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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:44 am 
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EFI Slant 6

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 9:36 pm
Posts: 289
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I have a 61 Valiant and need to replace some instrument panel lights.

Can I use brighter modern lights and what is the maximum wattage?

Also, where can I buy replacement instrument panel lights?

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2002 5:39 pm
Posts: 23000
Location: North America
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The stock bulbs work pretty well in a '61 Valiant; those white-face gauges tend to light up nice and bright. If yours don't, it's probably because the bulbs tend to dim with age and the resistance goes up in the dash lights rheostat (built into the headlight switch). There are brighter-than-stock options, but you need to be careful because a '61 car has almost nothing in the way of circuit protection (only a few fuses scattered around the car) so what would be a minor electrical nuisance on a later car can quickly and easily turn into a major disaster on a car like yours.

The good LED bulbs linked here will not work in your '61; they're wedge-base bulbs but your '61 uses bayonet-base bulbs, and the wedge-base sockets first adopted for '66 only retrofit back to '62. There are LED bulbs in the size you need (that's these) but they're on the spendy side. On the other hand, you will never, ever have to think about dashboard bulbs again, and the current draw through your unfused wiring and your rheostat will be reduced. You should still clean the rheostat or replace the headlight switch assembly, though, for full power to/brightness from the dashboard lights.

Be very careful not to make your instrument panel too bright. Most people never touch the rheostat, and just run them at max intensity...not realizing this significantly degrades their critical seeing ability, even though there's no discomfort glare involved. Don't overlamp the gauges and use that rheostat! The gauges should be just bright enough to read quickly with one glance. No brighter. And it's better to have a color somewhere in the warm white/yellow/amber range, rather than blue/cold white, which screws up your night vision much more at any given brightness level.

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