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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Upgraded headlights

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58 replies to this topic

#26 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 24 May 2001 - 03:29 PM


The relative success (or not) between using an 80W bulb or 90W bulb is probably more luck than anything. We are only talking ~ 12% difference here. Add up difference in manufacturing (bulb, socket, wiring harness, relays, connector condition and cleanliness, etc, etc.) and this difference could easily be offset. 80W is 45% more than 55W. 90W is 63% more than 55W. I have no idea what the margin of safety is with this portion of a car's electrical system, but it my guess is that one is probably starting to push the limit. Hence, some have success, some don't.

Knowing Murphy, my luck and the long drives that I do, I'd probably end up with something getting cooked. I'm going to inquire on the Eaglite bulbs, but I suspect that driving lights may be the only real answer for me.

As for the harness - It draws from the battery. One headlight socket connects to the harness to act as a trigger. 2 relays are included as well as a fusible link. 2 new plugs connect to the (high wattage) bulbs. There are a couple of ground wires. Not difficult to install. About $50 US. Want to buy mine? I don't know if I can return it given the amount of time that I've had it (since Feb). (Obviously, have to check that it is the right one for your car.)


#27 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 25 May 2001 - 04:26 PM


You're probably right. Truth is I'm afraid to go look under the hood again!

I may take you up on that harness-- you have all the original instructions and whatnot that came with it? Much as I hate to run off buying more car goodies right now, I suppose it's cheaper than replacing the whole enchilada due to melted plastic. :)

#28 Guest_CincyBuckeye_*

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Posted 26 May 2001 - 05:06 AM


If Commuter doesn't have the installation instructions on the harness and that is the only thing holding you back, I have a set around here that shouldn't be too hard to find. I can get a copy to you if you need it.

#29 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 26 May 2001 - 09:45 AM


I still have the instructions.

I'll probably see first if I can get my money back from C.L. I'll try to find this out shortly.

I'm off on a trip for a bit... I don't know just when I'll get back to dealing with my car, but it will be a few weeks or more.

I'll keep you posted.


#30 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 26 May 2001 - 12:06 PM

Commuter (and CB),

Sounds good, keep me posted.

Commuter-- the "what oil is the best" thread is back, I posted a Q for you over there, take a peek if you have a sec.

#31 Guest_subyroo_*

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Posted 27 May 2001 - 07:54 AM


Re 80w/100w Bulbs
I took my RX Liberty into my "Sparky" today for a final rundown on whether I could / could not fit 80w/100w bulbs.

Problem 1) The H4 bulb has a smaller base than the STANDARD H4 bulb.

Problem 2) The bulb only has 2 wiring connection points instead of the normal 3 wires.

Problem 3) The BIGGEST single reason for not being able to upgrade
the bulbs, was the fact that the headlight lens is made of
poly-carbonate type material and the heat would more than likely distort the beam over a period of time, either short or long -"Sparky" was not sure on period - but definite that the lens would distort with the heat.

We discussed "spotties" for the area inboard from the fog lights, but "Sparky" said the throw of the light would be diminshed due to the height above ground level.

So it is back to the drawing board for me, as I don't want to have to mount a bar in front of the car ala nudge bar and I don't want to mount them on the bumper in front of the grille area and diminish the air flow to the radiator / A/C condensor.

Time is on my side, so I can plod along until something crops up in here or I get a "brain snap."
"Keep On Keeping On" :lol:

#32 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 27 May 2001 - 09:04 AM

H4 with a different sized base? 2 connectors instead of 3? This would no longer be an H4 bulb then, would it?? There are harnesses for other setups btw.

I emailed Midnight Moose this past week. Monica responded the next day. A couple of points she made: xenon gas allows the bulb to run cooler (but does the 'headlight' run cooler... hmmm); people have put their 90/100W bulb into the stock wiring of Subarus without a problem.

I have only had the 80/100W bulbs in for 4 months, but this would be about a years worth of time for the average person. Lights are always on (DRL's). I have not seen any evidence of the headlight housing warping or deteriorating.

I'm loath to do it, but I am thinking that I will try their bulb in the stock wiring. It would solve all my problems, assuming it doesn't create another one (melted wiring harness).


#33 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 27 May 2001 - 11:43 AM


I checked out my plugs yesterday and they're looking good. I suppose there could be damage elsewhere, but I doubt it. I also run with the lights on all the time, but I have no DRL lower-wattage wiring so they're always on at the full 80W.

I'm curious about this polycarbonate business. The 95 - 97 headlamp assemblies differ from the 98 - 99s, and the 00 - 02s differ from those. Three generations of assembly across two generations of Legacy body style. Are *all* of these assemblies polycarbonate? I'd hate to think I'm doing damage to mine on my 95 by running with these bulbs-- I'm already looking at replacing my right-side one, to match the left (which was replaced last year after a fender bender).

#34 Guest_subyroo_*

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Posted 29 May 2001 - 07:54 AM

I don't know where I read about the H4 bulbs, but I can't find where I read it in the Handbook. The bulbs are H7 Low Beam and H1U High Beam.

In ref to the Polycarbonate lens, that is my interpretation for the "plastic" lens, they definitely are not glass,they don't even look like it, let alone sound like it when you tap on them.

I will try and get some more info on them for you and MYSELF.


#35 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 29 May 2001 - 10:28 AM

Yeah good point on the plastic. Sounds like your liberty has a much different bulb setup than the things over here, all of the Legacies from 95-99 use an HB4 (9003) bulb that has dual filaments (one for hi beam, one for low).

I suppose the next major question is this: If you can't run hi-watt bulbs without nuking the plastic, what's the next best option for actually getting headlamps that WORK? Anyone with a 98-99 out there with comments on those diamond-reflector lenses they have? I checked them out and I think they can be retrofit onto the 95-97 bodies.

#36 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 29 May 2001 - 12:37 PM


I've toyed with mounting locations for auxiliary lights on different cars over the years, and perhaps the best luck I had was actually to mount the lamps in the upper grill, above the bumper. Seems that the vast bulk of cooling air is coming from the much-larger opening below the bumper.

Essentially, I carved notches out of the slats going across so that the grill looked contiguous from left to right, but cut enough so that the lights were far foward and light was mostly unobstructed. Worked great in my '90 loyale will the big 'ole rectangular fogs that took up 60% (or so) of the grill.

A dremel tool works well for carving out the notches, tho at the time I pulled if off with wire cutters and a soldering iron to smooth the edges. I chose the lightest amber lenses around to make them look like fog lights-- which don't feel as bright to oncoming drivers.

Am thinking about it now for the legacy-- I have projector lamps mounted in the stock locations, and it's really more like a decoration than anything else.


#37 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 29 May 2001 - 05:30 PM

Just thought I'd note this. This is what is in my 97 Outback.

In my neck of the woods (Ontario Canada), one ususally sees them referred to as H4's, sometimes 9003. I don't think I have ever come across the HB2 designation except for web ads and such. The HB2 however is embossed right onto the headlight lens. I know that they are plastic, but I don't know of what material.


#38 Guest_subyroo_*

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Posted 29 May 2001 - 06:33 PM

I will try and take a pic with my El Cheapo Digital camera later on, I am off out to play a round of golf in 30 mins.

#39 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 30 May 2001 - 07:32 AM

According to Daniel Stern "there's plastic and then there's plastic", in reference to melting the headlight housing. I did some pretty extensive searching (not that I found everything), and could not find anyone who had heat damge to the polycarbonate housing from overwattage bulbs. Plenty of melted harnessess, some melted bulbs. remember though, "absence of proof is not proof of absence".

I had a melted harness with stock wattage bulbs. So I definatly am not going to trust it with overwattage bulbs.

Also according to Daniel Stern, there are no good 9007 aftermarket wireing harnessess, and the only overwattage bulbs are pretty spotty in quality.

However, there are great harnessess and bulbs in H4, if anyone wants to swap 96-87 lights from the 99 "diamond reflectors" lights, I would be happy to do so. In all honesty, I would not recommend that though.

But, even if it doesn't melt anything, the stock wiring doens't feed enough volts to the stock bulbs as i is, much less overwattage bulbs. I measured a 1.5 volt drop from the battery to the headlight on the stock system.

"Halogen lights, when operating at 100% voltage, produce 100% of the designed light output. At 95% of the voltage, the light drops by more than 15%; at 90%, it drops by a third! With a typical 12-volt system operating at 13.5 volts, loss of a mere 1.35 volts is 10%. "

See; www.vclassics.com/archive/relays.htm

I bought a set of Narva Rangepower 9007 from OJ Rallye. Very nice bulbs, those and a good harness might be adequte. The 80/100w bulbs from Competition Limited are not nearly the same quality. (though brighter)

According to Competition Limited, most premature bulb failure is caused by isufficiant grounding. I ran one ground directly to the battery, the other to a bolt on the fender, to which I attached a wire to the battery. Two months and 8000 miles so far so good.



#40 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 11:38 PM


Recommending *against* the MY99 headlights is a strong position. Not questioning it, but want to know more-- can you give some specifics on why you feel that way?

#41 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 10:57 AM

For a very simple reason.

MY 98 and 99 use 9007 bulbs. earlier models use 9003 (which are H4).

As far as I have been able to determine, the housing quality is the same between years, and the "diamond" reflector is probably as good or better than the "fluted lens" at creating the beam pattern

It is the bulb type that is the killer

To quote Daniel Stern's page on bulb types:

H4 60/55 1650/1000_ECE. Axial filaments, shielded lowbeam filamnent. Makes good headlamps.

9003/HB2/H4_ 60/55 1650/1000 ECE/SAE. H4 built to tighter tolerances.

9007/HB5 65/55 1350/1000 SAE. Axial filaments. Makes mediocre headlamps.

Also, reference Dan's comment on Rich Rubel's page:

"Let's see, your .sig talks about an AWD Subaru. If it is about a '92 or newer, it has the H4 lamps, but in this country they're called HB2. (Says so right on the lens.) If you're VERY careful when you walk into the parts store, and look around and make sure the light police aren't watching you, and wear dark glasses and a hat so nobody can ID you, you can buy the $4.97 "H4" bulb instead of the identical--but $8.97--"HB2" or "9003" bulb. I won't tell ;-) "

In my corespondence with Daniel, he said that "I would not be able to do much while handicapped with 9007 bulbs" and that "there are no quality 9007 bulbs or harnesses' and that "no, he would not sell me any 9007 overwattage bulbs"

David Heupchen of OJ Rallye said much the same thing, he refuses to carry overwattage 9007s, he sold me a set of Narva Rangepower 9007s (better than OEM, but not good enough). He suggested making a set of relays and using terminals rather than a 9007 harness.

Looking at the Competition Limited 9007 harness, the wires and termianls are pretty thin.

Competion Limited (I forget the guys name) told me they had a hard time originally sourcing overwattage 9007 bulbs because the big companys don't make them due to the lower demand. They warrenty thier bulbs for 90 days, but as we see on this thread, quility is pretty hit or miss.

My Comp limited bulbs are still going, but there is a noticeable difference in the beam pattern between the left and right bulb. On the Narvas, both sides were identical (or mirrored if you want to be picky) with crisp consistant cutoff. The CL bulbs have a ragged (blurred and uneven) cutoff. Looking at the filamant, the winding is not terribly even or tight (especially compared to the Narva). They are brighter though, maybe even bright enough.

If I could switch to older housings, then I could use quality H4 blulbs and harnesses. I would gladly trade with someone if we could make sure they would swap out and could do it in a day (locally). As I said though, It would be downgrade for someone in all but appearence.

[edit] dang, easycode, I should just stick to html :-)

#42 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 08:33 PM

Ahhh... somehow I missed the 98-99 = 9007 bulb connection. My light bulb may need replacing (ta dum dum *ting*)

Do you think it would be possible to get the H4/9003s to sit with the 98-99 housing with a little work?

Yeah I know, retrofitting the 98-99 into the 95, but use the "old" bulb style... makin this more and more complicated by the day... :)

#43 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 02 June 2001 - 07:09 AM

Event if you could get them to fit, your beam pattern would be waaaaayyy off. The filiment position is different. SAE/ECE specs call for filiment postion specs to be within 10ths of a millimeter, close ain't good enough.

The real solution is a set of high and low "beam" driving lights. Either combos or four lamps (I am going with four)

Next we will have to have the "which aftermarket driving lamps" discussion ;)

#44 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 25 June 2001 - 08:53 PM

Ok... I know this topic is a long one, but I thought I'd give an update. If you want the full story, you'll have to look back and read. Sorry.

This past week, 2 more of C.L's Krypton Quartz bulbs blew on me. And I didn't even drive my car for about 4 weeks out of the last 2 months! That's a total of 6!!! of their bulbs, none of which has lasted more than 7 weeks. Heavy sigh...

C.L. thinks I have an issue with the DRL's. I say 'not'. I drive with low beams on. I don't even use the DRL's. So either their bulbs are crap, or their is an issue with the the wiring harness (relays?)... but, bulbs have been blowing regularly on both sides. Everything to me points to the bulbs.

Tonight, I unplugged the harness. I put a Hella 80/100W in and connected the stock wiring. (C.L. did send me 2 Hellas because of all my problems. At least they're trying.) I'll let you know how I make out. Nothing blew up on first turn on at least. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

CincyBuckeye... How are you making out? You've hooked up a few of these harnesses as I recall.


#45 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 05:35 AM


That's really sad-- it seems really weird. Clearly the lamps are getting too hot, by the sound of it.

I used to run 100W lamps in 55W driving lights, and they had about the same lifespan. I eventually gave up.

So either the headlight casings won't dissipate the heat, causing the bulbs to blow, or maybe the voltage into the lamps is too high. Have you checked for this? I have a dash-mounted voltmeter, and I've never seen it reach 15-- usually stays no higher than ~14.5.

It'd be interesting to mount one of these high-watt bulbs in a junker lamp assembly and see if there's a way to cool it- cut holes in the upper back of the outer shell, maybe, where H2O won't enter?? CPU fan (exotic, I know...) or something. Run it from a battery charger for several days and see how it does...


#46 Guest_Bud Subaru_*

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 10:56 AM

I've been running xenon 80/100 bulbs in my 97 outback for a couple months now. I'm using the original wiring harness. at first I checked the harness everyday for problems, but there haven't been any. I now check them once a week. I drive with the lights on, and have not had any heating problems. Of course it hasn't been to hot here until recently. I'm wondering how they will due on a long trip with temperatures in the 90's. But anyway, I haven't had a bulb blow at all. I'm wondering if it's something with your wiring harness. It's grounding out maybe? I'll post here if I have any problems, I'm going to Toledo Thursday (a 4-5 hour drive) and the temps are in the 90's. if I'm going to have problems, it will be then.

#47 Guest_crankshaft1_*

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 11:13 AM

Has anyone tried the PIAA Superwhites?? They say that the PIAA 55/60 watt bulb has the output equivilent to a 80/100 watt lamp. I've been tempted to try them but my stock lamps are still working fine. I do have higher output lights in my van and they didn't last more than 6 to 7 months each.

#48 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 11:28 AM

FWIW, I have been running CL bulbs and harnesses for just over two months now (about 4000 miles), no problems so far.

When I spoke with CL originally, the made a point of telling me (several times) to make _sure_ I had a good ground, one ground to the battery, the other to a _new_ screw mounted into the body. "Bad grounds are the biggest resons we see bulbs fail" they said.

#49 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 06:07 PM

I am aware of the "poor ground" issue. It actually happened to me as I was hooking things up. In fact, 2 weeks later (after the first bulb blew) I went back and scraped the ground points even more. I'm SURE my grounds are fine.

I haven't checked the voltage (the thought has crossed my mind). I do have a small multi-meter. Perhaps I'll dig it out.

It's good to hear someone else with my generation of OB say that they have put in the higher wattage bulbs without problem. As I said, fingers crossed.

I initially tried the PIAA SuperWhites. Expensive (but then, so is this "mess" with the harness and horrific bulb life). PIAA claims equivalent of 100/110W from a standard 55/60W bulb. I'd really like to know how they measure that. :( They were a definite improvement. Subjectively, they were 'between' the stock bulb and the 80/100W KQ bulbs. I'd guess around a 70/80W brightness. A significant improvement no doubt. I was quite pleased, until a bulb blew at 4.5 months. Actually, that sounds like a great life after my experience with the C.L. KQ bulbs! :lol: The shop I bought them from told me - 90 day warranty. Since then, it has been pointed out to me that PIAA says 1 year on their web site. I'm following up on it. Once again, I drive 3 hours a day. My 4.5 months would be a year or better for the average driver.

For right now, I'm using my DRL's in the daytime (a first for me) which reduces the output to the low beams. This should help save my wiring... at least until I have to drive at night!


#50 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 09:43 AM

>PIAA claims equivalent of 100/110W from a standard 55/60W
>bulb. I'd really like to know how they measure that.

Here is a lighting engineers opinion of "how they measure that"


Another test here:

>It's good to hear someone else with my generation of OB say
>that they have put in the higher wattage bulbs without problem.
>As I said, fingers crossed.

The difference between our cars is that you have DRL. I wonder if they have an impact on the system even when you override them with the low beams.

You could bypass the whole system by running a "switched" lead to the CL harnesses (since you always drive with lights on), and a second one for the high beams (that turned off the lows). That would at least eliminate the DRL variable.

How about a control unit (I have no idea which box that is) from a US spec car?

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