Introduction: Upgrade Vintage Round Headlights

About: I am currently converting a 1988 40' Bluebird school bus into a motor-home / workshop that I plan to live, work and travel in. This is my second such project. This one will probably be my retirement home. Sti…

I've been working on my school bus conversion for a while now. All the lights on the inside where changed to LEDs. While I changed all the exterior light fixtures I replaced them with modern incandescent lights. Exterior LED truck/bus lights were not as readily available then as they are now. My old round headlights are dim and out of style. While working the Sugar Beet Harvest in North Dakota I noticed several new trucks with round LED headlights come through the un-loader. Hence, the search was on. Below are the results.

Step 1: The First Test

Here are a few halfway pictures. I completed one side before I started the other side So I could make good comparisons. The pictures show views from outside facing the bus and from inside sitting in the drivers seat. They were taken at daylight, dusk and at dark. (Not to worry. I did not drive with mismatched headlights.)

Step 2: The Process

That old carpenters rule of measure twice, cut once also applies to replacing headlights. I ordered LED headlights made for Kenworth trucks on Ebay assuming that round headlights were just round headlights. This whole project started when driving at night I noticed how much dimmer my headlights were than most newer vehicles. The lights I ordered would have, in a perfect world, just fit into the same housing as the original lights. Not too happen. When I started out looking for replacement headlights even Halogen lights in the old round configuration were not to be found. The old headlights were 5-3/4" and the new ones are 7". Big difference. I could have returned them but in the short time I've had them I've fallen in love with them. I thought they'd make the bus look cool(er).

I had to remove the two lamp housing and find a way to make a single lamp housing. Fortunately, there is a single lamp housing made for Harley Davidson motorcycles also found on Ebay that the lights I bought fit perfectly.

There's not alot of step by step instruction because every conversion will be different based on the vechicle. But the rules are the same: Fit it until it fits!

Remember to aim your headlights for best performance and other drivers safety and comfort after your conversion. There are several YouTube videos on "How to aim your headlights".

Step 3: Conclusion

I only did one side today but I was so hyped about the results I wanted to post this right away. I did the first side in one day so I'll do the other side tomorrow. I may post more pictures after I finish the other side and aim my lights. So if you're doing a conversion and you have the old round headlights you can upgrade too. These are DOT approved lights and as long as you aim them properly there should not be any problem.

Thanks for watching.