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Discussion Starter #1
Long story in one sentence: Recently moved states and bought a house off the beaten path, and now my crappy eBay headlights I installed some 4 years ago aren't cutting it on the back roads I take to work before daylight.

After doing some reading with the search function, I am adopting the "buy once, cry once" mentality and heavily looking at the retrofit kit. I don't want pretty, I want functional. I like black-backed headlamps, but I won't pay anything extra for looks (like halo rings and such). It's coming out to $500 for new headlight housing and a drop-in HID kit. I'm open to other options, but $500 is already more than I care to spend, so lets call that the absolute ceiling. Their website is pretty bad for information so I hope to crowd source the following questions:

--Anyone know if the aftermarket assemblies they provide are worth a flip? One concern is do have factory-style adjusters? My ebay ones were adjusted with washers under the mounting points...I don't want that again.

--How about the basic HID drop in kit? Is that high/low beam?

--Any other sources of high quality, BRIGHT headlights?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Long story in one sentence: Recently moved states and bought a house off the beaten path, and now my crappy eBay headlights I installed some 4 years ago aren't cutting it on the back roads I take to work before daylight.

After doing some reading with the search function, I am adopting the "buy once, cry once" mentality and heavily looking at the retrofit kit. I don't want pretty, I want functional. I like black-backed headlamps, but I won't pay anything extra for looks (like halo rings and such). It's coming out to $500 for new headlight housing and a drop-in HID kit. I'm open to other options, but $500 is already more than I care to spend, so lets call that the absolute ceiling. Their website is pretty bad for information so I hope to crowd source the following questions:

--Anyone know if the aftermarket assemblies they provide are worth a flip? One concern is do have factory-style adjusters? My ebay ones were adjusted with washers under the mounting points...I don't want that again.

--How about the basic HID drop in kit? Is that high/low beam?

--Any other sources of high quality, BRIGHT headlights?

Thanks in advance.
First off, do not even entertain the thought of dropping in HID's to your OEM housing. They are not designed properly to handle how the light is emitted from an LED. You will throw useless light all over the place and it will blind oncoming traffic no matter how you try to aim them.

That being said, our vehicles are wicked simple to do a retrofit on.

If you don't have a lot of cash, DDM tuning sells retrofit "kits" that are decent quality for the price (Projectors, ballasts, bulbs, etc).


I've run them for years with no issues.

I recently did another retrofit for the truck with Morimoto projectors and it's awesome.
I've done 2 writeups for the forum about retrofits.

Here's my latest write up:


Also, the very first post, I linked my original retrofit write up.

I still have those ones as backups just in case I need a headlight.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I need to amend my question then, I need the idiots guide to HID and LED lighting, even your retrofit post is above my head with terminology. Is there such a beast out there? I'm looking for a website explain why I can't drop in an LED bulb or a post starting at square one with terminology and options for better headlights.
 

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If you just need some extra light for the back roads, throw on some off road lights. A quality set is 100 bucks.
 

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I need to amend my question then, I need the idiots guide to HID and LED lighting, even your retrofit post is above my head with terminology. Is there such a beast out there? I'm looking for a website explain why I can't drop in an LED bulb or a post starting at square one with terminology and options for better headlights.
Just Google it. There is so much information on the web (and sites dedicated to it), but I'm telling you in a nutshell. The reflector design of our lights is for halogen bulbs. They emit light differently than HID or LED bulbs. Halogen light is reflected properly for the design of our headlights. If you drop an HID/LED bulb in there, the light is scattered horribly and the cutoff is terrible, which means you have useless scattered lights, hotspots, and throw really bright, dangerous light into other driver's eyes since the light is not focused properly. Hence, why you need to run projectors in your housing if you want to run HID's.

Also, read through my posts. Both of them outline what you need to do a retrofit. The first one goes into more detail with all of the pieces, the D2S one assumes you kind of know what your harness setup already is.

The DDM tuning link I posted has the kit for what you'd need...projectors, ballasts, bulbs.

The list:

  • Projectors (Mini H1) are pretty popular and cost efficient
  • 35W or 55W ballasts (55 are brighter, but the bulbs won't last as long. I run 35W setup)
  • Bulbs...these will be based off of the "base" that the projector has. It will tell you on the site
The first 3 above are in the DDM link I posted
 

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Also, thretrofitsource.com........for comparison/info/price.

X2 on krashDH's comment to NOT just drop in HID/LED bulbs into the stock reflector housings, for everyone else's benefit/safety, please.
 

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Also, thretrofitsource.com........for comparison/info/price.
Second that. Super helpful and my last retrofits for the car and truck I went through them for parts. They have some good budget options as well but tend to be on the higher quality end of the spectrum
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If I buy a projector headlight set, would that should be sufficient for a drop in LED kit? I'm really not interested nor do I have the time to retrofit my own headlights, I just want something better than what I have now.

For example, I searched projector headlight on ebay and got THIS (Im not looking at this one specifically, but as an example), but this is a projector headlight that comes with H7 bulbs. If I installed an LED headlamp kit, this would work, correct?
 

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If I buy a projector headlight set, would that should be sufficient for a drop in LED kit? I'm really not interested nor do I have the time to retrofit my own headlights, I just want something better than what I have now.

For example, I searched projector headlight on ebay and got THIS (Im not looking at this one specifically, but as an example), but this is a projector headlight that comes with H7 bulbs. If I installed an LED headlamp kit, this would work, correct?
Coming from someone who has tested an almost identical set of those headlights out, they're better than stock if you use and HID kit, but still not good, and still not designed for an LED/HID bulb.

The projector bowl design is what dictates if good light is going to be thrown out. Those that you linked, even though they are a projector, are not designed for and HID or LED bulb. Actually, there are very few that even are designed for LED use. Morimoto makes an LED projector, but the LED's are built in to the design. Not drop in. They are expensive and the output still isn't up to par with an HID equivalent.

The headlights you linked are not designed to use and HID or LED in the projector. They are designed for halogen bulbs And likely if you drop a halogen bulb in those things, they will be worse than the OEM. The quality of projector glass as well as the projector bowl are not high and it's easily seen with the light output.

If you try to drop an LED bulb in those, they will be worse off than halogens. If you drop and HID bulb in there, it's going to look like this...these are an almost identical set of what you linked:

919734


See all that scattered light above the cutoff? That's no good for oncoming traffic. THe cutoff looks sharp and yes you can see better. That's with a 35W HID kit installed.

The other issues with those cheap aftermarket projectors is they are not designed (the reflector bowl) to take the heat. Eventually the fake chrome they use will start peeling and then you get even worse output than before. Also, the clearcoat on the lenses is pretty horrible too. They usually start peeling within the year.

Honestly, you can go that route, but if you want better than OEM lighting, if you don't want to get a retrofit, pay a company to do a retrofit for you. I've seen them range average between $500-$800 .

Put the money you would put into those ones you linked into a rainy day fund and when you have enough saved up, pay for the retrofit. Or spend $250 and do it yourself. Either way, if you buy that aftermarket set, you still need the HID kit, resistors, harness, etc.

But at the end of the day it's your money and you can spend it how you'd like. LED's and HID's are not the answer to better lighting unless it's done correctly, and LED's in a true projector are still not as good as HID's in a projector since it's all based on what the projector is designed for.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate you taking the time to type that out. You've been very helpful. I'm going to reach out to RetroShop and see what they can do for me.
 

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I appreciate you taking the time to type that out. You've been very helpful. I'm going to reach out to RetroShop and see what they can do for me.
Good luck, you are in good hands with them. They've been super helpful to me over the years.

Update this thread with what you decide to do as well, new lighting is always like candy. Also, it really brings new life to the truck. It's one of the favorite and useful mods I've done.
 

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If you can swing it $$wise, you won't be disappointed with a true projector retro-fit. Your words of "Buy once, cry once" I think applies here. They are SO much better to what you got running now, so there's the 'function' part & you get something that 'looks' sharp as well. All the best with however you choose.
 
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Retrofit source seems to be the only turn key solution I’ve found for 3rd gens.

The drop in leds I’ve tried are garbage. All of them. I gave up after the #4 attempt. Even the expensive ones don’t work.
 
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