Brightest "low-beam" headlights?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by a-dogg, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. a-dogg

    a-dogg Junior Member

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    I have a 2011 Prius Four, not IV. Replaced my right headlight about half a year ago with a D11 halogen from Amazon:


    Now the left one has gone out. Granted, I drive when them on all the time as if they're DRL, so that's most definitely shortened their life. But what's weird is it seems like the right one, while on, is SUPER-dim. Maybe that's a normal effect when one headlight goes out?

    I honestly don't care enough to do an HID conversion, so I'm just sticking with halogens. Does anyone have experience using the Sylvania Ultras or Philips VisionPlus? I live in the city, so it's not like I need headlights bright enough to perform surgery under. :-P

    Thanks!

    While we're on the subject of lightbulbs, is it true that dealers can charge like $450 (and remove the bumper) just to replace a BULB, when you can just replace it yourself for $19 off Amazon, from inside the engine (if you have small hands)? Is this just insanely greedy dealers or what?!
     
    #1 a-dogg, Mar 27, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    *can*? They can charge whatever they like. Of course normal (& honest) business practice suggests that they charge the cost of labour and the cost of the parts.

    The headlight is one of the easier things to change by yourself so you don't need to pay a dealer to change it for you.

    OSRAM Night Breaker Unlimited H11 (Twin) | PowerBulbs

    I've had extremely good customer service with them. I bought a pair of Phillips XtremePower bulbs from them for the Gen 2. (Well two pairs, since the original pairs lasted shy of 11 months, again, they're used as DRLs so they're on all the time).

    Keep in mind that performance bulbs (since you want brighter bulbs) will have shorter lives than regular bulbs because they're run hotter.
     
  3. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    I am extremely happy with the 65w H9 halogen bulbs I have installed in place of the 55w H11 bulbs in both of my cars. See link in my signature below.

    It's been over a year, and I've had no problems, but I don't run them as DRLs either. ;)

    The Philips or Osram H9 bulbs cost about $20 a pair. Much less than premium H11 bulbs,and and give approximately 50% more light over the standard H11 bulbs.

    FYI, you should always replace bulbs in pairs.
     
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  4. pmike

    pmike Member

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  5. a-dogg

    a-dogg Junior Member

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    Thank you, xliderider, Tideland Prius and pmike!

    While saving money is ALWAYS good, and the conversion looks super simple (shaving off the top plastic in the bulb's plug area, and a bit off the top metal part near the bulb itself), I'm sure I can find a way to mess it up. :-P

    I'm wondering if you know the brightness difference between, say, an H11 Philips XtremePower (or VisionPlus or Sylvania Ultra) vs a "regular" H9 bulb? Seems like they're both brighter than regular H11 bulbs, but is one substantially brighter than the other?

    Thanks again!

    EDIT: since I don't have a Dremel drill, maybe one of these would be a cheap, easy, lazy adapter to do the H11-->H9 conversion:

    H11 H8 H9 Wire Harness for HID Ballast to Stock Socket for HID Conversion Kit | eBay





     
    #5 a-dogg, Mar 29, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    The H7 projector halogen headlights of my smart fortwo was the nicest setup I've seen. It was bright and uniform. After that is our Gen 3 Prius' H11 projectors then our Camry's 9006 low beam (with separate high beam) then our Gen 2 Prius' dual filament bulb.

    Again, the Phillips Xtreme Power ran hot (so short life) so weigh your pros/cons with brighter light and shorter lifespan.

    If you run the low beams on all the time, I would just get standard bulbs. They're cheaper and they'll last longer than the high performance halogen bulbs.

    Alternatively, get a set of LED DRLs so that you can save your low beams for low light driving.

    LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) | PowerBulbs

    Philips DRL: LED Lights | eBay
     
  7. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    The harness may or may not work for the H9 bulb. However, you still need to modify the metal tab on the H9 bulb to get it to mount into the H11 specific socket at the back of the headlight housing. If you don't have a Dremel or rotary tool, you can use tin snips, or even a small file to modify the tab. It's just going to take a little longer with the file. :D
     
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  8. a-dogg

    a-dogg Junior Member

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    Weird...I thought the whole point of those H11-->H9 connector wires was so that you wouldn't have to mess with the bulb at all? :-P

    EDIT: Oh, I get what you're saying... The converter cable will help the H9 bulb fit. But the H9 bulb WON'T fit into the car, itself, without modifying the bulb...
     
    #8 a-dogg, Mar 29, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  9. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    Yes, exactly. ;)
     
  10. pmike

    pmike Member

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    #10 pmike, Mar 29, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
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  11. css28

    css28 Senior Member

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    If you're running the headlights in the daytime all the time it seems to me that the last thing you want is a hotter burning shorter life bulb. Besides being marginally illegal there are harness level risks from running 65W bulbs in place of stock 55W.
    From your original post it sounds as if you weren't dissatisfied with the OEM bulbs' performance--it was the replacement that appeared dim.
    I say go with a pair of conventional bulbs (maybe even OEM from a discount online source) and pay close attention to determine if one side is dimmer than the other. That could indicate something wrong with that circuit or the connector.
     
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  12. Sergiospl

    Sergiospl Senior Member

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    #12 Sergiospl, Mar 29, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  13. TroyAndEddie

    TroyAndEddie Junior Member

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  14. Rustlers

    Rustlers Junior Member

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    Is it safe to install a H9 bulb with stock harness. ie: would the higher wattage, 65w, of the H9 bulb fry the wiring. My car is a '14 plugin. Thanks.
     
  15. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    I've had H9 bulbs in both of my cars for 15 months now with no problems.

    I don't drive around with my lowbeams on during the day. They are used only at night. Heat and integrity of the headlight housing and wiring has been a non issue.
     
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  16. Rustlers

    Rustlers Junior Member

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    That's great. Since the Plugin comes with LED DRLs, I won't run the lowbeams during the day either.
    So, now I think I might do the H9 upgrade.
     
  17. Rustlers

    Rustlers Junior Member

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    Another question I had when surfing for H9/H11 on Amazon:
    Since Philips has the 'Vision' line of headlights in H11 with decent stated life:

    and with clear glass and a claimed 30% brighter light output,

    would it better to go this route using the Philips H11 'Vision' bulb or a modified standard H9 bulb, since both seem to give approx. 30% more light.
    thanks.
     
    #17 Rustlers, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  18. css28

    css28 Senior Member

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    Given the choice I'd go with the H11 rather than modifying anything.
     
  19. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    I bet the Vision bulbs are pricey. Also, most of them have fine print that says something like "compared to 1 year old standard halogen bulbs" regarding the 30% brighter claim. ;)
     
  20. alekska

    alekska Active Member

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    65W is 18% more (electrically) powerful than 55W... That means there will be 18% more heat dissipated by the harness. I have been running H11 to H9 for 2 years with stock harness and have no negative effects. The life of the Philips h9 bulb is around 400 hours ( from specs) with 2000 lm output vs. 1200 lm for H11

    Alex
     
    #20 alekska, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
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