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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-06-2021, 14:03 Thread Starter
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Playing with lights

With little better do do and a spell of fine weather, I decided to go around my Frankia checking all the bulbs and polishing the lenses that have become dull over time. It took me a lot of effort to persuade each of the stubborn round rear lights to come out (I made a little tool that i could use to push the metal spring out of the way), but in the end I prevailed and did a good job.

I decided to do something about the front lights. These are all Hella 90mm round units. The most inboard of the three is main beam plus running light, the middle one is dipped beam leaving the indicator as the most outboard.

I found a lot of corrosion on the reflector of the main beam unit (I think moisture is getting in through the running light bulb socket) so I thought I would take it out for closer inspection and possible replacement. What a mistake! Does anyone know how these little blighters are attached to the van? There appear to be three long captive threaded "bolts" with 5mm or 6mm hex head with a slotted end that takes a standard screwdriver which I assume is used to adjust the beam setting, yet there appear to be no screws or nuts holding the things in place. Do I have to remove the whole grey nascelle that houses all three lights, or is there a trick? The dipped beam unit appears to have a left-right beam setting for when you are driving abroad which uses two screws which tighten against a curved slot. Since these units are not rusty I don't intend to touch them but would appreciate help with the main beam unit, Cheers Sheds!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-06-2021, 15:45 Thread Starter
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I think I have cracked it (and my knuckles). The main beam unit does indeed have three beam angle adjusters. These are bolts which have a ball end. The threaded bit of the adjuster goes through a nylon captive nut which is attached to the light unit. The ball end projects from the front of the unit and is inserted into a nylon cup which can be compressed. Once the ball is inserted into the cup and the cup pushed through the mounting plate, it clicks in place. It is almost impossible to reach and compress the socket to release the bolt (without removing much skin on my knuckles) but I managed to do one before pondering what sort of tool to use to release the second and third adjusters.

Seriously, I can't think of a more inaccessible method of fixing a unit where two self-tapping screws would have sufficed!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-06-2021, 17:15
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I'm going to have to investigate my own running lights on my 2017 Hymer Exsis-i 504.

I'm not looking forward to it! For a start, I have to find somewhere safe to set my bonnet cos it comes away entirely!
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Jean
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2021, 11:53 Thread Starter
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Hi Jiwawa - Well do some really thorough investigation first. On my Frankia, the company fibre-glassed the headlight mounting plate into position, so it is impossible to remove the assembly with the three light assemblies (main beam + running light, dipped beam, indicator), rather each has to be done one by one. What is missing is a compression tool that could be used to compress the plastic clips that both act as the holder for the ball-ends of the adjuster and the method for holding the lamp assembly in place in three places (Frankia fitted it with three beam angle adjusters). What I did was to open up the beam adjusters to the full extent, so that the lamp became more inboard. This enabled me to work a flat-headed screwdriver behind the clip collar. Basically I had to break the clips one by one starting with the most accessible (the two topmost adjusters). I was then able to swing the assembly down and out of the way, to enable me to access the third clip. Eventually I freed the lamp assembly so I could replace it (my wife vetoed spending £60 on two new lamp assemblies) or in this case try to remove the rust on the reflector, in the event I tried to use metal cleaner wadding which ended up covering the inside of the lamp with a film of polish that took ages to remove.

Refitting involved replacing the three adjusters with parts from ebay (see picture). Here I discovered just how devilish Hella designers are. Each adjuster works by a threaded rod inserted through a nylon retainer which fits into the lamp assembly by the most awful system. The retaining clip has three "wings". These wings fit through the lamp assembly and lock in place by turning the retainer until a lug clicks into place in a slot. It took super-human strength to do this and many tears of frustration.

To refit the lamp I first fittd those compression clips using just hamd pressure then after position the lamp in place, I used a hammer to give a sharp tap on the end of each adjuster until they clicked into place in the metal mounting. The final clip was really tricky as the design of the Frankia meant there was space to swing the hammer to give that sharp tap. In the end I got all three fixings in place, but I would be loathe to tackle this again without a special tool to compress the plastic clips. I think the smallest size worm drive clip might be useful, but I could not source one locally. The problem with my method was that the plastic clips become brittle so as soon as I got the screwdriver behing the ring the clip broke, and nice tool to go around the ring and compress it would make this job so much easier.

If i do the job again, I would not replace the beam adjuster bolt assemblies, but buy just the plastic retaining clips - cheaper and easier.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hella adjusters.jpg (170.1 KB, 5 views)
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2021, 20:07
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Thanks sheds - after reading that I'll get someone else to do it!

Jean
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2021, 21:20
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Thanks for that detailed account of an obviously difficult task to carry out.

Certainly makes me pleased that I DONíT have a Frankia working on the lights looks like a task for Herculean midgets, sadly it is always hard to find one when needed !

Any typo that I make means the errorists win.

Any comments above are only MY OPINION and should be read as that.

http://www.leslezards.co.uk
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2021, 21:49
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Well done sheds and you deserve a medal. Must say though it was like reading war and peace 😂🤣

Nidge

Never argue with a idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
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