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Thread: Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

  1. #1

    Default Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

    Hello everyone at CPF,

    I've been doing lots of research on upgrade options for my stock halogen projector lowbeam headlights on my 2016 Mazda CX-5 (legal options, not aftermarket HID or LED), and I've come across the 9012 HIR2 halogen bulbs which are also rated at 55w yet they produce on average 800 more lumens each than the stock H11 halogens and last just as long (or maybe even longer). The problem is that these bulbs are only a replacement for the 9006 bulbs (with a minor tab modification). My idea is to buy some type of adapter/harness to be able to connect these 9012 bulbs to my H11 connectors in my car.

    I really can't find any information about this online. Before people mention the H9 bulb replacement thing, I really don't want to change the wattage to 65 Watts (I know is H9 is brighter but it's rated at 65 Watts). It seems the 9012 HIR2 modification would be the best *legal* way to upgrade the brightness of my headlamps without wasting money on those useless silverstars, etc. which just burn out in a couple months.

    Has anyone already tried this? Do you guys think this would work? The harness I'm looking at is something like this (for 9006). I would just have to shave off a small plastic tab on the 9012 HIR2 bulb that I order for it to fit the harness I think?

    Thanks for any help and/or information.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 05-25-2017 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Remove dubious link, remove color formatting (please don't do that)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

    HIR2 (9012) and H11 are not physically or optically compatible. There is no adaptor that will change this -- even if you adapt the electrical socket, there is no way to fit an HIR2 bulb into a headlamp designed to take an H11 bulb. You could probably hack and cram it in, but then it wouldn't work (filament placement must be exactly, precisely, completely correct; there is no such thing as "close enough"). Your best upgrade without going to H9 is to install these or these. Bulb lifespan will be shorter, but you will get to see better. Also it will be fully legal.

    (By the way, you are mistaken that wattage is the yes/no determinant for whether a bulb swap is legal. Even if an HIR2 would fit in place of an H11, it would still not be any more legal than an H9 swap would be.)
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 05-25-2017 at 12:35 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    HIR2 (9012) and H11 are not physically or optically compatible. There is no adaptor that will change this -- even if you adapt the electrical socket, there is no way to fit an HIR2 bulb into a headlamp designed to take an H11 bulb. You could probably hack and cram it in, but then it wouldn't work (filament placement must be exactly, precisely, completely correct; there is no such thing as "close enough"). Your best upgrade without going to H9 is to install these or these. Bulb lifespan will be shorter, but you will get to see better. Also it will be fully legal.

    (By the way, you are mistaken that wattage is the yes/no determinant for whether a bulb swap is legal. Even if an HIR2 would fit in place of an H11, it would still not be any more legal than an H9 swap would be.)

    Interesting about the bulb shape, I thought they were designed to be the same shape as the other types and maintained the same optical characteristics. Regarding wattage, I never said it determined legality. I'm perfectly aware that a 55W aftermarket HID/LED is illegal.

    So it seems this would also technically not be legal. It's a real shame we don't have aftermarket LED replacement bulbs with similar brightness/optical characteristics as the brighter stock halogens. In the end there really is no option other that those junk Nightbreakers/silverstars. Replacing my bulbs every 3 months is also not an option. It seems people end up buying the ridiculous HID/LED aftermarket kits because there is no legal and viable LED alternative to the brighter and road-legal short-life but brighter bulbs.

    Not really sure what to do at this point. Literally seems like I have 2 options: 1) Keep the ones I have which I consider to be dangerous for night driving conditions or 2) change my bulbs every few months with those Osrams or Sylvannia ones.

  4. #4
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

    Quote Originally Posted by hikerdude32 View Post
    It seems the 9012 HIR2 modification would be the best *legal* way to upgrade the brightness of my headlamps
    But it's not an upgrade because it's impossible to insert the HIR2 bulb where an H11 goes and maintain the exact filament positioning, and to properly seat the bulb to where its position doesn't change, and to seal against ingress.

    without wasting money on those useless silverstars, etc. which just burn out in a couple months.
    The SilverStars are also not a way to upgrade your headlamps-- but at the very least they are designed to fit the H11 socket.

    Interesting about the bulb shape, I thought they were designed to be the same shape as the other types and maintained the same optical characteristics. Regarding wattage, I never said it determined legality. I'm perfectly aware that a 55W aftermarket HID/LED is illegal.
    The HIR1 and HIR2 are the the same geometry as the HB3 and HB4 (with the exception of their respective bases' tab configurations) but the H11 is not an HB4.

    It seems people end up buying the ridiculous HID/LED aftermarket kits because there is no legal and viable LED alternative to the brighter and road-legal short-life but brighter bulbs.
    Except those are themselves not viable alternatives to bulbs for which the lamps were designed. People buy these HID and LED kits because they don't know any better and they're completely unaware that they're ruining their headlamps and won't listen to anyone that says otherwise.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

    I have been running h9/9011 in my '15 Mazda 3 for a while now and its a worthwhile upgrade. Low beam is still foreground heavy, but more usable and the high beam is truly impressive with how much it lights up.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

    Mr Virgil, the link to the GE nighthawks, the top portion of the bulb is blue tinted...isn't that bad? Aren't fully clear bulbs the best option?
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 06-10-2017 at 01:08 PM. Reason: Remove unnecessary quote

  7. #7

    Default Re: Headlight (lowbeam) upgrade: Halogen 9012 HIR2 bulb from H11 stock

    No, it's actually good. The totally-blue bulbs are the bad ones. See explanation here and here.

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