Headlight Upgrade

My 1985 car uses 6054 sealed beam headlights. They are pretty poor, in fact I’d go so far as to say they are downright dangerous, especially when coupled with my middle aged eyes!

I’d really like to put something better in but it would seem my options are limited. I have read about so called H4 conversions or 6054 shells with H4 bulbs but are these DOT legal in the US.

I know I cannot legally put HIDs in because my car never had them.

I want something that is better but still legal.

The H6054 ( halogen ) sealed beam sold at parts stores will have a halogen bulb within, not the old incandescent filement of the plain 6054. Should be good enough.

The 6054 with H4 bulb is the equivilant and should do you well also. ( H4 bulbs are standard 00-04 Ford focus headlamps, and many others )

I put the H6024 round halogen in my old 79. That was all she needed.

Are you using original 6054 bulbs or halogen replacements, H6054? If not, that switch is worth a try. Check your wiring including the grounds. Measure the voltage at the bulbs while they are turned on. If the wiring is in good shape, but the voltage at the lamps it is much lower than battery voltage, it might be worth rewiring them with larger gauge wires. Install a new harness that uses a relay and fuse directly from the battery and use the original wires to control the relay. There are kits for this; they bypass the, sometimes longer, harness run to the regular headlight switch yielding higher voltage at the lamps.

I believe you can get E-code sealed beams. They are a simple replacement of the lamp. Just the same as replacing with the same lamp.

However while I believe e-codes are far better overall, they will require a proper aiming and they are not going to make a lot more light, mostly just putting it where it will do the most good and not blind other drivers. Frankly it is possible that aiming is off on the lights you have and that could be causing you problems.

Do visit an optometrist and talk to them about your ability to safely drive at night. Far too many people are not aware (you seem to be aware) that something is happening and continue to drive when it is no longer safe. It should not stop anyone from driving during the day, but they need to stop night driving.

BTW thanks for considering the effect of your lights on other drivers.

How’s the windshield look?

A lot of people will blame the headlights for poor visibilty at night when in fact the windshield is so sandblasted from over the years that it effects night vision.


Another night vision factor that most don’t realize is the dash/guage lights on high/bright.
This lighting coming at your face from inside affects your ability to see out. ( much like trying to see the crowd from on stage with the spotlights in my face. )

Dim the dash lighting all the way to nothing.
Acclimate your eyes to the road outside.
Then brighten the dash lights only just enough to see the info you need.

Are these the original headlights? Do they use glass or plastic bezels? If glass, they should not degrade, but plastic bezels will fog over time. You can ask your State Police if halogen replacements are legal.

H-6054 Sealed Beams are superior to most of today’d plastic bucket headlights…Have them properly aimed and if you still feel there is a problem, have you eyes checked for night blindness…

If the headlights have been in your car for a long time, halogen bulbs slowly degrade as the filament boils away and deposits itself on the quartz envelope that surrounds it, reducing light output…

My old Dodge truck, with H6014 sealed beams, has FAR superior headlights than my Crown Vic with its plastic junk…

Thanks for all the replies. I believe my current lights are Sylvania H-6054XV (or something from the Sylvania H6054 family) that I installed a couple of years ago when I first got the car.
The problems could certainly be with the aiming and also the 25 year old wiring, both of which I can easily fix.
The windscreen is in good shape and clear and the interior dash lighting is actually pretty dim and is something that I actually need to brighten up a little to make critical gauges (oil pressure etc) more readable at night!


You might be able to find what you’re looking for at the above address. I installed some European sealed beam replacements in my old Crown Vic a few years ago. They made a world of difference.