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Discussion Starter #1
Here's my quest for better lighting in my Cruze. I'm totally under-whelmed by the OEM headlights. Putting in better H13 bulbs and aiming the headlights properly helped, but I'm still wanting more light!

First off, plug-and-play HID's just aren't for me. Yeah, our headlights appear to work okay with them. And those of you who have them like them. But it's still not a route I want to take. Wanting to see better at night while keeping the OEM headlights intact, I'm doing things the old-school way. With bigger wiring, better halogen bulbs, and more lights.

Part 1 of this quest for better halogen lighting: A old-fashioned relay harness.

I couldn't find a headlight relay harness for the halogen H13 headlights I liked, so I'm making my own. The reason for it is to give the bulbs as much power as they can handle. To that end, I went with 10-gauge wire and Bosch/Tyco relays. All the connections will be crimped, then soldered. Wire to wire connections will be intertwined and soldered. Everything is getting covered with heat-shrink and wire loom to keep corrosion to a minimum. Bigger wire, more volts to the lights, more light. Simple.

Part 2 of my halogen lighting quest: Fog lights.

I'm ordering a fog light kit shortly. I'm also getting Xpel film for the foglights to protect them against debris strikes and hazing. $20 of Xpel film already saved us a $200 foglight on the Fit, so the Cruze's new fogs will get it also. That will cover side lighting, and inclement weather. The Cruze is weak in side lighting with just the headlights. These ought to help out a lot.

Part 3 of the old-school lighting quest: Relocating the DRL.

Your attitude may vary on DRL. I like them. It's nice to be seen, especially with a black car against a gray winter sky. Since using the relay harness for the headlights will eliminate the headlight-based DRL, I'm using the turn signals as DRL. That will give me more life from the headlights, and a simpler circuit to make for the relay harness.

So there you have it, my quest for better lighting the old-school halogen way.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Can you just change the headlight bulb's to H13's and not do anything with the wiring harness?

Thanks in advance.
H13 is the OEM/stock bulb type. It's impossible to change the type of bulb without changing the headlights. Even if you could stuff a different bulb type in there, the optics would be all wrong and one would be worse off. Without going to HID's, there's no way around using a H13 bulb in the stock headlights.

One can get a better-performing bulb within the type, which I've already done. I have Sylvania XtraVision H13's inside the headlights right now, and they're a nice improvement over stock long-life H13's. No SilverStars for me since they're a marketing gimmick, and put out LESS light than the XtraVisions while tricking the eyes into thinking they put out more. The eyes are extra-sensitive to blue light, so they perceive light filtered through a blue-glass bulb as "brighter" than the yellower-looking light made by a clear-glass bulb. There's no way a blue-tinted H13 will put out more light than a clear glass H13, it's simple physics. The blue tint sucks off most of the light, leaving only the higher parts of the light to shine through the bulb and onto the road.

All the parts are ordered, and now it's a waiting game.
 

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I am very interested in following this mod as I don't see myself spending the money for an HID retrofit. The driving lights do throw out a good amount of light out to the sides - I have them on anytime the headlights are on. I don't have the first know-how on how to make the turn signals your DRLs but that would be a very nice change as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There's a module to re-purpose the turn signals as DRL. It's about $40, and allows normal turn signal and side marker operation when the headlights are on. I ordered one to make the wiring easier.

This is about half the price of a proper HID retrofit. Given the success of current HID retrofitting efforts, this is also far less intrusive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got in the headlight connectors, crimper, and DRL module.

The headlight connectors are tiny. Like, far smaller than any headlight connector has the right to be. There's no wonder in my mind why the OEM headlights are not the best.

Forget about over-wattage bulbs. Even though my harness would support them, they'd be melted quickly from the heat generated sending lots of current across the tiny connector.
 

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Awesome man, I'm looking forward to pics when you get around to doing this. I already spliced into my turns to make my side markers blink. There is about zero room on the driver side to mess with the turns.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm running into several challenges. The first unique challenge is how to make a headlight connector and connector pin designed around 18-gauge wire work with 10-gauge wire. I'm either going to solder that connector on and seal well with heat-shrink, or try to smash a butt connector over it with some 10-gauge wire inside if there's enough room.

The other challenges are pretty standard for making a harness: how to split off the headlight feeds, and where to connect the headlight harness for power and ground.

Some comments about the supplies I got:
1. The US-made wire is far superior to most imported wire. The jacket is super-pliable and not easily abraded. The wire itself is thick and has many individual strands. Compared to some imported 14 gauge wire, it was more flexible, easier to hold, and much thicker. Good stuff!
2. The Bosch/Tyco relays are weatherproofed and sealed up tight! Perfect for an automotive installation.
3. There are no really good H13 connectors out there. They're also not designed to work with beefy wires. Boo, hiss!

About the fog lights, the kit arrived today too! I like how complete the factory kit is. The fogs look a bit flimsy, like one good stone hit will wreck them. Once the Xpel headlight film shows up, the fogs will get the film installed to protect from stones/salt/debris.

All I have left to get is a quality wire stripper, and the installation can commence!
 

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Just wondering what you don't like about HID's? It seems like you're putting in a lot more effort, money and time to go the old school way.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just wondering what you don't like about HID's? It seems like you're putting in a lot more effort, money and time to go the old school way.
I don't like slapping a HID setup into a non-HID housing. The optics are all wrong, for starters. I also want easy parts availability. Spare bulbs and relays are available everywhere. Try saying that about a HID bulb or ballast. Plus with the junk kits out there, it's a crapshoot whether it'll work correctly. This way is dead-nuts reliable. The foglights are factory. The only fancy electrical part in the harness is the relay. And those are quite simple.

I'm also not voiding any warranty on the headlights since there basically is none to begin with. Plus, it's invisible to the car's electrics. As far as the LCM knows, it's powering regular headlights. If anything, it's extending the life of the switch and LCM since they're not powering the headlights directly anymore.

And, I'm doing it to show it can be done.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
10-gauge wire just won't work with the H13 headlight connectors. 14-gauge wire will work nicely. Oh well, it looks like our Honda is getting a nice harness too while I source quality 14-gauge wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I haven't built anything yet, or done anything aside from strip 1/2" of wire and try jamming a H13 pin on it. If you want, I'll snap a few over the weekend when SWMBO is out, showing my discoveries to date.
 

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I am so close to buying an HID kit but am following this thread because I want to see the difference in light output compared to the stock harness. On other forums I have read that upgrading the harness has led to brighter and somewhat whiter light output from regular, no gimmick bulbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The foglight install seems to have made the low beams brighter. Those haven't been touched yet, but they do seem brighter.

I'm making slow progress on the harness. There was much trial and error, mostly error.
 

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why not get some catz zetas and call it day?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
why not get some catz zetas and call it day?
I like figuring out how to do things myself. It just might come in handy someday!

Also, I wanted a project with a useful end result. More lighting is always better.
 

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In your search for the perfect harness, did you find some that were pretty good? I really don't think I want to make my own harness, as I'm trying to decide if I want to install the DRL module for my turns.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
suvlights dot com is supposed to make a very good harness, with no customer support.

Also, to decide if the turns are the look you're going for, flip the headlights onto parking light mode. The headlight DRL will cut out, leaving the front parking lights illuminated.
 
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