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Report on upgrade Hella bulbs - first trip

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by IdahoDoug, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Thanks to Cary, I got a screaming deal on Hella high and low beams for my 80 last Thursday. Towed 3 hours at night through some hairy country roads with deer, elk, sharp curves, etc and here is what I found.

    Prior setup: high - 100w Phoebus, low - 55w Phoebus, fog - 55w Hella 3000s.

    Current setup: high - 100w Hella, low - 80w Hella, 55w Hella 3000s.

    Immediately noticed higher low beam output - say 30% brighter as a swag. Under trying conditions, I noticed I reached for the high beams far less often and drove with greater confidence. Also noted that when I dipped from sustained running with the high beams, there was less night blindness as my eyes adjusted - a benefit I had not considered. On the down side, the 80w low beams were right at the threshold where street signs/curve signs, etc were barely annoying due to their reflected glare. Not -quite- an issue but worth mentioning as this is not an issue with 55w lows. Nobody in oncoming traffic (rural two lane highways the whole way) flashed that they were too bright, though I am anal about aiming my lights and leveling the vehicle for towing. There seemed to be disproportionately more light added to the low beam pattern at the center, and laterally - which helped greatly and meant there was not a "hot spot" on the pavement a car length ahead of me. I attribute this to the excellent stock lamps, of course, but it was nice to see.

    Overall, it provided a lot of benefit, and with the 3000s on I'm pumping out 470 watts of light! Pretty relaxing to have that at my fingertips with 6000lbs of boat behind me.

    IdahoDoug
     
  2. T Y L E R

    T Y L E R

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    Nice report ,

    A couple questions :

    • What are the part numbers of the Hellas ?
    • Where's a good online site for deals ?
    • Did you do the headlight wiring upgrade yet ?

    Thanks ,

    Tyler
     
  3. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Tyler,

    WWW.susquehanna.com/susq

    Item code / Description / Price

    HL78316 / 9006 80w low beam / 10.25 ea
    HL78310 / 9006 100w high beam / 10.25 ea

    I have not done the wiring upgrade, but am planning to get the connectors at NAPA and wire in one relay for the high beams and one for the low beams. I'll post that here as I plan on doing it in the next 2 weeks.

    IdahoDoug
     
  4. scottm

    scottm

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    Bro, what’s your plan? I think my truck has a fuse and relay feeding each headlight, then each of the four bulbs has a ground running through four contacts in the headlight switch. Two relays could do it, but you’d lose independent L & R wiring in case something failed. Since our lows stay on with hi-beam, I guess independent wiring isn’t necessary for the hi-beams. I’m thinking three fuses and relays could do it right, with plenty of wire, duct-tape, bubble gum.
     
  5. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Hmm,

    Hadn't gotten so far as looking at the wiring diagram. Since I suck at wiring and you're the engineer - maybe you could design a simple setup? My wiring jobs are bulletproof, but only because I'm so paranoid I overdo everything (Ex - 10ga wire to run my rear fog light). Hopefully Thursday I'll get over to NAPA to establish they have what we need for sockets, then you can suggest the way to go? Since I have aux lights on an independent circuit to drive with, I won't worry about having both r/l lights on the same circuit. An inline fuse in a handy location would be nice, and I would also consider a DRL addition on the low beams that could be switched to normal operation. Just to complicate things to guarantee failure :D Actually, simple is better - just yakkin.

    So, you're off to the big D, eh? How long this time?

    IdahoDoug
     
  6. lovetoski

    lovetoski SILVER Star

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    I've used Susquahanna for headlamps and bulbs for my fj60. Service, advice, and prices are all terrific. Glad to see that other cruiserheads have "seen the light."

    Any difficulties with heat in going to the higher wattage bulbs? I've recently purchased an fzj80, and am considering a headlight upgrade. Your experience is a positive. Any negatives?

    Thanks,

    Doug Graham
     
  7. cary

    cary

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    No problems with heat. The housings are large enough that they seem to dissapate it fine.

    Cary
     
  8. scottm

    scottm

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    D 'tll Monday, couple days off, continuing all month, leaving this morn.

    Slee has a nice harness if you don't need L/R circuits, probably competitive with component prices and running around costs.

    Scott
     
  9. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    Scott and Idaho-,
    If you decide to do your own here is a diagram that may help you. I can't remember where it came from so cannot credit the person that drew it. FWIW, when I did mine instead of tapping into the existing wiring, I broke the glass on a couple of old bulbs and sodered onto the filiments. This way the broken bulbs go in the original sockets keeping them clean. They then pull in the new relays when I turn the headlights on. If there is any problem I can always just replace the broken bulbs with good bulbs and be back to the stock headlight setup. Also, I replaced the metal wiring connectors in the NAPA headlight connectors and in the relays with heavier ones. No sense having heavier wire and wimpy connectors.
    Oh, I also used 30A relays instead of fuses. I would rather have the headlights flash instead of going out if there is a problem.
    Bill
     
  10. Landpimp

    Landpimp GOLD Star

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    [quote author=Scott Miller link=board=2;threadid=4871;start=msg37457#msg37457 date=1062583597]
    D 'tll Monday, couple days off, continuing all month, leaving this morn.

    Slee has a nice harness if you don't need L/R circuits, probably competitive with component prices and running around costs.

    Scott
    [/quote]

    FWIW I use the same/similar(but for a H-4 round light) harness that Slee sells in my fj40's,45, and 60, its works just fine(actaully very well) and its a plug and play. I like doing wiring actaully, but for $50 for a premade harness........well the $50 harness is the way to go IMOP. On these rigs I run the power right off the alt, not the batt. With IPF or Hella H-4's(I know ya can't get em for a 80) and standard wattage(55/60) Hella bulbs the output is VERY VERY good.

    John H
     
  11. T Y L E R

    T Y L E R

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    I too went with the diagram above , that I got off the designer on the 80scool list . Went to NAPA and bought the stuff , and built my own . It has worked great ever since . I also replaced the bulbs with ?? from wally mart . Bought a bunch of different bulbs one nite , went over to a wall and started swapping them in to compare . Anyhow , can't recall the brand , but they were cheap and seemed about 30% brighter to my son and I . ( I like the sound of the Hellas that Doug mentiones here though ; for the future )

    If you don't plan to do any more wiring jobs , Slee's harness will do fine . I say that because if you dig doing electrical , this upgrade is a nice lil project and you won't mind having bought more wire and supplies than you need for it :D

    Tyler
     
  12. ELLTEE

    ELLTEE

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    I haven't been in an 80 at night in many years. Are the stock lights consistently poor?

    My UZJ100 series has the stock (I assume -- the PO didn't do upgrades) Sylvania 51 watt low beam, Sylvania 60 watt high beam and daytime running light. The low beams are good, and the high beams are plenty bright enough to spotlight deer, black bear and wild turkey at speed.

    A 60% increase in low-beam wattage and 66% increase in high beam seems like overkill. Oncoming cars may not be flashing their lights asking for your dims because their free hand is shading their eyes!

    LT
     
  13. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    LT,

    I think the perception of the quality of 80 series headlights is in the eye of the beholder. Up to this point I have not entered the commentary. I have always felt that the headlights in my 80 were the best dang headlamps of any car I had ever owned or been a passenger in. That certainly doesn't mean that other vehicles couldn't have better lamps or that the stock ones couldn't be improved, it just means that what Mr T provided (in my opinion) was pretty fair to begin with...... ;)

    Dan.
     
  14. Imagery

    Imagery

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    I too think that the stock lights on the 80 are better than I have ever seen on any factory vehicle. I am commenting on the High beams and not really the low's. I would like to improve the low beams and if I can also make improvement (brighter) on the high's, I would do it. One thing though, I think I read somewhere that when running one of these modified harneses, Slee's included, that you will loose the auto off feature. I would have to think twice about that because I would forget to turn off the lights since I have gotten so used to having them auto off. My wifes BMW does not have auto off but it does have an alarm reminding you...well it does turn off the headlights, but the park lights stay on until you turn the switch off. Shouldn't there be some way to keep the auto off feature active when upgrading the wiring harness?
     
  15. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    >> ... Slee's included, that you will loose the auto off feature. <<

    The upgrade wiring harness that I bought from Christo does not disable the auto off feature.

    Another vote for the 80 OEM headlights being very good. I bought the higher wattage Hellas that Cary put us on but still haven't installed them. Maybe this weekend.

    Doug... thanks for the in-depth evaluation. Nice prose!

    -B-
     
  16. CDN_Cruiser

    CDN_Cruiser

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    Per older threads on this topic (and look at the site noted above) if you find the 80 lights fine for your needs, you may enjoy just a harness upgrade which will give you some improvement with the stock lights (less voltage loss to the lights) - likely the same effect that LandPimp is experiencing from running off the alternator with stock lights

    If you're running the higher output bulbs you should consider a harness upgrade an absolute requirement to avoid frying all of the connections.

    Cheers, Hugh
     
  17. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Thanks for the kind comments, guys! The negatives were the increase in reflective sign "flashback", and to that I'd add an *expected* similar increase in glare using them in falling snow and rain. That's when I'd use the 3000 fogs alone of course, but others should consider this.

    As for heat load, I've always been mindful not to have the high beams on while stationary (setting up a tent, for instance) unless it was quite cold outside (lighting up a sledding hill). I've never had any overheat symptom on this or the dozens of prior vehicles I've added upgrade bulbs to. The one exception would be the time I put a 130W bulb in a Hella 3000 Euro Beam and stood in front of it. I literally ran back to the switch because it created a warm circle on my chest a few feet away and I knew it was not long for the world. The bulb (w/ 18 seconds of use) still resides on my shelf.

    As for the 80's lights, I've said many times they are the best factory lamps I've ever had the pleasure of driving behind. This good pattern and design are also why they accept bulb upgrades so gracefully.

    As to reasons for upgrades. Personally, I find the stock US regulated output levels anemic for my driving style, which includes forays out no matter the weather, predominantly desolate rural mountain roads, frequent heavy tows thereon, and a more than adequate concern for the well being of my beloved family. The latter has gotten me the label "Mr. Safety" on more than one occasion and it's only a matter of time before I prattle on about safety here and get so skewered. The upgrades are not for everyone - particularly an 80 used in urban/residential areas with high ambient light levels.

    IdahoDoug
     
  18. Imagery

    Imagery

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    You know that is why I said that on high beam, the stock bulbs are great, and a slight increase in wattage gould unly be better, but it is the low beams that I sometimes feel are lacking. Just the other night while driving on the interstate on the way back from Houston, There was so much oncoming traffic that I rarely had a chance to even switch on the high beams.This said, running low's at 65 mph, I had about 1 to 1.5 seconds of light in front of me on the road surface. It was until I hit some piece of trash, probably rubber, and it made a terrible noise as it kicked up and hit the running boards and scared my wife to death. The first thing I thought was that we could have a blow out depending on what it actually was we hit. That is when I started measuring. and it was clear that I was overdriving my lights. I'm not sure at 60 mph, how many seconds I should have in front of me bot I pulled over to the next rest stop and parked behind a semi trailer and adjusted the low beams up quite a bit. It did help some but left a lot to be desired. The pattern on low does not look to be even, like perhaps one lamp is brighter than the other. I would like to put brighter lamps in for high and particularly low beams but don't want to first have to re-wire the headlight circuit. Is it totally necessary that wire size be increased in order to make the upgrade peplacement lamps operate safely? I am also running Hella Black Magics and replaced the stock 55w bulbs to 100w and they are much brighter, nearly twice the current and I did not change the wiring harness there.
     
  19. ParadiseCruiser

    ParadiseCruiser

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    Lots of really good comments on this thread concerning headlight upgrades. My opinion is best summarized by these...

    >> I have always felt that the headlights in my 80 were the best dang headlamps of any car I had ever owned or been a passenger in.

    >> If you find the 80 lights fine for your needs, you may enjoy just a harness upgrade which will give you some improvement with the stock lights (less voltage loss to the lights).

    >> The upgrades are not for everyone - particularly an 80 used in urban/residential areas with high ambient light levels.

    Here in NE Calif, we live on the side of a mountain that is predominantly heavy forest. Narrow, two lane roads are the norm, and the greatest concern - and danger - is blinding an oncoming driver. This, IMHO, is a far greater hazard than the need to see farther ahead with low beams. That task is best suited for aux driving lights that can be turned off when an oncoming vehicle approaches, and turned back on to watch for deer - which is the second greatest hazard when night driving.

    I have found that a headlight wiring harness upgrade with stock bulbs, and suitable driving lights is the best solution - again, for the driving requirements in this area.

    Cheers, R -
     
  20. cary

    cary

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    The landcruiser lights are far better than many US spec lights, not having any major holes in the pattern or serious hot spots. That said, they pale in comparison to Eurospec lamps with their broad even beams and sharp cutoff. I have used Euro spec Hella and Cibie lamps in my other cars for years (when lights were standarized) the difference is amazing. No need for foglights with the sharp cutoff, you can run hi watt bulbs without blinding others when they are adjusted correctly and the hi beams are amazing.

    Concerning the wiring harness on the LC, I would consider it essential to the upgrade. For $40 from slee you not only get the relays, wire, and better plugs, but it all comes ready to install in 30 minutes. This upgrade is essential because without it, the bulbs will not get full voltage. A 1 volt drop is equal to something like a 20% decrease in output. The drop is there with the stock bulbs and gets larger with the hi watt bulbs.

    One last benifit of the Hella bulbs that nobody has mentioned is that they are very white. They are not that rice-rocket artificial blue/white from tinted bulbs, but instead the result of higher operating tempuratures. When I get back in my wifes BMW the lights look a bit yellow.

    Cary