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MG TD TF 1500 - Head Lamp - RHD vs LHD

The next little parts that I am tackling are the headlamps. Upon disassembly, I found that the PO had converted the head lamps to "modern" head light bulbs. I was considering going back to the original "semi-sealed" bulbs and would like to get your more experienced viewpoints in this area.

Additionally, while researching the bulbs, I noticed that they are sold by "RHD" or "LHD". Once again I will show my lack of knowledge with these vehicles. Why would the side that the driver sits on have any bearing on the head lamps?

A side question. The PO painted the entire head lamp to include what I thought was supposed to be the chrome retaining ring. What is the best procedure or product to remove paint from chrome (if indeed it is a chrome ring)?

As usual, thanks for the help and patience,

TD 12947
D P Earles

I only feel I have the expertise to answer 2 of your questions, and leave the rest to those with more knowledge. The LHD versus RHD question has to do with the beams being lower on the driver's side, so as to not blind oncoming drivers. The Passenger's side bulb will be aimed higher. I believe at the factory that the correct headlight bulb socket was put on both sides of the car, so that the beams would be correctly aimed for the country the car was to be exported to. As for the best paint removal from chrome, ordinary paint stripper is what I would use. But be prepared for less than decent chrome underneath. For the PO to paint the rings telegraphs that the chrome was poor to none existent, hence his attempt to hide it.
Gene Burgess

The old "BPF" British Pre Focused bulbs were "right dipping" and "left dipping"... With a left hand drive car they dip to the right...and visa versa...
Have looked at the filament in my old ones and one (not sure which) is slightly off set.
Actually, I'm wondering if they would work flipped over (by making a new groove in the holder) for the other side dip? (now that I think about it, I don't think that would work).
gordon lawson - TD 27667

Patrick; If you are driving in countries that drive on the right you need Right dipping bulbs(headlamps)
Sandy Sanders


If originality is your thing, then go for it, but just remember that the TD was originally designed for the narrow British roads on which one typically couldn't go much faster than 45 mph.

I've tried all kinds of headlights including some pretty exotic stuff I took from my Ferrari 275GTB/4, and just about burned out my (TF) generator in the process!

I recently switched-out my tripod lamps with H4s, for a pair of Sylvania H6024ST sealed beams. These are absolutely grea and designed for modern driving. But again, make sure your generator is in good shape as you will need to be turning at least 2500 RPM with the high-beams on.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.

Gordon A. Clark

The normal great response I have come to expect. Thanks to all.

D P Earles

Just for the record, I'm running Lucas RHD sealed beam lamps on my '67 BGT. They do dip towards oncoming traffic, but it has never been a problem. The car is so low compared to other traffic that even on high beams I'm not bothering anyone. Also, old sealed beams like this aren't that bright anyway so again, no problems. I like having the correct lamps in the car and it makes an interesting conversation piece. If your electrical system is in good order they should be bright enough for general driving. At least they are for me.
Steve Simmons

Interesting thread. I always thought it was the Lens that was etched to direct left or right rather than the bulb. I thought The TF was originally a "semi sealed" beam and just the bulb could be replaced. Do the lenses and bulbs need to be a matched pair?

Dan H.
Dan Hanson

Re your comment about the painted chrome retaining ring around the headlights. I found the following in Clausager's book Original MG T Series. pg 74

"The TD was found with chrome plated and painted headlamps (the latter still had chrome plated rims).It is not possible to state specific change over points by chassis numbers, but it can be said that the painted lamps were used owing to the chromium shortage during the Korean war - although strangely no other chrome plating was deleted from the TD specification"

Perhaps you have one of these "Korean War" produced TDs. If you try to strip off the paint you may find that there is no chrome under it at all. Still you can still then get them chromed rather than have them painted!

Bill Tutty
1955 TF 1500 #9901
Bill Tutty

The lamp lenses are right/left dipping. I have the wrong set on my car (NA Export but I snagged a set of original RHD lamps from Australia years ago). These are very bright lights (semi sealed beam with replaceable bulbs). When driving in the US I get a lot of folks flashing me because the dipped state is out into traffic vs to the curb.

I am afraid that I cannot remember if the bulbs were right and left drive but I don't think so.
Chris Couper

This thread was discussed between 20/02/2006 and 23/02/2006

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