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Old 10-20-2011, 03:24 PM   #1
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Default Headlight upgrade?

I want to do something about the mediocre light output of my XJ's stock headlights and was wondering what you guys would suggest.

I'm thinking the way to go would be with a set of aftermarket housings that accept a separate replaceable bulb. I've heard good things about those, but there are a lot of different companies making them and I'm not sure which are the way to go. Some use glass lenses and are pretty pricey and others seem to be all plastic and are a lot more affordable. Headlight housings don't seem like something that should cost $70-80 so right now I'm leaning towards the cheaper ones.

I've also seen some that claim to be 'projector' style housings which I assume would be the way to go if I wanted to upgrade to HID bulbs later on. Any thoughts on those?

I've also heard you can upgrade the headlight harness to deliver more current to the headlights, making them brighter. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:56 PM   #2
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Upgraded headlights the legal (ish) way...

1) Get a new headlight harness.

You can make your own http://www.go.jeep-xj.info/HowtoHeadlightLoom.htm

Or you can buy one: http://www.eautoworks.com/Putco-H4--...s-PRD7540.aspx

The eautoworks harnesses used to be quite cheap until everyone on this forum started recommending them and the price was raised accordingly.

You can pick them up for $29.99 here http://www.lmctruck.com/icatalog/csd/full.aspx?Page=48 part number 36-3580. It says it fits a chevy blazer but it's the same as the eautoworks harness and I'm running the LMC harness in my XJ.

There are other more expensive options for pre-made harnesses but I'm not super familiar with those.

2) Upgrade to H4 housings

There are two types of regulations pertaining to headlight housings. There are DOT approved housings which are legal in the US and there are Ecode lights which are European housings and aren't legal in the US although many people use them as they are considered superior housings due to the light pattern.

DOT
Rampage http://www.quadratec.com/products/97009_501.htm
IPF http://www.quadratec.com/products/97017_1600.htm
Delta http://www.quadratec.com/products/97009_121.htm
Hella http://www.quadratec.com/products/97009_02.htm

Ecode
Autopals (look on ebay for Autopal 200mm H4 housing)
Hella http://www.rallylights.com/detail.aspx?ID=744
Cibie http://www.clearcorners.com/products/cibie/

Personally I won't buy housings that have plastic lenses, I much prefer glass but your mileage may vary.

3) Get good bulbs

Some of the above housings come with bulbs included with them. I tend not to recommend bulbs as the choices are extremely vast and everyone has their own preferences as to color and wattage.

4) Aim your headlights properly!

I can't say enough how much improperly aimed headlights annoy me on the road plus you are wasting all that time and effort to upgrade the lighting if you don't aim the light where it does the most good... http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=78017

5) On HID Lights

I do not recommend HID's for use in XJ's... People will show links to cheap HID kits and "Projectors" off of ebay and other sites which will give you a lot of light and will also throw a lot of light in all directions making you very visible to police and possibly blinding other drivers.

When using HID's you need a true projector housing. I'm sure people will chime in and say they run HID's and ebay housings and have had no problems but I'm describing the legal (ish) way.

If you want to go down the road of HID's, take a look at what true projector housings cost http://www.kbcarstuff.com/6054-200mm...-p/xd-6054.htm and consider the cost vs benefit...

There are a myriad of options available to consumers with the limiting factor being cost. One can spend under $100 and have significantly upgraded their lighting or they can spend $1000 and upgrade their lighting more. It's all in how much money you want to spend.

Disclaimer: Always check your local and state laws as some places have more stringent lighting laws than others... I am in no way associated with any of the above companies and none of what I say should be taken as the absolute truth or only way to do things. Flame on...
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:29 PM   #3
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Great job xjsnake. My feelings and experiences exactly!!! OP do the harness FIRST.
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:40 PM   #4
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Great job xjsnake. My feelings and experiences exactly!!! OP do the harness FIRST.
Thanks I need to put in the order in which I would do those things for people that aren't going to do all of them. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:30 PM   #5
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Yes. The harness first. After that, a guy might be happy with just plain halogens. On my wife's and son-in-law's Jeep I was, and they were, too.

But I couldn't help adding H4s with 90/100 bulbs to mine......

What many people don't realize is that the harness costs only a few bucks more than the headlight switch and it's connector you're gonna fry by adding high powered lights without a harness.
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:41 PM   #6
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I upgraded my XJ to projector HID using H4 housing with Fx-r bi xenon projector and happy with the result. Total it cost me $250.00 for all parts.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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Awesome post, thanks so much. Super helpful info there.

So is the harness upgrade considered necessary before upgrading to the H4 housings? I assumed H4 housings were better because of a better bulb and better reflector/lens design, do the H4's draw more current as well?

I only ask because I'm on a tight budget and planned to upgrade the housings first (one of my current headlights has a bunch of condensation in it which I'm sure isn't helping light output). I definitely plan to do both, but was hoping to upgrade the harness a bit later one when money allows.

01erionracing that looks like a sweet way to go, definitely more than I want to spend right now but I think eventually I'd do something like that. Awesome looking Jeep too btw.
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Last edited by WantACherokee; 10-20-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WantACherokee View Post
Awesome post, thanks so much. Super helpful info there.

So is the harness upgrade considered necessary before upgrading to the H4 housings? I assumed H4 housings were better because of a better bulb and better reflector/lens design, do the H4's draw more current as well?
Necessary? No

You won't see much increase if any in light output running H4 housings with the stock harness.

Since you have condensation in your sealed beams anything will be an upgrade.

The reason I say install the harness first is it maximizes whatever you add on later and the stock harness is quite frankly dangerous when used with anything drawing more current than sealed beams. With the stock harness all of the current that flows to both headlights is routed though the headlight switch in the cabin which can cause it to melt if too much current is drawn through it. The aftermarket harnesses use relays to take current directly from the battery/PDC to the lights which protects the headlight switch and lowers the occurrence of electrical fires.

If you want to put in housings and bulbs without upgrading the harness you can but you need to make sure not to put bulbs in that draw more power than the stock sealed beams to prevent the above listed problems.
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01erionracing View Post
I upgraded my XJ to projector HID using H4 housing with Fx-r bi xenon projector and happy with the result. Total it cost me $250.00 for all parts.

Those look great. So those are a H4 housing and a H4 HID bulb?
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xjsnake View Post
You won't see much increase if any in light output running H4 housings with the stock harness.
Completely agree. I tried the cheap HID route a while back... garbage. I'm running IPF H4 Housings with the Fatboy II bulbs and couldn't be happier. Wiring harness is a must though!
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Those look great. So those are a H4 housing and a H4 HID bulb?
Those are D2S bulb.
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:57 AM   #12
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I picked my housings up from an ebay store, there the projectors with the blue running light bulb biult in. They are the style that convert the stock closed system bulbs to the open style so you can stuff whatever bulbs you want in there... I picked those up for somewhere near 35 bucks shipping included. And as far as bulbs go im running the sylvania silverstars and couldn't be happier. I would say close to twice as bright as stock. The silverstars just give a very nice white clean looking light. No crazy blue or purple or yellow. Hope this helped you can pm me for more info if you need
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:26 AM   #13
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I bought autopals and they are awesome for halogen bulbs. Excellent cutoff and good range down the road. For hid bulbs they are horrible, they scatter a lot of the light very high. For hids go with hella e codes.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I bought autopals and they are awesome for halogen bulbs. Excellent cutoff and good range down the road. For hid bulbs they are horrible, they scatter a lot of the light very high. For hids go with hella e codes.
Autopals, H4s 90/100 bulbs, eautoworks harness. Nice cutoff comparable with high dollar lenses.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:37 AM   #15
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x 2 on autopals and the eautoworks harness
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:37 AM
 
 
 
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