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headlight bulb tech

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by ryoken, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    ok guys, save me hrs of hunting here and give me the lowdown on bulbs... It's a subject I've ignored and need some schooling... Got inspection coming up, they need replacing, have done the relay mod, so nows a good time to do em...

    Here's my requirements... I want the best replacement bulb I can put in for a reasonable price.. And at that I mean like $50 or so a pair... I know of the H4 conversions, but am under the assumption they run upwards of $100.. Are they straight swap-in housings with just replacable bulbs in the back?

    Is there anything inbetween a stock halogen replacement and H4's? Would a couple Sylvania Silverstars be a good compromise? They are just standard replacement bulbs correct?

    And should I be looking for something with that Euro code to it?

    As you can see, I need a description for newbies here.... :doah: :haha:
     
  2. Chevy305

    Chevy305 6 Lug 14bsf Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I got the Euro style head lights from LMC it was like $40 for the pair. I LOVE them and I didn't do the relay mod and they are much better than the sealed beam lights:

    Pam's Camera 015.jpg

    Pam's Camera 015.jpg
     
  3. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    So those are just a replacement light bucket with a twist-in replacable bulb in the back correct?
     
  4. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    ryoken, those are the same ones I was looking at. I think I may get them when I have the extra cash...
     
  5. Chevy305

    Chevy305 6 Lug 14bsf Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Yup, exactly. I've had them for almost a year now... No problems at all
     
  6. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    I've run various H4 lens/reflectors in all sorts of vehicles starting about '87 or '88. I have NOT tried these new "Euro" types though. Of those I've used the hands down best was the mid priced set from JCW (about $20-$25 each back then). Might just be the type (Large round vs. large rect.), but they have the best light distribution & the two vehicles I've had them in never got flashed by on-coming. The next best were some Bosch small rounds. The worst are the two sets of Hella large rect.'s that I have in both yota trucks. Somewhere slightly above the middle is the set of Bosch micro-mini rect.'s that I got for the '91 Sub.

    That being said, even the Hellas are far better than any sealed beam I ever tried.
    & fwiw I run 55/100's in the off road vehicles (except the Sub 'cause they were melting stuff). That extra 40 watts in the highs is just enough more to make them worthwhile.
     
  7. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    What exactly is an H4 conversion?

    Is it strictly going to one with a housing and replacable HID bulb in the back?

    Or are those ones from LMC not H4's?

    I'm still confused here... is it strictly sealed beams and similar stock replacements, then it steps right up to H4's, with replacable bulbs?

    and is the key in the replacable bulb? i know they have the different color bulbs, but I can get different wattages too?

    Should I buy the LMC's and just upgrade the bulb later to a higher wattage?

    Thanks to anyone taking the time to explain this :D
     
  8. BKinzey

    BKinzey 1/2 ton status

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    H4 is a designation. It refers to how the bulb is held in the housing. H3 is another type and there are a couple more I can't think of right now. The actual bulb, being tungsten, halogen, HID, etc is a seperate designation. It could also have to do with the lens & reflector of the housing but I don't think so.

    As far as I know you can select bulb type (tungsten, etc), Lens & reflector housing, wattage (55 low / 60 hi is DOT legal), voltage (12v being the vast standard), and color temp ( 5600k, 4800k, 6000k, etc).

    The latest bling for high output is to use a bulb that needs a ballast like HID. I'm sure somewhere you can also find projection headlights as a replacement.

    Since you mentioned inspection you'll want to check with your State to see if they have any further restrictions beyond DOT certification. You can buy all sorts of crap but it would suck if it didn't pass inspection:mad:
     
  9. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    ok, thanks.. now it's making a little more sense.. So those LMC's are an H4 conversion... one particular style of lensing/reflector... And bulbs can be changed out to different styles... Think I may just buy those, and play around with different bulbs down the road...
     
  10. BKinzey

    BKinzey 1/2 ton status

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    Just make sure that different bulbs are readily available. Don't want to lock into a housing that bulbs are $$$ for.

    I do think you'll be fine with H4s though. Try to find out if the reflector (usually the housing & reflector are the same) is glass, metal, or plastic should you decide to go with a higher wattage bulb. Plastic housings have a tendency to melt:D
     
  11. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    H4 conversion bulbs actually use a 9003 bulb. The 9003 bulb uses the same 3 terminal connection as the stock sealed beam.

    If you aren't ready to jump to H4's go with the silverstar sealed beams. Better than regular halogens. But you might look at it this way, if you have a quad headlight setup, silverstars are going to cost you darn near what the H4 housings would. You just end up paying some more for the bulbs.

    H4 housings are the way to go for brighter lights after the relay upgrade. I'm seeing stuff WAY down the road at night.
     
  12. smalltruckbigcid

    smalltruckbigcid 1/2 ton status

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    I put and run H4 conversions on my semi. I'm using PIAA bulbs in them, yeah they are spendy about $65. for the set. But they work better than any other headlight I've ever used before. www.piaa.com
    George
     
  13. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    ok, here's more stupid questions after looking around at different bulbs....

    Whats with the different wattage rating? when i see a bulb listed as a 55/100, does that means its a dual filament, low and hi beams?
     
  14. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    You are right, the ones with the dual rating are dual filament. 55/60w is the standard. A little searching on line will find higher wattage bulbs. They aren't legal of course, but I haven't seen any cop pull anybody over for too bright of headlights. The other problem is the heat generated by 100w bulbs. Some of the conversion housings have plastic reflectors which might not like the heat generated by 100w bulbs.
     
  15. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    The H4 designation is the original bulb type (2057, 1156A, etc.); the 9003 designation is the new number for that bulb type (H4 = 9003). Somebody couldn't leave well enough alone I guess. The "H" stood for halogen and then they were sequential. So there is an H1, H2, H3, and the H4. I've also seen reference to an H7 so presumably the H5 & H6 also exist. The H4 is the dual element headlight bulb and I think it's the H3 that is the single element headlight bulb (quads hi beam).

    B4 somebody mucked up the nomenclature an "H4 conversion" meant replacing the sealed beam headlights with a lens/reflector and a separate, replaceable halogen bulb. Know that the higher the wattage bulb the faster they burn out. IME much above 100w is a waste of money. They're nice to drive by, but they don't last long enough to justify their expense.
    Also, IMHO PIAA is an excellent marketer with only fair product.

    In my case with the micro-mini '91 headlights the 100 watt bulbs were melting the "City Light" bulb holder. Europe has some laws requiring low wattage lights be turned on when parked on the street at night. These "City Lights" were, I guess, for that use. they're not bright enough to actually drive with.
     
  16. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Awesome guys... Thanks, good info....

    Think I'll go with the LMC ones, housings are metal and glass... Maybe I'll play around with different bulbs down the road...
     
  17. Chevy305

    Chevy305 6 Lug 14bsf Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Good Choice! ;) :D
     
  18. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Unless I'm having a brainfart, with the quads, that works out to about $120...

    Doh! :haha:

    Eh, why not, got a few custom grill ideas I want to hash out and that should make it easier..... :thinking:
     
  19. 2High4U

    2High4U 1/2 ton status

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    If you want to go way overkill on the lights and have that housing that accepts the h4 style bulb then go here. I dont really know that much about these but it was one of those ideas for down the road. It says you can get several styles such as h4, h7 etc.
    http://www.hid-lights.com/

    H.I.D Conversion Kit can generally be installed into the car that uses conventional halogen bulb headlight and has several advantages over halogen bulbs:

    More light output. A 35W HID light source produced up to 3 x the lumens at the light source when compared to a 55W halogen bulbs.
    Sky white light. The color temperature of HID lighting more closely approximates the color temperature of natural daylight than does a halogen bulbs, which appears yellowish.
    Greater visibility. The combination of more light output and whiter color make for better visibility in most night time driving conditions.
    Longer Life. GP Thunder HID lamps will last, on the average over 5 times as long as halogen bulb.
    Easy Conversion. HID Conversion Kit is simple and easy to substitute for standard halogen bulbs.
    Tests. Passed all of relevant environmental tests including CE, e4, DOT(pending). Radiated and conducted emission meet CISPR D/Class3, and Satisfy SAE and ECE
    Mechanical Testing: Passed Thermal and Humidity Cycling, Vibration, Shock, Water Jet, and Dust testing. Design: HID conversion kit, GP Thunder is design for retrofitting HID headlamp system for the halogen housing

    They sell conversion kits.

    I found with the housings from lmc or the ones you can get from the auto stores that the silver stars are the best without going overkill. I run them in all my vehicles they are definatley a lot brighter.

    IIRC my suburban and silverado both take h4 styles but high and low beam being 9003 and 9006 h4's
     
  20. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    hey bud...

    thanks...

    Now I'm back to slightly comfused again... :doah: :haha:

    I get the whole HID thing, pricey, more than I can afford now... But you refer to the Silverstar, as in a replacement housings or just bulbs? Can't find housings...
     

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