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Headlight recommendations

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Akeela1995, Sep 20, 2023.

  1. Sep 20, 2023 at 8:35 PM
    #1
    Akeela1995

    Akeela1995 [OP] Active Member

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    Good evening everyone!
    I’m going to upgrade my headlights and looking for some recommendations!

    I like the simple stock look, however, it’s time for some LEDS. I’m also open to non stock looking ones so any recommendations are welcomed and appreciated!
    Thanks so much!

    Picture of the truck!

    996D086A-2BD7-444A-9163-2BD82EEA0F9C.jpg
     
    ztwatson likes this.
  2. Sep 20, 2023 at 9:43 PM
    #2
    ControlCar

    ControlCar Well-Known Member

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    Sugar Land TX
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    Stocker
    IMG_3438.jpg
    so these are the ones I got of fleabay
    But beware
    (Were shipped from the states)
    Good: perfect fitment/wanted white HL(not a black reflector…look stock)

    Bad: despite add stating, no high beams
    And I had to adjust HL to lowest possible level bc would blind on coming drivers
    Think they were $85
     
    Akeela1995[OP] likes this.
  3. Sep 20, 2023 at 10:34 PM
    #3
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 Vehicle Design Engineer

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    If you want LED you need to look for full SAE replacement assemblies. They will be a bit pricey for anything decent. Rigid, Trucklite, JW Speaker, KC and other quality manufactures make good units. JW specifically also makes heated LEDs that will clear snow in the winter. Most all the off-brand stuff you find on Amazon and eBay is complete garbage and often not even a legitimate headlight. Also don't fall for the scam of putting pnp LEDs in a halogen headlights assembly.

    If you are looking for the best performance possible, a simple H4 Hella assembly swap and some performance halogen bulbs will easily outperform an LED swap.
     
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    #3
  4. Sep 21, 2023 at 7:35 AM
    #4
    1 Limited Toyota

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    The various actual height of the "lit" portion of the LED bulb is generally the issue. Non standardized LED bulbs will give different patterns due to height differences vrs. reflector design. I'm no rocket scientist but I would think that would be concidered in the design.

    I guess China bulb manufacturers aren't the brightest bulb in the bunch.
     
  5. Sep 21, 2023 at 1:00 PM
    #5
    THatt

    THatt Well-Known Member

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    I put these in my 96 a couple years ago. I'm happy with them. Will need the harness/relays, those show up in "frequently bought together". Watch the video for installation on our trucks. Link to it is on the left in the pictures section.
    https://www.amazon.com/Headlights-Headlamps-Cherokee-Wrangler-Corvette/dp/B07DVJ8JLK

    [​IMG]
     
    redneck_adjacent likes this.
  6. Sep 21, 2023 at 2:01 PM
    #6
    Wulf

    Wulf no brain just damage

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    I've experimented with a few setups. First I ran h4 housings with Hella bulbs and a few others. I recently installed AUXBEAM full replacement LED headlights which are supposed to be DOT approved I am pretty happy with the light output. There are some pics below, you can see that the Auxbeams put out a lot of light and have a pretty wide spread pattern. Night driving is MUCH better

     
  7. Sep 21, 2023 at 6:20 PM
    #7
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 Vehicle Design Engineer

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    It isn't possible to replicate a halogen bulb using an LED. Like zero chance of actually working correctly with todays LED technology.

    Those have optics styles to potentially produce a complaint beam pattern. Shouldn't need a relayed harness though, those will draw less power than the stock halogens. The lumen output is of course a laughable over claim.
     
    Madjik_Man likes this.
  8. Sep 21, 2023 at 10:45 PM
    #8
    Laxtoy

    Laxtoy Dog is my backseat driver

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    Retrofits, arguably (with myself) the best mod I’ve done IMG_4993.jpg
     
  9. Sep 21, 2023 at 11:01 PM
    #9
    Dalandser

    Dalandser ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    With the 95-97 multi vehicle fit cube headlights you have a lot of cheap options with the led replacement housings that 98-04 don’t get, similar to such few options on my wife’s 97 4runner which has lenses that you can’t even use to retrofit. For that reason I’d have to buy new housings and retrofit them. I’d rather spend money on these.

    https://www.bajadesigns.com/product...cQ78Dn3SAWtjHvbvcUWBS1enlDh9lMUoaAjD8EALw_wcB
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
    Baja Designs likes this.
  10. Sep 22, 2023 at 7:20 AM
    #10
    vern650

    vern650 Well-Known Member

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    I just bought some glass housings off Amazon that accept replaceable bulbs for my 97. Then I bought slightly higher end bulbs to put in them. If you live in a snowy area, like mentioned by someone above, unless you buy high end heated leds, you will get snow building up on your led lights every time you drive in a snow storm.
     
    Dalandser likes this.
  11. Sep 22, 2023 at 8:21 AM
    #11
    Dalandser

    Dalandser ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    Time to scavenge junk yards for old Scandinavian and British cars that had the little headlight wipers.
     
  12. Sep 22, 2023 at 8:55 AM
    #12
    THatt

    THatt Well-Known Member

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    Harness wasn't for amp draw. Something about neutral and high low beam switching on older toyotas specifically, can't recall exactly since it's been a couple years. They are several times brighter on low beams than the original halogens on high. The cut off on the beam pattern was the real plus IMO. Low beams throw a fairly sharp rectangular pattern, high beams throw a square pattern and way, way out there. I researched a little when I bought these, price and reviews were factors for trying. Happy enough with them I don't think I will trying any others anytime soon but I ain't overly picky. Am sure there are probably better stuff out there.
    https://www.amazon.com/Headlights-Headlamps-Cherokee-Wrangler-Corvette/dp/B07DVJ8JLK
     
  13. Sep 22, 2023 at 9:54 AM
    #13
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Ah, most 1st Gens and earlier are ground switched. 2nd Gens and later are traditional power switched. The LEDs must not be compatible with the ground switched grounding and use a relay harness to convert it to conventional power switched that has constant ground.
     
    Wulf likes this.
  14. Sep 22, 2023 at 7:49 PM
    #14
    Dalandser

    Dalandser ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    Is there a way to make a similar harness to activate lights such as fog lights or pods with an adequate cut off for public road use and also have the stock headlights receive power as well?

    To make it clear, I’m interested in finding a way to have my sae Baja Designs come on with the headlights from the headlight switch. I can add a rocker switch no problem but I’d like it to fix the poor output from the stock headlights and not have my wife have to remember to turn on the additional rocker switch.

    It’s mainly because living in LA, the streets are super well lit to the point where some people forget to turn their lights on at all and I think my wife might forget to put on the BD’s but then get on the freeway where they’d be much more useful and not realize they’re off.
     
  15. Sep 22, 2023 at 9:26 PM
    #15
    Tline155

    Tline155 Member

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    Sorry to Hyjack - i too want some hew headlights, but can I ask what Lift you are running in that pic - thats the stance i want in the future
     
  16. Sep 22, 2023 at 9:56 PM
    #16
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Sure. You'd just need to tap fog power off the headlight power circuit and run it to the fogs with a way to interrupt the power with an additional switch so you don't run the fogs full time.
     
  17. Sep 23, 2023 at 8:06 AM
    #17
    bill97024

    bill97024 Member

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    This and an upgraded headlight wiring harness from here https://www.headlightservices.com/index.html to eliminate the voltage drop in the stock wiring and you'll have a very bright headlight setup. I've done this on an '88 and '99 with very good results. There's a headlight thread around here somewhere with some before and after photos showing the improvement with just this simple upgrade. I ran Hella H4's on my 88 and I run the Volsa H4's in my 99's stock headlight housings with the wiring harness upgrade and it is night and day over stock...literally.
     
    crashnburn80[QUOTED] likes this.
  18. Sep 23, 2023 at 10:43 AM
    #18
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 Vehicle Design Engineer

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    There is this thread, and the 1st gen version of it.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/the-ultimate-headlight-upgrade-h4-not-led-or-hid.398066/
     
    bill97024[QUOTED] likes this.
  19. Sep 25, 2023 at 3:08 AM
    #19
    1 Limited Toyota

    1 Limited Toyota ISO XRunner body kit complete or pieces

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    I bought a USC Spray Max 2k clear with plans to use it on my new set of Tacoma lens'. I was having my sienna hood repainted so I went ahead and had them clear coated instead

    Paid $35
    sell for $25 shipped - Venmo
     
  20. Sep 25, 2023 at 10:01 AM
    #20
    redneck_adjacent

    redneck_adjacent Well-Known Member

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    JW Speaker 8910 Evo 2.

    I have them on my truck.

    They are not cheap; however, they are fabulous.

    I learned about these lights by reading through trucker forums. To me, the headlight question has the same problem as the tire question. Namely, brand loyalty, surreptitious marketing, and unqualified opinion run rampant. It behooves consumers to seek out unbiased, educated opinions. Truckers seemed like that source to me.

    Anyway, check them out!
     

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