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Mike

Upgraded Headlights (Jeep JK)

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After driving in the dark rain last night, upgrading my headlights has jumped up higher on my priority list.

Let's get a list together of the options for the JK, from bulbs to full led replacements. Actual usage reports would be awesome.

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Go to a Harley parts dealer.  Maybe any motorcycle parts dealer.  Ask if they have Bosch H4 e-Code headlamps.  Not Bosch-equivalent, actual Bosch.  You can also buy them on eBay for $50 each.  That's what I ran for almost 4 years.  Put in either stock or slightly higher wattage H4 bulbs.  You'll need to built or buy a replacement headlight wiring harness.  You can buy a heavy-duty H4 headlight harness for under $50, and the Truck-Lite JK anti-flicker module harness for $30, which eliminates the CAN BUS PWM that can cause flicker AND converts from H13 to H4 plug.  Total cost $200.  Best light for the buck.

 

You can also get the Hella H4 headlamps for around $100 for the non-DOT, $130 for the DOT version.  The non-DOT is supposed to throw more light.  That's what I got to replace the broken Bosch headlamp.  With higher wattage bulbs and a replacement harness.  The Hella's are much better than stock, smoother pattern, but throw more light up close which reduces your distance vision. 

 

You'll have to ask Tom or someone with the Truck Lite LED's if they are worth spending the money.  I know the J.W. Speakers are very good; range of the Bosch with a better light pattern.  But hard to justify $800 on headlights. 

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I've had the delta quad bar H4's and the truck lights. Truck lights win hands down. I am currently waiting on the lifetime LED bulbs that go into the stock housings to see how they perform. For $149.00 for both bulbs and ballasts I'll give them a try. I'll update when I have the time to install them and give them a try.

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I've had the delta quad bar H4's and the truck lights. Truck lights win hands down. I am currently waiting on the lifetime LED bulbs that go into the stock housings to see how they perform. For $149.00 for both bulbs and ballasts I'll give them a try. I'll update when I have the time to install them and give them a try.

 

The problem with drop-ins is that is does nothing to improve the stock reflector, which means the beam pattern will still be crappy.  It's possible to have a drop in that has direct forward throw, but that will definitely blind oncoming traffic. 

 

I concur with Bump in that you need a new harness to do anything, including higher power drop-in halogen units (to handle the power) or LED (to handle the flicker).  I actually am selling my Susquehanna Motor Sports harness (super beefy) to get the JW speaker specific anti-flicker harnesses.

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There is zero reason why you should need a replacement harness for LED headlights.  What do they draw, 35W max?  Compared to 60W stock?  You will actually get less voltage drop with LED's on a stock harness than Halogens.  And, to top it off, LED's should be voltage regulated, so getting more that 12V to the headlamp should make no difference in light output (unlike Halogen bulbs that burn brighter with more voltage).

 

It is also bullshit that for $350-$700 per set that anti-flicker isn't built-in.  Pure bullshit.  Additional manufacturing cost for two 220pF, 35V capacitors is $0.36 per headlight. 

 

But it appears that prices are coming down.  I'm seeing Truck-Lites on eBay for $330 per set. 

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I love the trucklites. Next time it's shitty out and you have some time I'll let you drive the jeep so you can decide.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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There is zero reason why you should need a replacement harness for LED headlights.  What do they draw, 35W max?  Compared to 60W stock?  You will actually get less voltage drop with LED's on a stock harness than Halogens.  And, to top it off, LED's should be voltage regulated, so getting more that 12V to the headlamp should make no difference in light output (unlike Halogen bulbs that burn brighter with more voltage).

 

It is also bullshit that for $350-$700 per set that anti-flicker isn't built-in.  Pure bullshit.  Additional manufacturing cost for two 220pF, 35V capacitors is $0.36 per headlight. 

 

But it appears that prices are coming down.  I'm seeing Truck-Lites on eBay for $330 per set. 

 

I had the harness in already when I ran the CIBIE with 75/65 bulbs, so it was no big deal, but I tried the LED's without the harness and it flickered.  A lot.  All LEDs will currently.  Apparently the JK is the only or one of the only PAR56 headlamp applications out there that has the CANBUS-caused flickering issue.  I get that they missed the issue with the First Gen JW 8700s.   The 8700 Evolutions were designed specifically to fit in the TJ/JK headlamp buckets without modification (the original units were huge and you needed to diegrind the fuck out of the buckets to get them in).  Apparently, the 3rd gen Evolution II's still need an anti-flicker solution. I just don't like reflected optics for headlamps which is everything but the Speakers and some esoteric 90mm e-Code Hella units that cost over twice as much as Speakers.

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Anyone read or hear anything on the Q-tech lights?

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I had the harness in already when I ran the CIBIE with 75/65 bulbs, so it was no big deal, but I tried the LED's without the harness and it flickered.  A lot.  All LEDs will currently.  Apparently the JK is the only or one of the only PAR56 headlamp applications out there that has the CANBUS-caused flickering issue.  I get that they missed the issue with the First Gen JW 8700s.   The 8700 Evolutions were designed specifically to fit in the TJ/JK headlamp buckets without modification (the original units were huge and you needed to diegrind the fuck out of the buckets to get them in).  Apparently, the 3rd gen Evolution II's still need an anti-flicker solution. I just don't like reflected optics for headlamps which is everything but the Speakers and some esoteric 90mm e-Code Hella units that cost over twice as much as Speakers.

 

I agree 100% with regards to reflected optics sucking.  You can get away with them with Halogen bulbs because you can dissipate enough heat (up to a point) make up for inefficient reflectors. It is one of the reasons why I still believe Halogen incandescent lighting is a better bang for the buck than LED.  I have compared the performance of LED to Halogen in several different applications and consistently I see better usable light out of Halogen.   

 

Hopefully I'll get out to wheel sometime in the near future and we can compare my Hella H4 setup to Truck-Lites and J.W. Speakers.  When we did the parking lot comparison between my Bosch and your Speakers I truly felt that, aside from the Speaker's more consistent and sharper-defined pattern, that my Bosch setup provided nearly equally effective lighting.  One would expect that, for the price, the Speakers would have been noticeably better, but I did not see that.

 

I've also tried LED's (and HID's) in fog-light, bumper and roof light positions versus Halogens.  In each case the Halogens provided noticeably better light at 1/2 to 1/4 the price of the LED's.  I would be satisfied if LED provided equivalent light at 2X the price because there are size, power and longevity benefits.  But my funds are not unlimited and there are many more things I need and want to do to improve my rig's performance.  Spending more and getting less just doesn't make sense to me, particularly since a JK has the alternator capacity to run hundreds of watts of auxiliary lighting without any problems. 

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All i gotta say is speakers are the best thing ever!!! the lighting while driving is perfect, the brights go twice the distance allowing you to see very far ahead. I have used HID lighting as well it was ok. Bulbs blew alot.

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I have the kc, led's and are a vast improvement over stock. At certain distance, there is a dead spot in the middle of the beams, but can't complain. Was between them and the truck lites. Went w kc just to try out a newer product at the time.

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I'm probably gonna order those Delta H4 hi/lo's from you in the next week or two.

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Hopefully my next mod depending on how Christmas tips go.

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I'd like to see some objective comparisons between the J.W. Speaker, Seward and Trucklite headlights.  I looked at the Seward headlights when then were announced and they have good specs for the price, just not sure how it translates to actual visibility. 

 

Also, Seward seems to have a heating element to prevent snow/slush/ice buildup on the lens.  I know that my LED auxiliary lights build up a thick crust of frozen slush on the highway in winter conditions.  I've hear that the same thing happens to the Trucklites.  IDK about the Speakers.

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The snow/ice melting is something I haven't thought about :hmm:

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Guess I'll find out

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Truck Lite released a 2nd gen w some type of heat thing at SEMA as well.

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The snow/ice melting is something I haven't thought about :hmm:

 

 

Guess I'll find out

 

 

Mothers California Gold Carnuba.......OR.......a few coats of Rain-X should take care of most icing issues.

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Mothers California Gold Carnuba.......OR.......a few coats of Rain-X should take care of most icing issues.

 

Doesn't work on windshields, even with the defrosters running full blast.  At least not driving on the highway during a wet, heavy snowstorm.

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Delta Hi/Lo w/H4 lights installed.

 

INSTALL was easy enough.

Took grill off, unscrewed lamp surrounds, swapped lamps, done.

Getting the lights to sit correctly level on the tabs under the surround, and all clocking in correctly, took a little tweaking but its not hard.

 

ADJUSTMENTS at various ranges to get the beam pattern aligned, and its still a touch low, but its a fantastic improvement over stock even with the same wattage bulbs.

I do want to adjust a bit of left/right spread, but the torx adjuster is filled in for NA JKs. A little slot cut into the head should fix that easily enough. 

 

VISIBILITY is improved, much better than stock.

Low-beam - The oncoming cut-off pattern is crisp*, and fills nicely to the right to catch road signage.
The short range side-to-side fill is much better than stock, and even makes my LED fog use questionable.

It's not without hot spots, but most of the output is concentrated downrange in the lane where it should be.

Hi-beam - Blam. A nice symetrical concentrated flood at long range. There are two weaker flood areas to the sides that catch the flanks. SO much better than stock, it really does punch a hole into the dark lighting up reflective signs at an easy 1/4 mile.

The seperation of the low/hi patterns is much tighter than stock. Where the stock low beam would always seem too low, and the hi beam too high,....the Delta patterns are much closer. The low pattern can be set to just below horizon, and the hi still penetrates into it.

 

Good price, good quality, good performance.
A worthy mod in my books.

 

 

 

 

*My only possible complaint,......The left lens has a fuzzier low beam cut-off than the right beam.

The bulbs are fully seated, the lenses are seated correctly, the glass is clean(in and out), and there are no visible physical differences in the glass,.....but one is crisper than the other.

You can't really tell unless you are facing a wall at close range, but it still bothers me a bit.

 

I have some replacement H4 bulbs at home, so maybe its the bulb itself.

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Swap the bulbs and see if the problem stays or moves.

 

Did you plug these into your stock headlight harness or replace the harness?  I ask because when I first did my H4 upgrade I used pigtail adapters to convert the stock harness from H13 to H4.  The result was okay.  Then I replaced the harness entirely, just using the stock wiring to trigger the relays.  Huge improvement.  I think it might have doubled the light output.

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D

I do want to adjust a bit of left/right spread, but the torx adjuster is filled in for NA JKs. A little slot cut into the head should fix that easily enough. 

 

I have a kit of something like 250 security bits, so if they'll work, feel free to borrow.

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Stock harness.

H13 to H4 pigtail.

Stock wattage 55/65 bulbs, supplied with lights.

 

Im gonna swap the bulbs tonight to check.

Edited by Feuerdog

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Pulled bulbs and inspected, found nothing.

Swapped bulbs, fuzziness followed bulb.

Inspected bulb again....

 

....found the smallest sliver of shmootz, half the size of this apostrophe  '  near the end of the low beam filament.

 

I tried electro-cleaner, brake cleaner, and eventually scraping with a screwdriver to try and get it off,.....but was only partially successful. The bulb seems to have a clear coating of some sort, which I seem to have disrupted.

I cleaned it up as best I could and buffed it out as clear as possible.

Reinstalled and retested, the low beam pattern was brighter and cleaner, but still not as crisp at the cutoff. 

I doubt it will last now that ive scrubbed the crap off it but.....

 

No problem, mystery solved, new H4 bulbs going in this weekend.

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