North American Turbocoupe Organization



trying out LED headlights (pic heavy)
andrewjs18 Offline
Administrator
#1
I have an 87 TC and we all know how lousy the headlights are in these cars with the stock halogens, especially if you don't have mint chrome/mirroring in the housing.  My housings have absolutely 0% chrome/mirroring in them and I'm not about to shell out ~$400 for a mint seat of headlight housings to put halogens back in them - I personally hate the look of halogen bulbs in any car.

I wanted to try out a high end set of LEDs in the car that'll plug directly into the factory harness without any modifications - the 87-88 tbird uses 9004 bulbs/wiring. I'd prefer not to modify the housings to fit projectors for HIDs so this was the first step to see if the LEDs I was looking at would hit a few things: brightness, beam pattern and lack of light scatter. I ended up picking up a set of the supernova v4 LEDs from headlight revolution for $170. They're definitely expensive but get very high marks and are some of the brightest LEDs on the market with great beam patterns that tend to match the halogens.

First, a photo of the LEDs and how they look in a spare housing I have without the lens:

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Here's a few photos of the stock halogens in my TC. Keep in mind that I have 0 chrome/mirroring in my housings and my left headlight housing is leaking. This was approximately 25ft from my garage door at around 7pm at night. It was pretty dark, with the exception of my neighbor's deck light that added some lighting but nothing that would throw off the testing, I don't think... my car was also running so the lights got the full amount of juice for testing purposes.

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Both LEDs in, same distance and parameters that the halogens were tested at:

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These are VERY BRIGHT with an excellent beam pattern that mirrors the stock halogen bulbs, but the scatter is awful, as you can see in the above photos...

Here's a few photos of the LED light with the locking retainer attached. This specific set of LED lights has an allen screw that you remove so you can slide the locking retainer down onto the heatsink to lock the LEDs into the housing. The problem I found with my old retainers is that they're very deep so they cover almost the entire heatsink and they tabs inside the retainer that act like a stock for the lights are very brittle with age...I broke a few. New model retainers can be bought for a little less than $7 per retainer on Amazon thanks (BJL) and are about half as deep.

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Being that I have a spare housing that doesn't currently have a lens on it, I figured I'd try an LED light in it to see how the LED would look if I were to sand the inside of the lens smooth (I can't see why it wouldn't mimic this output at least..).

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bright, with no more scatter, but the beam pattern is pretty blah...reminds me of what you'd find with an LED flashlight...
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#2
I have had LED headlights in all 5 of our cars, including the 88 TC and 86 Tbird 5.0 for several years now. The TC, of course, uses 9004 bulbs, and all the others 9007. (The 86 Tbird has aftermarket headlight housings designed for 9007 bulbs). They are all very bright, and have good to at least reasonable beam patterns, but I agree that the scatter is an issue. On the positive side, I have never been flashed by oncoming cars thinking I had my high beams on, and never been pulled over for for illegal lighting issues. None of the LED headlights have failed either. Both my Tbirds have 100% interior and exterior LED lighting using high quality (=$$) LED replacement bulbs, my 05 Taurus Duratec 24V DD has LED tail/brake lights (HMSL is stock LED in the spoiler) and LED interior lighting and even my 95 Taurus Vulcan beater has full LED interior lighting.

I love LEDs!!
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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andrewjs18 Offline
Administrator
#3
(03-06-2019, 12:44 PM)Jeff K Wrote: I have had LED headlights in all 5 of our cars, including the 88 TC and 86 Tbird 5.0 for several years now. The TC, of course, uses 9004 bulbs, and all the others 9007. (The 86 Tbird has aftermarket headlight housings designed for 9007 bulbs). They are all very bright, and have good to at least reasonable beam patterns, but I agree that the scatter is an issue. On the positive side, I have never been flashed by oncoming cars thinking I had my high beams on, and never been pulled over for for illegal lighting issues. None of the LED headlights have failed either.  Both my Tbirds have 100% interior and exterior LED lighting using high quality (=$$) LED replacement bulbs, my 05 Taurus Duratec 24V DD has LED tail/brake lights (HMSL is stock LED in the spoiler) and LED interior lighting and even my 95 Taurus Vulcan beater has full LED interior lighting.

I love LEDs!!

there's a thread on a glare guard mod on the Tacoma forums used with the opt7 LEDs found on amazon that has worked pretty well for their glare issues.. https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/prob...od.395222/

I'm wondering if something like that would work well for LEDs in our cars...
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andrewjs18 Offline
Administrator
#4
I ended up sending these back as I'm not sure if the scatter issue can be fully fixed and I really don't want to start modifying a $170 pair of LEDs lights, especially when I was able to return them for a full refund.

I picked up a projector kit with HIDs. I'll likely start a new thread for that..

That said, I did pick up new headlight retainers as the old ones were starting to deteriorate and break down. The new ones are also about half as deep as the old pair:

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firebirdparts Offline
Member
#5
Those LED's look good.  I love the fan.  I've never seen anything like it.

Let me add something about the reflector.

As you guys already know, without the silvering, you basically don't have any headlights, because there is where all the light must go.  If you use unshielded light, it just blinds everybody.  Cars are designed for all the light from the headlight bulbs to bounce off the reflector.  conversion to good real projectors would work, but real projectors would be expensive.

So anyway I was able to fix a reflector.  I looked at several solutions and eventually I wallpapered the inside of a headlight housing with monokote chrome decal paper for model airplanes.  The results were fantastic.  It doesn't look very sophisticated inside the headlight, but nobody sees that.  Because of the shape, I did it all with approximately postage stamp size bits of decal.  It costs $5 and it's more than enough to do a car. 

I am not sure how long it lasts.  It's been about 4 years.
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