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Discussion Starter #1
I've done some searching and I haven't found a clear answer: Has anyone replaced their 3rd Gen headlight bulbs with LEDs? I love the quality of light but I have had trouble finding units that fit in the tight space with the locking ring, and I'm concerned that in my experiments, the light cutoff was up higher above the road than it should be, even after turning the adjuster quite far.

Has anyone had success, and what model / brand?

Thanks!!
 

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I've done some searching and I haven't found a clear answer: Has anyone replaced their 3rd Gen headlight bulbs with LEDs? I love the quality of light but I have had trouble finding units that fit in the tight space with the locking ring, and I'm concerned that in my experiments, the light cutoff was up higher above the road than it should be, even after turning the adjuster quite far.

Has anyone had success, and what model / brand?

Thanks!!
Did you get 9007 retrofits? You gotta pop the whole headlight out to get them in b.. I have nineo's from amazon in mine, I love them. Make sure the alignment is correct.


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Discussion Starter #3
I got the 9005 equivalent. Same brand though! That is supposedly the unit for the 3rd Gen... but I couldn't get them to sit right. Looks like the 9007 have a different shape to the inner ring. Amazon thinks the 9007 are not right for my car, but I'll try it if you say so!

Did you reuse your locking rings? I don't see how they could fit onto there. How do the bulbs stay in the old reflector sockets? Do they turn and lock in as-is?

Thanks!

Then I'll probably want to replace at least most of my internal lights... I've seen that people have done it, but has anyone made a list of LED bulb numbers they have had success with?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who still really loves these cars. I recently had mine back from the body shop and it looks like new.
 

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I got the 9005 equivalent. Same brand though! That is supposedly the unit for the 3rd Gen... but I couldn't get them to sit right. Looks like the 9007 have a different shape to the inner ring. Amazon thinks the 9007 are not right for my car, but I'll try it if you say so!

Did you reuse your locking rings? I don't see how they could fit onto there. How do the bulbs stay in the old reflector sockets? Do they turn and lock in as-is?

Thanks!

Then I'll probably want to replace at least most of my internal lights... I've seen that people have done it, but has anyone made a list of LED bulb numbers they have had success with?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who still really loves these cars. I recently had mine back from the body shop and it looks like new.
Amazon doesn't know their ass from their elbow when it comes to what fits cars..

So the way these are installed is to put bulb adapter in headlight, then place the bulb behind stock lock ring, then install on headlight, adjust beam angle.. these are on a ball bearing, they rotate and lock.

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I ordered it! Does the "bulb adapter" you mention come in the package?
Yeah, the "adapter" is the lock ring for the bulb itself. It will come off the bulb, attach to back of headlight where bulb goes in, put bulb in stock lock ring, attach bulb and lock ring to headlight together, bulb slides into bulb "adapter" with molded slot/key things, then line up stock lock, lock it down... Difficult to describe in text..

You'll understand once you get in there..

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I got the 9005 equivalent. Same brand though! That is supposedly the unit for the 3rd Gen... but I couldn't get them to sit right. Looks like the 9007 have a different shape to the inner ring. Amazon thinks the 9007 are not right for my car, but I'll try it if you say so!

Did you reuse your locking rings? I don't see how they could fit onto there. How do the bulbs stay in the old reflector sockets? Do they turn and lock in as-is?

Thanks!

Then I'll probably want to replace at least most of my internal lights... I've seen that people have done it, but has anyone made a list of LED bulb numbers they have had success with?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who still really loves these cars. I recently had mine back from the body shop and it looks like new.
I actually have upgraded all my interior lights, brake lights, I even have interior and exterior underglow..

So the liftgate, and 2nd row lights use a rigid loop style bulb, 44mm I believe. Second row dome light is a minibulb, 192 style or similar, 1st row dome is a 192 or similar minibulb also. Front turn signal and brake light bulbs use a 3157R bulb, you will need a resistor wired in to hot and ground, there is a thread in here about how to do it with wire color diagrams.


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Swap the quad beams in.





 

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Quad beams won't help anything. I've had them on my 2000 T&C Limited driven for 8 or 9 years, and even with the lenses refurbished a couple of times they aren't that bright on low beams (which is what I mainly use). I swapped the old high beam bulbs down into the fog lights and those became brighter, but they still only light up the foreground around the van. I put Silverstars in the high beams and they are brighter, but they are said to burn up faster. Since I don't use the high beams much, it's not an issue (plus I got one bulb for free, found NIB in parking lot of junkyard).

If it's raining, it's very hard to see at night. High beams help, but then I blind everyone in town so I can't use them. Winter is the only time they're decent, because of all the light softly reflected off of the white snow. I'm hopeful to find some kind of bulb I can use in my 4th gen van, because those lights suck as well. Ironically, that was one of the main reasons I "moved up" to a 4th gen - better lighting.
 

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Did you get 9007 retrofits? You gotta pop the whole headlight out to get them in b.. I have nineo's from amazon in mine, I love them. Make sure the alignment is correct.


Sent from my LG-LS993 using Tapatalk
Really nice. The 4th gen has 9007. I wonder how well these would work in replacement TYC headlamp units that are suppose to be to OE specs and size. hmmmm
 

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Really nice. The 4th gen has 9007. I wonder how well these would work in replacement TYC headlamp units that are suppose to be to OE specs and size. hmmmm
Yeah I think technically the 3rd's take 9005...I don't know, the 9007's fit perfectly...

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Quad beams won't help anything. I've had them on my 2000 T&C Limited driven for 8 or 9 years, and even with the lenses refurbished a couple of times they aren't that bright on low beams (which is what I mainly use). I swapped the old high beam bulbs down into the fog lights and those became brighter, but they still only light up the foreground around the van. I put Silverstars in the high beams and they are brighter, but they are said to burn up faster. Since I don't use the high beams much, it's not an issue (plus I got one bulb for free, found NIB in parking lot of junkyard).

If it's raining, it's very hard to see at night. High beams help, but then I blind everyone in town so I can't use them. Winter is the only time they're decent, because of all the light softly reflected off of the white snow. I'm hopeful to find some kind of bulb I can use in my 4th gen van, because those lights suck as well. Ironically, that was one of the main reasons I "moved up" to a 4th gen - better lighting.
The silverstars have a lower luminosity, they just seem brighter because they are a hotter temperature.
Less lumens, and the bluer light is less useful to the eye.


For quad beams, use the 9011 instead of the 9005 on the highbeams. I went over that in the second link I posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Ok here's what I found. Disclaimer - I haven't driven anywhere yet.

Hopefully this will help anyone who is trying to install these Nineo lights on a 2000.

For my 2000. the 9005 is the correct shape to fit properly.

Of course, word to people new to this:
You have to slide the headlights forward to get to the lo beams - it's really frustrating (probably because these lights were retrofitted into the design of the '96, which had even smaller lights).

To do that:

a. Using a 10mm wrench, unscrew up to four nuts from the bolts that protrude from the back. I say 'up to' because it's definitely possible not all the nuts are present; mine had three each. These cars have lived! To get at least one of the bolts on the passenger side, you have to unbolt the coolant reservoir. I think mine was bolted on with a loose nut so look out; the nut was easy to lose. I wound up replacing the bolt with a larger one so it doesn't require a nut!

b. Unscrew the larger bolt on top (same wrench - handy!)

c. Slide forward, unclipping power connectors as necessary. Careful not to snap the plastic.

Once you have it slid:

1. Remove the new light bezel from each light by inserting the thin wrench that came with it into the little empty screw hole.

2. Pull the plastic locking retainer rings off the backs of the headlights. Break off the backs of the tabs so they aren't in the way of the fan/heat sink. (See step 8)

Disclaimer: Do the above at your own risk! I found it easy to do, somewhat imperfectly but fine. I don't know if you can get new locking retainer rings if you break them... though you could probably krazy glue them if they snap.

3. Place each new small metal bezel in its headlight assembly. The two larger tabs go on the bottom left/right, with the single smaller tab pointing up. It doesn't rotate into place, but it should fit snugly..

4. Place the original locking ring over the bezel and turn until it holds the bezel in place.

5. With the cable sticking out of the top, slide the new light most of the way into its bezel. Press on the edges, not the center; that's the fan and you could damage it.

6. Connect light to ballast to power. Note that the light cable screws onto the ballast cable to hold it, even though it doesn't come that way.

7. Slide the light assembly close to where it will go, then turn on the lights.

8. If you removed enough of the backs of the tabs, you should now be able to slide the LED light into the assembly far enough that you get a nicely shaped light with a good cutoff at the top so the light won't scatter and blind drivers. If the light seems too scattered everywhere and out of control, it needs to be slid in more. If it won't slide in more, you didn't remove enough of the tabs.

9. Adjust the height of the beam the standard way. I found a 5/32" driver that worked OK but I think it's probably supposed to be 1/8" or metric.

10. If all is well, zip tie the ballasts so they don't bump around too much. I tied mine to the nearby hood bumper stems. I'll have to check after a while to see if it's working.
 

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Oh the 3Rd gen lighting... Its not so much the optics that are bad with OEM bulbs, its the fact the only get 11.4 volts from the TINY WIRES! The only easy fix is getting LED bulbs that are worth a damn.

If you want to stick with OEM bulbs? GO to the Junk yard, get some FORD plugs and wires, and get a 2 relay kit. and some 8 AWG wire wired right at the battery Terminal post on the Alternator, and the make up your new harness with some Amazon Female plugs for the stock bulb sockets. They suck, but seal them up with TONS of grease since they all leak and corrode.

You do that? You get the rated bulb output of the OEM Bulbs. with only 13.8v at the bulb leads. Use the 40 amp relays. They have the least amount of resistance.

Other then that? If you do have the Fog lights? And only use them on dark roads? The cheap 4 sided bulbs will work great! You have to be careful. These are the Very thin ones. That's the one that you want.


Next best value option that really puts out light is these. Bought these years ago, still very bright.



If you need to use your brights? And you simply want the most output?

Get these Morimoto bulbs. They are the BEST for light output for a 9005 bulb.

Get these REAL 75 Watt Ballasts.

Most of the time, you don't need a relay kit with these. But I recommend it due to the SMALL WIRES. It won't overheat, you just don't have the voltage , so they ballasts work harder. You are still able to pull the current, it just runs hotter.

There are also ZERO 100W bulbs for the 9005 form factor. So don't bother with high output Halogens.
 

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Also, just in case anyone wants to upgrade to the Aftermarket Projectors? They do work great with lots of adjustment. lots of adjustment.

You can cheap out on your HID bulbs if you get the genuine 55 watt HID ballast with 55 watts to the bulb. OR? You can get Cheap Ballasts that all with adjustment will do a real 35 Watt output, and spend the $40 dollars on the good Morimoto bulbs above in the 9005-9006 form factors.

From the testing here, even with D2S Form factor and optics? ; The Morimoto bulbs new out of the box, in Morimoto optics , only do 322 lux. Under simple test conditions. Very respectable. But 444 Lux bright spot with the Philips xtreme vision bulbs kind of blows anything else out of the water as far as 2018 was concerned.


In 2019? Let me just put this up.
57101

From the video bellow, this is the money shot. This is measuring total lux. Not just hot spot Lumens. So with OEM ballast doing a real world A/C 35 Watts, with a good projector, this is what to expect.

You can use the 55 Watt Ballasts from Morimoto, to get closer to the Osram Night breaker with out to much reduction in bulb life. Its my opinion that they work best at 41 Watts of input. So a 50 watt ballast and Morimoto bulb is going to give you the best bang for the buck in any form factor.

the lights tested in this video are only missing ONE thing.


THE FLEABAY HID BULBS!
For that, we go to HIDnation:


And BTW, Philips did amke a 50 Watt HID bulb is a D2S Form factor.

Don't buy them all! :)




Best video on the bulb to the projector to ballast combo? This one:

For a 50 Watt kit that you can do today safely?


Also, Hid Nations take on that:



What Retrofit Source video points out in this projector comparison, is that on the bench, take a look at the beam patterns.
Also, the ACME is what to expect from most of the EBAY China kit Projectors. Just knock that down 2 notches or more out of the box if you don't tweak them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvOsikwRGcs
-----When you look at the video, take in mind that the Cheap beam pattern may be better for long throw fog lights. Still, most of the time, the cheap kits do great at one thing, while sucking everywhere else. The higher cost tuned optics work better all around. And a larger form factor simply is able to get the most out of a bulbs light output.
-Photons might be small, but there still is no replacement for displacement :) Not even Photons are spared.




So how do LED's stack up to stock bulbs? Well, play close attention to the end of the video.

Notice that the light output is almast the same as stock. And having 14.4 Volts to the headlights. :=)








But no matter how bright that bulb is? It will only get close to any car fitted with a real D2S or OEM HID optics. Its out of the scope to explain this. But ask Shipo. That's my explanation for everything. :)







granted you use the morimoto 50 watt bulbs with min 55 watt ballasts? Goodtimes, and great for the smaller form factor projectors.

WITH ALL THAT SAID>...
The optics on the sonar kits are still subpar of the projector housing. The high beams work very well with the morimoto H-1 bulbs and 35/ watt ballasts.





If you can afford the Projector upgrade or can do it yourself? Stick with the 35 watt ballast, and get the D2s Philips xtreme vision with RDX projectors being the goto as of 2019.


The most cost effective has so far been for fog lamps considering output and ease of installation? The Hella 130W Halogen H3 bulbs mated to some Pilot round spot beams. These will even work with the cheapest LED Bulb out there to put out a good amount of light. Great fit for backup lights as well. Everything else is just a toy.

The 130W Bulbs can do 4000 lumens if you can get 14.4 volts to the filament. You can run them as high as 15 volts DC without them blowing. They are cheap enough and simple to replace as back up lights and Make great Fog lamps as well for really crappy weather. No ballasts and no extra electrical noise. just use good 8-AWG copper wire and 40 amp Relays, and just 2 of them will brighten up any road. So Naturally, I use 4 of them for back up lights since the optics of those mini Fog lamps are okay.

Hope that helps.
 

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In 2019? Let me just put this up.
View attachment 57101
From the video bellow, this is the money shot. This is measuring total lux. Not just hot spot Lumens. So with OEM ballast doing a real world A/C 35 Watts, with a good projector, this is what to expect.
LOL!!

A lux meter is not designed to accurately meter metal-halide light sources.

The Retrofit Source made the most elementary mistake that anyone could make. That is: assuming that a lux meter can correctly "see" light from a metal-halide bulb.

Waving a lux meter in front of a HID projector makes as much sense as asking Helen Keller if she likes the red car or blue car better.
 

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First, the OP never specified what year/model of van he has. 3rd gens usually had 9007 bulbs. Only the vans with quad lighting (98-2000 T&C long wheelbase) used the 9005 bulbs. The quad lights used a projector for one of the beams. Do not use LED's in the projector, as they aren't designed for a projector and seldom work. Best case for that is a good halogen bulb and wiring/relay upgrade to get the full voltage to the bulb. The other beam is okay to use a good LED bulb like Hikari 2020 LED. Keep in mind LED's usually last only for a couple of years, so even though it's an immediate upgrade, it's more expensive to run vs. halogen for the long term.
 

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LED emitters themselves are very durable, it's usually the bulk-quality capacitors in the driver unit that give up long before the emitter would.

As far as filament/capsule/emitter shape and size are concerned when changing the light source is concerned, it's usually a crapshoot and you'll have to experiment with the combinations to know what will work and what won't. The common belief that halogen and HID projectors aren't interchangeable is doubtful. A few years ago I disassembled Hella bi-xenon and bi-halogen modules and had their reflectors and lenses measured in a lab, and what do you know, they were absolutely identical. The only difference was bulb base.

I've experimented with various projector modules and reflectors over the years, from low beam and dual beam projectors to high beam and pencil beam reflectors. In most cases almost any combination can be made to work by shimming the bulb and lens to the reflector, but few are perfect right out of the box.

I've tinkered with a pair of Spyder Auto headlights lately, looking into replacing the low beam halogen projector module with a D2S bi-xenon one, but the overall build quality is so bad that just opening them up without breaking anything has been a challenge. Additionally, their halo parking lights are utter crap and need at least proper, custom LED drivers to make them serviceable.

I'd love a combination of European headlight housing (integrated electronic height adjustment, yay!) and clear US/DOT lens, retrofitted with a good 2½-3" bi-xenon or bi-led module. I have two pairs of badly clouded E-headlights to source the housings but finding DOT replacement lenses has proved to be a problem - and I wouldn't want to butcher a pair of new headlights for that.

That seems like the best way to improve the headlights substantially, without losing the height adjustment feature or having to put up with the questionable quality of Spyder Auto units.
 

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The problem with LED and HID bulbs is that the point source is different from a halogen. The reflector and lens on the headlight is very specifically engineered to aim a beam of light based on the exact location of the filament in a halogen. LEDs often have many LEDs oddly placed all over the module that throw beams off in unintended directions. The HID is closer to an actual single point source, but it's still bigger than the halogen filament which can have terrible effects on a halogen reflector's beam.

Going off of OP's comments, he has the standard headlights, a 9007 bulb. But Amazon recommended him a 9005/9005XS, which is what the quad beam T&C headlight uses for the highs and lows. He mentioned a lock ring, 9007 uses a lock ring but 9005 bulbs dont
 

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Well... if it's good enough for a manufacturer as reputable as Hella to use 1:1 identical reflector and lens for halogen and HID, I think it'll do. Both of mine worked perfectly with no modifications (although a conversion HID bulb is a bit ghetto) and 3D scan confirmed why.

LED:s, on the other hand. A point source, single emitter LED might (or might not) work, whereas multiple emitters in a lamp designed for halogen/HID create light pattern that's best described as a shapeless blob. All in all, retrofitting proprietary bi-led modules into headlight housings would work, too.

As it has been said numerous times, OEM headlights are pretty bad and in dire need of an upgrade if they are to be used in an unlit environment. I'm currently working on something and we'll have to wait and see how it'll turn out.
 
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