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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inspired by a couple of the more recent headlight threads such as this and this, I decided it was time to make some changes to my headlights. I'm planning to make more changes down the road, but I thought I would share the photos that I've taken so far for those who would like to see what kind of improvement they can expect.

I had already powered the headlights with relays, and did not take before/after photos. I did not notice a big difference in light when I installed the relays, but suspect this will vary greatly depending on the condition of your wiring. I decided not to do the "all on" mod after reading through the information in the links above - but I left myself the option in the future.

I started with polishing my OEM lenses. I felt that the lenses were a little cloudy, but I didn't expect that polishing would make a noticeable difference. I was wrong. I was very surprised with the results. I started with wet/dry sandpaper progressing through 400 grit up to 1500 grit. I had picked these all up at Walmart for another project. I highly recommend using them wet. They plug very quickly with the plastic if you use them dry.

I finished up with Meguiar's PlastX - though there are lots of specific headlight polish or plastic polish that would probably work just as well. The PlastX made a huge difference from the wet/dry paper so don't skip this step. I spent way less than 1/2 hour per side and $0 since I already had all of the materials.

More to come.

The photos show:
1. Driver's side lens. This is what they looked like before I started.
2. Passenger side lens after 1500 grit paper.
3. Passenger side lens after plastic polish.
4. Front of truck showing driver's side vs. passenger side (kind of before and after)
5. Beam pattern on the garage door showing the passenger side is much more intense and much less scattered than the driver's side. This is a difference that you can certainly see while driving.
 

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Whistle Pigs Are Cool
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Polishing the plastic lens help, it's easy. Make sure to cover them with a UV protecting product either wax or film.

Installing a relayed headlight harness helps too. all on mod will ruin your night vision.

My biggest problem with the plastic headlights was in the slushy winter roads of Colorado, which ever lights are not on, the slush crap freezes on the lens. Hit the other beams and you don't have lights to see well with. I removed the plastic headlights and installed the Work Truck front end with glass Hella Ecode European head lights with a relayed harness powering 80/100w bulbs. I can see farther than the plastic setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Step 2

My second change was to swap out the 9005/9006 bulbs to the 9011/9012. I decided to go with Phillips brand. There are so many cheap options out there, I seriously questioned the quality of the really cheap stuff. Do the cheap bulbs properly position the filaments? Do they actually take advantage of the HIR technology? I think the 4 bulbs cost me around $80 from Amazon.

The 9011/9012 bulbs require some very simple trimming to the locking tabs that can be accomplished quickly with a nail clipper or a dremel. I didn't take any photos of this. There are plenty of photos if you do a search - and you don't really need photos anyway. Just compare the new bulb to the old and you can easily see what needs to change with the tab.

The 9006 low beam bulb had a glare shield (black end). The 9012 does not have this. I'd like to figure out a way to add one, but haven't done it yet.

Both bulbs plug right into the existing harness.

The driver's side got updated first this time. The first photo shows low beams, the second shows high beams. The light output is whiter and significantly more intense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Step 3

My next change was to install the Crystal Chrome Glass headlights from Spyder Auto. These seem to be available in plastic or in glass. The glass version is currently around $88 from Amazon. The plastic is cheaper. In many cases it is difficult to tell from the ad if you are looking at a plastic or glass version. Be careful when shopping around.

I actually bought these only for the clear glass lenses - thinking that eventually I would put projectors behind them. When they arrived I decided to go ahead and put them in to see what they are like. The light distribution from them is much better than stock.

These photos are taken with the truck parked much farther from the shop. I didn't measure how far away, but would estimate 15yds - perhaps 20 - it has been a while. The first photo, I'm standing in front of the Spyder headlight in the driver's side, so you are only seeing the light from the OEM lens. The second photo I switched sides, so you are only seeing the light from the Spyder.

The Spyder headlights made a much bigger difference than either polishing the lenses or installing the better bulbs. The pattern is much wider - helping to see what is in the ditches. There is less light going up, so the glare in the rain/fog/snow is much less. There are certainly better lighting systems out there - such as what Grabowski recommended - but this isn't bad.

I haven't decided which direction to go next. I've considered an HID projector retrofit or perhaps even just a halogen projector retrofit. I'll update this thread once I do something more.
 

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Nice write up. How hard was it to change the headlight assemblies, and what is the light output difference between the 9006 and 9012 bulbs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice write up. How hard was it to change the headlight assemblies?
Thanks!
The assemblies were not hard. The new headlights come with adjusters (crappy ones) and come mounted on the brackets that bolt to the rad support. I left my original brackets in place and just put in the new headlights with their adjusters. I plan to be in the shop later and can take some photos to clarify. Only takes a few minutes.
 

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Nice work on the upgrades! I had not heard of the HIR bulbs before, that's interesting stuff!

I'm in the midst of ordering everything for a W/T grille swap and Hella H4 ECE housings for mine, so I won't be going down the same path as you. But, it is always cool to see another take on fixing lighting issues. :thumb:

Matt
 

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I thought grabowski had the JW Speaker headlights. I almost pulled the trigger on a wt grille until I saw how much those cost... $1000 roundabouts. Ouch.
How much about are the Hellas?

I spent hours this weekend cleaning up the housings on my lights. Look bright as hell now but made no difference in driving visibility... What a waste of time. Might as well piss on a flat rock. Jim do you still have the all on headlight mod going on or did you shut that off for the test?
 

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I thought grabowski had the JW Speaker headlights. I almost pulled the trigger on a wt grille until I saw how much those cost... $1000 roundabouts. Ouch.
How much about are the Hellas?

I spent hours this weekend cleaning up the housings on my lights. Look bright as hell now but made no difference in driving visibility... What a waste of time. Might as well piss on a flat rock. Jim do you still have the all on headlight mod going on or did you shut that off for the test?
You may just need to aim your headlights. I had to do that on a cadillac and it made a world of difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jim do you still have the all on headlight mod going on or did you shut that off for the test?
I do not have the all on mod. I thought about it and left myself an easy way to add it, but after research I decided to skip it.

I'm surprised you did not see more difference after polishing. I saw a very noticeable difference. Very tough to photograph.
 

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I do not have the all on mod. I thought about it and left myself an easy way to add it, but after research I decided to skip it.

I'm surprised you did not see more difference after polishing. I saw a very noticeable difference. Very tough to photograph.
Same here, after I polished mine a few months ago, it was very noticeable.
 

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Sorry to derail this nice thread with my infantile whining.

Yes the polishing helps. We had unusually warm foggy weather lately so I had no real comparison and I get brighted a lot because I go around corners with low beam lights. They don't see my lightscand basically just leave brights on because they don't see me flip between. Is a subject of rage for me.

I didn't buy the polishing gunk just used brake clean and polishing compound which doesn't get them 100% but does OK. The nasty black/yellow gunk that comes off of them is astounding.

I'm looking at the crystal glass lights from spyder auto very strongly. Thank you very much for posting this. Jim the pic of the clean cutoff in the low beam pic makes me comfortable putting hids in the spyder housings, but with the upgraded bulbs it looks pretty good. Silver Star ultras are 100 bucks at Walmart.

A set of kensun Hids is also 100 bucks...
 

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The crystal glass lights from spyder auto do not have glare shields in the housings. I went with the TYC Elegante housings and have been very pleased. They are getting very hard to find.
 
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Dang right hard to find... What the hell on those elegantes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Replacing the Housings

Sorry for the delay. Been a busy week. Here are some photos of the housing replacement showing what is involved.

1st photo: shows the location of the screws to remove on the driver's side.

2nd photo: gives a better idea what screws you are pulling out.

3rd photo:With some wiggling and pulling, the housing will pull out as shown.

4th photo: The back of the housing. You can see what I feel is a crappy retention method for the bulbs. It works, but the bulbs aren't really locked in place.

5th photo: Factory housing with a proper socket for the bulb.

Plug the bulbs back into the new housing, wiggle the new housings back through the grill, line it up with the bracket, and drop the screws into place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
More housing pictures

1st photo: OEM housing loosely installed on the Spyder bracket.
2nd photo: Comparison of the original lens and the Spyder.
3rd photo: Spyder adjuster. Notice how it looks melted. Not only does it not look very good, it also doesn't seem to work very well. I get them to work ok by putting some pressure on the lens in the direction I wanted it to go while turning the adjusting screw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The crystal glass lights from spyder auto do not have glare shields in the housings.
This is correct.

I went with the TYC Elegante housings and have been very pleased. They are getting very hard to find.
I had spent some time looking for the Elegante housings and didn't have much luck. I've heard very good things about them. Glad they are working out well for you!:thumb:
 

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...My second change was to swap out the 9005/9006 bulbs to the 9011/9012. I decided to go with Phillips brand. There are so many cheap options out there, I seriously questioned the quality of the really cheap stuff. Do the cheap bulbs properly position the filaments? Do they actually take advantage of the HIR technology? I think the 4 bulbs cost me around $80 from Amazon.

The 9011/9012 bulbs require some very simple trimming to the locking tabs that can be accomplished quickly with a nail clipper or a dremel. I didn't take any photos of this. There are plenty of photos if you do a search - and you don't really need photos anyway. Just compare the new bulb to the old and you can easily see what needs to change with the tab.

The 9006 low beam bulb had a glare shield (black end). The 9012 does not have this. I'd like to figure out a way to add one, but haven't done it yet.

Both bulbs plug right into the existing harness..."
Well i'll be damned..!! first I hear of this.!

for the record..the difference is as follows;

9006 Low beam 1000 lumens
9012 Low beam 1870 lumens

9005 High Beam 1700 - 1870 lumens depending
9011 High Beam 2350 lumens

Well, I already have HID in the lows and Rigid Duallys in my fogs...but an improvement in the Hi beam would be nice.! :D

Theo
 
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