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Discussion Starter #1
I stumbled across this article about dim headlights in 3rd generation Chevy's. According to the author, the electrical system in these cars have an inherent design flaw that causes a nearly 5V drop at the fuse block (and as a result, this low voltage is used by the rest of the systems in the car). His reasoning seems solid and the article offers a lot of empirical evidence that backs up his theory.

He offers a couple of solutions to this problem here and here. Prices are very reasonable. Thing is, the site seems kind of sketchy as it looks like it has not been updated since 2002. Also there is no on-line ordering; everything is done over the phone (call me "new-fashioned" but that just seems weird to me).

I did some searching on this site to see if anyone else has used this guy. The most recent post I found for MAD was from 2008 which seems positive overall.

I'm wondering if anyone else has used this company (say, within the last year or so) and/or are there any other companies out there that offer similar fixes for the low voltage problem.

TIA
 

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I've never really noticed dim lights? I have a system with a amp, never really had a problem but I will say I live in the city so maybe........:dontknow:
Donny
 

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mad

american autowire,painless,summit,jegs. All sell relays that will let you rewire headlites to use direct battery power. Also check your grounds for the headlites, older cars ground them to the core support and it will help to run another ground wire from battery to core support. and to your question! i have used Mad stuff many years ago now summit is my choice most of the time. Don
 

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The issue is real you may not be able to detect dim lights on your car because even when new, the voltage drop existed. I can state from experience that installing a relay system to power your headlights works and the difference is extremely noticable.

However there are umpteen companied that make the relay harness you need, or you can make it yourself from parts readily available at places like radio shack. I installed on a friends car a harness from a company called matrix on his '69 nova - the harness worked brilliantly and was quite affordable, even cheaper than making it yourself which is what I did for my vette.

When I get around to it, I will be doing the same to the El camino. Examples below, may or may not be the ones you need but you can see how affordable they are.

2 lamp harness
4 lamp harness
 

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Those kits looks like about $8.00 worth of material if that. The relay at auto zone is like $3.00.:dontknow: Get the diode at radio shack $1.00
 

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mad has been around for a while but got pushed out of the limelight by painless and the other big co.s .all car mfgr have been reduceing the wire size in the car systems since the early 60 s so it has caused voltage drops on just about everything and resulting in wire and connector failure. useing relays to reroute heavy electrical loads away from the harness is always a smart way to go. i mean how many 63 chevy s have you seen with a burned up dimmer plug ?they used 14 gauge not 16/18 gauge like the present cars
 

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16/18 stranded is only good for 10 amp relays and control voltage like an indicating light like the side markers on a car . Nothing with a load on it in the electrical end I sell.:beer:
 

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thats why we have so many electrical gremlins in our cars ,they need more service and inspections,gm didnt want them to last too long and ford is even worse
 

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Those kits looks like about $8.00 worth of material if that. The relay at auto zone is like $3.00.:dontknow: Get the diode at radio shack $1.00
It might seem that way but it really isnt the case. Yes the relays are only $3 each

Relays $3 (2) = $6
Relay sockets and connectors $3 (2) = $6
14 ga wire - 1 roll $4

we wont even get into the cost of the quick disconnects and headlamp pigtails, you dont want to reuse your existing pigtails because they have skinny wire already soldered into them.

I am presently installing autometer gauges into my '66 - I thought I was being all smart and doing the wiring myself instead of buying the painless harness for $103 - well I'm into the harness materials for $130 not including my labor - of course my harness is 100% soldered as opposed to the crimp connectors they use so maybe that makes it worth it.

Basicly, if you have the materials on hand paid for already because of previous projects yeah it can be cheaper to do it yourself, if you have to run out and buy all the materials to make it yourself, it isnt always going to be cheaper.
 

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here buy this $1.49 and i get a discount off of that. It will cost you more in shipping but if your looking for this kind of stuff go to Allied Electronics on line that price is for anybody to buy.
I think I'm still at $8.00 for the kit.




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10px 10px; padding-left: 30px; } American Zettler, Inc. AZ9731-1C-12DC1






RELAY; AUTOMOTIVE; MINI-ISO; SPDT; 12VDC; 1 FORM C Mfr. Part#: AZ9731-1C-12DC1
Allied Stock#: 70132462

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Pricing (USD) & Availability
Standard Pricing
$1.49 (Each) 1$1.49025$1.43050$1.390100$1.350


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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting. I was thinking of making my own harness as the PO, for some reason, rewired all of the headlights and turn signals with black wire and electrical tape. If there's a prebuilt kit out there, I will definitely check it out.
 

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Its not the expense that bothers me so much, its the knowledge needed to get the right relays, diodes, etc. I've got a good theoretical grasp on DC circuits, but not enough experience to know to build something like that from scratch. I think the instructions included with the MAD kit interested me more than the parts themselves, if you know what I'm saying.
 

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Its not the expense that bothers me so much, its the knowledge needed to get the right relays, diodes, etc. I've got a good theoretical grasp on DC circuits, but not enough experience to know to build something like that from scratch. I think the instructions included with the MAD kit interested me more than the parts themselves, if you know what I'm saying.

For $24.00 or so I would buy the kit also. I was just showing what it's really worth and I have it all at work but I still would buy the kit.:beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
All this advice has been great. Anyone have an opinion on performing the alternator upgrade? Seems like a easy/smart thing to do especially as I'm eventually upgrading to electric radiator fans.
 

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I did that with my '66 because I am prepping for my electric fan setup so a 100A alternator with internal regulator was added, the fan assembly goes in next month. I didnt use a MAD kit, I just searched how to do it and got the wiring diagram. Its even easier than the headlight upgrade.

Obviously there isnt any noticible change in anything else, but if you have need of the higher output alternator, its well worth doing.
 

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MAD is a very reputable company. If you don't like the price, buy the individual parts, AND, you won't get the instructions in "How to". Their information is very good and will help even an "expert" in some cases.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yup. Price was never a problem. My two biggest concerns were that: a) MAD knows what he is talking about and was El Camino Central "approved", and b) the place was still in business as the website looks a bit dated (full disclosure: I'm a software engineer who works for a company that builds and maintains very large e-commerce sites; so I may be a bit unintentionally biased when I run across a site like MAD's). Based on everyone's feedback, I will be getting the headlight and alternator kits from MAD. :nanawrench:
 

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Hey Red5.. hope everything works out for ya. I upgraded my 87 to HID's last year and it was almost painless. I tried a lot of different combinations to get my lights bright. At first i wanted to use H4 type of bulbs. To do that, i had to get new housings to replace the sealed beams. I had to modify the headlight buckets to accept the new housings. Once i did that, i installed the H4 bulbs and they did not work consistently. Lots of flickering. I then replaced all of the headlight connectors. I noticed that all 4 connectors had been too hot a few times and were charcoaled. once that was taken care of , i bought the BI-HID conversion kit. It's a plug and play kit that also includes HID's for the dual element hi beams. Now, all 6 elements are HID's. Aimed properly on dim, it does not get anyone asking for dim lights, But turn on the hi beams and its like a freight train The low beams use the original wires. The kit for the hi-beams take power directly from the battery. The 6000k lights are the Brite white lights. I drive a lot of back roads on my daily 140 mile commute. BTW, I took a vacation a few years back and Went to the NE. We went to Burlington, took the ferry across Lake Champlain then went to the Vermont Teddy bear factory. That was on Oct. 1. It started sleeting and raining and it was cold and windy.. it was great. We then went to Mt Washington and drove up to the OBS. Thats great as well. We got pictures of the Old Man of The Mountains before he fell. Then we headed to Kennebunkport, Maine and had breakfast with George and Bar.. I wouldnt want to live up there year round but it was a great trip. Most of the folks we met were in the country and great folks too.
 
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