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The Big Cheese
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:54 pm    Post subject: LED Headlights Reply with quote

I'm looking for good quality / inexpensive round 7" LED Headlights for an 85 Vanagon. Does anyone have recommendations?
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newerwesty1987
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:56 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

The Big Cheese wrote:
good quality/inexpensive


There's your problem.
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kourt
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:17 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

I agree with the above post: good quality and inexpensive are mutually exclusive.

Read this post:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9160211#9160211

You get what you pay for. I would expect to pay at least $500 for quality LEDs.

kourt
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The Big Cheese
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

kourt wrote:
I agree with the above post: good quality and inexpensive are mutually exclusive.

Read this post:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9160211#9160211

You get what you pay for. I would expect to pay at least $500 for quality LEDs.

kourt


Noted -- All LEDs under $500 are not quality : P
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erste
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:33 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

LX-LIGHT 7'' Round Black Cree LED

I bought these 1.5 years ago and they're fine. They replaced relayed H4s. I'm not into the look or the blue tint of LED headlights, but they were a vast improvement over the H4s so I kept them. I expected to be disappointed by these but they're a good value imo. Long term, who knows?

Follow Daniel Stern's steps to aim them.

This comparison video might be helpful.

Link


I'd like to find a stockish (clear) 7" round LED headlight but they're all so garish and murdered out for the jeep dudes. I'm also hoping we'll get warm LED headlights at some point. That would be nice.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

I don't have a set but was doing some research recently and my conclusion is that at $240 a pair, the GE headlights (re-branded truck lites) appear to be the best value for actual DOT compliant/lab tested LEDs


https://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-Lighting-69821-Night.../836223363
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

I tried all the various ways to make my square beams work well. Had all sort of disappointments there. I gave up and put a south african grill on with Vision X 7" and my own modified philips led bulbs in the 5" and added yellow lens. The VisionX are very good lights cost abit but I have never had to think about Headlights again.
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jlrftype7
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

I like my Trucklites, I probably over paid for them but they work well enough for the price and the beam focusing.
Are they as nice as either one of our Mini Coopers that have LED headlights,,,no Razz
But, they fit with zero modification or adapters.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:19 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

The other thing i should say is the Halo on the Vision x which I hooked up on a separate switch so as to not attract attention when I didn't want too, also worked out to be perfect as driving lights in campgrounds and other low light areas. They work well as twilight lights for setting up a camp site as well. No reason any other brand with a Halo would not work in these applications as well.
Just have to wire the Halo
on a separate switch.
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TBay84
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

Try the theretrofitsource.com. They sell various sealed 7” led lights. I’m not sure if they still have the Morimoto 7” led lights, but I do remember seeing some on sale to closeout their stock. Usually they have a 2 year warranty, just email them and they’ll tell you to cut the wires, send them a pic, then they’ll ship you a replacement.

I’ve had mixed success with the Morimoto brand, on my 2013 F150, I replaced the stock halogen lights with the HID headlight housing, installed a better projector lens with a better cutoff and installed 55w HID’s. The control relay tends to need replacement every year ($30, but it’s easier for me to just buy a new one then install it vs. going through warranty and not being able to drive my truck for work just bc one headlight is out and you need to prove that you destroyed the control relay before they send you a replacement) and I have to keep on top of checking the ground wires on the ballast. I still have the original HID bulbs installed from 5 years ago when I did the conversion. I’ve also installed their fog lights into my truck and have had no issues for the 4 years they have been on there (I drive about 45,000 kms/yr with temperatures going as low as -50 C where I am).

I also installed their (still Morinoto) LED bulbs in my wife’s car 4 years ago (2015 Mazda 5, low beams are projector lenses so there’s no issues with light diffusing everywhere). They are probably the best upgrade to that car since the headlights (low and high) just have a very clear cutoff. If someone sells 7” headlight housing with a good projector then I’d probably convert my headlights to those LED bulbs. Only issue would be the extra space needed behind the light housing for the fan.

EDIT:

I checked out theretrofitsource.com website. They have the Sealed7 ver 1.0 Bi-LED headlight for sale at $75/light (under the closeout tab), it was replaced by the Sealed7 ver 2.0 which retails for about $250/light. The review from the youtube video posted earlier shows that the Sealed7 2.0 compares pretty well to all the more expensive JW LED's ($350-600/light). With the Sealed7 1.0, I can't guarantee if the warranty will still be honoured, you will want to double check and get it in writing if they will cover any defects.

The Hella DOT 7" (with 55w bulbs) sell for $60/each on GoWesty and Busdepot (got mine from 4wheelparts.ca for $54 Canadian during their 10% off Labour Day weekend sale, so it ended up being about $40 cheaper after the exchange rate for the pair and I didn't have to drive to the border to pick it up). For $75 I don't think you can go wrong with the Morimoto Sealed7 1.0's.
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The Big Cheese
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:41 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

erste wrote:
LX-LIGHT 7'' Round Black Cree LED

I bought these 1.5 years ago and they're fine. They replaced relayed H4s. I'm not into the look or the blue tint of LED headlights, but they were a vast improvement over the H4s so I kept them. I expected to be disappointed by these but they're a good value imo. Long term, who knows?

Follow Daniel Stern's steps to aim them.

This comparison video might be helpful.

Link


I'd like to find a stockish (clear) 7" round LED headlight but they're all so garish and murdered out for the jeep dudes. I'm also hoping we'll get warm LED headlights at some point. That would be nice.


Thanks for the recommendation. I may purchase these until I feel like spending more $. Did you run into an issues while installing them?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:23 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

If cost is a factor, LED's are not the way to go. The technology is not mature yet. Good LED retrofit kits are expensive, and cheap ones are not good. They have serious problems with beam control, reliability, and QC. That will change in time. But for now, going LED is like buying a flat-screen TV back when decent ones were still $2000. Just a few years later you could buy a name brand for $399 that blew away that old $2000 model.

The bottom line is the performance, not what technology it uses. There are good halogen systems, HID systems, and LED systems ... and crappy ones. A good Consumer Reports article came out about this just a few weeks ago and it's worth a read. See https://www.consumerreports.org/headlights/led-hea...dvantages/

At this time the best bang for the buck on a Vanagon is still halogen. If you have round headlights, you can get a top quality name brand E-code setup for roughly $100 - much cheaper than any decent LED setup. The key is the headlamps themselves, because the bulb is limited by the lens that it shines through. A good pair of Hella E-code headlamps, German high-output 90/100 watt bulbs, and relays to shorten the signal path and deliver the maximum punch will set you back all of $119 - see http://www.busdepot.com/VISIONKIT1. (Note, these are actual European spec Hellas, not the ones mentioned before that GW sells.) That combo will easily hold its own to LED setups that are 2-3 times the price, without blinding oncoming traffic because the beam pattern is properly focused. Also it accepts any H4 size bulb - LED or not - so when LED technology improves it is already future-ready, just swap out the bulbs. If you have square headlights you'll pay a couple hundred bucks more - see http://www.busdepot.com/255941105kit - but will see the same improvement.
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The Big Cheese
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:12 am    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

Busdepot wrote:
If cost is a factor, LED's are not the way to go. The technology is not mature yet. Good LED retrofit kits are expensive, and cheap ones are not good. They have serious problems with beam control, reliability, and QC. That will change in time. But for now, going LED is like buying a flat-screen TV back when decent ones were still $2000. Just a few years later you could buy a name brand for $399 that blew away that old $2000 model.

The bottom line is the performance, not what technology it uses. There are good halogen systems, HID systems, and LED systems ... and crappy ones. A good Consumer Reports article came out about this just a few weeks ago and it's worth a read. See https://www.consumerreports.org/headlights/led-hea...dvantages/

At this time the best bang for the buck on a Vanagon is still halogen. If you have round headlights, you can get a top quality name brand E-code setup for roughly $100 - much cheaper than any decent LED setup. The key is the headlamps themselves, because the bulb is limited by the lens that it shines through. A good pair of Hella E-code headlamps, German high-output 90/100 watt bulbs, and relays to shorten the signal path and deliver the maximum punch will set you back all of $119 - see http://www.busdepot.com/VISIONKIT1. (Note, these are actual European spec Hellas, not the ones mentioned before that GW sells.) That combo will easily hold its own to LED setups that are 2-3 times the price, without blinding oncoming traffic because the beam pattern is properly focused. Also it accepts any H4 size bulb - LED or not - so when LED technology improves it is already future-ready, just swap out the bulbs. If you have square headlights you'll pay a couple hundred bucks more - see http://www.busdepot.com/255941105kit - but will see the same improvement.


I appreciate the response. I decided to go with the E-code setup -- much better than my stock 85 setup and much cheaper than LEDs.
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markswagen
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:36 am    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

I use auxbeam LEDs for H4 and the square headlamps, I buy from Amazon.com
About $55 a pair, I've put them on 20 plus vans, all 4 of our vanagon us have them, no one I know of has been unhappy with the upgrade.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

Here is a link to an article summing up the current state of LED Headlamps.

https://jalopnik.com/why-most-led-headlight-upgrades-dont-really-work-an-ex-1843070472

Normally Jalopnik is pretty slim on details, but the linked article is an in depth conversation with Daniel Stern who was moved to communicate with the Jalopnik author regarding his prior posts on the topic of LED Headlights because he "felt compelled to reach out to me explain how grossly underinformed I was."

The resulting back and forth is an excellent explainer on the current state of the art in LED Headlighting.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:15 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

Hallelujah!
Daniel Stern explained it in that article far better than I could. The summary:
Quote:
The (LED) products presently on the market are not close to acceptable; there are still some very substantial technical hurdles to overcome... but eventually, there will be legitimate products of this kind. It’s hard to wait (believe me, I know!) but the ones on the market now just don’t cut it, no matter whose name is on the box and what promises and claims are made."

Exactly what I've been saying all along - newer isn't always better and LED's just aren't ready for prime time yet.
Despite all the LED hype, your best bet, in terms of performance AND cost, is E-code headlights and good H4 bulbs, optimally with relays.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:22 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

I get so angry when I am blinded by some half with who installed led bulbs in a halogen reflector with fogged plastic lenses.

I see this so often at night walking my dog, some brotruck lighting up the treetops but little light on the road ahead, or some late 90s japanese vehicle with tin can exhaust with blue lights aimed so far down to be worthless and zero usable light on the road ahead of them.

Much to my surprise I saw an older model Ford Pickup with obvious LEDs by the color, but was not blinded by them as they approached, and he passed well below me and I was able to see the beam pattern on the road ahead of him from well above, and it looked quite good, much to my surprise.

In the linked articl Stern mentions the ford pickup as an example of one of the few leds retrofits which actually work with the reflector properly.

Back in Early June there was an article about how some cops got all P'O ed at some driver for not lowering their high beams as he approached,and they pulled hum out of the vehicle and beat him all up for resisting. Its likely he did not have his high beams on, but just had LED bulbs in halogen housings, whose glare can be worse than a vehicle with high beams on in opposing lane.

No purchaser of LED bulbs, other than those by Trucklite or JWspeaker, ever will admit their purchase was unwise. The Jalopnik article will change few opinions, unfortunately, as arrogance combined with ignorance, has become something people apparently aspire to in their quest to portray themselves as victims in their next fakebook/social media posting.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:02 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

In different vans I have used the stock halogens, I have added relays, I have added relays plus e-code H4 7" rounds, I have used higher wattage bulbs in the e-code H4's, and I have installed the following 7" round LED's:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074T7JS1L/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Those LED's are hands down the best lighting of all that I have tried. Markedly better than the e-code H4's with relays and higher wattage bulbs. I adjusted them per the Daniel Stern specs and have never had anyone in oncoming traffic flash their high beams at me telling me they are overly bright. I also installed them in my '79 Rabbit with similar results. Highly recommended. One of the best bang for buck upgrades I have ever done.
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erste
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

Busdepot wrote:
Hallelujah!
Daniel Stern explained it in that article far better than I could. The summary:
Quote:
The (LED) products presently on the market are not close to acceptable; there are still some very substantial technical hurdles to overcome... but eventually, there will be legitimate products of this kind. It’s hard to wait (believe me, I know!) but the ones on the market now just don’t cut it, no matter whose name is on the box and what promises and claims are made."

Exactly what I've been saying all along - newer isn't always better and LED's just aren't ready for prime time yet.
Despite all the LED hype, your best bet, in terms of performance AND cost, is E-code headlights and good H4 bulbs, optimally with relays.

Seems to me he’s talking about drop in LED bulbs, not replacement housings. Previous paragraph gives more context.
Full quote (my emphasis in bold):
Quote:
“There are technical working groups worldwide (SAE in America, GTB in Europe/Asia) actively working to develop a technical standard for LED retrofit bulbs to replace halogen bulbs in headlamps, fog lamps, and other such,” Stern told me, as member of such groups himself.

As for the current state of technology, Stern says: “Unlike ‘HID kits’ where there is no possibility of optical compatibility, that possibility does theoretically exist with LEDs. The products presently on the market are not close to acceptable; there are still some very substantial technical hurdles to overcome... but eventually, there will be legitimate products of this kind.”

It’s disingenuous to apply that to ALL aftermarket LED options.

Vanagons with 7” round lights can use the new LED 7” rounds being sold for Jeeps, as mentioned earlier in this thread. Relevant portion of the article regarding LED lights that replace the entire housing (NOT drop in bulbs):
Quote:
What about LED upgrades that change out the whole housing?

Older cars and Jeeps with sealed-beam lights might, somewhat ironically, be in a better position when it comes to LED headlight retrofits in the current technological ecosystem.

If you’re replacing the bulb and housing, I asked Stern, wouldn’t you be able to get a good LED retrofit with today’s tech? His response:

“The concept is correct—this is the right way to do it, an LED headlamp engineered, designed, constructed, tested, and certified/approved as such. There are excellent ones on the market, and of course also a great deal of junk. The king daddy of them all [at the time of publication] is the JW Speaker 8700 Evolution-J3, which brings almost Star Trek-level technology to the old seven-inch round headlamp format.”

Stern also shouted out the “JWS 8700 Evo 2” as a good option one step down, and “another step or two down from there, [is] the Peterson Manufacturing 701C (in Peterson or Sylvania Zevo packaging — same lamp) and the Truck-Lite units are reasonably good with or without heated lens.”

JW Speaker was cited as the optimal choice right now for rectangular sealed-beam retrofits too and “Truck-Lite also makes respectable lamps in this size.”

There are decent 7” replacement LED lights available (linked earlier in the thread and above by ?Waldo?), for not a lot of money. I say “decent” only because I haven’t personally compared them to the JWSpeaker / Trucklite / Peterson offerings. They’re pretty darn good. Solid value and light output is better than relayed H4s when aimed correctly. Saying this tech is hype and not ready for prime time is absurd imho. I haven’t personally used drop in LED headlamp bulbs but would agree with Stern on those points. Luckily for round light vanagons there are better 7” LED housing options.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:29 am    Post subject: Re: LED Headlights Reply with quote

LED replacement bulbs suck. Replacing the whole housing is excellent. It is an outstanding upgrade. My street e30 has OEM projector headlights and HIDs, this was a great upgrade over halogen. My dirt e30 has LED housing replacements (5 3/4" Harley Daymaker replicas) and it's honestly a bit on the obnoxious side. It doesn't get driven on the street much so I don't worry about it, but the light output can only be described as phenomenal.

Whatever you do, the very common vanagon headlight relay mod is always going to be an excellent choice to pair with your headlight upgrade.
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