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Thread: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Default Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    So i just got a 4x4 and am looking into some adding some lighting.

    I dont care if its HID, LED, halogen, normal incan whatever

    I will be adding 4 to the front of my vehicle(2 forward facing and 1 off front bumper at a 45 degree angle to each side) and 2 to the back

    Looking to spend $300 max on all 6 lights so $50 each, i realize my budget is small.

    Being waterproof and shock proof would be very helpful but for my budget i realize i will have to make sacrifices and will just carry spare bulbs.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    Cheap-and-nasty lights will wind up disappointing you. They won't hold up well, nor will they work well. Try and get the best quality lights you can. If that were my budget and my need, I would pick up six cheap and rugged PAR46 housings such as these or these, both of which are available on amazon.com ( here and here, the same chrome photo is shown for both, but in fact one is chromed and one is painted).

    Then I'd go hit Daniel Stern for some optics to put in them. If I guess correctly, he'll recommend four Cibie driving beam units to fit the housings, with appropriate bulbs. Might come in over your budget, but not by much, and if you plead poverty he'll probably have a "next best" option to recommend.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 04-27-2011 at 11:42 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    If these are indeed for OFF ROAD ONLY, then I can make another suggestion. They must actually be for off road only, as in these lights will ever even be considered for use anywhere near pavement or other drivers.

    Procure several work lights or "fog" lights or "driving" lights or whatever and install a matching HID kit, 4300k preferably for the most lumens. Any engineering that went into the beam pattern of the original halogen light(if there was any engineering at all) doesn't matter, as the HID kit will screw that all up. You won't get pencil beams or fog or flood or anything like that, just a whole hell of a lot of light in a vaguely forward direction and hit and miss reliability. And cheap. This is the most lumens per $, but you sacrifice everything else.

    I will reiterate, this setup is for OFF ROAD USE ONLY.

    Sheinwerfermann's advice is undoubtedly better.
    Last edited by Diesel_Bomber; 04-27-2011 at 09:57 PM.
    Got Biodiesel?

  4. #4
    Flashaholic bnemmie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    Ive got a set of Lightforce 170's on the front of my Chevy.

    http://www.lightforce.net.au/products

    I love 'um. They are focusable, like a MagLight is, have different filters you can snap on for different colors and throw/flood effects, theres even videos online of people shooting them with a shotgun and the pellets bouncing right off, and are made of a lightweight composite so theres no real mass to throw around and vibrate loose when you are bouncing around in the back country. Ive been thinking about getting the HID versions soon. Those HIDs would really blow your budget tho lol

    But if those are too expensive maybe something like this would do it for ya:

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...9774_200049774
    "I don't fail, I succeed at finding what doesn't work." -Chris Titus

  5. #5

    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    Lightforce = Lightfarce. Those different-color plastic plates don't actually do any of the magic the maker baselessly claims they do, they don't use bulbs meant or rated for automotive service, etc. Do a search on here for previous discussions of Lightforce's stuff.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic bnemmie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    Lightforce = Lightfarce. Those different-color plastic plates don't actually do any of the magic the maker baselessly claims they do, they don't use bulbs meant or rated for automotive service, etc. Do a search on here for previous discussions of Lightforce's stuff.
    I'm not sure what bad experiences you've had with Lightforce but my 170's have been on the front of my truck for over 40,000 miles now and i haven't ever had a problem. Only one bulb has needed to be replaced some 15,000 miles ago and i got that at a national chain automotive store for a fair price. I cant comment on the effectiveness of the colored filters because I don't own any other then the stock clear ones, but I can attest that the flood/throw filters are useful depending on what you need. I remember a few years ago I know they lights saved me from hitting a moose in the middle of the road because I saw it much farther away then with just my stock headlights. A google search came up with a dozen positive threads about Lightforce.
    "I don't fail, I succeed at finding what doesn't work." -Chris Titus

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    I suggest backing up just a bit and analyzing your usage and your definition of off road driving. Some people want to race at Baja and want super long range lights. Some of us crawl through brush-choked and washed out old logging roads in the soggy Pacific Northwest. For me, it's not so much long range, as seeing around switchbacks and into holes that appear in front of me, as well as seeing to the sides and rear when I need to back up and turn around. I like your plan to mount lights near your bumper ends, angled outward to the sides.

    For me, reasonably good halogen headlights, plus a big set of old Cibie clear fog lights (so the lenses are sandblasted and the reflectors beginning to degrade; they still help me see to the sides and the increased "scatter" from the blasted lenses is not a bad thing), handle most of the forward work. High mounted spotlights with landing light bulbs, can take care of special needs.

    The rear has two sealed beams inside the 6" channel bumper, and two sealed beam floods mounted high on the sides of the bed. The lower rears are the "sealed beam fog" pattern. The uppers are flood lights.

    If I was planning more off road work with that truck, I'd add side floods. But the spots can handle it for occasional use.

    I did add a flood capable of being angled downward, to the top of the front end guard on the extended bumper. This was after I got a deer on very steep terrain, and the very end of legal shooting light, and it went over a steep bank before it piled up. I got the truck crosswise of the road and we managed to let the winch line down over the bank, then found that none of my lights could help me. The powerful high mounted spotlights at the top corners of the windshield were too far back to be able to put light down over the bank. And my rechargeable flashlight ran down... That PAR46 flood came in handy many times after that. It had enough "scatter" to be useful operating the PTO winch, and it filled in the area right in front of the truck, no matter how steeply I was looking down.

    For slow speed off road, it's not super high light output or long range. Oh, I had a Marchal 902 pencil beam on the front end guard, too. But that was so I could see down the highway at speed. It's coverage everywhere that matters off the road.

    Also, my experience with infrequently used trucks that sit outside in a wet climate, points me toward sealed beams, regardless of efficiency. If it's a sealed glass lamp, the reflector won't "go away," as even some Cibie lights have done. The lenses won't fog up. The fixtures won't fill with dust and dirt. Look into those housings Scheinwerfermann suggested, then look at the available selection of 12 volt halogen sealed beams in that size.

    What I have described works for me. If your kind of off road driving is running at high speed in a straight line of flat ground, ignore everything I said, and start looking for pencil beams and spotlights.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  8. #8

    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    Like they've already said, cheap-n-stinky lighting isn't the best. If you go halogen, the cheap ones consume amperage like crazy, rust, and rattle apart.
    Cheap HIDs are usually the wrong color (6000K) to see well with but put out lots of light.
    And there aren't any cheap LEDs that last worth a dang.

    I have a pair of cheap HIDx 4" lights that put out as much light as 4 halogen lights. I got them from RDM Offroad. They'll usually give you a 10% discount if you ask nicely. Free shipping too.
    I'd start with two 7" HID lights, see if it works for you, and save-up for one or two more if you need.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    I suggest backing up just a bit and analyzing your usage and your definition of off road driving. Some of us crawl through brush-choked and washed out old logging roads in the soggy Pacific Northwest. For me, it's not so much long range, as seeing around switchbacks and into holes that appear in front of me, as well as seeing to the sides and rear when I need to back up and turn around. I like your plan to mount lights near your bumper ends, angled outward to the sides.
    This is exactly the type of off road driving i will be doing, i live in Vancouver Canada. The sealed lights are a good idea as they will get submerged while wheeling as i have not lifted the truck yet and have had it going through some creeks/river crossings that are 4' or so deep and had water getting into the cab so bumpers/lights would be fully submerged.

    Scheinwerfermann thanks for the suggestion im looking into those lights/optics/housing now.

    Im looking to keep it to 4x6" size or so because im having a custom 6" C-channel bumpers made and want to recess the lights into the bumper. I dont want to hang any lights off the top that look easy to disconnect/steal as i dont live in the best part of town.
    Last edited by Rifter; 05-10-2011 at 03:57 AM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Changchung's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    add removed

    Last edited by Unforgiven; Today at 09:40 AM.


    Cant I post link from Ebay???
    Last edited by Norm; 07-24-2011 at 01:29 PM.

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for off road lights, whats the best bang/buck?

    Look for Kragen HID lights at Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts.
    I have had several and beat them around good.
    They make 4" and 7" ones, all are 35W HID.
    Last edited by jtice; 07-23-2011 at 10:37 PM.

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