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U.S. Headlight Buckets - on RHD car


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This is a pretty specific set of questions though the title may seem like I am asking about issues already covered - fear not, I've checked all the threads and have taken it all in for refurbing the U.S. buckets I have.


First is an observation - the way to tell LH from RH buckets seems a bit of black magic - there was a visual guide in one of the threads so I will give it a go. Can I ask on that though, whilst there are two different buckets, is it just the "base" of the bucket that mounts to the car that is different (i.e  LHS v/s RHS) or are both of the main components of each light specific for a side ... that wasn't a planned questions BTW.


The adjusters themselves, are they locked into the little bracket or actually just supposed to sit in there? The little "fork" on the bracket has been closed up a bit to stop the body of the bolt passing up and out, though not sure if it wasn't just a previous owner action and wonder if its needed.


Other question, what is the fixed washer (or whatever it is) that sits below the washer-oring-washer combo? It seems fixed to the thread on mine, and mine seems like they might be original ... not sure.


Been a while since I've posted but keep up to date reading all the wisdom here. 


Thanks as always.



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6 hours ago, zambo said:

… Can I ask on that though, whilst there are two different buckets, is it just the "base" of the bucket that mounts to the car that is different (i.e  LHS v/s RHS) or are both of the main components of each light specific for a side ...


I don’t have a definitive answer to this. But the movable components of the headlight buckets might well be identical, with only the fixed components being handed. I cannot see differences between the two movable components in the first photo below. And I don’t see obvious differences in the assembled units shown in the second photo, but given how difficult it can be to distinguish left from right fixed components, that doesn’t give me much confidence.


I’m unclear why you want to use U.S.-spec headlight buckets in a RHD jurisdiction. My understanding is that the U.S.-spec buckets were designed with an adjustment range from straight forward to right-leaning. That seems somewhat ill-suited in a RHD world, where you’d optimally like an adjustment range from straight forward to left-leaning.









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I did a column years ago on ID-ing left and right US style headlight buckets--it's very subtle and not at all intuitive.  PM me for a copy if you need it.  


I do know that US style headlight buckets were unique to US spec cars because of the then Federal requirements for sealed beam headlights.  You can attach Euro headlight assemblies directly to the mounts on US cars--and vice versa--because the factory made sure the mounting holes were the same to avoid having to make two different panels.  


And as Steve pointed out, the Euro style RHD headlight assemblies were different from LHD units, as they direct the headlight beams in a slightly different direction to account from driving on the opposite side of the road.  Look at a Cibie or Marchal aftermarket headlight and you'll see a little plastic slide that is moved to one side for RHD use and the other for LHD use. 


So if you're gonna drive the car in a RHD country, you need to headlights that are either meant for RHD use or can be set for either LH or RH drive. 



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Thanks Steve and Mike. As I read the various threads prior to posting, there isn’t a LHD bias to the buckets - but will double check before going full speed on the refurb. 

There are a few here in Oz that have them so will check they had no issues when aiming their lights at a testing station. The bias is in the headlight and lens itself, as I understand it. In RHD countries we have those as default at stores. 

The obvious appeal for me is not having to spend absurd money getting the original Hellas re-silvered and the abundance of seal and semi sealed units I can choose from in modern headlight units if I can put in the U.S. buckets. 

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The manufacturer slightly enclosed the rod to keep it semi captive so it does not pop out while attempting to adjust.

The fixed washer plate maintains a steady baseline to pull/push the bucket to the proper alignment whilst under spring pressure placing all the work pressure to the bucket. 

Edited by Mikesmalaga72
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8 hours ago, dlacey said:

Just to add on that fitting the US-style sealed beam headlamp assemblies requires the "shallow grilles" where the headlamp surround is significantly shorter than the Euro spec type.

Well, not exactly. The U.S. headlight buckets were paired with deep grilles from March 1966 to January 1972, and shallow grilles from January 1972 until the end of round taillight production in August 1973.


The deep grilles used an additional component, an asymmetric filler ring, to fill a gap between the sealed beam and the forward edge of the headlight rim. The photo below shows one of these asymmetric filler rings in front of the headlight retaining ring.


Other than the additional filler ring, the headlight buckets were the same for deep and shallow grilles. The headlight buckets even remained the same through the square taillight era, although the finish on the headlight retaining ring went from plated (round taillight) to black powdercoating (square taillight).


Best regards,






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