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Euro spec headlamp upgrade for 95-97 Legacy?


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10 replies to this topic

#1 hiergehts

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 01:27 AM

Hello everyone, this is my 1st posting here.

I have a question regarding upgrading the factory OEM headlamps on my 1996 Legacy and I had hoped to get feedback for any members who might be in EU countries as well as those in North America.

One of the headlamp housings on my car is broken and needs to be replaced but before I get a stock replacement, I wanted to get a few unknowns squared away as far as possible upgrade options I might have. Generally speaking, I've been pretty underwhelmed with the stock lighting pattern and output of my Legacys OEM headlamps and so ask if there are any alternatives. BTW: It's not just an issue of installing higher wattage bulbs.. but the basic headlamp design itself.

I know that in general, even bone stock European spec headlamps are far better than what is allowed by the DOT/EPA for the US market due to the EU's far superior minimum lighting standards. I've owned and upgraded the lighting on several european cars [VW, etc.] and european spec replacement lights are readily available thru both US and offshore sources for them [I'm refering here to replacing composite {aerodynamic} type headlamps] but apparently not for Japanese cars.

Anyway, what I'd like to know is whether the headlamps that came on European spec 1995-1997 Legacy models [LHD countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, France, Belgium, etc.] were any better than those fitted on US sold models of the same years?

From a web search and my own prior travels in Europe, physically, they appear to be exactly the same basic size, shape, etc.

My questions here are:

1 - Are the actual lenses on EU models also plastic like on US versions or are they made of glass?

2 - Do EU models incorporate a standard H4 halogen type pattern [i.e. cutoff to the right] or the modified derivative that US cars have?

3 - Do EU models use a single bulb per housing or do they have separate high and low beam bulbs?

4 - Where there any 'special' or 'upgraded' headlamps available in LHD European countries for these model years?


Anyway, it would be great to be able to upgrade my stock headlamps, but due to a lack of knowledge of what options I have, I am hoping to be 'enlightened' a bit here.. [bad joke..]

But seriously, I look forward to any information that any of you can provide me on this subject and would sincerely appreciate the opinions of European 95-97 Legacy owners on their headlamps output as well.

Thanks for your time and reading this post.

Best regards,
Hiergehts [yes, I can speak German.. ;)]

#2 applegump

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 07:38 AM

As far as I know, the Euro spec Subarus all have glass headlights(If I see one I'll check to make sure.). However, I don't know how much better they are for seeing at night.

About the upgrade or special edition options, I doubt there were any as they all look alike.

Hope this helps.

#3 greggearhead

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 10:47 PM

I read a discussion on the earlier Legacies using overseas headlamps. They were glass, and were much much better. I imagine entirely similar to upgrading VW lamps to euro-spec. Done that on several also - however, this is just what I have heard and it was for the 90-94. I would imagine the later models to have the same better European lamps, though.

Let us know what you find.

#4 hiergehts

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 11:54 PM

Thanks for your postings.

Applegump - Are you from Switzerland [CH]?

Gruetzi.. :) - That is where I am from..

You also might have firsthand access to info on these questions.


greggearhead - From what I know, many imported cars destined for the US market often use plastic lenses as they are 'good enough' for the DOT/EPA version headlamps. Whether or not they're used seems to depend on the model and other factors such is the cars price, etc.

As the 95-99 version Legacy was built and sold worldwide and all the different nations versions externally look more or less the same, it is my guess that the headlamp units themselves may be the same physical size worldwide, though there are likely several lense designs that were used according to local requirements. That's an educated guess on my part.. I've got a few pics of UK spec 95-97 Legacies that came off the web and they look exactly the same as my own car does.

Hiergehts

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#5 Brett_j

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 07:53 PM

Do you guys over there get the headlight with the indicator/flasher incorporated into it as 1 whole peice or do you have the same as us in oz and its 2 pieces,I can buy the single piece ones and I might as it does look better.

#6 alias20035

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 08:07 PM

Originally posted by Brett_j
Do you guys over there get the headlight with the indicator/flasher incorporated into it as 1 whole peice or do you have the same as us in oz and its 2 pieces,I can buy the single piece ones and I might as it does look better.



Some models are two peice, some are one. I think they are interchangable. The two peice are nice when you accidently crack a corner light, much less expensive than the one peice. 1995 North American 95 models are two peice (96 as well?) but since then they are all one peice.

I have been looking for information on the headlight washers, I don't think Australian models have these just the European ones.

I want to add the nozzles to my car, as I too often have to clean road salt and other grime (Canadian winters) on my headlights. Where can I find these headlight washer nozzles?

Is the headlight washer pump similar to the windshield pump? or is it higher pressure? I know that Audi's and Mercedes use high pressure pumps to not only spray the fluid but also use the fluid pressure to raise the nozzles from within the bumper.

Is there an interior switch for the headlight washers? I was going to install a three mode toggle switch, headlight washers off, headlight washers on with windshield washers and manual headlight wash.

#7 Hocrest

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 09:05 PM

Originally posted by alias20035
I want to add the nozzles to my car, as I too often have to clean road salt and other grime (Canadian winters) on my headlights. Where can I find these headlight washer nozzles?



I recently grabbed a headlight nozzle settup off of an XT6 in a junkyard. Both the pump and the tubing diameter for the HL jets are larger than the pump and tubing for the windshield. I haven't gotten it installed yet, I plan on posting more info when I do.

#8 hiergehts

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 11:16 PM

I know that all 1995 thru most of model year 1997 North American sold Legacies had one piece plastic headlamps with a built-in front indicator. Somewhere late in the '97 model year, Subaru went to a separate headlamp and front indicator though the lenses were still plastic. Those late '97 onward lamps use clear lenses without a moulded-in pattern - it's part of the bulb reflector. I don't think the 2 types are interchangeable, but I will look into it.

I've never seen a US or Canadian model Legacy with headlamp washers though they were an option in Europe and required in certain countries like Sweden and, I believe, Finland as well.

Hocrest - Are the Aussie model Liberties [Legacy] also equipped with plastic headlamp lenses?

Do they have a European H4 type beam pattern or ?

Curious to see who got what..?

Hiergehts

#9 Brett_j

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 11:27 PM

On my 95 Aussie model Liberty I have a Glass headlight with H4 Globes.Might be different on other years but thats what I have.

#10 Hocrest

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 11:40 PM

Originally posted by hiergehts

Hocrest - Are the Aussie model Liberties [Legacy] also equipped with plastic headlamp lenses?



Not sure, unfortunately I've never been there...
Brett should know... Also, are you the Brett that has the lifted Vortex???

#11 Brett_j

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 11:48 PM

Not the vortex guy :).




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