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Halogen to HID/HIR Headlight Upgrade


cryptiq

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========== THREAD OBJECTIVES ==========

1) Identify which aftermarket kits are being used, price paid, where ordered from, and overall satisfaction including pros/cons.
2) Install summary. Please report difficulty and overall time to install. Discuss if any permanent modifications are required.
3) Before/after photos.

I realize there are a lot of anti-HID critics out there. Your concerns are certainly warranted but I respectfully ask that you keep the flaming in another thread as it would be off topic for the purposes of this thread. Believe you me, I have much disgust for those that put aftermarket HID kits in cars with reflector headlight housings as this certainly results in obnoxious glare and hotspots to oncoming drivers. That said, my hope is the projection beam design of the new Explorer headlights somewhat alleviates this issue. I say somewhat because after some research I understand that depending on the orientation of where the HID arc of light is created vs. where the filament on the original halogen bulb is located, you can still potentially wind up with a less than desirable beam pattern. I do plan to take careful consideration of this in my review and try to provide photos/videos to illustrate this concern. On that note, if there are other concerns I should consider when doing the review, please PM me so i can take it into account and keep this thread on topic.

========== BACKGROUND INFORMATION ==========

Not familiar with HIR bulbs? Read this: http://hirheadlights.com/

In a nutshell, headlight bulbs have 2 characteristics that matter when you're driving, lumens and color temperature.

Lumens are used to characterize how bright a bulb is, it's a measurement of the total amount of visible light emitted from some source.

Lumen Comparison
Halogen: 1700 lumens or about 55% as bright as HIDs.
HIR: 2500 lumens or about 80% as bright as HIDs, about 45% brighter than halogen.
HID: 2800 - 3500 lumens about 25% brighter than HIR.​

Color temperature is used to characterize the color of light produced by a bulb. Most people describe the light from halogen bulbs as yellowish. OEM HID light kits produce a white light for the driver, but may appear bluish to oncoming drivers because of the focal properties of the projection lens and the arc of light produced in the HID bulb. Japanese cars driven by 16-25 yr old males with after market light kits produce a blue or purple light.

Color Temp Comparison
Halogen: 3250K warm yellow light.
HIR: 3600K whiter light than halogen, but still a warm yellow.
OEM HID: 4300k white light approaching natural sunlight. Ideal for driving.
8000K - 12000K Aftermarket HID Kits: 8000K - 12000K color temps will appear blue, purple, pink. These colors are achieved by tinting the HID bulb. Any time you tint a bulb, you're blocking some of the light produced by the bulb and decreasing the amount of lumens the bulb is capable of. Ideal for impressing other 16-25 yr old males with Japanese cars.

You can expand this discussion to talk about beam patterns and other factors, but since the thread is meant to discuss bulb upgrades, lumens and color temp are the most relevant items.
 
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cryptiq

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Placeholder for HID upgrade review/DIY/photos.

6/9 Edit: order placed for DDM Tuning 5000k HID kit.

7/14 Update: 35w HID 5000K DDM Tuning Kit installed. Only have about 3hours usage but so far I love them. The beam patterm is great, no issues with the cutoff lines. Only permanent modification I made was having to cut a small hole in the rubber dust/moisture caps to allow the ballast wires to pass thru (these are only $12 to replace if you want to keep a new set on hand). Everything works great, no issues.

Kit Used: 35w 5000K HID
Price: $60 w/ shipping
Supplier: DDMTuning.com
Comments: Very satisfied, easy mod, lifetime warranty on bulbs and ballast, just do it.

Install Summary: Full DIY coming soon. Took maybe 10mins to install. Only permanent modification is to the rubber dust/moisture caps (see GregV8's pics below). It sounds like the polarity is reversed for most cars, so you may have to plug in the wires that run from the factory harness to the ballast upside down if your lights don't come on. No issues other than that. HID lights operate cooler and draw less power than the 55w stock halogen lights, so there should be no long term issues.
Before/after photos: Coming soon.
 
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cryptiq

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Placeholder for HIR upgrade review/DIY/photos.

Kit Used: Toshiba HIR1 bulbs
Price: $57.78 w/ shipping
Supplier: candlepower.com
Comments: Wow, very impressed with the HIR bulbs. They were definitely worth the time and effort to modify. The stock beam pattern was preserved as best I could tell (still need side by side pictures to compare). These provide more than adequate light. Driving on the highway last night, everything in front of me out to maybe around 100ft was clearly illuminated and bathed in a warm glow. There were no perceivable hot spots, beam pattern was very uniform and visibility was greatly improved over stock 9005 bulbs. I was passed by a few vehicles with HIDs and I'm not going to say the HIRs are as bright as the HIDs, but they they're nothing to scoff at.
Install Summary: Full DIY coming soon. There is some modification required to an HIR1 bulb to make it fit into a 9005 bulb socket. Both bulbs have plastic tabs or keys extending out from the base of these bulbs. These are meant to ensure the proper bulb is used for a given application. The HIR1 bulb has one tab that needs to be modified to fit the key pattern of a 9005 bulb. This is easily done with a Dremel tool and cutting disc. In addition, you'll also have to shave down the bulb base that the keys attach to. This part was not so fun. I used a Dremel and a sanding bit to do this. It's hard to explain but will do my best to illustrate what's required when I post up the DIY. In total I probably spent 10-15 min modifying each bulb. If you don't have patience and moderate Dremel skills, this probably isn't a good mod to tackle.
Before/after photos: Coming soon.

The upgrade to HIR bulbs caught my interest because after some research, installing HIR bulbs creates a considerably brighter light than standard halogen bulbs and is better for maintaining the factory beam pattern (as opposed to HID upgrades). If you choose to go this route you should be careful about which bulbs your purchase. For starters, you'll need a HIR1 bulb (not the HIR2). Ideally you'll want to find a bulb manufactured by Toshiba. My understanding is Toshiba no longer produces an HIR1 bulb, so once the currently available supply is exhausted there leaves one other choice, the Philips bulb. After some research, since Philips took over the bulb production from Toshiba, they no longer use the true HIR technology. HIR stand for Halogen infrared reflective. The Toshiba bulbs have an IR coating that reflects infrared radiation back to the filament causing it to glow brighter. The Philips bulbs do not have this IR coating, at least not the Philips HIR1 bulb. Philips is simply overdriving a 9005 bulb filament and is allowed to pass it off as an HIR1 bulb because it falls into the accepted tolerance of lumen output required by the HIR1 designation. In short, the Philips HIR1 bulb should be brighter than the stock 9005 bulb, but it will not be as bright as the Toshiba HIR1 bulbs.
 
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cryptiq

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========== UPGRADE SUMMARY ==========

I've PM'd owners who've done the mod to give me some information about their HID lights and I'll maintain the following compiled list of users below and their upgrade experience as I get the feedback.

Here's a compiled list of what I've found so far in the Explorer forum:
*** HID Upgrades ***
Edgieguy: HID Kit from DDMTuning.com for $45.00
Bubz!: 8000K HID Kit from DDMTuning.com
cryptiq: 35w 5000K HID Kit from DDMTuning for $60 w/ shipping.
tmilicia: 35w 6000K HID Kit from kryptonbulbs.com for $50. Notes: loves them.
GregV8: 5000K HID Kit from kryptonbulbs.com Notes: metal strip along the exterior of the bulb casts a small shadow in one direction but the projector enlarges it badly and the end result is an X mark on the light spread. Reverted back to halogens.
Tilley72: 35w 8000K HID Kit from kryptonbulbs.com

*** HIR Upgrades ***
cryptiq: Toshiba HIR1 bulbs from candlepower.com for ~$58. Notes: modification of bulbs was cumbersome, but light output is terrific.
 
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Tilley72

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I just order a set of 8000k 35w from Krypton Bulbs as well. Hopefully I'll have them in within the next week, so I can get them in next weekend. I'll upload some photos when complete.

-Andrew
 


bavtoys.com

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Ive sold a few 2011 Explorer low beam and fog beam kits locally - I will try to get those guys to provide some feedback and pics to add to your thread.
 


Tilley72

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I'm trying to put these bulbs, but I can't seem to figure out where the headlight housing is connected. I pulled out the top bolt, but it seems like it's sticking along the bottom. If anyone could point me on the right direction I'd greatly appreciate it!
 


cryptiq

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I'm trying to put these bulbs, but I can't seem to figure out where the headlight housing is connected. I pulled out the top bolt, but it seems like it's sticking along the bottom. If anyone could point me on the right direction I'd greatly appreciate it!
You don't need to remove any bolts to change the bulbs. There's just a rubber moisture/dust cap you need to pop off. Then the bulb is in there. Twist the bulb about a 1/4 turn and it will slide out. Be careful not to pull too hard on the power wires, they're not very long but just long enough where you can disconnect them once the bulb is out.
 


Tilley72

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Are you putting that rubber piece back on after connecting? If so how? Otherwise wouldn't moisture be getting into the housing?
 


cryptiq

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Are you putting that rubber piece back on after connecting? If so how? Otherwise wouldn't moisture be getting into the housing?
What are you installing, an HID kit? I've only installed the HIR bulbs so far, I'm still waiting for my HID kit to arrive, but I imagine you would need to modify the cap to allow the ballast wires to go in/out of it. I wouldn't recommend leaving it off.
 


Tilley72

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I wasn't planning on leaving the cap off, I just was trying to make it look like it never existed and it came from the factory that way. I guess I'll have to drill a minor hole through the cap and than use the little rubber plug on the HIDs.
 


cryptiq

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I wasn't planning on leaving the cap off, I just was trying to make it look like it never existed and it came from the factory that way. I guess I'll have to drill a minor hole through the cap and than use the little rubber plug on the HIDs.
Take some pics please so I know what I'll be dealing with and have some ideas when my kit arrives. Thanks!
 






GregV8

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No, I had to revert to regular bulbs because one of the xenon bulbs wasn't working.
 


1tufgt

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No, I had to revert to regular bulbs because one of the xenon bulbs wasn't working.
Well that sucks, you getting a replacement?
 


GregV8

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I got a replacement but didn't bother to put everything back in.
 


Tilley72

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I got a replacement but didn't bother to put everything back in.
Greg,

Would you consider selling the HID set if you're not going to use them? I'm thinking about putting HID's in the fogs as well.

-Andrew
 


cryptiq

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Before you upgrade your fogs to HIDs, I would encourage you to read thru this thread http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?243470-New-Philips-HIR2-scrutinized It really changed my perspective on fog lights and their true purpose.

Edit: The thread I linked is more of a discussion on other issues so to save you some reading, the summary is below. To simulate the principal, walk around your house when it's dark, notice how far you can see. Then repeat the walk while holding up something like an ipod or smartphone with the screen on so it's just visible in the bottom of your field of vision. Observe how your long range vision is impaired.

In a nutshell I'll say this, converting the existing fog lights to HIDs is not going to aid your night driving at all. What you're actually doing is increasing the amount of unfocused short range light coming from your vehicle. So for instance, if you're driving on the highway at night using your fogs, yes you'll have improved visibility for objects 0-15ft from your car, but you're actually hindering your visibility beyond that because the light sensitivity of your eyes will adjust to the increased light from the fogs. The summary I got from reading that thread I linked was that increasing the light output of your fog lights is only going to allow you to see that deer you just hit about 1 second before you hit it - it's not going to give you more warning, on the contrary you'd have less time to react.

In the past I always bought better bulbs for my fogs, but now I leave them off. Really the only time you benefit from using your fog lights is if it's so foggy that you need to drive about 5mph and in these cases the fog lights are beneficial for illuminating the stripes on the road so you stay in your lane.

Since the light is unfocused you're really going to blind the heck out of oncoming drivers. So if you're planning to do this upgrade because you like the look, then that's one thing. Whatever your choice is, please be courteous to oncoming traffic and consider these things before hitting that switch.
 
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cryptiq

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EDIT: removed the images I posted with my cutoff issue. It turns out it was install error. After installing the bulbs again I now have good cutoff lines. Hope to have the DIY completed soon.
 
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