Stag head­light set up

The Stag’s halo­gen head­light con­ver­sion has all four units on for high beam.

Classics Monthly - - Driver's Diary -

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.

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