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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Crummy headlights - Can't see, need upgrade

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BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/19/21 08:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My old 2007 GMC has never had the best headlights.

Driving from Lethbridge to Calgary last night I was really cussing them.
Old original factory headlights and I cannot see worth a darn. They are so lame that I deem them unsafe.

I have tried different bulbs in them over the years but no real joy there either. One side is a repro unit from a major collision repair in 2012. It is so yellow and dull that I can see a huge difference in the 2.


Anyhow, enough of that....

I am looking for ideas on some decent aftermarket lighting, including the headlight housings themselves. I really like the lights on the newer vehicles, they look great.

I just want to see in safety without blinding oncoming traffic.

Back in the days of my youth we would just replace the sealed beams with Cibies, Bosch or Wipacs. Can't do that today.

Anyone done a complete upgrade kit to their headlights? I'd like to go with LED, so I don't have to put in heavy duty drivers and such. I don't know a lot about them.

I gotta fix this thing, it's terrible.


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enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 01/19/21 08:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would be looking on Ebay


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BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 01/19/21 08:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bob, I had great luck with an HID kit from The RetroFit Source. I disassembled the plastic headlight assemblies on my 2002 Grand Prix and converted them to HIDs, WOW what a difference.

You can see the projectors inside the OEM housing here:

[image]

TRS sells a kit specifically for 07 GMs, and they also have plug-n-play Alpharex Pro lights.

All of these options are kinda pricey but well worth it IMO, especially if you tow at night.


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Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 01/19/21 08:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First and foremost, measure the voltage AT THE BULB!

If your GM is as bad as Fords headlights one the the best upgrades you can do is bypass the OEM wiring with a relay kit.

OEM wiring is barely up to the task, often they will use 18 ga wire to the headlights and when you add up the wire length by the time the voltage reaches the headlights the bulb is only getting about 11V!

You can buy or built your own headlight relay kit, I have made my own using $2.00 30A Bosch relays and 10 ga wire (relay kit goes under hood near battery and you can get replacement harness repair parts to make it plug and play setup.. Plug the input of the relays into one of the headlight connections and the outputs of the relays to your headlights.. connect relay kit to 12V power and ground and now you have full battery voltage.. Basically about 25% improvement in brightness.

I would recommend avoiding LED replacement bulbs in any OEM style or aftermarket housing, quality is spotty at best, some have fans that will eventually fail, some the drivers make a lot of Radio interference and worst of all, LEDs cannot fully simulate the position of the filament making getting a good pattern that doesn't blind on coming traffic difficult to impossible.

Not to mention typically those LED retrofits use LEDs in blueish color temps of 6,000K-6,500K which results in harsh shadows and depending on your eyesight may make your vision even more difficult.

Try building headlight relay kit first, if that doesn't work well, add on an aux driving lights or fog lights (that is what I did for my 97 Ford BEFORE I figured out the headlight bulbs were not getting full battery voltage), those lights were like using a candle)..

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/19/21 09:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

Bob, I had great luck with an HID kit from The RetroFit Source. I disassembled the plastic headlight assemblies on my 2002 Grand Prix and converted them to HIDs, WOW what a difference.

You can see the projectors inside the OEM housing here:

[image]

TRS sells a kit specifically for 07 GMs, and they also have plug-n-play Alpharex Pro lights.

All of these options are kinda pricey but well worth it IMO, especially if you tow at night.

Thanks for the links, Excellent site. I really like what they have to offer.
Unfortunately, mine is a 2007 Classic, different from the 2007-13..
I changed the application to reflect that and they don't have the headlights for mine. Darn!!! Lots of bulbs though, great selection.
Looks great on your Grand Prix!

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/19/21 09:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:

First and foremost, measure the voltage AT THE BULB!

If your GM is as bad as Fords headlights one the the best upgrades you can do is bypass the OEM wiring with a relay kit.

OEM wiring is barely up to the task, often they will use 18 ga wire to the headlights and when you add up the wire length by the time the voltage reaches the headlights the bulb is only getting about 11V!

You can buy or built your own headlight relay kit, I have made my own using $2.00 30A Bosch relays and 10 ga wire (relay kit goes under hood near battery and you can get replacement harness repair parts to make it plug and play setup.. Plug the input of the relays into one of the headlight connections and the outputs of the relays to your headlights.. connect relay kit to 12V power and ground and now you have full battery voltage.. Basically about 25% improvement in brightness.

I would recommend avoiding LED replacement bulbs in any OEM style or aftermarket housing, quality is spotty at best, some have fans that will eventually fail, some the drivers make a lot of Radio interference and worst of all, LEDs cannot fully simulate the position of the filament making getting a good pattern that doesn't blind on coming traffic difficult to impossible.

Not to mention typically those LED retrofits use LEDs in blueish color temps of 6,000K-6,500K which results in harsh shadows and depending on your eyesight may make your vision even more difficult.

Try building headlight relay kit first, if that doesn't work well, add on an aux driving lights or fog lights (that is what I did for my 97 Ford BEFORE I figured out the headlight bulbs were not getting full battery voltage), those lights were like using a candle)..

That's a great tip, thanks. I never thought about checking the voltage at the lights. I do recall looking at the size of the wiring once, thinking to myself it looked a little on the lame side.
I used to put relays, do the wiring and put aircraft landing lights on my old vehicles. Boy did those ever poke a hole into the night!
Illegal though, got busted a couple times so I stopped using them......

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 01/19/21 09:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

enblethen wrote:

I would be looking on Ebay

Some of those look nice too, thanks.
I wonder if they are made from the same plastic as the aftermarket assemblies. The one I have on mine is really clouded badly.
I guess it's hard to tell what they are made of.
My one OEM headlight is still nice and clear.

1320Fastback

Vista, Ca

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Posted: 01/19/21 10:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A simple pre built plug and play Dual Relay Harness will improve them 50%. Your likely not getting full voltage to the bulbs if running stock wiring.


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Lynnmor

Red Lion

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Posted: 01/20/21 05:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My headlights got much brighter recently, right after cataract surgery.





ford truck guy

Pennsylvania

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Posted: 01/20/21 05:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bob...


Upgrade to a 2020.. the Ford's headlights were pure TURD.... I love the new LED's in the new trucks ! ! ! [emoticon]


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