[xj] 7 Inch Headlamp Conversion Experience - Long

Hi Listers,

After many weeks of tracking various messages concerning the conversion of
the US specification 5+3/4 inch outer headlamps to the original Jaguar
design of 7 inch lamps, the following is a summary of my experience in
dealing with parts sources and the actual conversion of my 1987 XJ6.

(First of all - thanks to the many xj listers who answered my earlier
questions on this subject, especially Alex Cannara, Brian Hernan, Lowell
Gilbert, Stephen Gibson, Loudon Seth, Gregory Andrachuk, Scott Gilbert,
Samuel Simoes, and Ron Mays.)

So — the minimal set of required parts are

  1. 2 seven inch headlamp buckets - virtually any bucket made for british
    cars of the last 25+ years should fit

  2. 2 rubber gaskets that fit between the buckets and the fender (wing)
    housing - these often come with new buckets (but not always)

  3. 2 chrome trim rings (also called finishers, doors or embellishers)

  • Jaguar part number DAC2135
  1. 4 retaining clips to hold the bottom of the trim rings in place (two per
    side) - Jaguar part number C18179

  2. 2 seven inch headlamps / bulbs

Depending on the actual headlamps selected, additional wiring may be
necessary. Several types of lamp include a small pilot bulb socket, which
can be illuminated whenever the light switch is in any of the “ON”
positions, or alternatively can be wired to the turn signal indicators. If
you choose one of these, you’ll need additional wiring to tap into a couple
of other circuits.

Currently, a few suppliers sell complete headlamp conversion kits which
include all of the above in some fashion. When I first inquired about this
conversion and looked into the kits available, I was surprised at the cost.
With new parts, most of the kits start at about US $ 300. Turns out that
new buckets run about $ 80 each, the new rings are at least $ 50 each, plus
lamps, plus hardware, so there you go - it gets to $ 300 real fast. I
happened to be in Alberta, Canada last year and, just as a reference point,
I inquired at Calgary Jaguar as to the cost of the required parts if bought
from them. Would you believe $ 984 Canadian? Yikes.

I tried looking into used buckets, but it seemed like good used buckets from
an MG or Triumph came up pretty close in price to new ones, and then there’s
the issue of getting decent gaskets.

In addition to the cost, there is the problem of obtaining the correct
“original” trim rings themselves. As has been explained on this list
several weeks ago, the only new rings currently available (Jaguar part
number DAC5207) have two protrusions which extend forward of the rings at
the four o’clock and eight o’clock positions. Various explanations have
been offered as to why these “bumps” are present: headlamp wiper stops,
alignment tabs, commonality with other vehicles, etc. Regardless, plain
rings, as originally designed, would look a lot cleaner. And NONE of the
current kit providers are able to supply new original style rings.

So — after much searching and checking, and with the goal of making the
cost more reasonable, I did the following:

I first tried to locate a set of good used trim rings by themselves before
deciding on where to get the remaining parts.

I went back to the mother country - I bought a copy of “Classic Jaguar
Monthly” magazine from England and picked out the advertisements for several
wrecking (breakdown) yards and emailed them with my request. I wound up
buying a set of used original trim rings (the real DAC2135s) from Cromwell
Motors, Upminster for $ 30 each which included shipping. They can be
contacted at enquiries@jaguardismantlers.com. The rings I received were in
pretty decent condition with only very minor rough spots. They polished up
very nicely.

I later received a reply from a Mike Stangue of Eurojag, Ltd, offering used
original rings at $16 each plus shipping. His note stated they were in good
condition. Mike can be reached at info@mikemail.co.uk.

For the remainder of the parts, Classic Spares Limited (Ray at
info@classicsparesltd.co.uk) agreed to sell me one of their kits without the
trim rings, for $ 52 plus $ 35 shipping. The kit included new plastic
buckets, rubber gaskets, retaining clips and Cibie Valeo headlamps. I chose
these lamps over a few others because: 1) they’re H4 halogen type glass,
2) they include the small pilot lamps, and 3) they have a regular convex
surface so they look OK next to the existing inner headlamps. I provided
the H4 bulbs, which can be acquired for $7 apiece from JCWhitney in Chicago.
So my cost came to $ 161, of which about 25% was shipping costs. Plus
about $ 5 for the pilot bulbs and a bit of hardware. A total cost of US $
166.

The installation is described well in the archives, so I’ll only add a
couple of comments.

Before removing any of the old stuff, I drove the car up onto a pair of
ramps inside my garage. I marked (on the wall) where the existing lamps
were aimed, so that I could get an initial alignment position for the
combination of new buckets & new lamps. Having the front end up in the air
also allowed me to sit comfortably on a chair while doing the removal and
installation.

Removal of the existing buckets revealed that the mounting area on the
fender was really filthy, so I washed everything thoroughly, and then
applied a couple of coats of wax before proceeding. Because my new lamps
included pilot lights, I knew I had to tie into the sidemarker lamps so I
also removed them to inspect their wiring and cleaned & waxed that area too.
(Next thing you know, I was washing and waxing the bottom area of the
fenders & bumpers, plus cleaning out the debris that had collected on the
inside.)

The only real snag was that the fit of the buckets inside the fender hole
was a real tight squeeze. I’m not sure if this is normal or if these
particular buckets protrude on the backside more than other types. On the
top inside portion of the fender there is a small rubber pad riveted to a
right angle bracket. I wound up having to bend this bracket/pad to the rear
in order to get the bucket & rubber gasket to seat against the lip of the
fender.

The plastic buckets from Classic Spares are somewhat unusual. A metal
retaining ring secures the headlamp to a separate plastic ring and then the
lamp, with the ring attached, must be maneuvered (yes, just as Doug Dwyer
interprets the word, but on a smaller scale) onto the two adjusting
screwposts inside the bucket where the lamp/ring assembly is held in place
by a single screw. Different than any other bucket I’ve seen, but they
work.

The result is very gratifying in appearance. And I’m very happy with the
Cibie’s - they really create a flood of light across the front which fills
in the center area very nicely. And just driving with the parking lights
and the headlamps dimly illuminated by the little pilots really looks cool.

I’ll have some photos out within the next few weeks.

Hope this helps if you’re contemplating the conversion. - questions
invited. If anyone needs a step-by-step description, email me off-list.

(No affiliation with any of the suppliers listed herein.)

Walt Chrush
Kent, Washington USA
1987 XJ6 White-Biscuit # 471836 (now anatomically correct)_________________________________________________________________
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Good work Walt! I haven’t yet had the time to try out the buckets Jeb was
nice enough to send me for our 86, but they’re at least in the car’s boot.
Your research is very helpful.–
Alex
79xj6L SII (BRG + wires + 7" & 4 lights on)
86xj6 SIII (Black)
61 Sprite MkII (Red)
Menlo Park, Calif.

Walt Chrush wrote:

Hi Listers,

After many weeks of tracking various messages concerning the conversion of
the US specification 5+3/4 inch outer headlamps to the original Jaguar
design of 7 inch lamps, the following is a summary of my experience in
dealing with parts sources and the actual conversion of my 1987 XJ6.

[clip]

===================================================
The archives and FAQ will answer many queries on the XJ series…
FAQs: http://www.jag-lovers.org/xjlovers/xjfaq/xjfaq.html
Archives: http://www.jag-lovers.org/lists/search.html

To remove yourself from this list, go to http://www.jag-lovers.org/cgi-bin/majordomo.