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Live Free or Die
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In this thread I am only reporting what I found during my experimentation, and am in no way advocating that anyone else try this.

Here is a $12.60 modification that I did to my low beam headlamp.

The V-Rod comes with an H11 55watt headlamp bulb lighting up the low beam (located in the upper half of the headlamp assembly) and a 65watt H9 high beam bulb (located below). Both of these are relatively new European automotive bulb standards designed to be used together in a lighting system. The mechanical specifications are identical in every way: base dimensions; filament center position; etc. -- except for one -- the connector plug has a bar molded into it so that you can't accidentally mix up the wire harnesses, high/low, with the wrong bulb.

Electrically, the high beam bulb outputs 10 extra watts. So its a little brighter when cagers are looking at you from in front. Although, brightness being a subjective thing, I'm unsure of whether the 10 extra watts actually makes much of a difference, it certainly does NOT hinder the low beam headlamp illumination pattern (which was most important for me). It is 10 extra watts which makes it fall out of the DOT maximums allowed for production vehicles for the the low beam...

The illumination pattern appears identical. Here I am projecting onto my garage door. Both pics were taken from the same location; the left one uses the original H11 55watt bulb and the right is after replacing with an H9 65watt bulb.



I tried to hold the camera in the same location and with the camera's desire to auto gain adjust the CCD picture taking chip, the brightness comes out looking identical in the pictures. The important part was to see that the projected pattern remained unchanged. I also did extensive night riding tests down dark country roads to confirm that the patten of light struck the road without introducing any cold spots. None were detected. As far as I can tell, the modified H9 did not compromise the original light pattern illuminating the road -- it appeared to be slightly brighter IMHO to my subjective eye.

I found the connector's molded-in bar (which prevent inadvertent mix-ups between harness connectors) to be very easy to remove. Pictured below is the H9 bulb that I modified.



The short bar pictured between the two connector terminals need to be removed. The easiest way is to heat up a standard soldering iron; mine has a small chisel point tip which is quite common; and use it to melt down thru that bar, melting away the plastic. I took successive scrapings till I whittled the plastic away. This is what it looked like after I was finished.



The H9 base has one other slight difference, its bayonet mounting tabs are rotated about 10 degrees differently from the original H11 base, but it had no problems fitting into the headlamp bucket housing. It pushed in and twisted to a secure stop, just as if it was designed by the Mo to drop right in.

The headlamp bulbs on the V-Rod were designed to come out easily. I turned the front wheel all the way left on the jiffy to more easily reach behind the headlamp bucket. I disconnected the harness connector from the bulb; grasped the connector end of the bulb and rotated counter-clock-wise approximately 45 degrees, then I pulled the bulb straight back and out.

I think that I'm getting an advantage with those additional 10 watts of hotter burning lamp filament. I'm certainly getting no adverse effects in the projection pattern of the low beam illumination with this bulb mod; and for $12.60 I would say that the return on investment was fully satisfying. Am I safer around the cagers, day or night, who's to say...? I'm keeping this mod.
 

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Color me Gone
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Thanks Via VRSCA great information.
 

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What a great post, and pics to follow up on.
Good on you.
Not sure if I'll do this mod though, as I'm amazed by the amount of drivers who give me high beem here thinking my Low beam is on high! More than any other HD I've owned.
I just put it down to the relector and lens shape.

Best wishes.

Ken.
 

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I have heard of this before; then I was warned that by doing this you could very easily melt the little light deflector, that gray hat looking thing, in the headlight. Or cause the deflector to come loose and fall to the bottom of the headlight. If this occurs I don't know if you can open up your headlight and remove it or not.

Just something to consider,

Dave
 

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Live Free or Die
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll keep an eye out for this and report here. Unfortunately its winter now and I may not be riding much till spring.

Although 10 extra watts is probably an insignificant amount of extra heat. What I would really like to have instead is an 85 watt bulb, or even better, a 100 watt bulb.
 

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Fireman/investigator
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I had people flash their high beams at me too, until I noticed those 2 little allen screws on the sides of the headlight nacelle... I adjusted the headlight down just a bit, and fixed the problem. I always wondered why planes were trying to land on me when I used the high beams....
 
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