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Thread: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    I'll try to be direct and brief. I'd like to buy a set of low/high beams that can be mounted to my bumper.

    Backstory: I had a 2011 Durango with the HID headlights and really liked the low beam headlights.

    Today: I have a 3 week old 2017 F150 with LED headlights and I don't think they are nearly as good on low beams.

    My want: To compensate for the poor low beams, I'd like to buy a set of bolt-on lights. Maybe something like the JW Speaker 8801.

    Does anyone know of a good compliant LED (or HID) light I can mount to my bumper and use with my factory low beams? If they had low and high beams (like the Speaker 8630, but bumper mountable)...that would be a huge bonus.

    I only want to consider safe legal lighting options, which unfortunately seem to be very limited in LED (And probably halogen and HID). My baseline hope is to meet the IIHS criteria for low and high beams with the added lights. I do realize IIHS isn't everything, but it provides a convenient goal.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 07-05-2017 at 01:32 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    You're right about the LEDs Ford is putting on their trucks lately: nice looking lights, but their objective performance ain't so hot, and no, they don't even come close to the rather good HIDs you had on your Durango.

    The JW Speaker 8801s, in low beam or high beam, are really good lights...but in order to have low + high beam you'd have to have either one of each (funny-looking) or a pair of each (expensive). You'd get a better result and better ROI if you buy a pair of stout heavy-duty PAR56 housings (these), discard the pathetic sealed beam they come with, and then take your choice of which LED 7" unit to install instead of the sealed beam. The "top dog" would be the JW Speaker 8700 Evo-2 (chrome or black), but the Peterson and the Truck-Lite are also solid choices. All of them are well made (in the USA if that matters to you) and all of them are fully legal. If you go this route, you would be wise to drill a couple of lines of 1/4" vent holes in the top and bottom of the PAR56 housings, about half an inch back from the rim flange, to allow airflow past the heat sink on the back of the lamp. The lamps are hermetically sealed, so there's no risk of water getting in through the vent holes, but they'll appreciate the cooler running the vents will allow (I note you're in TX, not known for its cool weather).

    It seemed to me, in the back of my mind, that JW Speaker used to offer real nice bumper-mountable versions of the 8700...I don't find them on their website, but this distributor page has what looks like an old listing (lens shown as glass, which was the case for the first version of the 8700, some years ago). You might phone up JW Speaker and see if they still make those but with the newest 8700 lamp, or if they still make the housing as a separate part, if you don't like the Grote housing linked above.

    As fas as IIHS: No, there are no headlamps that meet the IIHS criteria such as it sounds like you have in mind. The IIHS doesn't test headlamps, it tests cars. Any given headlamp on one car will get a different "grade" from IIHS than the same headlamp on a different car...or the same headlamp on a different unit of the same kind of car, for that matter. The proposed NCAP test, on the other hand, is possible to apply to headlamps themselves, and JW Speaker has been designing their lamps lately to get a good score on the NCAP test (which results in very "European-like" low beam patterns). The NCAP test is technically sound in terms of seeing and glare -- that is, it tests what it claims to test -- but it applies only to low beam. That's not such a big deal; all of the headlamps I mention here have very good high beams.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 07-05-2017 at 01:32 PM.

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    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Thanks Virgil! This is one of the things I love about CPF, the ability to get useful info. You went above and beyond.

    I've contacted JW Speaker directly to see if they have some unlisted method to pedestal mount the 8700 Evo-2 lights (like the 8700's you linked, but in the newest version). If they don't, I'm going to search for aluminum buckets so I can remove a lot of material without the worry of rust. Plus, aluminum should help dissipate the heat better, if that product even exists.

    It's too bad Ford didn't do a better job on their LED lights. The rear LED lights are just as bad. Their taillights only have 2 tiny red bars visible to traffic behind you. Mine have the Bliss (blind spot monitoring) and that is the worst version for rear conspicuity (real word?) at night. At least they have a decently sized reflector on it.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 07-05-2017 at 01:32 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    You're welcome. "Conspicuity" is a real word, and it means exactly what you used it to mean. There's a thread about the taillamps.

    (Please post what you learn back from JW Speaker; those were really nice housings they used to offer...)
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 07-05-2017 at 01:32 PM.

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    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    I'll let you know what they say. I contacted them through their website late on Tuesday with what I was wanting. They haven't responded yet, hopefully because they are cobbling together a great solution and want to perfect it before they reach back out to me.

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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    You're right about the LEDs Ford is putting on their trucks lately: nice looking lights, but their objective performance ain't so hot, Ö.
    Perhaps better headlights are coming soon from Ford? I saw this in an agenda for a DVN Jaunuary 2017 workshop.

    SESSION 1 ē FUTURE LIGHTING TECHNOLOGIES

    Ford, Stephen Helwig Ė Thorsten Warwell
    ďNew Lighting technology at Ford & Lincoln: Premium headlamps in the USĒ


    BMW, Christian Amann
    ďNew Functions and technological innovations at BMW, a true improvement for road safetyď

    Audi, Michael Hamm
    ďTodayís and Future Technologies meet Rules and RegulationsĒ.
    http://www.drivingvisionnews.com/pdf...hester2017.pdf

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    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by kingofwylietx View Post
    I'll let you know what they say. I contacted them through their website late on Tuesday with what I was wanting. They haven't responded yet, hopefully because they are cobbling together a great solution and want to perfect it before they reach back out to me.
    Someone from JW Speaker reached out to mype last week, but I missed the call. I'll get in touch with her this week and see what they recommend. I'll report back.

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    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    I was able to chat with customer service this morning.

    They suggested their best pedestal mounted product for my application would be the 8632 Evo (JW Speaker part number 0551983). In this model, I would select "12-24V DOT/ECE LED RHT High & LowBeam Headlights with Turn Signal, FP & DRL - 2 Light Kit". Link: http://www.jwspeaker.com/products/le...ution/0551983/

    I asked about the 8700 Evo J2 (their newest product), she said it can be mounted in one of their discontinued light brackets (JW Speaker part number 3157021). I found some in stock at an offroad truck supply store, but they are almost $200 each. JW Speaker doesn't currently offer any method to pedestal mount the 8700 Evo J2. I have found that some motorcycles come with 7" headlights....I don't know if this light will fit perfectly inside one of those buckets. You can buy some pretty nice looking 7" motorcycle buckets for $50+ and bumper mount it.

    So, now I just need to decide if I want to buy the readily mountable 8632 Evo or throw caution to the wind and try to cobble together a bucket and the 8700 Evo J2's.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Better performance from the larger 8700 Evo 2 (not the J2, that's a Jeep-specific lamp not applicable for what you're doing). It's a shame JW Speaker doesn't make the pedestal-mount housings for it any more, but your motorcycle housing idea is a good one if you buy a good quality unit. But given the chitzy quality of many aftermarket motorcycle headlight housings, you would likely have an easier time and wind up with a better result if you revert back to the ones I linked back in post #2 of this thread. :-)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Any update to this? Wanting to do something similar

  11. #11
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Yes, I've decided to do it. My only delay is my wife wants me to wait for school to start before blowing a wad of cash on truck lights. Our summer expenses are higher than our family expenses when it's not summer.

    I hope to order them in a couple of weeks and then mount them up as quickly as I can.

    It looks to be a straightforward install, I'm pretty good at wiring accessories.

    Sorry about not updating yet. I'm big on researching before I buy, so this thread was to find help on some good lights. Virgil came to the rescue pretty quick....quicker than I was ready to spend the $$$.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Today, I'm ready to order the lights. This project has been prioritized due to the time change and darkness is falling earlier.

    Since this thread started, Sylvania has begun to offer a Zevo 7" low/high beam headlight. With it being newer, I'd expect it to be more efficient and perform better than older products (though, that may not be the case). Before I jump on Amazon and get something coming in, does anyone know how they would compare to the Truck-Lite or JW Speaker lights? Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OYR8MVO

    This is a project I'll only do once on this vehicle, so I want to do it right the first and only time. I'll have this truck for 5-6 years, I'd hate to live with any regrets for that long.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 11-08-2017 at 03:51 PM. Reason: De-tokenized Amazon URL

  13. #13

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by kingofwylietx View Post
    Since this thread started, Sylvania has begun to offer a Zevo 7" low/high beam headlight.
    That headlamp has been available since before this thread started. Also, it's not Sylvania's product, it's their rebox of the 701C from Peterson, which is about on par with the Truck-Lite lamp.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    I wouldn't buy anything labeled sylvania just on principle, with that said, I love my Trucklites =)

  15. #15
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    I finally ordered the JW Speaker lights today. I couldn't find them in stock anywhere. The place where I ordered them said they were quoted 4-5 weeks from the factory on on the 2-light kit. Therefore, I'm expecting them in early January. The vendor did give me a 9% discount, which was nice. That basically took care of the tax, shipping was free.

    I went with the 8632's, to have the factory pedestal mount. I searched high and low and just couldn't find a housing that I liked for the other lights. If drilling holes, I wanted it to be an aluminum housing (so it wouldn't rust), but aluminum housings in that design cost as much as the lights!!

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    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Well, Iím still waiting. Iím hoping they show up in the next week or 2......so much for the 5 weeks they quoted me.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by kingofwylietx View Post
    Well, Iím still waiting. Iím hoping they show up in the next week or 2......so much for the 5 weeks they quoted me.
    Wow, that's a really long wait! Maybe you can contact JW Speaker directly and find out what's the hold up?

  18. #18
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Update:

    The lights showed up 2 weeks ago. I have not been able to figure out a good way to mount them directly to the bumper. Finally, last night, I ordered a light-mounting bar that will attach to the front of my truck. It will arrive this coming week.

    I also ordered some solid state relays. Iíll use them to trigger/mimic the low/high/turn functions from the truck, since these Speaker lights have all those functions. I plan to route the power to the relays through a high power switch, that will allow me to completely kill power to them. I donít know if Iíll ever need to do that, but I can foresee some instances where it would be useful (in heavy traffic behind a low car, if I have a heavy load in the bed, or if the Speaker lights get bumped somehow and become mis-aimed).

    if anyone can think of anything I might of missed, feel free to chime in.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by kingofwylietx View Post
    I ordered a light-mounting bar that will attach to the front of my truck. It will arrive this coming week
    Something like this? Take care to make sure you wind up with a firm, sturdy mount of that bar to the truck, so it (and the lights) won't shimmy and shake in response to normal road vibration.

    I also ordered some solid state relays
    Why, particularly? There are some good SS relays on the market, but also a lot of unreliable junk. In any case, SS relays aren't necessary or beneficial; regular ones are fine.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Something like this? Take care to make sure you wind up with a firm, sturdy mount of that bar to the truck, so it (and the lights) won't shimmy and shake in response to normal road vibration.


    Why, particularly? There are some good SS relays on the market, but also a lot of unreliable junk. In any case, SS relays aren't necessary or beneficial; regular ones are fine.
    I ordered this light bar https://www.n-fab.com/products/sfID1.../productID/953
    it attaches to the truck frame. I selected it because it had a strong/good connection to the truck (for the Express reason you mentioned).

    I chose solid state relays because I was [erroneously?] afraid an electromechanical relay may draw too much power and create some computer problem since I will be connecting it to my factory headlight harness. I tried to attach an additional bed light to the factory ones a while back and the truck shut off the Electrical circuit. It wasnít a high power light. It was a smallish LED. It didnít blow a fuse, it just turned off. I had to cycle the ignition to get it working again. So, I was trying to find the relay with the lowest tripping Electrical draw. I probably selected the wrong ones. If you happen to know a good quality one I can buy on amazon, shoot me a link and Iíll buy them. Here are the ones I bought https://www.amazon.com/Electronics-S...2C+AC%2FDC+12V

    Argh, now you have me seriously questioning my relay choice. I have several of those relays coming in...but I can just return them. If I revert back to a standard automotive electromechanical relay, I can buy replacements anywhere in America if one fails. If I use the SS relays, Iíall always have to go online to locate a replacement. Dang it, Virgil! I think I should return the SS ones and use a standard, easy to find, relay. Yes?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    That frame-mount bar looks like a better idea than the bumper-mount item I linked (pedestrians unlucky enough to get hit probably don't have a preference which one destroys their legs).

    Regular relays draw almost no current; the computer won't see it or care about it. I have no info on this generic solid-state relay (or so it claims, I have my doubts on that) you linked to, but the seller's description has that "English as a very difficult second language" feel about it, and that offer of theirs to apply whatever brand name the buyer wants is sketchy as all nuts:

    The item no paper instructions, please download the PDF file, and before buying please read the file:
    http://www.аudіоwіnd.com/new-pdf/f-1001.pdf

    Other, we can support customer customized order, if your order >=100 units, you can change product label, logo and switch type (SPST-NO / SPST-NC / SPDT).


    Following that link to аudіоwіnd.com (minus the pdf) leads us to the seller's stores on eBay and AliExpress (Ding Ding Red Flag Ding!), where we find an invitation to email the seller directly at lіѕhеng@сhunzеhuі.com . As I suspected. I can't guarantee this product is a piece of junk, but almost.
    (Then there's the price. A SPST solid state relay from a reputable maker, you're looking at $20+ apiece in low quantities.)

    Yes, it's a better idea to use a standard, easy-find relay. Pick a good brand: Tyco-Bosch, PB, Omron and Flosser would be my short list (in no specific order). Try to use a relay that has two 87 terminals -- not a single 87 and not an 87 and an 87a and not an 87a and an 87b.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 02-24-2018 at 09:06 PM.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    That frame-mount bar looks like a better idea than the bumper-mount item I linked (pedestrians unlucky enough to get hit probably don't have a preference which one destroys their legs).
    I sure hope to never, ever, need to ask anyone if they could imagine being hit by the other bar you linked, would they have had a preference of it over the one I chose. I see what you are saying, itís certainly a less forgiving design than perhaps a plain stock bumper.


    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Regular relays draw almost no current; the computer won't see it or care about it. I have no info on this generic solid-state relay (or so it claims, I have my doubts on that) you linked to, but the seller's description has that "English as a very difficult second language" feel about it, and that offer of theirs to apply whatever brand name the buyer wants is sketchy as all nuts:

    The item no paper instructions, please download the PDF file, and before buying please read the file:
    http://www.аudіоwіnd.com/new-pdf/f-1001.pdf

    Other, we can support customer customized order, if your order >=100 units, you can change product label, logo and switch type (SPST-NO / SPST-NC / SPDT).


    Following that link to аudіоwіnd.com (minus the pdf) leads us to the seller's stores on eBay and AliExpress (Ding Ding Red Flag Ding!), where we find an invitation to email the seller directly at lіѕhеng@сhunzеhuі.com . As I suspected. I can't guarantee this product is a piece of junk, but almost.
    (Then there's the price. A SPST solid state relay from a reputable maker, you're looking at $20+ apiece in low quantities.)
    I missed all that when I bought them. Iím glad you brought that to my attention. It certainly removes any vestiges of hope that were dangling in my mind that somehow I may have gotten lucky with buying them.


    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Yes, it's a better idea to use a standard, easy-find relay. Pick a good brand: Tyco-Bosch, PB, Omron and Flosser would be my short list (in no specific order). Try to use a relay that has two 87 terminals -- not a single 87 and not an 87 and an 87a and not an 87a and an 87b.
    That is very useful info! I know and trust Bosch and Omron, Iíll just order a few of whichever of the two I can source most easily. So, Iíve used relays in the past and have never given any thought about selecting one specifically to have two 87 terminals. Iíll dig around and make sure I get that feature. Iíve been on here long enough to trust your words on these things, but I am very curious as to the advantage of what you are recommending. It is obviously more than a labeling function...so Iíve fully discounted the notion that you simply have a predilection for the number 87. I only know how to wire relays, but have no real technical knowledge as to what may make one style better than another one. Please enlighten me, and thank you for your help so far.
    Last edited by kingofwylietx; 02-24-2018 at 10:27 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    87 is the power output terminal that goes live (connects to terminal 30, which is your power input terminal) when 85/86 have power across them. 87a is opposite, it goes live when 85/86 don't have power across them. If you're trying to power a pair of lights, a pair of fans, a pair of anything, it's usually better and easier to be able to run a wire from the relay to the load...two output terminals, two loads, one wire from each to each, simple and clean. If you are trying to power a pair of loads from one 87 terminals, there has to be a split or a piggyback somewhere. Usually harder and not as optimal.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Hella is also another very reputable relay mfg and they make some solid state ones.

    This one is designed for auxiliary lighting but I'm still not sure if its the config you need.
    https://www.summitracing.com/parts/h...1/applications
    Last edited by Magio; 02-24-2018 at 11:44 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magio View Post
    Hella is also another very reputable relay mfg
    Used to be, but the reliability of Hella standard relays is not what it used to be, and not up to the level of the other brands already mentioned. Their solid state relays are good but (1) expensive and (2) unnecessary/not beneficial for lighting applications. As far as I know, they also don't offer one with two 87 terminals.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    87 is the power output terminal that goes live (connects to terminal 30, which is your power input terminal) when 85/86 have power across them. 87a is opposite, it goes live when 85/86 don't have power across them. If you're trying to power a pair of lights, a pair of fans, a pair of anything, it's usually better and easier to be able to run a wire from the relay to the load...two output terminals, two loads, one wire from each to each, simple and clean. If you are trying to power a pair of loads from one 87 terminals, there has to be a split or a piggyback somewhere. Usually harder and not as optimal.
    Great explanation, Virgil. That is better and easier than splicing somewhere else, thanks!

  27. #27

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Deleted. Double post. Sorry.
    Last edited by Bill, Idaho; 02-25-2018 at 06:47 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    The voice of experience- those "CARR front license plate with light wings" mentioned above DO NOT work with anything heavier than el-cheapo China-Mart plastic lights. With lights that have any weight to them, such as JW Speakers, that light bar thing WILL flutter and shimmy from normal road vibrations. I had one on my 2003 Dodge 2500 and ended up tossing it, even after trying to beef it up with additional steel bars/etc.
    It is maybe a good idea, but just didn't work in my application.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill, Idaho View Post
    The voice of experience- those "CARR front license plate with light wings" mentioned above DO NOT work with anything heavier than el-cheapo China-Mart plastic lights. With lights that have any weight to them, such as JW Speakers, that light bar thing WILL flutter and shimmy from normal road vibrations. I had one on my 2003 Dodge 2500 and ended up tossing it, even after trying to beef it up with additional steel bars/etc.
    It is maybe a good idea, but just didn't work in my application.
    That is why I went with the Nfab bar. It mounts to the bumper/frame tie-in. I wanted to be certain that I would avoid having jiggly lights. Plus, at $800 for the Speaker lights, I didnít want to take ANY chance of them falling off. Normally, Iím a frugal guy...except on vehicle lights. I donít mind spending on them, since I end up driving so much at night. Frequently, that night driving is in unfamiliar semi-rural areas.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Aux headlamps for Ford truck with weak LEDs?

    The junkyard is full of automotive-grade relays, many of which use standard form factor terminals and connectors. I can't remember the last time I bought a brand-new relay.

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