Need recommendations for 2001 Chevy Suburban lighting replacements

shumanchu

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Hello, I have a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 LT 6.0L. I would like to replace the lights with the best quality, with a focus on longevity and less on pure light output. I have determined the following from searching the forums:


4114K bulbs are used in the front for DRL. These are special bulbs spec'd to handle GM's high (~14V) system voltage.
4157NA bulbs are used in the front turn signal. I don't think these are specially rated for 14V, but maybe they dont have to be since they aren't on all the time. Are all major brand 4157NAs true amber glass?
3157 bulbs are used for the taillight modules (brake, turn signal, reverse). 3457 bulbs are upgrades.
194 bulbs are used for front parking lights. 168 bulbs are upgrades.
9005 bulbs are used for high beams. 9011 HIR are upgrades.
9006 bulbs are used for low beams. 9006 X-treme Vision are upgrades.


My concerns are: which company makes the best bulbs for each type, where to buy those to minimize chances of getting bottom of the barrel (i.e. rockauto has wagner and philips bulbs for really good prices, but are they junk if they come from rockauto?)

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

-Virgil-

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Hello, I have a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 LT 6.0L.

Getting on up in years. What condition are your headlamps in? And are they real GM units or aftermarket?


4114K bulbs are used in the front for DRL. These are special bulbs spec'd to handle GM's high (~14V) system voltage.

That is correct, and the better ones (like these) also have a high-heat base for dealing with the prolonged operation.


4157NA bulbs are used in the front turn signal. I don't think these are specially rated for 14V

They're not; if you want the 14v bulb with amber glass it's this one.


Are all major brand 4157NAs true amber glass?

No.

3157 bulbs are used for the taillight modules (brake, turn signal, reverse). 3457 bulbs are upgrades.

Yes, that's a fine upgrade.

194 bulbs are used for front parking lights. 168 bulbs are upgrades.

No, the front position "parking" light function is provided by the dim filament of your 4157 (or 5702KA) front turn signal bulb. The front side marker light function is provided by a 194. A W5W is a better upgrade, and a 3652 is better than that, and a 2886X is even better than that (I get my 2886Xs from Dan Stern). Worth brightening these up, since they flash with the turn signals to expand the signals' visibility at lateral angles.

9005 bulbs are used for high beams. 9011 HIR are upgrades.

Yup. Pick carefully. I buy Toshibas from Stern.

9006 bulbs are used for low beams. 9006 X-treme Vision are upgrades.

Yup, these.

rockauto has wagner and philips bulbs for really good prices, but are they junk if they come from rockauto?

Wagner is almost all junk no matter where it comes from. Rockauto has a sorry-*** habit of substituting off-brand garbage and then making dumb excuses about "equivalent quality" when you object, give you a hard time when you say it's not what you ordered and you want to return it, etc.

Make sure your headlamps are aimed properly, not just "pretty much kinda close".
 

shumanchu

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Getting on up in years. What condition are your headlamps in? And are they real GM units or aftermarket?

They are in decent condition, the headlights are genuine GM Guide assemblies, as are the taillights. The front turn/DRL assemblies say "Autosystems" on them, i don't know if those are OEM or not (I suspect not). They are in the worst shape, they have amber paint flakes in them (because of this) and some kid of white crystal formation (like battery corrosion) on the reflector surface around the bulb hole for the DRLs. Additionally, the previous owner used 3157 bulbs for DRLs and the sockets are very crispy. I plan on replacing the DRL sockets with AC Delco OEM ones. I was wondering how the waterproof heat shrink butt splice connectors hold up, if anyone has any experience?

That is correct, and the better ones (like these) also have a high-heat base for dealing with the prolonged operation.

Thanks. Is Sylvania recommended for the other bulb types?

So far I have in the amazon cart (qtys in bulbs not blister packs):
Sylvania 2825 x2
Sylvania 4157NALL x2 (I don't feel like paying $9 per bulb for the 14V ones you linked, thanks though)
Sylvania 3457LL x6
Sylvania 4114LL x2
Phillips X-Treme Vision 9006 x2
Phillips 9011 HIR x2

Yup. Pick carefully. I buy Toshibas from Stern.

Are the Philips 9011 no longer recommended? Wish I knew to buy from Stern when I ordered H7s from him for my Soul EV. If the Philips are still decent i'll probably go with those.

Wagner is almost all junk no matter where it comes from.

Cant find the thread now, but I remember reading one where you said the GT8 (I think?) Wagner bulb was good for a 3457 (I think?) application since it was true amber glass and had the minor filament supported. There was some other tid bit about how Wagner used to have engineers on staff. Anyways, I take it Wagner is no longer producing acceptable quality bulbs.

Make sure your headlamps are aimed properly, not just "pretty much kinda close".

Again, I'm having trouble finding the thread, but I remember you giving specific aiming specs to someone (perhaps it was that thread with the mint subaru BRAT) that are optimal and legal, but had to be specified because the shop performing the aiming was likely to be over-conservative for reducing glare. Do those specs apply in the US?
 
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-Virgil-

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They are in decent condition

How does that translate into numbers? If "100" is perfect brand new, what's "decent"? Is it...95? 80? 70? 60? Remember, too, that reflectors deteriorate with use and age, and that deterioration can be very advanced before it is readily apparent by looking at the lamps.

The front turn/DRL assemblies say "Autosystems" on them, i don't know if those are OEM or not

Those are OE, yes. (Autosystems was acquired by Decoma, which was then acquired by Magna...)

they have amber paint flakes in them (because of this) and some kid of white crystal formation (like battery corrosion) on the reflector surface around the bulb hole for the DRLs

Sounds like they should be pulled and washed out with a solution of liquid dish detergent and hot water, then rinsed and air-dried and evaluated as to whether to keep or replace them.

Additionally, the previous owner used 3157 bulbs for DRLs and the sockets are very crispy.

That's a high-heat, prolonged-operation application and GM shaved too big of a fraction of a penny out of the socket cost, but those sockets don't look as crispy as you describe. They're discolored, yes, but at least in the photo they don't look "terminal" (HAH! Rimshot!).

I was wondering how the waterproof heat shrink butt splice connectors hold up

If they're good quality ones, applied correctly, they're fine. So are these (much easier to work with/no heat gun), or these (super tough encapsulation, but high buy-in required...if you're super worried about it, you could use the Posi-Seal and then encapsulate it with RTV silicone to closely approximate the Spliseal results at lower cost).

Is Sylvania recommended for the other bulb types?

Which other bulb types?

Phillips 9011 HIR x2

The Toshiba bulb is better enough to be worth getting. And so is the brighter 2886X sidemarker bulb.

I'm having trouble finding the thread, but I remember you giving specific aiming specs to someone (perhaps it was that thread with the mint subaru BRAT) that are optimal and legal, but had to be specified because the shop performing the aiming was likely to be over-conservative for reducing glare. Do those specs apply in the US?

No, that was specific to a non-US situation.
 

shumanchu

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How does that translate into numbers? If "100" is perfect brand new, what's "decent"? Is it...95? 80? 70? 60? Remember, too, that reflectors deteriorate with use and age, and that deterioration can be very advanced before it is readily apparent by looking at the lamps.

They are still clear in color, no yellowing. They have some scratches and blemishes on the lenses, but very little or no micro cracks. My reference for rating the suburban lights "decent" is my 2001 Xterra which has horrible micro cracks everywhere, and severe yellowing. If my Xterra lamps are at 40/100, then my Suburban lamps are at about 70/100. These ratings are so subjective though, and as you say the deterioration can be advanced without looking terrible so who knows. I have been fixing this car up mechanically, and have dumped way too much money into it already. It is our tow vehicle and we to 95% of our towing during the day, so I'm trying to just find the best balance of improvement per dollar, not restore it to 100% original. Hence sticking with the W5W over the 2886x, the LongLife versions of the other bulbs, etc. I'm hoping the high performance lows and highs will help offset the deterioration of the headlight assembly, perhaps that is foolish.


Those are OE, yes. (Autosystems was acquired by Decoma, which was then acquired by Magna...)
Sounds like they should be pulled and washed out with a solution of liquid dish detergent and hot water, then rinsed and air-dried and evaluated as to whether to keep or replace them.

Thanks, but that makes the following sting even more: I was trying to clean the "corrosion" off the inside with soapy water and a microfiber towel, and I ended up rubbing the reflective coating off I think. It nice to know they are the OEM units though. I ordered Depo replacement units, hoping that they are similar to OEM units since you said Depo is now the GM OEM for light assemblies. I'll compare them with the Autosystems units I have too see if they are close enough. If they are just plain garbage, I might consider returning them and ordering OE units at $58 a piece.


If they're good quality ones, applied correctly, they're fine. So are these (much easier to work with/no heat gun), or these (super tough encapsulation, but high buy-in required...if you're super worried about it, you could use the Posi-Seal and then encapsulate it with RTV silicone to closely approximate the Spliseal results at lower cost).

According to the reviews for the new bulb socket, you can just press out the OE wiring pin from the socket and then press it into the new bulb socket, no need for splicing or cutting wiring. I'll try that.


Which other bulb types?
The 4157NA and 3457 (You only explicitly recommended Sylvania for the W5W and 4114 bulbs).


The Toshiba bulb is better enough to be worth getting. And so is the brighter 2886X sidemarker bulb.
I have requested a quote from Daniel Stern, we'll see if it will fit the budget.
 

shumanchu

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I have requested a quote from Daniel Stern, we'll see if it will fit the budget.

I have scrapped the Philips 9011s and Sylvania W5Ws and ordered Toshiba 9011 and 2886x from Daniel Stern. Will update when the Depo assemblies come in.
 

-Virgil-

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the Depo assemblies were not so great, as expected. They look ok from a few feet away though, and are functional.

Abnormalities in the plastic

Holy hell! I would call that unacceptable. Might as well have a melty bit in the middle of your eyeglass lenses. At least it's "only" in the high beam, so you won't be throwing around massive glare on low beam because of it, but still...yuck!
 

shumanchu

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Holy hell! I would call that unacceptable. Might as well have a melty bit in the middle of your eyeglass lenses. At least it's "only" in the high beam, so you won't be throwing around massive glare on low beam because of it, but still...yuck!
Its actually the DRL housing (4114K bulb) not the high beam. The low beam and high beam assembly is OEM and right above the depo unit in the picture.
 
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