HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby davidastro [OP] » April 25th 2016, 5:53pm

Hey folks,

I was thinking about upgrading my headlights to HIDs and wondered if anyone has done this already? I'm not massively technical so not sure exactly what to get/whether it's worth it to upgrade my Astro? If so, did you find the light too strong? Did you install them yourself?

I came across these http://www.xenonpro.com/hid-kits/?find=chevrolet-2002-astro-230199 but wasn't sure if they would fit/if this would be worthwhile?

Any thoughts appreciated!

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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Mmusicman » April 25th 2016, 11:18pm

HID's are pretty amazing and I'd say they are well worth it!

* Halogens typically produce about 1500 lumens
* LED's can produce 2000-3000 lumens, but the H4 style bulbs often have focus and pattern issues, and usually don't throw well down the road.
* HID's produce an incredible 4000-5000 lumens!

Couple things:
* They must be aimed properly!
* Avoid bluish colors.

Color temps of 4300K-5000K are considered the whitest lights.. and also the brightest. Any color tint (in either direction) filters some of the spectrum and actually reduces light, and distorts colors.

Here is what I'm using (on another vehicle), and they work great! Had them for about a year now.
At starting price of $29/set.. they are even better! Highly rated and great quality too!
Completely plug and play! (with existing stock factory wiring)

https://www.ddmtuning.com/Products/DDM- ... 35W-or-55W

I suggest 55W, and 5000K color temp. You can go with 35W and they will still blind you!

* Extra harness, relays, accy's not needed.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby WimpTech » April 25th 2016, 11:26pm

Actually, I was considering going with a drop-in LED replacement rather than all the wiring and controllers for HID, like these:
http://amzn.com/B014GDKLQY

This is 9006, low beam, but you would have to get another for high beam.

Haven't done anything yet, but with Cree bulbs and the stock reflector, my guess would be that there wouldn't be focusing problems or that other stuff.

Any other opinions???
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Lumpy » April 26th 2016, 2:22am

Have they really figured out how to do LEDs as headlamps? I've got some expensive PIAA utility lights that are LED. They're bright to look into (DOH!) but they don't illuminate as well as a pair of $15 HF sealed beam tractors. They just don't put much light very far in front of the lens compared to sealed beams or H3 bulbs in a reflector.

Same up my butt. The stop/turn/tail LEDs work fine since they're designed to be looked AT. But the LED backup bulbs, regardless of brand, number of chips, whatever, don't come near the light output of a plain old 1156 incandescent.


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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Davo2530 » April 26th 2016, 3:06am

I do 2 upgrades to every vehicle I have owned over the last several years, first is the Install the Deer whistles that keep deer from ruining a perfectly good day. Second is to install HID headlights, I normally only do low beam because the lights are so good I rarely ever need High beam. So in my opinion they are definitely worth it, at least to me and my wife.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Astrofarian » April 26th 2016, 4:44am

Davo2530 wrote:I do 2 upgrades to every vehicle I have owned over the last several years, first is the Install the Deer whistles that keep deer from ruining a perfectly good day. Second is to install HID headlights, I normally only do low beam because the lights are so good I rarely ever need High beam. So in my opinion they are definitely worth it, at least to me and my wife.


I'm with you on the HID upgrade but deer whistles? I've had two sets on two different vehicles; hit deer with both of those as well as 3 other vehicles. I'm not convinced they work. But to each their own. I've always thought they looked a little too "J.C. Whitney" for my tastes.

A "million dollar idea" would be a device that makes dogs stop chasing cars on the road. I'd buy THAT in a heartbeat.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby safariking » April 26th 2016, 4:50am

i've tried leds for headlights but like lump said they are bright to look at but don't project the light so I only use them in brake and turn signals
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby WimpTech » April 26th 2016, 2:16pm

Awesome info, thanks guys.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Mmusicman » April 26th 2016, 4:03pm

Lumpy wrote:Have they really figured out how to do LEDs as headlamps? I've got some expensive PIAA utility lights that are LED. They're bright to look into (DOH!) but they don't illuminate as well as a pair of $15 HF sealed beam tractors. They just don't put much light very far in front of the lens compared to sealed beams or H3 bulbs in a reflector.
Lump

Exactly what I'm saying!

For anyone contemplating LED's... the real issue with LED's is that they don't focus well in an H4 application. They may "appear" super bright... but the light is cast in a wide useless unfocused pattern. They typically use numerous LED's which reflect different directions with an H4 reflector... as compared to halogens and HID's which use a single filament. They do however work well with lens projectors (not our application).

Here is an example of someone who "thought" he had brighter LED's (and posted this very accurate comparison photo), until I circled the issues! While the foreground appeared super bright... the headlight does NOT focus and light up objects down the road hardly at all! The wide unfocused pattern of the LED will also blind an oncoming driver, yet remain un-effective down the road!

Even with the lower powered halogens (on low beam).. the focus issue is still quite obvious!

Halogen-vs-LED-Low.jpg


Clearly the LED (above) is brighter and whiter... but in-effective where it is needed!

Here is the same comparison with high-beams! Note the LED pattern is virtually unchanged compared to low-beam LED (still just the same wide pattern)... while the high beam halogen practically lights up the neighborhood house and half the trees! The brighter LED still does nothing!

Halogen-vs-LED-HIGH.jpg


Now imagine 4x the focused super bright super white light output of an HID that still gives you accurate focus and throw down the road! Even brighter and whiter than an LED... while still retaining the correct focus of the halogen designed reflector. HID's will blow you away! But they must be properly aligned or you WILL blind oncoming drivers!

As far as the extra controller box... it simply lays behind the headlight! As I said.. it plugs right into your existing factory headlight plug! It couldn't be much simpler!

The LED technology is amazing an ever evolving... but still does not work well in an H4 application! Don't fall for the LED headlight hype!
Last edited by Mmusicman on April 26th 2016, 4:14pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby The Drummer » April 26th 2016, 4:11pm

I v been told by a long time sylvania sales rep that HID lights will never be as good in an H4 housing as the H4 it self ,HID will only be better if its in a HID housing , it as to do with the reflection of the housing mirror of the H4 lamp being precisely focused for the H4 and not an HID , the only way to get more out of H4 housing is to use hi efficiency H4 bulbs and they are not cheap, Musicman is right about the color , the higher you go the less youl see in snowy or fog conditions , there is a reason why fog lights are yellow , i searched online and found tests with photometers that proves this , so before you start spending your hard earn cash on HID s wich will give you less light and only blind others be sure its an improvement first .
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Mmusicman » April 26th 2016, 5:15pm

The Drummer wrote:I v been told by a long time sylvania sales rep....the only way to get more out of H4 housing is to use hi efficiency H4 bulbs and they are not cheap,

Sylvania was under class-action law suit and investigation for "false advertising" with their "more expensive" halogen bulbs and false claims. Turns out their "better" halogen bulbs still put out the same exact lumens! They typically don't "advertise" their actual output for this very reason.

https://www.google.com/#q=sylvania+false+advertising

The sales rep was basically lying to you and is in the business to sell their product! The HID H4 replacement uses the same single filament design with the correct fitment.

HalogenBulb.jpg
HalogenBulb.jpg (9.22 KiB) Viewed 1547 times


You must however use the HID H4 low-beam bulb with the correct shield behind the filament, so only the correct side of the reflector is used.

Here's the DDM HID (single filament low-beam only) with large shield:
(there are many other similar HID H4 designs and variations)

H4-HID-DDM-Low.jpg
H4-HID-DDM-Low.jpg (13.92 KiB) Viewed 1547 times


The Gen II vans use separate housings for high and low beam, so you must get the correct one to match. I'd only concentrate on the low beam, but you can replace both.

The HID pattern will be almost identical to the halogen pattern with the correct H4 bulb.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby WimpTech » April 26th 2016, 5:37pm

OK now THAT is good info, thanks MM. I saw guys in the Jeep club that upgraded to HID that needed a ton of crap, control boxes, extra power, a whole mess. However... these are plug-n-play? Where do I sign!?

No, seriously, which ones do you suggest since you have obviously done the research.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Mmusicman » April 26th 2016, 7:02pm

Wimpazz wrote:OK now THAT is good info, thanks MM. I saw guys in the Jeep club that upgraded to HID that needed a ton of crap, control boxes, extra power, a whole mess. However... these are plug-n-play? Where do I sign!?

No, seriously, which ones do you suggest since you have obviously done the research.

I posted a link above in my 1st post.
(But you'll need to make a few choices)
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby 97cargocrawler » April 26th 2016, 11:40pm

HID lights are awesome. They are just not awesome in an Astro or Safari stock composite housing due to the shape of the reflector. The reflector for HID bulbs is far more parabolic than what a stock filament bulb uses. Yes they make bulbs that fit in the housing, yes they are bright as hell to look at and NO they don't focus for **** on the road.

I have them in my Chevy truck. I slapped them in stock housings. They look cool. They don't light up the road for ****. Did I mention they look cool?

You need to go a step further and retrofit the stock housing with an HID reflector as well. You can buy really good ones from companies like PIAA or you can get lesser junk. I had been experimenting with retrofitting my Safari composite housings with HID bulbs and reflectors. It was expensive and a lot of work. I never finished it. Van died so all mods halted.

Junk HID projector retrofits in an aftermarket Strofari projector style filament housing (note one lens removed to show the parabolic reflector):

20141207_213408.jpg


Closeup with lens removed:

20141207_213420.jpg


Ignore the white circuit board. But you can see how the HID reflector is so much tighter than the stock filament bulb reflector behind. When focused HID will damn near melt your face off.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Corsemoto » April 27th 2016, 1:08am

^ Bingo.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Lumpy » April 27th 2016, 1:22am

97cargocrawler wrote:

...When focused HID will damn near melt your face off.


Would it work on my midsection?


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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby WimpTech » April 27th 2016, 5:54pm

Mmusicman wrote: I posted a link above in my 1st post.
(But you'll need to make a few choices)


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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby The Drummer » April 27th 2016, 6:29pm

Well i dont see why a life long friend that is actualy retired would lie to me , i found the exact same info on the net with no brand names mentioned , but hey whatever works for you .
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby 97cargocrawler » April 27th 2016, 7:39pm

The Drummer wrote:Well i dont see why a life long friend that is actualy retired would lie to me , i found the exact same info on the net with no brand names mentioned , but hey whatever works for you .


I'm pretty sure my post agreed with you. HID only works best in HID reflector.
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Re: HID Headlights - Is It Worth It?

Postby Mmusicman » April 28th 2016, 12:01am

The Drummer wrote:Well i dont see why a life long friend that is actualy retired would lie to me , i found the exact same info on the net with no brand names mentioned , but hey whatever works for you .

I guess you missed the link about the "class action lawsuit" against Sylvania for false advertising!
(the company your "long time sylvania sales rep" friend worked for)
But hey... whatever makes you "feel good"... 8-)
I doubt your friend intentionally (or unintentionally) lied to you.

Like LED's.. HID's do work quite amazingly well in projectors... we agree. Projectors offer VERY TIGHT pattern control, which is extremely beneficial with the higher HID output, offering un-paralleled optimum performance. A true HID system is unbeatable! But HID's are designed to work in H4 upgrade applications as well. As I said.. proper aiming is crucial.

HID upgrades are not for everyone. They work fine for some.. but apparently not for others.
Makes no difference to me what you choose to do.

Side note: I just bought some European style Hella "E-code" headlamp housings for my 92 (after seeing someone else post about them here) ... which offer a brighter, tighter cut-off and wider pattern than typical DOT style reflectors do. I intend to run HID H4's in them too. I don't know if this type housing is available for Gen II.
http://www.amazon.com/Hella-European-St ... B000GKIDXU

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2000 Astro LS 4x4 | NP233 | 31" LT265/70R17 Tires | 8" LIFT | 10" TOTAL
92 Chevy Astro Cargo Shorty | V8-350
http://www.CruisinSouthFlorida.com
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Mmusicman
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Years of Membership: Mmusicman has been a member for 7 full yearsMmusicman has been a member for 7 full yearsMmusicman has been a member for 7 full yearsMmusicman has been a member for 7 full yearsMmusicman has been a member for 7 full yearsMmusicman has been a member for 7 full yearsMmusicman has been a member for 7 full years
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