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Nuke-E

Finally...chrome and lights

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We've finally finished up figuring out how to upgrade the headlights on the newer Freightliner Century trucks, with an approach that's not too difficult to install. Light output is much improved, but--and maybe more importantly to Heidi--there's now more chrome on the front of the truck.

 

The 2005 and newer Century trucks came with a composite headlight that was about the same size as an H6024 (7" round) sealed beam style light. The older Century-class trucks actually did have an H6024, and the process revolves around "backdating" the headlight system to the older setup. The two main components that are changed are the headlight mounting brackets and bezel, but the inner parking light/DRL lamps are also different between the two styles. We had that mostly figured out a while ago, and had managed to mount a bi-Xenon HID setup on one side of Robert's truck (Heidi was never really crazy about the lazy eye we left on the other side). But it required a lot of trimming, and didn't really leave enough clearance to have full range of motion on the adjusters.

 

So over the weekend, we took the Xenon lights out and put a Speaker in its place. The JWSpeaker LED assembly is as good as it gets for LEDs--not as good as the best Xenon projectors, but pretty close. But it's a permanently sealed housing with a lifetime warranty. On low beam, I measured 1.9A being drawn, which is about half of a stock low beam bulb.

 

The first picture below shows the parts installed on the passenger side of the truck during daylight. If you look closely, you can see my reflection in the chrome--it seems to make me look thinner and taller than I really am. That's followed by a shot of the headlight while lit (low beam). The last two pictures are "before" and "after"--the unmodified left side of the truck, and the right side with the JWSpeaker LED assembly. Full disclosure: we didn't bother to disconnect the stock light in the after shot, but you'll be able to see that it doesn't really matter. All of the pictures are unedited, taken with my cell phone.

 

If you have an older truck, the only parts needed are the lights themselves (unless you're attracted to shiny stuff), and installation requires a little trimming of the plastic frame the light mounts to (the one that moves with the adjusters). The same should be true on the older T2000s as well, but I'll have to find a volunteer to confirm that's the case--I'm reasonably confident that one of you will show up to the rally.

 

Since everything else was going to be new and shiny, we upgraded the side marker/turn signal to an LED assembly, and installed an adapter for the inner turn signal/DRL that let us use a grommet-mount 4" round amber LED (with chrome trim to cover the grommet). The first LED was unimpressive there, so I dug out a couple of Truck-Lite lights that have the proper driver circuitry to get the brightness where it should be.

 

Daytime:

20150921_090632_.jpg

 

Nighttime:

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Looking back at both lights, from about 2' off the ground. Milo keeping stray cats from interfering.

20150920_205424_.jpg

 

Stock low beam:

20150920_205539_.jpg

 

JW Speaker Low Beam:

20150920_205558_.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Milo doesn't care about cats. He's just looking for the nearest camp chair to claim and a food handout :). BTW nice job David and Robert.

Edited by SuiteSuccess

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He amazed me while we were out there--he tensed up to the point his back legs were shaking, and I couldn't figure out why. There was a cat under a rig a good ways away that he was locked onto.

 

I'm not ready to give him controls for the lights yet--it's bad enough that he's figured out the power windows and how to turn off the TV.

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Looks good. My son and I were just discussing how poor the stock lights are as we traveled home Sunday night in the dark from Kentucky.

Are you thinking of packaging a kit or providing a list of part numbers to buy?

 

Not sure about the chrome bezels so if we want painted ones, do we need to look for 2004 and older ones?

Dave

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That depends on the response here. I'll package it up as a kit if I can buy in sufficient quantity to get stuff cheaper than you would just buying the stuff for your own truck. The lights themselves are definitely going to be up on the website, as soon as I work through pricing with the supplier--that's a better deal since we're lumping several types of trucks together, instead of just the '05+ Centurys.

 

If you're rounding up junkyard parts, you basically want everything attached to the hood, except for the side-facing marker/turn signal which is the same on both. That's the bezel, the trim rings for both forward facing lights (headlight and DRL), the DRL itself, the mounting brackets for the headlights (which have to be trimmed a bit), and the wiring harness (which has two plugs that connect near the where the radiator and frame rails meet. There seems to be some confusion based on where you look as to whether 2005 was the old or new style, so look for 2004 or older to be safe. If you're looking at pictures, they're pretty easy to tell apart--I'll snap a couple of pictures tomorrow.

 

If you want to buy new parts, and don't necessarily want to pay for all Freightliner parts, I'll put together a list based on what's on that truck now. There has been some trial and error, finding parts that fit and function well, but it's all LED now and looks pretty sharp. I'm working on making a mounting bracket for a soon-to-be-released LED fog light that will fit in the bumper opening too.

Edited by Nuke-E

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Hi Chad--I'll keep you posted. It looks like there should be at least a couple of T2000s there, but I'm not sure right off which lights they have. Kenworth made a switch similar to Freightliner from a standard 7" round to a composite headlight in the same space. As far as I know, Kenworth didn't change anything else--but I'll need to verify that. What year is your truck?

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Nuke-E, I have a 2003 T2000 (which, unfortunately, will also not be at this year's Rally), which is never more than a two minute golf car ride away from the house. It has the composite 7" headlamps. If you need to know anything about that setup, I'll be happy to get you a description and/or pictures to assist you in your "development". I'll send you a phone number and email address via PM.

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Mine is a 2000 model year. I am pretty sure my lights are the standard 7" round, but I will double check just to make sure. The truck is always parked at the house so I have easy access to it. Let me know if you need any pictures or measurements. I would also love to add some fog lights. My truck didn't come equipped with them, but the wholes are there in the bumper and I believe the wires are there as well, (it has been a while since I looked though).

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I would also love to add some fog lights. My truck didn't come equipped with them, but the wholes are there in the bumper and I believe the wires are there as well, (it has been a while since I looked though).

 

The wires are there on mine, Chad, and I'd be surprised if they're not there on yours, too. Based on what I've found on my T2000, Kenworth pretty much pre-wires these trucks for everything with standard harnesses, then they "plug in" whatever components are actually installed. All it should take are lamps (ideally with MetriPak/WeatherPak connectors that match the factory harness), mounting brackets, and a spare Kenworth switch to add them. I've been tempted to do so myself. You WILL find the plug for the driving light switch, labelled accordingly, behind the switch bank on the instrument panel.

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The wires are there on mine, Chad, and I'd be surprised if they're not there on yours, too. Based on what I've found on my T2000, Kenworth pretty much pre-wires these trucks for everything with standard harnesses, then they "plug in" whatever components are actually installed. All it should take are lamps (preferably with MetriPak/WeatherPak connectors that match the factory harness), mounting brackets, and a spare Kenworth switch to add them. I've been tempted to do so myself. You WILL find the plug for the driving light switch, labelled accordingly, behind the switch bank on the instrument panel.

 

I'm almost positive the wires are there. I have also found that Kenworth wires everything the same and then just adds the components/switches needed for each individual truck. I will double check though when I have a chance after work. I know my doors are pre-wired for electric door locks even though my truck isn't equipped for them and I just added the manual engine fan switch to my truck by simply plugging in a switch I bought off e-bay to the existing (and nicely labeled) wiring harness in the dash.

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Either Phil or Chad, if you get me a picture of the fog light plug, I can probably match it. Most likely it's an 880-series bulb.

 

If I remember right, the opening for those fog lights is fairly large--I'm working on brackets for the Freightliners now, and could probably do something similar with one of the larger LED fog lights for you guys.

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Either Phil or Chad, if you get me a picture of the fog light plug, I can probably match it. Most likely it's an 880-series bulb.

 

If I remember right, the opening for those fog lights is fairly large--I'm working on brackets for the Freightliners now, and could probably do something similar with one of the larger LED fog lights for you guys.

 

I will get you some pictures and measurements in the morning (it will be too dark by time I get home tonight).

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Nuke;

 

How much and when can I get a set?

 

Curt

 

For your truck, right away. I should have better pricing on the LED lights tomorrow--I expect to be able to pass along a deal considerably better than normal list price.

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Nuke, try this link:

 

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=D48A448831DA651!30445&authkey=!AAFQ6-uB1h5STPM&v=3&ithint=photo%2cjpg

 

It appears to be a common two-wire Metri-Pack connector, maybe a 150 series (I'm no expert on wiring, especially when it comes to the various types of Metri-Pack and Weather-Pack stuff). I can easily pull the "dummy" side that's keeping the crud out of the connection off and take some measurements, if that would help with the identification.

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You're welcome!

I meant to take my tape measure with me, but I forgot. The driving light opening is quite large -- somewhere between five and six inches in diameter. If it's not raining tomorrow, I'll try to slide under the truck (I just replaced both hood guide pins about six or seven weeks back, and they fit so tight that I can't open my hood at the moment :o ) and get an accurate measurement. I'll probably also bring the dummy side of the connector home with me to take some measurements and pictures and/or to look for any identifying marks, since that's the side that you'll want to match if you decide to make your lamp kit "plug and play" with the factory wiring.

 

Keep in mind that it's going to take lamps with a very tightly focused beam to "git 'er done" on a T2000. Even Scrap has admitted in the past that the factory incandescent driving lamps don't produce much usable light because they're "frenched" so far into the bumper that very little light makes it out of the resulting deep "tunnel".

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Thanks again for the help, and the heads-up!

 

Are they actually a driving light that stays on with the high beams? Or do they operate like a fog light? I knew the opening looked big, but that's huge! I'll have to do some CAD work, but I'm thinking that one approach would be to bring the lighting hardware forward in that hole, and maybe fit both a wide fog light pattern and a pencil-beam type driving light. Plug into the factory connector, and use a relay tied to the high beam circuit to switch beam patterns.

 

Just thinking out loud...

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They came with the old trucker tough PerLux 200's. You could even option in your louvers! They are 6 inchers and the factory brackets ought to kinda sorta mount any of the 6" pedestal mounted lights upside down. If you guys really love your trucks you could go with the new Speaker aux lights and they'll come pretty close to fitting. They do plug with a regular male 280 sealed. Yea, they set so far back that it is a rough balance between keeping the light out of the other lane but not shining it on the inside of the foglight hole. The pencil beams should help with that quite a bit though.

 

Headlight wise they changed to the complex reflectors late in 2001. Then the cutout changed when they went to split hood & bumper in 2005. The wiring is what will trip you up. On the sealed beams you need to do the Essex to H4 pin swap. Plus the connector on those is in the dry side of the light pan so you have to cut the steel out from around the harness to be able to keep it. Well I do since I can't splice a headlight harness, but you guys can probably do it the easy way on your own trucks. On a complex reflector truck you just need a 9007 to H4 adapter.

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Are they actually a driving light that stays on with the high beams? Or do they operate like a fog light?

 

Since I don't have any auxiliary lights on mine, I can't say for sure how they work. From the factory they're controlled by a separate switch on the T2000's electrical switch bank (off to the driver's right, above the gauges that Kenworth refers to as the "B Panel"), well away from the headlamp switch (which is located below the main instrument panel, or "A Panel"), giving the impression that they're entirely independent of the headlamps, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that they're tied in somehow -- if nothing else, something as simple as grounding them through the high beam side of the headlamps -- so as to not violate the maximum output regulations when the high beams are switched on.

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Yea I don't remember either actually. It depended on whether it was a Canadian chassis # for the taillights, then it depended on delivery location in like MD, CA, and a bunch of other stuff I don't remember. Remembering probably isn't the right term when I never got it right in the first place! <_< Nowadays the dash computer and the dash computer checker take care of it all....

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