Need More Light on da road

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thesameguy
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by thesameguy »

There was a consumer reports article several years ago comparing headlights on many new cars, and the takeaway was that even cars with fancy front lights did an objectively bad job lighting the road. IIRC, the Prius was the only car they said had very good headlights. Probably that info is out of date - so many cars have bi-xenon or LED or whatever lights these days I suspect the landscape has changed. But, not all lights are equal - that's for sure!

I like more light as well - well, maybe used to? I used to drive a lot of back roads, typically at high speed, and more light equals more warning. I'd always recommend aux lights over high wattage bulbs, because aux lights can be turned off without blinding oncoming traffic.

Different light designs and positions will have varying effects on your result... fog lights will illuminate the area just in front of and to the side of the car, making them useless for driving normal speeds. Driving lights will (typically) illuminate a narrow area much farther down the road than even high beams. Driving lights are generally available in spot/pencil or flood patterns, trading range for coverage.

Fog lights need to be placed low to the ground to be useful; driving lights should be placed higher to maximize range. You gotta figure out what problem you're trying to solve and then buy the lights. As Consumer Reports found (and I hate consumer reports, but credit where it's due) a lot of lights these days are designed to look cool and not necessarily work well. :/

I don't know where you mount aux lights on modern-ish cars.... in the old days they just went above or below the bumper. Now cars don't really have them, so you gotta get creative. Although broadly illegal (not inherently, just nobody follows the lows) you might look into the cheap LED aux lights on Amazon etc. They make a LOT of light. An illegal amount, typically. But, they come in a variety of form factors, are cheap, and you can turn them off while people are around. I use these on the motorhome as aux reverse lights... they are very small, cheap and crazy bright.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D5S1SF5/
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Bob Weir
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by Bob Weir »

To introduce another element into the discussion ... Lens ... Plastic vs Glass

For a short time, I had a Scorpio with Euro [glass] lights. What an improvement over the OEM plastic lens. An expensive upgrade, but well worth the investment!

Obviously, there's a lot of old cars out there with plastic lens that either need new lens or a serious compounding.

I'm going to research the availability of alternative wattage bulbs. Something brighter than OEM 55 / 65, but not as bright as 80 / 100. And I'll look into at least new backup bulbs. Sylvania says they "dim over time". Really, I never noticed. Ha Ha
zxr250cc
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by zxr250cc »

Hi all,

Stock 9004 bulbs are 45/65 watt designs. That is why low beam sucks so much in the XR. Wagner had a bulb in the past that was 65/65 but those are gone it seems as I could not find any when I wound up with the 80/100 Hella bulbs. Properly aimed high watt bulbs are no worse for others than stock designs, I believe.

If incorrectly aimed any bulb is a problem which brings up again the LED kits used by some with the reflectors designed for bulbs and shaped wrong to correctly pattern with the LED sets. I have considered using an LED set in the fog lights as a test but have not done so yet. Anyone tried them there?

Cheers
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
thesameguy
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by thesameguy »

AFAIK, FMVSS (or is it NHTSA?) guidelines for headlights are based on candela, so (old) headlights are designed around a package of bulb/reflector/lens to produce a result within spec. A higher wattage bulb, by its vary nature, blows up that equation. A higher wattage bulb can't not be worse for oncoming traffic. I doubt you can buy such a bulb from a reputable manufacturer that isn't "for offroad use only."

LED replacement bulbs create a similar problem, putting light where it shouldn't be. Some higher quality bulbs try to mimic the light output of an incandescent bulb and they will do better. In my limited experience, what I've found is that LED bulbs create a brighter, whiter light but have equal or worse coverage. The whiter light tricks the eye into thinking it can see more, but really it can (maybe) just see better in a smaller area. The effect on other drivers probably has a lot to do with the design of the headlight... LEDs in my H4-equipped Saab still had a super-sharp cutoff that I was reasonably confident wasn't going to screw other drivers. LEDs in my $#!%^& F150 didn't change the stupid blob of light right in front of the truck. It was a very white blob, I'll give it that. (I put incandescents back in the Saab.... quality H4 bulbs still got light further down the road than the LEDs).

I'm sure everyone's situation is different... and so are their needs. Make city streets safer to navigate is different than country roads, etc. I have big ass Hella 500s with 100w bulbs (totally illegal) in the front of the motorhome, because at 55mph on a dark highway I might need 500' to stop.... I need 500' of light! It's a different challenge getting around downtown San Francisco or whatever. :)

Another thing to consider is mounting something like Hella modular headlights somewhere. The 60mm units are very small and they are full DOT headlights. You could theoretically mount them like driving lights, and just have state of the art projector headlights instead. On cars with "euro" headlights, lots of folks gut the incandescent parts and just stick a 60mm et al Hella in there. Unfortunately, not an (easy) option with crappy US sealed beam/composite lights like the XR/Scorpio.

Here's a link to the Hella 60s... $60 each.

https://www.rallylights.com/hella-60mm- ... odule.html
zxr250cc
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by zxr250cc »

Hi all,

There are a couple of folks in you tube video sites that show tests with various LED bulbs in normal bulb cars. Some of the many tested sets give a fair low beam pattern. Many don't and none work well in high beam setting that I have seen. We are stuck with reflectors that are not optimized for that beam pattern, sadly. Given the need to have a heat sink to absorb the heat from being lit I doubt any LED will ever accurately mimic an incandescent filament which radiates light 360 degrees from itself.

I wouldn't mind if the 80/100 watt Hella bulbs I use claim to be for 'use on the moon only' as long as they function well and I can see where I am going on two lane backroads. They are aimed properly and as long as I meet folks on low beam they are in no more likelihood of being bothered as if I had normal 9004 bulbs in use from the pattern they make. High beam would be brutal of course but I would only use those meeting an idiot who has a full spread of headlights on high plus add on lights and refused to dim his or her own light set. They are out there of course but seldom met, thankfully. The regular 45/65 watt 9004 bulbs are like trying to drive by Braille at night, meaning you are practically blind on low beam and practically touch things before you see them at times. I guess I could order in a set of headlights out of Germany or other Euro country to replace the ones I have but the cost would be prohibitive and not do much more for me than the current bulbs in use. I have driven some of the two lane back roads in Colorado in the past with the XR and wanted more light than I had at the time, back in the '90's. The run from Lyons toward Estes Park is an example although it is probably more built up with house or yard lights now than it was then.

Cheers
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
zxr250cc
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by zxr250cc »

Hi all,

A link for Germany headlight assemblies for the XR: https://www.ebay.de/itm/114115217872?_t ... BM6Nb99adf
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
thesameguy
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by thesameguy »

I think those are for the MkII Sierra... not the US XR4Ti, which is a MkI.
zxr250cc
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Re: Need More Light on da road

Post by zxr250cc »

Hi all,

The ebay search engine is really crap, as usual. It claims one place in the label to be the part for an '86 and then it shows it's not in another. There are some Cosworth Sierra headlights available for 350 Pounds for the pair plus freight though... Not for me. Too much. That would cover multiple items for work on a car.

Cheers
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
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