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 > Crummy headlights - Can't see, need upgrade

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Mike LeClair

Wetaskiwin, Alberta

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Posted: 01/23/21 09:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks all for your input on the ZXE bulbs. I figured as much, was just hoping, like Bob, to find a frugal way to get some more light out of my driving candles.

Cheers and Many Thanks, as always!

Mike


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BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/23/21 10:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of great info here, nice discussion from all. It really helps more than just myself as the OP.

I am going to ditch the factory housings for sure. I kinda like the ones I posted a link to a few pages back.
I checked, they are DOT approved and it appears that consideration was given to properly directing the beams so they don't offend oncoming drivers.
And the relay harnesses are a must IMO. One thing I have always disliked about the factory setup is either low or high beams being on. Properly directed and done, I prefer all 4 on for high beams.

I've been kinda busy the past few days, haven't had time to look further. I've looked st all the suggestions and links provided.

Although there have been a couple comments against the LED lights, I feel I like to have them and would like to pair a set to aftermarket housings.


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klutchdust

Orange, California

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Posted: 01/24/21 08:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BobsYourUncle wrote:

Lots of great info here, nice discussion from all. It really helps more than just myself as the OP.

I am going to ditch the factory housings for sure. I kinda like the ones I posted a link to a few pages back.
I checked, they are DOT approved and it appears that consideration was given to properly directing the beams so they don't offend oncoming drivers.
And the relay harnesses are a must IMO. One thing I have always disliked about the factory setup is either low or high beams being on. Properly directed and done, I prefer all 4 on for high beams.

I've been kinda busy the past few days, haven't had time to look further. I've looked st all the suggestions and links provided.

Although there have been a couple comments against the LED lights, I feel I like to have them and would like to pair a set to aftermarket housings.



When I upgraded using headlight revolutions plug and play all I had to do was remove the units, install the bulbs and plug in the harness. I found a wall and using a tape measure marked the wall with a tape line (can't remember the height, there is a video out there) backed the coach up so many feet then adjusted the lamps. There is no side to side adjustment on the Fords, just up and down. Since then I had excellent lighting, no oncoming drivers flashing and low beams worked for many situations that used to require high beams.

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/24/21 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mike LeClair wrote:

Hey Bob! I have used Daniel Stern Lighting for my older trucks. He builds very robust, complete light harnesses for just about any vehicle (North American). The harnesses are complete and the instructions are, well, in English. You can look him up on line.
Cheers!
Mike

Hi Mike, fellow Albertan!
Thank you for your post here, and although I didn't comment earlier, I do research what everyone here has written.

And as mentioned earlier somewhere, do my homework and research. I am.

I was digging more and came up with an excellent article that references Mikes comment about Daniel Stern.

This is a really good article about LED headlights.

The more I research and read, the more I realize just how little my knowledge is.

This article educated me BIG time. Thanks Mike

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 01/24/21 11:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

road-runner wrote:

ktmrfs wrote:


If the truck uses 9004/9005 bulbs, IMHO the best update is to replace the 9004/9005 with 9011/9012 HIR bulbs.
Maybe I'm the only one who had a disaster doing this in my lo-beam projector lights. The larger glass envelope of the HIR light placed the heat source a little closer to the plastic reflector, and melted a hole in the plastic reflector. I ended up shoehorning some generic HID reflector assemblies into the the headlight case and the end result came out ok, but was a lot of extra work I wasn't looking for.


And hence my warning about using higher wattage bulbs OR bulbs not originally specified than what the housing was designed for.

Even 5W more worth of heat or slightly larger glass envelope can do damage as you have found out.

Back when I was making my first relay kit (2003), I was having a hard time finding headlight pigtails to use, contacted one place and the first thing they asked was if I tried higher wattage bulbs and burned up the connector.. That had never entered my mind as well as even the thought of stuffing a higher wattage bulb in the housing. I told them no, no high wattage bulb and I was building a relay kit and they said that made sense..

I got the idea of a relay kit from Ford Truck forum as this was a pretty popular mod at the time to correct the weak wiring..

I was blown away and hooked as soon as I turned the lights on with the new relay kit..

I did a before and after kit voltage comparison, wish I would have written that down but it was pretty telling as I recall that I had at least a 2V drop before and no detectable drop after the kit..

Brightness increased substantially, at that time I didn't have a Lux meter so I can't say for sure just how much difference in brightness but I can tell you that it was very noticeable.

Made another kit in 2006 when we bought the next truck with same results..

Bought parts to make a relay kit when we bought our 2013, never got around to doing that one.. The only saving grace was that truck came with factory fog lights which are junk also but they gave enough light to make low beams OK.. Not to mention the ONLY way to get to the drivers side headlights is to remove the entire grill [emoticon] Totally stupid move Ford (although I have considered cutting access hole in the wheel well liners but I am not sure if that will work).. My DD is driving that truck today and I figure I will have to eventually replace those bulbs..

Our 2019 and 2020 trucks well those "quad beam" lights are also terrible, but once again if it wasn't for the fog lights, I would be forced to add relay kit and do some wheel well liner cutting..

It is amazing the technology advances we have had from what headlights used to be even from the 1960s and up but yet, the headlights have not improved with new technology but have gone backward so much that folks are willing to try anything to fix them..

Like I mentioned, Bob just needs to check voltages at the bulb, and if the voltage is not at battery voltage a relay kit will improve the lighting.. It is the first thing that needs done before you start messing with bulbs or fixtures.. Honestly, as long as the fixture lens is not clouded or badly yellowed getting full voltage to the bulb will make a big improvement.

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/24/21 12:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ktmrfs wrote:


If the truck uses 9004/9005 bulbs, IMHO the best update is to replace the 9004/9005 with 9011/9012 HIR bulbs. Same watts, higher lumen output, about the same life as a std 9004/9005 but more expensive. you will need to slightly modify the 9011/9012 plastic base to let it fit in the 9004/9005 shell.

Mine is actually the 9005 / 9006 bulbs. They have a 90 degree angle to the connector, not straight out as the 9004

HTElectrical

Las Vegas

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Posted: 01/24/21 01:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well I have the same truck, so let me know what you go with.


2007 Duramax, Cognito 7"-9" Lift,


ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 01/24/21 07:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BobsYourUncle wrote:

ktmrfs wrote:


If the truck uses 9004/9005 bulbs, IMHO the best update is to replace the 9004/9005 with 9011/9012 HIR bulbs. Same watts, higher lumen output, about the same life as a std 9004/9005 but more expensive. you will need to slightly modify the 9011/9012 plastic base to let it fit in the 9004/9005 shell.

Mine is actually the 9005 / 9006 bulbs. They have a 90 degree angle to the connector, not straight out as the 9004


I had brain fade, the 9011/12 replace the 9005/6

the 9011/12 have the right angle connector, and when toshiba quite making the HIR 9011/12 the other companies went with the traditional 9005/6 glass shape rather than the bulb at the end like toshiba did.


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BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/24/21 08:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ktmrfs wrote:


I had brain fade, the 9011/12 replace the 9005/6

LOL!
I have brain fades every day! All good! [emoticon]

1492

Arlington, VA

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Posted: 08/27/21 09:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I actually wanted to swap out the headlight housings on my SUV and downgrade to halogen instead of HIDs. Part of the reason was that my German made vehicle headlights were allowing internal moisture to accumulate, burning out more than one of the HID control modules at about $550. each.

Replacing the HID headlamp housing was not a practical option as the part was $2,900. each, not including the control module. Used parts rarely appear and go fast. Part of reason for the high cost is that they're articulated lights, adjust based on turn. The HID option is one I now wish my SUV didn't have. Halogens were standard.

Another problem is the onboard sensors will throw error codes if anything is modified. Not to mention requiring a different overpriced wiring harness which is difficult to access needing several panel disassembles. This is an SUV that can take 30 minutes to turn off vehicle service codes via software only, as it has too many sensors IMO. Change your tires, it throws annoying warnings until you reprogram or confirm the correct size. Low on windshield washer fluid, you get a huge annoying warning light/tone as if its about to blow up. A PITA at times.

Bottom line, you need to do some research before even making what appears simple modifications, as you may not be aware how it effects other systems in your vehicle. Vehicles today have become too computer dependent making them complex for DIYer. The opening a can of worms syndrome.

In my case, I ended up disassembling the factory headlamps fixing the issues, and have not had problems since.

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