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Swapped stock headlight bulbs for LEDs.

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Mad Scientist, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Jun 2, 2018 at 5:37 PM
    #1
    Mad Scientist

    Mad Scientist [OP] Member

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    I'm thinking about swapping out my stock OEM headlight bulbs for a set of LEDs. Has anyone here done that? What do you do with the rubber boot that goes around the bulb??? Thanks!
     
  2. Jun 2, 2018 at 6:23 PM
    #2
    Kiloyard

    Kiloyard Road Warrior

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    Not recommended to use LED bulbs in the stock housings. You'll get excessive light scatter that will blind oncoming drivers. Do some reading before you buy anything:

    www.tacomaworld.com/threads/proper-headlight-upgrade.407879/
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/why-leds-should-not-be-run-in-halogen-reflectors.454371/
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/the-ultimate-headlight-upgrade-h4-not-led-or-hid.398066/
     
  3. Jun 2, 2018 at 6:25 PM
    #3
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Well-Known Member

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    Don't do it. You will lose light output.
     
  4. Jun 2, 2018 at 6:54 PM
    #4
    Sperrunner

    Sperrunner Respect the International Dibs Law

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    The cheap leds from ebay are garbage trust me ik first hand
     
  5. Jun 2, 2018 at 8:41 PM
    #5
    Seagull233

    Seagull233 Well-Known Member

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    BMW seats, OME Suspension, CBI and NWTI plates front and rear, 13,000 winch, LED light bars, Ham Radio, topper with roof rack added, stainless exhaust, 2nd battery, inverter, sound deadener
    There are some newer designed bulbs that do work pretty well in our stock housings. They have added a little "cup" to the low beam LED so that they don't scatter light upwards, blinding oncoming traffic. Here is an example, https://www.amazon.com/PrimeLED-XtremeBrite-LED-Headlight-Bulbs/dp/B074CZZFJ7/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1527996630&sr=8-2&keywords=h4+phillips+led+headlight+bulbs This is the same concept as the glare guard mod that blocked light from the LED from hitting into the lower portion of the housing. If you don't have something on this order, you will blind the bejesus out of oncoming traffic, even on low beam, and even if you have the beam directed very, very low. I did the glare guard mod on a set of Opt7 bulbs, and they are totally fine now. Without, everyone was flashing me. And they are far better than the stock bulbs, or even the Silverstars.
     
    Kiloyard likes this.
  6. Jun 2, 2018 at 8:44 PM
    #6
    Sperrunner

    Sperrunner Respect the International Dibs Law

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    The leds with that electric fan are bad annoying especially with drl because they just sit there humming away
     
  7. Jun 2, 2018 at 8:59 PM
    #7
    Seagull233

    Seagull233 Well-Known Member

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    Helps to be old and hard of hearing. Only time I notice them is once I shut the engine off before I get out. (I always leave my lights on and rely on the automatic off, when you open the door).
     
  8. Jun 2, 2018 at 11:30 PM
    #8
    branj

    branj Well-Known Member

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    I did the ultimate headlight upgrade and I am extremely pleased with the light output.i recommend the ultimate headlight upgrade
     
  9. Jun 3, 2018 at 11:24 AM
    #9
    Mad Scientist

    Mad Scientist [OP] Member

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    Sorry for asking, but what is the ultimate headlight upgrade?
     
  10. Jun 3, 2018 at 4:22 PM
    #10
    Sicyota04

    Sicyota04 Slowly but surely.

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    It's linked up above on Post#2. You should check it out.
     
  11. Jun 3, 2018 at 6:28 PM
    #11
    Kiloyard

    Kiloyard Road Warrior

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    In short, it's going to be new housings (if yours are fogged over), a new wiring harness to carry the higher current for the brighter bulbs, and high watt halogen bulbs. I did the upgrade and was happy with the results.
     
  12. Jun 4, 2018 at 2:51 PM
    #12
    jbrandt

    jbrandt ......LOADING

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    The little cups on the LEDs are just bandaid fixes for a poor design and trying to force two designs to work together that never really will. Like painting "eyelids" on the outside of your housings (another popular way to fit LEDs on your truck).

    Quite simply the LEDs produce light differently than halogens - always will. Add to this that there isn't a lot of aftermarket support for 1st gen tacos (aside from the sweet looking bro headlights that are all show and no go - and still don't work with LEDs), means our options are pretty limited. Most aftermarket companies are more concerned with the looks, than spending the time in R&D to produce a good light beam pattern with a proper cutoff.

    If your housings are fogged over, don't bother with those resto kits, the UV damage goes all the way through the lens (i.e. you won't polish that out). Get some CAPA certified housing from Rockauto, and do the ultimate upgrade mentioned already. Your other option would be a full on retrofit with HID projectors, but that can get expensive and not that easy to DIY.

    But you should also ask yourself why you want to upgrade. If it's for daily driving, do the ultimate upgrade and be done with it - they produce MORE than enough light for the roads, and don't require you to point them at your bumper to stop blinding other drivers. If it's for off-roading, get some aux LED lightbars, preferably on the roof (I know, all the poser overlanders and off-roaders have roof mounted lightbars, but they really are the best for off roading).
     
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  13. Jun 6, 2018 at 1:32 PM
    #13
    XenonDepot

    XenonDepot Well-Known Member Vendor

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    You're absolutely right - the housings are designed for a halogen so they would be best served with a halogen in place. A retrofit to another type of projector will give you better results when upgrading to HID or LED, but a quality kit can still work well in the existing housing.

    @Mad Scientist - We have a review on our site where someone used our Xtreme PRO H4 LED Headlight Kit in an FJ Cruiser. It's not a Tacoma, to be fair, but it is another Toyota H4 reflector-style housing, so maybe you can have a look at these results and see what you think.

    2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser H4 LED Kit Review

    ~Robert
     
  14. Jun 6, 2018 at 2:16 PM
    #14
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Well-Known Member

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    Agree with everything except for this, which I must say is inconclusive, BUT I sanded/polished the headlights on my mom's Acura TL and then immediately put Lamin-x clear film over the headlights, that was about 6 months ago. So far so good but time will tell.

    Also if you know how to use the oven and pry on stuff you can retrofit things fairly easily! I mean I did it... that's saying something :laugh:
     
  15. Jun 6, 2018 at 2:19 PM
    #15
    jbrandt

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    Have you compared the light beam pattern on a flat wall? Don't just look at how shiny and clear the lenses look.

    They may "look" nice, but if the UV damage goes all the way through the plastic lenses (as it usually does when it gets really fogged over), no amount of polishing will fix it.

    This is my headlights after doing the resto kit thing (twice). Absolute nonexsistant cutoff pattern.

    After replacing the housing with CAPA cert housings: Not a "perfect" cutoff, but certainly no worse than original 2004 technology.
     
  16. Jun 6, 2018 at 2:20 PM
    #16
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Well-Known Member

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    Here were the headlights after I restored them. I spent A LOT of time on them.

    BA51C45E-18C0-4B7D-A5CB-CFCE59D0AB44.jpg
    D2F9963C-297F-43EB-B44C-5E1724C7F435.jpg

    Also you're a little too close to the wall to judge cutoff. Standard is 25 feet.
     
  17. Jun 6, 2018 at 2:27 PM
    #17
    jbrandt

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    I know I was too close. I wasn't going for a certified headlight alignment. I'm the same distance in both pics. The relative difference is clear (pun intended, lol)

    My refurbished headlights looked just like that. Super clear, shiny... but the above light beam pattern shows there was no actual performance improvement - just looks...
     
  18. Jun 6, 2018 at 2:28 PM
    #18
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Well-Known Member

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    interesting. I will have to see what the beam pattern looks like next time I'm visiting. I do not recall any internal cloudiness or excessive glare though. Maybe something else in your headlights was jacked.. I've seen a handful of 1st gen Tacos with headlights that look super derpy when they are on. Not sure what was going on with them
     
  19. Jun 6, 2018 at 2:44 PM
    #19
    jbrandt

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    Yeah, my lenses looked really clear at first, too. I can't say I noticed any difference while driving at night though... Then, a few months later I noticed the fogging was coming back, and while not as bad as before, I polished them again, and the same result, they looked perfectly clear/smooth right after, but again didn't notice an improvement in night driving. It was then that I decided to scrap the idea and just get new housings.

    Those pics were from before/after pics of getting the new housings, so granted, not right after doing a polishing (not what you'd call a perfect control).

    What I suspect happens is that the polishing/coating creates a smooth enough surface to reduce the fogging that's most apparent to the eye, but that it doesn't actually do much to improve how the light from the bulb diffracts (scatters) through the entirety of the UV damaged lens, which is what affects the light beam cut-off pattern... I wish I had before and after pics of my cutoff when I polished them. oh well...

    I would say the proper way to use those polishing kits and protective coatings is to use them more as a preventative measure on new headlight lenses. That said, I waited 15 years to replace mine - I can wait another 15 and be perfectly happy not having to polish and treat my lenses every 6 months, lol...
     
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