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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Upgraded headlights

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58 replies to this topic

#51 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 10:56 AM

I guess I'd forgotten about it. Somewhere along the way, I had read over that DJ Stern info on the PIAA SuperWhites.

I can't say that I noticed a difference in light pattern (but don't doubt that that is the case). Then again, I wasn't looking for it. If indeed the PIAA's do 'tunnel' the light more, it probably worked for me since I do mostly highway driving. Anyway, all I'm saying is that "subjectively", they were better than the stock bulbs. I still don't like the marketing practices, or the price.

I really have no inclination to start messing around with the stock lighting circuits. If the Hella bulbs (in the stock wiring) don't work out, I'll add driving lights.

Com'on Subaru. Just give us decent lights to begin with!


#52 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 09:13 AM

Actually, I thinkDriving lights are the way to go anyway.

I think the 80/100 watters are about as good as my 91 CRX stock lights (except they light up reflective signs farther ahead). That is not saying much, except that they are adequate.

Now comes the problem of where to mount the Driving lights, the foglight mounting is too low.

#53 Guest_CincyBuckeye_*

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 12:09 PM

Well, I've had similar results to Commuter's, but I only have problems on or just after long drives (>2 hours). Normal commuting for us (15-40 minutes) the bulbs seem to last pretty well. However, on road trips I have now lost a total of 7 bulbs on two separate installations (one my 97 OB, one Dad's 96 Legacy). All within about 8 weeks of installing the bulbs. I also have good grounds on both sides (one to battery, one to fresh screw), and have been running nothing but the Hella clear 80/100's. I'm not sure what the solution is, but in my case I really feel like it is linked to the amount of time I drive at once.

I'll let the board know if I find any solution. I may try a different brand of bulbs or a different gas composition, although I remember Commuter had little success with the xenon bulbs. Has anyone tried Competition Limited's aftermarked HID kits? I don't really want to sink that kind of $ into lighting, but then again, I could conceivable blow a big chunk of change on bulbs every few months.

I found a website that listed bulb life for 80/100w bulbs, but I'm not sure where it was. I'll check my history folder at home and if I find it, I'll add that to the discussion.

#54 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 29 June 2001 - 07:59 AM


I put in the bulbs and harness and the next night did a 6 hour trip (and back three days later). Have done several 2 - 5 hours since then. A lot of .5 to 1 hour trips. I have a 12 hour drive coming up in August (I think I'll bring bulbs with me)

My commute is only about 10 minutes (I really should bike more). I leave the lights on (from the previous nights errands usually) about half the time.

I have the Korean (I think) bulbs *not* the hellas. Could that be the difference?

#55 Guest_Crashton_*

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Posted 29 June 2001 - 08:56 AM

I have been running Hella H4 55/100W bulbs in my forester for 2 years without any problems. I also drive with my lights on most of the time. I do not use the CL harness. Before this I ran these same bulbs in my 4Runner for 2 years without the CL harness without any problems. I think there is a vast differance in bulb quality. I bought some generic bulbs from JC Wittney & they barely lasted 2 months. One other thing, better brighter bulbs will help you see better, but they can't change the lights pattern. The fog lights are so poor on my Forester I think the only inprovement I could make would be to replace them with a better light. This would be hard to do due to the square shape of the originals.


#56 Guest_CincyBuckeye_*

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 09:59 PM

This was that table I remembered seeing & mentioned earlier that has avg. H4 bulb lives. I might consider dropping down to 75/70W bulbs, but I really don't want to go back to the darkness I used to drive in with the stock bulbs.


Commuter - Have you heard of this company? You're in Canada if I recall correctly, but I think you're in Ontario while the company is in Quebec.

#57 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 07 July 2001 - 11:16 AM

Regarding the Greenlite link: I think I stumbled upon this when I was searching for bulbs. The site looks familiar. I don't know anything about the company.

The data on bulb life is almost scary. Standard wattage bulbs at 150/300 hours. This is listed as main/sub which I take to mean low beams/hi beams. Higher wattage bulbs are typically listed as 100/200 hours. This would actually be consistent with the life I got out of the C.L KQ bulbs.

But... I bought the car used (2 years old). I don't know how old the bulbs were. I drove for ~1.5 years before starting to mess with the bulbs. I never had a blown bulb (I think they are Osram?). By my calculation, this is ~1000 hours of time PLUS whatever was on them before I got the car! My 88 Civic typically went around 3 years on a bulb. (It saw more average driving time and it was not an H4 bulb.) All of this leaves me a little confused regarding bulb life.

An update.

C.L. KQ: Just to restate, the bulbs that have continuously blown on me are the Competition Limited Krypton Quartz (KQ). I think these are made in some Asian country, or perhaps Korea.

Hella: I have put one Hella 80/100W bulb into the stock wiring. This was a couple weeks ago. So far, so good, but... I have been doing nearly all my driving with the DRL's so the bulb is operating at a reduced wattage.

PIAA: If you look back, you will see that I originally tried PIAA SuperWhite 55/60W bulbs. One blew at 4.5 months. That is approximately 275 hours. The place I bought them from told me 90 day warranty. Shrug. I emailed PIAA (months ago) on my dissatisfaction and only got the automated "your email has been received" response. Just recently, it was pointed out to me (by the MidnightMoose company of all people - look back in this thread) that PIAA has a one year warranty on bulbs. I dug up my old email and resent it. I got a reply telling me to call Customer Service. I did. The guy asked where I bought the bulbs, which wattage/model and said he'd send a new pair out to me. They arrived yesterday! I thought I'd have to fax in my invoice (which I have), send back the blown bulb (still have it) etc. Nothing of the sort. So hats off to PIAA's customer service. I plan on putting them into my wife's minivan (happens to use H4 as well). It sees less than average mileage and Honda's DRL's use the high beam filament. They should last a couple of years there.

So that's where I'm at. Tentatively trying the higher wattage bulb in the stock wiring. As I said before, if that doesn't work, it'll be driving lights.


#58 Guest_dscottf_*

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Posted 08 July 2001 - 09:29 AM

I just realized what is different between my car and Commuter's and CincyBuckeye's.

I have a '99, which has 9007 bulbs, not 9003/H4

The H4 should be the better bulb, but maybe not at higher wattage? (or not from C.L.?)

Commuter, email Daniel Stern (dan@mbz.org), explain your problems and see what he comes up with (me he can't help, he has no faith in 9007s being upgraded, he likes H4s). Dainel Stearn is a lighting engineer specializing in automotive lighting (and some what of an evangelist of better headlights, and a curmudgeon ;) )

Please post his answer.

#59 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 08 December 2002 - 02:33 PM

Commuter asked me to add this to the thread for posterity. :)

Update from Commuter, 2002/12/08

It has been a year and a half since this thread was archived. Back in the summer of 2001, I was trying the Hella 80/100W bulbs directly in my stock wiring harness. Well, short answer is that it worked. I have not melted the wiring harness or the plug. There is added heat though, that is for sure. The soft rubber boot around the plug has hardened and cracked around
the connection point. The hard plastic 'plug' inside is fine. I did have a loose connection happen on both sides early on. The heat expanded the connectors a bit I presume. The solution was to poke into the plug with a small screwdriver or pointed tool and squeeze the connectors together to make them tighter. I should also mention that I keep the socket well greased with silicone dielectric grease. A poor connection or dirt will up the resistance and the heat produced.

The Hella 80/100W clear bulbs lasted 7 months in total. As I've stated in prior posts, I do three times the driving that most people would do. My Canadian car also has DRL's, so the lights are always on. The DRL uses the low beam. I've gotten into the habit of using the DRL's in the daytime (to reduce the power to the filament, thereby reducing heat). This should be extending the life of the bulb. I'd estimate that 2/3rds of my driving is with the DRL's and 1/3 with the low beams on. Depends somewhat on the time of year.

Once the Hellas went, I put in some Eaglite 90/100W bulbs I got thru Midnight Moose. I didn't like bumping up from 80 to 90W, but that was the only choice. One of their comments was that the higher percentage of xenon gas in the bulb should make it run cooler. These bulbs have the blue tint which I'm not crazy about. From behind the wheel though, there is only the faintest hint of blue to the light, so it hasn't bothered me. Also, these bulbs were half the price of the Hellas, only $15 or $16 for the pair, instead of each.

In short, same result. Nothing has melted or burned up. The soft rubber boot looks no worse. One bulb has blown after 7 months. For what it is worth, I developed a connection problem on that side again. I don't know if the two were related or not. The other bulb is at about 8 months now, but I don't think the two bulbs went in at exactly the same time. I didn't keep that good of a record! I have some replacement Eaglite bulbs ready to go in.

As for the PIAA SuperWhites that I put into my wife's Honda van: They have both just recently burned out. They lasted 15 months. (She does less than average driving.) The Honda uses the high beams for DRL and I know that my wife doesn't turn on the low beams during the day. In the Honda, the light output of the PIAAs didn't seem to be much different than the original bulbs.

So that's it. Thankfully, running higher wattage bulbs in my stock wiring harness has worked out for me. I know that it hasn't for everyone, so caveat emptor. :)

Commuter (97 Legacy Outback)

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