We already knew that turn signal DRL's were a bad idea...

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but DAYAM.
Had Vlad the Impala in the shop today to get the brake job done that it needed to pass inspection (apparently all pads were worn out at only 50Kish miles, as well as front rotors below wear limit...
sheesh!) and I needed to visit a job site. Ended up taking my boss' old car which was due to be turned in, which is an '04 Malibu. First of all, I really liked the 'bu. Much tighter ride than the Impala, flatter cornering, quieter, and the thing felt like a little rocketship compared to the Impala. I guess it should, with a larger engine (3.5 vs. 3.4) and smaller body. Since my house was on the way to the job site, I even stopped at home and pulled into the driveway to check ground clearance; while it is near impossible to get the Impala in my driveway without dragging the front air dam, the Malibu can be pulled straight in with no issues. Really, the only fault I could find with the car was that it pulled to the left and also had a disconcerting "pop" in the front end when making slow speed turns, which I attribute to a worn out ball joint or strut bearing, which one could consider a normal wear item.
And then, on my way back to the office, one of the turn signals stopped working. I had my toolkit with me, out of habit, so I just pulled into my FLAPS and pulled the right front headlight assembly. Holy crap, what a POS. Not only did I need a 10mm nutdriver to R&R the headlight assembly (would it have been too hard to stamp a Phillips recess into the bolt heads? It's not like most drivers travel with a full toolkit...) but both headlights showed obvious signs of heat damage due to the bright filaments of the park/turn bulbs being on all the time. This is an '04, mind you. The amber lens over the bulb was browned and bubbled near the little vent slots that were cut into it, and both the "chrome" backing of the light cluster and the polycarbonate lens itself showed obvious discoloration for a large area around the turn signal bulbs. The driver's side was no better.
Someone please tell me that the redesigned Malibus don't have this garbage DRL implementation - I was seriously leaning towards getting one for my replacement company vehicle but if I have to replace the headlight clusters every few years (I've heard enough stories that I know it's pretty much futile to get GM to disable the DRLs on any non- police or military vehicle, and it's not an easy DIY job) I'll be quite a bit less likely to consider it.
This is why people have a negative opinion of GM cars... if they can't get blatantly obvious details like light clusters right, what does that say about the engineering that went into the rest of the functional bits of the car?
nate
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N8N wrote:

You think that's bad? I need to use a torx bit to remove and replace the headlamp assemblies in my Audi. On top of that, I need a security torx bit to remove or replace the ballast unit (for the HIDs).

I believe that Daniel's opinion on the matter is that turn signal DRLs are probably the best of the bad implementations out there. But, if car companies can't take the time to design the parts to withstand normal usage, then those car companies should not get any business.
What would really be nice is if the car companies lost a class action lawsuit over the glazed polycarbonate headlamp assembly lens issue that affects practically all vehicles that have them. Or better yet, the NHTSA should have to pay out (if they didn't have sovereign immunity to such legal action).
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Arif Khokar wrote:

My '90 Cherokee failed inspection because of a burnt out front parking light. While I haven't looked at it more than briefly, it looks like I have to remove the battery to get to it.

On my Camaro it's a matter of grounding a wire, I've even made an on-off switch.

I've never experienced a problem with my turn signal DRLs. I only had the original lenses for about two years before switching to aftermarket clear lenses, but neither showed any sign of damage last I checked. Haven't had a single bulb burn out on this car either, so I'm perfectly happy with GM's lighting implementations. I even think the sealed beams are adequate, except maybe for the high beams. :-)
With that said; the angel eyes and hockey club DRLs on newer BMWs and Audis look nice. Maybe Chevrolet could come up with bow-tie DRLs or something...

Don't buy a vehicle with plastic headlight lenses. I haven't.
Ulf
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<snip>
Other than signal ambiguity... a good enough argument in and of itself for disabling them.
<snip>

Impossible in the US, unless you buy a vehicle with sealed beams. Unless I'm behind, the only glass lenses allowed are on sealed-beam type headlights. Aero-style *must* be polycarbonate. ECE regs allow replaceable glass lenses for headlights, so you can blame NHTSA for this one.
nate
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N8N wrote:

Nope. I have white DRLs which makes them impossible to confuse with turn signals if one bulb were to burn out. While, when other drivers see one flashing, they realize it's a turn signal. Much safer if one bulb stops working. The only issue with combined DRLs/turn signals is when signaling in traffic circles IME, but that's easily solved by not signaling at all.

IIRC, it was/is Canada that required plastic headlights, unless they were hidden. The same people that allowed 7000 cd, and turn signal, DRLs in the first place, mind you. They could have made up for it a few years ago by allowing ECE vehicles, but of course they chickened out...

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There's never been any such a requirement in Canadian headlamp regulations.
DS
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This must be false or a relatively recent idiotcy added to the code. The torqueless wonder car (1986 mazda 626) had GLASS aero-style headlamps. 1985 626's have sealed beams.
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Uh...no. Where'd this factoid come from? There has never been any such a requirement. Glass lenses are perfectly legal under North American headlamp regulations.

So do US regulations.
DS
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Daniel J. Stern wrote:

I coulda swore that there was a FMVSS that required non-replaceable lenses, and I've never seen a glass lens on any US-spec vehicle.
nate
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No. The requirements for reflector durability and seal integrity are more stringent for headlamps with replaceable lenses, though, and for that reason it is more costly in the North American market to equip a car with replaceable-lens headlamps. Reflector durability and seal integrity are very important to the long-term safety performance of a headlamp; I would like to see the more stringent requirements effected across the board (w/ or w/o replaceable lenses), which might tend to cancel or at least reduce the market disincentive towards replaceable lenses.

You haven't been looking! Off the top of my head, here are some cars with glass-lens replaceable-bulb headlamps in the North American market:
-Volvo 850 and at least the first several years of S/V70 -Saab 900 '86-'98, 9000 '86-'98, 9-3 '99-'02, 9-5 '99-'01 -Chevrolet Cadavalier, '8?-'9? -Chevrolet Caprice, '87-'90 -Audi 5000, '85+ -Mercedes-Benz, all models '85 until at least 1999, some models thereafter -BMW, all models '89-91, some models thereafter
There are many others.
DS
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More stringent than ECE? I have in my posession a factory set of ECE headlamps for a Corrado G60 so they are 17 years old at the newest and they are certainly in MUCH better shape than the US-spec ones removed from the car. They do have replaceable glass lenses, held to the plastic housing by metal clips and what appears to be a silicone rubber seal (although I'm guessing on the seal material.)

No argument here, although I would think that replaceable lenses would still be a bonus in terms of long-term maintainability; if a glass lens becomes overly pitted or a polycarbonate lens becomes hazed, it would be nice to have the option to simply replace the lens without having to purchase either a complete new headlamp assembly from the dealer ($$$$) or a "good used" junkyard unit that may not be significantly better than the one removed. The biggest problem that I see is hazing of the polycarbonate lenses, this seems to be a nearly universal problem with any car more than a few years old. Some worse than others, for sure, but eventually they all seem to haze over.

Of the above, BMW is the only one that I have had any contact with whatsoever, and at least the 3-series of a couple years ago used plastic. Certainly the vast majority of vehicles on the road today have either sealed beams or polycarbonate-lensed aero-style headlights.
nate
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Yes.
Nice anecdote ;-)

Agreed!
Yes...the numbers after the makes in my list above are model years.

Sealed beams are almost absent from the market any more. Most headlamps in North America do these days have polycarbonate lenses...but not because there's any law saying they have to.
DS
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Daniel J. Stern wrote:

I get your point, but it does seem like an awful lot of US-spec headlamps fail FAR before the point at which an ECE lamp would. Of course, I don't have a whole lot of data points to draw on, because I've only had two sets of ECE lamps in my posession (the Corrado ones and a set for my old Scirocco) not counting sealed beam replacements and US-spec lights can be viewed simply by walking through any parking lot. Still, if nothing else, if an ECE lamp is showing signs of seal failure, you can just get a new seal, or even gob something up with silicone if you're, um, frugal. If a US-spec lamp shows signs of seal failure, well, there's not a whole lot you can do about it without getting real creative, but the lenses are likely already fogged. Heck, since I had to repair the Corrado's lights (couple of broken adjusters,) I "detailed" them by throwing everything but the reflectors in the dishwasher :) Try that with a US-spec light!
<snip>

I guess at least one part of my statement was in error then, I must have been misremembering something. Personally I'm not sure why they were *allowed* in the first place, as UV-protective coatings still seem to be not quite ready for prime time, or at least not utilized in an effective manner.
nate
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Yeah...I'm not so sure that's really been a problem. A little thought with respect to implementation cuts it significantly, and proper selection of light sources for adequately long life cuts it still further. Other countries (e.g. Australia) have been eyeing the turn signal DRL for use exclusively on motorcycles, to differentiate them from automobiles. If that pans out as a beneficial measure, it'll be a pity we won't be able to adopt it because of the existing installed base of turn signal DRLs on cars and trucks.
But overall, if one cannot have a functionally-dedicated DRL, the turn signal DRL is a great deal less problematic and potentially more beneficial than any headlamp-based implementation.
There are some really nice LED DRLs presently and "coming soon", both at the OE and aftermarket level. And BMW have just begun running extra- bright inner "angel eyes" as effective nonglare DRLs in the daytime and front position "parking" lamps at night - it takes more power than turn signal or LED DRLs, but less power than headlamp DRLs.
And there's still a great deal of debate regarding the efficacy of DRLs as a safety device. The matter is generally being decided in various jurisdiction on political as much as safety grounds.
DS
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Can't argue with that last sentence :)
Personally I don't care that much for DRLs as most implementations seem to range from "outright offensive" (early Saturn) to "merely less than optimal" (turn signal) and there are very few implementations that I really feel good about. I'm curious what your objection is to reduced-power low beam DRLs, as those seem to be pretty inoffensive, is it that they don't provide the same conspicuity benefit as a dedicated DRL with an optimized beam pattern for the application? Granted they do result in reduced headlamp life, but I put over 40K miles on my '02 GTI without having to replace a bulb, likewise with my '05 Impala, both cars spent a lot of time in city traffic so operating hours are probably higher than average for the mileage.
nate
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Ahh, liability. They didn't want you fingerpoken and mittengrabben near the high voltages.
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Matthew T. Russotto wrote:

Or for them to be stolen. The 02-03 Maximas had a high number of headlights stolen. They finally redesigned it so they couldn't be ripped out as easily. I guess they sell very easily and fetch a high price.
I don't know how you'd get shocked by it, I just put a foglight HID kit in and it's very very simple. Looks great!
b
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GM I am going to guess isn't much different than a large US corporation I once worked for. Basically the 'engineers' who were in engineering because they were good at school but couldn't design their way out of a wet paperbag become engineering management, while those who can design are stuck at the lower levels.
It the decisions that these boneheads make that cause these sort of things to end up in the products. Somewhere, there is an engineer who said they shouldn't do that. Somewhere there is a test report with the browning labeled a failure. Elsewhere is the spin job put on it by management and the business decision by upper management to let it be that way.
The fastner thing, well, with GM you're damn lucky it wasn't security torx. (torx with the pin in the center that requires a special set of drivers with a hole drilled in the center of the torx driver bit)
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On Nov 2, 2:22 pm, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Brent P) wrote:

I hear ya, but... don't these people own and drive their own products? You'd think this would be obvious to any owner of a car that had reached "a certain age" during the course of a normal wash and wax. Lenses that look worse than those of a "normal" car decades older at only three years is a definite failure in my book, no matter how you spin it.

Actually that would still have been OK, as the product line that I deal with on a day to day basis uses Torx head screws a lot. OK for me, that is, not for the average consumer.
nate
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Maybe they drive them, maybe they don't. The good at school types are about the politics. I've watched minor customer undetectable issues become huge while serious design problems that made the product essentially crap not be an issue. It is about the political wind at the company. While these light assemblies were allowed to be such that the plastic is clearly degraded, I'll wager there there is some underhood component where the finish changed color slightly with no loss of performance that was a panic issue to 'fix'.

most GM's I've had to do work on used torx... wonder why that car is different. Then again I don't think I've touched a GM newer than the 80s...
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