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Old 07-08-2010, 12:08 PM   #1
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Default Non-Factory Lighting for Dummies - HID, HIR, etc.

Way too many quesitons regarding this issue and too many threads getting bumped down by other asking the exact same question. Mods, please make this a sticky.

Here'* your one stop for everything you'll need to know about high beam and low beam lighting on your car. To start, light output ratings:

Stock 9006 - 55 watts - 1000 lumens
Stock 9005 - 65 watts - 1700 lumens
HIR 9012 - 55 watts - 1870 lumens
HIR 9011 - 65 watts - 2350 lumens
HID 35 watts @ 6000k - 2800 lumens
HID 55 watts @ 6000k - 3350 lumens

Here, I'm going to make recommendations for upgraded lighting based on price of install and difficulty from lowest to highest.



9005 Bulbs in 9006 housings
This is the easiest and cheapest way to go. You can retrofit 9005 high beam bulbs into 9006 housings, which will give you a 70% increase in lighting power. I don't recall exactly what you need to modify, but the only difference between the two bulbs in regard to socket fitment is a notch on the 9005 bulb. If you can shave that notch down with a file to make it look identical to a 9006 bulb, it will fit in the 9006 housing. Simply look at both bulbs from the back, and figure out where you need to file down.



HIR Bulbs
HIR (Halogen Infrared) bulbs were initially designed by GE and produced by Toshiba for automotive use up until 2009. After 2009, they stopped producing them, and Phillips picked up production, making some output improvements in the process. These bulbs are the next best thing to HIDs, and use the same amount of power as your factory Halogens do. A few small modifications need to be made as described here:
http://shnu.us/HIR%20Trimming%20Stock.htm

Note that you can fit either a 9011 or 9012 HIR bulb in your stock 9006 housing. 9011 bulbs were generally designed to be high beams, while 9012 bulbs were designed to be low beams. Note in the output comparison that a 9011 bulb (which can be modified to fit into a 9006 housing quite easily), will have a mere 16% light output decrease over 35W HIDs.

These are the ONLY recommended upgrades for high means in cars. HIDs are NOT recommended, for reasons that I will go into in the next section.

HIR bulbs can be purchased at these two websites:
http://store.candlepower.com/hirlighting.html
http://hirheadlights.com/



HID Kits
These kits use a different lighting method that will be described later in this article. This technology uses a ballast and bulb in conjunction to produce a very high light output. Installation of HID kits is recommended ONLY for projector fog lights (Bonneville GXP and similar) and low beams. They are very commonly available from a variety of vendors, but many members have reported great experiences with kits from ddmtuning.com. These kits come in both 35W and 55W variants, the latter of which will provide only 20% increase in lighting power. Installation of these kits is not recommended without modifications to the headlight housing or projector lense retrofit.

If you are interested in running HIDs, be very well aware that the central light output location will be different from your typical 9006 bulb. As a result, you will need to readjust your headlights after installing them.

Because factory housings are designed to produce a small amount of ambient light, HID kits will spread this light to blind oncoming drivers. You can resolve this problem by either retrofitting projector lenses, purchasing aftermarket housings with projector lenses, or at a bare minimum, deactivating the bottom horizontal reflector in the housing. This modificaiton requires that you remove the lense from the housing, mask off the entire reflector of the low beam except for the bottom horizontal reflector, and paint that reflector with high heat flat black paint. This will significantly reduce the amount of ambient light shining up into oncoming drivers, and may very well keep you from getting pulled over for being a road hazard.

HID kits are illegal, and if a police officer is pulling you over for an unrelated offense and having a bad day, he may ticket you for having them. Keep this in mind when installing these kits, and make every effort possible to ensure the safety of other drivers.

These kits are NOT recommended for high beam applications. High beams are not intended to be used while driving through traffic, need to be ready on demand to signal other drivers immediately or to increase you vision at a moment'* notice. HID kits take up to 30 seconds to fully warm up, which affects your ability to use them at a moment'* notice. In addition, HID ballasts will be damaged by being turned on and off repetitively, which will be the case if you're using them while driving through winding roads and turning them off and on repetitively to prevent blinding other drivers.



Heat comparison: Halogens vs. HIDs
There have been great debates in regard to which runs hotter. The truth is that the core of an HID bulb runs hotter than a halogen bulb. However, that core'* heat is a result of light output and energy, whereas halogen bulbs produce light as a result of heat.

Halogen bulbs, unlike normal light bulbs, use halogen gas, a tungsten filament, and a quartz encasing. The reason why the encasing is quartz is because if it were glass, it would melt as a result of the heat. The current passes through the filament, heating it to the point to where it creates light. Notice, it has to get hot in order to create that light. The Halogen gas inside the bulb is there to prevent oxidization of the hot filament. To make a comparison, this is like a space heater.

HID'* use a completely different method. The bulb consists of two electrodes placed in very close proximity to each other. The gas used here is Xenon. Unlike with Halogen-filament bulbs, the light is created by the gas, not by a filament. HID'* use a ballast which consists of a series of high current capacitors, transistors, and resistors. To light a Xenon bulb in an HID kit, the ballast takes in a small amount of power and sends a very intense charge of electricity across the electrodes. This is why they're called High Intensity Discharge. The electrical charge excites the gas molecules inside the bulb and causes them to discharge photon particles, producing light. The entire capsule of gas is then "lit," taking up to 30 seconds, and because all of the gas in the capsule is used to create the light instead of just one filament, you end up with much brighter overall light output. The ballast regulates a constant flow of power only to keep the gas molecules excited, while a standard filament based light requires a constant intense electrical current to keep the filament hot.

I have confirmed with a simple test that 55W HIDs run significantly cooler than 55W halogens do as a result of this by placing my hand on the surface of the lense after a 30 minute drive.



Credit where credit is due
http://www.essortment.com/hobbies/hi...sityd_siyc.htm
http://hirheadlights.com/
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:07 PM   #2
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A lot of useful information. Thanks Xtreme, this should immensely help users in the future. I agree it should be stickied but not in the Audio section, it should be in Detailing and Appearance since that'* where the questions are usually asked.

Oh and adding a link to the DRL thread couldn't hurt either since it'* related. Here'* the link for the 2000 and ups.
Disabling DRL on 2000+
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yutzybrian View Post
A lot of useful information. Thanks Xtreme, this should immensely help users in the future. I agree it should be stickied but not in the Audio section, it should be in Detailing and Appearance since that'* where the questions are usually asked.

Oh and adding a link to the DRL thread couldn't hurt either since it'* related. Here'* the link for the 2000 and ups.
Disabling DRL on 2000+
Oops, guess I created it in the wrong section. If someone could move it, that would be very much appreciated.
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:58 PM   #4
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Thread moved and stickied.
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:14 AM   #5
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I'm almost done with my HID install guide. and yeah everyone was right HID high beams was a stupid idea, I never ever used them.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:07 AM   #6
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I have a 05 sle and my headlight output is terrible. This is my second bonne and i have loved both, exept for the lighting output. I have a couple questions.

1. I have some minor scuffing and haze on the lenses. Will the polishing kits help?

2. the 05 has the darker lenses. Do these affect light output?

3. I tried silverstars and was not happy with the results. Will the 9005 bulb make a big difference? I live in the northwoods of WI and need to do something. I am not ready to start making huge changes for a HID kit unless that is my last resort.

Any advice here would be much appreciated. Having trouble dodging the deer,

Thanks,

Popp
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:21 AM   #7
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If your lenses are hazy then ya, clean them, the kits do a good job.

If you have darkened lenses, ya, that will cut back on the light that is let threw the lens.

Silverstars a good bright bulbs, but they a=have real problems with 2000+ Bonnevilles. It has to do with how the headlights are mounted. Before 2000 they were rubber mounted, but the 2000+ seem to be much more rigid and vibrations kill the silverstar ultras in under a year.

Best bet is to clean the lenses, then decide if you want more light. The ultras will give you the light, but you will be replacing them a lot. So check on warranties.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:45 AM   #8
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If you need higher output, an HIR bulb is your best bet.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:01 PM   #9
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X, I'm going to copy this into GearHead and would like it refined and placed in Tech Info. While I certainly see the value of it here, I would also like to see it cleanly placed in Tech Info as well.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:41 PM   #10
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Ok, so has anyone actually bought from either of the 2 places mentioned?
I'm looking to try out some 9011 HIRs for my high beams. Now that I'm driving almost completely in the dark, both to and from work, I'd like to order a pair and see how well they work.
Just curious to see if anyone has anything good or not so good to say about either seller, or has an alternate source?
I love my HIDs, and its not so much the brightness, but the actually color temp. Different color temps will reflect off surfaces in different ways. The 6000k 35w kit I have will make the lines on the road appear to glow, as well as road signs. Which is extremely helpful, since I have poor night vision to start with. The Hella foglights I just put in help a lot where they are supposed to. But I have silverstar ultra 9005 highs right now, and I just need something better.
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