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Installing HID? Read this first.

Sgt1411

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I wanted to ask one of the electrical engineers before I attempted this mod and here is what I got back.

Ford does not make a High Intensity Discharge ‘upgrade’ kit for base Halogen equipped vehicles. There are many things (including regulations) are different that preclude such an upgrade..

The Automotive Aftermarket sells conversion HID kits. You lose Auto High Beam Function and the Unfiltered High Voltage AC can wreak havoc in the base vehicle electronics.

To Compare the Two Lighting Systems:


Halogen
12 VDC
No Ballast
High Beam: Separate Filament



HID
48-90 VAC
Requires Ballast
High Beam: Internal Shutter
 
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.:TF:.

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Explorers with halogen headlights use a shutter for the high beam as well - AFAIK the part numbers are the same for both HID equipped and halogen equipped vehicles.
 
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DubbsFaris

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Well, leave it to an engineer, and you will need a life preserver to keep from drowning in the "what ifs"

I have done conversions to all my Fords since 2005 to HID without a single issue, so while there may be a potential for that with inferior parts used, if you use quality conversion kits, you wont see that happening.

As for the auto high beam- That little gem of a feature has blinded more feloow drivers and got me retaliated flashed so many times I turned it off. Im guessing there might be a scenario it works under, but on the fringes of a big city 10 minutes out on country roads where I live, it causes nothing but harm. Your results may vary, but I wont miss it, and the HID upgrade will DEFINITELY save me from hitting deer probably many times I own my sport.

And if we are really being honest here- If you cant control your own high beam switching, maybe driving at night just isnt for you. Not directed at OP at all, but Im not really interested in a Fox News Alert about the dangers of HID conversion when it is likely to be much more a help than a hindrance.

:salute:
I wanted to ask one of the electrical engineers before I attempted this mod and here is what I got back.

Ford does not make a High Intensity Discharge ‘upgrade’ kit for base Halogen equipped vehicles. There are many things (including regulations) are different that preclude such an upgrade..

The Automotive Aftermarket sells conversion HID kits. You lose Auto High Beam Function and the Unfiltered High Voltage AC can wreak havoc in the base vehicle electronics.

To Compare the Two Lighting Systems:


Halogen
12 VDC
No Ballast
High Beam:
Separate Filament



HID
48-90 VAC
Requires Ballast
High Beam:
Internal Shutter
 
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Sgt1411

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Has anyone just upgraded the bulbs in their SPORT Halogens?

If so what bulbs?

Is there any issue of too hot of a bulb damaging the housing?
 
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DubbsFaris

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That's a really good question. Peter kind of mentioned that, so I'm guessing he has and says they compare to the HID. If that is truly the case, it's probably a cheaper and more conservative fix. I wish we had more comments and feedback with that solution. I might have tried it first.
 
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peterk9

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That's a really good question. Peter kind of mentioned that, so I'm guessing he has and says they compare to the HID. If that is truly the case, it's probably a cheaper and more conservative fix. I wish we had more comments and feedback with that solution. I might have tried it first.
After posting my comment about being comparable to my HID lamps on my 2011 over a year ago, another member stated that the HID's on the 2013 had been improved so I can't say for sure how they would compare now. In any case if I had halogens, I personally would try upgrading the bulbs first before thinking about adding an HID kit. Unfortunately most replacement bulbs with a higher output also have a shorter life span.

Peter
 
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Harley#356

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replacement halogen bulbs are not going to give you an HID look. they may be a tad brighter and a tad whiter, but they'll still look like yellowish halogens at the end of the day.

Quality HID kits in a projector housing isn't the worst thing in the world. It's not as ideal as an OEM HID setup, but it's nowhere near as bad as putting HIDs in a halgoen reflector headlight. HIDs in a halogen projector headlight doesn't have the hot spot and glare issues anywhere nearly as bad!

The only issue is interference. The OEM HIDs get the snot shielded out of them. Aftermarket ones don't. Newer kits aren't terrible, I have the TRS kit on ours, and local radio stations come in just fine, but remote stations get staticy now. They were ones that barely came in before though. Local stations there's no issue. I'm going to take them out in the spring and shield all the wiring so I can get my favorite philly station back.

Install a quality HID kit and don't look back.


PS....I'm an electrical engineer as well, and one of my concentrations in school was actually lightwave engineering (optics, lasers, LCDs, LEDs, HIDs, etc.)
 
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Sgt1411

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So forgetting about "looks" and concentrating on brightness how is the brightness measured then?.......Lumens?

If so, whats the comparison between the OEM Ford HID lights and say the aftermarket Halogen upgraded bulbs from Sylvania.

I know they "look" different but Im more concerned about light output.
 
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peterk9

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So forgetting about "looks" and concentrating on brightness how is the brightness measured then?.......Lumens?

If so, whats the comparison between the OEM Ford HID lights and say the aftermarket Halogen upgraded bulbs from Sylvania.

I know they "look" different but Im more concerned about light output.
I'm not sure what the output (lumens) is on the OEM HID. 4300K produces a white light but if you want a bulb that simulates daylight, go with 5000k to 6000k.
I got the following from OSRAM Sylvania website;
http://www.sylvania.com/en-us/innovation/education/learnautomotivelighting/Pages/FAQs.aspx

Q) How much whiter are SilverStar® ULTRA headlights?

A) SilverStar® ULTRA is up to 4100K (degrees Kelvin) on the color temperature scale, which is a whiter color that is closer to the color of daylight. Standard halogen headlights are about 3100K and have a yellowish color in comparison.

Peter
 
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This may not be entirely accurate but it will be ballpark close based on some assumptions.

Halogen Light
- Roughly 20 lumens/per watt
- Average bulb wattage is I believe 65 watts
- Ballpark output of 1300 lumens

HID Light (4300K ish)
- Roughly 60 lumens/per watt
- Most HID kits are 35 watts
- Ballpark output of 2100 lumens
 
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Sgt1411

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I'm not sure what the output (lumens) is on the OEM HID. 4300K is likely it as it is the closest to daylight.
I got the following from OSRAM Sylvania website;
http://www.sylvania.com/en-us/innovation/education/learnautomotivelighting/Pages/FAQs.aspx

Q) How much whiter are SilverStar® ULTRA headlights?

A) SilverStar® ULTRA is up to 4100K (degrees Kelvin) on the color temperature scale, which is a whiter color that is closer to the color of daylight. Standard halogen headlights are about 3100K and have a yellowish color in comparison.

Peter

So the SilverStar Ultra's would likely get me the closest to the OEM HID's while staying Halogen and not risking electrical problems.
 
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peterk9

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So the SilverStar Ultra's would likely get me the closest to the OEM HID's while staying Halogen and not risking electrical problems.
So it would seem but remember that the website also states that their lifespan is about 1 year. This seems to be the case with many of these replacement bulbs. One of my Philips X-treme Power Bulbs went out 1 1/2 years after I installed it in the Highlander which uses the bulb for the DRL.

Peter
 
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I would say so... that halogen number above would also be a "dtandard" style, I couldn't quickly find numbers on the silver stars.

For the last 6 years in my current vehicle I have been running silver stars, I like them but the lifespan does truely suck, lol. I commute about 100km each way to work and get about 8-10 months out of a set of bulbs.

I have HID conversions in my last 2 snowmobiles and I will likely put a set in my new Ex once it arrives. Well not "likely", I will be..... since they are already ordered and shipped.
 
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avg2424

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Sgt1411,
I posted this on another thread, but if I were you, I would pull the trigger on HIDs.
I tried the "HID" halogens before (a long time ago), I think Sylvania's, they lasted me about 6 months before one burnt out.
Get a kit from Retrofit. Lifetime warranty on everything, if a bulb burns out or the ballast dies, you're covered for the price of shipping the broken piece back. Cheaper than the price of those halogens to replace.
I had also mentioned that if you were worried about electrical system interference, to place a filter (capacitor) in line with the power. I've never had a single issue with my dual beam 55W kit from retro. Been on my motorcycle for 3 years.

I had a Philips kit once and I had a bulb burn out after a year. Had headlights and fog lights. Can't remember the bulb maker, could have been a no-name brand for the bulb. Didn't buy the kit from retro, so no warranty after the year. Bought some cheapo no name replacement bulbs from ebay. Not bad for 6 years of duty. And no electrical issues.

A quality kit is what you need to purchase.

EDIT: not sure why I keep saying retrofit, it is "retro-solutions" dot com
 
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dcpatters

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For an initial Headlamp upgrade, I purchased a set of Philips halgen bulbs. The color was a tad whiter, and just a bit brighter, but no where near as good as HIDs.

Since I was not satisfied, AutoZone allowed me to return them within 30 days, so I did. My first HID kit, although advertised as 5000K color temp, was too blue, more like a 7-8K kelvin, so I returned them too.

Finally, I bought this kit and could not be happier. Color is spot on, clean, bright, and white. No issues with on coming drivers flashing, etc.


http://www.vleds.com/hid-236/hid-systems/9005/9005-morimoto-elite-hid-system.html
 
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Harley#356

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So the SilverStar Ultra's would likely get me the closest to the OEM HID's while staying Halogen and not risking electrical problems.

They're still going to look yellowish. They'll look pretty white for a halogen, but you and everyone else will not mistake them for HIDs because they're nowhere near as white, or as bright, as HIDs. And as mentioned the life span on them suck. For $30-$50 for a pair of bulbs with only ~1 year life span, in 3-4 years time you could have paid for a top of the line HID kit and had a much whiter, much brighter, much better looking, much better performing light the entire time.

Quality HID kits don't have electrical problems!
 
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peterk9

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They're still going to look yellowish. They'll look pretty white for a halogen, but you and everyone else will not mistake them for HIDs because they're nowhere near as white, or as bright, as HIDs. And as mentioned the life span on them suck. For $30-$50 for a pair of bulbs with only ~1 year life span, in 3-4 years time you could have paid for a top of the line HID kit and had a much whiter, much brighter, much better looking, much better performing light the entire time.

Quality HID kits don't have electrical problems!
What you say is mostly true although I don't know about the "yellowish" part. The electrical issues that are the concern are not with the HID kit but the problems the Explorer's electrical system may develop because of the installation. This is according to the Ford engineers. I'm not about to get involved in that discussion since I'm no expert in that field.
My suggestion would be to try out a set of upgraded bulbs and see if they do the job. If not, an HID kit can always be installed later if that is the case.

Peter
 
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Harley#356

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What you say is mostly true although I don't know about the "yellowish" part. The electrical issues that are the concern are not with the HID kit but the problems the Explorer's electrical system may develop because of the installation. This is according to the Ford engineers. I'm not about to get involved in that discussion since I'm no expert in that field.
My suggestion would be to try out a set of upgraded bulbs and see if they do the job. If not, an HID kit can always be installed later if that is the case.

Peter

I'm 100% certain about the yellowish part. There's no halogen bulbs out there with a true HID look or performance to them. If there were, OEM's would be using them because a simple bulb swap is a lot cheaper than HID bulbs, ballasts, and electronics, and we all know they like to save a buck where they can.

And there's nothing magical about the explorer's electronics that only ford engineers would know and other electrical engineers are clueless on. There's no harm in installing a quality HID kit in your vehicle, it won't magically malfunction with your explorer becase a Ford engineer spealed off the corporate answer of they don't recommend any modifications to the vehicle beyond how it came from Ford.

My suggestion, don't waste $50+ on upgraded bulbs that won't perform like HID, won't look like HID, and won't last more than a year or two, and won't be able to be returned once opened, or blown. Just spend the $150 on a quality HID kit and be done with it.
 
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.:TF:.

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I'm not sure what the output (lumens) is on the OEM HID. 4300K is likely it as it is the closest to daylight.
I got the following from OSRAM Sylvania website;
http://www.sylvania.com/en-us/innovation/education/learnautomotivelighting/Pages/FAQs.aspx

Q) How much whiter are SilverStar® ULTRA headlights?

A) SilverStar® ULTRA is up to 4100K (degrees Kelvin) on the color temperature scale, which is a whiter color that is closer to the color of daylight. Standard halogen headlights are about 3100K and have a yellowish color in comparison.

Peter

<side>
Peter, please don't confuse output (measured in lumens) with color temperature (measured in Kelvin). I've seen you quote color temps on numerous occasions in response to a question about light output and brightness.

Brightness is measured in lumens (simplistically). The higher the number the brighter something is to the human eye.

Color temperature is measured in Kelvin. Somewhat more complicated to explain but lower numbers indicate 'warmer' hues (red/orange/yellow) and higher numbers indicate 'cooler' hues (white/blue/purple). 'Daylight' is not one specific color temperature as it varies throughout the day and depends on the weather but is generally accepted to be ~5500K.

Varying color temperature at a specific output will affect the perceived brightness of something to the human eye, but it is misleading to state that higher (or lower) color temperatures are 'less bright' as you absolutely can have a brighter lights at those color temps. If you want to discuss brightness you need to find a measure of a bulb's output in lumens.
</side>

At the end of the day the headlight design in this model of Explorer just isn't very good and that will be the limiting factor with regard to light output down the road and ultimate visibility.

The best option for halogen equipped vehicles is an aftermarket HID upgrade kit. I got mine from coolbulbs.com (35w 6000K) and their kit is high quality and fully plug and play. It took me less than an hour to install (and I was going slow) and I have had no problems with it whatsoever. You don't need to make any adjustments to the vehicle's wiring, simply trim the dust cap on the back on the headlight unit and find somewhere to mount the ballast and starter. Light output is similar to, if not better than, my old HID equipped 2012 Limited.

The next best alternative is an aftermarket incandescent bulb upgrade. There are lots of bulb options out there but all incandescent bulbs work on the same principal of heating a wire filament in a gas filled bulb. The light comes from the glowing wire and the gas is there to allow it to glow hotter and brighter without burning out. Making a bulb brighter requires over-driving it which reduces its lifespan because more heat is produced. Read some of the 'lighting' forums like candlepowerforums.com for some real educated input and analysis. Bulb manufacturers try and fake the look of HID bulbs by adjusting their color with bulb coatings simply because it's fashionable and perceived as 'high end'. These coatings only serve to reduce the brightness of the bulb. 'Xenon' bulbs may use xenon gas but it is a marketing gimmick used to fool buyers into thinking they are equivalent to HID bulbs in color and/or output but this is false. The light still comes from a glowing filament, not from a ball of plasma (as in true HID bulbs). As others have stated, aftermarket bulbs are a perfectly viable option and may improve light output but they can be expensive ($60+) and wont last as long as either standard bulbs or a good quality HID upgrade.

Considering my HID upgrade was the same cost as two sets of aftermarket bulbs, or approximately 2 years worth of replacements, it was a simple decision for an improved solution.
 
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Sgt1411

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Harley#356

Please educate me on how I would determine the shielding quality of these HID kits. I dont want issues with my AM/FM radio signal as you describe but looking at these kits the other members have purchased I cannot assess the quality of the shielding.
 
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