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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-20-2018 Thread Starter
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LED bulbs in reflector housing

Hey guys,

I've been hemming and hawing on this for a really really long time now. I've always wanted to upgrade my headlights to LEDs but I've also always had reservations about sticking an LED bulb in a reflector housing. It really bugs me when oncoming cars have poorly-aimed or poorly-retrofitted high output bulbs that are just obnoxious.

Does anybody on this forum run LED bulbs in our reflector housing? Is it obnoxious to other drivers or can it be done? How does it work with our DRLs? After being in a couple of cars with stock LED lights, it makes me *really* want some, but I won't go that route if it's too annoying to other drivers.

I should also mention that I currently have Sylvania ZXE's, and for all the bad press they get this set has last me over two years, so changing bulbs isn't a necessity. I like them, they're bright and relatively white. It's just something (if possible) to waste a small portion of my tax refund on hehehehe.

PS, if anybody has experience with Philips Diamond Vision, feel free to chime in. From what I understand they're whiter than the ZXE's but less bright.

Thanks in advance for all the help guys!


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2018
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Good post! Curious to know more about this myself. I have been researching LED bulbs particularly comparing pricing and quality. Diode Dynamics has what appears to be a quality set but beware... The pricing might put you in shock... $150 for a pair, so $300 for heads and fogs...

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2018
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I also just installed some Sylvania Silverstar ZXE bulbs in my 2012 Impala. They are halogen bulbs that claim to be comparable to HID bulbs - supposedly, very bright and white. However, with any halogen bulbs, they brighter that they are, the lower their expected lifetime. These bulbs are only warranted for 12 months - and they cost a whopping $60 for 2! Since the 8th gens actually have 4 headlight bulbs (2 for low-beam headlights and 2 for high-beams), you are looking at $120 to replace all 4 bulbs (I only replaced my low-beams).

I mainly bought them because the H1's that came in my Spyder CCFL headlights are over 3 years old now and I just wanted to try something new (I figure that I was on borrowed time on the H1's that came with my Spyders). Advance Auto Parts has a $15 rebate on them right now, so I grabbed a set.

Haven't used them at night yet, but they are *definitely* whiter than the "standard" H1 bulbs that came with my Spyder headlights.

Honestly, I can live with an expected cost of $60 per year for headlights *if* they make a significant improvement. Will report back after I use them at night...

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2018
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Been dinking around with LED's for a while and mostly disappointed for a number of reasons.
1) get ready to pay for newer and higher quality technology. Reflectors are designed for the light element to be placed in a precise location in the housing and cheap LEDs don't fit this location and/or source of light (thus the blinding unfocused light from on-coming cars).
2) The white (6000 kelvin light color is cool but that's about it). The newer (2018 timeline) products seem to be aiming for better performance but it's still a crap shoot.
3) The 4 and 3 sided products mostly aren't any better the the single diode style. I've watched a lot of UTube videos and it still comes down to the various car manufacturers headlight housing design.
That being said they (the manufacturers of the lights) seem to be trying so time will tell.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2018
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So I finally took a drive at night with the SilverStar ZXE bulbs and I must say - I'm not impressed... They are *definitely* whiter - and *look* great, but they really don't perform any better than the stock bulbs that came in my Spyder Halo headlights in terms of light output. After I read a little more, I found that the ZXE bulbs are more about looks than performance. Apparently, the SilverStar Ultra bulbs provide more light output (and are cheaper). So the ZXE are for looks and the Ultra are for performance...

Maybe I'll eventually move the ZXE bulbs to my high-beams and put the Ultras in for my low-beams. I'm more concerned with performance over looks when it comes to headlights. Both have the same 12 month warranty.

Here is the "Conclusion" the one site came to, which makes sense:

"Sylvania halogen bulbs are among the highest-quality in the automotive market. So, whether youíre looking to replace worn factory lighting or upgrade from reflector headlights, the question isnít should you go with Sylvania halogen bulbs, but which*Sylvania*bulb is best for your ride Ė SilverStar zXe or Ultra. For enhanced style and appearance, choose SilverStar zXe. For better visibility and performance, go with SilverStar Ultra."


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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-26-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrosky View Post
So I finally took a drive at night with the SilverStar ZXE bulbs and I must say - I'm not impressed... They are *definitely* whiter - and *look* great, but they really don't perform any better than the stock bulbs that came in my Spyder Halo headlights in terms of light output. After I read a little more, I found that the ZXE bulbs are more about looks than performance. Apparently, the SilverStar Ultra bulbs provide more light output (and are cheaper). So the ZXE are for looks and the Ultra are for performance...

Maybe I'll eventually move the ZXE bulbs to my high-beams and put the Ultras in for my low-beams. I'm more concerned with performance over looks when it comes to headlights. Both have the same 12 month warranty.

Here is the "Conclusion" the one site came to, which makes sense:

"Sylvania halogen bulbs are among the highest-quality in the automotive market. So, whether youíre looking to replace worn factory lighting or upgrade from reflector headlights, the question isnít should you go with Sylvania halogen bulbs, but which*Sylvania*bulb is best for your ride Ė SilverStar zXe or Ultra. For enhanced style and appearance, choose SilverStar zXe. For better visibility and performance, go with SilverStar Ultra."


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same way with the phillips top of the line bulbs for the Spyders. they were the same price so i went with the better looking bulbs. however upon receiving them they only say an average of 150 hours of use on the box....so obviously when they burn out i'm going back to the ones that said 100 or 300% longer lasting and brighter.

seems silly they can't make them look good and last....unless it's intentional.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-26-2018
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For what it's worth, I went on Ebay and found a brand new pair of Silverstar UItra bulbs for $25 "or best offer". So I offered $20 and he accepted. I always look for Ebay ads with "or best offer" - and when I find them, I *always* submit a "Best Offer" since you *know* that they are willing to accept an offer lower than the listed Buy It Now price (or else why would they include the "or best offer" option?)! :-)

I'll let you know what I think when I get them and install them. For $20, I couldn't pass them up (I would have happily paid $25!). :-)

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-27-2018 Thread Starter
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I've used the Silverstar Ultras and they put out A LOT of usable light, but I keep going back to ZXE's. They put out more than enough light for my needs and I strongly prefer whiter light vs yellow light. Yellow light is thrown further and thus illuminates more than white light, and "white" halogens usually have a blue tint on the bulb itself since by nature halogens put out a yellow light. All these make white colored halogens less bright with less usable light than yellow halogens.

Which brings me to why I created this thread to see if anybody had experience with LED's in our reflector housings. I've found multiple H11 and H9 conversion kits, but not much info on how they work specifically in our reflector housings, and I really don't want to cut up my dust cover and invest in a full conversion kit just to annoy the poop out of every oncoming car.


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SS grille
Reverse light / full interior / instrument cluster LED retrofit
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Hey Guys! First post here.

I actually have installed LED lights in the stock reflector housing of my 2013 Impala. It was the best decision I have ever made for this car, maybe next to installing a CAI.

Everything I used was purchased on Amazon, all for less than $100 for Low and High beams. All I needed was 2 sets of lights.

For Low beams, I used Katana H11 bulbs. The cutoff is flawless. Really, it's perfectly straight across. The LEDs are arranged in a way where they mimic the placement of the filament from the halogens, and the light is so clean. I bought my low beams first, and these have huge electrical components between the bulb and fan and the plug, and I knew i would never be able to tuck all this behind the dust cover for the high beams. The high beams cavity is much smaller, so I went on the hunt for a much smaller but still great headlight for the high beams. A 4 sided LED bulb was the best way to go!

For the High beams, I went with Mdatt H9 bulbs. They are 4 sided, and in the uncovered reflector of the high beam, the 4 sided design does a great job eliminating hotspots. With the high beams on, I have full illumination of everything in front of me, as far as the eye can see. It spreads far across the entire roadway, with no spots on the sides of the roads left uncovered. I have never been in a car with headlights as nice as this setup that I have. I have hit many deer, and feel very safe with this setup.

The best part is that I have no worries about being pulled over for blinding people! The cutoff is very clean and crisp. With over 5000 miles of night time driving using this setup in the past year, I have only gotten flashed once by an oncoming driver. He stopped quickly after I flashed back, lol. The high beams are just dummy bright. Friends laugh when they get in and everything is pure white.

If you guys want help getting it all set up, it's simple. I was able to use the stock dust covers, and all the wires and electrical components tucked in nicely, and never overheating.

Best of luck to you all!!
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I personally don't see what is wrong with the factory housings in these cars. I have driven a number with much worse headlights and personally find these to do well enough. In my example I run the Sylviania xtravision bulbs.



To be honest, attempting to retrofit any other type of light other than halogen into a halogen housing is not going to get great results. If you look at the housings that are factory LED the reflector and emitter placement are completely different http://www.fleettruckparts.com/FL011-B1112.jpg here is the first housing I can think of, It is from a Freightliner Cascadia Semi truck like what I drive. The high beam is illuminated in this example, the low beam has two emitters on on each side and the reflector is shaped for that emitter preventing any light from going anywhere else than down road in a set beam.

TLDR anything fitted to a reflector not designed for that light is not going to match the beam it is designed to throw and may glare at other cars potentially dazzling the drivers. I will wait untill I feel they cover this problem before I consider fitting them.
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^+1 on the Sylvania Xtravisions!!!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merehoi13804 View Post
Hey Guys! First post here.

I actually have installed LED lights in the stock reflector housing of my 2013 Impala. It was the best decision I have ever made for this car, maybe next to installing a CAI.

Everything I used was purchased on Amazon, all for less than $100 for Low and High beams. All I needed was 2 sets of lights.

For Low beams, I used Katana H11 bulbs. The cutoff is flawless. Really, it's perfectly straight across. The LEDs are arranged in a way where they mimic the placement of the filament from the halogens, and the light is so clean. I bought my low beams first, and these have huge electrical components between the bulb and fan and the plug, and I knew i would never be able to tuck all this behind the dust cover for the high beams. The high beams cavity is much smaller, so I went on the hunt for a much smaller but still great headlight for the high beams. A 4 sided LED bulb was the best way to go!

For the High beams, I went with Mdatt H9 bulbs. They are 4 sided, and in the uncovered reflector of the high beam, the 4 sided design does a great job eliminating hotspots. With the high beams on, I have full illumination of everything in front of me, as far as the eye can see. It spreads far across the entire roadway, with no spots on the sides of the roads left uncovered. I have never been in a car with headlights as nice as this setup that I have. I have hit many deer, and feel very safe with this setup.

The best part is that I have no worries about being pulled over for blinding people! The cutoff is very clean and crisp. With over 5000 miles of night time driving using this setup in the past year, I have only gotten flashed once by an oncoming driver. He stopped quickly after I flashed back, lol. The high beams are just dummy bright. Friends laugh when they get in and everything is pure white.

If you guys want help getting it all set up, it's simple. I was able to use the stock dust covers, and all the wires and electrical components tucked in nicely, and never overheating.

Best of luck to you all!!
Do you have links to these bulbs you are using? I am still in the research phase and now with my flipped hours at work, I am driving more in dusk, night and dawn hours. The nicer output of an LED would be good.

2014 Chevy Impala LTZ Limited
- My daily driver... 5% Window Tint, Rosen GM1210 Stereo, Polk Audio Components and 6x9s, Pioneer, Kenwood amps and sub, Addco Sway Bar, ZZP Strut Tower Braces... More to come
2004 Pontiac GTO
- Garage queen from day 1... bought brand new 12/31/04... Quick Silver Metallic/Black/6 speed... too much to list
2004 GMC Yukon SLT
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Low Beams
KATANA H11 H8 H9 LED Headlight Bulbs,CREE Chips 12000Lm 5090Lux 6500K Extremely Bright Conversion Kit,360 Degree Adjustable Beam Angle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078W5WJZ2..._bXqXCb4HQT8A5


High Beams
Mdatt H11/H8/H9 LED Headlight Bulbs - 100W 12000LM - High/Low Beam,Fog Light Bulb Conversion Kit - DOT Approved - 360 Degree - IP68 Waterpoorf https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J3FHNN3..._OXqXCb2V2QSFR

When I say the cutoff is flawless, I really mean that the cutoff is flawless cutoff, It looks identical to the stock cutoff, only bright white light, and no hot spots. The high beams are blindingly bright, and will hit objects so far away it’s just nutty.

I had OPT7 Fluxbeam low beams in place before, and they were awful!! The design of the light is what matters the most, and with the Katanas, the LED diodes are arranged exactly as a halogen filament would be, and so they work in the stock halogen reflector. For the Mdatt, these are 4 sided, and really don’t direct the light at all, and in doing so fill up the reflector completely, and this is why I went with them for the high beams. I tried them in the low beams, and they were awful because the cutoff was all wrong. The OPT7 worked better in the high beams than in the low beams, again, all just because of the design.
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