Volvo 850 lighting

Random Guy

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I have a new to me 1997 Volvo 850, and while the lighting seems to be pretty decent I want to make the most of what I have. I'm assuming the best upgrade for the headlights is Xtreme Vision 9006s for the low beams, and 9011s for the high beams. Is there anything worth doing with the signal and position lamps on the car? I had Philips Xtreme Vision LEDs in the brake lights on my previous car, but I'm not interested in dealing with what it would take to keep the lamp failure sensor on this car happy with LEDs.
 

Alaric Darconville

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I have a new to me 1997 Volvo 850, and while the lighting seems to be pretty decent I want to make the most of what I have.
Unless you have glass headlamp lenses, new (and genuine) headlamps may be the starting point.

Any 168 or 194 in sidemarker lamps can be replaced with the Osram 2886X.
 
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-Virgil-

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The twin-bulb 850 headlamps don't deteriorate as fast/badly as the later S70-V70 lamps (with short-lived reflectors), but they aren't spring chickens, either (they're 22 years old, assuming originals). The lenses are glass, which means they won't be hazed but very likely could be pitted from years of road grit. Even pitting that "just looks minor" does a really bad number on the headlight performance: less seeing, more glare, more backscatter. And the reflectors aren't immune to age, either. By the time you can see degradation enough to notice, they're well past needing replacement.

And speaking of replacement, aside from the usual caution (don't use aftermarket lamps if you can possibly avoid it; they're junk whether they're designed to look just like the originals or otherwise)), be aware that contrary to what some Volvo parts vendors claim, these headlamps are not designed to have their lenses replaced, and doing so usually ruins the lamps permanently. Some of those vendors go further and claim you can convert your US lamps into European ("E-code") lamps by swapping lenses. That's not true, don't fall for it.

As far as bulbs go: Vosla HIR2+30 in the low beams and Toshiba HIR1 in the high beams, trimmed to fit as per here, and then the lamps aimed carefully and correctly with an optical aiming machine (not just shining on a wall or board).

For signal lamp upgrades, use Stanley 3496 in place of P21/5W or 1157 (dual filament) and Stanley 3497 in place of P21W or 1156 (single filament). No amber version of either bulb is available. Use a good brand of 2357NA in the front turn signals. The PY21W rear turn signal bulbs tend to lose their amber coating; fix that by using Diadem bulbs (Osram ones specifically).
 

Random Guy

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That's surprising that the lens isn't meant to be replaced, it appears to just be held on with clips.

And it's great that the low beams will work with HIR2, I assumed that since the headlamp used lens optics that it'd have a ring type bulb shield and thus not be a good application for the HIR2. Goes to show what assumptions are worth :).

I assume there is no upgrade for the R5W lamps used for the rear position lamps.
 

lumen aeternum

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Unless you have glass headlamp lenses, new (and genuine) headlamps may be the starting point.

My 1996 has glass headlamps. Did they goto plastic after that? I need to replace one side, lens is cracked. Using a Euro style housing & its crap, but really not worse than the dim beam of the OEM. I have not looked to see if OEM new housings till exist in stock anywhere. And of course junkyard stuff has the chips & degraded silvering...
 

Random Guy

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...and glue.

That's a bummer.

Just from the seat of the pants perspective (accurate, I know), the headlights seem great. Definitely nicer to drive behind than our Park Avenue, though that needs new headlights. Way better than the 940 that we also have. It'll be a real flamethrower with HIRs all around.

The Toshiba 9011 is significantly more expensive than the Philips, and since I live in the suburbs and don't get to run with high beams all that much would it be an acceptable compromise?
 
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Random Guy

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Well, my special 9012s with blacktop have arrived from Mr. Stern, and all I can say is wow. This thing throws a lot of light on the road now. It is absolutely ridiculous how much better is than our 940.

If we assume access to a level and flat piece of ground, how useful are the little aiming levels built into the headlights? Keeping these aimed is going to be important.
 

Ls400

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Why did you get blacktopped bulbs? I thought the recommendation was for ordinary HIR2+30s. Sorry, just curious what led to the decision of blacktopped bulbs when the thread said Plain Jane HIR2.
 

-Virgil-

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If we assume access to a level and flat piece of ground, how useful are the little aiming levels built into the headlights?

If they're in good condition (not tweaked or bent/broken/drained) then they should do fine. The harder part is finding that elusive flat-level ground!
 

-Virgil-

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Time flies...it's been enough years since I closely looked at an 850 headlamp that I may have remembered a cap shield where in fact it's a ring shield that would require the blacktop.
 

Random Guy

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If they're in good condition (not tweaked or bent/broken/drained) then they should do fine. The harder part is finding that elusive flat-level ground!

Fortunately I have a friend that has an alignment rack that I can probably convince to let me use for aiming purposes.
 

Random Guy

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For the reverse lamps, would the 3497 or the Philips Xtreme Vision LED be the better upgrade?

For other P21W applications, the 2396 appears to be close in brightness to the 3497 for significantly less cost. I'm assuming there is a catch here, since the 3497 is the recommended lamp.

And finally, I remembered I have a pair of red P21W Philips Xtreme Vision from my now departed 300D. Using them and keeping them from activating the "lamp failure" light will require poking around in the lamp failure module, would this be worth doing in the longer term?
 

Alaric Darconville

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For the reverse lamps, would the 3497 or the Philips Xtreme Vision LED be the better upgrade?
Probably the (35W halogen) 796; even if the output is lower the optical noise and shadowing presented by the LED bulb's frame and heatsink can make it a no-go in many reversing lamps.

You could try to evaluate the safety of the X-Treme Vision LED in accordance with instructions here: https://www.candlepowerforums.com/v...-Bulb-Retrofits-in-Brake-Signal-Marker-Lights

I'm happier with the 25W T20 (the CBB102) bulbs from Catz than with the Philips X-Treme Vision LED in the reversing lamps of an RX300, even though the LEDs edged out the normal W21W ("7440") bulbs in the same assemblies. Different base types (wedge, not BA15s) but the facts remain that for many lamps, a clear envelope with the reflector getting the full view of the filament without the shadowing and reflections of the LED types of the day often means better performance (hence the evaluation method linked here).
 
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-Virgil-

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For the reverse lamps, would the 3497 or the Philips Xtreme Vision LED be the better upgrade?

The 796 Alaric mentions -- more light than the 3497 or any of the Philips LEDs, especially considering the previous Xtreme Vision design (with two back-to-back emitters) is no longer in production, even though it was superior to the two current Philips types in both output and optical compatibility.

For other P21W applications, the 2396 appears to be close in brightness to the 3497 for significantly less cost. I'm assuming there is a catch here, since the 3497 is the recommended lamp.

The 3497 is of much higher quality and durability/longer lifespan than any 2396 you might happen to find. Also, 3497 has the plated base for corrosion avoidance; 2396 will usually have a corrosion-prone plain brass base.

And finally, I remembered I have a pair of red P21W Philips Xtreme Vision from my now departed 300D. Using them and keeping them from activating the "lamp failure" light will require poking around in the lamp failure module, would this be worth doing in the longer term?

If you're interested in trying them, verify that they work safely/effectively in the lamps you want to use them in...then disable the outage indicator on the dashboard if it has a problem with your bulb selection.
 

Alaric Darconville

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The 796 Alaric mentions -- more light than the 3497 or any of the Philips LEDs, especially considering the previous Xtreme Vision design (with two back-to-back emitters) is no longer in production
But there may yet be NOS at the Amazon link and at CandlePowerInc (no relation to us, for those who might ask).

They're amazing in a '95 Previa.
 

Random Guy

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My only concern with the 796 is accidentally melting the reverse lights if I leave it in reverse while playing with the code reader, since this car is a manual. Half an hour goes by faster than you'd think playing with that thing.

Good to know about the difference between the 3497 and 2396, I'll get some of the Stanleys ordered.

On a less pleasant note I managed to do this this afternoon:
FwK3hoVHa_iQwXNMBT4VpK9EE0-aGq6hcMTW7jYFpzKPKfymwPyS5r-dqWo65fQYwm4gwXk7nxD7LhzwSrfruh1hrG_lTu9iNohLzZGinc6xtVIi-khFi3FxPoH6mHumxSXee3hag6zjw9dsuvD8LOJcDPBADeiXrAsNJ6TustsbwU1tXNchyU9Qo6lV8m6woTNOMeZi313FU9_lxmfIx1_dcWunyTaMI8DsUI9WF3jClDsYKF66eT7tBzdrHshkQtMU1oUv-Tk006gK3TEgcR80Mtlpd5DiUjXVoagvq8f4voeXxrwvJ-R8Rl41GqxqHg1Gr7dhep9uRw1iqLx_gyF2VLQy5olZSrmV0zycaOEdiwFgKyyL_n2JWah5r4Ld5IJHWH3-FOurLYGDDmtFYq4CDCqesQNFWuJc4kalR1OuheJQASkxNY_HsObjAtqxBXcFZyD_L99xXgnLIZFenvxzLQ1TCyFc3JW_644VKbGmIe1GJMeIm2Y_EzOGKqJT2kqOw4UP2jDuRT8c5buafsxRpII0P69lVpUQlu5QAQ2sDj5p-aiIZ--nKof8LQVcGS1hrzYzycg-6dT_BPapR-snyfPt4CtU6GHRyjgPVV840e0sdoDpNvrloloyVd0-z1NEFkusqK2VJZBU01tbc_3h1hIzPj1Cd-97FmTM2e5kgaYmtp4hSeVdi3_cXeTaySVMzSwCbBoyhypeUVA9grXVmsXXbZubiLayzcs2TVxbwW1P=w860-h645-no

Would epoxy be good to reattach that? I know that, at least for headlights, silicone is a no no, since the offgassing will attack the optics.
 
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