Halogen Headlight Upgrade

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Hteverow
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Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by Hteverow » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:22 am

Good Morning--

For the past couple of days, I've been researching the various headlight upgrades people have published on here. I'm still unclear on a few points, though:

1) If you upgrade your headlights to some crazy-bright LED nonsense, you've got to redo your wiring. BUT, if you just decide to put a halogen bulb in place of the originals, does that necessitate adding in all those relays, fuses, and upgraded 12-gauge wiring, etc?

2) I've been looking primarily at these two different options for a wiring upgrade if I decide to indulge in some decent headlights:

Option A) viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11727&p=89264&hilit ... gen#p89264
Option B) http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech ... elays.html

Am correct in thinking that Option B might be a little more "legit" because it doesn't bypass the alternator? Even if it looks like slightly more of a pain in the ass to install? Or am I worrying too much, and should I just go for the relative ease and simplicity of Option A?

Thanks dudes.

teranfirbt
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by teranfirbt » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:12 am

Topic 1: The only way to upgrade to LED headlights is with a housing that is designed for LEDs. The light profile from an LED chip is vastly different from a halogen light. Drop in H4 style LED bulbs are *horrible* at getting light on the road from a housing designed for a halogen H4. Just don't do it.
On the LED front, there are only 4 manufacturers I know of that make drop in 6054 style LED headlights that are worth a damn. GE, Philips, Trucklite, and JW Speaker. Any of the panel of LEDs or the cheap chinese garbage on ebay/amazon are not any better, and typically much work, than a good H4 bulb in a Cibie housing.

Typical LED setups draw ~1/4 the current that a halogen bulb will draw, so are actually nicer for stock wiring than a halogen bulb, and can generally put full output through 16 AWG wiring. Most of them aren't plug and play with older Toyotas tho, which leads us to...

Topic 2: Toyotas are a special breed because of the way they are ground switched instead of power switched like everyone else. This is why LED housings won't drop into older Toyotas.

The correct wiring is to run power directly from the battery or alternator to the relay 30 pin, then wire the common (marked ground in the first picture you linked, really 12V in Toyotas) wire from the OEM headlight socket into the relay 85 pin. The 86 pin from each relay goes to the respective terminal in the OEM socket to ground the relay trigger and power the lights. The 87 pin of course goes to the correct pin in the headlights.
Now here's the kicker, Toyota decided to get crafty with the high beam indicator in the dash. The way they power the indicator is *through* the low beam wiring. To make the indicator work correctly you will need to wire the high beam 87 pin into the low beam 86 pin. I know, SUPER goofy, but it's the only way to make the high beam indicator work correctly.

One last comment. If you're going the halogen route, skip Hella and get the Cibie housings from Daniel Stern. They cost more, but are a much better light.

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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by The Professor » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:46 am

teranfirbt wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:12 am
Topic 1: The only way to upgrade to LED headlights is with a housing that is designed for LEDs. The light profile from an LED chip is vastly different from a halogen light. Drop in H4 style LED bulbs are *horrible* at getting light on the road from a housing designed for a halogen H4. Just don't do it.
On the LED front, there are only 4 manufacturers I know of that make drop in 6054 style LED headlights that are worth a damn. GE, Philips, Trucklite, and JW Speaker. Any of the panel of LEDs or the cheap chinese garbage on ebay/amazon are not any better, and typically much work, than a good H4 bulb in a Cibie housing.
I agree wholeheartedly with all of this. Don't do plug-n-play LED/HID lighting.
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NWMO
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by NWMO » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:34 am

Hteverow wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:22 am

Am correct in thinking that Option B might be a little more "legit" because it doesn't bypass the alternator? Even if it looks like slightly more of a pain in the ass to install? Or am I worrying too much, and should I just go for the relative ease and simplicity of Option A?
Hteverow,

Thanks for asking about improved headlights as I was just searching some of this myself this morning, I look forward to having better lighting. The Daniel Stern article answers your above question:
The vast majority of cars, however, do not have full-current ammeters, so take your choice of alternator or battery positive terminal (or power point terminals, on cars so equipped) based on access and convenience. These points are all electrically common, and any of them will serve pretty much equally well. If you have a General Motors vehicle with a side-terminal battery, you'll need to grab a couple of special new battery cable terminal bolts like these so you can easily and securely attach your harness + and - wires to the battery.
So no, there isn't a benefit per se on our cars to pull from the alternator as they do not include stock ammeters. The alternator or battery should provide the same power assuming the wiring is good, so pull power from whatever is easiest for you.
BUT, if you just decide to put a halogen bulb in place of the originals, does that necessitate adding in all those relays, fuses, and upgraded 12-gauge wiring, etc?
The relays and larger wiring to the headlamps is addressing one of the primary problems with the stock wiring harness, voltage drop. As explained in the Daniel Stern article, a 25% voltage drop due to looses associated with wiring, will correspond to a 60%+ drop in headlamp output as measured in lumens. So regardless of which option you choose, the relays are a great improvement.

The added resistor and diode seem like a pain, but may be necessary. Has anybody completed the addition of relays/better headlamps WITHOUT the additional resistor and diodes? were there issues?

Personally, I am cheap enough I will likely not go the LED route, but try to improve the wiring (including addition of the relays) and add new buckets and halogen bulbs instead.

Chris
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NWMO
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by NWMO » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:12 pm

teranfirbt,

Is something like this what you would recommend for the Autopal E-code??

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AUTOPAL-H4656- ... 2235476255

Chris
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"

In remembrance of my friend ARCHINSTL:

T4WD augury?
"Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit."
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

"Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
Mark Twain

teranfirbt
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by teranfirbt » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:19 pm

The AutoPals are OK, I have a set on my MR2. They have a beam similar to hit Hella e-code but the housing design isn't as nice. They also have the same annoying problem as the Hellas on high beam, the beam is too far up so you either light up the trees on high beam or sacrifice low beam distance. Cibie figured out how to make it work better and is a much better option, even if they are more expensive. Hella or autopal are still lightyears better than any of the off the shelf sealed beam 6054 lights, especially if you have better wiring.

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NWMO
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by NWMO » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:17 pm

Thanks teranfirbt.

Chris
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"

In remembrance of my friend ARCHINSTL:

T4WD augury?
"Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit."
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

"Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
Mark Twain

The Professor
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by The Professor » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:13 am

I have a set of quad-beam AutoPals on one of my Subarus and I'm not impressed with their quality.
1975 Subaru SuperStar wagon
1984 Subaru Turbo-Traction wagon & Turbo-Traction hardtop
1987 Subaru RX 3-door, x2
1987 Subaru RX Type-RA 3-door
1987 Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon
1999 Subaru Forester S
2002 Subaru WRX sedan
2019 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

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NWMO
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by NWMO » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:22 pm

Hey all,

So, I have 1 Cibie on the way (will have to keep an eye out for another). Rockauto has Philips bulbs as well as others, any suggestions?

I also believe there are affordable replacement pigtail connectors and relays, I just haven’t taken the time to find just what I need.

Chris
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"

In remembrance of my friend ARCHINSTL:

T4WD augury?
"Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit."
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

"Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
Mark Twain

teranfirbt
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by teranfirbt » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:42 pm

GE Megalight +130 is what I'm running now. The + number doesn't add any wattage, they wind the filaments tighter to get better light focus into the reflector. Any of the GE, Philips, Osram, or Sylvania bulbs that don't have a blue tint are going to be good. Get the highest + number you can (I think 130 is the current leader). They usually have a narrow band of blue near the tip, which is fine. The disadvantage is they don't last as long, so it's a good idea to have an extra pair on hand.

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Petros
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by Petros » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:35 pm

since we live on gravel roads, the high temp halogen bulbs do not last very long. I suspect the high temperature filaments, when vibrated on the gravel roads, makes them give up too soon.

not worth it. when the time comes I will be looking at an LED conversion, and all the complication that will require.
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NWMO
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by NWMO » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:42 am

Hey Peter,

What will your workaround be for ice build up? Keegan shared that even here in MO, a snowy/icy day and w/o the heat from a incandescent bulb, the LED headlights he tried covered with ice.

Chris
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"

In remembrance of my friend ARCHINSTL:

T4WD augury?
"Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit."
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

"Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
Mark Twain

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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by splatterdog » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:12 am

I put in Hella housings and was impressed, then I put in 100 watt Hella bulbs and was blown away. I can see critter eyes in the ditch from amazing distances, both long and wide. They do burn out fairly quick but I consider it a small price to pay to beat hugely expensive HID's on new cars, and the bubs are very cheap compared to silverstars and the like. Of course in Tercel fashion the bulbs can be easily replaced unlike the two hour nightmare bulb jobs they keep coming up with. I keep a spare or two in the glove box. A relay kit is mandatory on any old car, even with stock lights. Lot's of old crimps and connections between the batt and lights. Don't remember the number but my optical aimer measured a significant increase in lumens just from getting power straight from the batt. Tenths of a volt will make a difference in output but with some expense of lifespan. Well worth it in my book.

The low draw of LED's should negate any need for beefed up power supply I would think, unless they do draw heavy of course. But high quality name brand LED's don't come cheap and long life is not always as good as it says. My Snapon guy's last tool truck with 6054's needed several new "bulbs" over the time he had that truck. Never considered ice build up so hearing that removes any possibility of them getting installed. I spend a lot of time playing in winter no matter how cold or snowy it gets and do encounter headlight level snow from time to time.

As with anything, avoid the China crap..

I also put some red Philips extreme 1157's and 194 Xevo's for the plate out back and quite a difference there. You will see me coming and going.

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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by teranfirbt » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:40 am

NWMO wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:42 am
Hey Peter,

What will your workaround be for ice build up? Keegan shared that even here in MO, a snowy/icy day and w/o the heat from a candescent bulb, the LED headlights he tried covered with ice.

Chris
JW Speaker makes a drop in 6054 style LED housing with integrated heaters to prevent icing. They're pricey and you have to add a relay harness to make the lights switched power instead of ground, but they are very high quality on both build and light output.

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Petros
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Re: Halogen Headlight Upgrade

Post by Petros » Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:08 pm

We dont have a big problem with ice here in the pnw, but could be an issue when I go skiing. Rigging a heater that deflects warm air off the radiator might be a simple solution.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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