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Fog/Driving light questions

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Can Can, Dec 12, 2000.

  1. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The headlights on the 'ol 84 aren't what they used to be, and lately I've been seriously considering installing some mini-halogen driving lights to help me see better, especially on the highway at night.

    I remember a post a while back where a few of you guys were discussing certain brands of lights. I seem to remember that the cost of those was rather high. Are there any lower-end brands that still perform well?

    I also need some input regarding install locations. I'd like to avoid drilling the bumper if possible, and the plastic grille doesn't seem like it would be tough enough to use for anchoring.......

    Maybe I just need brighter headlight bulbs........is there another kind of sealed headlamp that offers better performance?
     
  2. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    I've used Hella sealed beam halogen lights in the past on an '87 K5. They are bright and have a very sharp upper cutoff so as to not blind oncoming drivers.

    The downside: (1)The lenses are made of lead crystal which breaks very easily. Both of mine got rock chips in them (even though the stock high beam lights never chipped). (2)The sharp cutoff makes it hard to adjust them properly, especially on a lifted truck. With the sharp cutoff, it's almost like there's a line drawn across the road and you can see everything that's below the line and nothing that's above it. Adjust it too low and you limit your view. Adjust it too high and everyone coming at you will be flashing their high beams at you.

    Later models, with the 9004 type halogen bulbs, can use aftermarket bulbs (for off-road use only) [​IMG] [​IMG]. You can get 80 watt low beams and 100 high beams from JC Whitney for about $10 each.

    Perhaps the connections on your headlights are a bit crusty after 14 years. A good cleaning and a bit of tightening could make a big difference in the connection and let more voltage get to the lights. There are also relay kits that you can buy that connect the lights directly to the battery, instead of going through the entire wiring harness to the dash switch, the hi/lo switch and back. The stock wiring will activate the relays and apply power directly to the lights. This can result in 1 or 2 more volts actually making it to the bulb.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com
     
  3. kpanza

    kpanza 1/2 ton status

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    Well, I had the same problem as you, and I went ahead and installed some PIAA Platinum 1400X Fog/Driving lights on my '87. Yes, they are pricey (I didn't pay half as much as retail because I work at autoaccessory.com, so I got a deal) but they are AWESOME! They are super bright and very concentrated with an even spread pattern that starts at the front bumper and goes at least to my regular headlights! My headlights are yellow blobs, the PIAAs give me white light that really lets me see, even in the rain and fog. And the best is that since they have such a precise beam pattern and upper cutoff, other drivers of small oncoming cars don't bright flash me every 2 seconds, because the light doesn't stray into their eyes. A less expensive one is the Hella 530, my cousin has that and likes it, just not quite as bright or compact as the PIAAs. The PIAA 1400 is the smallest fog light in the world, so you can mount it just about anywhere, although like any fog/driving light it should be mounted as low as is practical, because you want it under the weather. Hope this helps, I love the PIAA...
     
  4. Confederate9

    Confederate9 1/2 ton status

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    i myself like KC lights
    got 2 of them on now. and soon to add 4 more w/ my light bar. they are really good and durable. some people think they rust easy but i have never had a problem w/ them.
    but, i remember bigburb said his rusted. maybe the different climates?
    there are "eagle eye" lights in jc whitney catalog for 15$ apiece. thats damn good id say, but i dont know about the quality.

    Confederate's w/ K5's!
    '85 K5: BIG BAD AND MEAN
    K5: Because size DOES matter
     
  5. BurbinOR

    BurbinOR 3/4 ton status

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    Another option - converted mine to H4 headlights. Got them from JC Whitney, cost around $50 with 80 watt low/130 watt high beam (I believe that is the wattage of the highs), very good lights, plug right in and are direct size replacments for the stockers. Not technically legal I don't think, but I do not get flashed by anyone on low beam. I think it is a great idea to consider that relay idea Harry brings up, wish I knew who made the kit for this.

    In addition, I have 130 watt Dick Cepek 9" round lights mounted on my bumper in between the pusher (factory) pads, yes I had to drill the bumper, but so what? Didn't matter to me as i figure they will remain there forever, or a replacement pair will anyway. Those lights kick tail, bright and when aimed properly light up the road/trail very well. Makes wheeling at night fun............

    <font color=black>'79 - 406 TPI -<font color=orange> K5#5 - <font color=blue>See it at---&gt;http://www.blazzinor.coloradok5.com
     
  6. Blazer79

    Blazer79 1/2 ton status

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    My 79 uses the typical round sealed lamp. I replaced them with cheap wagner halogen lamps. Man, what a difference! Everything looks much better now. The problem is that voltage dropped to less than 12V when they were on. I realized that my alternator (55 amp model) was getting tired. I had it fixed, and wow!! Now everything even looks slightly blueish since the lights are so white. Voltage is now above 13V even with everything on. Each lamp costs about $10. If you don't want to spend a lot, I think you can find cheap replacements like this at your local Walmart.

    <font color=blue>//////
    http://blazer79.coloradok5.com
    </font color=blue>[​IMG]
     
  7. 82K5

    82K5 1/2 ton status

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    wagner makes these xenon "bright lights" that are direct replacements. i got mine at a local parts store. they cost about 2 bucks more than regular lights. the difference is amazing.

    phil
     
  8. istallion88k5

    istallion88k5 1/2 ton status

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    Kpanza hook me up hehe, I wanted a set of Piaa's for awhile but stereo keeps eating the loot and 200 is a bit much for fog lights.

    If it aint a Chevy don't raise it up!
     
  9. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Hey BlazzinOR, check out your JC Whitney Catalog for a great deal on headlight relays. They're only about $6 or so each, with a plug for the relay and a short wiring harness. They don't come with any instructions, but it's not hard to figure out how to wire them up.

    Another option is to visit the local junkyard and look under the hood of newer Cadillacs. I picked up a rack of heavy duty relays (2 40 amp rated and 4 or 5 that are 30 amp rated!) with the wiring harness and they are fed by their own battery cable that goes to a power bus and each circuit is protected by a fusible link. Got the whole thing for $20! I'm gonna use the 2 40 amp relays to power my electric fans and the others to power my various lights.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com
     

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