Stag headlight set up
The Stag’s halogen headlight conversion has all four units on for high beam.
Items from last month’s to do list included adjusting the Stag’s headlight beams, monitoring the new thermostat operation and adjusting the radiator fan thermostat to reduce the time the electric fan ran. As there was a local Triumph Car Cub twilight run approaching, I decided that adjusting the Stag’s headlights was now a priority. To do this, the car was positioned in the workshop on the level floor about four and half metres from the rear wall. First, I checked to see that all the lights were operating, as during the restoration I had purchased a halogen headlight conversion kit from Rimmer Brothers and had also replaced a lot of the wiring.
The kit included four headlight units complete with halogen bulbs to replace the sealed beam units on my car, which I understand were standard fitment for some export countries. The conversion required some wiring upgrades, as the old sealed beam units had dip-only beams on the outer lights, which remained on when switching to high beam. The replacement kit had the outer lights with twin filament bulbs providing both a dip and main beam, which was achieved by using a switching relay in the harness. The fitment of relays also reduced voltage drop through the switch and wiring, ensuring the brightest possible illumination.
The wiring revision enables all four lights to operate on main beam and provides much improved distance lighting for unlit roads. The test confirmed that all lights were operational and the outer units were switching from main to dip, so I used a laser level and masking tape to mark the main beam targets, setting them to similar height and width as the headlight units. Although the grille sections have cut-outs to access the headlight adjusters, I found it wasn’t possible to get clear access to them and as they are plastic decided to remove grille sections to ensure the adjusting tool was a snug fit into the cross slots.
In the end I found that on some lights I didn’t have sufficient screw adjustment to get the required beam height and I had to fit spacers between the headlight bowl and front panel, which would have required the grille to be removed anyway. This requirement was probably due to all the work that has been undertaken on the front end and that the angle of the front panel may be slightly incorrect.
This additional requirement ensured that the alignment task took rather longer than anticipated, but I was eventually able to obtain a really good light pattern projected onto the targets. The removal of the individual grille sections was a simple operation, but refitting was going to be a bit more difficult, so I used the hoist to raise the car to make the task a little easier.
The problem is that the grille sections on the Stag have screwdriver holes to access the screws that fit through brackets about 20mm behind the grille. The screwdriver holes are too small to fit the mounting screws through, so the screws have to be inserted into the bracket holes from behind the grille, which is difficult on the small sections having two screws and even more so on the large centre section
having four. On the small sections I was able to hold screws in place with a dab of grease whilst carefully positioning a section and tightening its screws. The larger size of the section made it difficult to ease it into place without displacing the grease retained by the screws, so I resorted to using grease for two of the screws and then using a small magnet pick-up tool to position the screws for remaining two.
The few local runs indicated that the new thermostat fitted last month had resulted in reducing the water temperature. With the old 82ºC thermostat the gauge was reading just under 90ºC, whereas with the replacement 77ºC thermostat the gauge dropped to just over 80ºC, but the fan was still operating during open road running. I therefore made a small adjustment to the Kenlowe electric fan thermostat to increase the temperature it switched, but a subsequent road test found that it now allowed the water temperature to creep up too high and required another small adjustment to obtain the required switching temperature.
The club twilight run involved a round trip of over 200 miles. The initial part was a 30-mile run into the city meeting point over half being at our maximum motorway speed of 100 kmh (62 mph) where in spite of being a hot late afternoon the water temperature was steady at just over 80 degrees with no fan assist. Once in the city in stop-go traffic, the gauge crept up a little and the fan cut in to keep temperatures under control. Back on the open road the other side of the city, the water temperature dropped and fan switched off, so I was happy with the new setting. After a pleasant rural drive we arrived at our dinner venue at a vineyard restaurant in the country, so all the Triumphs taking part on the run were parked amongst the vines for a photo opportunity.
The quantities of kangaroos in the area of Australia where we live can be a little disconcerting, as they tend to sit in the shade during the day and feed in the cooler mornings and evenings. The green roadside verges are a common area for them to look for fresh grass, often with fatal results for the ’roo and significant damage to the unfortunate vehicle. I am pleased to report that all our cars had an uneventful homeward drive along the country unlit roads and that my realigned headlights produced really good illumination. What’s also pleasing is that a subsequent fuel top up indicated that I achieved fuel consumption in the region of 30mpg.
I did have a slight problem starting the car for the run home, whilst it immediately started it stalled as soon as the key was released from the start position. I then realised that after starting the spring was pushing the key past the run position sufficiently to turn the ignition off, and that the key required careful positioning into the run position to keep running. A couple of days after our club run we used the car on a shopping trip when positioning the switch in the run position became even more difficult, so the switch requires further investigation. However prior to removal I will order a replacement as in spite of having fitted a new switch during the restoration I fear that this problem cannot be rectified.
Switching to low beam extinguishes the inner light units and switches the outers to dip.
Blue masking tape was used to set two targets for setting the main beams. You can see the laser dot on the left that was used to set the targets in the correct position.
Replacement of the small grille sections was relatively simple.
A small long-handled magnet was used to position the final two screws for the large grille section.
As replacing the front grille was a fiddly task, the car was raised to a more user-friendly height.
Final high beam pattern after adjustment, which provided excellent illumination during night-time driving.
This is the two-stage Kenlowe thermostat. The small whiteheaded screw in the centre of the blue rheostat at top right provides the temperature adjustment.