John and his 1936 Ford

by John Tiemann

This project is on adjusting the headlights for my 1936 Ford. They are focused on the road only 30 feet in front of the car and making night driving a high risk endeavor. Here’s the back story.

When I put the new suspension under the front of the car, it was lowered only about 1‐1/2 inches but the headlights cannot compensate for the slant in the front of the car. After some thought and a few measurements, I came up with the angle needed to bring the headlights back into range for night driving.

What I needed to construct was a wedge adaptor to place under the headlight assembly. This involved a bit of machining to a 1/2‐inch plate of Aluminum to match the headlight mounting brackets.

First was to machine a pair of 2‐inch x 4‐inch x 1/2‐inch blocks and then mount those onto a short piece of square tubing so that I could clamp the block in a vise at the proper angle with the thick end John and his 1936 Ford By John Tiemann at 1/2‐inch and the thin side at 0.040‐inch to get the outside profile. I used Rhino Glue to attach a headlight base gasket for use as a template to machine the outline. Not having a rotary table to control the rotation, I needed to use XY moves on the mill to get the outline cut to within about 0.030‐inch (shown in Photo 1) and then use a belt sander to shape the profile to size.

The final step was to bore the center mounting hole in the spacer plate (Photo 2).

To install these new wedges, the headlight assembly needed to be removed. They are held in place by a single post and a lock nut. Once the nut is removed, the assembly can be lifted up and the new wedge and gasket can be placed under the light assembly. Using a bit of caution, the assembly can be placed on top of the spacer and aligned properly so there is no mismatch on the seam.

This addition to the car’s front raised the light beam to a safe driving distance. The lesson learned here is to evaluate all of the aspects and impact when you start to make changes to the car.