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Old 08-05-2022, 06:26 AM   #1
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Upgrade Headlights and tail lights to LED

Anyone got a good referral or two on where to source quality LEDís that would fit a 2008 American tradition 40Z? Would like to upgrade all exterior lighting but in particular headlights and tail lights.
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Old 08-11-2022, 02:48 PM   #2
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I use Sea Light for headlights and Lasfit for everything else. Get them off Amazon. Have had great luck with both.
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Old 08-11-2022, 03:36 PM   #3
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Not a lot of people will know what kind of headlights your rig has which is why you won't get many answers. If it takes standard halogen bulbs then I'll second the Sea light brand. In general, look for one that has a cut off shield for the low beam. It's usually a small metal shield over the chip array that blocks light that would otherwise go into the eyes of oncoming drivers. The Sea lights have this feature.

The second thing to consider with any LED headlight bulb is do you have room at the back of the housing for the cooling fins and fan. Get a replacement bulb that "clockable" meaning it can be rotated in the housing to put the baffle in the correct orientation.

For tailights you can look at just about any auto parts store. Sylvania and Philips both make replacement 1156 and 1157 bulbs. Same with the T10 bulbs that your clearance lights probably use. Be sure to match the color of the LED to that of the lens it's behind. You might think white will do in all instances, and they will, but the wavelengths of light that LEDs produce is different than incandescent bulbs so some of the light will be "filtered" out by the colored lens. Matching LED colors to the lens means no light is wasted and the color remain more true. As for the clearance lights, I found it cheaper to swap out the whole fixture with a new LED type.

Third, is it is a bit of a crap shoot as to how much better LEDs will be. What works well in one headlight design may be terrible in another. One thing to avoid is LEDs that have big wide chip arrays. Larger isn't better. You want the array to mimic the size and shape of a filament as close as possible, Older headlights are designed to focus light into an acceptable pattern on the road from a standardized filament size shape and position. In the aftermarket LED world there's chips of all sizes. A larger chip send light at the headlight reflector from a different angle than designed. This throw light to unwanted places. I've seen countless ads showing how much brighter their LEDs are, and in the photo you can see distant treetops brightly illuminated. This NOT where you want light from your headlights to go. Light going there is light that isn't going to the road ahead. You effectively turned a spotlight into a floodlight. Some of this light is going right into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

Oh, and be ready to re-aim your headlights after swapping bulbs.

At one time I was making some examples of how this happens using an optical ray tracing program. I wasn't sure it would make a lot of sense to LED shoppers so I've never posted them. I've attached them here just for giggles. Each features a simplified headlight reflector where only a few simple changes are made. One example shows why brighter isn't always better even if most of the light goes where it's supposed to. Another shows what happens when the emitter array is too big, and another, what happens if the array is properly shielded. Note: Any light rays above the horizontal are problematic. All headlight have some off axis uncontrolled light. Simply doubling the output of the bulb even in a properly designed headlight can double the glare. Note these don't represent any known headlight design. It's a very simplified example just so people can see what happens when small changes are made.
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