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Old 06-01-2017, 10:55 AM   #1
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Headlight upgrade options for T1N Interstates

I'm starting a new thread because I can't find a single existing thread devoted exclusively to the headlight issue.

Back in 2015, round about page 44, buried deeply in the Interstate Mods thread, we began to discuss this, because LB_3 had begun the process of converting our T1N Sprinter's crappy obsolete halogen OEM headlights over to projectors. But that project proved to be so technically challenging and so time consuming that we bumped other projects up our priority list. The bits and pieces of the intended headlight conversion are still scattered around our garage, unfinished.

Fast forward the better part of two years and I'm wondering if emerging products might begin to address some of this insufficient illumination problem at far lower cost and effort. Those of you who follow RVGeeks probably saw their recent LED headlight retrofit. But of course they have a Class A, so that's potentially a different equation.

The vendor that RVGeeks uses, M4 Products, has been extremely responsive to me on my porch light issue (a badly-conceived LED that we bought back when we were newbies melted off its outer cover and now I have to replace both the fixture and the LED). I've asked them whether they know of anyone who has attempted a T1N Sprinter headlight retrofit using their substitution product, and if so, how was their level of satisfaction? Response pending.

I also chimed in on this recently refreshed Sprinter Forum thread where headlight options are currently in discussion. Responses pending (hopefully).

In the mean time, has anyone on THIS forum experimented with T1N headlight interventions?

I'll leave you with one of our early projector upgrade comparison photos, reproduced from Interstate Mods, so you can see the difference between the original halogen and the projector bulb that we were hoping to adapt, if only it wasn't so danged difficult.

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Old 06-30-2019, 10:14 AM   #2
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Well, shoot, this old thread didn't go far, but let me resurrect it.

Having run into a dead end on our original projector headlight retrofit goals, I recently took a recommendation from Million Mile Sprinter on an LED retrofit. We replaced both of our halogens in January and while it was not a miracle cure for the T1N's wimpy OEM, it was a definite improvement.

Amazon's description: H7 LED Headlight Bulbs 16000LM 160W 6000K Cool White Low Beam/High Beam Conversion Kit 4-Side COB Chips 360 Degree Super Bright Auto Headlamps -2 Yr Warranty

Fast forward less than 5 months and yet another headlight has gone out. Why? No idea, but here is what the video looks like. The fan still works, the light still is generated... but now it's not much more powerful than a candle.

Weird. Anyway, the quest continues for a *RELIABLE* upfit option.

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Old 07-02-2019, 06:39 AM   #3
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What is the condition of your headlight housing? If hazed, use some plastic polisher (I have used Meguiar's PlastX with good results) and then install a headlight film for long-term protection (I went with Xpel but several brands available).

I have swapped to LED in most of my vehicles. Both headlight bulbs (High and Low beams) as well as the fog lights. It is a good upgrade.


A few photos of one of my cars when I reconditioned the headlights... I installed the headlight film the second time I reconditioned them as without it, they got hazed again... after the film was installed I had no issues from that point on...


In my case, because of how pitted they were, I had to take more drastic measures and sand the headlight housing first before using the PlastX...
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Old 07-02-2019, 07:05 AM   #4
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We did a similar surface restoration process - it's on another thread somewhere. We also used the same kit on my husband's daily driver, which now looks worse than it ever did. Using soft polycarbonate to form headlights was some butt-brained automotive engineer's idea of progress. Not a single one of them on any model of car or truck is worth a pinch of salt.

The primary issue with our older Sprinter is that it wasn't designed to include projectors - it sports an "old fashioned" headlight design that originally accepted halogen bulbs. And projector retrofits are neither available commercially, nor do we have any evidence that anyone has successfully DIY'd them in a T1N Sprinter. (My husband bought the materials to attempt such a conversion, but that project never got off the ground.)

Hence we are attempting to find a reliable LED solution, to brute-force more light out of an obsolete design that was originally poor at throwing it.
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Old 07-02-2019, 07:09 AM   #5
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That is why you have to cover the headlight with a film or it will be in the same condition after a few months... ask me how I know... that headlight in the photos I shared was after the first recondition was done... once covered with Xpel, it stayed looking like new.

On the bulbs, I recently got these for my truck

NINEO 9005 HB3 LED Headlight Bulbs - CREE Chips - 12000Lm 6500K Extremely Bright

Not enough time (just a couple of months with them) to provide feedback, but so far, so good... got them from Amazon...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:13 AM   #6
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Theres a lot of reasons why LED or HID replacements are not "good," "better," or "safe."

Here is one:
Quote:
LED bulbs, no matter what they look like, put out a different distribution of light than filament bulbs. That means unlike a filament bulb, physical fit of an LED bulb in a lamp does not necessarily mean it will work safely. Safety here means a lot more than just lighting up in the right color, so it's important to evaluate the performance in the specific lamps on your car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
On the bulbs, I recently got these for my truck

NINEO 9005 HB3 LED Headlight Bulbs - CREE Chips - 12000Lm 6500K Extremely Bright
I've been spending quite a bit of time on the candle power forums and have been educated quite a bit in the transportation/automotive forum there.

If your truck takes a 9005 (65w 1700 lumen) bulb the best/safest option available is the HIR1 (aka 9011, 65w 2300 lumen) bulb which requires a minor trim of the base to fit in place of a 9005 as outline here: https://store.candlepower.com/mohirbuba.html

The best version is manufactured by Toyota (Genuine Toyota 90981-13066 Bulb on amazon)

There are also quality 9011 bulbs manufactured by Philips at a lesser cost.

For you Sprinter owners with H7 (55w 14500 lumen) bulbs. Daniel Stern has convinced Osram to resume manufacturing the H7 "rallye" (65w 2100 lumen) bulb which is essentially an H9 burner on an H7 base.

https://www.danielsternlighting.com/.../products.html
Quote:
H7 bulbs
These single-filament bulbs are found in the low beams, high beams and fog lamps of many European and Japanese vehicles made since the 1990s. Fun Fact: The H7, introduced in 1993, was the first new halogen headlamp bulb design type-approved to Europe's Regulation 37 in twenty years. It touched off a wave of research and development that saw a dozen new halogen bulb types introduced over the next 15 years.
65W Osram Ultra High Output (2100 lumen, H9 burner on H7 base, race and special-purpose use):
Osram discontinued this bulb several years ago , and all stocks have been exhausted—there are some poor-quality counterfeits flushing around, but those don't count. Update, 27 June 2019: After a great deal of work, I have secured new availability of first-quality, German-made 65w - 2100 lumen H7 bulbs. A paperwork crossup means they didn't get put on the pallet that just arrived. Next pallet's heading out from Germany by air freight in nine days, and they should be on that, so I expect them to be on shelf soon. Send me an email and I'll add you to the waiting list, then ping you as soon as they're in hand to ship.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
What is the condition of your headlight housing? If hazed, use some plastic polisher (I have used Meguiar's PlastX with good results) and then install a headlight film for long-term protection (I went with Xpel but several brands available).

I have swapped to LED in most of my vehicles. Both headlight bulbs (High and Low beams) as well as the fog lights. It is a good upgrade.


A few photos of one of my cars when I reconditioned the headlights... I installed the headlight film the second time I reconditioned them as without it, they got hazed again... after the film was installed I had no issues from that point on...


In my case, because of how pitted they were, I had to take more drastic measures and sand the headlight housing first before using the PlastX...
We did the same thing to our 2008 Cayenne. They were nasty when we bought it. I had our detailer polish them and then coat them in clear film. I've been told that if your lenses are degraded then the reflectors likely have as well but I'm not about to drop $3500 on new headlights for this thing. I'm eager to put the H7 Rallye bulbs in the high beams though!
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Merk View Post
...
For you Sprinter owners with H7 (55w 14500 lumen) bulbs. Daniel Stern has convinced Osram to resume manufacturing the H7 "rallye" (65w 2100 lumen) bulb which is essentially an H9 burner on an H7 base. ....
WOW, this is good new information - thank you very much for this post.

Deleting long story, I talked with Daniel maybe 2-ish years ago about this. That was a dead-end inquiry for me, however, because he had nothing innovative to offer at that time.

Right now his website says they are not yet in stock, but I will be following up with him to reassess.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:42 AM   #9
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Mr. Merk - thank you. Great information. Email sent to Daniel to get on the waiting list.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:42 AM   #10
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A bit more detail from Daniel on those H7s that should be delivered from Germany in 3 to 4 more weeks:

"...a 65-watt item producing 2100 lumens (versus the standard 55w H7 bulb's 1410 lumens..."

They will be about $29 each. I am on the waiting list.
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
A bit more detail from Daniel on those H7s that should be delivered from Germany in 3 to 4 more weeks:

"...a 65-watt item producing 2100 lumens (versus the standard 55w H7 bulb's 1410 lumens..."

They will be about $29 each. I am on the waiting list.
I hope that these don't create a bulb warning message on the dash in the Sprinters (or my wife's Cayenne.)

At one point I installed a better and much brighter reverse lamp bulb in her Cayenne. The car freaked out and shut down the circuit due to the (safely) increased wattage. I was finally able to install a slightly brighter bulb from Honda without any errors.
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:47 AM   #12
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I recently had to replace my headlight bulbs. The new bulbs were Sylvania Ultras, which are brighter halogen filament bulbs. They were a vast improvement over the OEM bulbs. Available at most O'Reilly's Auto Parts stores, but (surprisingly) not at Pep Boys. Since then, I have also put Sylvania Ultras in my Honda as well.
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:29 AM   #13
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I hope that these don't create a bulb warning message on the dash in the Sprinters ...
My bet would be that Daniel Stern is too meticulous to sell a product that would precipitate an issue like that. We all have our callings in this life. Daniel's calling seems to be headlights, of all things.
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:30 AM   #14
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
A bit more detail from Daniel on those H7s that should be delivered from Germany in 3 to 4 more weeks:

"...a 65-watt item producing 2100 lumens (versus the standard 55w H7 bulb's 1410 lumens..."

They will be about $29 each. I am on the waiting list.

Same here. Got the same email last night from DS



Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
I recently had to replace my headlight bulbs. The new bulbs were Sylvania Ultras, which are brighter halogen filament bulbs. They were a vast improvement over the OEM bulbs. Available at most O'Reilly's Auto Parts stores, but (surprisingly) not at Pep Boys. Since then, I have also put Sylvania Ultras in my Honda as well.

I tried most of the available options for my motorcycle... I found a bit better performance from the PIAA Extreme White Plus over the Sylvania Ultras. This was before the LED headlight bulbs frenzy...
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