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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So first I want to say I'm new to the Club and I know I'll need help futher down the road, but I wanted to know if there is anything out there that will help my headlights? They are not very bright and there is not much difference between my low and high beams. My 90 cherokee has better lights. Is this just a problem I'll have to deal with cause there is nothing out there? I've looked at HID kits and different halogen bulbs, but do these really help? Thanks for your help.
 

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Are the lenses crystal clear or "fogged" over with UV damage? When was the last time the bulbs were replaced? Bulbs will dim over time before burning out completely. If neither of those are the culprit, you can try different bulbs (Like Silverstar/Silverstar Ultras).
 

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Well, I tried those cheap 'xenon' bulbs you can get on Ebay for about $10. They're no brighter than normal bulbs.

Also, one blew a few months after I fitted it, and my then girlfriend got pulled over by the cops....!:blush:

If you want to fit HID lights, check out your state laws: I think they're illegal in some places.

Bruce
 

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HID conversions into stock headlight housings are illegal in all 50 states.
 

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If your lenses are fogged, you can loose between 15 - 75% of their total output. So first thing you need to do is treat the fogged lens. You can use most polishing kits, that do not use a liquid polish or polishing paste, or you can just buy some wet sandpaper. Here is what you need.

400 grit wet-dry sandpaper.
800 grit
1000 grit
1500 grit
2000 grit
denatured alcohol
water
lint free cloth or microfiber cloth
R & E Paint Supply. SEM 21013, Solaray Headlight Lens Clear Coat

You start by dry sanding most of the old yellowed clearcoat off. once most of that is gone, get the 400 grit wet, and sand again until the watery sludge that comes off turns from yellow to white. Then get the 800 grit wet, and sand with it till the headlight is even. Repeat with the wet sanding with the 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit, making sure that the paper is kept wet otherwise the paper will load up and won't sand properly.

Rinse the headlight off with water then dry it. Clean it with denatured alcohol. While the alcohol is on, it will give you a preview of what the light will look like with the clearcoat on. If part of the light is still foggy, re-sand that area at this point, then wash with water again and clean with the alcohol. Once the alcohol is drier and the lens is clean, mask off the surrounding area. Then spray the headlight with the above listed clearcoat. The clearcoat cures with UV rays, so you either need to leave it in the sun, or place it under a UV lamp. Don't drive the car until the coating cures.

This procedure ensures the headlamps are perfectly clear and will remain so for years. If your lenses are fogged, you can mess around with other bulbs all day long and still be dissappointed.

All right next, finding the right bulbs. Many people in ignorance will recommend the Silverstars. Truth is the Silverstars are a marketing hoax. They play off an optical illusion, and that is that we will always perceive a light that appears to be whiter as brighter. Truth is the Silverstars are dimmer than many conventional bulbs, but they use a filter that strips away some of the yellow light inherent with halogens to make a whiter appearance. The Silverstar Ultra on the other hand does not have this color filter. I do not have experience with the Silverstar Ultra, but I would expect it to be a better bulb than the regular Silverstar. What I do use is the Xtravision, which is brighter than most stock bulbs. A bulb I hear highly recommended is the GE Nighthawk. Don't buy any bulb that has any kind of coating on it.

The next area of improvement is providing power to the bulbs. Few people realize how much potential brightness is lost in the wiring to the headlights. With DC current like that found in a car, you loose a lot of energy with distance. The smaller the wire, the higher the resistance, and the more power is lost. Most stock wire is undersized. Then the current doesn't even flow directly to the headlights. No, it has to go all the way through two switches, one in the headlight switch, and the other in the multifunction switch. You loose more power through each switch, as evidenced by the heat that builds up in those switches when the headlights are on.

There is a relatively low cost solution, and that is to run a relay harness. Basically all that stock wire is suddenly used for one thing. Instead of powering the headlights, it will power two sets of relays, one for low and one for high. These harnesses use heavier gauge wire, which has a much lower resistance per foot, and they replace the two restrictive factory switches with high current relays. This setup alone can increase the brightness of both the low and high beams up to 30%. And using a high output bulbs is worthless if it can't get the power to reach its rated output. Relay harness kits are not difficult to install. You just have to get the ones for your kind of bulbs, and they are almost plug and play. They don't require modification of the stock wiring, all you do is plug the stock headlight connection into the harness, and then plug the harness to the two headlights. You connect the black or negative wire either to the negative terminal or to a good ground, and connect the red wire to the positive terminal. Obviously you have to route the new harness and mount the relays, but this install is pretty easy to do.

What was said above about HIDs is 100% correct. Swapping an HID bulb into a halogen housing is illegal, and the reason it is illegal is because it is unsafe, both to you the driver, and to other drivers on the road. HID conversions minimize night vision and maximize glare, especially in bad weather, all the while giving you the false perception that you can see better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys. My headlights are pretty foggy and I figured that was most of the problem. I'll definitely be cleaning and polishing the lenses in the near future. The bulbs are fairly new (less than a year) and where is a good place to find one of the harnesses? But one more thing, I have noticed that when I switch to the brights it doesn't light up an area much larger than that of the lows. Is there something to fix that or is it also due to the fact that the lenses are foggy?
 

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Harnesses are the way to go to eliminate that pesky voltage loss to the bulbs due to OEM skinny wiring and full bulb current going through the multifunction switch and headlight switch. However, those basic aftermarket harnesses do not have compatability with OEM daytime running lights which need to run the headlights through a resistor or pulse module. Those standard harnesses out there only cater to ON/OFF headlights. There's also a question if they will co-operate with Autolamp circuitry? Need to check the OEM wiring diagrams for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't have any daytime running lights... at least I don't think so. no lights are on on the outside of the vehicle during the day. there are the few little lights inside, well the radio is about the only one.
 

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Harnesses are the way to go to eliminate that pesky voltage loss to the bulbs due to OEM skinny wiring and full bulb current going through the multifunction switch and headlight switch. However, those basic aftermarket harnesses do not have compatability with OEM daytime running lights which need to run the headlights through a resistor or pulse module. Those standard harnesses out there only cater to ON/OFF headlights. There's also a question if they will co-operate with Autolamp circuitry? Need to check the OEM wiring diagrams for that.
Sorry but no. You don't have to worry about DRL or AutoLamp functions with the headlight harness. My SEL has factory AutoLamp, no issues. As there shouldn't be, the harness plugs into the harness wiring for the headlights...DRL and AutoLamp functionality are controlled elsewhere.

SUVLights.com makes a great, well made harness. 9007/HB5 is the type you need. As long as your bulbs are good, you've cleaned up the housings, the last thing to check is to make sure your car is riding at the proper height. If it's sagging in the rear moreso than the front, the headlights will aim too far down the road. You'll need to either adjust the knuckle's position on the strut and/or adjust the headlight aiming.

Welcome to the site BTW. My aunt and the rest of her family reside in Shelbyville...
 

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Are the lenses crystal clear or "fogged" over with UV damage? When was the last time the bulbs were replaced? Bulbs will dim over time before burning out completely. If neither of those are the culprit, you can try different bulbs (Like Silverstar/Silverstar Ultras).
The Sylvania Xtravisions are also a great upgrade from standard bulbs, I put them on mine with a noticable improvement. Those are only around $20 for a 2 pack at Walmart, instead of over $37 for Silverstars. My headlights have hairline cracks and pitts in them, I ordered new headlights online for mine, as I got a very good deal on them. If they don't fit the same as the oem ones do, I'll just return them. The headlamps were normally $123 each on other sites, I got them for $38 each, and I double checked the part #'s.
 
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