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9007 headlight conversion to HID

I have never been thrilled with the headlights on my ’99. The factory stock lights were basically insufficient so I upgraded to SilverStar 9007 bulbs and that move made a positive contribution, albeit, still not to my liking. My next upgrade progression was to install diamond clear lenses; this in combination with SilverStar bulbs further enhanced the light output. Still unpleased and searching for more light, I added a Brite Box (http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156148&highlight=brite+box ); better but still not what I want. Yet, I was still left out in the dark so to say.

The reason I have procrastinated in adding the lighting power of HIDs was twofold; (1) my ignorance of the intricacies of HID lighting and (2) another project always seems to come along and get priority.

After spending hours researching High Intensity Discharge ( HID) lighting, asking abundant questions, and the dreadful flashbacks to my numerous physics and chemistry classes in Grad School, I decided to go forward with the project at Flank Speed.

Seeing as I am now doing more predawn and night driving and my eyes are ageing, my criteria for headlights were simple – I wanted copious amount of light and I wanted very white light. HID lighting was the obvious answer.
HID lights differ from conventional lights in the way the light is “made”. Hopefully we all remember how a tungsten filament conventional light bulb functions. HID lights consist a capsule of xenon gas ( Xe is a colorless, odorless noble gas with atomic number 54 ) and a small amount of mercury and other metal salts. instead of the tungsten filament. In HID lights the xenon gas is actually used to produce light instead of merely slowing the decay of the bulb. Two electrodes are placed about 3/16” apart and hermetically sealed within the capsule. The electrodes are wired to the ballast. The ballast can be thought of as the mission control providing proper voltage and controlling the current flow. When high voltage current is applied to the electrodes, it excites the gases inside the bulb and forms an electrical arc between the electrodes. The hot ionized gas creates a "plasma discharge" yielding an intense, bluish-white light.
Those of you with salt water aquariums are familiar with brilliance of Metal Halide lighting which functions like a HID headlight.

Light “color” is measured in degrees K ( Kelvin, a temperature scale - [K] = ([°F] + 459.67) × 5⁄9 ) ]. 4300K is the color temperature all OEM manufacturer’s use in their automobiles HID lights. The reason that 4300K was used is because that color temperature approximates natural sunlight at noon ( 4870K ) and provides the best combination of light output and is the optimal color for human eyes. The deeper blue colors cause eye fatigue more rapidly. Halogen bulb produces yellowish light at 3200K.
I decided that 4300 k was the way to go for me.

Some advantages of HID over halogen lighting:
(1) Safer due to better visibility
(2) Lower power consumption
(3) Three times brighter than halogen lights
(4) Extremely long life of bulbs

I purchased my HID kit from RSI Motorsports (http://rsimotorsports.3dcartstores.com/index.html ) for $127.99 to my door. The kit was complete; nothing else to buy. I selected this firm based on their website, their pricing and on a recommendation from a friend who has their lights and is well pleased. Ryan Schlote, the owner of RSI Motorsports eventually answers any questions, further; he is an Explorer owner and active on another Explorer site. My only concern is that they are a Chinese product and actually shipped directly from China.

Included in the kit were the following:
(1) 2 4300k HID xenon bulbs
(2) 2 Ballasts with built in igniter
(3) 2 Ballast mounting brackets
(3) 2 Complete wiring harness with quick connects
(4) 1 “So called” instruction manual ( of exceptionally poor quality )

And on to the installation ….

Prior to the install, I looked over the “so called” instruction manual. What a joke and utter waste of time; this is a piss poor Chinese translation to English and is essentially useless.

The first step in my installation was to disconnect the battery cables and remove the battery. This was followed by the removal of the Brite Box (http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156148&highlight=brite+box ). Subsequently the 9007 SilverStar bulbs were removed and set aside. Removal of the battery facilitated the process on the space restricted driver’s side. The new diamond cut headlight housings (http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209470 ) make bulb access without removing the battery difficult at best.

In view of the fact that I already have previously installed a heavy duty headlight wiring harness ( http://www.explorerforum.com/forums...highlight=heavy+duty+headlight+wiring+harness ), no rewiring was necessary.

The next step was to determine a mounting location for the ballasts and then mount them. I mounted the driver side ballast to the fender behind the battery and the passenger side ballast below the Mac intake.

The HID bulbs were then installed in the diamond clear housings. Extreme care was taken not to touch the glass bulb. They fit perfectly.

The wiring connections were then made. From the bulb assembly, the two wires were plugged into the corresponding connectors on the large wire harness attached to the ballast. Then, the remaining wire from the bulb assembly was attached to the ballast. The wiring is idiot proof; the connectors are all different so you can’t plug the wrong wire into the correct receptacle. This was followed by plugging the connector from the existing headlight bulb into the blue connector on the bulb assembly.

Prior to reinstalling the battery, the headlight 10 Amp fuses ( fuse #4 – left headlight and fuse #8 – right headlight ) were replaced with 20 Amp fuses.

Finally, I cranked the truck and switched on the lo beam head lights. When first switched on the light appeared more bluish but within seconds brightened as the bulbs warmed up. RSI Motorsports recommended leaving the lights turned on for 10 minutes initially to help stabilize the metal halides. After this, the truck was restarted and the lights switched on to confirm the light output.

The light is extremely bright white. The output of the Silver Star pails in comparison.

The lights were aimed rather unscientifically. I simply parked on a very dark and flat parking lot and adjusted the lights to what “appeared” to be “good” from the driver’s perspective. I was confident that readjustment will be needed after road testing.

The rather uncomplicated install took less than 45 minutes ( including the initial aiming ) at an easygoing pace. The battery removal/replacement was the most time consuming part.

After aiming the lights, a short road test through the neighborhood and out SR 72 for 15 miles ( a very dark road ) and back proved the worth of this mod. All I can say is wow and why didn’t I go HID a long time ago. I can’t honestly comment on how the new light affects incoming drivers in view of the fact that the road test was performed at 2 AM and the roads were more often than not deserted. Additional testing in the near future will be conducted you can rest assured.

Was it worth it? You bet your bippy; the light output as well as the light color was simply astonishing. I highly recommend this mod to anyone who desires better light for their truck.

Remembering that I now only have low beam lights will take some doing. In fact, I may opt to upgrade to the Bi-Xenon kit ( http://rsimotorsports.3dcartstores....-HID-Conversion-Kit-4yr-Warranty-_p_1-59.html ) in the future.

HID fog lights ( H1 ) will be my next lighting mod. Stay tuned …

Note: I shall report on how the HIDs function in rain and pea soup fog as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Pic below has HID in passenger side and SilverStar in driver's side
 

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Turdle

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Dangit
I was pondering this, now it's on my list.

Thanks for the review Al.:thumbsup:

Do the color ratings have anything to do with light penetration?
Those seem to have no blue to them at all.
 






hunterdan

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Nice work. I really liked my HIDs the short time I had them. I actually miss driving with them now, seems like all the cars I get in lately have lousy lights compared to what I had. The 4300K is just the right color in my opinion, not really blue, but have a good look to them and really lay down some light. In the rain, the light does reflect off the road a whole lot, but I could still see well. I did get some fog, but nothing heavy, never felt like the lights impeded my vision at all.
 






Afboy143

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Very nice! Im suprised you didnt "do it big" and retrofit projectors into your diamonds! The 2 mains reasons I did this is:

HID is made to be projected, not reflected like halogen. This is what causes glare and scatter to oncoming traffic

Projectors really make HID systems shine by directing ALL the light where it needs to go.

For your fogs, Ive read good things about xentec for inexpensive nice HID lighting

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Supe...62QQcategoryZ36476QQihZ014QQitemZ330220648181

This is what I plan on going for my fogs. In my main lights, Im using McCulloch bulbs after running many cheap china bulbs burn out after 6 months. So far my current bulbs have lasted 1.5+ years. They better for $85/pair shipped
 
























shortstack

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Very nice! Im suprised you didnt "do it big" and retrofit projectors into your diamonds! The 2 mains reasons I did this is:

HID is made to be projected, not reflected like halogen. This is what causes glare and scatter to oncoming traffic

Projectors really make HID systems shine by directing ALL the light where it needs to go.

For your fogs, Ive read good things about xentec for inexpensive nice HID lighting

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Supe...62QQcategoryZ36476QQihZ014QQitemZ330220648181

This is what I plan on going for my fogs. In my main lights, Im using McCulloch bulbs after running many cheap china bulbs burn out after 6 months. So far my current bulbs have lasted 1.5+ years. They better for $85/pair shipped

not every one want to spend $400 on projectors for the bit better light
 






Bill Kemp

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Very nice & comprehensive write up w/pics of your installation. Looks really good and I'm sure it improves your lighting.
However, to suggest that high beams are not needed with HIDs causes me to wonder why all auto mfg.s who put HIDs for their lighting bother to also use high beams?
For me, even at 50/55 mph. I am much more comfortable with the high beams on when I can. At 65/75+ its a necessity IMO. Of course, unless I'm in a line of traffic that is "blocking" for me.
If, in your opinion, high beams are not needed, fine. But, lets make it clear that its an opinion, not a fact.
 






storlied

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You're in the on-coming...
HIDs are unbeatable, ha.. I knew you would go with 4300K..
Looks nice.
 






Anime

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While these cheap "HID" kits DO put out MORE light than halogen bulbs, they're usually a bad idea for on-road use since they're usually illegal, and the stock/aftermarket replacement housings they wind up in simply aren't made to reflect that much light without glare into the eyes of other drivers on the road. It's trial and error as to which "HID" kits work well with which housings. Too bad they don't just make complete kits by make and model that come with housings designed for the bulbs.
 






storlied

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Any aftermarket HID kit is illegal if it wasn't an option for your vehicle.
If you aim the hids correctly.. other drivers aren't blinded and you still get all the nice light from the HIDs...

Cheap or Expensive, it doesn't matter IMO.. Unless you go wayy too cheap.

It's all about features and options.
 






MustangP51

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not every one want to spend $400 on projectors for the bit better light

Projectors put the greatest amount of light produced by the bulb on the the road. I lost the exact figures somewhere in my bookmarks but I remember the figure being somewhere around 30% of the light is absorbed, dissipated with reflector housings, and projectors were are around 17%. ( if that made any sense, im tired) ill keep looking for the link.

Now as far as not needing high beams, Im sure having just the low beams is ok in flat places like Florida, but when I didn't have my high beams for the first week I did my HIDs It was very hard to drive when going up and down hills. At the worst times the Low beam cut off was only about 30 feet in front of the vehicle at the base of hills.
 






shortstack

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^^^ right..... well for me i dont see the hid mod worth it for me i have other thing i will spend my money on for only 13% difference. the difference from HID to stock is huge well worth the money. some might disagree but i dont see it worth it at this stage in my life
 






V8BoatBuilder

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It was very hard to drive when going up and down hills. At the worst times the Low beam cut off was only about 30 feet in front of the vehicle at the base of hills.

Do the "bi-xenon" hid kits just increase wattage on high, or is the angle of light wider due to "filament" (or in HIDs case, gas tube) position change like a regular 9007?
 












MustangP51

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Do the "bi-xenon" hid kits just increase wattage on high, or is the angle of light wider due to "filament" (or in HIDs case, gas tube) position change like a regular 9007?

There are a few different ways, The first is having 2 different xenon discharge points like in the picture, and the second is to have a solenoid change the position of the discharge point, there are more but i'm not familiar enough with them to explain them.

9007double.jpg


And the solenoid
bidemo.jpg


With the projectors that I have there is a shutter that opens and closes.
 






aldive

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Got the chance to drive in heavy rain early ( pre dawn ) today.

The lights make little difference in the rain, yet better than th stocks.
 






MustangP51

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Got the chance to drive in heavy rain early ( pre dawn ) today.

The lights make little difference in the rain, yet better than th stocks.

If you convert the Fogs over to HID, you will notice a big difference during the rain.
 



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