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Thread: Poor headlight output

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Coventry
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    Poor headlight output

    A few days ago I found myself driving on some dark roads with my A2. I found that the headlight (dipped beam) output was very poor. The glare from oncoming vehicles only made it worse. Needless to say, I didnít enjoy driving my A2 at that time.

    From what I can tell from the driver's seat, it appears that most of the beam is pointing downwards to just a few feet from the front of the car. Road signs, however, were perfectly illuminated.

    My headlight lenses are far free from oxidation so I suppose there is some room for improvement there. As far as headlight aim is concerned, the seller sold the car to me a few months ago with a fresh MOT so Iím guessing the headlight aim is spot on. The rear of my A2 is sitting quite low probably due to wrong springs and/or worn spring bushes so it might affect the headlight aim as well to a certain extent. It might just be addressing these issues to get optimised illumination, but in the mean time:

    1. Is the headlight output generally poor on the A2? I think Iíve read something about this on the forum which has led to owners retrofitting e.g. projector headlamps.

    2. What other solutions are there to this problem? E.g. new bulbs? I donít think Iím quite ready to go down the projector headlamp retrofit route just yet.

    3. Is adjusting the headlight aim something to DIY or should I take it to a garage? What are the costs?

    Seeking advice. Need some more confidence in night-time driving. Thanks in advance.
    | 2002 TDI 75 Sport | Ebony black | OSS | Cruise control | DIS | Bench seats |

  2. #2
    The lights on the A2 are very old school and are quite dim by today's standards, but it sounds to me like your bulbs are not seated properly, or your headlamp motors are defective - the latter is easily tested by altering the headlamp position dial next to the light switch - if the lights move, then the motors are good.

    First thing I'd check is that the bulbs are seated properly - I've seen loads where they're not and they generally either point skywards or at the ground right in front of the car. As long as you have a T30 driver, checking the bulbs is a DIY job and is covered in detail here under the lights section:

    http://www.a2oc.net/forum/showthread...useful-threads
    WAS : TDI 75 SE 2001 (Little Tank)
    NOW : TDi 90 Sport, OpenSky, Winter Pack, ISOfix, fogs, climate, full electric glass, RNS-E, IceLink, Audi BT phone & Mk2 TT seats! Morimoto HID, Pentagon Supaglass, black headlining, cruise & Audi PDC, GALA, S-style mirrors & TT road and steering wheels.(The NEW Tank).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    London
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    Also check the headlight position dial isn't set for a loaded car, which will point the headlight beams downwards!
    1.4 petrol BBY Island Green A2 SE first registered 22 January 2003, currently at 92177 miles.
    RIP 1.4 petrol AUA engined Pine Green A2 SE, tragically taken at 89084 miles by an RBKC rubbish wagon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Valkenswaard, The Netherlands
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    Even correctly adjusted the A2's headlights are "state-of-the-art" 1999.

    I fitted LED-bulbs (as did several drivers on the Dutch forum, 25W) and these work great. Where xenon will only work properly with lenses, LEDs just replace the old halogens, use less power and deliver much brighter light.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A2 TDI 90 - dolphin grey - leather/alcantara heatable sports seats, Bose-audio with CD changer, pdc, cruise control, full size DIS, spare wheel, detachable towbar, 4 electr.windows, heated mirrors/nozzles.

  5. Users that liked this post:

    oneflewover (06-12-2017)

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bargepower View Post
    Also check the headlight position dial isn't set for a loaded car, which will point the headlight beams downwards!
    OP says that the rear of the car is sitting quite low, so I doubt that the adjuster is to blame here, unless the motors are goosed.
    WAS : TDI 75 SE 2001 (Little Tank)
    NOW : TDi 90 Sport, OpenSky, Winter Pack, ISOfix, fogs, climate, full electric glass, RNS-E, IceLink, Audi BT phone & Mk2 TT seats! Morimoto HID, Pentagon Supaglass, black headlining, cruise & Audi PDC, GALA, S-style mirrors & TT road and steering wheels.(The NEW Tank).

  7. #6
    Join Date
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    Chelmsford, Essex, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    Even correctly adjusted the A2's headlights are "state-of-the-art" 1999.

    I fitted LED-bulbs (as did several drivers on the Dutch forum, 25W) and these work great. Where xenon will only work properly with lenses, LEDs just replace the old halogens, use less power and deliver much brighter light.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Which LEDs did you use? I think the standard halogens are quite acceptable and I don't like HIDs, but I might be interested in a LED upgrade.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Staines, Middlesex, UK
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    12,711
    I agree with Mike, my money is on a badly seated bulb.

    The reason that this happens so much is that many people / garages try to replace the bulbs in situ instead of simply undoing the two screws and removing the headlamp.

    That way you can check and double check that the bulb is in correctly.

    But while checking, why not replace the bulbs with uprated bulbs.

    The best ones are technically illegal because they are 100w, but the way I see it the A2 headlights are so bad that the 100w bulbs are just about right.

    But we as a club can't be seen to be recommending illegal bulbs, so many use the uprated 55w bulbs to stay within the law.

    This is much easier than fitting HID or projector units.

    Steve B
    2003 FSI Sport in Violet Silver (LY4W), 85k miles, ex-Motorshow car 2002. Well specced, RNS-D, OSS (working) Red leather sport heated seats with 3 seat bench. Being restored to original spec

    VCDS and Key programming service Including the new shaped key fobs, Votex Jacking point covers (3d copies) available.


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    Howdy Ay 2 (Yesterday)

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Coventry
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    Thanks for the responses guys. Levelling seems to work so headlamps off it is then.
    | 2002 TDI 75 Sport | Ebony black | OSS | Cruise control | DIS | Bench seats |

  11. #9
    2 x T30 bolts (top one is easy, inside one is often stiff, as water collects there) and then slide the lights inward toward the radiator and then forwards and out.

    No need to undo the wiring - there's sufficient slack to enable you to get into the back properly. You're looking for a bulb that's seated like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Well positioned and centrally positioned, with the tab in the right place. Bet you find it's twisted out of position.
    WAS : TDI 75 SE 2001 (Little Tank)
    NOW : TDi 90 Sport, OpenSky, Winter Pack, ISOfix, fogs, climate, full electric glass, RNS-E, IceLink, Audi BT phone & Mk2 TT seats! Morimoto HID, Pentagon Supaglass, black headlining, cruise & Audi PDC, GALA, S-style mirrors & TT road and steering wheels.(The NEW Tank).

  12. #10
    Had a similar issue on mine when I got it. One of the springs that retain the lamps wasn't putting much force onto it, so it could move in the housing. Much as mentioned above. In addition to that the aim was completely off (both were low and pointing somewhere left of the kerb), once I'd adjusted them too they aren't that bad.

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