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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I've been searching for days for info on projector headlight questions and I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. Sorry if I missed something in the search but here's my question.

2014 Cruze LT1
Stock Everything
Non-Lease

I want to upgrade my headlights to projectors but I have ran into a road block. Should I retrofit a pair into my OEM lights or purchase a complete aftermarket set like Spyder or something? I have been trying to find a complete DIY Guide for retrofitting including part numbers, pics and the whole deal but have not found it.
I'm very good at fabrication and mostly everything mechanical but have heard horror stories of trying to open the OEM housing.
I want to compare things like Price, Time Involved, Quality and Overall Longevity.
If you have done the retrofit can you give me all parts involved, time involved, pics and Overall Satisfaction.
If you purchased Complete Aftermarket please include Brand, Price, is it plug and play or what you needed to do (wire upgrade, splice, etc)
Thanks in advanced for your support.


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The OEM headlights are perma-sealed which means the front lens is attached to the back housing by a means of sonic welding. There is no adhesive. This makes for a difficult separation of the two pieces as heat and prying usually wind up distorting one or both pieces.

Aftermarket headlamps don't use perma-seal but rather an adhesive which is perfect for retrofitting. TYC or Depo are good quality options. I actually have a TYC version right now for a retrofit project. Other aftermarket headlamps of unknown brand (OE style or custom) are usually of inferior quality especially with the lens. It will tend to chip easier and be less resistant to UV light which will cause it to cloud & yellow much faster.

There are many options for suitable HID projectors dependent on your personal preferences. There are pros and cons for each setup and every projector has their strong and weak points. Some have brighter distance throw (strong hot spot) while lacking in width. While others may have more width but less distance. It all depends on what is most important to you and more importantly what your budget allows.

The retrofitsource.com is probably the best place to find all your HID needs. However there is also the other option and that is LED. :)

I am currently looking to retrofit a pair of Koito LED bi-beam projectors. There are no external driver modules to worry about. And no bulb warm up time. Instant on/off. And the projector uses a solenoid on the shield to switch from low beam to high beam. This bi-led projector is the pinnacle of all LED projectors and is a very strong competitor to other HID projectors. Its not the best of them all but it certainly is a VERY good projector setup. In fact, for what its worth, IIHS ranks vehicles using these bi-led projectors above others (halogen/HID) in terms of headlamp performance.

I hope to have my sample bi-led projector this week and will be working at mounting options. I suspect that I may just ditch the reflector to avoid having to cut a hole in the rear to mount the bi-led to it. Versus just fabricating a bracket to mount the bi-led directly to the reflector mounting holes. And then making a shroud of some sort to cover up the void around it. Just my initial thoughts but I won't know until I start physically playing with the parts.





 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@Blasirl
Thanks for the Warm Welcome!
Yes I have read that thread a couple times actually. Unfortunately this thread isnt a DIY Instruction as the Mod states in the beginning of post.
@evo77
Thanks for the info, I am looking for an overall performance increase, minimal mod (if any) to wiring in engine bay at a reasonable price. Basically I dont want something super "Flashy" or "Rice Burner" or anything like that. I want a bright light with tight cutoff lines and safe for oncoming drivers. Maybe this is a perfect opportunity for you to create a Full DIY Instruction and have your own Sticky! :th_dblthumb2:

My main reason for the thread is to compare Retrofit Price/Performance/Time to Aftermarket Price/Performance/Tme. If im going to spend ~$600 on full retro compared to ~$300 for Spyder's I want to know what is the justification for the increase in Time/Money.
 

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Sure. I will try to document the process as best I can.

Its important to note that even though an aftermarket projector headlamp has a projector, its not a HID projector. Its a halogen projector. And a cheap low performing one at that. You can stick a HID bulb inside of it and have a "decent" beam pattern but why spend this money if its not truly an upgrade?

A pair of TYC headlamps and a TRS Morimoto Mini H1 kit is under $500. If you opt with the TRS Acme H1 kit the full setup is a little over $300.
 

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I also want to point out a misconception that I often see by people who upgrade to projector headlamps. A sharp cutoff does NOT mean its BETTER. A lot of people think that just because a projector headlamp has that cutoff that it automatically is a superior upgrade but that is false.

The most important aspect of a headlamp is its ability to distribute the light under that cutoff. This includes retaining the hot spot (shape and intensity) in the same location as stock. Avoiding excessive foreground light. And maintaining light along the cutoff and ends for width.

That usually doesn't happen when you stick a rebased HID bulb inside of a cheap Chinese halogen projector.
 

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LEDs far exceed hids and halogens in every way now.

Problem is no one makes them....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Etec225
So those are just plug and play with aftermarket HID Bulbs? Upgraded wire harness? Exernal Ballast? How long have you had them? Any lens discoloration?

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@evo77
I agree that about the light distribution, that was one of the things I meant by overall performance.

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I can tell you that the light under the cutoff is very even.
Your photos are over exposed but its showing a ton of foreground light. Almost to the point that it appears as if your headlamps are aimed directly to the ground. :(

This excessive foreground light will contract your pupils and diminish your ability to see at a greater distance. It often fools the eyes to perceive that the lights are brighter/better. And also when the roads are wet this light will glare other drivers.

On a positive note, there appears to be a decent spread of light.
 

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LEDs far exceed hids and halogens in every way now.
That's a bit of a stretch. While LEDs are close, they aren't there just yet. At least when compared to some of the big dog HID projectors on the market.

Here you can see it more clearly...




The only LED headlights that meet or exceed any HID projector are the Acura multi-array units. Below is the RLX vs LS430.

 

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I highly recommend Midwest Light Creations. He did a set of HIDs for my son's MK4 Jetta TDI and they are SOOOOOO much better than stock!!! I plan to have him do my Cruze soon too! He does a great job at a decent price.

midwest-lighting
 

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That's a bit of a stretch. While LEDs are close, they aren't there just yet. At least when compared to some of the big dog HID projectors on the market
Not a stretch, LEDs are already more than capable, just really need to throw them in some actual headlights.

Problem is the entire headlight needs to revolve around the use of LEDs, which those Acuras somewhat do (but I feel they go more form over function and could certainly do alot more with some of the newer Cree LEDs). They also need to not use fans and just use heatsinks. I guarantee those fans are going to fail well before the LEDs will, but you replace the LED anyway.

Anyway I'm sure you know all this. I appreciate you taking the plunge and trying something unique.
 

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Just wanted to share that I'm finally getting started on my LED retrofit. I'm hoping to document the whole process. Here are a few teaser pics...





Have you finished this project yet? Anything you care to share?

(I'm hoping he has email notifications still enabled)
 
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