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Discussion Starter #1
Here is an email I got from Daniel Stern regarding upgrading the wiring harness and bulbs on our cars. The H11 bulb is crap and as it turns out the 9005's aren't wonderful either. That said, I'm still not willing to jump in to HID's. In California, tint is illegal, not running a front plate is illegal, sticking navigation on your windshield is illegal, and so are aftermarket HID's. This is the perfect storm that no cop could resist (fat ticket) and I forsee myself getting pulled over every other week (especially in this town, get me the @#[email protected] out of here).

I found his recommendations regarding bulbs particularly useful. I'm definately going to make that swap for my highs and lows, and build a harness if I'm still not happy. I'll report back with pics if anybody is interested in how this works out IRL.

Hopefully this information is useful to anybody looking for an HID alternative.

> I'm trying to upgrade my wiring harness on my new 08 Impreza WRX.
> According to the Sylvania website, it has H11 low beams and 9005 high
> beams.

Correct...

> What exactly would I get in one of your relay installation kits?

The RIK is not a harness, but a _parts kit_ containing all relays,
brackets, terminal blocks, terminals, plugs, sockets, fuses and
fuseholders. You supply your own wire and use the parts from the kit to
build up your own wiring harness. Parts are specially made premium-grade
items (e.g. ceramic headlamp sockets) that accept large-gauge wire; this
is not the "consumer grade" junk you can find at the parts store.

BUT, there is another factor to consider here: the daytime running lamps
on your Subaru are not compatible with the installation of relays, so
you'd need to deactivate the DRL circuit. This is more difficult on the
newest models than it has been on past models, since the DRL function is
increasingly integrated into the body control module (computer). There's
usually a fair amount of chatter on the forums about disabling DRLs,
driven largely by those who foolishly want to install "HID kits" in their
headlamps (see
http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/Hid/conversions/conversions.html
). If you do go ahead with the project and figure out how to disable your
DRLs, and you still want to have a DRL function on your car, that's no
problem; it's easily (and legally) reworked.
** This has been resolved. Refer to http://www.3gwrx.com/forum/index.php?topic=380.0. Thanks sc00byr3x!! **

> How much improvement will I see using my stock bulbs?

"Some".

For bulbs, you'd want to replace the 1350-lumen H11 bulbs with 2100-lumen
H9 bulbs. You may need to shave a small ridge of plastic off the H9 bulb's
connector so that the H11 socket will snap on. Other than that, it's a
direct swap. Direct order link is http://store.candlepower.com/h-9.html

Your high beams can also be significantly upgraded if you will Replace the
existing 9005 bulbs with 9011. The new bulbs are not some tinted or
overwattage version of 9005, but rather employ a relatively new technology
called HIR, Halogen Infrared Reflection. The mechanical dimensions of the
bulb are all virtually identical to the 9005, but the bulb glass is
spherical instead of tubular, with the sphere centered around the
filament. There is a "Durable IR Reflective" coating on the spherical
glass. Infrared = heat, so the coating causes heat to be reflected back to
the filament at the center of the sphere. This causes the filament to
become much hotter (producing more light) than it can by passing
electricity through it, *without* the shorter life or greater heat
production that comes with overwattage bulbs (to say nothing of
overwattage bulbs' incompatibility with stock wiring.)

Here's the comparison:

stock: 9005, 12.8V, 65W, 1700 lumens, 320 hours
compare: 9005+50, 12.8V, 55W, 1830 lumens, 175 hours
new: HIR1, 12.8V, 65W, 2530 lumens, 320 hours

These bulbs are costly as bulbs go - .95/ea - but their cost is worth
considering in context: Any number of companies will charge you more than
this for a tarted-up 9005 with blue colored glass (PIAA and Sylvania
Silverstar come to mind) that doesn't produce more light and has a very
short lifespan.

The HIR bulbs have a double-wide top ear on the plastic bulb base, this is
to comply with the law requiring different bulbs to have different bases.
The extra-wide plastic top ear is easily trimmed or filed to make the bulb
fit your headlamp's bulb receptacle. Once that's done, they go directly
into the headlamp, and the existing sockets snap on. Please see
http://dastern.torque.net/Mods/HIRmod.html for details.

The direct order link for these bulbs is
http://store.candlepower.com/9011.html

Probably easiest to swap the bulbs and see if you still feel like
installing relays, which is not a trivial undertaking on a late Subaru.

One not-very-well-publicised trick for improving your seeing in bad
weather with those headlamps is to remove the low beam headlamp bulbs and
find the stamped "awning" plate protruding rearward from the vertical
metal cutoff plate that blocks roughly the lower half of the view forward
through the bulb hole. Use something clean and grippy (eraser end of a
brand-new pencil, for instance) to reach forward through the bulb hole and
push/fold that awning down so it covers more of the "window" slot in the
lower portion of the cutoff plate (you can see the slot, albeit with
optical distortion, if you kneel down in front of the headlamp and peer
carefully through its front lens). It is not necessary for the awning to
be folded so it's flat up against the slot, just bend it down most of the
way. This will greatly reduce the amount of light thrown upward by the low
beams. You'll still be able to read overhead signs, but there'll be much
less backscatter.
 

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Let me know what you go with and how it works. Thanks. I went to Autozone and bought the H9s, $14 a piece should be real easy to shave out the extra key. I will let you know what I think. I am sure I will get flashed all the time (here comes the ass in me) but as long as I can see. I agree our lighting is not the best. And I don't want the pain of an HID swap either.

Seth
 

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Got the H9 installed and they work. Now just have to wait till it gets dark to see the full effect.

Seth
 

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What an improvement with the H9 bulbs installed in the low beams. It gives a much greater range and brightness without being totally obnoxious to other drivers. If you are looking for a cheap upgrade without going to HID I would suggest this. One note though is I haven't driven through fog so I have no idea how the lights will do in that type of condition.

Seth
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Glad to know the upgrade is working for you. I orderd 9011, H9, and Narva all weather fogs from candlepower.com. I should get them on Thursday. I'll post some before and after pics so we'll see.
 

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Ok so this weekend was foggy as hell and rain/snow. The H9 created alot of reflected light off the snow and fog but at the same time it made the lines in the road show up like I had fog lights. So I would say it is a thumbs up for me because I could actually see the lines in the road better and generally that is how I drive in the fog anyway. It is a cheap upgrade and worth it to me.

Seth
 

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How much did you pay? I payed like 14.95 a piece at Autozone. It is real easy to remove the extra tab in the bulb base. Just take a small pair of side cutters push the two contacts out of the way cut it out and push the contacts back.

Seth
 

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Not too bad then. Mine come out to about $33 or so after tax. They are the Osram 65 watt, Autozone and Checker both had them in stock.

Seth
 

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I am running a 5000K HID kit. Not bad at all. I'd say normal clear H9s are FTW.

I also tried Hoen H9 XenonMatch, they were perfect for that HID look and threw out a significant amt of light more than stock.

I also ran HIR in my high beams and they were the sh*t, bright as hell.

I'm running 9006 silverstar ultras in my fogs now. BIG difference, but worth it? - nope.
 

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Just unscrew the caps on the lights remove the bulb. Cut the extra tab off the H9 and install. Simple as that.

Seth
 

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I am sure you will be able to tell a big difference when you get on a dark stretch of road. I didn't hardly notice it in the city either, once on a back road the improvement was obvious.

Seth
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So I got all my new bulbs in.

H9 lows are definately better. Not the earth shattering improvement I was hoping for, but noticably better. I can see things off to the side a little better which is nice.

9011 highs are f'ing bright. The 9011 bulb is retarded powerful. I feel sorry for anybody who is in my high beams because they are seriously bright. To reiterate, they are really really bright.

New fogs are a clear bulb but they throw yellow light. When I shine them against a white wall it has a really cool effect. I'm not sure how much of a difference I will notice since my headlights will always be on with the fogs, but I bought them anyway considering I was already paying for shipping and they were pretty cheap.

So after all this, I'm thinking down the road I'll still throw in a heavy duty wiring harness. People that have done the upgrade are saying that their lights are 40% brighter after. If I end up doing it I'll post a little DIY and some pics. The kit is $75 from Daniel Stern not including the wire and then you have to install it so that might have to wait. I need some performance mods at some point here....
 

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What about just replacing the factory-equipped bulbs (for lows, highs, and fogs) to Euro-spec bulbs from Philips or Osram? Typically, Euro-spec bulbs have a naturally better beam pattern and increased brightness because Europe does not have to follow lighting limits that are as strict as the US.
 

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i like my h9s, they dont have the blackout tip like the stock ones, so the light is more intense. heres a pic of the difference in the connector. i just cut it off w/ a razor blade knife.
 

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can kinda see the difference in the bulbs... left is stock h11, h9. if you are looking for install procedure there is a detailed one in the owners manual under maintenence, also diagrams for the fuses and lots of helpful stuff.
 
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