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Author Topic: MCI 9 Headlight Issues  (Read 5087 times)
JohnEd
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2009, 08:57:25 AM »

Josh,

Everything RJ said and much more along those lines.  I have never found anything to equal the 7 1/2 inch round E spec headlights.  They are worth working for and finding a way and the parts to make them work.  I am sure some must find that old Flex light that sticks out ugly but I am not one.  That might look out of place on a 9 but you have to be able to get shorter ones.  Most of the mts I have seen would require you to cut a hole in the front metal on a 9 and get sort of a flush mount.  If you ever have to drive at night you need all the light you can get in the places you need it and there is no substitute for seeing.  Also get the fogs in the same size if you can....another old time idea.

For simplicity of installation and performance you can us the projection beams.  Quite spendy but state of the art.  High Voltage Ion bulbs are $85 with a lifetime guarantee on the ebay place.  Those are the ones that are so very bright and still legal. 

HTH.

John
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RJ
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2009, 10:47:21 AM »



For those of us who don't want a second mortgage to buy Cibies, Silverstar units seem to work pretty well. I also fitted a set of 150 watt landing lights for especially worrisome roads, and everything together cost less than a set of cibies. A lot easier to find at the car parts store when one burns out in the middle of nowhere, too.



Josh -

Let me clarify a few things here:

1.  For any vehicle using the stock four headlamp system, such as your MC-9, a set of Cibie E-code headlamps runs about $320 + tax & shipping.  A lot less than the $800+ for IBP's kit.  For Scenicruiser and 4104 owners, a pair of the 7" Cibies run about $170 + tax & shipping.  Hardly a second mortgage. 

2.  As for "hard to find at the car parts store when one burns out in the middle of nowhere", understand that the Cibies all use quartz-halogen bulbs, either H-1s, H-2s, H-3s or H-4s, depending on the model.  Walk into any auto parts store today and you'll find these hanging on the rack in the lighting department.  Pop out the old, pop in the new, you're good to go.

3.  Silverstars are not the same thing as Cibies.  Silverstars are only a brand of Sylvania's headlamp replacement bulbs.  There's a difference.  When I talk about Cibie's, I'm talking about the entire lamp assembly, including bulbs.  For that matter, carry a spare set of Silverstars on your coach, so you can replace a burned out bulb in your Cibies!!

4.  The real difference between Cibies and any other US headlight is in the precision optics of the lens.  Cibies, being E-code, have a very, very sharp horizontal cut-off of light to the left, with a considerable rise on the right, to illuminate the road edge.  When properly aimed, the sharp horizontal cut-off virtually eliminates ANY glare to oncoming drivers, yet provides lighting to the driver similar to a fog lamp on the LH side.  On the RH side, on low beam, a Cibie will illuminate a stop sign nearly a quarter mile away on a dark road w/ no spurious light sources.  Try that with a US-spec headlamp on low beam - you won't even know there's a stop sign out there.

5.  Aiming these headlamps is a piece of cake, too.  All you need is to be able to park level 25 feet from a blank wall and follow the simple directions packaged with each headlamp.  No fancy equipment needed - unless you consider using a Phillips screwdriver, a measuring tape, a piece of chalk and a dark towel as fancy equipment.

6.  Most of the nay-saying about Cibies and/or E-code headlamps are from folk who have never been behind the wheel of a vehicle equipped with them.  I've used E-codes since 1965 on every vehicle I've owned that has used standard 5 or 7 inch round headlamps, and would use them on my Tacoma if I could get them.

7.  When it comes to headlamps and driving at night, I'll repeat my mantra:  "What price SAFETY?"


FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

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RJ Long
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2009, 11:51:32 AM »

RJ:

I agree with you and think safety and night vision are very important.  In addition to the actual light producing lamp, what do I do about the hardware holding the light in?  I'll buy the best light in the world, but if they rattle loose 10 miles down the road, what's the point?  Over...

Josh
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Josh Miller, Attorney, hockey player, son, brother, friend and busnut...
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2009, 01:41:23 PM »

RJ may have a point about the round v square headlights.  But, most MC9 buckets and headlight wiring are in such poor condition, that any new headlight assembly would be an improvement. 
The Peterbuilt style square headlights that are being discussed are used in most new OTR equipment, school buses, you name it.  Even Bluebird uses these lights.  They cannot be all that bad.
I've got an IBP conversion ($500 bucks in '02?) on mine and drive at night.  The lights work as well as any vehicle I've driven with stock headlights.  After 7 years, they still work dependably and look good (IMHO).
Installing Cibies and Hella lighting is really another issue.  If the lights are significantly brighter, they may be illegal.  Or, at least, not DOT approved for continuous use during oncoming traffic operation.   
I'll agree that brighter is better from a driver's perspective, but it ain't better for oncoming traffic...who also present a potential hazard.  Maybe some 'driving' lights in addition to your standard high beams would be the ideal solution? 
If you like the look of square headlights, and don't object to looking a bit more modern, you'll be happy with the Peterbuilt assemblies. 
If you want to maintain the OEM old-as-dirt look (vintage, antique?) look of your coach, keep the round eyed look...   Wink
RJ is definitely making a good point by suggesting you understand MC9 headlight wiring before altering the factory wiring.   If you use the new 'high-tech' headlights, any mistake could get expensive too.
IF it was me, and my turn will come, I'd convert that 24V headlight system to 12V.  Just like a OTR truck.  The wiring and relays are more than up to the job...if they are in good condition.
Headlight wiring ain't rocket science.  But, quality workmanship and an understanding of the process would be good.   
A good many MC9s are one short from total headlight failure.  They are operating on the 12V backup system.
Cheers, JR


 
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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RJ
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2009, 04:13:05 PM »



If the lights are significantly brighter, they may be illegal.  Or, at least, not DOT approved for continuous use during oncoming traffic operation.

RJ is definitely making a good point by suggesting you understand MC9 headlight wiring before altering the factory wiring. 

IF it was me, and my turn will come, I'd convert that 24V headlight system to 12V. 



JR -

The Cibies are NOT significantly brighter than stock US-spec headlamps, after all, they're using the same H-series bulbs.  The difference, as has been pointed out, is in the light output pattern, and that's what is significant.

Thank you for picking up on the point about understanding the OEM MCI wiring, that is important.

As for converting from 24 to 12, as you know, this has been beaten to death numerous times, so I won't go into that, other than to say make sure you do it in such a way that you keep the balance between the batteries equal. . .


Josh -

Most of the smaller hardware that holds the lights in place on an MCI is virtually the same as what you'd find on any GM, Ford or other auto manufacturer - off the shelf stuff available at most decent auto or truck parts houses.  The buckets and trim rings are also common, might even be able to use something off a Chevy, for example.  Caylor Supply in KS is probably the biggest source of used MCI parts, and Nick at Nimco in NJ might also be able to help, as the GMC fishbowl transits used four headlamps, and some of the MCI commuter coaches from that area are now ending up at his place, too.  Of course, Luke at US coach is another good source.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2009, 06:27:58 PM »


As for converting from 24 to 12, as you know, this has been beaten to death numerous times, so I won't go into that, other than to say make sure you do it in such a way that you keep the balance between the batteries equal. . .
 Wink

RJ didn't finish the sentence regarding battery balance (he knows, just didn't finish  Wink)...keeping the batteries balanced in 24V systems when tapping 12V  powered equipment from the 12V rear battery positive terminal on an MC9 could be done in one of two ways...a 24/12 power converter (not a good idea for headlights) or a Vanner Equalizer. 
A Vanner will allow a considerable 'out of balance' condition due to 12V use without damaging your batteries due to unequal discharge. 
Vanners turn up used....on Ebay, etc, frequently for pretty cheap when compared to new.  If you buy a used unit, make sure that some sort of warranty or return is offered.  Once installed and working correctly, they are not at all problematic.
You may have a Vanner installed.  Look in the battery compartment for a box about 16X12X4, mounted above the batteries.  If you have one, don't worry about tapping the rear 12V battery for headlight power.
JR
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2009, 08:06:20 PM »

Jr, not to change the subject, but just how much draw on one battery could the vanner handle before causing some sort of problem ?
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2009, 08:39:38 PM »

NOTE: This may or may not be leagal in your area, YMMV.  Jack

Even if it's legal, it's a really good way to get stopped for a "failure to dim" citation, because the cop can't tell if you are on high or not -- but he can count four lights burning.
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2009, 08:56:10 PM »

Jr, not to change the subject, but just how much draw on one battery could the vanner handle before causing some sort of problem ?

They come in various amp values.  50 and 60 amp are common in MCIs.  Your NJT has a 50A OEM unit.
Taxing the max would probably create issues, as much as 25 amps of imbalance would be doable.   
However, a continuous 25 amps is a large load. 
Cool sound system, a few interior lights and the headlights, and in my situation the tickle power  for an RV LP fridge (on LP) is easily doable with a Vanner...that's about 12 amps?   Intermittant loads such as water pumps don't count for much. 
When the engine is running, no problem.
Any large 12V load on the cranking batteries will quickly deplete both batteries when the engine isn't running.  A Vanner only 'balances' the batteries.  It'll take from one and give to the other if it 'sees' an imbalance.   It isn't a 'converter,' although the outcome is about the same.
As an aside, always disconnect the Vanner ground before disconnecting any other leads...and don't attach wiring directly to the Vanner.  Attach loads directly to the battery terminals or at some other point.  The Vanner leads are not fused.  Any load connected directly to the batteries should be fused inside the battery compartment. 
The Vanner should only have a ground, 12V, and 24V leads wired directly to the batteries attached.
Reckon what do you want to attach to the rear battery?  That's another subject?  Roll Eyes
HTH, JR



 
 
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”

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JohnEd
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2009, 11:37:24 AM »

About those little square headlights.....they aren't headlights. At least not by any realistic measure.  Investing in the Cibie version of these lights is a waste of time and money.  The little round one aren't much better but are a little.  The big square ones are fine but they aren't better than the 7 inch rounds and the rounds are much cheaper.  If you get EuroSpec lights you are in the main groove.  DOT Spec is So very INFERIOR as to be an embarrassment....not to mention dangerous. 

Nobody wants to be blinding oncoming traffic and a fine is at the bottom of the list for reasons why not.  The E Spec closely focuses the light into the legit areas and cuts off almost all light above a certain height.  Because the light is more precisely focused to where you need it, your lights "seem" or perform brighter.  There is no down side to this....none.

The ion discharge bulbs run on high voltage and need their own little power supplies.  They used to be a $grand or so for an upgrade kit.  They are the ultimate in that all the power they use is converted to visible /usable light.  AND you can choose the wavelength of the light by selecting different bulbs. They spec the color in terms of "K".  4000K is yellow light and 8000K is blue/purple(useless in rain).  The best seems to be 5-6000 as the "temperature", or K, that produces the most usable light.  The Chinese have a version that sells for $80 and has a lifetime guarantee on the power supply and a year on the bulb.  No one else offers this product guarantee and NO I don't know how "good" they are.  These bulbs fit right into your Quartz Halogen socket after you run power to the P/S.  I the old DOT lamps that "splatter" light down theroad they would be offensive to oncoming traffic despite being legal.

OK, I am about empty on the subject.

HTH,

John
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The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2009, 10:07:37 AM »

Isn't a Vanner rated on how quickly it can rebalance the two 12 volt batteries in a 24 volt bank?  I would think you could pull any amount of power from your 12 volt tap as long as not continuous and the Vanner has a chance to catch up.  My understanding is you are still pulling your 12 volt power from the batteries directly and not through the Vanner itself.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2009, 10:44:07 AM »

Isn't a Vanner rated on how quickly it can rebalance the two 12 volt batteries in a 24 volt bank?  I would think you could pull any amount of power from your 12 volt tap as long as not continuous and the Vanner has a chance to catch up.  My understanding is you are still pulling your 12 volt power from the batteries directly and not through the Vanner itself.

A Vanner will immediately attempt to balance a battery if it detects an unequal load, or for whatever reason, lower battery voltage on one of the batteries . 
Any time a load is placed on the 12V battery, the voltage drops and the Vanner tries to apply enough upstream battery to compensate.
I would guess that you could place any temporary load on one of the batteries without issues (I'm not sure that the Vanner wouldn't fry trying to compensate? ).  I would also assume that the Vanner is going to allow about half of the 12V load to flow through the Vanner?   There must be more on this subject at the Vanner website.  Probably good to know.
Vanners were not intended to adjust for large loads.  12V radio and entertainment equipment was the intended purpose.
NJT installed 50A Vanners for only a 10A load on the rear battery.   
Probably the largest load most Vanners would see would be when trying to run a bad battery in a 24V system.
JR   
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2009, 10:54:55 AM »



http://www.vanner.com/client/images/manual_Battery_Equalizer.pdf
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”

Ayn Rand
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« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2009, 11:26:24 AM »

Okay, I took the chance to reread the manual.  It does says that surges that exceed the capacity of the equalizer will simply draw more power from one battery and the equalizer will catch up after the surge is over.

Also, the wiring diagrams show that your 12 volt loads come off a center tap of the battery bank.  I don't see from the diagrams how the power would go through the equalizer.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2009, 03:00:40 PM »

The equalizer only 'moves' power when it senses a lower voltage in either battery.  Only the 'moved,' or adjustment amps are going thru the Vanner.   The 'moved' amps will mirror whatever load is placed on either individual battery.   
The charging current shuffles thru the 24V and 12V leads.  The ground lead is used for the control circuits.
If one battery is reading 12.8V and the other battery is reading 26.2V (top of the battery chain), then the equalizer will use the highe battery to 'charge' the 12.8V battery.   To the point that they are within 0.10 volt of each other.   The Vanner does this irrespective of what's causing the lower voltage...such as a huge entertainment center..or, to get back on topic, some huge-a$$ headlights?   
All of the equalizing 'charge' current flows thru the Vanner.  At some point it will either trip out via some internal device, or it'll fry the wiring.   
I noticed that the PDF manual shows fuses in the 12V and 24V leads?  I've read somewhere that this was not recommended.  But Vanner obviously recommends fuses.
In order to limit the Vanner's workload, I run a 24V 2400w inverter to power a good many items...including some lighting.
JR
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 03:08:12 PM by NJT5047 » Logged

JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”

Ayn Rand
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