1985 1986 1987 Honda BIG RED 250ES LED Headlight Upgrade
Updated: Nov 14, 2021
I have spent a lot of time restoring BIG REDS to original condition so a small modernization project like an LED headlight upgrade was a nice change of pace. I recently got my 1985 Honda 250ES BIG RED with a snowplow up and running. In addition to the handwarmers and thumbwarmers I wanted to upgrade the headlight for plowing. After an internet search I found a 4" X 6" LED headlight on ebay. With shipping it was about $22.00 US. Below are the details of this upgrade. For me it was a big difference in lighting power and was well worth the time to complete the upgrade.
Here is a link to the headlight I purchased.Here is the link. 85-87 250ES LED Headlight I did make this headlight work in the original headlight housing but it did require some additional work to do this. This light does have a high and a low beam. I was pleased with the results. Here are the details of the upgrade:
Here are some pics of the LED headlight as received. It cost about $22.00 US and took about two weeks to get it since it was shipped from Hong Kong. I did not use any of the mounting hardware and the headlight bucket is made out of aluminum (I think)
First thing I did was check to see if the light works. One great feature of this light is that the wiring is plug and play. The connector plugs right into the original factory connector and the high and low beams work with the switch on the handlebar with no modification. The high and low beam worked properly so I moved on to mounting the headlight.
Ok on to mounting the headlight. I wanted to mount this headlight into the original housing. I took some quick measurements and it looked possible.
Here are some pics of the original and LED headlights side by side. Note the LED headlight does not have the tab with the nut that the original headlight has. I wanted to make the mounting like the original so this required some light fabrication. Here is what I did:
I measured the dimensions of the mounting tab and nut on the original headlight and then laid out the parts to make a new tab on some sheet metal. I then cut out the parts with a cutoff wheel and cleaned them up with a grinder. Locating the nut is key as it need to align with the hole in the headlight housing.
First part of fabricating the mounting bracket done.
I used epoxy to hold the mounting bracket so I can mock up an additional support bracket. Note the match marks used to make sure the alignment of the nut is correct.
Using a piece of cardboard for mock up
I drilled the headlight housing with a 1/8" diameter drill bit (there are bosses that are not drilled) and used some sheet metal screws to mount the tab
I then welded the mounting bracket pieces together
Below is another bracket that I made.
Next I put the LED headlight into the housing. It fits but it is a tight fit and looks good. Ok now some before and after pics to show the performance of the original and LED lights. Note the the winch is affecting the lighting on all the pics below.
Above is the original 60 watt incandescent headlight on high. Below are the pictures of the LED headlight installed.
Low beam from the front
High beam from the front The performance of the LED is much better than the original. I am very happy with the results of this upgrade. I will order another one and try to get it to fit on the 1982-1984 BIG REDS.