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Discussion Starter #1
Odyssey Headlight Modification

I’d like to share a great headlight modification that doubles the light output when the headlights are in the high beam position. I have a 2001 EX , for the most part it’s a great van, but unfortunately all Odyssey’s have a 2 headlight system, one bulb(9003) on each side, each bulb has both the high & low beam filaments. The Accord, for example, has a 4 bulb system, high beams are very bright because all 4 bulbs are on.

First, with this simple test you can observe the results of this modification before anything is done and then decide if you would like to make the modification. Next time you are out during dark put the headlights on low beam. Now pull the turn signal stalk to the “flash to pass” position. This position is when you see the high beams come on, but not far enough to click to the high beam position, letting go of the stalk will return to the low beam. In this “flash to pass” position both high & low beam filaments of the headlight bulb(9003) are on. Try it several times noting the brightness. Again hold the stalk in the “flash to pass” position then pull(click) to the high beam, note that the low beam filaments are turned off and you lose the low beam fill right in front of the van. When I could use high beam I would drive holding the stalk in the flash position, not to relaxing for the left arm.

I had purchased the factory service and electrical manuals, which cover 1999 to 2001. So, I pulled them out to figure a way to keep the low beam filaments on when in high beam. Well, the first revision involved a relay for each light(rt & lf) and much time making jumper wires, mounting the relays, etc. It worked great! Click to high beam and the lows would remain on. After a couple of months I was reviewing the wiring schematic and realized a simpler way which eliminated the relays.

Here’s what you do:
Start with the right headlight as it is a little easier to get to than the left. Pull straight up on the coolant overflow bottle(next to windshield washer fluid fill neck) and set it out of way, just gives you more room. At the back of the headlight there are 3 wires, locate the white wire with the red stripe. This is the ground wire for the low beam filament. Cut this wire about 6 inches back from the bulb connector, tape the wire end that goes back towards the firewall, nothing more is needed to this end. Attach about 2ft of 16 gauge automotive wire to the other end(headlight side). There are many methods to attach or splice the 2 wires together. Whatever method you use it must be sealed from the elements. I soldered the wires then used heat shrink tubing with an adhesive liner. When the tubing is heated the adhesive flows out the ends for a permanent/sealed connection. Heatable sealing butt splice connectors will work fine also. NO “wire nuts” or those quick splice connectors, I think there’re blue in color. Now, the other end of the wire needs to go to a ground. I used one on the top radiator support brace. Follow the hose from the coolant overflow bottle, approx. 12 inches, and there is a bolt on the back side of the brace with a ring terminal with a thick ground wire, I attached the headlight wire here. No guaranties this bolt/ground is there for any other years, I have a 2001… but it probably is. Route the wire to this bolt, cut off excess wire and crimp/solder a ring terminal to the wire and put on the ground bolt.

For the left side it’s a little tight. Remove the black cover that covers the headlight connector. It has 2 locks that look like corkboard push-pins(black), pull these straight out. Same procedure as right side, white wire with red stripe. The ground I used is on top of the same brace, straight forward from the negative battery terminal. Tie-down/tape the ground wires so they don’t flop around and reinstall coolant overflow bottle. When the headlights are turned on everything works the same as it did before, but now the low beam filaments remain on when you switch to high.

I know some of you are thinking about bulb life, having both filaments on? Before the Ody I had a 1990 Mazda MPV and it had the 2 bulb system, the 9004 bulb. I could get the turn signal stalk to stay between the high and low beam position resulting in both high & low filaments being on. In 11 years I changed both headlight bulbs once, it does not shorten bulb life. I’ve got 6 months on the Ody(9003 bulb) and everything is great. I was also concerned about blowing fuses with both filaments on(never blew one on the MPV). Each headlight circuit(rt & lf) was designed and fused for 15 amps, so I connected an ampmeter to measure current with the van running and both filaments on. I measured 10 amps…no problem there. Happy highbeaming.

Please send me your comments.

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[This message has been edited by rkevin3 (edited 11-04-2001).]

[This message has been edited by rkevin3 (edited 11-04-2001).]
 

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Yeah, I noticed the same thing on my DC van, several years ago. It had really poor high beams and could have used some help. Have you looked into the legality of this mod? That would be a lotta light to be faced with, should you forget to dim. I would think that if it were legal, the manufacturer would have set it up that way. Just wondering......

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jerry O:
Yeah, I noticed the same thing on my DC van, several years ago. It had really poor high beams and could have used some help. Have you looked into the legality of this mod? That would be a lotta light to be faced with, should you forget to dim. I would think that if it were legal, the manufacturer would have set it up that way. Just wondering......

Jerry O.

</font>
It's not that bright....still not as bright as the 4 bulb system on my Accord. Remember, when they design a vehicle, everything is a compromise.
 

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rkevin3, two questions.

I know about "regular" heat shrink. Where can I get the heat shrink with adhesive?

Thanks for the how-to. However, I do not understand why this works. You are simply grounding a ground wire? Is there a simple explanation of what is your modified circuit and why it works? Could you just run a "Y" to ground without cutting the ground wire (in case you wanted to return to stock)?

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2002 TW EX; Weathertechs; Splash; 4X Pioneer 1695's w/ Blaupunkt Casablanca head unit; Hella Supertone Horns; Hitch w/ Transmission & Power Steering Coolers; 2001 Five-spoke Alloy Wheels.
2000 Honda CBR 929 RR

[This message has been edited by sinbad (edited 11-05-2001).]
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sinbad:
... I do not understand why this works. </font>
I had the same question so I looked at the '99-'01 Electrical Troubleshooting manual (page 110-4).

Honda runs power to the headlights (all four filaments) through the headlight relays. The relays are energized whenever the lights are on. The filament that is powered is determined by switching the ground via the dimmer switch.

Unless I'm missing something, simply grounding EITHER ground wire (identified by rkevin3) WITHOUT cutting it will cause BOTH low beams to be on whenever the headlights are on. The dimmer switch then controls only the bright filaments. (From a wire capacity standpoint, it would be better to ground both sides.)

To make this modification easy to "undo", insert insulated spade connectors in your added line.

Rkevin3's comments about making a sound electrical connection are still valid.

Rkevin3, Thanks for your comments about bulb life. That was the first thing that I thought about.

Mel

[This message has been edited by Mel (edited 11-05-2001).]
 

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Excellent post rkevin!!

This is the same logic I used in my other car for keeping fogs on when the high beams are activated.

Never thought of doing this with the standard lights. Cool.

There are other cars with active hi/lo beam combinations that are legal right? If this is the case, shouldn't this be legal?

r,
Errol

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Keohi Web Design
Keohi HDTV


[This message has been edited by errol (edited 11-06-2001).]
 

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Yes, I know all vehicles are designed by compromise. I do wonder, however, why, if this is a legal approach, the manufacturer did not keep hi and lo beams on together. When you look at aftermarket bulbs which have higher outputs, they say, "for off-road use only". Seems to me that they would do this, since it is a no-cost item and would enhance their vehicle. Just wonderin'.....

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 

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Discussion Starter #8
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Mel:
I had the same question so I looked at the '99-'01 Electrical Troubleshooting manual (page 110-4).

Honda runs power to the headlights (all four filaments) through the headlight relays. The relays are energized whenever the lights are on. The filament that is powered is determined by switching the ground via the dimmer switch.

Unless I'm missing something, simply grounding EITHER ground wire (identified by rkevin3) WITHOUT cutting it will cause BOTH low beams to be on whenever the headlights are on. The dimmer switch then controls only the bright filaments. (From a wire capacity standpoint, it would be better to ground both sides.)

To make this modification easy to "undo", insert insulated spade connectors in your added line.

Rkevin3's comments about making a sound electrical connection are still valid.

Rkevin3, Thanks for your comments about bulb life. That was the first thing that I thought about.

Mel

[This message has been edited by Mel (edited 11-05-2001).]
</font>
Page 110-4 in my manual is about worn out. You could splice into the low beam wire, on either the rt or lf light, and it would work just fine, but the ground circuit for one of the lights would still go through the combination light switch in the steering column, which is OK because it does that normally. I grounded each light separately to eliminate that long ground path. This will reduce circuit resistance to the minimum, making the low beams as bright as possible. This was done in theory as I did not prove it.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sinbad:
rkevin3, two questions.

I know about "regular" heat shrink. Where can I get the heat shrink with adhesive?

Thanks for the how-to. However, I do not understand why this works. You are simply grounding a ground wire? Is there a simple explanation of what is your modified circuit and why it works? Could you just run a "Y" to ground without cutting the ground wire (in case you wanted to return to stock)?

</font>
I checked with the electrical techs at work to fine the source of the heat shrink w/adhesive. The company is called "Waytek Inc." 800-328-2724 or online at www.waytekwire.com not sure of prices.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ckonarske:
I wonder if there's the possibility of a heat build-up problem inside the lamp housing with both filaments powered up.

</font>
I completed this modification 6 months ago....no problem.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by errol:
Hi rkevin,

Do you have state safety inspection where you live? If so, did the inspector even notice or question the high beam setup?

Thanks,
Errol

</font>
No inspections in Michigan. There's nothing to see or question.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rkevin3:
I completed this modification 6 months ago....no problem.</font>
Just wonderin' if the brights have gotten used enough for a long enough time to be able to tell if there'd be a heat buildup problem. I'm just thinking that if you're in an area where you use the brights all of the time for long periods, maybe then the problem would show up. Other than that, I can't see why mfgrs don't just wire them this way. I don't see any other drawback.



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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes on FotoTime.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ckonarske:
Just wonderin' if the brights have gotten used enough for a long enough time to be able to tell if there'd be a heat buildup problem. I'm just thinking that if you're in an area where you use the brights all of the time for long periods, maybe then the problem would show up. Other than that, I can't see why mfgrs don't just wire them this way. I don't see any other drawback.

</font>
Went West this summer....Yellowstone, Tetons.....I had a 1 hour stretch of highbeams.....no problems. Note: 2 adults & 3 kids(ages 17,14 & 9) and all our stuff, no external carriers/racks, got 26.5 to 27 MPG(no AC) dropped about 1 MPG with AC.
 

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Thanks rkevin.

Actually, I answered my own question.

My other car has a light kit mod that allows for all four lights to be on. No problems with the safety inspectors for the past 4 years.

Looks like I've got a project to do this weekend.

Thanks,
Errol

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Kevin- Come a little further out west and we can knock about 2 mpg off your fuel economy with our "California Blend". We also can lighten your pocketbook a few dimes per gallon, Hee! Hee!

Thanks for the headlight poop. They sure do throw a nice pattern with both filaments lit.

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 

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Great mod rkevin3! I can imagine how good it will look with some aftermarket 9003 bulbs, and the fog light mod too

May need to upgrade the alternator though! (j/k)

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'02 RRP EX NAV
Mudguards,cargo tray,Weathertech mats, Bug deflector, lampguards, gold emblems,
17" TSW Spirit wheels with 235/55 Dunlop Sport A2 tires
More stuff on the way...
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!
 

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Thanks rkevin3 for this info. Given your in-depth knowledge of the wiring to the headlights, can you tell me whether these 3-wire headlights have positive switching, negative switching, or double-negative switching? I'm about to install a daytime running lights kit, and need to know what type of setup it is (I have a 2002, which I assume has the same setup as prior years' models).

Also, IYO, what would be a good ground to screw the DRL kit's ground wire into? Can I just attach that ground wire to the ground used when jumpstarting a dead battery, and protect the junction with electrical tape? Thanks.


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(o: Terry :eek:)
'02 GG EX-L RES
Splash guards, mod floor mats & cargo tray, soon-to-be TV tuner, soon-to-be Zaino
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by forgaming:
Thanks rkevin3 for this info. Given your in-depth knowledge of the wiring to the headlights, can you tell me whether these 3-wire headlights have positive switching, negative switching, or double-negative switching? I'm about to install a daytime running lights kit, and need to know what type of setup it is (I have a 2002, which I assume has the same setup as prior years' models).

Also, IYO, what would be a good ground to screw the DRL kit's ground wire into? Can I just attach that ground wire to the ground used when jumpstarting a dead battery, and protect the junction with electrical tape? Thanks.


</font>
The headlights do not have power at the bulbs until you turn them on. The high & low beam circuits are switched with the turn signal stalk which just switches the ground. 12 volts(positive) is not switched. Cycling(clicking) the turn signal stalk grounds either the low beams or high beams.

I don't know what the ground is for. I'm guessing it's for a relay(< 1 amp), therefore just add another ring terminal to any existing ground junction. Hope this helps.
 
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