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Daytime Runnig Light (DRL) retrofit?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by rcamacho, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. rcamacho

    rcamacho 1/2 ton status

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    Ambient light is a bit challenged up here in the northwest for the next six months or so. I lovingly call this place "the land of perpetual darkness" this time of year.

    Q: Anyone ever utilized one of those DRL retrofit kits from GM or other source? Opinions on value/functionality? I've read most of the available web content and think the statistical value is evident but economically is questionable. Around here anyway I think having the lights on makes vehicles much more visible in the shadows and dark days.
     
  2. 1979jimmy350

    1979jimmy350 1/2 ton status

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    just turn your lights on all the time that is a cheap way to be more visable
     
  3. skratch

    skratch 1/2 ton status

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    Just an idea, but some older cars, like Buicks and Olds, came from the factory with auto headlights and a sensor in the dash to turn them on off.
    I had these in my 83 Olds Toronado, and when the sensor fell into the dash the lights would always come on with the car. The unit also has a timer to turn them off when you turn the car off.
    This wouldn't be too hard a system to retrofit into a truck, as it is all independent of the cars computer.

    Just a thought . . . heck I may look into this myself . . . off to the junk yard!
     
  4. RockinChevy

    RockinChevy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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  5. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    Caddies had that , called "Headlight Sentinel" :D
     
  6. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Just run with the lights on. Yes, there is SLIGHTLY more draw due to tail lights/parking lights vs. just DRL's, but if your that worried about visibility, these things will only help.
     
  7. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the headlights on manually myself , fash to pass for the truckers , and with my best friend a trucker , I look out for most of them so they don't run over anyone near me while I am on the highway :thumb:
     
  8. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Probably something I'm overlooking, but couldn't you just use one (or two) relays triggered by an ignition 12V terminal off of the fuse panel to turn the lights on whenever the ignition was turned on? Follow wiring diagrams for the relay headlight upgrade, just add a relay trigger from the fuse panel.

    Not really up on the wiring of the headlight switch itself, but I assume you could leave the switch wired up to still control dashlights/interior lights/dimming, plus to use if the engine was off but you still wanted lights. Would seem fairly simple as a project once you understood the light wiring.
     
  9. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Very easy to do!

    Simply need three Bosch cube relays if your truck has stock headlight wiring, only one if your truck is already upgraded with relays to feed the headlights, and a couple feet of light gauge wire.

    If your truck is stock, you'd benefit greatly from installing some relays to provide power from the battery straight to the headlights. Stock, these trucks have the headlights powered by taking power from the battery, through the starter solenoid post, up to the distribution block, then through the firewall connector, through the fuse block, then to ignition switch, then back to the fuse block, up to the headlight switch, back down to the fuseblock, through the firewall connector, and all the way up to the headlights, which are then connected in parallel with eachother. Most of the wiring is light gauge, and with something as power hungry as lights, they tend to suffer from a fairly serious voltage drop by the time the power reaches the lights.

    So, what we do is leave the stock wiring as is, but instead of having the two wires up front feed the headlights, they feed a pair of Bosch relays. You then run a nice heavier gauge wire from the distribution block on the firewall down to the relays, then from the relays feed the headlights directly. Often this will increase your voltages from a meer 9 - 10 volts up to a beautiful 13 - 14, depending on your alternator output. Set the relays up in such a way that the one side of the solenoid's coil goes straight to ground, and the other side is hooked up to the stock headlight output, then set up one pole on the relay to power, and the other straight to the headlights. Make sure the headlights have clean connectors, and clean grounds.

    Just to put this in perspective, for every volt you loose, you loose something like 10 - 15% of your possible light output, this means that running at 9 - 10 volts, which is up to 5 volts short of what you could be at, you could easily only be outputting half the light your headlights could be. Also, it reduces the strain on your factory headlight switch by essentially elimiating the load on it. Finally, it makes installing aftermarket high wattage drivers no problem, as they can draw as much power as they want through the relay with no fear of burning anything out.

    Now that you've got your headlights updated, installing the daytime running lights is easy. Simply take the third relay, run one side of the coil to ground, and the other side to the grey wire on your headlight switch that feeds the bulbs in your dash bezel. Take another wire, run it from the brown wire on the ignition switch (hot with ignition on only, cold in crank, accessory and off) to the third relay, then hook the normally closed pole of the relay, and zip it out to your low beam headlight relay's coil wire, where the stock headlight wire is hooked up.

    This way, when you start your truck, the lights will come on when the ignition switch is in the on position, but turn off when cranking to reduce the strain on the battery while cranking, and will not turn on when you turn the key back to listen to the radio or something. But, if you pull the headlight switch on, it will kill the connection that has the low beams on, and the headlight dimmer switch will control which headlight beam like normal, not that your low beams are on all the time, even when on high beams.

    If you ever want to get really fancy, you can buy or build little control modules that keep the low beams on for a few minutes after shutting your truck down so you can find your way inside. Since it'd be run through the daytime running light circuit, your buzzer wouldn't go off. They need an ignition input, hot all the time input, then a wire that runs off to the daytime running light relay instead of just hooking it straight up to the brown wire. I built one of these for my GMC, and it works fantastically :D Infact, I also built one for my interior lights, but set it up so when it kills the power, it fades the lights off instead of just turning them straight off, just like in a new truck :D

    Here is a diagram to help you out, I know my descriptions can be a bit tough to follow sometimes, lol

    001.jpg
     
  10. uglytruk

    uglytruk 1/2 ton status

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    When can u come to my house and rig this up?
    What do u like to eat? We'll have plenty of it...
     
  11. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    If you buy my plane ticket, and have a roast chicken ready, I can be there next Monday :D

    If you have any problems trying to rig everything up, feel free to post here, or give me a PM.
     
  12. George_Pimpdaddy

    George_Pimpdaddy 1/2 ton status

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    Hey im also interested in this headlight upgrade hey SierraClassic wanna hook mine up?
     
  13. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Ah, you're a bit closer too!

    I'm busy all this week, but I might be able to swing it for next Sunday afternoon...

    The truck runs at about 14 volts while running, and assuming a 65 watt high beam setup, which puts you at 130 watts, there should be about 10 amps or so going through the wire. Assuming the factory used 20 gauge wire (which I think they did) You are literally on the line of the wire's amperage rating.

    Upgrading to a 12 - 14 gauge wire would allow you to run about 20 amps, which is close to what a pair of 125 watt high beam drivers would run.

    So, that means that I will for sure be needing 3 bosch relays (assuming you want a DRL setup), probally 20 feet of 12 gauge wire, and around the same of 20 gauge wire, the rest I can supply :)

    Russ
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
  14. George_Pimpdaddy

    George_Pimpdaddy 1/2 ton status

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    ahh man your great but i think ill be okay on the DRL setup i just was interested in brighter lights
     
  15. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Sure, the DRL is only an extra 15 minutes of work. If you want just the improved headlights with the relays, all I'd need is the 12 gauge wire, and two relays. I can provide the rest :) Shouldn't take more than 30 minutes to wire everything up, assuming a 2 headlight getup. If you've got quad beams, I'll need twice as much wire...
     

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