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General Articles - Extras

E-Code headlight aiming

Article written by Dr. Jones

Date Added: 08/16/2009

?Your headlamps will work as designed only if they are correctly aimed. Improperly aimed headlamps are dangerous, ineffective and illegal.? Daniel Stern.

Daniel Stern has an extensive write-up on aiming all sorts of configurations of headlights. This article is going to be specific to Jeeps with upgraded E-Code headlights such as our Cibie lamps. We would strongly recommend reading Daniels full description on aiming if you have factory or other DOT headlights. Pay close attention to the pictures; they make this much easier to understand.
Start by finding the right location. This is easier to do during the day. You need a level parking lot and a vertical wall. The spot we found was in the back lot of a department store.
Grab the following tools:
Tape measure
Tape (Duct tape in our case)
Torx screwdriver

Before heading back to your designated aiming location, take a moment to prep your Jeep. You want about a half tank of gas and all the gear and tools you regularly carry in there. This is to make sure the suspension is compressed to your normal ride height in day ?to-day driving. Oh, and make sure it?s dark outside.
Now for the aiming:

Drive the Jeep straight toward the wall stopping about 30? back from the wall.

Take out your tape measure. Mark a line on the ground in front of your Jeep, parallel to the wall, 25? away from the wall.
Push or drive you Jeep straight forward until it is almost touching the wall.
Take your tape and put a vertical strip on the wall lined up with the center of the grill at about headlight level.
Measure the height from the ground to the center of each headlight.
Measure that same height on the wall and put a small piece of tape directly centered with each headlight.
Measure the distance between headlights.
Verify that your two small pieces of tape are exactly the same distance apart as the headlights on the Jeep.
Now move your Jeep straight back until the headlights are even with the line on the ground 25? away.
Note: This is by far the hardest part of the process. The Jeep must move STRAIGHT back staying perfectly square to the wall.
Walk back to the wall with your tape and tape measure. Place a long strip of tape horizontally between the two headlight points, crossing the vertical piece in the middle. Make sure the tape extends 8? or so beyond the two points on both sides.
Now place two more vertical strips of tape over each of the two headlight points extending down 6? or so.
Now we need to consult Daniel?s chart.
If the center point of your headlights on your Jeep are up to 34.5? above the ground, measure down from the horizontal line 3?.
If your headlights are 35? ? 39? measure down 4?.
If they?re 39.5? or higher, measure down 4.5?.
Our headlights are 41? above ground, so we measured down 4.5? from the horizontal line.

Mark both the outside vertical lines at your measured distance.

Place another horizontal strip of tape between those marks (also extending about 8? from both sides).
Now walk back to the Jeep and make sure you?re on low beams.

With the torx screwdriver, adjust your lights vertically first. Line up the horizontal beam cutoff with the LOWER horizontal tape line on the wall. Adjust one light at a time while blocking the other one.

When both lights are lined up vertically, it?s time to adjust the horizontal aim (again working one light at a time).
Notice the point where the horizontal cutoff of the light beam kinks upward and to the right. Line up that kink with the outside vertical line on the wall within 2? on either side.
Note: You have a couple inches of adjustment here to mess with. Aimed slightly left will throw further down the road, but create more glare for oncoming traffic. Aimed slightly right will be nice to other motorists but not project quite as far.
Repeat with the other side matching the exact position in relation to the vertical line.
Properly aimed low beams.
That?s it. Clean up the tape and go for a drive. You can check where your high beams hit on the wall, but don?t make any adjustments based on that point. The lights should only be set with the low beams.

Final Thoughts

As we quoted earlier, ?Your headlamps will work as designed only if they are correctly aimed. Improperly aimed headlamps are dangerous, ineffective and illegal.?

From our experience, Daniel is completely right. You?re simply not going to get the full benefit of these outstanding aftermarket lights if they?re not aimed properly. Take about 30 minutes and do it right; not only for yourself, but for everyone else on the road with you.

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