Automotive Holley RetroBright headlamps? Good, bad or ugly?

ameli0rate

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
52
I found these;
holley.com/products/exterior/lighting/headlight/rectangular_headlights/parts/LFRB120

This line concerns me - "Holley worked closely with Morimoto". I've read nothing but bad stuff about Morimoto for years, so I am guessing that Holley is aligning themselves with cheap Chinese junk to make money because there's no enforcement in these matters?

Then there is "produces 32,000 Candela for low beam, and 53,000 Candela for high beam, which is nearly three times more light output than your original headlights" - can one make three times the light output and still be within FMVSS 108 limits? I thought it defined limits to these things (but I'm no pro, so I don't know).



Is there a slight possibility that these are worth trying or are my instincts correct that these sound gimmicky?
 

John_Galt

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 20, 2009
Messages
1,752
Location
SW, PA
There's some discussion of these in the "Seen at SEMA" thread. Questions abound, no ones had their hands on them yet.
 

-Virgil-

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
7,802
I've read nothing but bad stuff about Morimoto for years

The Morimoto brand has been making big strides toward fielding respectable products. That's been mentioned and discussed here on this board before, for a while now.

Then there is "produces 32,000 Candela for low beam, and 53,000 Candela for high beam, which is nearly three times more light output than your original headlights"

I don't have test data, but these numbers are at least believable for peak intensity (hot spot) on low and high beam.

can one make three times the light output and still be within FMVSS 108 limits?

Easily, yes. Beam patterns are defined by test points at various angles. Some test points have a minimum intensity requirement, some have a maximum intensity limit, and some have both a minimum and a maximum.

Is there a slight possibility that these are worth trying

My early pre-vote is that they probably are quite a bit better than a lot of the "LED headlamps" in sealed beam sizes that are already on the market. Whether they're worth trying depends upon what your wants and needs are.
 

boo5ted

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 16, 2010
Messages
550
Location
ATL
Then there is "produces 32,000 Candela for low beam, and 53,000 Candela for high beam, which is nearly three times more light output than your original headlights" - can one make three times the light output and still be within FMVSS 108 limits? I thought it defined limits to these things (but I'm no pro, so I don't know).


To be fair "the three times the output" is compared to the stock halogen lights, so yeah it can be that much brighter and still be within the limits.
 

Mr. Merk

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
157
Location
NW Arkansas
We deal with many cars that take 7" sealed beams at work, so I'm anxious to see how these compare. Too many people are grabbing garbage to put in their classic vehicles in the name of "LED." I'll be grateful to have a decent option that isn't complete trash, and doesn't ruin the look of these classic cars.
 

-Virgil-

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
7,802
I went ahead and bought some of these (7" large round and 165x100mm small rectangular), and they are very disappointing. Based on my tunnel tests, I could not use them, or recommend anyone else to use them. The problems extend deeply beyond matters of opinion of who does/doesn't like this/that style of beam pattern, etc; there are some pretty clear legality (or lack of) issues. I don't see how these could have passed even a lax compliance test for FMVSS 108 or any other regulation. Frankly, I don't see how they could have been signed off out of R&D; the issues are basic, numerous and severe. Low beam is questionable, high beam is practically nonexistent, the lamps don't appear to be aimable at all, much less by the method indicated on the lens (says "VOL" but there's no low beam cutoff, which is what defines a VOL beam), etc, etc. Too bad; it's a cool idea to have a headlamp with old-fashioned looks and new-fashioned performance, but these just don't cut any mustard. Maybe somebody else will take a whack at the same idea and come up with a better product. For now...no way, no how.

(Of course, that hasn't stopped the usual suspects from posting the usual hyped-up videos on YouTube: beer-drunk guitar track while the guy basically does a reprise of a late-night car wax infomercial, pretending to know what makes a good headlamp and pretending to know how to use and interpret a luxmeter, and talking up numbers that (surprise!) make the headlamps look like God's gift to night driving. I haven't looked, but it wouldn't surprise me if the various hot rod type magazines/websites have been creaming their jeans about the free samples I bet they received, too.)
 

John_Galt

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 20, 2009
Messages
1,752
Location
SW, PA
Disappointing, but not surprising results.

@-Virgil- not sure you ever take a look over on the tacomaworld lighting subforum, but there was some discussion between diode dynamics, crashnburn80 (various lighting test thread author), and the proprietor and chief lighting designer for morimoto about their 4Banger pod lights Here post #5869, where Matt Kossoff posted a link to a 3rd party test of the Morimoto 4banger vs the diode dynamics SS3 and others. Interesting to read through the back-and-forth over the next few pages.
 

theastronaut

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
27
Well that's disappointing. I bought a '66 C10 in January and the Holley lights were on the radar since they look appropriate for an old truck, but I wanted to wait for a legit review of them before buying them. I guess I'll dig out a set of Z-Beams instead.
 

och

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
87
Their poor performance notwithstanding, are they actually performing worse than old sealed beam headlamps?
 

-Virgil-

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
7,802
The specifics depend on what criteria we use (low beam max intensity, high beam max intensity, low beam spread, high beam spread, etc, etc) but yes, there are multiple ways the Holley headlamps are significantly worse than sealed beams. This isn't a case of "What a shame, these could have been so much better, but at least they're better than sealed beams".
 
  • Like
Reactions: och

och

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
87
The specifics depend on what criteria we use (low beam max intensity, high beam max intensity, low beam spread, high beam spread, etc, etc) but yes, there are multiple ways the Holley headlamps are significantly worse than sealed beams. This isn't a case of "What a shame, these could have been so much better, but at least they're better than sealed beams".

Thats a shame, I was considering getting their 5-3/4" round light to outfit my Suzuki Savage. I have a Denali M5 LED headlight on it, but it is very modern and doesn't look period correct.
 

-Virgil-

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
7,802
You would be going from a headlamp that's not very good (that Denali thing) to a headlamp that's just plain not good.
 
  • Like
Reactions: och

och

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
87
You would be going from a headlamp that's not very good (that Denali thing) to a headlamp that's just plain not good.

Yeah, it would be to just have the period correct look, especially in warm white color, but if you're saying its even worse than sealed beam in certain way, thats just a pathetic effort on Holley/Morimoto's part then. Shouldn't be that difficult in this day and age to get it right.

The Denali light is ok, on my Yamaha I have a JW Speaker adaptive light, it is quite a bit better.

In your experience, what are the best 5-3/4", 7", and rectangular LED replacement lights on the market? Most of the ebay/amazon stuff is pure junk, but I know Hogworkz, JW Speaker and Denali have decent reputation.
 

-Virgil-

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
7,802
Shouldn't be that difficult in this day and age to get it right.

Not a lot of incentive...given how many people will throw potfuls of money for garbage headlamps, then get on the web and talk up their lighting "upgrades", which spurs more people to throw potfuls of money for garbage headlamps they think have "a good reputation". Round and round and round we goooooooo!

In your experience, what are the best 5-3/4", 7", and rectangular LED replacement lights on the market?

This isn't a question that can be answered with a winner/runner up/also-ran kind of answer. There are a lot of variables, including how many lamps are used, what kind of vehicle they're being used in, and a bunch more. But put it this way: there are a whole lot more bad ones on the market than there are good ones.


Most of the ebay/amazon stuff is pure junk, but I know Hogworkz, JW Speaker and Denali have decent reputation.

See, this is exactly what I was talking about. Here you're lumping a legitimate product line in with a mediocre rebrand and a pure-junk one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: och

och

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
87
See, this is exactly what I was talking about. Here you're lumping a legitimate product line in with a mediocre rebrand and a pure-junk one.

Ouch, but which is which? The JW Speaker has to be the legitimate one.
 

-Virgil-

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
7,802
Yup, the JW Speaker is the legitimate one in this group of three. The Denali is (or makes an appearance as) a rebrand of the VisionX unit. Hogworkz is headlight-shaped gumball machine prizes made in China with no optics engineer within twenty miles, and with a hundred different brand names slapped on.
 
Top