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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Has anyone contemplated or performed a conversion to LED headlights? I understand the hot-button issues are:

1. Different light source giving rise to differences in the light pattern,
2. Difference in wattage giving rise to bulb failure warnings,
3. Reliability issues,
4. Warranty issues,
5. Less than ideal light output.

Please weigh in with whatever you think is relevant and thanks!

Regards,
C-X
 

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Not entirely on topic, but I did try out some LED bulbs for my foglights (H8 size). The LED were significantly less bright, so much so that I returned them and went back to my aftermarket halogens (which are of a bluish color already and a good match to my factory HIDs). I'll wait until the "bulb replacement" LEDs get better and brighter.
 

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Thing is, most LED replacement bulbs out now are meant only for DRL use, not to replace a full brightness bulb. However, there are a couple bulbs on the market now that can replace a headlight or fog light at full brightness. Like these:

http://flashtechusa.com/led-1/bulbs/headlight?product_id=247



They have a built in heatsink, and are equivalent in brightness to a 70w halogen bulb (roughly) and more importantly, they are beam-pattern correct.



A buddy of mine installed them in the low beams of his 2013 Dodge Ram and the beam pattern is pretty good. Not as much glare as a plug and play HID kit either. I imagine the bulbs would work well in halogen projectors. Also, no trouble with flickering on PWM systems. The Dodge Rams are known for having flickering issues and these don't flicker at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks to those who have weighed in thus far! I'm looking at 2013 C70s to replace my current S60R and most on the market are Premium Plus spec. Very few Dynamics or Inscriptions. And I'm accustomed to HIDs. Not sure if putting CrystalVision Ultra bulbs in will keep me happy...:confused:

I've looked at a YouTube video for this kit and it looks impressive:

http://www.gtrlighting.com/led-headlight-h11-conversion-kit-2-200-lumen-bulbs/



A link to the video:


The manufacturer has a plug-in CANBUS adapter designed as a companion product to these lights as well:

http://www.gtrlighting.com/canbus-module-for-single-beam-led-headlight-conversion-kits/

 

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I have replaced the Xenon bulbs in my C70 this year, they failed about 4 months apart, and at about $100 a shot, that starts to add up, and I expect that will not be long off again as they are on all the time when driving. What do the ones cost that fit ( or will they) in the HID projector set up? If the led source is not located perfectly in the reflector as they were designed, then there will be sgnificant reduction in focused light, and more glare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have replaced the Xenon bulbs in my C70 this year, they failed about 4 months apart, and at about $100 a shot, that starts to add up, and I expect that will not be long off again as they are on all the time when driving. What do the ones cost that fit ( or will they) in the HID projector set up? If the led source is not located perfectly in the reflector as they were designed, then there will be sgnificant reduction in focused light, and more glare.
AeroKnot, I'm wondering if the dealer could reflash your car to disable the always-on feature of your xenons? I thought I'd heard of someone having that done. Might be worth looking into...

It turns out that at least one of the C70s that caught my eye is at the Honolulu dealership. I'd imagine the cost to ship it to the "Big Island" would be prohibitive.
 

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Yes I've wondered myself if the CPU for the lights could not only be turned off but turned over to the halogen fog lights for that purpose. At $9 per bulb, that makes a lot more sense than having those expensive Xenons on all the time, and seems like plenty of light to warn other cars coming head on. I'm actually trying to find the smaller LED equivalent bulbs for the front and rear running lights and blinkers, but haven't found an the right ones yet that also have the CAN chip in them so the computer doesn't get all weird with "bulb out" indications.

As far as shipping, its not cheap, but less than you might think, I shipped my old Landcruiser from LA here to Kauai, 4 years ago, and it was $ 1200, I think it might be still less than $1500 for most cars now, maybe less going that way. Takes 10 days to two weekds. An Oahu car would probably be driven lightly, no real place to work a car on open roads, usually low mileage for the same reason, and that is the only island here with a dealer. If it was garage kept out of the daily rain, could be a good buy.
 

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so for christmas, i decided to try one of these led kits since i wanted to nice xenon/hid like white light for my low beams. current philips h9 converted to h11 provide awesome light, but has the typical yellow halogen look.
sirius h11 leds, supposedly latest cree 2014 tech, advertised 6400 lumens (definitely not): http://www.siriusled.net/collections/h11/products/6400-lumen-h11-9005-headlight

pros:
- bright white light
- brighter than stock halogens both close up and distance
- easy to install (as any bulb or hid kit with our easily removed headlamp assemblies)
- supposed very long bulb life (compared to hids)
- no wiper motor risk like with hids (big plus in my book and reason i haven't gone to hid kits)

cons:
- light's throw isn't as far as h9's converted to h11s (and i'm sure not as far as hids)
- fan on the back of the bulb is about 3-4mm too long to allow rear cover to close completely (1 clasp can close but not the other. would need to dremel an opening and then seal, or tape over the small gap so water doesn't get in)
- bulb out warning on dash with this kit (would need to spend more to add a bow canceller)

i think if i didn't already have a very effective h9 to h11 conversion working well for me i'd consider keeping these. but the hassle of modifying the back cover and finding a bow canceller for the sake of looks just isn't worth it for me right now. i'm too old to care that much about looks over function... but it's promising. maybe the 2015 or 2016 versions of these led kits will eventually provide enough throw in the light or have smaller fans to make them worth it.
 

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just installed a e46 bi-xenon projector retrofit. quite easy, just 3 bolts and the stock one comes out. used zkw-r clear lenses. didn't know how cloudy the stock ones are. amazing clear white light and sharp, sharp cutoff. absolutely love it. still need to finish up the install with cutting the headlight rear cover for the ballast wires/grommet and hook up the high beams but so far love the low beam.

the retrofit with a morimoto 3five 5k bulbs/ballasts, were bought used from another forum member, plus a canbus harness (to eliminate any bulb out warnings) in total about $300. pricey compared to cheap aftermarket hid kits or even a led kit, but performance is amazing, better than oem xenons i would say with these clear zkw-r lenses. wish i had done it sooner.

may cost a bit more if you buy everything new (or less if you pull an e46 projector at a wrecking yard and use a cheaper xenon kit than morimoto).

for me lighting is a safety issue as much as cosmetic. the current crop of cree led low beams look great but like the crappy stock halogens just didn't help me see into the distance well enough at night where we have some dark stretches of road. kind of curious now how they would perform inside a projector housing. in the stock halogen housing, they were as bad as similar hid kits with tons of scatter and mediocre/fuzzy cut off. leds are fine for cosmetic fogs or drl though.
 

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just installed a e46 bi-xenon projector retrofit. quite easy, just 3 bolts and the stock one comes out. used zkw-r clear lenses. didn't know how cloudy the stock ones are. amazing clear white light and sharp, sharp cutoff. absolutely love it. still need to finish up the install with cutting the headlight rear cover for the ballast wires/grommet and hook up the high beams but so far love the low beam.

the retrofit with a morimoto 3five 5k bulbs/ballasts, were bought used from another forum member, plus a canbus harness (to eliminate any bulb out warnings) in total about $300. pricey compared to cheap aftermarket hid kits or even a led kit, but performance is amazing, better than oem xenons i would say with these clear zkw-r lenses. wish i had done it sooner.

may cost a bit more if you buy everything new (or less if you pull an e46 projector at a wrecking yard and use a cheaper xenon kit than morimoto).

for me lighting is a safety issue as much as cosmetic. the current crop of cree led low beams look great but like the crappy stock halogens just didn't help me see into the distance well enough at night where we have some dark stretches of road. kind of curious now how they would perform inside a projector housing. in the stock halogen housing, they were as bad as similar hid kits with tons of scatter and mediocre/fuzzy cut off. leds are fine for cosmetic fogs or drl though.
I'd love to hear/see more about your conversion experience. Our 2007 had HID that were amazing, but our 2010 has halogens :( [beggars can't be choosers when looking for 6MT], so I'm looking for economical ways to get a bit more light on the road. As you said - good lighting is a safety issue. I never understood the crazy folks that put dark tinted covers of the head and tail lights to make their cars look cool. :eek:
 

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i think if i didn't already have a very effective h9 to h11 conversion working well for me i'd consider keeping these. but the hassle of modifying the back cover and finding a bow canceller for the sake of looks just isn't worth it for me right now. i'm too old to care that much about looks over function... but it's promising. maybe the 2015 or 2016 versions of these led kits will eventually provide enough throw in the light or have smaller fans to make them worth it.
Can you tell me more about this h9 to h11 conversion? IPD shows my car as having h11 as low beam - is that correct?
 

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yes, our low beams are h11 (55 watts, approx 1300 lumens)

you buy h9 bulbs: $9/ea http://www.amazon.com/Philips-Standard-Headlight-Bulb-Pack/dp/B00480KOP4
65watts and 2100 lumens ... much much brighter. not quite the 3000 lumens xenon's provide and not white, but still felt much safer driving with them.

you'll need to dremel or use an exacto knife to convert the h9 bubls to fit into the low beam h11 sockets:

Can you tell me more about this h9 to h11 conversion? IPD shows my car as having h11 as low beam - is that correct?
 

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LEDs require different optics than filament bulbs or HIDs to work properly as headlights. Some newer cars like the new Accords and Corollas use LEDs for low beams with specially designed projectors. But even with those new technologies, HID is still king in terms of output.
 

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one other drawback to led kits, at least the one i tried, is the relatively large fan that attaches to the back of the bulb. it doesn't allow the headlight rear cover to go back on. sure there are workarounds to seal and prevent leakage but, not worth the trouble for inferior performance
 

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one other drawback to led kits, at least the one i tried, is the relatively large fan that attaches to the back of the bulb. it doesn't allow the headlight rear cover to go back on. sure there are workarounds to seal and prevent leakage but, not worth the trouble for inferior performance
What brand did you use? I am toying with the idea of installing the vleds.com 4500 lumen kit for the low beams and high beams while upgrading the rest of my car's lighting but if people had bad experiences I might just go with the ol' H9 to H11 conversion. I personally am averse to Xenon conversions, I had a bad experience with one of the major brands back in the day with my old Jetta which fried not only the headlights themselves but a good chunk of the electronics..... (and no, I didn't do anything other than follow the instructions to the letter.... it turned out one of the supplied ballasts was ****ed somehow....)
 

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the led kit i got was by sirius around $100 on amazon (great return policy)...i think advertised as 6400lumens. it's definitely brighter than stock halogens and look beautiful (nice and white). just didnt have the distance performance in stock projectors and again the big fan at the back didnt allow the cover to fit

totally get wanting to avoid hid kits. had the same concern myself. on the s40 and volvo/audi forums it's a known issue with cheap hid kits with high electromagnetic interference (EMI) screwing with radio and electronics including killing wiper motors.

ultimately i went with a bi-xenon retrofit for better performance and debated oem ballast but instead opted for morimoto when they came out with their new xb35 ballast with an external ignitor. they're waterproof (unlike oem) and the EMI is on par with oem. and the ballast cost about 1/2 those of oem....1/4-1/3 of the price if you factor getting the oem ballasts potted/waterproofed. and the rear cover fits :)
 

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the e46 bixenon projectors will work fine with you facelift headlights. although the outside shape is different from the pre-facelift, the interior components are the same.

buy a set of e46 bi-xenon projectors... someone's selling a set in the classified and they pop up on eBay on occasion, or buy a new set here ($120):
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/closeouts/bi-xenon-bosch-e46-replica-projectors.html#.VPxO80KFImV

then add a hid kit (remember you'll need d2s bulbs -pretty much oem type hid bulbs, canbus/bow adapters or harness to avoid bulb-out-warning, i stayed with 35watt since that's oem level with less heat and better bulb longevity, but 55watt systems are amazingly bright). lots of hid kits to choose (ebay/amazon/vled/ddm/mori/oem) from $50-300:
http://www.ddmtuning.com/Products/DDM-HID-Kit-Slim-Ballast-35W-or-55W
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/hid-systems/morimoto-elite-d2s-hid-system.html
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/hid-systems/denso-philips-osram-oem-d2s-elite-hid-system.html

less electronic magnetic interference risk with higher end/oem ballasts/d2s ignitors.

here's a video on how to remove the projector (very easy, basically 3 bolts). the e46 bi-xenon projectors bolt right into place of the oem halogen projector.

you'll spend more time wiring up the hid kit, finding a place to put the ballasts, etc, than the actual projectors install.

there are minor nuances like putting in clear lenses (the morimoto replicas i think already come with the zkw-r lenses installed) or hooking up a solenoid to take advantage of the bi-xenon capability for high beams (if you don't, your existing high beams continue to work just fine) but they are icing on the cake. just having proper projectors designed for hid creates amazing output and a nice clean cut-off that won't blind other drivers.
 

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the e46 bixenon projectors will work fine with you facelift headlights. although the outside shape is different from the pre-facelift, the interior components are the same.

buy a set of e46 bi-xenon projectors... someone's selling a set in the classified and they pop up on eBay on occasion, or buy a new set here ($120):
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/closeouts/bi-xenon-bosch-e46-replica-projectors.html#.VPxO80KFImV

then add a hid kit (remember you'll need d2s bulbs -pretty much oem type hid bulbs, canbus/bow adapters or harness to avoid bulb-out-warning, i stayed with 35watt since that's oem level with less heat and better bulb longevity, but 55watt systems are amazingly bright). lots of hid kits to choose (ebay/amazon/vled/ddm/mori/oem) from $50-300:
http://www.ddmtuning.com/Products/DDM-HID-Kit-Slim-Ballast-35W-or-55W
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/hid-systems/morimoto-elite-d2s-hid-system.html
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/hid-systems/denso-philips-osram-oem-d2s-elite-hid-system.html

less electronic magnetic interference risk with higher end/oem ballasts/d2s ignitors.

here's a video on how to remove the projector (very easy, basically 3 bolts). the e46 bi-xenon projectors bolt right into place of the oem halogen projector.

you'll spend more time wiring up the hid kit, finding a place to put the ballasts, etc, than the actual projectors install.

there are minor nuances like putting in clear lenses (the morimoto replicas i think already come with the zkw-r lenses installed) or hooking up a solenoid to take advantage of the bi-xenon capability for high beams (if you don't, your existing high beams continue to work just fine) but they are icing on the cake. just having proper projectors designed for hid creates amazing output and a nice clean cut-off that won't blind other drivers.
That's a great writeup, thx :thumbup:. Should be stickied, IMHO. I take it your kit including ballasts/igniters are Morimoto? Any issues with that? I like the Bi-Xenon option. I think I'd go for that and use the high beam socket to put some low power blue LED bulbs and splice them into the DRL wire. too bad that the ring around the low beam projector in the facelift is solid rather than clear like in the pre-facelift or it would have been a great opportunity to fit some blue angel eyes in.
 

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thanks! i've learned a lot from this forum so very happy to share when i can.

yeah, i went with the new (2014) morimoto xb35 ballasts with the external d2s ignitor cable with canbus harness. everything is very high quality. have a mori 3five ballast set up on our odyssey that replaced an old vled set up and saw the quality difference. if trs/morimoto hadn't come out with the new design with the external ignitor, though, i probably would've gone with oem ballasts/ignitors to minimize the wiper motor risk. others have had luck with generic/lower cost kits but i'd rather pay a bit more upfront and have worry free performance. that said, morimoto is still aftermarket, not oem so time will tell re: the wiper motor risk and long term durability.

lowendtorque over in the s40 forum created a custom C-shaped led light for that high beam/parking light area for the reasons you mentioned. once the bi-xenon is set up, it's sort of unused space. his looks awesome:
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread.php?216511-LowEndTorque-S40-Progression-Thread/page4

i swapped the stock 194 parking/city light that's next to the high beam with a sirius 194/t10 ($8/pair, white, not purple/blue). i had already put in halo leds wired to the city/parking light wires so now if i drive with my lights set at "parking" (low beams off), the white city lights and halos around the low beams acts as my daytime lights. a picture would explain better but i'm not great at figuring out how to post pics. there's the halo thread:
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread.php?171914
 
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