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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For 2007 XC90 98K miles with HID active bending headlights, lately I have noticed the amount of light they headlights put out isn't as much as it used to be.

Other car HIDs on highway (and others we have) are much better than our big red XC90.

I also noticed that the pass side was a little more pink/yellow (but not the extreme pink like the bulb is bad) than the drivers side, so I replaced it a while back, but even the new Philips bulb (real Philips) never got fully white.

The other thing is that there is a build up of film on the inside of the projector lens, anyone have that and tried to clean it?

Or are the ballasts both going bad (seems odd both will go bad at same time)?

This weekend I plan to swap bulbs left to right to see if the color difference follows the bulb.


Thanks.
 

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Without knowing what I'm talking about, I'd look at the supply voltage first. A bad connection or bad ground could limit the power to the circuit. Look for something that affects both sides.
 

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At first I was going to write that your bulbs need replacement, but after reading that you recently replaced them with Phillips bulbs, I feel fairly confident your ballast are going bad.

Dim HIDs, uneven colors, changing colors, buzzing or rapid flickering are all signs of a ballast beginning to fail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. this weekend I will try 2 things, a) swap bulb sides to see if the bulb discoloration follows the bulb, if not the ballast is going bad, FCP has a good deal on Valeo ballast replacement vs OEM price and it is the same part, just not in a volvo box. b) clean the back sides of the projector lens very carefully, I found some foam swabs that are really long on Amazon that I will try to use as the film is pretty bad on the back sides of the projector lens inside, that is probably the equivalent of the front plastic turning milky white from UV/age

FYI, I do treat/clean the front outside plastic with turtle wax headlight restorer and sealer, it works pretty well by hand, but does not last that long (like every 4-6mo I have to do it to keep them clear).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, cleaning the inside of the projector lens improved light output, but not nearly enough.

Going down the new ballast route, will confirm if it helps or not.

I have a feeling that the 14 year old ballasts have hit their replacement age (there is a marking on the ballast "2000h" not sure if it means that they are only rated 2000 hours or something different?).
 

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Well, cleaning the inside of the projector lens improved light output, but not nearly enough.

Going down the new ballast route, will confirm if it helps or not.

I have a feeling that the 14 year old ballasts have hit their replacement age (there is a marking on the ballast "2000h" not sure if it means that they are only rated 2000 hours or something different?).
The expected life of ballasts are about 10 years. Less if you do a lot of night driving. Xenon was never my favorite as the parts are expensive and half the system is a consumable item. Just one of several reasons I'm looking forward to LED lights. More light output, far less complicated, far less expensive, will outlive the car's usable life.

(Of course now car manufacturers are trying to push LASER lights which are back to Xenon's drawbacks in terms of cost)
 

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FYI, I do treat/clean the front outside plastic with turtle wax headlight restorer and sealer, it works pretty well by hand, but does not last that long (like every 4-6mo I have to do it to keep them clear).
3M makes the best headlight hazing kit and sealant. I would try their product on your next application.
 

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Meh, 3M product lasts about as long as the other products give or take 6 months.

There are far better ways to do this, including a proper UV clear-coat after the fact.
 

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Short of a full replacement of the housing with the newer formulated plastic, I've not known any product to fully cease hazing. At best, you get 8months to a year of protection before another application is needed.
Sidenote: I'm surprised no class action lawsuits were started over this considering how widespread it was throughout the auto industry with vehicles produced between 1998 - 2010.
 

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Are you saying vehicles produced after 2010 have some magical new plastic/coating that doesn't haze? Or just that they haven't reached the right age where most have had enough sun exposure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks all

My plastic outside lens is pretty clean, but that is because I knew of the issue of yellowing and hazing, and have been pretty vigilant in cleaning them up every so often, but the tops did get somewhat hazed at 10 years old, and I did use the 3M process of wet sanding and buffing for the tops of the housing, but did not have to take the top skin coat off the front of the lens where the headlights shine through.

For the front part, I have just used a cleaner wax over the years, and then started using the turtle wax cleaner/sealer the last 3, and the fronts look great.

When I talked about cleaning the projector lens as it had a film on it, those were on the inside of the headlights, and had buildup from static and the plastics/seals gassing with heat over time, the back of the projector lens was quite cloudy and cleaned up well where the light passes through it now instead of partially illuminating the back of the lens as there was a slightly cloudy layer there.

The only problem is the shutter for the high beam blocks half the lens, so you can only get the top of the lens, which gives you your low beam output, as that light is bent downwards by the lens.

The note about the front plastic was just a side note and to provide people with info on how I kept the plastic clear all these years later in front of the headlight beams.

I should have the replacement ballasts in a day or two and will update on how that worked.

I am surprised that more haven't talked about reduced light output on the HIDs due to the ballast.

@shadowdancer, thanks for the info on the ballast, while I have worked in lighting, I haven't really done so on HID (mainly incandescent/halogen and LED).

I know that all light sources incandescent, HID and LED all dim over time (bulb lumen output drops, but at different rates), I haven't heard of ballasts causing some of that on HID.

Also while LED seems to be the savor, they do drop in brightness, just slower than the other bulbs. But the cost to replace LED headlights are astronomical as the whole headlight housing has to be replaced and they can now cost over a thousand dollars each. Where with HID, you can replace the bulb for 40-50 if you know the right spot (some on Amazon, some on Rock Auto, or FCP for higher, but then you get the lifetime warranty), or replace the ballast (around 120-140 depending on where you get it from, and for OEM quality, from Valeo for example the maker of our headlights).

LEDs do fail early, I have seen it on the road, also the rate of lumen output decay depends on how hard you drive/push the LEDs with current, some overdrive them a bit to eek out that last bit of light, and small increases over their ratings, and improper heat sinking of the LEDs can lead to a quicker light output/lumen decay.

For leasing and short term keeping of the car (till bumper to bumper runs out) LEDs are great, but for those who will keep their cars for decades, LED headlights will be a significant cost later on as they start to dim down below incandescent levels.

The dangerous thing about LEDs is that most of the time they just dim slowly so you don't notice the difference in brightness and don't realize when they are no longer safe (unless they fail completely which isn't always the case, and the other issue is that they are multi LED arrays so that if one goes out, you may not realize it as the head light still lights up with the remaining LEDs, but your field of view distance at night is drastically less. I have seen this also, in regular LEDs replacing household lamps (where some LEDs have gone out)

At least if an incandescent or HID bulb goes bad, they are a single source and will know that there is an issue right away.

So while LEDs have positives, there are negatives also to them.
 

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Late to posting in this thread, but did you purchase the Philips HID bulb from Volvo or somewhere else? There are different types of Philips HID bulbs and you get what you pay for. If you did not purchase from a reputable place, the bulb could also be a counterfeit.

The white color is independent of light output and the bulb could have more light output with a yellower look. This is why it is recommended to purchase bulbs in pairs so the wear, age, light output, and color are the same. There are options to upgrade the bulbs with more light output and whiter color: https://www.theretrofitsource.com/headlight-conversion-kits/volvo/xc90-hid-equipped/2007 (scroll down to the D1S bulbs)

I am not so sure the ballast is the culprit here. If it is outputting less voltage then it may cause flicker, but I have seen them just go out completely, usually.

If you want to see the light vs color output tested for different available upgraded bulbs, here are some links. Remember the set-up may be at different distances or with different lens' between videos. So, I focus on the comparisons within each video (not lumens across different videos).
Looking at different Philips options
Comparing the Osram bulbs which fit and are another OE supplier to vehicle manufacturers
This is an Osram bulb with great light output, but can look closer to the 4000K color

I personally don't skimp on HID bulbs for any of my cars. They are safety items and upgrading bulbs have made a difference for me in fog, rain, snow, and for giving a fuller beam pattern to see kids at night in the peripherals.

*I am showing retrofitsource because I have had great experience with them and they are very helpful if you call them. I have no affiliation.
 

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So you're going to replace a ballast because the bulb light color is yellow and you believe the output has diminished? When you replaced the bulb, you only replaced one? And how many hours with the DS1 headlight (not the H10 DRLs) on since you did the replacement? Color shift on old ballast I thought was more blue than yellow before the light stops working completely.

Few posts on LED options with this car, putting them in existing assemblies has often resulted in inconsistent lighting since the LED output is so directional.
 

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Are you saying vehicles produced after 2010 have some magical new plastic/coating that doesn't haze? Or just that they haven't reached the right age where most have had enough sun exposure?
Post 2010, many of the headlight suppliers finally got their polycarbonate formulations corrected in such a way that oxidation and UV absorption would not form the hazing and yellowing common to the first generations of 'crystal' headlights.
 

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My MY2009 with HIDs still has crystal clear headlamp lenses. And they are original.

Reason?

Vehicle has been garaged it's entire life, by previous owner and now by me.
The long term continuous UV exposure is what clouds the headlamp lenses.
Protect the car from UV as much as you can and you will prolong the life of all plastics and cloth and rubber materials.
 

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Post 2010, many of the headlight suppliers finally got their polycarbonate formulations corrected in such a way that oxidation and UV absorption would not form the hazing and yellowing common to the first generations of 'crystal' headlights.
Interesting if true. Volvo centric posts to reference for validation?
 

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Interesting if true. Volvo centric posts to reference for validation?
My statement was in general to the automotive industry and not specific to Volvo.
The evolution of the formulation cam around the 2010 period with the introduction of what the marketing gurus would like to spiff up on their sales & marketing copy as "crystal headlights" and "jewel headlights."
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks all for the input

@ChitownV and @ggleavitt - I actually have a pair of Philips bulbs, they were obtained from Philips directly, so they are official bulbs, but thanks for checking as that can be the cause. I agree, I normally I replace both, but with the reduced output and yellowing of 1 of the 2 Osram bulbs, I tried one of the new Philips bulbs, about 2 months ago it was installed, it was a little . The Osram bulb was getting a bit pink/yellow, so I changed the bulb to Philips, and got a similar result but slightly less so. Scratched my head and didn't change the other, a few business asia trips later and I am trying to get them up to full brightness.

Anyway I did, over the weekend try the other brand new D1S Philips bulb, with similar results.

So after replacing bulbs, cleaning the projector glass lenses and the front plastic, the only thing left is the ballast (the battery is a year old, and the alternator has been replaced), so the only thing that I can think of that hasn't been tried is the ballast.

Anyway, I am hoping that fixes it because there's nothing left.

I appreciate all the input and side conversations.

@swissxc90 - I agree, ours has been garaged for most of it's 13+ life.
 

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Question:
How did you clean the inside of the projector lens?
Mine is also a bit filmy.

Did you just remove the HID bulb and use glass cleaner and a cleaning cloth through the bulb mounting hole?
Was it a successful clean?
 

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Thanks all for the input

@ChitownV and @ggleavitt - I actually have a pair of Philips bulbs, they were obtained from Philips directly, so they are official bulbs, but thanks for checking as that can be the cause. I agree, I normally I replace both, but with the reduced output and yellowing of 1 of the 2 Osram bulbs, I tried one of the new Philips bulbs, about 2 months ago it was installed, it was a little . The Osram bulb was getting a bit pink/yellow, so I changed the bulb to Philips, and got a similar result but slightly less so. Scratched my head and didn't change the other, a few business asia trips later and I am trying to get them up to full brightness.

Anyway I did, over the weekend try the other brand new D1S Philips bulb, with similar results.

So after replacing bulbs, cleaning the projector glass lenses and the front plastic, the only thing left is the ballast (the battery is a year old, and the alternator has been replaced), so the only thing that I can think of that hasn't been tried is the ballast.

Anyway, I am hoping that fixes it because there's nothing left.

I appreciate all the input and side conversations.

@swissxc90 - I agree, ours has been garaged for most of it's 13+ life.
I'd put money on it being the ballasts. You're well within the replacement window and both bulbs are exhibiting the same problem.
 
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