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The Bad - headlight burn outs and water intrusion?

Posted by Kelly 
Hi,

Well the bad is not that bad really. Beemie burns out its H4 head light lamps (light bulbs) about every 4 t0 6 months. I carry spares in the glove box.(I have now gained some infamy amongst friends and family for whipping out an oil quart or new lamp as needed.)

It has rained quite a bit in the last few weeks. My Hella H4 left headlight now has a few water droplets clinging to the inside of headlight's glass lens. There is not a puddle in the bottom yet. I have not noticed the water condensation before.

What should I do?

Remove for a few days the rubber cap which seals the back of the lamp and headlight's internal chamber?
Remove the lamp as well?
Heat the lens with my hair blowdryer? Although the lenses have a protective film applied and the heat might not be so good for the film. I could set the blow dryer to low temp and manage the heat with my kitchen food thermometer. I'd think anything under 110DegreesF should be fine.
Should I remove the whole head light assembly from the car and clean it indoors?

When I removed the dead lamp yesterday, I noticed a slight discoloration in the lamp base. Zoom in and look carefully at the picture below. Above the white printed letters LE you will notice that the black plastic turns from black to brown as if arcing electricity has burned the black plastic in a circular area between the top metal pin and the right metal pin. When the head light's rubber cap is installed, the black plastic is covered with rubber and only the 3 metal pins protrude. Perhaps a water drop in squeezed between the rubber cap and the black plastic allowing the electricity to short. But I do not have any bad fuses-only burned lamps.



I can also "do nothing" - other than dry the headlight and change the lamps as they fail. It's not really that annoying.

Let me know your thoughts. :-)

Thanks, Kelly

Although
The moisture inside the lens shouldn't cause any problems other than being annoying.
Your picture of the bulb base indicates moisture is getting onto it from some place and maybe it's causing the short and too much current through the filament(s).

You could try a little silicon grease around the rubber boot so that moisture can't seep in there.

You should be getting several years from those bulbs sad smiley
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Archeo-peteriX
The moisture inside the lens shouldn't cause any problems other than being annoying.
Your picture of the bulb base indicates moisture is getting onto it from some place and maybe it's causing the short and too much current through the filament(s).

You could try a little silicon grease around the rubber boot so that moisture can't seep in there.

You should be getting several years from those bulbs sad smiley

Hi P,

Happy Festivus to you too!

Is silcone grease the same or the opposite of Dielectric grease? (I have a can of Dielectric.)

Thanks and Happy New Year! Kelly
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Kelly
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Archeo-peteriX
The moisture inside the lens shouldn't cause any problems other than being annoying.
Your picture of the bulb base indicates moisture is getting onto it from some place and maybe it's causing the short and too much current through the filament(s).

You could try a little silicon grease around the rubber boot so that moisture can't seep in there.

You should be getting several years from those bulbs sad smiley

Hi P,

Happy Festivus to you too!

Is silcone grease the same or the opposite of Dielectric grease? (I have a can of Dielectric.)

Thanks and Happy New Year! Kelly

Dielectric grease is used where you want electrical conductivity so probably not the best choice. Silicon grease is usually used for water seals where petrolium based greases might destroy rubber parts...and as far as I know, it is non conductive.
Keep the dielectric grease for connectors and plug prongs smiling smiley

Note: Silicon grease is NOT the same as silicone sealer...that stuff shouldn't be used around electrical equipment as it can actually help accelerate corrosion sad smiley I have also seen it destry acrylic watch crystals from the gassing off it does; turns them cloudy!

If the mat is synthetic; ie not true rubber, then ordinary automotive grease will suffice.
rkj
Hey Kelly, I've been reading your posts and I think it might be a good idea to have your charging system checked out; its a simple test with a volt-meter (at the battery posts). Check what the system is putting out at idle and then at 1500-2000 rpm with everything off and then do the same test with everything on; heater motor, wipers and such.

It sounds to me like your charging system might be over charging.

Bulbs should last a long time (so far I've never had one burn out) and so far I have never added any water to my battery, but mine is in the trunk though so maybe the heat from the motor affects yours...

Rick
Are we talking of always the same lamp - left one? If so, we can rule out the charging system. Are you sure that there isn,t an accumulation of water in the base of the lamp. Is the bulb broken when it goes out? It the lamp is broken, then that is a sign of water actually hitting the lamp causing the glass bulb to shatter. I had this happen to my LH headlite. Found the crack in the lens and sealed it off and problem solved.

Other wise, it seems as if moisture or water is getting into the bulb socket and causing burnout.

salut, bob p.
rkj
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Bob P 325is 88
Are we talking of always the same lamp - left one? If so, we can rule out the charging system. Are you sure that there isn,t an accumulation of water in the base of the lamp. Is the bulb broken when it goes out? It the lamp is broken, then that is a sign of water actually hitting the lamp causing the glass bulb to shatter. I had this happen to my LH headlite. Found the crack in the lens and sealed it off and problem solved.

Other wise, it seems as if moisture or water is getting into the bulb socket and causing burnout.

salut, bob p.

Yes, good question (is it the same lamp always blowing), should have asked that first, sorry.

Rick
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rkj
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Bob P 325is 88
Are we talking of always the same lamp - left one? If so, we can rule out the charging system. Are you sure that there isn,t an accumulation of water in the base of the lamp. Is the bulb broken when it goes out? It the lamp is broken, then that is a sign of water actually hitting the lamp causing the glass bulb to shatter. I had this happen to my LH headlite. Found the crack in the lens and sealed it off and problem solved.

Other wise, it seems as if moisture or water is getting into the bulb socket and causing burnout.

salut, bob p.

Yes, good question (is it the same lamp always blowing), should have asked that first, sorry.

Rick

Hi R and B,

Both the right and the left sides have burned out the bulbs. The bulbs' glass has never broken. One burned bulb did have blue discoloration inside the glass bulb.

I do have a RadioShack electricity meter. I'll check if it measures DC.

:-) Kelly
The measurement should be that the battery voltage while the engine is running is 13.7 to 14.2 volts. If it is more than that, the voltage regulator is not working correctly.

Bob in Everett
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