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Headlight Dimmer Switch

This is a discussion on Headlight Dimmer Switch within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Have you often wondered how you can keep both hands on your wheel at night and toggle the high beams ...

  1. #1
    Member Since 1998 Mecinoid's Avatar
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    '98,'00 Bird '03, 14 Vets

    Headlight High Beam Dimmer Switch

    Have you often wondered how you can keep both hands on your wheel at night and toggle the high beams from low to high as you blast through the mountains?

    Have you wondered how long it would be before your cheap high/low beam stalk would last if you kept pulling on it for this transition.

    I have a $10 fix for you. Install a dimmer switch on the floor like the one below. It's easy and quick to do and you will have better control turning on and off the high beams around corners and such.



    Pontiac Excitement !!!
    Last edited by Mecinoid; 10-21-2007 at 11:16 PM.

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    Fuzzbuster Jr. fluke's Avatar
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    Well, that is a cool idea! Never thought of doing that.

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    My dads old 1980ish Chevy pick up had that lol

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    Awesome! I don't even have a bird yet, but when I get mine, I'm doing this! All or most classics had that on the floor, and I've always loved it! I can't understand why they moved it to the steering column/dash on newer cars.

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    2-Legit-2-Quit bgable's Avatar
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    anyone got instructions perferably with pictures?

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    Member Since 1998 Mecinoid's Avatar
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    '98,'00 Bird '03, 14 Vets

    Read complete instructions before you attempt to install. You do this install at your own risk.
    There is safety considerations you must make before you do this mod. See important note below.

    1) Buy dimmer switch at auto parts store along with 18awg for hook up and 30AMP Fuse and holder. You'll want a crimp style connector for splicing or do like I did and solder to the power lead of the headlight.

    2) Pull back carpet - Identify location for switch. I place mine so that while I'm on foot rest I can activate with my heel vs. ball of my foot. It allow me to be hammering around the corner while I activate or deactivate. Then, drill two holes to mount floor switch. Make sure there is nothing on th e backside to hit with your drill bit. Pretty clear in that are so you should be OK. Screw switch to the floor.

    3) Drill a third hole for the two wires to go through.

    4) Attach 10' of wire to the dimmer switch leads. I solder mine and then used shrink tubing to insulate. Some use crimp connectors. I find crimp connectors over time will corrode and fail.

    5) On one lead add your fuse holder and fuse and then connect to battery, parking light etc... I chose Head light standard beam so I could have all beams on when I activate. Adjust length and route so that it doesn't get in the way of things or burned by engine temp etc...

    6) The other lead will need to be spliced to the power lead of the headlight high beam.

    7) Last step is trimming carpet to allow the switch button to come through. Cut an X at the point of the switch with utility knife ~ 3/4"x3/4". Push switch through. Trim around switch with the knife.

    DONE

    When you activate your blue high beam light will come on as well because it's in the circuit after the light you'll find. You can active high beam from either stock or floor dimmer switch.

    IMPORTANT NOTE ----- You just need to remember which one you used to turn it on or you might have to hit both stock and floor switches to deactivate. This is important because you do not want to blind an oncoming driver by not deactivating this properly. I never use the stock high beam switch anymore so it's easy. However, the power is coming from two different sources now.

    The option to this issue is to just to activate the power via the stock switch and use the floor switch as an interrupter in the mountains. In that case, you just have to break the high beam lead and put the dimmer switch in line. That is a very simple way to install this. But, it does mean you have to active the system with the stock switch before the floor switch will work. ;-) Safer ... and maybe better way to go.

    As you can see there is a couple of ways to wire this. It depends on what you like.

    You can also set up another switch if you like for your driving lights as well or wire those in parallel. Know your local laws because in Calif their is a limit on driving / fogs / beams that can be lit at the same time.

    Did you know with fog lights on max is 4 lights on. Low beam and fogs. But, with driving lights it a max of 4 lights .... unless like our cars the high beam is in the second set.
    That is one of the nice things about our cars. Driving lights can be on with high beam if rewired. That would be in lighting part 2 yet to come. Basically, it's just supplying power from parking light system/directly from battery fused again so driving light can be illuminated in any configuration.

    future part 3:

    Last edited by Mecinoid; 10-21-2007 at 11:18 PM.

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    Member sirenformula350's Avatar
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    I like the idea but with my driving style I think I'd be hitting that switch all the time. When I'm not on the clutch my foot is usually about there or on the dummy pedal.

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    Member Since 1998 Mecinoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirenformula350 View Post
    I like the idea but with my driving style I think I'd be hitting that switch all the time. When I'm not on the clutch my foot is usually about there or on the dummy pedal.

    Me too. It is recessed right there so there is no worry about accidentally hitting it. You have to extend your heel to actually activate it. Take a look and you'll see. It's all good !!!!

  9. #9
    Member sirenformula350's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mecinoid View Post
    Me too. It is recessed right there so there is no worry about accidentally hitting it. You have to extend your heel to actually activate it. Take a look and you'll see. It's all good !!!!
    oh ok I see it now! Nice! I like it just that much more now.

  10. #10
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    you may have just convinced me to do a mod this winter to the car. I wasn't planning on doing anything to it this winter unlike the last 5 or 6 where I've worked on it all winter. Great write up and great idea. If I were a mod in this forum I'd sticky this post. Post it in the general section and I'll sticky it there.

  11. #11
    Member Since 1998 Mecinoid's Avatar
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    Yes, if you do any serious night driving like I do, it makes all the difference in the world. ;-)

    I have left the driving light... low intensity and aimed low on the dash toggle switch for up close work. However, with the high beams activated with the driving lights on it's all the lights you'll need. Kinda like coming in for a landing at your local airport. he, he, he .....

    Pilots unite !!!

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    LoudMouth SStriker's Avatar
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    my dads 1970 monte carlo has this. Honestly on my TA becuase i sit so close to the wheel and the way my legs sit it would just get in the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    you may have just convinced me to do a mod this winter to the car. I wasn't planning on doing anything to it this winter unlike the last 5 or 6 where I've worked on it all winter. Great write up and great idea. If I were a mod in this forum I'd sticky this post. Post it in the general section and I'll sticky it there.
    Good idea!
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    I never dim my lights so I do not need it.

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    Member Since 1998 Mecinoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItBeMe View Post
    I never dim my lights so I do not need it.
    Thanks for your comment ..... I'd hate to be on the same road as you at night.






    I hope you were just kidding....
    Last edited by Mecinoid; 11-06-2007 at 02:46 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Danger731's Avatar
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    My 70 chevelle had that really not in the way at all.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mecinoid View Post
    Have you often wondered how you can keep both hands on your wheel at night and toggle the high beams from low to high as you blast through the mountains?

    Have you wondered how long it would be before your cheap high/low beam stalk would last if you kept pulling on it for this transition.

    I have a $10 fix for you. Install a dimmer switch on the floor like the one below. It's easy and quick to do and you will have better control turning on and off the high beams around corners and such.

    Click for full size

    Pontiac Excitement !!!
    FYI, I had an old Thunderbird 1989, that had Automatic High Beams, the sensor was mounted on the rearview mirror. It did work pretty good, but I rarely used it, but if I drove on mountain roads, I'm sure I would of. In the city, it was going on/off every 10 seconds......Maybe if someone really wants it, they can hack an old TB for parts? Just a thought.

    Later,
    YL

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