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Warning: Light thread ahead!
>Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 07:02:54 -0700 (MST)
>From: Ralph Poplawsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: RE: Light Kit *&$%#@...
>Anyway, I am interested in learning more about these Xenon bulbs. Are they
>better than the 55/100W halogens that I am running?
Ralph, be careful with high wattage lights if your HL reflectors are made
of molded plastic - they'll melt!
About the most you can get away with in the US spec "Aero" lights is 60 or
65 watts - more can fry harnesses and melt plastic. (Or so I've been told,
by several more or less reputable sources).
If you start or fear running into melting and warpage problems (and catch
it in time), I'd suggest a set of Wagner 9004 BL (bright light) bulbs from
your local NAPA store. Make sure that's what you get - most of the parts
monkeys will have no idea what you are talking about. They're about $10 each.
Stop at a junkyard (er - recycler) and get as many of the plastic bulb
retainer rings as you can find - the fingers get brittle and break off.
Most of the junkyards don't know what these are, and you can often buy them
for a buck each, or less if you something else at the same time.
The 9004 BLs are somewhat brighter than the stock bulbs, slightly whiter
and give better beam penetration. Alas, they still are nowhere near the
capabilities of the rest of the car, and it is easy to seriously over-drive
them. On a scale of 0 being stock, and 100 being able to see where you're
going, I'd rate them about 10 or so. Unfortunately, while it only costs $20
to go from a "light factor" of zero to 10, it costs much more to go from 10
to 20 or 30 or higher. We very quickly reach the point of diminishing returns.
The jury is still out (in fact, WAY out) on the optimum lighting system for
these cars. Until one of us comes up with a reasonably priced way to really
light up the night, I guess we'll all have to drive a little slower at night.
Incidentally, I drove my wife's Mzda 323 (1991) at night, and let me tell
you, those lights STINK!!!!!! and they are 9004s. You think OUR lights are
bad, wow, you ought to try these! Talk about dying fireflies!
Be careful out there!