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Thread: Poor HIR2 projector performance

  1. #1

    Default Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Two cars that use HIR2s with a shuttered projector have been panned by CR as having very poor headlight performance: the new Chevy Impala and the Chrysler 200. I own a 2014 Impala and using my wife's 2003 Malibu and a recently rented Impala Limited (old model, reflector halogens) as baselines, note that the HIR2 equipped Impala's lighting is considerably inferior to either of those: poor beam intensity with very little light to the side. In wet weather the car is unnerving to drive on twisty roads, and 45 degree turns from a stop sign are an exercise in guesswork due to the narrow focus of the beam. Has anyone had similar experiences with HIR2 equipped projectors? There are several complaints about the Impala's lights versus none for last year's model on the NHTSA site, but no investigation as yet. My view is that the HIR2s in this application make the car unsafe to drive at night.

    By comparison, I have noticed that new Hyundai's, which have HB3/9005 based units, seem to throw a very strong and well designed beam, subjectively comparable to HIDs on BMWs and Audis, so a well designed halogen unit can clearly work.

    What is it with this much-touted HIR2 unit; why the poor performance?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    The HIR2 ("9012") is an extremely good light source. It has excellent luminous flux and luminance and filament precision and lifespan and efficacy. However, that does not automatically mean any headlamp that uses the HIR2 bulb is going to be a good headlamp. If the headlamp's optics are not efficient or aren't well focused by design, or if the production of the headlamp is sloppy, or if the vehicle does not supply the bulbs with adequate voltage, then the headlamps' objective performance will be poor. And of course, it's very possible (and quite common) to have headlamps that give objectively good performance while garnering negative subjective impressions by drivers -- remember, subjective impressions of headlamp performance are often far out of line with the objective reality.

    The HB3 ("9005") is inferior to the HIR2 ("9012") in almost every respect. It puts out less light, it consumes more power, it has a shorter lifespan, its filament placement is less precise. Luminance is about equal. And yet, there are some HB3 headlamps that outperform some HIR2 headlamps. Likewise, H9 produces more light than HIR2, yet there are some H9 headlamps that don't perform as well as some HIR2 headlamps.

    Don't blame the bulbs; it's not their fault. Your complaint is with General Motors. And their complaint may be with whoever they bought the headlamps from. Chrysler's problem with the 200 wasn't a bad headlamp design, it was sloppy manufacturing (inadequate process and quality control) by the Korean supplier they contracted to make the headlamps. That is why the 200 got lousy ratings and other models with headlamps identical in all the ways that matter -- same projector, same manufacturer, same bulb, comparable mounting height -- got good ratings (though this should not be taken to mean that the Consumer Reports "headlamp tests" are reliable; in fact they are badly flawed at the structural level).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Thanks for the reply Virgil. No, I'm not blaming the bulbs, just pointing out they don't seem to have been implemented successfully in the two American applications I mentioned (I note your comments re QC on the 200). My review of the Impala's lights is based on the objective criterion that it is not possible to see the side of the road immediately in front of the car; rather the beam seems to gradually fade in well forward of the car. I've compared this behavior both to our 2003 Malibu's, which I can drive confidently in heavy rain and on country roads, despite the prosaic hardware, and the Impala Limited rental I drove recently. The performance of the Impala installation has bothered several people enough to register complaints at NHTSA (none noted for the 2013 model) including one accident where the driver left the road for a ditch because he or she could not see.

    Regarding subjective versus objective evaluation, I wonder whether the standards applied by objective static tests might miss important aspects of performance that are immediately apparent upon use in real-world conditions. As an aside I owned a Dodge Shadow many years ago and was struck by the poor quality of lighting on that car, and also remember renting a Hyundai in Florida about 18 years ago and being really impressed by the lights on that. I'm struck by the extent to which inertia, for good or ill, strengths and weaknesses, drives design, features and performance in the car industry.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 11-08-2014 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Remove needless whole-message quote

  4. #4
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    Regarding subjective versus objective evaluation, I wonder whether the standards applied by objective static tests might miss important aspects of performance that are immediately apparent upon use in real-world conditions.
    Those aspects of performance eventually make their way into statistics, which are extremely complicated. For the most part, cries of "but REAL-WORLD conditions" are quite often unfounded, or based on anecdotes, rumors, and, most of all, "common sense".

    As -Virgil- said,
    And of course, it's very possible (and quite common) to have headlamps that give objectively good performance while garnering negative subjective impressions by drivers -- remember, subjective impressions of headlamp performance are often far out of line with the objective reality.
    It's very possible (and quite common) to have headlamps that give subjectively good performance while garnering negative objective measurements by qualified users of the correct instrumentation and test methods-- remember, objective measures of headlamp performance are sometimes far out of line with subjective impressions. Hence the proliferation of "HID kits" and headlamp-shaped toys from TYC, Depo, Spyder, Maxxima, and the like.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    My review of the Impala's lights is based on the objective criterion that it is not possible to see the side of the road immediately in front of the car; rather the beam seems to gradually fade in well forward of the car
    Here's a sticking point. That's not an objective evaluation (or criterion) at all, it's a subjective impression: you are judging the headlamps based on what it feels (you say "seems") you can't see. In fact, we (human beans) aren't able to make accurate judgments of how well (or how badly) we can see, or how well (or how poorly) a headlamp performs. It's just not something we're equipped to do; our subjective judgments are very often, very far out of step with the objective reality. Plus, the number-one factor that drives subjective "ratings" of headlamps is foreground light, that is the amount of light on the surface of the road close to the vehicle. But foreground light has zero-to-negative effect on the actual safety performance of the headlamp (i.e., how well it actually lets the driver see what they need to see to drive safely). This same specific disjunction between reality and perception is what causes so many people to misuse their fog lamps as always-on auxiliary lights: the extra foreground light creates the impression (but not the reality) of improved seeing and safety. There are many, many other "we think we see X, and we think Y makes us safe, but neither is the case" specifics involved with headlight beams. And photographs are equally useless for other reasons. The only way headlamps can really accurately be assessed and compared is on a photogoniometer. There's some info and examples here.

    The performance of the Impala installation has bothered several people enough to register complaints at NHTSA
    I don't doubt that -- but while I don't want to sound like I'm just dismissing the idea that the current Malibu headlamp might have annoying deficiencies in its performance, I do want to point out that people file complaints at NHTSA all the time for all kinds of things that aren't really the way they seem.

    including one accident where the driver left the road for a ditch because he or she could not see.
    That might be what happened...and it might not. This hits on why some aspects of vehicle lighting systems are slackly regulated in America: our regulatory structure requires positive cost/benefit for any mandatory aspect of a safety standard. Risk analysis or simulation isn't allowed, it has to be actual cost/benefit analysis based on actual crash data. That's easy to do for crashworthiness standards (seat belts, for example) and for post-crash survivability standards (fuel system integrity, for example) but it's very difficult to do for crash-avoidance standards (lighting being the prime example) because effective lighting creates "unCrashes", that is, crashes that don't happen. You can't assess the costs of a crash that didn't happen, so as a result it's hard to legally justify stringent lighting standards in our system. To be clear, I am definitely not defending this sorry state of affairs, just describing it.

    Back to your comment about the couldn't-see/went-in-a-ditch crash: maybe better headlamps would have prevented this crash, and maybe not. We cannot rely on the driver's conclusion. The driver simply isn't equipped or in a position to make that conclusion reliably.

    Regarding subjective versus objective evaluation, I wonder whether the standards applied by objective static tests might miss important aspects of performance that are immediately apparent upon use in real-world conditions.
    That's mostly a reasonable question to ask, but the answer is no. That's not the problem; each and every test point in the headlamp standards is well backed by good science. The problem is that the minimum allowable headlamp performance is not necessarily adequate. Regulators don't tend to advance the bottom end of the standard nearly as often as the market advances the top end of the performance available to drivers. A headlamp that gives performance that was considered legal in 1975 is still considered legal on a new car today, even though it is in most respects hugely outperformed by newer headlamp designs and technologies.

    More importantly, headlamp performance is not a single "black box" that can be rated or ranked on a scale. Headlamp beams are specified and evaluated in terms of minimum and/or maximum allowable intensities at a range of angles up, down, left, and right relative to the headlamp's axis. Each test point or zone has an allowable intensity range. Because of the way our human visual system works, a headlamp that produces "X" amount of light straight ahead of the car in the foreground and "Y" amount of light at wide lateral angles can dependably create the impression of perfectly adequate light at wide lateral angles, while a headlamp producing "2X" amount of light straight ahead of the car in the foreground and the same "Y" amount of wide-angles light as the first headlamp can seem to leave the wide angles totally unlit.

    I say this was a "mostly" reasonable question because people who don't understand what they're talking about (headlamps or anything else) often resort to the "real world" argument when faced with facts that don't line up with their opinions. That is "Fine, whatever, I don't care about your so-called 'objective' tests; I KNOW WHAT I CAN SEE IN THE REAL WORLD!!! I DRIVE WITH MY EYES, NOT WITH A PHOTO-WHATEVER-METER IN THE LAB!!!". That argument is without merit (and isn't worth quarrelling over; those who advance it are not interested in learning). I don't think you're putting forth that line of argument, I'm just bringing it up because you used that "real world" phrase.

    As an aside I owned a Dodge Shadow many years ago and was struck by the poor quality of lighting on that car
    Yes, you're right about that. Chrysler installed cheap, nasty, minimal headlamps and severely under-rated wiring on almost everything they built with replaceable-bulb headlamps through the early 2000s. Remember, the Federal standard does not require "good" headlamps, it requires legally compliant ones. Legally there is no difference between a headlamp that just barely meets the minimum requirements and one that is near the maximum allowable output. (It might interest you to know that the lousy headlamps on your Shadow were a result of Ford Motor Company's cheapness-centered headlamp system specifications they submitted to NHTSA in 1983, which NHTSA rubber-stamped and wrote into law as the basis for all American-market replaceable-bulb headlights).

    I'm struck by the extent to which inertia, for good or ill, strengths and weaknesses, drives design, features and performance in the car industry.
    H'm. I'm not sure how this applies here. How do you mean?
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 11-08-2014 at 05:33 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Thanks both for your carefully crafted and thoughtful responses, and I take your points about subjective evaluation on board. For what it is worth, I took the car out for a long country drive last night. On a sweeping two lane road or straight limited access highway the lighting is fine and very even, if not as subjectively bright as an HID's beam. Perhaps it's this evenness, compared to a lower quality beam punctuated by bright spots from lights with lesser bulbs, which gives the impression of less light with the HIR2 based unit. The issue I still have with the Impala application is the inability to see to the side during a sharp turn. I parked the Impala and the 2003 Malibu at the same point in our driveway. The Malibu lit up the lawn to the side that the Impala left in complete darkness (I was unable to see any objects in the field that could be easily seen when illuminated by the Malibu). The comments on NHTSA center around the same complaint (narrowness of the beam, poor visibility to the side) and the quantity of the lighting complaints is high compared to previous years.

    I am with you on those after-market HID kits - the cars should be stopped and impounded. I was followed by a full sized Dodge truck that had HID reflectors and HID fogs all blazing into my rear and side mirrors -- blinding and intimidating, which I suppose is the intent.

    I travel to the UK and continental Europe from time to time. The halogen low beam pattern there has a very sharp cutoff with a beam that slants upwards at the kerb. The main beam (high beam) appears to be brighter and reach farther than in the U.S. There is a knob on the dash to adjust the height of the headlight aim to compensate for load changes. Is there any talk of consolidating these standards in future? I'm thinking of a possible US/EU trade agreement and what that might bring.
    Last edited by world.traveler; 11-09-2014 at 07:17 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    You are right that vehicle lighting is different outside North America, but it is not as different as it used to be. Virtually all US low beams now have a cutoff of one kind or another, including the lamps on your Impala. It can be the same shape as the European cutoff (low and horizontal on the left, sweeping or stepping up to the right), but it doesn't have to be, and many vehicles in North America have a straight-line cutoff that might not be recognizeable as a cutoff to those accustomed to the European beam pattern. The European high beam specification does permit greater intensity than the US specification.

    In practice, most headlamps in the UK and Europe are aimed much lower than can be justified by any legitimate, sound safety-based reasoning; there is a glare-phobic tendency that leads countries to specify low aim angles which in turn give very short seeing distance. The reduction in glare does not compensate for this inadequate seeing distance.

    The lever or dial on the dashboard is meant to compensate for passengers or cargo in the back of the car, so the lamps don't tip up and glare other drivers. The "0" position (baseline, highest aim) is where the dial is set when the vehicle's headlamp aim gets checked and adjusted -- this system is not for gaining the driver additional seeing distance on less-crowded roads. Vehicles with headlamps equipped with low-beam light sources producing more than 2000 lumens aren't allowed to have the manual dial (which most people either don't use or misuse), they have to have at least a static automatic leveling system that adjusts the lamp aim to compensate for vehicle loading. Fancier versions are dynamic rather than static, they react to the vehicle's pitch changes with acceleration, braking, road contour, etc.

    None of this self-leveling equipment is required in the US or Canada, though it is permitted. There are other differences, too. "Over there" all vehicles have to have yellow rear turn signals and side turn signal repeaters and rear red fog lamps while front and rear sidemarker lights and reflectors are allowed but not mandatory; "over here" all vehicles can have yellow or red rear turn signals and repeaters and rear fog lamps are allowed but not mandatory, while front and rear sidemarker lights and reflectors are mandatory. There has been at least a nominal effort towards harmonization of the standards for many years, but the US defines "harmonization" as "the rest of the world adopts US standards", which is not an acceptable position to much of the rest of the world, which has adopted the European standards. US regulators regard the US standard as just about fully harmonized. That is, it is possible to make one headlamp (brake light, rear turn signal, front turn signal, etc.) that complies with the UN and the US standards at the same time, and it is possible to equip and configure a vehicle's lighting system in a manner that meets both standards at the same time, so there is no perceived need to further move US standards toward the international practice. And even if there were, the UN standard is not necessarily better than the US standard, or vice versa. Each standard has its deficiencies and its superiorities over the other. It probably would not be technically difficult to unify on one standard that would keep the good points and discard the bad points of the currently existing standards, but every attempt so far has failed not because of technical impossibilities but because of "philosophical differences" (a nice way of saying pissing contests and clashing egos).

    Back to the subject of your headlamps: the widest lateral test points in the beam standard your Chevrolet's headlamps were built to comply with are 2 degrees down from horizontal, 15 degrees left and right (minimum 1000 candela) and 4 degrees down from horizontal, 20 degrees left and right (minimum 300 candela). That's not a whole lot of light, especially not the 300 candela value, and it's also not an extremely wide outward angle, so a headlamp that is minimally compliant with this requirement could indeed make it difficult to see around sharper curves and corners. It is worth noting that the UN (European/UK) beam specification's widest lateral test points are at just 9 degrees left and right! In both the US and rest of the world there's nothing stopping manufacturers from making headlamps that produce beams wider than the widest test points, nor stopping them from putting more light than minimally required at those points, but they are not legally obligated to do so. You raise a very good point with your observations about beam smoothness/evenness, which (yes) can be emphasized at the expense of maximum seeing distance that might be achieved if some streakiness is tolerable. These are also among the choices automakers make when they specify headlamps.

    So, what is to be done about your inability to see in corners? Nothing short of visiting the dealership and having them retrofit the factory HID headlamp assemblies, which will be expensive but will wind up giving you a considerably wider beam. Next time you are in the market for a car...drive it at night, first!
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 11-09-2014 at 09:00 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Could you clarify one thing for me? From further reading I get the impression that the 9012 is a 55W low beam bulb and the 9011 is a 65W high beam bulb. I've no doubt got it wrong, but why is the Chevy Impala using the lower-powered 9012 bulb in a dual low/high beam application?
    Last edited by world.traveler; 10-25-2015 at 02:11 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    The HIR2/9012 has a nominal rating of 55w, and the HIR1/9011 has a nominal rating of 65w, yes. But the HIR2 is not a "low beam bulb" and the HIR1 is not a "high beam bulb" in a strict sense. The HIR2 was originally designed as a high-performing bulb with long enough life to be acceptable in the much-used low beam, while the HIR1 was originally designed as a maximum-performing bulb without much regard for lifespan, acceptable in the less-used high beam. Either bulb can be designed into a low beam headlamp or a high beam headlamp or a high/low beam headlamp. The HIR2 produces less light than the HIR1, but the HIR2 does have much longer lifespan than the HIR1, so an HIR1 low beam would tend to give unacceptably short bulb life. On the other hand, HIR2 produces plenty of light to well exceed the minimum requirements for high beam intensity. Remember, HIR2 produces more light than HB3 (9005), which has been a widely-used high beam bulb for many years.

    You may want to take a look at posts 9 and 11 in this thread; the upgraded bulbs available through GM's parts distribution network should improve things for you.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Thanks, I'll check that out.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 10-26-2015 at 07:59 PM. Reason: Off-topic material removed

  11. #11

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    ... I cannot find a similar TSB for the Impala. Would the flash be specific to the trucks?

  12. #12
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    ... I cannot find a similar TSB for the Impala. Would the flash be specific to the trucks?
    Doubtful. Still, of other interest in the linked posts is the +30 bulb.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    I cannot find a similar TSB for the Impala. Would the flash be specific to the trucks?
    There is no flash for the Impala. Buy the improved bulbs linked in that thread, was the point.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 10-26-2015 at 08:00 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    I understand, and thanks for the solid feedback Virgil. I was just speculating whether the early current generation Impala (whose light beam is rather dull and yellow rather than halogen white) suffered from the same voltage malady but had insufficient attention directed to it to have the issue addressed.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    I understand, and thanks for the solid feedback Virgil. I was just speculating whether the early current generation Impala (whose light beam is rather dull and yellow rather than halogen white) suffered from the same voltage malady but had insufficient attention directed to it to have the issue addressed.
    I bet if you kneel down and put your eyes below the low-beam cutoff, you'll find the actual beam is plenty white. It would be interesting to see what voltage the bulbs are being fed, both with the sockets disconnected and (back-probed) with them plugged onto the bulbs.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    I have a 2015 Buick Lacrosse with the projector HIR2 headlights. The lighting is not only poor but the aim of the high beams is above the horizon. I ask the dealer to correct and found out the high/low beam cannot be adjusted independently. When the high beams are lowered the low beams only illuminate a short distance ahead, clearly an unsafe condition. I notice that Philips has a 3rd generation HIR2 bulb rated 1875 lumens @13.2 volts and claim it is much better than the GM 13779204 2012 HIR2. Has anyone tried this bulb?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by JRMtwo View Post
    I have a 2015 Buick Lacrosse with the projector HIR2 headlights. The lighting is not only poor but the aim of the high beams is above the horizon. I ask the dealer to correct and found out the high/low beam cannot be adjusted independently.
    That's correct -- as a matter of law, unless the high beams and the low beams are completely separate lamps, their aim cannot be adjusted independently.

    When the high beams are lowered the low beams only illuminate a short distance ahead
    There is only one correct aim setting. Guessing at what the beams look like on a wall or on the road is not useful; the aim must be checked using an optical aiming machine as described here. Sadly, even many auto dealers don't have (or don't properly use) an aiming machine, and often they don't even go through the monkey-motion of shining the beams on a wall; when a customer comes in complaining about the headlamp aim they just twiddle the aim screws whichever direction they think will get the customer out of their hair.

    I notice that Philips has a 3rd generation HIR2 bulb rated 1875 lumens @13.2 volts and claim it is much better than the GM 13779204 2012 HIR2.
    Judging by that "third generation" phrase, which is made up and not applicable, you have been misinformed by ignorant natter on an internet forum somewhere. 1875 lumens at 13.2v is the nominal specification for the HIR2 bulb type, contained in the regulations. The Philips HIR2 is what came in your car as factory equipment. It is a Long Life bulb (HIR2LL) which means its luminance and beam focus aren't as good as a non-LL bulb. This HIR2LL is the only variety of HIR2 made by Philips. It is better than the HIR2 bulbs that were previously manufactured by Toshiba and General Electric, but the Vosla HIR2 +30 (GM part number 23342527) has shorter lifespan than the LL bulb you have now, but also has better luminance and gives better beam focus.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    This HIR2LL is the only variety of HIR2 made by Philips. It is better than the HIR2 bulbs that were previously manufactured by Toshiba and General Electric, but the Vosla HIR2 +30 (GM part number 23342527) has shorter lifespan than the LL bulb you have now, but also has better luminance and gives better beam focus.
    What standard is the +30% more light from the Vosla light compared to? I didnt see much about this bulb online, except for GMC truck owners complaining about poor output and the dealer requires a BCM flash update to increase the voltage to the new Vosla bulbs on new trucks.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Please read this thread, especially post #16 and later.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 11-13-2015 at 01:21 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Please read this thread, especially post #16 and later.

    Thank you

  21. #21

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Figured I would update this thread even thought I am not the OP. I bought the Vosla HIR +30 (GM part number 23342527)in January from gmpartsdirect.com. The passenger side bulb burned out today in my corolla, lasted just about 5 months. It was a shame, I knew being brighter comes at a cost with reduced life, I was expecting at least double the life. I was really pleased with their performance up until this point, I even got a few compliments from my passengers about how bright they were, ditto with the 9011 Philips bulbs on high beam. I will stick with the Philips 9012 LL in the low beam. These bulbs are also my DRLs, so I think that had something to do with the short life. I used gloves when I installed them in January and the filament to the naked eye still looked intact, but there were deposits present on the filament. Also the base of the glass was turning a tan color. The drivers side bulb looked similar, but still worked. I am wondering if this bulb burning out this early was an anomaly? I think a lot of people would complain to GMC, especially those truck owners that had the BCM flash update and the vosla bulbs installed. Anyone know the rated lifespan of the Vosla HIR +30 bulbs?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Here is the official Vosla cut sheet on the bulb,including lifespan figures http://www.vosla-german-lighting.com...f/de/28432.pdf

  23. #23

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Thanks for that cut sheet, looks like I was on the lower end of the rated life.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    I wanted to provide a quick update to my original post, where I raised concerns about my 2014 Impala's headlight performance. I decided against changing to the brighter but shorter life Vosla bulbs because I did not want to make that maintenance trade-off and because intuition told me that the projector design was the major factor affecting the performance of the lights. The dealership did confirm that the lights were getting at or slightly above the correct voltage. The final straw came on a rainy Thanskgiving trip to Connecticut when I nearly left the road on a sharp left turn exiting I-84 near Danbury CT: I just could not see the road.

    I recently read the IIHS review of mid-size car headlight performance and noted that the Honda Accord (halogen headlights, not optional LED) scored well relative to most of the competition. As the Accord also offers a manual transmission, which I miss in the Impala, I decided to take a night time test drive. Sure enough, the halogen low beams do a much better job of illuminating the road ahead and to the sides, and the halogen high beams (reflectors which augment the projector low beams, which remain lit) provide a blaze of light across and down the road. In fact these lights seemed to perform as well as, if not better than, the HIDs in my previous BMW 325i. Compared to the Impala, the experience was like night and day, if you'll excuse the pun.

    So I now have a 2017 Accord Sport with manual transmission on order. I'll be interested to see how that -- and its halogen lights -- perform over time. Does anyone know which bulbs the car uses for its low and high beams?
    Last edited by world.traveler; 12-26-2016 at 06:38 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    H11, 9005 IIRC. Could easily do a h9 and 9011 swap in those fairly common stanley h11 projectors.

    Remember that IIHS tests OE lighting at factory aim, which can be wildly off. I'd bet that some cars would score higher if they were simply aimed correctly.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by 64.5vette View Post
    H11, 9005 IIRC. Could easily do a h9 and 9011 swap in those fairly common stanley h11 projectors.

    Remember that IIHS tests OE lighting at factory aim, which can be wildly off. I'd bet that some cars would score higher if they were simply aimed correctly.
    So on the Accord the 65W 9011 would replace the 65W 9005 IIRC in the high beam reflectors? Would the beams focus correctly?

    The Impala had one 55W 9012, partly shutter-masked for low beam and the same unmasked 9012 for high beam, in a projector that focused the light into two yellowish pencil beams with little light to the sides. Atrocious. By the way, those were re-aimed by the dealer several times in an attempt to remedy the situation. I did drive a Regal in Florida, which also had shuttered single halogens -- seemed to perform considerably better than the Impala's. I wonder if the bulbs were the same, projector housings different?

    Another point. the 9012 is rated at 1825 lumens, the total high beam output on the Impala, regardless of the merits of the projector design. On high beam the Accord carries 1250 lumens from the H11 plus 1700 lumens from the 9005 = 2950 lumens. Isn't this inherently a preferred design to the single bulb 9012 setup on the Impala?
    Last edited by world.traveler; 12-26-2016 at 09:09 PM.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Yes a 9011 is a higher performing version of a 9005.

    Im not qualified to chime in on the rest of your questions, but I DO have 2 cars that match your setup, a d3s bi xenon focus rs and a h9 and 9011 swapped Mazda 3 (using the same projectors as your accord). The Mazda high beam has more "flood" in the trees and surrounding the road on high beam, but none of that is useful for what a high beam is designed for. I much prefer the focus rs xenon output, with its AFS and increased low beam distance light, even though the 3200lm bulb is split between functions as opposed to the Mazdas ~2000lm low beam and ~2500lm high beam.

    The takeaway is how light is used, not raw lumens is more much important.

    9005: 1,860lm +- 12 %
    9011: 2,500lm +- 15 %
    9006: 1,095lm +- 15 %
    9012: 1,875lm +- 15 %
    H9: 2,100lm +- 10 %
    H11:
    1,350lm +- 10 %
    Last edited by 64.5vette; 12-26-2016 at 09:49 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    So on the Accord the 65W 9011 would replace the 65W 9005 IIRC in the high beam reflectors?
    Yes, once you slightly modify the [url=https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000C9QPKS/?tag=2402507-20]new bulbs' plastic base slightly as shown at this page.

    Would the beams focus correctly?
    Yes, and so would the low beam options optimal H11 or, even brighter without negative consequence, a [url=http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00480KOP4/?tag=2402507-20]good H9)

    Another point. the 9012 is rated at 1825 lumens, the total high beam output on the Impala, regardless of the merits of the projector design. On high beam the Accord carries 1250 lumens from the H11 plus 1700 lumens from the 9005 = 2950 lumens
    That's source lumens (off the bulb), not beam lumens (on the road). Figure roughly 400 to 600 lumens on the road for these types of projector low beams.

    Isn't this inherently a preferred design to the single bulb 9012 setup on the Impala?
    Yes.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Thanks. I drove a new Subaru Legacy over the holiday. That car also had halogen projector low beams and reflector high beams. Would you happen to know whether the bulbs are the same as the Honda Accord's? Ditto the projector manufacturer and model? Subjectively the Legacy's lights seemed decent but not quite as strong as the Accord's.

    64.5vette mentioned the Stanley projectors. Are these a standard across the Asian manufacturers that use this dual projector/reflector setup?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Yes, once you slightly modify the [url=https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000C9QPKS/?tag=2402507-20]new bulbs' plastic base slightly as shown at this page.



    Yes, and so would the low beam options optimal H11 or, even brighter without negative consequence, a [url=http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00480KOP4/?tag=2402507-20]good H9)



    That's source lumens (off the bulb), not beam lumens (on the road). Figure roughly 400 to 600 lumens on the road for these types of projector low beams.



    Yes.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Poor HIR2 projector performance

    Quote Originally Posted by world.traveler View Post
    Thanks. I drove a new Subaru Legacy over the holiday. That car also had halogen projector low beams and reflector high beams. Would you happen to know whether the bulbs are the same as the Honda Accord's?
    Yes, they are.

    Ditto the projector manufacturer and model?
    Koito/NAL is the manufacturer. There is no "model" designator that would make sense or be of use to a consumer.

    64.5vette mentioned the Stanley projectors. Are these a standard across the Asian manufacturers that use this dual projector/reflector setup?
    No, not at all. Stanley is one of Japan's three major OE suppliers of vehicle lights (the others are Koito and Ichikoh). All of those companies make a wide range of headlamp optics, including projector modules which get tailored to meet the specifications of the automaker for every new vehicle project.

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