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'58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98527 Mon Dec 18 2006 06:56 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 125
C
cjoe Offline OP
Member
After replacing 2 burned out headlight switches (due to wire crushed under a grill mount), installing new headlight harnesses, and cleaning a lot of what looked like spider and mouse debris/crap from my headlight buckets and installing new parking light assemblies, I installed a 30 amp circuit breaker to protect the headlight switch and wiring. I thought everything was ok until 4 nights ago when suddenly my highbeams started flashing on/off. I kicked the low beams on and got the truck home. I left the lights on while checking things out and suddenly the lowbeams started flashing too, on/off at random. I remembered an article that was directed to me, by Alan Horvath, in reply to an earlier post I had(search ..'58 Apache headlight problem) To make a long story short, I completed a relay installation today to operate the headlights and the results are ...WOW !! Not only don't the light flutter now but they are much brighter. MUCH brighter.
I took power directly from the alternator (10 gauge wire) to a second 30 amp breaker and then to the relays to operate high and low beams. All the headlight switch does is energize the relay then all current comes from the alternator through the 10 gauge wiring and nothing at all through the headlight switch. I had checked voltage at the high beam lights before the install and had 12.47 volts, after the install...14.33 volts !!! and no operating problems. The headlight switch is cool to touch and the first 30 amp breaker (protecting the switch) is stable. I suggest this modification to anyone. Whether you are having problems or not the increase in voltage resulting in superior lighting is reason enough to make the install. Took me about 2 hrs and cost less than $34.00. I am thinking about doing the same thing with my tailights....and then who knows.

Carl


'58 3600 350/4-sp/stepside/big window cab
'59 3100 235/4-sp/stepside
Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98528 Mon Dec 18 2006 02:58 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 12,860
F
Flxible Offline
Extreme Gabster
the 'flashing' headlights woulda been the bimetal circuit in the light switch opening/closing from excess current draw [or cheapy repro switch?] .... let us know how long the bulbs last running at 14V grin

Bill


"When we tug a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world" ~ John Muir
"When we tug a single thing on an old truck, we find it falls off" ~ me
Some TF series details & TF heater pics
Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98529 Tue Dec 19 2006 12:35 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,128
W
Wrenchbender Ret. Offline
Master Gabster
Great post. I did that several years ago on my 70. Has worked great ever since. I use halagen bulbs.


They say money can't buy happiness. It can buy old Chevy trucks though. Same thing.

1956 Chevy 1/2-Ton Pickup

Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98530 Tue Dec 19 2006 03:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 125
C
cjoe Offline OP
Member
Bill, you are correct. The switch would have burned out if not for the earlier circuit breaker install. The switch bimetal strip (on the headlight side) was getting hot and opening/closing. It was very hot to touch. Now the switch is cool as it does nothing once the lights come on. Well nothing to run the headlights, it still runs the taillights and dash lights. The bulbs..?? Dont know how long they will last...and doesnt really matter as I can now upgrade the bulbs to halogen if they fry. The main thing is I now have reliable lights and a safeguarded switching system and protected under dash wires. BTW, the switch is a Delco-Remy, made in USA...not a foreign chepo.


'58 3600 350/4-sp/stepside/big window cab
'59 3100 235/4-sp/stepside
Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98531 Tue Dec 19 2006 09:21 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,274
Alan Horvath Offline
Shop Shark
Hey, Carl

I'm so happy to hear about your great results, Bro!

Hey Bill -- 14 volts is what we all *should* be seeing when ever we are getting full power to components; a 12-volt battery is suppose to produce 14 volts.


Alan Horvath
54 Chevy Pickup
Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98532 Tue Dec 19 2006 09:33 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 12,860
F
Flxible Offline
Extreme Gabster
actually a 12v battery should/can only produce 12v ... the alternator produces 14v [or so] to keep the battery charged while running the components, and if the system is #1, the headlights should be getting as much power as they were designed for, and producing the full candlepower rated for stated longevity

my comment above relates to the fact that some here have said using an 8v battery on a 6v system resulted in shortened bulb life ... seems it might be the same with 14v on a 12v system, would be curious to hear if that's the case

I've been driving old trucks as designed for decades, and never had a lite switch fry, and if I had it happen repeatedly, I'd sure wanna find out why!

Bill


"When we tug a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world" ~ John Muir
"When we tug a single thing on an old truck, we find it falls off" ~ me
Some TF series details & TF heater pics
Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98533 Tue Dec 19 2006 09:55 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,274
Alan Horvath Offline
Shop Shark
Thanks for the clarification, Bill.


Alan Horvath
54 Chevy Pickup
Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98534 Tue Dec 19 2006 11:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,128
W
Wrenchbender Ret. Offline
Master Gabster
Everything on the trucks run on 14 volts. That is the voltage they are designed for. The reason 8 volts will burn out bulbs & acessories is that 6 volt trucks run on 7-7.5 volts & 8 volt battery would have to be set on aprox. 9 volts to charge. If you have 14 volts at the alt. you will have 14 volts at the tail lights.


They say money can't buy happiness. It can buy old Chevy trucks though. Same thing.

1956 Chevy 1/2-Ton Pickup

Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98535 Wed Dec 20 2006 12:04 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 12,860
F
Flxible Offline
Extreme Gabster
then the question becomes, if Carl's headlights are brighter now at a measured 14v, why were they dimmer before?

Bill


"When we tug a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world" ~ John Muir
"When we tug a single thing on an old truck, we find it falls off" ~ me
Some TF series details & TF heater pics
Re: '58 Apache headlight relay install.... #98536 Wed Dec 20 2006 12:17 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,274
Alan Horvath Offline
Shop Shark
My answer to that, Bill, would be that, before hand, they probably were getting less than 11 volts ... tired wires, poor connections, long wire runs that lose voltage because of distance, etc., etc.

I ran an 8-gauge wire from my battery's +-terminal to terminal blocks on my firewall and powered my fuse box, headlights and electric fan directly from that source -- and my alternator reads that source (instead of the usual BAT connection), too.

That, along with the use of relays, makes a very big difference. The truck runs better, too!

See Here


Alan Horvath
54 Chevy Pickup
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