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Upgrade my headlight bulbs?


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45 replies to this topic

#26 Numbchux

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 01:43 PM

I found the biggest upgrade for my lights was spending a day wet sanding them with 600 grit then 2000 grit and topping off with a clear coat. Made the car look brand new and the headlights are much better now. took me maybe 3 hours and $16. About once a week i wipe them with wd-40 to keep them nice and clear.

 

I think i use the 2nd "best" sylvania bulb but the cleaning was the real upgrade

 

Yep, I did that, too. Wet sand, I used 4 or 5 different grits working up to 2000, and sealed with thinned spar urethane. Fantastic.

 

If you're going to bother with the SilverStars, do the Ultras, they last SOOOO much longer. Or, spend half as much and get LEDs...



#27 ccrinc

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 05:20 PM

Thanks everyone! (Didn't mean to start any arguments! :D )

My daughter and I are taking a road trip next month: Rapid City, SD to Monterey, CA.  Through SD, WY, UT and NV there's a lot of empty highway...well, empty except for all those damn deer.  I keep my headlight lenses "serviced" so that's not an issue. I'm just not impressed with the stock bulbs in my Forester.  My last trip to Denver just confirmed that.  I'm only doing the high beams.  I don't like being blasted by those new HID lights either. But when it's the issue of me vs. the deer, bright is what I want.

I also have to say that I'm sorry I don't check in here more often.  Since we closed our shop in 2016 and I'm retired, I just don't get around like I used to. I also fault the 2 spine surgeries I had for that! But y'all are always in my thoughts.  Best group of people ever! :wub: 
 



#28 carfreak85

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 08:39 AM

Dedicated pencil beam driving lamps...  Acceptable.

 

HID/LED plug'n'play...  Unacceptable.



#29 idosubaru

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 09:10 AM

sealed with thinned spar urethane. Fantastic...

 

Chux - what does "thinned spar urethane" mean?  talk 3rd grader to me - my proficiency lies with bolts and mechanics not finishes and painting and me and wood should never hang out together so urethane isn't typically something i even think about doing. 

 

i got stuck there - i saw so many conflicting opinions about what lasts, what doesn't, what's applicable, and how to finish from basically nothing to super complex i just never followed through.  so i've got all the polish and finishing stuff i need but i'm stuck on how to final coat it? 



#30 Numbchux

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:05 AM

Chux - what does "thinned spar urethane" mean?  talk 3rd grader to me - my proficiency lies with bolts and mechanics not finishes and painting and me and wood should never hang out together so urethane isn't typically something i even think about doing. 

 

i got stuck there - i saw so many conflicting opinions about what lasts, what doesn't, what's applicable, and how to finish from basically nothing to super complex i just never followed through.  so i've got all the polish and finishing stuff i need but i'm stuck on how to final coat it? 

 

I bought Spar Urethane, then mixed it with a thinner.  ;)

 

Did it November of 2016, they still look fantastic.

 

Per this write-up. http://www.subaruout...4132-post9.html



#31 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:48 AM

Or you could just spray them with real automotive clear coat - this stuff is two-part mix in a spray can and hardens tough as nails. Basically the same you would do with a gun in a spray booth. I did my whole Trans Am with it.

 

https://www.amazon.c...l/dp/B0043B7UQY

 

GD



#32 idosubaru

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:53 AM

I bought Spar Urethane, then mixed it with a thinner. ;)


i'll look it up. thinner and how much to mix i'm clueless about. or actually i'll just do this:

Or you could just spray them with real automotive clear coat - this stuff is two-part mix in a spray can and hardens tough as nails. Basically the same you would do with a gun in a spray booth. I did my whole Trans Am with it.

https://www.amazon.c...l/dp/B0043B7UQY

GD


got it, i've used that before when painting. thanks, i'll probably go that route, amazon didn't have it last time i bought it quite a few years ago.

Edited by idosubaru, 17 April 2018 - 10:53 AM.


#33 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 11:00 AM

Dedicated pencil beam driving lamps...  Acceptable.

 

HID/LED plug'n'play...  Unacceptable.

 

This is no longer the case. It *was* the case. That's one of the consequences of the march of progress and technology. It's a moving target, and what was the case yesterday, may not be the case tomorrow. 

 

GD



#34 carfreak85

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 12:50 PM

GD, as an automotive design engineer I am telling you that you are blinding the snot out of people by putting those idiotic plug'n'play LED bulbs into a lamp that was designed for halogen bulbs ONLY.

 

You own a shop and are a really smart guy, but this isn't about some "march of progress," this has everything to do with how easily the human brain can be tricked into thinking that "brighter is better."  The fact of the matter is that, yes, LEDs are brighter than halogen, but when you slap p'n'p garbage (and it all is garbage, and illegal too) into a halogen housing, you're spraying that brighter light EVERYWHERE, instead of where the engineers designed the lamp to aim light.

 

The human brain now thinks, "Wow, look at all this light!  This has improved my night vision!"

 

WRONG.

 

You've now actually HURT you night vision by lighting up the foreground directly in front of your car, more light to the sides of the road, etc.  This extra, in-aimed light is reflected back to your eye, causing your pupils to close and thus, reducing your night vision.

 

But hey, they're BRIGHT and WHITE and darnit the march of cheap Chinese progress must be a good thing!  Right?...



#35 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 01:44 PM

The position and size of the element in the LED's is exactly the same as the halogen. Just brighter. Much like expensive halogen's are brighter than cheap ones. Same concept. The beam pattern appears identical with proper cut-off. 

 

Does the additional brightness reduce your night-vision? Sure it does. But that's a consequence of bright light at night. So does the oncoming traffic with stock HID and LED lighting. 

 

It's an arms race of who can have the brightest lighting. The oncoming traffic has already hindered our night vision. 

 

The reality, off the engineering drawing board, is that they work great and any slight changes to the beam pattern are inconsequential in practice. 

 

We are talking about tens of thousands of happy customers that give these 5 stars. Many of whom are very conscious about all these factors. I understand your concerns but in actual real world comparison the "problems" you site are extremely minor, and have been reduced to the point of no longer being a concern. 

 

GD



#36 Numbchux

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 02:46 PM

GD, as an automotive design engineer I am telling you that you are blinding the snot out of people by putting those idiotic plug'n'play LED bulbs into a lamp that was designed for halogen bulbs ONLY.

 

You own a shop and are a really smart guy, but this isn't about some "march of progress," this has everything to do with how easily the human brain can be tricked into thinking that "brighter is better."  The fact of the matter is that, yes, LEDs are brighter than halogen, but when you slap p'n'p garbage (and it all is garbage, and illegal too) into a halogen housing, you're spraying that brighter light EVERYWHERE, instead of where the engineers designed the lamp to aim light.

 

The human brain now thinks, "Wow, look at all this light!  This has improved my night vision!"

 

WRONG.

 

You've now actually HURT you night vision by lighting up the foreground directly in front of your car, more light to the sides of the road, etc.  This extra, in-aimed light is reflected back to your eye, causing your pupils to close and thus, reducing your night vision.

 

But hey, they're BRIGHT and WHITE and darnit the march of cheap Chinese progress must be a good thing!  Right?...

 

As someone with real world experience. I'm telling you your blanket statement is wrong.

 

I was VERY concerned about not blinding oncoming traffic, so I took note of the light pattern on the inside of my garage (I have a 28ft deep garage, so the garage door was about 6ft away) with the halogens immediately before swapping to the LEDs. They cast an almost HID/Projector-crisp light cutoff (see my picture in post #13 of this thread).

 

I have driven probably 30k miles in that car, I've not had a single person flash their high-beams at me.

 

I've driven in traffic in front of it while in my Celica and XT6 several times, and other than the color difference it's not any different than other cars (and I HATE poorly-aimed headlights).

 

 

 

Yes, I'm sure there are LED drop-ins where the LED itself is not placed accurately, and is very obnoxious. Which is why I posted a link to the exact product I used, because I know it works.



#37 carfreak85

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 02:49 PM

ACTUALLY, the size and position are completely different and not at all "exactly the same."

 

Halogen - The filament in a halogen bulb is coiled into a "cylindrical" shape, "--".  The area of the filament that is brightest is right in the middle of the cylinder, with the surrounding area completely dark, causing a very sharp cutoff in contrast.

 

HID - These bulbs make light by way of electric arc between two electrodes.  The heat of this "electrical short" produces a crescent-shaped light source, "(".  The area surrounding this shape glow in various levels of brightness:  Closer to the arc is brighter and dims as you move away from it.  The brightest area of this shape is right next to the two electrodes.

 

LED - Light is created by a diode, which produces a single-point light source.  Think of it as light shining out of this period --> "."

 

As you can probably tell, if you design any sort of reflector for one style of light source, just jamming in a completely different type of bulb is going to throw all that design work right out the window.  (This goes back to my previous post, re: the human brain being easily tricked into thinking "MOAR LIGHT IS B3TT4R!!!").

 

HIDs only come in a DS1 or DS2 style base, which is not compatible with the socket of a halogen lamp FOR A SPECIFIC REASON.  LED manufacturers try to get around the laws of physics by placing several diodes on a single bulb to try to replicate the shape and light dispersion of a halogen filament.

 

I totally agree that how "poor" an HID or LED p'n'p conversion is perceived is completely dependent on the specific lamp used and the specific bulb type that is installed inside.  But that doesn't mean "MOAR LIGHT IS B3TT4R!!!"

 

If you want to learn more about this topic, surf over to www.danielsternlighting.com

 

TL;DR There is no way to place an HID arc or an LED in the correct place to replicate a halogen bulb.


Edited by carfreak85, 17 April 2018 - 02:51 PM.


#38 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 03:11 PM

All of that is academic (and not accurate with respect to all designs of LED elements) when tens of thousands of people are using them effectively in the real world. The reviews and pictures and experience of more than one member of this forum speaks for itself.  

 

Is it perfect? No. Does it have to be? No. Clearly it does not. 

 

And the legality is subjective. Since no one is actually enforcing any laws that might exist preventing people from doing these conversions (and it's unlikely they even *could* enforce them) - much like the academic argument against their effectiveness - it makes zero difference in practice. 

 

GD


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 17 April 2018 - 03:13 PM.


#39 idosubaru

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 03:46 PM

I don't think all of us, if any, are asking "What are some of those annoyingly disruptive lights people drive, so that i can install those?"  I've seen reviews state LED's aren't any brighter or "maybe" brighter and i'll consider those.  I'm not interested in the blindingly crazy lights and there's information to suggest the differences are minor.  Compared to what most of us see on our weekly commute 

 

Very few, particularly here, care about "legality" on something like this - our weekly commutes confirm no one, including the authorities, give a (!%)*%!, no one is getting pulled over and lawsuits aren't happening or stopping anything. Debating the "legality" of every home-made, DIY, write-up, swap, lift, modification, work-around on this forum around safety and design implications would be an interesting task.



#40 el_freddo

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 06:04 AM

LED and HID conversions are my pet hate - especially the blue hid lights (factory lights included).

The driver might like them, but as their oncoming road user coping their lights I can tell you they're all blinding, especially since many of our roads have small bumps etc in them changing the pitch of the vehicle so the lights look like they're actually flashing you. Something you don't get with halogen lights.

Anyway, arguement aside, this is how we do better lights in Australia - leave the low beam alone if it's aimed right etc:

SKhOO6.jpg

^ Holden VT with the driving lights. Two 100mm and two 150mm units with 130w halogen globes. Liberty got an upgrade, see below...

WLVTO5.jpg

ggY7gk.jpg

PSy3au.jpg

The goal is to throw as much light down the road as possible. The earlier you can see the roos the better off you are. Plus many ppl think it's ok to drive down our country freeways with their highbeams on. These ensure you're the reminder...

And I'm not into LED bars either - too blue in colour. Once a warm white light is available I'll probably look into them further.

Cheers

Bennie

#41 Bushwick

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:29 AM

Even though this poor thread derailed heavily, here's 2cents by someone that has been pulled over roughly 25+ times since my high school years in the last 25 years roughly, that has lived in different states, and routinely traveled out of state for work, in both personal cars and commercial semis:

 

Local PD vary by city, by how much they care/don't care about things. Larger cities with a ton of crime annually, probably won't even look twice UNLESS you or your car is known to them or you are blatantly doing something stupid. In which case, ANY reason to stop you, they will. Whether that's a dead license plate light, missing front plate, etc. In cities with minimal crime however, the odds go up greatly, as they are not burdened with nonsense.

 

Here's some examples: I ran limo limo tint on a personal 2 door sedan; back, sides, and rear quarters (only driver and pass door are illegal on 2 door at that percentage in Ohio) for years in Akron. Never stopped. Pittsburgh, 3 years, never stopped. My local Ohio city where I grew up and returned to late in life? Stopped twice after 4 and 5 months upon returning, 1st was a warning, 2nd a ticket. 35k population. Back on my 1st four-eyed  Foxbody at 17, I flipped the high and low beams, so high were outside, as I was poor HS student and was trying to squeak by after a low beam died. City was adjacent to my current city, with roughly 40k population, low crime (like 1 murder per decade kind of crime like current city, but plagued with drugs like any other). Within a day of flipping lights, cop stopped me. Even though they were aiming down, he knew. Again, somewhere like Akron or Cleveland, probably would have gone unnoticed. My local city and 2 adjacent will routinely stop you if a light is out, etc. If they are angled wrong, they'll also stop you. Running illegal color lights? They'll stop you.

 

I will say though, that the local PD, since switching to the Ford Explorer platform, are easier to spot since they all have the blue hue headlights. Back when Crown Vics were the norm, used to have to rely on the parking light's distinct pattern.

 

Again, just 2 cents. Either blindly follow others, or use common sense.



#42 Mike104

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:52 AM

Another jurisdiction that have nothing to do are airports that have their own police departments (at least in the US).  Since they rarely have anything to do other than deal with opened doors or people leaving a gate before it closes (or the occasional irate passenger) they do tend to be very strict with traffic rules.  I routinely drive at just under the speed limit around the airport and am conscious to be judicious in using my turn signals.  Routinely see people pulled over by airport police around the airport for minor moving violations that probably wouldn't happen in the larger metro areas for the reasons stated above



#43 ccrinc

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:28 PM

I decided to go with Phillips H11 upgrade low beam headlight bulbs. I'm fairly happy with the high beams.  Also, these come highly recommended.  I really did consider HIDs, but these are 30% brighter and I think they'll do the trick. Plus, Amazon had them at a decent price point for a pair.



#44 Subaru Scott

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:41 PM

Nothing is free.

 

Burning regular incandescent head, sidemarker and tail lights eats up about 1.2 MPG.

 

I haven't seen figures for LEDs yet, but that technology is changing DAILY.

 

In 5 more years, we will laugh about what we have now.



#45 Bushwick

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 04:05 AM

Nothing is free.

 

Burning regular incandescent head, sidemarker and tail lights eats up about 1.2 MPG.

 

I haven't seen figures for LEDs yet, but that technology is changing DAILY.

 

In 5 more years, we will laugh about what we have now.

 

As someone that's done extensive traveling, both at night and during the day, I never saw a 1+ MPG drop on my personal vehicles from 10-20amp worth of draw. With my Mark VIII, I'd set the cruise at 70 and could get all the way to Pittsburgh and back to the Akron area on a single tank of gas, and had enough gas in the tank to still go a few a days of local driving before topping off. I made that trip every weekend for months. I also traveled heavily to Fort Wayne, IN. over a 6 month period, every weekend (one top off). Granted it was 97% highway, the MPG was static on perfectly flat and straight road. That car had the real time mpg sensor which was fairly accurate (vs. dividing gallons and trip mileage it was spot on). And as stated before, the Mark had an upgraded alt and two very demanding amplifiers, and I was routinely pushing that HARD. At least 200 amp worth of draw. THAT might have eaten .5 to 1mpg along with the AC running at highway. City mpg was around 19-20 IF the car was babied, and between AC always on and alt being taxed, it still stayed that way. Only time it'd dip 15-18 is if I was constantly flogging it from a stop.

 

With that said, someone constantly going 10 over the limit or tailgating only to pass and do 80, hammering it from dead stop to only hit their brakes 10 sec later, then slow down and speed up again, or someone on a cellphone tapping their brakes every 5-10 seconds, etc. will see an increase in mpg regardless. I've seen thousands of people drive like that, and it seems unlikely they are even aware. Also, a severely under powered engine in a car that's not very drag-friendly, might be at the brink of what the car can easily handle. Meaning strapping a bobble head to the hood as an ornament might drop MPG j/k but to some degree I'm serious.



#46 Subaru Scott

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 05:25 PM

YMMV  :rolleyes:

 

I'll put it this way:  Didn't you have one of those light sets on your bicycle as a kid with the generator that ran off the back wheel?

 

Did it seem to you that the drag was so insignificant, that you just left it on all the time?

 

Or, no...






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