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Anyone know of a good "HID 101?"

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Old 09-23-2011, 02:20 PM   #1
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Anyone know of a good "HID 101?"

I would really like to upgrade the lighting on my 2011 DC TRD Sport. I have been lurking around a few HID forums and haven't come across a good primer or tutorial on the basics of HID. I also have a few questions specific to HID's as it applies to a 2011 Taco. If you know any good tutorials, or can provide any answers/insights to the following list of questions, it would be greatly appreciated. My overall objective here is to improve lighting for off-roading. I could care less how "cool" or "not cool" it looks. Eventually I will probably put a nice big steel bumper on with a couple of extra lights, but until then I just want to get the most out of the stock config. Being primarily a work truck, I want to keep most of my mods as stock/incognito as possible for the time being.

1. I am told that there is a big difference between just putting in ballasts and lamps and installing a complete set up that includes lenses and reflectors designed to focus the light from an HID properly. Any real truth to this? How is the stock Taco lens/relector assembly in this regard? Obviously the price difference would be huge, but are the stock Taco headlight and fog light assemblies pretty decent? From what I have heard, a typical bulb/ballast kit will put out incredible light, but because it isn't focused properly, the distance is not great and the annoyance to other drivers can be severe.
2. I have also seen a lot of discussion about 35W vs. 45W vs. 55W. Obviously I want the brightest light for off-roading purposes, but don't want to be blinding other drivers. I assume these systems still operate high-low beam?? So if I put in a 55W system, how bright is low beam, compared to typical halogen low beams? Does anyone make a tri-beam system?? That would be super cool....
3. What brands are proven reliable? I have heard some of the cheaper kits are pretty problematic. I want rock-solid reliability and willing to pay more to get it.
4. What color temp is best for off-roading? Visibility of obstacles and being able to discern variations in terrain would be the main consideration.
5. I have done the foglights anytime mod and would be swapping the fogs out as well. I think I would go all the same color temp for off-roading purposes, but for actual fog is there another color temp that would work better and should I consider a second set of bulbs for the fogs for seasonal/on-road use?
6. My other thought was if I put in a super bright set in the headlights, instead of switching to low-beams when approaching other cars (which still might be pretty blinding), I could switch off the headlights all together when approaching other cars and rely on the fogs alone which are mounted so much lower they would be less of a problem for other drivers. If I put a good set of HIDS in the fog lights, I would probably get sufficient coverage to not even need the headlights when approaching other cars.... maybe???

I know, that is a lot of questions for one post, but maybe there are others out there that have a lot of the same questions.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:43 PM   #2
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I honestly am not a fan, of HID's for on road use but ill try to answer some of your questions. I had them in my 2nd gen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbkfan View Post
I would really like to upgrade the lighting on my 2011 DC TRD Sport. I have been lurking around a few HID forums and haven't come across a good primer or tutorial on the basics of HID. I also have a few questions specific to HID's as it applies to a 2011 Taco. If you know any good tutorials, or can provide any answers/insights to the following list of questions, it would be greatly appreciated. My overall objective here is to improve lighting for off-roading. I could care less how "cool" or "not cool" it looks. Eventually I will probably put a nice big steel bumper on with a couple of extra lights, but until then I just want to get the most out of the stock config. Being primarily a work truck, I want to keep most of my mods as stock/incognito as possible for the time being.

1. I am told that there is a big difference between just putting in ballasts and lamps and installing a complete set up that includes lenses and reflectors designed to focus the light from an HID properly. Any real truth to this? How is the stock Taco lens/relector assembly in this regard? Obviously the price difference would be huge, but are the stock Taco headlight and fog light assemblies pretty decent? From what I have heard, a typical bulb/ballast kit will put out incredible light, but because it isn't focused properly, the distance is not great and the annoyance to other drivers can be severe.
With just balasts and lamps, youll get a lot of light shining in other drivers eyes. Doing a full retro with lenses allows you to have a "cut off" where there will be no stray light blinding other drivers.
2. I have also seen a lot of discussion about 35W vs. 45W vs. 55W. Obviously I want the brightest light for off-roading purposes, but don't want to be blinding other drivers. I assume these systems still operate high-low beam?? So if I put in a 55W system, how bright is low beam, compared to typical halogen low beams? Does anyone make a tri-beam system?? That would be super cool....
I would stick with 35w. 55w is more for off road, and will be way to bright and overkill for on road use.
3. What brands are proven reliable? I have heard some of the cheaper kits are pretty problematic. I want rock-solid reliability and willing to pay more to get it.
the big names on the forum are DDM tuning, and slimcubby. DDM will take a while to recieve after ordering but come with a lifetime warranty. Slimcubby is a member, quick, but i believe only a 2 year warranty.
4. What color temp is best for off-roading? Visibility of obstacles and being able to discern variations in terrain would be the main consideration.
5000k, 6000k, 4300k, those are the closest to natural light so will have the most light ouput.
5. I have done the foglights anytime mod and would be swapping the fogs out as well. I think I would go all the same color temp for off-roading purposes, but for actual fog is there another color temp that would work better and should I consider a second set of bulbs for the fogs for seasonal/on-road use?
if anything 2000k, or whatever the yellow is.
6. My other thought was if I put in a super bright set in the headlights, instead of switching to low-beams when approaching other cars (which still might be pretty blinding), I could switch off the headlights all together when approaching other cars and rely on the fogs alone which are mounted so much lower they would be less of a problem for other drivers. If I put a good set of HIDS in the fog lights, I would probably get sufficient coverage to not even need the headlights when approaching other cars.... maybe???
Fog lights put out more stray light and have no reflectors to attempt to aim light below a certain point, so they are more annoying to other drivers.
I know, that is a lot of questions for one post, but maybe there are others out there that have a lot of the same questions.
maby someone will correct me on some things
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpack_5150 View Post
surprising thats it for 60+ views
haha probablly too many questions to answer, or too much to read. People probablly just open, go "ok. nevermind" and on to the next thread.
I had some time to kill so i didnt mind taking the time to answer.
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:58 PM   #4
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FWIW, yellow is 3000k (I guess 2000k would be yellow too but I don't know if they sell those for our application). I am getting mine (fogs only) in a few days and will try to remember to post about my experience driving with them. I hope they don't blind other drivers because I use the fog light anytime mod as my DRLs.

I agree with the other guys about the headlights needing to be projector type to really be effective. I don't plan on converting mine if the fogs do well.

Didn't know that info about the HIDs being illegal. I learn something new everyday.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FY01CPO View Post
FWIW, yellow is 3000k (I guess 2000k would be yellow too but I don't know if they sell those for our application). I am getting mine (fogs only) in a few days and will try to remember to post about my experience driving with them. I hope they don't blind other drivers because I use the fog light anytime mod as my DRLs.

I agree with the other guys about the headlights needing to be projector type to really be effective. I don't plan on converting mine if the fogs do well.

Didn't know that info about the HIDs being illegal. I learn something new everyday.
I'd really like to hear how they work out for you. What wattage are you putting in? I'd be most interested in how effective they are for off-road use. How much more light do they give you on the trail at night? To me just changing the fogs might be the way to go if you can get super bright ones in the fogs, that way you can just not use them on road, or switch them off when approaching other traffic.

I can see what others are saying about just throwing bulbs in without changing the whole housing. My question is, if I were to go with 35W in the main headlights, would that be a severe nuisance to other drivers when on lo-beam? And then when switched to hi-beam, will I get more distance and overall light output than that of a good halogen for off road purposes? There would be no point in switching to 35W if it is not a significant upgrade from standard halogens. If that were the case, I would just stick with switching the fogs only.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbkfan View Post
I'd really like to hear how they work out for you. What wattage are you putting in? I'd be most interested in how effective they are for off-road use. How much more light do they give you on the trail at night? To me just changing the fogs might be the way to go if you can get super bright ones in the fogs, that way you can just not use them on road, or switch them off when approaching other traffic.

I can see what others are saying about just throwing bulbs in without changing the whole housing. My question is, if I were to go with 35W in the main headlights, would that be a severe nuisance to other drivers when on lo-beam? And then when switched to hi-beam, will I get more distance and overall light output than that of a good halogen for off road purposes? There would be no point in switching to 35W if it is not a significant upgrade from standard halogens. If that were the case, I would just stick with switching the fogs only.
They are supposed to arrive here this week. I will be sure to let you know how they are and will post pics. I think they are the 35W ones. They got good reviews on Amazon. I could have used them last week when the fog was pretty thick. I had to turn off my headlights one time because even in lo-beam, they were reflecting back pretty bad.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:39 PM   #7
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http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/lig...e-posting.html
Only thing I can offer. And 35w 4000k are the best light's I've seen and they are on a Scion TC.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:48 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=Warhorseforever;3778219]http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/lig...e-posting.html
QUOTE]

Thanks. That was the kind of "HID 101" I was looking for.

In that thread it says that most people do a low-beam conversion. To me that would be the "irritating to other drivers" approach since low-beam is what we switch to when other cars are approaching. Isn't that approach totally ass-backwards??? (I guess its the way to go if you are just trying to look cool)

Why wouldn't a guy change the high-beams to HID? The only times I want super bright, massive flood, long-distance lighting are when I am:

1) Off roading - no oncoming motorists to consider
2) When I am on a dark deserted highway with no oncoming traffic

In situation 2, when a car comes over the hill, I automatically switch to low-beam. So If I were to do a low-beam conversion as has been suggested, I would switch from high-beam halogens, to low-beam HID's. Thats like switching from high-output to even higher output... That would piss some people of now wouldn't it.

So here is what I am thinking, feel free to blast holes in it:

1) Switch my fogs to the highest wattage HID's I can get my hands on.
2) Get two sets of bulbs for the fogs. One at around 4K for good weather and a set of 2K for fog and bad weather.
3) Switch my headlight high-beams to the highest wattage HID's I can find at about 4K.
4) Leave the low-beams as they are - stock.

This way I don't cause trouble for fellow motorists since when I am sharing the road with others, I run low-beams. No harm, no foul. When I am all alone on a dark road, I turn on the fogs and the high-beam HID's and light up my world, nobody is there to complain. Same situation when I am on a trail at night with nobody up ahead, light em up!

Does this not make sense and possibly be a good alternative to adding light bars at this point? I mean, down the road, when this truck becomes more of a toy and less of a daily work vehicle, I will probably add a wicked steel bumper and light bar, but for now, I could keep the stock look, but get way more light output for my off-road adventuring.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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Thanks. That was the kind of "HID 101" I was looking for.

In that thread it says that most people do a low-beam conversion. To me that would be the "irritating to other drivers" approach since low-beam is what we switch to when other cars are approaching. Isn't that approach totally ass-backwards??? (I guess its the way to go if you are just trying to look cool)

Why wouldn't a guy change the high-beams to HID? The only times I want super bright, massive flood, long-distance lighting are when I am:

1) Off roading - no oncoming motorists to consider
2) When I am on a dark deserted highway with no oncoming traffic

In situation 2, when a car comes over the hill, I automatically switch to low-beam. So If I were to do a low-beam conversion as has been suggested, I would switch from high-beam halogens, to low-beam HID's. Thats like switching from high-output to even higher output... That would piss some people off now wouldn't it?

So here is what I am thinking, feel free to blast holes in my logic:

1) Switch my fogs to the highest wattage HID's I can get my hands on.
2) Get two sets of bulbs for the fogs. One at around 4K for good weather and a set of 2K for fog and bad weather.
3) Switch my headlight high-beams to the highest wattage HID's I can find at about 4K.
4) Leave the low-beams as they are - stock.

This way I don't cause trouble for fellow motorists since when I am sharing the road with others, I run low-beams. No harm, no foul. When I am all alone on a dark road, I turn on the fog and the high-beam HID's and light up my world, nobody is there to complain. Same situation when I am on a trail at night with nobody up ahead, light em up!

Does this not make sense and possibly be a good alternative to adding light bars at this point? I mean, down the road, when this truck becomes more of a toy and less of a daily work vehicle, I will probably add a wicked steel bumper and light bar, but for now, I could keep the stock look, but get way more light output for my off-road adventuring and not become a nusiance on the road while doing so.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:52 PM   #10
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Prologue to my previous post...

I don't see a way to do a high beam only conversion on a taco.

So my modified plan is to just change the fogs to the brightest HID's I can find so I can use them in select situations when other drivers won't be affected. If I do go with a 45W conversion for the main headlights, is the low beam, that bad??
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:21 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=tbkfan;3779036]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warhorseforever View Post
http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/lig...e-posting.html
QUOTE]

Thanks. That was the kind of "HID 101" I was looking for.

In that thread it says that most people do a low-beam conversion. To me that would be the "irritating to other drivers" approach since low-beam is what we switch to when other cars are approaching. Isn't that approach totally ass-backwards??? (I guess its the way to go if you are just trying to look cool)

Why wouldn't a guy change the high-beams to HID? The only times I want super bright, massive flood, long-distance lighting are when I am:

1) Off roading - no oncoming motorists to consider
2) When I am on a dark deserted highway with no oncoming traffic

In situation 2, when a car comes over the hill, I automatically switch to low-beam. So If I were to do a low-beam conversion as has been suggested, I would switch from high-beam halogens, to low-beam HID's. Thats like switching from high-output to even higher output... That would piss some people of now wouldn't it.

So here is what I am thinking, feel free to blast holes in it:

1) Switch my fogs to the highest wattage HID's I can get my hands on.
2) Get two sets of bulbs for the fogs. One at around 4K for good weather and a set of 2K for fog and bad weather.
3) Switch my headlight high-beams to the highest wattage HID's I can find at about 4K.
4) Leave the low-beams as they are - stock.

This way I don't cause trouble for fellow motorists since when I am sharing the road with others, I run low-beams. No harm, no foul. When I am all alone on a dark road, I turn on the fogs and the high-beam HID's and light up my world, nobody is there to complain. Same situation when I am on a trail at night with nobody up ahead, light em up!

Does this not make sense and possibly be a good alternative to adding light bars at this point? I mean, down the road, when this truck becomes more of a toy and less of a daily work vehicle, I will probably add a wicked steel bumper and light bar, but for now, I could keep the stock look, but get way more light output for my off-road adventuring.
IDK about you 2nd gen's but my '01 only has one bulb that functions as H and L. I couldn't tell you much about the lighting as I'm in the same boat as you, I drive at night a good bit in deep south, rural, middle of nowhere, roads with more deer than you care to count. I've had about 30 near misses with deer in the 5 months I've had mine, so I want to do an hid conversion on mine to prevent this. My friend with the TC need to be driven home and I was the only one who knew how to drive a stick that could drive, so I drove him in his tc, now my lights just don't cut it.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:46 PM   #12
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I think the reason for low beam only option is that HID at low beam is still way more light than halogens on high beam and low beam combined. You just have to remember to not switch to highs, as there is nothing there anymore!

Other options I have seen:

1) HID low with a halogen high bulb. You don't want a HID high bulb because HID takes like 15-30 seconds to achieve max. brightness. Halogen bulbs are instant on, don't need to 'warm-up'.

2) Bi-Xenon bulb with a moving part that changes the focus point of the light to go into the high beam section of the lens.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:43 PM   #13
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The only HID parts that are really "reliable" are the OEM makers, including bulbs.

Putting HID kits in halogen housings is... ugh, nevermind.
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