, and repost your readings.

    Passenger .28, drivers 0

    Also check volts at the bulb socket (red probe on the supply side of the socket, black probe on the ground side of the socket, INSIDE the socket!) with the engine running AND engine stopped.

    Running/passenger: 13.05 v high, 13.15v low running/driver: 12.5v high, 13.15v low
    Engine off/passenger: 10.0v high, 10.0v low Engine off/driver: 10.3v high, 10.6v low


    Volts across battery terminals should be 14.0-14.6 with engine running, and 11.9 to 13.0 engine stopped, depending on how long it's sat since you shut it off.

    Across battery running: 14.9 v Across battery off: 12.51v

    I plan to wire four (4) new relays with upgraded wiring, 2 for plow lights, 2 for regular lights. It appears the plow light voltages are low. Comments please!

    Also ordered Silverstars for plow, just bought them for regular lights.
     
  16. Ketch

    Ketch Member
    Messages: 48

    Could not get a reading, meter trouble/operator ineptitude

    Don't put yourself down! No worries, I've got black hair with occassional blonde moments. Once you get this stuff down, you're golden. Make sure your plow lights are on, not just your headlamps. Key on if need be. Give it another whirl! Make sure when you check the low beams, the low beams are activated. Same with the brights - make sure you've engaged your high beams when testing them!

    Passenger .28, drivers 0

    Is this figure for the high side or low side? ...or both? Two things here: check the terminations on your ground wiring. Disconnect them, make sure it's bare metal to bare metal, and clean metal at that. Just a little corrosion can muck up your whole operation. Once you've checked the terminations (wire ends), perform the resistance test again with your multimeter, same procedure as before. If you still get anything above, say 0.01 ohms, replace the ground side wiring. Oh, and goober on some dielectric grease once you're finished. That stuff is awesome at keeping out corrosion and its minions when used inside connections, bulb sockets, etc.

    Running/passenger: 13.05 v high, 13.15v low running/driver: 12.5v high, 13.15v low
    Engine off/passenger: 10.0v high, 10.0v low Engine off/driver: 10.3v high, 10.6v low

    Across battery running: 14.9 v Across battery off: 12.51v


    Wow, it's all over the place! :dizzy: You are correct, the plow light voltages are indeed extremely low, and it's the cause of your dim plow lights. Your high side seems to be a bit more ******** than your low side, but they should all be higher - almost what your battery is, in this case at least 14v. Do you have a ground-switching system instead of a hot-switching system? Although this test tells us that there is significant voltage drop in the path of your supply current, the resistance test you were unable to perform would definitively tell us if there is a problem with the path of supply current. There could still be a grounding issue creating a sort of "bottleneck" effect, causing the voltage drop. Check this wiring just as I outlined for the ground wiring above, making sure all contacts and terminations are clean! Reperform the resistance test once your verifications and corrections are complete. Again, you should encounter very little resistance! Any readings other than negligible should prompt you to replace that wiring. As always, verify your repairs - perform the test once again when your repairs are complete.

    Just a side note: I know I may have implied that negligible resistance would be acceptable in either the ground or supply, but that's not (or at least shouldn't be) the case in any shop, and it's definitely not in mine! A little resistance won't impart much voltage drop, and you could probably skate by for this season at least, but it's a sure sign of a problem - likely corrosion - and it's only a matter of time before the corrosion (wherever it is) takes over :gunsfiring: and forces you to rewire the whole damn thing.


    Battery: With only voltage figures and no load test completed, it seems to be up to par so far. I'd still get it load tested.

    Alternator: Again, with only voltage listed and no load test, it seems to be good to go. Get a load test!

    Plow Lights: :help: Your issues seem to lie in the wiring. Other factors could come into play, such as a bad switch or two, maybe a bad relay. Make sure to use dielectric grease in all bulb fittings and exposed relay sockets and/or terminations.

    If you end up rewiring both supply and ground sides, sketch it out and make a list of the things you need first. For headlights, one relay controls two lights, so get relays with dual output terminals to make it easy for you in the future. Wire each headlamp to it's own output terminal. Also, label ALL of your wires, and do so in multiple spots! Super-fine tipped Sharpies work well for 14ga and up, but so do the write-on, stick-on labels. Follow the destructions they include with the packaging (trust me, I know it sounds like common sense, but I swear they're all different, maybe it's just my bad experiences talking). As far as wire colors go, use black for all ground, red for all supply (batt to fuse, fuse to relay in short distances), and something different for the control side if you can. Otherwise just use blue or green or whatever's available. If you want it to last, don't use 120/240 or 277/480 wire (THHN or THWN), use real automotive wire from the hardware or auto parts store. The other stuff works great in a pinch, but it's more trouble than it's worth, and carries higher voltages a lot better than it does 12v or 24v because of the stranding. Don't be afraid of loom and tape.

    Holy crap, I think that's enough for now. Try not to break anything, but if you do, use a hammer. I've got my money on a ground problem. :drinkup:
     
  17. sjwrangler

    sjwrangler Member
    Messages: 77

    I’m fairly convinced the wiring needs an update. The headlight sockets are corroded inside, with no apparent (or known to me) way to effectively clean them, (they won’t come apart after 18 years). If you don’t mind, I would like to run my plans by you.

    With #12 wire, I plan to come off the battery to a 30 amp thermo-resetting circuit breaker. From there, with #12 to a HL62943 Mini Relay Box, 4 Gang. One relay for main light, high and low, same for plow lights. I also plan to have a new #12 ground from the battery come to this box for grounding the new system.

    With dual post relays, wire each headlight, taking power for the relay operation from the existing wiring harness, all in #14. A new ground will also run back from the lights to the relay box. I plan to use new headlight connectors in all four lights.

    This should make positive changes.

    I should load test the battery. The alternator is a new 160 amp installed early spring this year.

    I am not sure about ground versus hot switching system; I’d have to do some tracing of wiring. I assume this is stock Meyers plow setup from the early 90s.

    Question: with using the old headlight sockets to power the relay operation, and using spade type connectors to insert into the old headlight connector, do they get electrical taped or just left as is?

    With such old equipment, would you replace the plow motor relay and main cabling? It works, but is corroded, (as are many things under the hood after 18 years).

    Lastly, can I combine grounds? What I mean is I will have a ground coming from the driver’s side main headlight and from the driver’s side plow light. Before they come to the passenger side to meet the new ground from the battery, can they be spliced together or should they be separate? If separate, how would one join four grounds when they eventually meet?

    Oh, and thanks for all the help!
     
  18. Crash935

    Crash935 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Run you grounds to the battery, frame and chassis grounds always lose something.
     
  19. no lead

    no lead PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,308

    just for kicks take a pair of jumper cables and power the "dim" light direrct. seem any brighter?
     
  20. sjwrangler

    sjwrangler Member
    Messages: 77

    Yes, ran a wire from the battery and they were brighter.