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Rebuilding unavailable vintage headlights

SL350

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Oct 12, 2005
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Mesquite
Last month in OK while riding near Davis my low beam burned out. Honda is out of stock (44 year old bike). Fleabay has some, they are expensive, and all are used like mine was. NOS nowhere.

I watched a YouTube where a guy bought a hole saw and repaired his 6v CT90 with a bulb, a socket, and a hole saw. He had already done a lot of the leg work and it was an hour job once I had acquired all the parts I needed.

Tools required:

Drill
Soldering Iron
1 3/8" hole saw
Heat shrink
small diameter drill bit
Wire stripper
12v bulb 25w or so
socket that fits that bulb

I had the tools except the hole saw and bought that at HD for about $30. The bulb and socket were ordered together from DrAtv in Beatrice, NE for about $18. I posted the invoice so that you can see the actual ordered items I used. The complete repair took 1 hour.

Here is what I did (but look at the YouTube CT90 video).


Cut the wire from the back of the bulb and then drill a pilot hole in the middle with a small bit, 1/8" I think. All you are trying to do is center guide the drill bit in the hole saw. Then use the drill bit from the hole saw.

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SL350

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Next, cut it out carefully with a holesaw. Hold the headlight with your shoes to keep it from turning with the blade.

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SL350

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Time to dremel the tabs to fit the new socket.

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Plug in the bulb and socket and connect the wires. Don't forget to put the shrink wrap on before soldering the new connection. I only needed to do the ground wire and even that was questionable. I am a bit confused as to why the ground wire on my SL goes to the rim of the bulb and then to the harness.

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SUCCESS!

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I will post an update if the bulb burns out or I have other problems.
 
Joined
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The only thing I would recommend to what you have done is to put some shoe laces in those sneakers you "Gangsta."

Otherwise, very well done.
 

SL350

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I know some have not accumulated the equipment and that adds to the one time cost. If you have no Dremel, no heat shrink laying on the garage floor, this can be more expensive than a new light. Maybe at the next vintage ride we can have a tech day and I can bring the stuff and help. So next time, don't throw that old bulb away, pack it up and bring it to tech day.

The only consumables are the new bulb and socket, about $18. It appears the 20w halogen is already brighter than the old bulb. I may experiment with wattage but the truth is, I never ride at night and only need this for state inspection.
 

garfey

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Another "trick" (and I don't know how long it lasted) was to "reline" an old light on which the reflector/bowl had lost its reflectivity with HD Al foil, glued in, shiny side forward. Of course that's only good on lights with removable lens so you can get to the bowl/reflector.

Edit: Ref SL350s post above, I have a fair number of hole saws and portable drill and dremel-like thingie and, of course, shrink tubing and stuff so could bring those to a gathering if anyone needed to do this.
 
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E.Marquez

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Kempner, TX
Well done.
If i may... with bikes of this era charging systems are not stupendous.
On several Hodaka builds I've been part of, I went with LED lights, both head and tail as a way to get MORE light with available wattage.
If you want the old school yellow look of the OEM light, this is not a good MOD. But if more useable light is a goal... LED is a viable option.
 

SL350

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The LED lights is a good idea. The project that I did does not preclude using leds. They just have to fit the socket. There are LEDs in many sizes now. I amy shop around for other bulbs; doubt I will take the time to make one as I really don't ride at night.

About the offer of hole saws, keep in mind that it has to match the socket you will be using. For the socket I used, the perfect match was 1 3/8".
 

garfey

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... About the offer of hole saws, keep in mind that it has to match the socket you will be using. For the socket I used, the perfect match was 1 3/8".
Right - I have two sets that go from 1" to 2.5" in several steps and a couple of individuals, but no 1 3/8"-er so my tool "kit" is inadequate to the task! :tears:
 

SL350

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The bike with this light passed inspection Yesterday. That is about all that I needed the light for. Technically I still don't think it is DOT certified but it did have a high and low and that is all they tested for.

:rider:
 

philipbarrett

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I am a bit confused as to why the ground wire on my SL goes to the rim of the bulb and then to the harness.
My CB400 does the same & was similarly confused. However, when only connected to the harness, the flashers do not blink so I'm thinking it needs a better ground.
 
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