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Jonathan (Birdman)
Junior Member
Username: Birdman

Post Number: 112
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 7:23 pm:   

Hi Guys,
OK, I understand the electrical part of this, so here's a practical question. I'm driving down the road with my low beams on, so the headlights are up. Now, when I switch over to high beams, the power to the headlights is interrupted for a split second as the switch moves from the low to the high position. Does this momentary glitch cause any problems with the headlight motors? They are going to get a split second of zero volts. My suggestion would be to add a large capacitor to the circuit between the solenoid side of the diodes to ground. This would hold a charge just long enough that the solenoid wouldn't open with a split second of power glitch. Then of course, you might need a small amount of resistance (maybe 5 ohms) in series with the diodes to keep from popping the fuses when the lights are first turned on and the capacitor charges. Maybe this all happens so fast that the motors in the headlights can't react anyway. Anyone checked this out?


Jim E (Jimpo1)
Intermediate Member
Username: Jimpo1

Post Number: 1554
Registered: 7-2001
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 11:25 am:   

Add this to the 'You learn something new every day' category. I had never heard of this mod until this morning. I was shooting the breeze at Norwoods and was told about a mod that Bob Norwood did years ago. Bring in your 2V 308 and he'd put on an Ansa exhaust, remove the smog stuff, and do the headlight mod. You'd then have a 150mph car. Now, same day, here's a thread on the headlight mod.
Barry Wolinsky (308gtb)
Username: 308gtb

Post Number: 460
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 11:11 am:   

I'm going to complicate the lighting stalk function variation even more. My 1976 US Version 308 GTB (Fiberglass) lighting stalk functions as Mike has outlined with the addition of the ability to flash the high beams. To do this, I place the stalk in the "non-activated middle position" and pull back on the lever. This raises the headlamp pods and flashes the high beams. The high beams come on as soon as I pull back on the stalk and the headlamp pods rotate to the up position and stay there as long as I hold the stalk back. Letting go of the stalk shuts off the high beams and the pods lower. With the stalk in the "activated middle position," (headlamps on low beam and parking lights on), pulling back on the stalk flashes the high beams. The stalk can be pulled back in any of the three non-activated positions, but the flash ability only works in the middle position.

The records that came with my car do not indicate any modifications done to the lighting stalk. The 1976 owner's manual is typically vague on the matter of the lighting stalk function.

Mike Procopio (Pupz308)
Junior Member
Username: Pupz308

Post Number: 222
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 1:53 am:   

OK. There are exactly six states that the light switch lever can be in. I'll list the states and the behavior.

When the lights control lever is "activated," that means that it is twisted 90 degrees "forward" (counter clockwise, with the shaft pointing towards you). This is what it has to be in to get the lights to go on.

1. Activated, top position
--> Parking lights ON, headlamps DOWN and OFF
--> Green headlamp light indicator on speedometer is illuminated

2. Activated, middle position
--> Parking lights ON, headlamps UP and ON
--> Green headlamp light indicator on speedometer is illuminated

3. Activated, bottom position
--> Parking lights ON, headlamps UP and ON with high beams ON
--> Green headlamp light indicator on speedometer is illuminated
--> Blue headlamp light indicator on tachometer is illuminated

4. Not activated, top position
--> No effect. Parking lights OFF, headlamps DOWN and OFF
--> Neither the green nor blue headlight indicator lights are illuminated on the speedo/tach

5. Not activated, middle position
--> No effect. Same as #4.

6. Not activated, bottom position
--> No effect. Same as #4.

I've confirmed this to be the observed behavior, at least in my 78 308 GTS.

Hans, I hope that this clears up your question. One fundamental here is that, whenever the headlamps are UP and ON, including the high beams, all of the lights associated with "parking lights" are ALSO on.

This doesn't take into account any Euro cars, or those with extra driving lights and/or fog lights.

Hans E. Hansen (4re_gt4)
Intermediate Member
Username: 4re_gt4

Post Number: 1017
Registered: 4-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 12:11 am:   

I'm *slightly* confused, and am looking for a clarification.

After this mod, if I understand correctly, when you twist the light knob (but leaving it in the uppermost position), the headlights no longer come up, but the parking lights come on. Correct? To raise the headlights, you now need to move the light switch down a notch to it's middle (low beam) position. Correct? What happens with the switch *TWISTED* in the off position, but moved downward to the middle (low beam) position? Do the lights rise? Do the headlights come on, but the parking lights remain off?

Enquiring minds want to know. Alien babies, Rosanne, Ferrari headlights.
Mike Procopio (Pupz308)
Junior Member
Username: Pupz308

Post Number: 220
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 11:22 pm:   


Though the procedure sounds a bit extensive when you first read it, it really is not a big deal at all. The most the car is ever "torn apart" is the relay panel is slipped off, which it is designed to do quite easily. Goes back on in a flash. There is one wire to be cut. Most of my work time was fabricating, heat tubing, spade/butt connector clamping, dioding, and electrical taping the Y-shaped diode harness.

The "spades" on the end of the fusebox refer to where the branches of the Y connect. Each fuse is associated with 1 or 2 male spade connectors above it on the fusebox, and 1 or 2 male spade connectors below it. Sometimes, only 1 of the 2 connectors are currently used by the factory wiring.

What's nice here is, Fuse #10 and #12 (the first and third on the right-most fuse panel) have two spade connectors on the bottom where the fuse touches the fusebox, and only one is in use on each position. So, there's no modification to factory wiring. These two dioded current paths eventually feed into one, which go into the "3 oclock position" of the main headlight relay.
Gary Reed (Gary_reed)
New member
Username: Gary_reed

Post Number: 45
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 9:06 pm:   

Dave Handa,
You are correct, my 1983 QV (USA) needed the diodes and you did it for me in your driveway a few years ago.

Thanks again!
DJParks (Djparks)
Junior Member
Username: Djparks

Post Number: 108
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 7:25 pm:   

Hi Dave, When you say there is an extra spade to use on the back of the fuse panel, would that be for the power input voltage #30 as opposed to control input, #85? I haven't torn the car apart yet so I am trying to visualize this in my head.
Thanks, DJ
david handa (Davehanda)
Username: Davehanda

Post Number: 557
Registered: 5-2001
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 7:14 pm:   

I have converted at least 5 or 6 308's now, and could swear that one was a 83 QV so not so sure about all QV's having the upgrade. A surprising number of 308's have been upgraded by previous owners or dealers though.

One change that we have not updated on that procedure; you don't need to use "wire taps" there are extra spade connects on the back of the fuse panel, you can just tap onto those, and avoid a "permanent" modification to your wiring....

Dave Handa
Mike Procopio (Pupz308)
Junior Member
Username: Pupz308

Post Number: 215
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 10:04 am:   

Glad you QV folks don't have the issue. I'm finding the carbed 308s (and maybe 2v-injected ones) need a lot of these little upgrades--power locks for one!

DJParks, great to hear you've found a solution.

Again, I did not write the article--I simply found it and followed it. Ultimate homage paid to its authors (which include Bob Bowser, Dave Handa).
DJParks (Djparks)
Junior Member
Username: Djparks

Post Number: 100
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 8:20 am:   

Just the information I was looking for! Excellent!
Never could understand why the buckets were allowed up when they weren't being used. Silly.
Thanks for the great article guys, DJ
Mike Charness (Mcharness)
Username: Mcharness

Post Number: 399
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 6:40 am:   

My USA QV also came that way standard. I think it's only an issue for the older cars.
Steven R. Rochlin (Enjoythemusic)
Username: Enjoythemusic

Post Number: 301
Registered: 4-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 5:20 am:   


MANY thanks for the GREAT info! i believe the Euro version of the 308 QV already has this feature as standard. Keep the wonderful info coming!!! ALL help is ALWAYS appreciated.

Enjoy the Drive,

Steven R. Rochlin

Mike Procopio (Pupz308)
Junior Member
Username: Pupz308

Post Number: 213
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 12:11 am:   

And, with all respect to FerrariClub.com, and to Bob Bowser and Dave Handa (who contributed to the article), I've decided to post the text here for the sake of the FerrariChat archives. (Never know when things disappear on the net) :-).


How do I turn on my 308 parking lights without having the headlights pop up?

Many 308 owners would like to be able to run their parking lights without having their headlight buckets in the up position. While Ferrari made this possible starting with the 328 series, many earlier 308 series owners would like to know how to update the headlight circuit so that the headlight buckets can be down when the parking lights are on. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to make the modification. For those interested, included at the end of this FAQ is a brief explanation of how the circuit works and exactly what is being modified.

Materials You Will Need

2 each 200 volt/1 amp silicon diodes (available from Radio Shack)
2 feet of 14 gauge electrical wire
2 each crimp-on taps for the 14 gauge wire (it's best to use the taps that accept a female spade terminal)
2 each crimp-on male spade terminals (to attach to the taps)
An assortment of heat shrink tubing
Some electrical tape
3 each crimp-on butt splice
3 wire ties to keep the new wiring tidy under the dash

Making the Modification

Remove the fascia cover from the dash (the power portion of the passenger side dash). This will reveal an assortment of fuses and relays. Keep the fascia cover handy, as you will need to refer to the diagram on the back of the cover throughout the following steps.

Locate the head lamp lifting motor relay. There are three headlight relays: one for the left, one for the right, and a third which drives the other two. The one you want is labeled "Head Lights Motor Contact", and is located in the center of the panel. Check the diagram on the back of the fascia cover to make sure you've got the right relay. The connections on the relay are labeled as follows:
85 - Control Input
86 - Control Output (usually ground for the solenoid)
30 - Power Input
87 - Primary Power Output
87a- Secondary Power Output

Note: When 12 volts are applied to the Control Input, the solenoid is activated, and connections 30, 87, and 87a are shorted together.

Identify the fuses for left and right high and low beams. They are usually the first four fuses in the right panel.

Unhook the relay panel by lifting and rotating the top toward you.

On the back of the panel, the headlight relay should have a blue wire running to the connection at the 3 o'clock and the 6 o'clock positions (viewing the relay connections as a clock; looking down on the panel with the top of the panel pointing towards you). The blue wire runs to 3 o'clock (the control input) first, then down to the 6 o'clock (power input) position. It originates from the relay to the immediate right (the 12 o'clock position). The entire wire runs to four different places (it has four connectors on it).

Flip the panel back up to the vertical position. Remove the headlight relay. Each spade connection fits into the panel in a slot with a small hole or notch on one side. Stick an awl or a thin bladed screwdriver into the small hole as far as you can (about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch). This releases the locking tab for the wire connector on the back of the panel. From the back of the panel, pull the blue wire out of both the 3 o'clock and the 6 o'clock positions.

Using wire cutters, cut the blue wire so that there is just one connector. Cut it at the 3 o'clock connector so that the wire no longer continues to the 6 o'clock connector. Save the connector and short wire that used to run to the 6 o'clock position.

Insert the remaining connector on the blue wire into the 6 o'clock (power input) position. You should now have a wire running from the 6 o'clock (power input) position on the headlight relay directly over to the 12 o'clock position on the relay to the right. The 3 o'clock (control input) position should be empty.

Add a new control circuit. Use a pair of 200 volt/1 amp diodes in a Y configuration, where the branches of the Y connect to the bottom spade connections for the #10 and #12 fuses, and the trunk of the Y connects to the 3 o'clock (control input) position on the relay. The current must flow FROM the fuses TO the relay control input, otherwise you will blow the fuses. Use the connector and the short length of blue wire you cut off previously, inserting the connector in the 3 o'clock position in the relay panel. Be careful, of course, to make sure nothing will short to anything once it is all put back together. You can cover the diodes and their exposed leads with the heat shrink tubing. If the tubing shrinks too much lengthwise, use a little electrical tape to ensure that everything is adequately insulated.

Wiring the relays in this manner will activate the headlight lifting motors whenever either the left headlight low or high beam is on. You could also connect to fuses #11 and #13. In either case, the motors will now only activate when the headlights are switched on.

Replace the relay, relay panel, and fascia cover.

Test your work.

How the Circuit Works

One relay controls whether the headlight lifting motors are activated. It has one power input, two power outputs (switched), a control input to the solenoid, and a ground for the solenoid. The stock wiring is for power to be applied to both the control and power input at the same time by the light switch on the steering column moving to either the park or headlight position. In addition, the light switch applies power to the headlight bulbs themselves whenever it is moved to the headlight position.

The above modification changes this so that the light switch only applies power to the power input when it is in either the parking lights or headlights position. The control input is driven by power being applied to either the high or low beam bulbs themselves. As a result, the solenoid making the headlights lift is only activated when the headlights are actually on.

Contributions to this FAQ by: Bob Bowser, Dave Handa
Mike Procopio (Pupz308)
Junior Member
Username: Pupz308

Post Number: 212
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 12:09 am:   

Hey gang,

Tonight, I changed some wiring around on the 308 (good fun, right) so that the parking lights can be on without the headlamps in the "up" position. It may sound silly, but I never realized how unnatural it felt to have the lamps up when I just wanted the parking lights on. It is definitely one of those things that you just learn to "tolerate." Much happier now, the control is very intuitive.

Total work time was 1.5hrs, but I'm a slow, careful worker with this stuff (not really my bag, baby, but I'm managing!).

I followed the exact procedure in Bob Bowser's and Dave Handa's most excellent article, "How do I turn on my 308 parking lights without having the headlights pop up?" located at:


The article is superb and well written. There is no contradiction or amiguity, a very nice break from most do-it-yourself articles I've read.

I did my 78 308 GTS. The only difference was, my fusebox cover did not have a realy diagram on the back of it. Nonetheless, it is still easy to pick out the control headlamp relay based on the wire colors and description in the article.

If anybody has any questions about this, let me know.

"Now with enhanced parking lights!"

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