Easiest/best headlight upgrade?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by Luke H., May 2, 2011.

  1. Luke H.

    Luke H. Junior Member

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    So I'm ready to upgrade my exterior lights. I've been reading over a few threads but haven't really come across a concise verdict as to what bulb or aftermarket headlight has a clear lead. I'm not a skilled electrician so my 'mod' would probably need to consist of changing out the headlight (plug and play) at best. At worst, I'm looking for a good bulb recommendation. I love the look of the projector headlights, but read that they aren't easy to maintain. I like the idea of an aftermarket light that incorporates some LED DRLs, but I'm not sure what's available for my old 2005. As I said I would settle for a good bulb swap...any and all ideas welcome.
     
  2. qmtran

    qmtran Junior Member

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    Projectors are at the same level of maintenance as reflector based lighting systems.

    What kind of output are you looking for?
     
  3. Luke H.

    Luke H. Junior Member

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    If the cost isn't incredibly prohibitive and the level of technical expertise isn't that high, I'm most interested in some halo-style (angel eye?) projectors. I see a lot of pre-made kits for the 06+ but sadly that doesn't help me. Honestly, I would settle for any suggestions that result in brighter, cleaner light. I'm not totally opposed to a slightly blue tint (new bulbs?) as it would match the pale blue lighting in my interior. Back to the halos though: I saw a post earlier that I can no longer seem to find where someone (I think he was associated with Xenonlook.com) had installed some aftermarket halo/projectors but there were some in the thread claiming they wouldn't last and that the whole headlight would have to be replaced if one failed...?

    Anyway, any input on those is appreciated and even something as simple as people's experiences with good aftermarket bulbs would be useful. Additionally, I'm wondering how hard it is to install fog lights (aftermarket or OEM) in a Prius that didn't come with them.
     
  4. flareak

    flareak Fleet Captain

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    06 should fit on the 05 prius. you could probably just go with that aftermarket halo/projector kit. Although... who knows about the quality of the kit... that's another story. This is the only option without opening up the housing and installing projectors/rings yourself.

    If you're just looking for a bulb upgrade... I don't really think it matters which halogen you go with. There's a bulb called HIR that you can replace the halogen bulb with. It's basically a halogen bulb that turns more IR into visible light so it is brighter.

    The kit you're referring to is the same as the one on ebay. So yeah, you'd have to replace the whole headlight assembly if the angel eye CCFL failed and you wanted it to work again.

    Blue tint bulbs will have less light output than just a regular halogen bulb. In my opinion.. don't go for the tinted bulbs.
     
  5. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Another option is to just have a quality headlight retrofit company do the work for you. Unfortunately this is pretty costly as you will either have to have the car down for a period of time of you would have to supply them with new headlights for them to work on.

    In reality there is not a whole lot you can do to improve the efficiency of your headlights without going to HID projectors. :(

    The only easy option is a nice set of PIAA halogens. They do tend to make the headlights brighter but like stated above, stay away from blue tinted bulbs. I used PIAAs for years and liked them. Then I discovered HIDs.....
     
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  6. Luke H.

    Luke H. Junior Member

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    You think 06 headlights would fit our cars? I thought I had read somewhere that the headlights were just different enough to prevent this, but I could be wrong. I know sites like CarID only start offering the aftermarket halos/angel eyes starting with the 06, but I assume that's because they came with HID?

    @F8L: Since you're driving an 05, I assume you installed the HID kit yourself? How hard was that? The most intrusive mod I've done so far was pulling out the dash and drilling a hole in the area under the stero for a GROMaudio iPod interface. Is this (HID kit) feasible for someone with extremely limited experience in that area?
     
  7. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    My 2005 came with factory HIDs but I have since upgraded to an HID projector kit. It was actually very easy to do as long as you can follow instructions to take the care apart. The HID kit is simple to install. It's getting the projectors lined up and aimed that is a pain. :)
     
  8. Luke H.

    Luke H. Junior Member

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    I've been following your other thread and the lights look great. The two hang-ups I have are [A] how do I know if mine came with the HID (sorry, bit of a noob) from the factory and [B] the 'baking' part. What does 'baking' a headlight actually entail? Are you literally throwing it in an oven to reseal it...?
     
  9. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Luke,

    A: If you don't have factory foglights then you don't have HIDs. usbseawolf is doing an upgrade like mine but he doesn't have HIDs either or didn't from the factory.

    B: You literally bake the headlights at 265degrees for approx 7minutes. Take them out and with gloves on you pull the lends off the housing. You also use a small screwdriver to pry the clips off. In all honesty the baking part is easy. As long as you are very careful not to let the glue get on the lens or reflector. Baking the headlight is what scares most people but it is very easy. Don't be skerd. ;)
     
  10. Luke H.

    Luke H. Junior Member

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    The baking part sounds horrifying in theory. Nonetheless, I'm sure this is far more cost effective than buying an HID kit and subsequently installing these: [​IMG]
    ...which are listed on CarID for a staggering $460.00 and supposedly only for the 2006 and above. If I did the retrofit, I would really want the halo and an LED bar in there somewhere. Does your kit allow for that?

    Edit: This is the look I'm going for:
    [​IMG]

    ....supposedly Speedsta installed these on a 2005 non-HID Prius with some Xenonlook halogens. There are more pictures in this thread: http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-modifications/68415-projector-headlights-ebay-gen-ii-5.html
     
  11. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    The baking part just sounds scary. Nothing but the glue gets soft during baking and even then the glue is tough if you don't bake long enough. Do it once and you lose all fear of baking. :)
     
  12. qmtran

    qmtran Junior Member

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    I don't bake. I use a heat gun. More controlled.
     
  13. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I added that option in my projector how-to thread. A good heat gun can get the job done.
     
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