Automotive Holley RetroBright headlamps? Good, bad or ugly?

och

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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.

Thank you, that is what I though, the Hogworks looks just like a bunch of LEDs in an offroad bar, installed into a round shape with no optics, but a lot of motorcycle riders like them because they are blindingly bright. Not something I would want to sport on my bike at night, but perhaps its ok for visibility during day. Either way, not my thing.

Moderator note: [Denali "fog lamp" content moved to separate thread]
 
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och

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Its a shame that they missed the opportunity to create a quality product, but they did have the right idea, especially with the warm white colored LEDs. Years ago I had a Ram 100 and a Ford E350, both of which came with rectangular sealed beam headlights, which were absolutely useless on dark roads, barely provided any illumination. The Retrobrights could've been a nice upgrade for these vehicles.

At the very least, more companies should introduce "warm white" headlight products, many of us prefer the softer light.
 

-Virgil-

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Years ago I had a Ram 100 and a Ford E350, both of which came with rectangular sealed beam headlights, which were absolutely useless on dark roads, barely provided any illumination. The Retrobrights could've been a nice upgrade for these vehicles.

Again (and again): No, they wouldn't have been. Please review post #14 in this thread.

At the very least, more companies should introduce "warm white" headlight products, many of us prefer the softer light.

Light can't be soft or rough or scaly or furry or slimy. And who is "us"? You might prefer a warmer white light. I might prefer a warmer white light. A handful of other guys might (maybe some gals, too). But I doubt if "many" do, for definitions of "many" that matter to the industry.
 

och

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Again (and again): No, they wouldn't have been. Please review post #14 in this thread.
Thats why I said "could have been", meaning they could be if they were a good product. It is a shame they are not, there are absolutely no other headlight products for classic cars and motorcycles that look period correct.
 

-Virgil-

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On that I agree with you. Right concept...wrong implementation. The worst of it is, it wouldn't really have cost more to do a good job.
 

ButchW

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Hi all... New here... I found this forum looking for reviews on this headlight... I really wanted it to be a great product.... I have a USA model, 1986 Suzuki Samurai... I use it 90% on well lit streets with low beams only... But I do use it occasionally off road in the very dark desert where maximum light is preferred.. I wanted to keep it as stock looking as possible, so didn't want those bug eyed LEDs... Any suggestions for a headlight for this car in this scenario?.. It would have to be street legal in California... Thanks, Butch
 

John_Galt

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Gen 2 truck lite LED lamp is reflector based. Doesn't have the multi-lens appearance of lamps offered by JWSpeaker, and is still a solid performer.
 

Silly Rabbit

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So 5x7 led light options was the gateway that brought me into the led light world. I ended up deciding between Truck Lite and JW Speaker and ended up with the Truck Lite, came down to the looks. I like the more mellow look over the JW Speaker 'spider eyes'. But both lights are amazing, huge upgrade over the glass headlight options.
Now I also did buy Morimoto's XB headlight for my Ram, and they really are fantastic lights over the factory dim candles, both in looks and light output. I also had the XB fogs, which are better than stock as well. But I upgraded those to Diode Dynamics SS3's for fogs. Now those are just plain amazing. I do think Morimoto makes some really good stuff, I love the XB's in the truck, but for my automotive lighting I have become a big Diode Dynamics fan.
I too was very interested in the Morimoto Sealed 5 headlights when they were promoting them, they had a clean slate to work from and aimed at JW Speaker and Truck Lite. Well they didn't meet the bar, I was sadly disappointed. I know when the Holley lights dropped there was some fanfare as well, but it died off fairly quickly, I guess the lights didn't raise the bar either. I will be keeping my Truck Lites.
 

Silly Rabbit

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Truck Lite has their solid reflector light, but last year dropped a projector light as well. I have heard very little about them, but Truck Lite seems to be like that, very quiet and under the radar.
 

och

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I think JW Speaker has a few reflector based LED headlights as well.
 

ButchW

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I don't mind paying for a good product, but the price of these are almost past "consumables", which headlight are... I guess tech cost but this is an overpriced $8,000, 36 year old car... It looks like it's gonna be +$400 for a pair of upgraded lights.... I've been looking at the Truck-Lites... Anybody know anything about the United Pacific 31400, MHL-07HILO, Anzo 881035, Grote 90941-5, Quadratech 97109.001?.... All the same headlight, just different names... Made in Taiwan...
Butch
 

Silly Rabbit

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Decent options as well. I have seen the United Pacific and Grote, nice lights.
If you buy one of the above mentioned, if you got rid of the car they are going in, just pull the lights and sell them if you don't have another vehicle for them. Then you can say you leased them, lol.
 
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RHS-113

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If you are willing to consider non LED headlamps you can get glass lens Koito 7 inch round headlamps that use an H4/HB2/9003 bulb. But I don't think they're as good as truck lite or jw speaker LED lamps, although they should be better than a sealed beam.
 
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ButchW

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One of the reasons that I wanted LEDs was the low power draw... This old car has a small 1.3L engine, with a whopping 63 HP, and a small alternator... I may put some auxiliary (LED) lighting on for the desert, so I'm trying to keep my electrical loads as low as possible... The Suzuki's have a negative switched headlight system, so I'll probably have to install a set of relays and some wiring... There are wiring harnesses available for this...
Butch
 

RHS-113

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One of the reasons that I wanted LEDs was the low power draw... This old car has a small 1.3L engine, with a whopping 63 HP, and a small alternator... I may put some auxiliary (LED) lighting on for the desert, so I'm trying to keep my electrical loads as low as possible... The Suzuki's have a negative switched headlight system, so I'll probably have to install a set of relays and some wiring... There are wiring harnesses available for this...
Butch
You can try emailing Daniel Stern and seeing what he suggests. He does have good 9003 bulbs, relay harnesses and the Koito 7" rounds on his website, but I've seen good bulbs and the Koito lamps elsewhere for cheaper. Daniel Stern's website here.
 

ButchW

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You can try emailing Daniel Stern and seeing what he suggests. He does have good 9003 bulbs, relay harnesses and the Koito 7" rounds on his website, but I've seen good bulbs and the Koito lamps elsewhere for cheaper. Daniel Stern's website here.
Thank you...
Butch
 

ButchW

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You can try emailing Daniel Stern and seeing what he suggests. He does have good 9003 bulbs, relay harnesses and the Koito 7" rounds on his website, but I've seen good bulbs and the Koito lamps elsewhere for cheaper. Daniel Stern's website here.
I emailed Daniel, and he gave me some great pointers, about my lighting situation... He did not sell me anything, and didn't try to... Just gave me excellent advice.... Very nice guy.. Thanks for the recommendation...
Butch
 

John_Galt

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I emailed Daniel, and he gave me some great pointers, about my lighting situation... He did not sell me anything, and didn't try to... Just gave me excellent advice.... Very nice guy.. Thanks for the recommendation...
Butch

Would you mind posting his recommendations? Or did he ask you not to? Could be helpful when people are searching.
 

ButchW

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Would you mind posting his recommendations? Or did he ask you not to? Could be helpful when people are searching.
John... I sent him an email asking if he would mind if I relayed his recommendations... When I hear back, I'll let you know..
Butch
 

ButchW

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This was Daniel Stern's response to 3 emails I sent him... He gave me permission to pass them along here...
Butch


My name is Butch and I have a USA (CA) spec 1986 Suzuki Samurai... I would like to up grade the sealed beam head lights to LED... The main reason for LED is that the car has anemic 65HP 1.3L engine with a small alternator.

Well, hang on a sec…I can certainly understand the desire for better lighting, and there are several good options for it—and yes, a relay harness will greatly improve matters, depending on what lamps you wind up with—but are you seeing some indication that your alternator isn't keeping up with the existing headlamp load? If so, and you haven't added any large nonstandard electrical loads, that means there's an issue with your charging system that should be diagnosed and repaired. If you don't have such an indication, you will not be able to perceive or measure any increase in available engine power or fuel economy by changing from your present sealed beams to any other type of headlamp, even if the new headlamps take (say) half the wattage of the originals.

(Trying to keep it "stock" looking)

This will not really be possible with LED headlamps worth having. The Retrobright LED sealed beams headlamp sold by Holley is sourced out of China. It is promoted along the lines of modern performance with vintage looks. I had high hopes for this product, but the end result is a serious let-down. It is not an effective, safe, or legal headlamp.

Maxxima, United Pacific, Anzo (etc)

These lamps are useless trinkets, best avoided.

> Do you sell or recommend any> 7"LED replacement head lights?

Yes; let's narrow in on what you'd like to achieve. How well do you want to be able to see at night, and what's your budget range for this round of upgrades?

So many reviews on
these things, but I think a lot are biased

There's an enormous mountain of bad advice, it's true. Even those who have good intent, their heart's in the right place, often aren't qualified to be giving out the advice they hand out.

Oh, this will be used 90% on well lit highways (SO
Cal) but occasionally off-road in the desert at deep dark night

Okeh, so mostly low beam, but with a need for punchy high beams, too…

may add a small LED lightbar or cubes later (Another reason to keep
the power usage down)...

Understandable. Very careful shopping is needed there, too; another lake of garbage on the market but there are good ones, too.

*My stock 45 amp alternator is working just fine, but I would like to lower the load on it because I may try and add some auxiliary lighting for use off-road.

If you want to do that, buy this (specific) unit:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M9YQK9N/?tag=cpf0b6-20

Install per the instructions included, and aim straight-ahead ("VO" setting on the beam machine). Together with careful headlamp aim, this'll do just what you want—and without drawing much current.
> *I think a reflector type LED like the Truck-Lites would be close enough

Alright, then you've got a couple options—but be careful of counterfeits and pretenders. The 701C from Peterson (in Peterson or Sylvania Zevo packaging -- same lamp) is fairly good, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MHX979S/?tag=cpf0b6-20 . The Truck-Lite unit is fairly good, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007K8AA7I/?tag=cpf0b6-20 , or with heated lens https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0193VFCO0/?tag=cpf0b6-20. Get heated lenses if you do a lot of wintertime driving with heavy snow and slush; without a lens heater the LED headlamp lenses run cold so snow and ice can build up on them instead of melting off like they do from a warm halogen lamp.

And down from there is a whole lot of knockoff/fraudulent junk; don't buy.

New lamps or old, their aim is by far the main thing that determines how well you can (or can't) see at night, and how much glare you're throwing around. Even if the present lamps are correctly aimed, that won't carry over after lamp replacement, and even many brand-new vehicles have poorly aimed lamps, so this is crucial: you will need to see to it that your lamps are aimed carefully and correctly per the instructions at http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/aim/aim.html .
 
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