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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a question for those of you using roof-rack-mounted driving lights.

I've got a roof rack for my RRC. It's a low-profile rack; it sits close to the roof, and the side rails sit only 2 inches above the load floor. I had it built this way so I could use it in a parking garage, but it turned out looking very stylish. I'll try to post a picture of it soon.

It has four tabs for mounting lights on the front.

However, because I want to be able to haul things like lumber on top, I need low-profile lamps. The maximum height I can use is about 4.5" from the mounting tab. I bought some super-cheap lamps (<$60 for four) from Summit Racing. They are APC lamps, and they look like this:

http://www.performancestyleattitude.com/parts_html/images/drivinglights/clear/50-5007C_L.jpg

Now I know, to an extent you get what you pay for. I didn't expect that these will last forever, and I figured they might not have great bulbs or throw light out efficiently. But I did end up with a problem I hadn't been expecting.

The lights throw so much light onto the hood of my white Classic, and onto the windshield itself, that they are basically unusable at night. The glare is so bad that I can see better with the lights off. They put out lots of light, and in a pattern that works fairly well, but the glare blinds me. Black-out vinyl for Classics don't black out enough of the hood (they seem just for show), and I'm not willing to paint my whole hood black.

OK, so I'm resigned to tossing these lamps, and they were cheap, so it's no biggie. But here's the question: does anyone know how to pick out a lamp which won't throw out tons of light straight down and blind me, or is it even possible? I could use Hella FF100s (and possibly FF300s but the size might be questionable), but I don't know anyone who has used them or any place that stocks them.

I saw a post from a guy on d-90.com who took Rallye 4000 lights off the roof rack of his Defender because of this very problem, so I worry that it's not just a matter of getting a better-quality lamp.

I know most of you are using full-size lamps, and that's fine, but if you could give some input I'd appreciate it. Especially if anyone has used FF100 or FF300 lamps on roof racks on light-colored vehicles and had good results. I'm looking for a driving-pattern lamp, not a fog-pattern lamp... with 4 of them, you can spread out the driving pattern above your regular low beams and to the sides, and have a great pattern. If you can see out the windshield, that is.

Anyone have the PIAA 004XT? They're a touch ugly, but I could paint them black and if they work then that might be the ticket. I've looked at the Hella Optilux and they have some 4" round lamps but they are so shallow I would think the bulb itself would throw light directly on the hood.

Thanks for the input.
 

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Try the mini Lightforce lamps... they make one that's fairly small, maybe 5" diameter or so. They focus like a maglight, so maybe you can focus them for distance and have very little on the hood... maybe
 

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You do have the option to put a stylish blackout on your hood~ I believe originally black out on the hood were used to reduce the glare from rack lights... Not to mention, a white Disco with a black out hood does look sharp!
 

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It's not a disco, its an RRC.. which was his problem with a blackout.. he doesn't feel that it covers enough of the hood. I've never tried lights with one on an RRC, but I would think it would reduce some of the glare. Vigg Designs sells blackouts for RRCs if you are interested.
 

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One possible solution....

I did this to solve a similar problem. If you remember the old blackout lights used on headlights on military vehicles, same thing. I use my driving lights as city lights.

See if you can find plastic stone covers to the lights. Cut slits in the middle of the light covers. You can then modify the beam to just throw the light straight ahead and limit the excess spillage to the hood .

I first tried it using white stone shields that were painted black to match the black paint job. However the temp extremes caused by the weather and the lights made the paint flake off.

I have Hella 500 driving lights in the front but use the covers to keep the beam pattern within my lane. It helps out here in the city.

Start with slits and then widen them to suit.

Adam in NYC
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses guys.

I really think the blackout will be inadequate. I think they look sharp, but on the rangies they only cover about 50% of the hood, right down the middle. The outer sections aren't covered. At least on the discos the blackout covers a wider section close to the windshield.

Besides, my problem is more widespread... it even glares off of the windshield itself. I'm not sure if it's cheap lights or where they're located.

But Adam, you give me an idea. I'm going to try to mask the lights using racer's tape (strong-stick black duct tape). I suspect that my problem is due to inefficient reflector design, and I might be able to get rid of 75% of it by masking around the outside. If I'm lucky, it won't even look stupid either. ;)

In the long run, I'll probably have to get the Hella FF100s. I looked hard at the Lightforce lights, and wanted to get them, but even the smallest is a little to big for my application. I think fairly soon I'll be putting an ARB on the front, so I might put Lightforces on then, and if I'm still fighting the overheads, I might just yank them at that point.

Thanks folks,
Dave
 

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drg said:
Thanks for the responses guys.

But Adam, you give me an idea. I'm going to try to mask the lights using racer's tape (strong-stick black duct tape). I suspect that my problem is due to inefficient reflector design, and I might be able to get rid of 75% of it by masking around the outside. If I'm lucky, it won't even look stupid either. ;)

Thanks folks,
Dave
Let us know how it worked out.

Adam in NYC
 

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You either need new lights with a tight pattern so it throws the light straighter and not on the hood & windshield.
Or, like Adam is saying, you need to modify the pattern your lights are throwing now. Masking the lights could work, but you will lose a lot of the light. You could try snooting them with a short tube which would focus the light forward and not all over the place. You could even shape it like an upside down visor so it just cuts the light off the hood/windshield. Also, if you have any room to slide your roof rack back a little, it could help a little for the windshield.
 
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