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Thread: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

  1. #1

    Default "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    What would you guys consider to be the "best" driving/euro beam auxiliary lamps at a lower price point (<$150)? KC Daylighter? Hella 550? Hella 700ff? Size not so much of an issue.

    Currently have some cheap Hella 500's to supplement the high beams around the orchards, but they are beat up and I am ready for something brighter. Any suggestions?

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Hella or Cibie sealed beam conversions in generic buckets.
    Got Biodiesel?

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Cibie 5.75" conversion units in truck/bus-duty housings have a lot to recommend them. What do you need, more width, more distance, more of both?

  4. #4

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    More of both. I would like the lights to project a little farther than the factory high beams (2008 dodge 1/2 ton) with a much broader beam that covers roadside stuff further ahead. It was recommended to me to just replace the bulbs in my Hella 500's with 100 watt bulbs (and appropriate wiring), but both are severely pitted, and one even has a huge crack that let's water in.

    Internet reviews (for what they're worth) seem to show that most people love the 100-130 watt KC Daylighters (driving beam), and have read some decent reviews of the Hella 550 & 700ff. Would really like to install some Hella 4000's, but those are too pricey for lights that'll probably be damaged by road debris within a year or two.

    Not concerned about oncoming traffic with these, so looking for biggest bang for $$$ w/o using HID

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Specifically get the convex-lens Cibie H1 high beam units, then, and put 'em in a housing like this or this (one silver-grey, the other chrome; chrome photo used for both, read description). Install with relay and good (12ga) wiring, use 55w high-performance (or 100w if you absolutely have to) bulb, aim straight ahead. Very good cost-effective and durable solution, also not costly to repair in the event of breakage.

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Very nice setup, but getting a bit pricey at ~ $250 + shipping for lamps, housings, & bulbs. Anything cheaper that'll get the job done?

  7. #7

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Bosch Compact 100s are a nice small (4" round) auxiliary high beam "driving" lamp with good quality build and well-focused output. About $65/ea last time I checked with Dan Stern. H3 bulb. Can mount with the stud at 12, 3, 6, or 9 o'clock.

  8. #8

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Guess I'll have to give him a call...tried to find some info on the Bosch driving lights, but have only seen references to compact 100 fog lights.

    Is it safe to assume that these will noticeably outperform the (non-FF) 55w Hella 500's?

    Also, why no love for the KC Daylighters on this forum? Seems like the Jeep guys love these lights in the higher wattages for the trails.

    Edit: was able to find a little info on these lights. Look like they would be perfect for my application! Will have to drop mr stern a line...thx for the info
    Last edited by opposite locker; 12-15-2011 at 05:09 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    I like the Compact 100 drivers better than the Hella 500s, yes.

    In my opinion and experience, there has not been a good or innovative product in the KC Daylighter line since the mid-1970s when they put a Westinghouse duo-focal midbeam (a 5-3/4" sealed beam unit) in a sturdy housing. Most of their line of lights is low-bid offshore stuff not especially well built and doesn't perform especially well; their primary claim to fame is their hotshot long warranty. I have never held a high view of companies or vendors who attempt to use a fancy-pants warranty to try and bluff around the shortcomings of their products, and to me that's what it looks like KC's policy is.

    As for why the Jeep guys rave about them: you can find rave reviews for almost any product or service you care to name. Most people who review products (of whatever category) really are not very well qualified or equipped to do so, and despite their best intentions usually their reviews are heavily biased one way (they don't like it for whatever reason and so they're inclined to trash it in print as "revenge") or the other (they spent money on it and it meets their needs to some degree so they're inclined to sing its praises). It's only human nature to want to be taken seriously, and the internet allows anyone with a keyboard and a connection to be an instant (and instantly published) expert. How do you tell a genuine expert from a wannabe expert or a fanboy or a shill? Good question. I don't have a sure-fire answer!

    Back to the topic at hand: it's easy to make a flood light and only slightly harder to make a spot light, and if you toss a giant high-watt bulb in it you really don't have to worry about optical efficiency or precision. It works, but it's a crude, sloppy, cheap-to-build, expensive-to-run, not-very-respectable way of doing it in my view.

  10. #10

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    I can vouch for the poor performance of the Hella 500; they're so bad I gave my set away after comparing them to lights that work.

    The Bosch work nicely. I also like the Hella Rallye 4000 in the Euro pattern if you can find them at a decent price.

    And lots of stuff in Jeep-World doesn't work. It's just part of the culture.

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Thanks for the info...

    Unless the Hella 4000's (my first choice) come available for a steal of a price, I will be going with the aforementioned Bosch lights...and will probably also just give away my beat-up (but still fully functional) Hella 500's.

  12. #12

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    By the way, how are the Bosch compact 100 fog lights? They are pretty cheap online (IIRC ~ $80/set) and my flatbed could use some decent fogs

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Have a set of the Compact 100 fogs w/ yellow windows on my Mk1 Mr2. Very pleased.
    Got Biodiesel?

  14. #14

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    I concur, the yellow Compact 100 fog lamps are quite good for their size.

  15. #15

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by opposite locker View Post
    Unless the Hella 4000's (my first choice) come available for a steal of a price, ...
    The only time I see them for a good price is when 4WheelParts does one of their one-day super-sales or during their roadshow events.
    Those lights are huge and heavy, btw. But the light is a nice wide/even wash.

  16. #16

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    What would u consider a good price to be? Best I've found so far is a little under $300 shipped for the "kit" including 2 4000 euro beam lamps, harness, & switch. Would like to keep it under (or at least close to) $200 if at all possible.

    Large & heavy lights are not a problem. Would really like to try out the Bosch lights (lower cost & replacement/repair cost if damaged), but haven't heard back from DS as of yet...
    Last edited by opposite locker; 12-19-2011 at 03:32 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Quote Originally Posted by opposite locker View Post
    What would u consider a good price to be? Best I've found so far is a little under $300 shipped for the "kit" including 2 4000 euro beam lamps, harness, & switch. Would like to keep it under (or at least close to) $200 if at all possible.

    Large & heavy lights are not a problem. Would really like to try out the Bosch lights (lower cost & replacement/repair cost if damaged), but haven't heard back from DS as of yet...
    Link?

  18. #18

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    I've seen the 4000s sell for $75 each at the 4WP big show during a one-hour sale.

  19. #19

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Wow...at that price I'd get a couple sets. Heard back from DS...looks like I'll be getting the Bosch lights with Narva Rangepower bulbs.

    Now just gotta figure out how I want to mount them. Will probably keep the lights behind the grill, but cut out a couple small sections to allow the light an unobstructed path.

  20. #20

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Finally got the lights mounted up...Compact 100's with 55w Rangepowers. VERY pleased with the results! You guys were absolute correct - compared to the Hella 500's, these have a much more focused beam that puts the light where I want it to supplement the high beams. On top of that, they put out a lot more light than the Hellas ever did, even when new.

    On another note, turns out the Hella 500's I had in there before were made in Germany with German made Hella bulbs. I thought it was weird when I bought those at Walmart a few years ago that there was a poorly-cut "made in Germany" sticker placed over where the box originally said "made in Taiwan". I always wondered if they were in fact made in Germany, and markings on the reflector & bulb confirmed this. That being said, they were still very considerably inferior lights to the Bosch units...does this mean the Taiwan-made housings are even worse?

  21. #21
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    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    You were really displeased with the hella 500 driving lights. I am getting ready to order the 500FF fog version and put the range power + 50 bulbs in them. Would you consider the 500FF versions terrible as well?

  22. #22

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Can't comment on the fog versions, but if the output & beam focus is anything like my non-FF driving beams, I'd opt for something else. There's a guy on eBay selling the compact 100 clear fogs for < $100/pair including bulbs & wiring. At that price, Ive been considering putting a set on my work truck, but don't really need them as the factory Hella fogs work just fine.

    For reference, the Compact 100 driving lights with Narva bulbs and shipping cost me nearly twice that amount (not including switch & wiring)

  23. #23
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    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Do the hella fog lights on your work truck have the FF reflector? I can't imagine the 500FF fogs not being better than any pilot or optronics brand you see in the chain stores.

  24. #24

    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    Not sure if they're free form, but here's a link to show you what they look like:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Dodge-Ra...a#ht_946wt_689

    I too would be surprised if the 500 FF fogs weren't at least as good as factory fog lights, but then again the German-made 500's I had previously were quite inferior in beam and light distribution to my stock high beams...they put a little bit of light everywhere, but not a whole lot where I needed it.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: "Best" lower-cost auxiliary driving lamps?

    I'm not the expert, but the 100FF driving lights I have on my Blazer throw out one heck of a nice beam with 55W bulbs. They also look like they have a deeper reflector than the 500 series. Maybe the 500FF fog is decent, and the driving version has too shallow of a reflector in it to make it a good long range lamp? Just guessing.

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