1996 Lincoln Mark VIII Low Beams Replace

The mechanic working on my car, 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC Diamond Anniversary, presented me with a problem. The low beams do not work and need to be replaced. He says that there are 2 sets of numbers by
the bulbs. The numbers are, L-95 and 1042. It also says DANGER HAZARDOUS VOLTAGE. He also mentioned the "ballast" may need to be replaced but he is afraid to test it since it had the warning posted. He said that he had never seen this before. Any ideas?
Can you tell me how to replace the low beam bulbs without shocking myself? How do I drain the power from the low-beam ballast?
Thanks
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tonyg7 wrote:

They are HID lamps. They are safe when not powered.
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tonyg7 wrote:

Since you have a Mark VIII, you really should sign up here: www.markviii.org Lots of tech data ad fixes you can do.
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I already have and since this was a one year Annivesary edition, they appear to be more complicated for some reason. Thanks Sharon Cooke wrote:

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Anniversary Issue? That's just "badge engineering" that has nothing to do with the headlights. I got this from the Site (markviii.org) where you said you had signed up: http://www.markviii.org/tech/Gen2HID.htm
tonyg7 wrote:

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"tonyg7" wrote

Aren't you supposed to present him with the problems?

Were they working before you gave him the car?

HIDs have been out for years. Hasn't he been upgrading his training to deal with cars made since points ignition and manual-choke carbs?

Never seen what; both low-beams out, HID lights, or warning stickers?

Isn't that what the "mechanic" is charging you $$$$$$ per-hour to do?
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Gee Master Blaster. I was trying to get some help for me to do the work. All you did was berate a mechanic who was honest enough with me to say he couldn't do the job and why. Thanks MasterBlaster wrote:

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"tonyg7" wrote

Sorry if it sounded that way, but you didn't say if that's why the car was there in the first place, or if he just magically "noticed" that both low-beams were out while doing other work.
Original quote:

Perhaps it's just the way you worded it, but it sounded suspiciously like those garages (in various anti-scam TV reports) that "happened to find" the front struts leaking oil while they were doing some other work under the car, and telling the owners they need to be replaced right away or the driver may suddenly lose control of the car and crash. Of course, the "leaking" oil was actually sprayed on the struts by the mechanic himself.
Is the following what you meant to say?

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Okay, "new" Metal-Halide discharge headlamps. They have been using them in streetlights (the white ones*) and sports stadiums for decades for better light color and a lot better energy efficiency in lumens per watt, they are finally making the transition to cars.
(* They use Metal Halide wherever appearance and color rendering is an issue. The orange-ish High Pressure Sodium lamps are even more efficient and the lamps go a bit longer between changes, but that sick orange color cast they give everything rules it out for some uses.)
They develop a 2KV to 4KV DC pulse to get the lamp to strike, and then the ballast supplies a current regulated AC arc voltage, somewhere in the 80V to 150V range depending on the lamp capsule size.
That is just barely inside the "Hazardous" range in my book, but then again I deal with that stuff everyday, YMMV. It's certainly lower than the average operating voltages of the coil and sparkplugs and nobody panics about working on them.
You get nailed with that 4KV pulse and it'll certainly get your attention and knock you on your ass, but that's about all that'll happen. Unless you are really /trying/ to get hurt and get the current to go arm-to-arm and zap your heart in exactly the wrong way.

You replace the lamps and then try them again before even thinking about replacing the ballast - lamps are a LOT cheaper than the ballast, and they do wear out. Worst case, if it wasn't the lamps now they will go eventually, and you have spares in the glovebox.
WARNING: Read the handling instructions on the package before removing the old lamps or installing the new, they are NOT KIDDING about no fingers or other contaminants on the lamp envelope glass. The oils from your fingers will cause the quartz glass to expand unevenly and pop after a few hours of operation - and the hot glass can melt into the plastic housing and lens and wreck them.
Even if the old lamps were good, contaminate them and they're trash. You can wash them off with Isopropyl Alcohol - usually...
Second thing to check if they don't come on with new lamps is to make sure the ballasts have power and ground - it might be a blown fuse or bad lighting relay.
Often those electronic ballasts have a safety circuit where if the lamp doesn't fire off within a minute or two they shut down, and you have to turn the power off again for a few minutes before it will try a restrike.
In light fixtures the bulb may only be good for 12K to 20K hours, but the ballast often goes for 15 to 25 years and outlives many lamps. If the automotive ballasts are properly designed and built I would expect the same longevity out of them.

It will drain itself with the lights off for more than a half hour or so, they build in bleed resistors on the high-voltage lines for just that purpose. If you're worried, leave the car overnight before working on it.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Thanks Bruce. I guess the mechanic is more or less a "shade tree" mechanic. Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

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I just received a big e-mail from you with three picture of the lights, nothing too unusual there...
The "Danger High Voltage" part is correct, but the "Must be serviced by an authorized Ford dealer" part is, as usual, self-serving total bullpucky to get everyone running to a dealer.
This is NOT Rocket Science, you do NOT need a degree to do the work. If you know what you're doing, anyone can do it - but you do need that specialized bit of education first, and books can deliver it to you...
(I do it everyday without the specific instructions for each light fixture, because the lamp handling rules are universal. And the ballast hookups are generic and uniform, the wiring diagrams and any special instructions are printed right on the label - they figure if you got that far you just might have a clue or two.)
First, you need to get the Haynes/Chilton/Ford OE Service Manual, depending on what's available and if you can afford the Ford one. The Factory Manuals are usually more complete and correct, usually easier to follow with more detailed troubleshooting tree charts, and usually 10X the price. (But you can usually get most of your investment back if you sell the car with the manual.)
Read the instructions that come with the new lamps very carefully. Follow the service manual procedures on changing the lamps to the letter as to how to get it apart, how to handle the lamps, how to put it back together, and how to test them if they still don't work.
With the exception that if you read the Factory Manual you probably don't need to buy all the megabuck "Special Service Tools" they call for, which are often just relabled (and possibly slightly modified) standard mechanic's hand tools. This is the one time when proper substitutions made with common sense are fine.
The $500 Special Tester is probably just a good $100 digital multimeter with the proper voltage range ratings, and if you make the $100 investment on a good meter (BK Precision, Fluke or Simpson, among others) you can use it on many other things for the next 25 years... Or you can buy a cheapie that breaks on the second use - your choice.
The basics: * If it doesn't fit or turn don't force it, you're probably turning the wrong way. Lefty Loosy, Righty Tightie works 99% of the time - but then they surprise you with that last 1%.
* With the exception of a click-lock detent on a bayonet ring (which the book will warn you about) everything should move without applying undue force.
* Keep your mitts off the lamp glass, use a clean paper towel or the package insert wrapping to handle the lamps.
* Wear work gloves, long sleeves and safety glasses, the lamp capsules are pressurized with gases and can cut you up badly if they pop during handling. Put the dud lamps back in the packages before eventual disposal in the trash, so people don't play with them.
* Clean off the lamp housing with a brush or rag before starting and use canned air as a duster, you want to keep dirt out of the headlamp assembly. If you aren't going to finish in one session, stuff a clean rag in the lamp hole of the housing so nothing falls or flies in.
And if you get stuck, stop. Come back here and ask what to do next - the only dumb question is the one you did not ask. But wait for a consensus, sometimes the first answer out of the gate is WAY wrong from someone who was flat-out guessing at the answer.
(Or worse, giving you deliberate bad advice trying to get you to /really/ break it, so they can sit there and laugh - and then get a $1500 service call out of you to clean up the mess. I've seen alleged professionals do this in other newsgroups where DIY-ers are actively discouraged, like alt.hvac for air conditioning techs.)
As for me, I'm an Electrician not a Mechanic, but "HID lights is HID lights" and I admit it up front when I'm extrapolating. And I know to stop and look up the answer when I hit a stumper.
--<< Bruce >>--
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tonyg7 wrote:

With the battery disconnected for a few seconds, there's no shock, no "drain" (it's a starter/igniter on the bulb, not some huge capacitor). The HID capsule is held in by the igniter (big cube thing), and the igniter is held to the headlamp fixture by screws with filled heads. Here's how to make the new style HID capsule (only one now made) work in the late '95-'96 LSC HID headlamp fixture: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/wviands/storage/car/hids/hid.html
P.S.: get a mechanic that works on Lincoln Mark VIII cars.
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wrote:

$160 for each lamp? That's nucking futs - even though it's better than $600 for the lamp and ballast as a unit for the 1996. The lamp modification on that page looks like a sensible way to go.
I can get a garden variety 35W 50W or 70W HID enclosed lamp capsule like that with a ceramic plug-in base for around $30 - $40. A regular "Edison medium screw base" HID lamp in that range is around $30 normally, $20 on sale. You can buy them at Home Depot.
I can see paying $70-ish for a custom color spectrum output, but you only need that for certain lighting duties like Photography.
I thought the US Department Of Transportation solved that long ago when they required standardized headlamps for cars - they first settled on standard sealed beam lamps, hence the DOT markings. Which carried over to halogen sealed beams, then halogen capsule lamps...
Initially each car maker wanted to make all their lamps proprietary so you had to buy from them, which would cause price and supply headaches. Just like the one above, matter of fact.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

The Sylvania/Ford HID capsules for the Lincoln Mark VIII are proprietary and unique to that car model only. Every other carmaker - including Ford on later cars - uses some kind of HID capsule that has an AC-powered ballast, while the Mark VIII ballast is DC-powered. The replacement Mark VIII HID capsules are now over $200 each, and may go even higher, while the more 'standardized' HID types sell for $50~$60 each OTC. I converted my 94 Mark VIII to HID (had to, couldnt see the road at night) back in 00 using a setup made for the 96 LSC. Its worked well for 6+ years and Ive never had to replace anything on it. When I bought the setup, I also invested in a couple of spare HID capsules for about $70 each, so Im not concerned about the current price. As far as standardized headlamps go the old sealed beams you can also blame Ford for tampering with that idea, since the first production car in the world with plastic (composite/Lexan II) headlamps was the 1984 Lincoln Mark VII. The watchdog agency of NHTSA was sold a bill of goods on this, where Ford pointed out that the headlamp lens was the same stuff used in jet fighter plane cockpits. What Ford DIDNT tell the NHTSA (and they were too busy to check) was that the cockpit canopies on the fighter planes are replaced every 12~18 months as part of routine maintenance procedures. Automotive night lighting in this country suffered for may years after the allowance for non-sealed beam plastic headlamps was written into the 108 regulations, and only in the last 5 years or so has lighting gotten back to an acceptable safe level for most vehicles.
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