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Headlights abroad.


Spadge

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You don't mention the age of your van, Spadge.

If it's had a UK MoT, it should be set up to be UK-legal.

Another clue will be the speedometer. If someone has bothered to add MPH information (UNDER the glass, so it gets illuminated when the panel lights are on), chances are they'll have sorted the headlights too.

 

If not sure, rather than take it out on the road I'd suggest pointing it at a wall or garage door. Even in daylight, if you're close enough it should be clear which way it changes when you switch between dip & mainbeam.

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It is possible the lights dip vertically so will not need to be changed for entering the UK. However, as others have said if it has been MOT'd here in the UK and has UK plates then it must by law have lights dipping to the left. Hopefully these have been done as buying new ones is very expensive.
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Hi Ninian, I had tried to contact the only previous owner only to find he had recently passed away hence the reason for it being on the market ...Gulp ! Another thing that made me wonder was that every map, site guide and there were a dozen or so left on board were for the continent, no UK at all. It has a UK MOT though so it seems I will have to use the headlight stickers when we go to the continent later this year. Mr T Jones it's a 98. Many thanks to the other contributor too.

 

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Hi Spadge & welcome to the forum.

I assume by your comments, it was not a private sale by the previous owner ?

If purchased from a Dealer he has a legal obligation to ensure it is "fit for purpose" (i.e. complies with UK traffic regulations). IMHO it is best to approach your Dealer, let him check & rectify if necessary.

Same goes for Tony's comment regarding UK legal mph reading for speedo, if applicable.

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It is quite possible that the headlamps are right dippers, and that they have merely been masked to pass the MoT. In '98 the procedure for registering a LHD van in UK was far more lax than it now is, and many vans were privately imported, not inspected by DVLA, and so remain essentially unaltered.

 

That yours has now passed several MoTs suggests the necessary may have been done. It is true that the Road Traffic Acts require the headlamps of imported vehicles to be adapted for left hand traffic without using of masks but, once registered, they will pass the MoT providing the dipped beam pattern fits within the test constraints, and appropriate masks will achieve this.

 

It is also possible that the beam pattern can be manually switched between LHD and RHD patterns. How this might have been achieved, if at all, on that model I'm afraid I have no idea. You'd need to look for a lever of some kind at the rear of the headlamp, close the the lamp holder, or possibly within the lamp seating for a clamping screw that would allow the holder to be rotated when it is released. If you can spot a makers name on the headlamp (possibly Carello?) you may be able to identify the type, and whether it is adjustable, on the internet.

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Looking at photos of 1998 Mobilvetta Euroyachts, and comparing them with pictures of Iveco Daily 'white vans' of a similar vintage, suggests that (as would be logical) Mobilvetta chose to use the same headlamps as fitted to Iveco Daily vans.

 

As Brian has explained, before the mid-2000s there was little likelihood of the DVLA inspecting an imported LHD motorhome and demanding that its 'right-dipping' headlights be replaced by 'left-dipping' ones to meet UK registration requirements. In fact, when a LHD motorhome was personally imported to the UK it was often because the owner intended to use the vehicle primarily abroad and, consequently, this was a disincentive to swap Continental-standard right-dipping light-units for UK-standard left-dipping ones.

 

To the best of my knowledge, the only headlamp-units that have been fitted to motorhomes that can be altered from right-dipping to left-dipping (or at least to produce a symmetrical dipped-beam pattern acceptable to the DVLA for an imported vehicle) are those with small-diameter individual Hella headlamps, and 1998 Euroyachts don't have those. It's also the case that the headlamps factory-fitted to light commercial vehicles (like the Daily) will either dip right (on LHD variants) or left (on RHD variants), and the dipped-beam pattern of such headlamps can't be adjusted from right to left (or right to symmetrical pattern) or vice versa.

 

The UK MOT-test is no real obstacle for a motorhome with right-dipping headlamps (and/or with a km/h-only speedometer-scale). Having an mph speedometer-scale is not a requirement to pass the MOT-test and, (as Brian says) as long as the dipped-beam pattern of the motorhome's right-dipping headlamps can be temporarily modified (with masks or beam-converters) to meet the MOT-test's lighting requirements, that will be OK for a test pass. Having a speedometer with mph and km/h scales is, however, a legal requirement for a UK-registered vehicle and, presumably, so is the vehicle having headlamps producing a left-dipping (or symmetical) dipped-beam pattern. So, even if the MOT-tester can't get you on either issue, the UK police could.

 

With traditional headlamps that have their dipped-beam pattern controlled by the front 'glass', it's usually possible to identify visually and easily which way they'll dip. A left-dipping (RHD UK norm) headlamp will have a prominent wedge-shape pattern moulded into the right side of the headlamp's frontal area, whereas a right-dipping (LHD Continental norm) headlamp will have the wedge-shaped pattern in the left side of the headlamp's front.

 

This may help spadge to identify which way his Euroyacht's lights will dip, but to be certain (as Tony Jones advises) the best approach will be to aim the lights at a vertical surface (preferably when it's dark) and see which way the the lights dip when switched from main to dipped beam, and what type of pattern they produce. There's absolutely no point putting masks/beam-converters on the headlamps for Continental touring if the headlamps are already right-dipping (though it would be sensible in such a case to put them on for UK driving).

 

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Thanks very much to all the contributors to my request for advice. Last night after dark I parked the M/H in front of the garage & lo & behold problem solved. They dip right. So simple I have no idea why I never thought of it......................... 'Hey Ho such is life' as they say.
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Don't forget (if you decide to stick with your present headlamps and not swap them for 'left dippers') to address their right-dipping characteristics BEFORE your motorhome is next MOT-tested.

 

The MOT-test examiner will test your vehicle as presented and, if the headlights' dipped-beam pattern doesn't meet the MOT-test's requirements (eg. the beam pattern has a 'kick-up' to the UK offside as will be the case with 'right dippers') the vehicle will fail the test.

 

http://www.motuk.co.uk/manual_180.htm

 

If you use the garage-door technique, positioning black tape experimentally on the headlamps until the 'kick-up' on the beam pattern's right side is suppressed, that should be adequate for the test. Black tape masking can cause overheating damage to headlamps but, if you only put masks on the light-units for the MOT-test and remove them afterwards, overheating is very unlikely to be a problem.

 

There's some guidance here:

 

http://www.brick-yard.co.uk/VehicleSpecific/T3/info/headlamp/headlamp.htm

 

The advice relates to masking UK-norm left-dipping headlamps for travelling in Continental Europe. For your lights (with their on-the-right kick-up) you'd need to position the mask on the opposite side of the headlamp to the photos.

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Not quite the same thing, but I would like to mention that I never take the masks off my headlamps and have never had any MOT problem in 12 years.

 

The 'vans have both been normal RHD Transits (a MK5 and a MK7) with normal UK headlamps. I have masked them for 'continental' use and having done so, left the masks in place. Never had any comment from testers, presumably because the pattern produced does not cause any dazzle in UK use.

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Spadge - 2013-03-22 7:43 PM

 

As an after thought will any Test centre MOT motorhomes ?

 

Hi Spadge,

 

Yes in theory any MOT test station that tests cars can test MH's as they are Class 4 the same as cars (irrespective of weight, unlike vans) BUT check that your chosen station can actually cope with the weight and size of your MH as some stations cannot.

 

As you are in Leicester it may be worth asking Nick (Euroserv) where he uses for MOT's.

 

Keith.

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spospe - 2013-03-22 9:13 PM

 

Not quite the same thing, but I would like to mention that I never take the masks off my headlamps and have never had any MOT problem in 12 years.

 

The 'vans have both been normal RHD Transits (a MK5 and a MK7) with normal UK headlamps. I have masked them for 'continental' use and having done so, left the masks in place. Never had any comment from testers, presumably because the pattern produced does not cause any dazzle in UK use.

 

Your RHD Transits will have European 'E' Beam headlamps designed (in left-dipping format) to produce the asymmetrical shape of dipped-beam image shown in Section 1.8 here:

 

http://www.motuk.co.uk/manual_180.htm

 

As explained there, an MOT-test check will be made "..that any beam image ‘kick up’ is to the nearside". A test-failure will occur if "...The beam image'kick-up' is to the offside".

 

In your case, your mask will (presumably) alter the dipped-beam image by removing its UK-norm nearside 'kick-up'. The result will be a left-dipping pattern with no 'kick-up' that wil comply with the MOT-test regulations. Your headlights won't be as effective for driving in the UK as they would be without the masks, but they will pass the MOT-test.The 'dazzle factor' is something else, and will depend on the 'aim' of the headlight rather than the shape of the dipped-beam image. This is also explained in Section 1.8 and will be checked during the MOT-test.

 

I was going to mention the possibility of 'crazing' when Transit headlamps have masks fitted to them, but I see you are already aware of this:

 

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Hints-and-Tips/MK7-Transit-Headlamp-Masking/11292/

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Derek Uzzell - 2013-03-23 8:13 AM

 

spospe - 2013-03-22 9:13 PM

 

Not quite the same thing, but I would like to mention that I never take the masks off my headlamps and have never had any MOT problem in 12 years.

 

The 'vans have both been normal RHD Transits (a MK5 and a MK7) with normal UK headlamps. I have masked them for 'continental' use and having done so, left the masks in place. Never had any comment from testers, presumably because the pattern produced does not cause any dazzle in UK use.

 

Your RHD Transits will have European 'E' Beam headlamps designed (in left-dipping format) to produce the asymmetrical shape of dipped-beam image shown in Section 1.8 here:

 

http://www.motuk.co.uk/manual_180.htm

 

As explained there, an MOT-test check will be made "..that any beam image ‘kick up’ is to the nearside". A test-failure will occur if "...The beam image'kick-up' is to the offside".

 

In your case, your mask will (presumably) alter the dipped-beam image by removing its UK-norm nearside 'kick-up'. The result will be a left-dipping pattern with no 'kick-up' that wil comply with the MOT-test regulations. Your headlights won't be as effective for driving in the UK as they would be without the masks, but they will pass the MOT-test.The 'dazzle factor' is something else, and will depend on the 'aim' of the headlight rather than the shape of the dipped-beam image. This is also explained in Section 1.8 and will be checked during the MOT-test.

 

I was going to mention the possibility of 'crazing' when Transit headlamps have masks fitted to them, but I see you are already aware of this:

 

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Hints-and-Tips/MK7-Transit-Headlamp-Masking/11292/

 

The website address for masking MK 7 Transits has had to change and is now at:

 

http://www.shooting.fsbusiness.co.uk/

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Spadge - 2013-03-24 4:32 PM

 

Thanks for the info KeithI, as a beginner on forums how do I contact Nick (Euroserv) ? Is Euroserv a Leicester based company ?? Or is that his Forum name ?

 

Hi Spadge,

 

'Euroserv' is Nick's forum name... Link to profile. He is a technical guru on the forum and for MMM and runs a fleet hire business in Leicester.

 

If you follow the link above you can either use his personal email or you will see a button 'Send this user a private message'.

 

Keith.

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