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Deerhurst 07-01-2014 05:40 AM

H4 Conversions and HIDs
Figured Id write something up to help out with any confusion and help make H4 conversions less of a head ache. My first time doing any sort of long writeup so, be nice!

Do you headlights look like this? These were my high beams with sealed beam headlights.

There are many many options out there. First, you need to know what kind of headlights your truck has. I believe that the 1988 and 1989 trucks were the only ones to have different headlights and a different grill that a standard 200mm headlight will not work in. I have seen these for around $60 on Amazon for a pair. They use 9004 bulbs.

They can be seen in this photo on my buddies truck in the front.

So, you dont have those headlights? Cool, that means you can use any old generic 200mm H4 conversion headlight housing.

There are two distinct beam patterns that can be found in H4 conversion headlights. DOT and E-Code. I will be neglecting on "Diamond" headlight types as I have no experience with them. If anyone knows more about them please contribute.

A DOT beam just spreads light everywhere. No real cutoff and no real beam "pattern".

Image found using google images.

E-Code tends to have a much more defined cutoff. It produces essentially a check mark of light to the passenger side of the vehicle. These headlights can be found in left hand drive and right hand drive. This check mark of light is to light road signs and the shoulder.

Image found using google images. Disregard the top pattern, it is as would be seen with DOT projectors, not reflector housings.

I personally prefer the E-Code pattern. It does good lighting the road and is also nicer than the DOT pattern to oncoming drivers. The only downside I have seen is that signs on the driver side of the road are not lit well and can be hard to see.

E-Codes with HIDs head on

I have done plenty of research on E-Code housings. Two always stand out in my research, the Hella E-Code housings and the AutoPal E-Code housings.

The Hella E-Code housings are nice. I believe they are a full glass housing and are said to have a strong cutoff. They are expensive though. They can be found for around $100 a pair. These are supposed to be DOT approved as well.

I personally use the AutoPal E-Codes. I have read that these are now DOT approved but I cannot confirm. I know mine are not. These do have a strong cutoff. Sadly I never did take a photo of the cutoff with halogen bulbs in them. They light the road well and light the shoulder well. They do not always light the drivers side signs well on low beams but if they did they would blind oncoming drivers. They are much cheaper than the Hellas yet still have full glass construction. These can be found for around $45 a pair. I purchased mine through the EBay seller rimiinc.

HIDs. Next best thing in headlight bulbs right? Yes and no.

HIDs are bright and light the road really well. Best case, they are used in projectors. HIDs in halogen housings can cause unpredictable reflection within the housing and cause light to do where you do not want it, such as the eyes of on coming drivers.

AutoPal E-Codes with 5000K 35w HIDs

Low Beam

High Beam

Know your types of HIDs.

Low only. These only have low beams. No high beam. With just be one HID bulb with nothing else. If you drive city only or mostly city you can probably get away with these.

Hi/Lo. Often you will find cheap HIDs advertised as Hi/Lo HIDs. Personally, I would avoid these. They use an HID for the low beam but a halogen bulb for the high beam. Better low bean but no real advantage with the high beam. If you drive city only or mostly city these will probably be fine.

BiXenon. These are the nice ones. HID high beam and HID low beam. The ones I have used physically move to change from low beam to high beam and back. A normal halogen has two filaments. The forward one is low beam and the back ones is highbeam. The BiXenon HID will move in and out slightly.

It is always best to ask the seller if you are unsure what type of HIDs they are.

I run DDM Tuning BiXenon HIDs. They start up quickly, are bright but do blow out my cutoffs slightly. They also make a clunk sound when shifting between high and low beams. This is the mechanism physically moving the bulb. The switch is almost instant unlike a halogen where one filament turns off the and other turns on. No moment of no light.

Installation. My experience is with the DDM Tuning HIDs, others may be different.

The DDM tuning BiXenon kit comes with two ballasts, two igniters and the Hi/Lo controller. The Hi/Lo controller handles everything and connects directly to the battery. Then it connects to each bulb. The harness also has a ground on each end at each bulb. Only one of the headlight connectors on the truck harness are used so there is a wire bundle that goes across the engine bay to the opposite headlight. The DDM Tuning directions are actually very good.

The only thing I have found wrong with them is possibly the pinout diagram for the 9000 series headlights. A 9007 is slightly different from a 9004. The pinout was wrong for the 1997 Pathfinder, 9004s if I remember right, I installed HIDs in for a family member.

For reference, may not be the same for all HID makes.

Shady 07-01-2014 02:45 PM

Another excellent brand for HIDs I have used in the past for previous vehicles is Retro-Solutions and their Digital 55w HIDs. In case someone would like another quality option on top of DDM or do some comparisons.

Great warranty, Customer service, some of the most accurate Kelvin ratings for bulbs (ex. 6000k is a cool white(very mild blue) 8000k has a medium blue hue to it but not over the top like some cheap manufacturers.

In my old RSX using 8000k bulbs (BTW i still know the guy who owns the car and the HIDs are still going strong after 6 years of use!)

Right after turn on

After warming up just a hint of blue in person (picture came out really white)

I cant seem to find the cutoff pic I had but they had a clean line for non projector and lit the road further than my buddies S2000 with OEM HIDs by about 100 feet.

As for the D21 I have a Diamond style I guess, with a city light hole, glass and metal construction. They aren't bad quality, however in heavy rain one fogs up a little. I had HIDs when I got the truck but a ballast went out on some cheapy no name brand that the guy before me bought. Literally no name. Ballast didn't even had a sticker to say any specs on them at all. Light displacement wasnt terrible however could be better.

Current bulbs are Silverstars. They produce a decent beam pattern and displacement through these housings. They are not as much of a cool white they were advertised to be and as much as I'd like. Ill see about snapping a pic tonight or tomorrow for those who just want the H4 conversion without the HIDs.

I plan on switching to the E codes in the future with the Retro Bi-Xenon kit. Whenever it makes its way more to the top of my list of restoration/modification of the truck I'll post up a review on the combo.

Should also stress that, no matter what HIDs, Housings, spotlights, candles, whatever you are using to light the road. If they are not properly adjusted you may as well have thrown money into the trash.

Proper adjustments are usually measured from the center point of the bulb in the housing(sometimes marked my a small circle on the glass) to the ground(ex. 20 inches) then park about 3 feet off a garage or wall and measure the cutoff line to ground. The legal limit stated in Florida statues is 2-3 inches lower than center line(so ideal for 20" is 17-18") Cops can actually ticket you for this also depending on your states laws.(been there)

Too low adjustment will result in the light not reaching its furthest capable point.

Too high adjustment will result in blinding oncoming traffic and not lighting the road close enough to you to see any obstructions that may be in the road.

All adjusting takes tool wise is a tape measure and a Phillips screwdriver. Any time the bulb comes out and is put back in it should be adjusted because it isn't guaranteed it will sit the same exact way every time, might be close but it can be an inch or two off on a wall.

harper 02-14-2016 03:37 PM

Great write up, but I'd like to point out a couple things.

You mentioned, "HIDs in halogen housings can cause unpredictable reflection within the housing and cause light to do where you do not want it, such as the eyes of on coming drivers," yet that is exactly what you have.

Also there is no such thing as bixenon HID bulbs. There are bixenon projectors which use a single HID bulb, but they have a cut off shield hooked up to a solenoid that flips the cut off shield 90 degrees. In the upright position the cut off shield blocks some of the light from the projector and creates the cut off the same as in your DOT pattern picture. When you turn on your high beams the solenoid flips the cut off shield down and allows all of the light to hit the road.

Example of a bixenon projector:

This is what HID should look like:

Notice how almost no light goes above the cut off.

Here's an example of a bixenon projector with low and high beams:

In your picture there is no real cut off and a lot of light is being reflected up into other drivers eyes.

Crude edit of your pic I did on my phone:
Black line is your "cut off" and the glare circled in red.

Deerhurst 02-14-2016 09:48 PM

If I remember I'll post some photos of my bixenon HID projectors. Morimoto Mini D2S with 4500k bulbs. They look nothing like that poor blurry cutoff I used to have and nothing like the blurry cutoff in your example photo. Much sharper, crisper.

What they call a bixenon HID has a shield and a solenoid that moves the bulb for low and high. Instead of moving the shield it moves the bulb away from the shield.

I never did update this. Forgot about it. I have a thread on building my headlights over into hardbody section.

Deerhurst 02-14-2016 10:15 PM

Morimoto MiniD2S with 4500K Morimoto bulbs on DDM tuning 35w ballasts and DDM hi/lo controllers. The cutoff in these only moves about 45 degrees and just drops one side of the shield.

Low beam, about 150-200 yards:

High beam:

The housing is a Pilot something cheapo plastic housing. Plastic lens since glass distorts the cutoff.

harper 02-15-2016 01:35 AM

Ah nice! I have morimoto mini h1. Wish I went with the d2s along with Osram Cool blue intense bulbs. I had made a thread when i did the retrofit, but the service i was using to host the pics shut down. And now I need new housings since the oven baked off the oem uv protection and the lenses have yellowed.

Deerhurst 02-15-2016 01:39 PM

I'd love to try some Osram Nighbreakers. Maybe some buffing and waxing can help restore your lenses.

harper 02-15-2016 01:46 PM

Aren't night breakers halogen bulbs? I buff and wax the lenses about once every 2-3 months. Getting tired of it so thinking about getting new lenses.

I want to get new projectors, but don't really need them lol. I love the square look, I wonder if trs would sell just the square lenses...

synbiotic12 02-15-2016 02:35 PM

I love this thread, much needed here with the amount of headlight talk that goes on in this forum. I personally had a set of Hi/lo HID's in my 04 frontier and once the HID bulbs started acting up and giving me only one headlight (as all HID's do in salty crap weather eventually in my opinion) I went back to halogen bulbs because of how horrible the hi-beams were (as you described above Deerhurst) The cutoff was also non-existent.

Like many others, my sealed beam headlights are JUNK and often I leave the high-beams on full-time just to see more than 10ft ahead of me. I realize that makes me that jerk, but they're that dull and I've never been "flashed" by oncoming drivers by them because they're so dim.
Because I built my custom front bumper I also have my side markers plugged into my signal light bulbs, taking away that extra little bit of light. Personally I can't justify spending ~$200 on housings and lights for this truck as I already have offroad lights tucked behind the grill. I would like to see some options for upgrading the housings to a non-sealed beam variant, that wont break the bank.
Lets see if some other people chime in with photo's of their setups, cost, where they purchased, and how they find the light works for them. Also has anybody bothered to do a headlight conversion but not opt for a HID/LED variant? I know some people don't like the blue and white headlights.

I'll post a picture just for fun, note there are 3 4" 27w LED lights mounted inside my grill, I love how it illuminates the grill from inside it looks cool but does scatter the light somewhat

Deerhurst 02-15-2016 11:48 PM

I hear people on the trs forum talking about night breakers in their minid2s all the time.

Syn, best bang for your buck will be hella or autopal ecode housings.

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