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Headlight Stuff

Legality of blue tint bulbs

Check the Road Vehicles (Lighting) Regulations, SI 1986/1796 for the full facts. This is normally available online at

Very simplified :

- Headlights MUST be white light. Blue etc *IS* illegal and police can enforce removal of any non-white lighting bulbs. UK law disallows them, but the packaging should be CE marked saying it is legal in European law. Try arguing that one at the side of the road!

- Wattage is limited to 60/55W on cars manufactured after October 1985. Fitting brighter bulbs is illegal, can invalidate insurance and can leave you open to blame for accidents. You have been warned.

Main beam not working


Headlights not working

The headlights aren't fused on a mini. The sidelights and flash are though.

This is a bad design as you can be driving along thinking your lights are on, when in fact the rear taillights are off. The secret is that the dashboard dial illumination is taken from the sidelight feed, so if your speedo etc isn't lighting up chances are the sidelights aren't either.

You say the flash and sidelights work, so we know those fuse(s) are ok. I take it the dash lights up too. The headlight feed is taken from the fusebox, but from the unfused side of it. This passes though the switch and then goes to the steering column stalk. The current is then switched to either dip or main beam.

The flash is another feed (same one as horn) which is switched to the main beam wire when you pull the stalk towards you. This wire (purple) is quite thin, so this is why the flash isn't very bright. Also the main beam draws quite a lot of current so the contacts scum up.

Does your main beam work when you push the stalk away from you?

If it doesn't then I reckon your headlight switch (common problem) or maybe the (fat blue) wire from the switch to the column stalk is broken.

If is does work, then I think only the dip beam is not working. The chances of both bulbs blowing at once is remote, so I think the column switch or the dip beam wire (blue with red stripe) is broken.


Blue/white is main beam.
Blue/red is dip.
Blue is the stalk feed.
Red is sidelight fuse feed, and red/green is sidelight.

Wiring and Removal of Headlamp Bowls


TIP: While you have the bowl out get your hose in there and give it a good spray you can get to all the mud, salt and all the other crap that gets stuck up in there.

You disconnect the wires from the bullet connectors under the bonnet slam panel, and remove the lighting harnesses through the inner wing and through the top of the old bowls. You then thread them into the new bowls from the headlamp side up through the "little hole in the top" then reconnect the wires. Be warned - the rubber grommet is VERY tight to get in!!!!

Whilst you are at it, clean the bullets thoroughly - you will probably find the outer connectors are corroded to hell so get some new ones and smear the lot with vaseline before refitting to minimise future corrosion problems.

Replacing and/or refitting of Headlamp Bowls


Plastic (carbon fibre) headlamp bowls bend in bumps, and don't cause short circuits.

Plus they don't rust.

BUT - they're a bit more delicate than the standard steel bowls, the bits where horizontal adjusters mount on have been known to disentegrate. To avoid this, use oversize washers on either side of the plastic that the adjuster shafts fit to.

Electric Motorised Adjustors not working

The motors themselves are reasonably bomb proof but being a stepper motor, are able to give out the wrong signal to the ECU.

While it is more likely that the ecu is at fault other possibilities are dodgy motor, poor ground, short in the harness, faulty switch.

In all honesty, unless you frequently carry wildly different loads I would disconnect the motors and the set the lamps yourself. This should be fairly simple 'cause NAS (US) spec only allows the main/dip beam reflector to rotate about two fixed points(unlike one fixed and one floating for ECE and UK) so you should only have to adjust one screw.

Typical settings are one degree of down rotation. You can work out the math for this based on how far away from a wall or garage door the car will be when you do the measurements. Basically, work out how far up the wall the light line should be based on how far away you are with a one degree down slope. When you pull onto your drive at night, as long as the light line travels UP the wall/garage door/fence/dog etc you're OK. If it travels DOWN, your lights are too high. Simple ;o) Toby If this was HID it would be a whole different ball game 'cause yo can't touch NAS spec cars with that!

UPDATED 28 DEC 2002 From Toby M

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