Automotive lighting - where to look for the best products?

Sid Post

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 25, 2001
Messages
87
Location
Arizona, USA
I am looking for accessory lighting for my car (Mercury Grand Marquis).

I want lighting to shine underneath the car to alert me to Rattlesnakes and water puddles near my doors.

I also want to add lighting to bolster the output of my headlights for high speed drives at night. Arizona has a lot of open spaces and a 75MPH legal limit at night so, it is fairly easy to overrun the factory headlights. I either need to beef up the factory bulbs or add additional lights. My goal here is SAFETY, not appearance as long as they aren't ugly lights.

Thanks for your help!

Sid
 

Brock

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 6, 2000
Messages
6,346
Location
Green Bay, WI USA
Oh what the heck is the big automative car company? Man I can't remember it right now. (Grainger is stuck in my head, but thats obviously not it) Hopefully someone will come and remind me. In any case they sell standard replacement headlamps for most cars that are higher wattage. I got 9004's that are 55/95 I beleive normal 9004 lamps are 45/55 or 45/65. My wattages might be off but the brights are much brighter then my old ones. We have a lot of deer crossing the roads here at night and they have saved me more than once. Very simple and it doesn't change the cars appearance at all.

Brock
 

Cyclops942

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 11, 2000
Messages
1,305
Location
Somewhere in the vicinity of Phoenix, Arizona, USA
To supplement your headlights, you could always mount some Aircraft Landing Lights on or under the bumper. Trust me, these things pack quite a punch! Very bright, narrow beam from each lamp. On my 1976 Datsun (too old to bear the Nissan name, except on the back of the seatbelt buckle), I had two, and that was plenty! Rumor has it (okay, a post in the automotive section) that a certain someone on this board had eight of them across the front of his car.

I still want to see what that looked like from behind the steering wheel!
 

Brock

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Joined
Aug 6, 2000
Messages
6,346
Location
Green Bay, WI USA
LOL, yes tis ture, 8 100w ACL's, threw a little bit of light and required a lot of work and batteries.

Thank you, yes it is JCWhitney! My mind was gone. that is where I got my replacement headlamps.

Brock
 

DavidW

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Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
1,793
Location
Central Florida
Here in the colonies...
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you can have up to 55W low-beam and 60W high-beam and still be legal. That doesn't leave much room for improvement on headlight replacement. But you can get HID, pencil beam driving lights and still be legal. And the package of auxilary lighting will note if it's street legal or offroad use only.
 

Size15's

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Joined
Aug 29, 2000
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Location
Kettering, England
I'd just like to point out that there are very strict laws about lights on cars used on roads. Most/all HID Lamps that you can retrofit are not road legal and for off-road use only.

According to the information I've read, only HID lights that car companies offer on their cars are legal.

You may want to check that your lamp fittings, reflectors and lenses will be able to take the heat of higher output options. If you do install higher Watt Lamps, maybe think about getting a better spec battery?

Al
 
D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
I am only running three of the 250 watt GE 4522 aircraft landing lamps on my truck right now. They are in KC Hilighter 6" housings mounted high up on my Ranchhand tront replacement bumper. As my truck is a Ford SuperDuty with the Powerstroke Diesel, it has two fairly large batteries on it stock. I use one Bosch type relay per light with an ATC 30 amp fuse protecting it. I run 10 gauge power wire and have no problems. I also use the Hella Micro FF fog lamps with PIAA 85 watt H3 bulbs on my truck as they have the widest most even lighting pattern I have found in a halogen foglamp.

Sid, be careful as Ford's lamp plugs are notorious for melting with high output lamps. I would recommend a set of PIAA Super White or Platinum series factory replacement lamps in as close to stock wattage as you can get. The headlight housings are made of plastic, which doesn't transfer the heat away from the bulb and can easily melt your plugs and/or lamp housings.

As far as auxiliary lighting, I like the Hella Micro FF foglamps for use with low beams, but if you need something that is designed to reach out and touch someone, the aircraft lamps are hard to beat for the money. If money is not a concern of yours, the best lights are the new HID lamps from Hella. These things are superbright and cost about $500 each. You can also look at getting a conversion kit to convert your stock halogen headlamps to the HID setup, but make sure that either you or the person working on it knows what they are doing.

Good luck and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Steve
 

Skyline

Enlightened
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Aug 17, 2000
Messages
755
Location
New Jersey
For the ultimate in automotive lighting, you need to look into rally lights, such as Hella lights: http://www.hella.co.nz/. Hella HIDs are 35 watt lights at 3200 lumens each.

If you have cable and Speedvision, you must check out the World Rally Championship (WRC) coverage. Some stages occur at night and there's nothing like a rally car flying around with 4 or 6 ridiculously bright headlamps leading the way.

Check out the Subaru Impreza WRC2000 with Hella's: http://www.swrt.com/gallery/upload/files/docs/000639a.jpg

/mel <-- waiting waiting waiting for the Subaru Impreza WRX STi to come to the USA
 
D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
I don't know how much you planning on spending. But there's a company called Catz that makes high-end auto lighting stuff. You're have to search on yahoo or something, because it's their web address is not the same as their brand name. By the way, these are not KC's or Rally's so don't bother looking at Pep Boys or Kragen for them. A set of 9004 from Catz typically run about $50, but from what I understand they are suppose to be the Surefire of Automotive lighting.
 

BobSnow

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Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
13
Location
Drexel Hill, PA
I have PIAA Platinum bulbs and they are hardly worth the cost. They use higher pressure gas and more tightly wound filaments to increase the light output slightly, but this is eaten up by the faint purplish coating on the bulb. The result is a bulb that is legal, whiter in color temperature, but not really brighter. I do prefer the less yellow light so I am happy to keep using them.

I've tried "off road" high output replacement bulbs and they are fine for high beam if your wiring and housings can take it. The problem with low beam is that the filaments are larger than the OEM bulb so the lighting pattern degrades and the cut-off for oncoming cars is not good.

True HID replacement kits can cause a similar problem. If you thought factory HID headlights were hard on oncoming traffic, just check out some of these aftermarket kits fitted in reflectors designed for quartz bulbs. Results vary depending on the skill of the installer and design of the housing, but it is most likely not going to be as good as a factory HID headlamps and of course, illegal.

I think the best bet is the Hella aftermarket HID lights. You could also get some high wattage quartz auxiliary driving lights for a lot less money and still see a big improvement.
 
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