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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for replacement headlight bulbs mine seem to be a bit dim these days, looking for some brighter replacements and have seen 4100k halogen bulbs online. Are these bulbs worth it or will they melt my housings? Anyone have recommendations of halogen replacements or dependable HID conversion kits? Also, i havent really seen any but are there any aftermarket headlight fixtures around the internet, thanks!
 

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I am running Sylvania Silver Star Ultra and it is a very nice improve over standard H11 halogens. I recently had one go out and I put some spare standard halogens in and was amazed how much harder it was to see at night. Longevity is pretty good as I get about 3 years out of a set with DRL's disabled.

I thought about going with an HID kit but there have been issues reported here concerning the HID kits wiping out the wiper motor due to a sneaky ground path. Search the forum and you should find a nice long thread on this issue and recommendations.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea ive read a bit about people losing wiper motors, but i've also seen people with kits intalled that didnt have issues, maybe its one of these luck of the draw situations? One more question about the head lights, is it normal for the inside of the lens to look like its textured? I'm not sure whether or not theyre supposed to be like that on the inside or not, mine have a tiny bit of a yellow tinge and i was thinking of restoring them but then i was kinda concerned if it was on the inside of the lens because of how it looks
 

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You might also be interested in trying the H9 bulb conversion which is a halogen bulb but is much brighter and doesn't have any negative affects on wiring. You simply need to snip a small piece of the bulb connector to make it fit. I plan to do this to the S40 when one of the current H11 bulbs decides to quit.
 

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^Yeah, phish's thread is good and helpful for halogen options. I have done pretty much everything but HID, because frankly I'm scared to loose my wipers during long distance overnight commutes that I sometimes have to run. For starters, make sure you aim your headlights properly, that will make a big difference if yours are still set to shoot directly into the ground as many were.

The H9 conversion certainly produces the most light (outside of HID). I recently used a 3800k H9 in hopes of also getting a little whiter light, but it was only a touch less yellow than typical bulbs. This was after I ran some Mtec H9 bulbs which were marketed as 4250k, and they were pretty true to that, a nice bright and very white light (for halogens), but they only lasted about 5 months so I moved on. Silver star ultras were my first bulb upgrade and while better than stock, they weren't leaps and bounds better for me.

I also tried out one of the passive-cooling PNP led kits like they sell on superbrightleds, and the light pattern was a bit disastrous, so they lasted about a week. Those LEDs now live in my fog lights and are pretty awesome. -amazing supplemental lighting on darker roads and the cut-off clearly works better in reflector housings as opposed to projectors like our low beams, so no glare if cars pass you on the opposite side.

I am currently running Philips Crystalvison Ultras in my lows, because I put a pair in our XC60, and they were a drastic difference in that car; brighter light than stock and considerably whiter. They appear to be less drastic of an improvement in the S40 though, better than stock-type bulbs for sure (brighter/whiter), not as bright as running the H9 bulbs though and not nearly as white as the 4250k Mtecs. I don't know what it is with our projectors, they seem to diminish lumens and yellow the white some.

I think my next move is to embrace the stock projector and put some yellow H9s in there from Nokya. I ran the H8 yellow version in my fogs before the LEDs and they were great, lasted over a year and were still going strong when I pulled them out.
 

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been there... tried aftermarket halogen h11s (pretty much all a waste of money imho, including any of the sylvania or phillips ultra/crystal/etc... you're just not getting much in terms of more lumens). adjusted beams up helped some. adapted h9s were the 1st real noticeable improvement. $20-25/pair for philips h9s, great bang for buck.

from what i've seen online on approximate lumens of various setups:
h11 stock 55 watts 1300 lumens
h9 65 watt bulb 2100
d2s hid 35 watt 3000

to get nice white light, you need to go to HIDs and for functional light (no glare, etc) get a e46 projector. it's drop in (no cutting headlights open and baking them, etc) and $75: https://www.theretrofitsource.com/closeouts/bi-xenon-bosch-e46-replica-projectors.html#.VmRTOoQcdBw

as for the wiper motor issue, it's electromagnetic frequency interference (EFI) related. oem and some aftermarket hid kits that are built like oem (ie. morimoto's newest xb ballasts) have the ignitors separate from the ballasts, built into the d2s bulb holder. this reduced EFI. theretrofitsource even has a thread where they measure the various EFI levels of various setups. $150.

not cheap altogether compared to a pair of $20-25 h9s. but incredible lighting (and looks great). anything in between the 2 i just don't think is worth it performance or looks-wise. save the money on all those bulbs to apply them to the e46 retrofit budget.

my comparison shots are on the thread phish put together.

if anyone wants a pair of brand new philips h9s still in packaging (backup set), a pair of modified ones, and 2 spare sets of oem h11s (removed from brand new hondas), i'll ship the lot of them to you for $50.
 

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How does the E46 retrofit look with a halogen bulb? Or is it suggested to go right to a xenon/bi xenon?
 

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the e46 retrofit uses d2s hid/xenon bulbs

How does the E46 retrofit look with a halogen bulb? Or is it suggested to go right to a xenon/bi xenon?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the info! Also, is normal for the inside of the lens to be "textured" looking i guess is the best way to describe it
 

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stock lenses are fresnel (think that's the word) where they are textured/blurred. aftermarket clear ones are available and i highly recommend them...only $20 or so. i believe theretrofitsource's e46 retrofits come with clear lenses

Thanks for all the info! Also, is normal for the inside of the lens to be "textured" looking i guess is the best way to describe it
 

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stock lenses are fresnel (think that's the word) where they are textured/blurred. aftermarket clear ones are available and i highly recommend them...only $20 or so. i believe theretrofitsource's e46 retrofits come with clear lenses
Would these have a better output for halogen bulbs or are they only for the HID retrofits?
 

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I was happy with the following:

1) removing the projectors from the lenses and cleaning the 10 years worth of dust off of them
2) replacing the stock H11s with regular Sylvania Silverstars.

If you go with those bulbs, keep your receipt for the one-year warranty. Silverstars historically have short lifespans but they will replace your bulbs without any trouble if you ask (been there, done that). They are still worth it to me.

Now, if an easy trouble-free HID option came along... might reconsider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
stock lenses are fresnel (think that's the word) where they are textured/blurred. aftermarket clear ones are available and i highly recommend them...only $20 or so. i believe theretrofitsource's e46 retrofits come with clear lenses
Actually i meant the actual main head light assembly lens not the projector, maybe ill post a picture a bit later if needed. For now, i pulled the projectors out, cleaned then and installed a new pair of slyvania ultra h11's and that had made a huge difference, in the future ill pick up some of those e46 len's and an approriate HID kit.
 

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some headlights can get cloudy from road grit, so wet sanding and polish can help a lot. i did that for my mother-in-laws 12 year old honda accord and it definitely improved light output.
if you think sylvania h11s are nice, put in some h9s (just need to cut off a plastic tab with an exacto blade to fit into the h11 socket) and you will really be impressed (and no hid complications)

Actually i meant the actual main head light assembly lens not the projector, maybe ill post a picture a bit later if needed. For now, i pulled the projectors out, cleaned then and installed a new pair of slyvania ultra h11's and that had made a huge difference, in the future ill pick up some of those e46 len's and an approriate HID kit.
 

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some headlights can get cloudy from road grit, so wet sanding and polish can help a lot. i did that for my mother-in-laws 12 year old honda accord and it definitely improved light output.
if you think sylvania h11s are nice, put in some h9s (just need to cut off a plastic tab with an exacto blade to fit into the h11 socket) and you will really be impressed (and no hid complications)
I'm going to get some h9s tonight, clean the housings (no cloudiness yet, I have a proprietary method for fixing and protecting that though), and maybe remove the projector housing and clean that up some too. Before and after pics to come, assuming my phone lets me copy/paste a link here today.
 

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(no cloudiness yet, I have a proprietary method for fixing and protecting that though)
Do tell.....
Come on, share with your buddies.:p
 

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Ok fine. I DA the whole headlight lens wet with 800 grit film disc paper. Make sure all the cloudiness, peeling, and cracks (in the finish) are gone by cleaning it off with water and a towel, then spraying water over the whole surface. After the whole surface is uniformly clear with water, wipe it dry, blow water off with an air hose, clean properly with a solvent based surface cleaner (Prep-All is a cheap option, and works pretty well) DO NOT USE PAINT THINNER!!!!! It will compromise the plastic!!!!!

Mask out the lens with tape and masking paper (newspaper works in a bind), then wipe it down with a tack cloth with air. Then I make an adhesion promoter with 5:1 reducer:clear coat, let it flash for 5-10 mins, and finish with a medium-wet and finish coat of clear. I usually wetsand with 2000 and 3000 paper and buff a day or two later, but that's optional. Clearest, best UV protected headlights ever. Acrylic enamel and lacquer clears work, but none as wellas a high quality, high solids urethane.

Total work time ~1 hour or so, plus dry time for the clear, and total cost about $30-40 in actual materials used, but totally worth it in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Heres what i mean, it seems to be on the inside of the lens, the outside is smooth. Also note, the angle which the picture is taken greatly intensifies the way it looks. Looks worse in this picture then it does in person.



some headlights can get cloudy from road grit, so wet sanding and polish can help a lot. i did that for my mother-in-laws 12 year old honda accord and it definitely improved light output.
if you think sylvania h11s are nice, put in some h9s (just need to cut off a plastic tab with an exacto blade to fit into the h11 socket) and you will really be impressed (and no hid complications)
i went in looking for h9's but my shopping options at 11:30pm when i bought the lights were pretty much limited to walmart, which was out og h9s lol
 
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