Dodge RamCharger Central banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
88 Ramcharger 360 Royal SE
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I bought my 88 Ramcharger 1300 miles away, flew out and drove it back. The truck did great, but aside from the fact that the wipers didn't work (bushing failure I found out after arriving) the worst part about the trip was the poor performing headlights. The dimmer switch isn't working, but thankfully it was stuck in the 'high beam' setting. I've been working through the various issues but the biggest 'nearly complete' project are those headlights.

First off I read about the relay upgrade on here and did my research on how to set this up. I was selecting all the various pieces to do the job when I saw some reference to LMC trucks (not sure if it was here or elsewhere) and looked them up ... found their "HEAVY-DUTY HEADLIGHT HARNESS" saw that at $25 it was basically the same price as the components I had selected and bought this

Cable Wire Electronic device Gadget Electrical supply


It took all of 30 minutes to install and while the instructions are sparse they proved to be both easy to follow and complete. The headlights I already on the truck were cheap HB2/H4 plastic headlights, and the improvement on the light output was striking and obvious. I was very happy.

However, I didn't like the cheap look of the current headlights, or the fact that they were already scuffed up from road debris. I looked at going LED but most LED headlights look ridiculous and the high price didn't seem to come with matching performance, so I upgraded to the Hella Vision Plus headlights (~$50 each). https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002M9QRE These look and feel all the world like old school sealed beams and if you get the DOT version, the central reflector hides the halogen bulb completely.

Here are the bulbs next to each other
Automotive parking light Automotive tail & brake light Hood Grille Light


The lighting improvement from what I had is night and day, the biggest impact was the relay mod, then the bulbs. If I had to give a relative impact, I'd say the relay did about a 50% increase in light output and the bulbs did another 20-25%, with the added benefit of the look and quality of the headlights

I still have to do the dimmer switch fix (that came in today and the rains came in before I could install it) but here is the mandatory, if not particularly helpful, post install image.

Tire Wheel Car Automotive parking light Vehicle registration plate


So nothing particularly great to share, just wanted to put it all in one spot for the next guy who's searching around trying to figure out how to fix the original lighting on his truck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,567 Posts
There you go.
I converted to Hella's... wait for it... years ago. Back when they were illegal. Except for motorcycles.
Of course, mine are 7" H-4 rounds though. And I also did that relay upgrade back around '95?
Since the bulbs are replaceable, I went with more wattage that I've been running since 2019. A 80 watt low beam. And I always ran a healthy increase on the high beam side... 100watts. It doesn't bother anybody there because I only use them when there's no traffic.
Here's what I did on that upgrade... My '74 Power Wagon I Ordered from Dodge on 8/73
 

·
Registered
88 Ramcharger 360 Royal SE
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah the 'new' DOT compliant Hella's have a central reflector in them, the only real difference between the Euro and DOT lights. I kind of like the DOT ones a bit better just because it masks that the H4 bulb, but I believe the Euro are just a bit brighter. I've got a secondary light bar if I need to go brighter than what I have now, I don't see needing that, but I haven't been in foggy/raining dark since the install, so we'll see.

The relay mod is a must. The difference there was huge. The added benefit of not burning your truck down is there as well, but well worth it regardless... and I can't recommend the LMC harness more. Nearly the same price as the raw components and no splicing, cutting, taping, shrink wrapping, or soldering, just plug and play and you're good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,189 Posts
i tried headlights like that on my truck at one point and found them to be a waste of money. there was no noticeable improvement over the sylvania xtravision bulbs i was running. they may have worked worse than the extravision bulbs. also with the improvements in technology may have actually been worth looking at led lights. there seems to be lots of options under $100/set and they have decent reviews. also the led's are less likely to need a relay and usually are already setup to keep the low beams on when they highs are on. this is part of why i usually like making my own harness. ad a diode between low and high trigger wire or wire the low relay a tiny bit differently to make keep the low beams on when the highs are on.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
i tried headlights like that on my truck at one point and found them to be a waste of money. there was no noticeable improvement over the sylvania xtravision bulbs i was running. they may have worked worse than the extravision bulbs. also with the improvements in technology may have actually been worth looking at led lights. there seems to be lots of options under $100/set and they have decent reviews. also the led's are less likely to need a relay and usually are already setup to keep the low beams on when they highs are on. this is part of why i usually like making my own harness. ad a diode between low and high trigger wire or wire the low relay a tiny bit differently to make keep the low beams on when the highs are on.
Did you try the bulbs with the improved wiring with relays? I have found that in stock old school wired headlight circuits the improved bulbs are useless. Once you have the updated wiring they work real well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,189 Posts
Did you try the bulbs with the improved wiring with relays? I have found that in stock old school wired headlight circuits the improved bulbs are useless. Once you have the updated wiring they work real well.
did you read my entire response? i even included a diagram for how i wire my relay harness. relays do make noticeable improvement to any standard bulb but even a relay only does so much. also like i said there are quite a few LED bulbs for sale under $100 that looks to perform really good and generally don't need a relay harness to perform extremely well.
 

·
Registered
88 Ramcharger 360 Royal SE
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting that they didn't show an improvement for you... Part of the challenge with these old trucks is the differing results folks get from the same mods. It would be interesting to know what makes the difference aside from preference. The Hella certainly worked well for me. Preference wise I really like the glass sealed beam look, and don't like the vast majority of LED lights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,567 Posts
Interesting that they didn't show an improvement for you... Part of the challenge with these old trucks is the differing results folks get from the same mods. It would be interesting to know what makes the difference aside from preference. The Hella certainly worked well for me. Preference wise I really like the glass sealed beam look, and don't like the vast majority of LED lights.
Yes, the glass is way better than the plastic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,567 Posts
i tried headlights like that on my truck at one point and found them to be a waste of money. there was no noticeable improvement over the sylvania xtravision bulbs i was running. they may have worked worse than the extravision bulbs. also with the improvements in technology may have actually been worth looking at led lights. there seems to be lots of options under $100/set and they have decent reviews. also the led's are less likely to need a relay and usually are already setup to keep the low beams on when they highs are on. this is part of why i usually like making my own harness. ad a diode between low and high trigger wire or wire the low relay a tiny bit differently to make keep the low beams on when the highs are on.
Oh, a wiring diagram!
I'm saving that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,189 Posts
Preference wise I really like the glass sealed beam look, and don't like the vast majority of LED lights.
If you where behind the wheel of a truck with nice leds you may change your mind. They light things up good and have a really clean cutoff but the set I have seen in person where $700CAD. You could likely buy some good ones for less but the $700 ones are fancy and even have built in glass heaters to prevent icing up in the winter even tho I don't think leds need them

Oh, a wiring diagram!
I'm saving that.
It's nothing fanny. It just has my little spin on it to keep the lows on when you use the high beams without adding a diode.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,567 Posts
It's nothing fanny. It just has my little spin on it to keep the lows on when you use the high beams without adding a diode.
Yes, but without diagrams, I'm just another guy that struggles with electrical.
With a diagram, everybody thinks I know what I'm doing. ☺
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Interesting that they didn't show an improvement for you... Part of the challenge with these old trucks is the differing results folks get from the same mods. It would be interesting to know what makes the difference aside from preference. The Hella certainly worked well for me. Preference wise I really like the glass sealed beam look, and don't like the vast majority of LED lights.
I used the same lights and relay set up as you did. thanks for posting the info. for me the difference was truly night and day and the new housing looks good as well.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top