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Hella 100/80 Bulb Retrofit

3670 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  David Eidell
At risk of getting yelled at...

Sevral months ago I asked this question and thereupon chased down twenty links, read several thousand words on the subject and decided 'There isn't a right way to go"
  • The bulbs need a major wiring gauge upgrade or they won't be bright enough
  • If the wires are upgraded the bulbs burn hotter which will melt the connector & bulb and explode ruining the housing
  • Nobody makes a good HID retrofit for this vehicle a 1995 Dodge Spirit.
  • I live several days south of the US border each way major gasoline and hotel costs. No UPS, or FedEx period.
A couple of days ago I got caught after dark. Couldn't help it, and could not avoid it. A hundred and thirty three miles from home. There is almost no traffic here so bright bulb glare isn't a problem and I avoid driving at night. These trips I make are to a cardiologist. I fight to try and get daytime appoinments. I am doing my homework. But I get caught.

It was the scariest four hour trip I have had in many years. Gravel construction. Unmarked pits in the road (15' deep) and gravel colored cattle on the road bed.

Now here coms the question...

If I just replace the OEM lamps with the Hella 100/80's and leave the wiring alone, the voltage drop through the OEM wiring will act as a resistor and although the bulbs may not get as bright as they would with a "wiring upgrade", they won't burn as hot, and the sockets will not get as hot. Right? (I hope).

I don't want to melt connector sockets, explode the headlight housing or end up parked vertically or have a bull horn hood the front seat.

The lights operate through an OEM Bosch style relay, so 16 amps won't kill it, and as tiny as those headlight wires are, won't they pass 8 amps (each) without armaggedon?

I've got to do something. The lights have been checked and they are properly adjusted. No Sylvania "Silverstars" down here so that's out. I'm stuck with the Hella's. But i don't want to destroy stuff I cannot fix down here.

Thanks for your comments. Again, I have read link after link and they are all good stuff. But no one seems to answer clearly will WILL (not a theoretical 'could') happen if I try this out. Original wiring.

Thanks Again.
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How about leaving the original headlights alone, and adding a set of good driving lights?
Or, since it sounds like the original lamps may not be bright due to UV-fogged lenses, either replace or polish them up to get more light output.
I've put 80/100 bulbs in many cars going on 25 years now. I have always used an aftermarket relay (Whitney used to stock a double relay just for this purpose), 10 gauge wire from battery to relay, 12 gauge wire to each headlight from relay. That's 8 amps per headlight btw, I've used larger than necessary wire to minimize voltage drop. Some aftermarket bulb sockets will not take the heat and melt. EM ones from junkyard have always worked fine. I leave the original wiring in the car unmolested and plug in the leads to switch the relay into one of the original sockets. Makes a significant difference. But for what you're doing it might make more sense to add some really powerful driving lights as suggested above. If you do that be aware that reflector size critical, the bigger the better. Get at least 7" lamps, 10" would be a lot better.
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I CAN NOT get driving lights (sob whine). There aren't any here, the nearest UPS or FedEx office is 590 miles one-way and lights would never stand a chance to pass through the Mexican mail system. 0% chance.

The headlight lenses are clear, and the reflectors mirror like.

But I don't want to destroy the lens housings. I could care less about voltage drop if what is remaining gives me more light on the road.

Ever use aftrmarket lighting (separate lights) on a badly corrugated road? The shimmering is so bad it tortures eyesight. The car is a K-car. With aftermaket lights I choose one of three paths, block the headlights, block airflow to the radiator or mount the lights through the roof.

Yeah I am a little discouraged. I cannot put that car out of service by blowing up irreplaceable headlight housings. When people "run off the road" down here, they die. Fifteen to twenty feet drop and absolutely no "shoulder".

The car has a Bosch relay from the factory 30/20 rating. The relay isn't the issue IMHO. It's whether or not 80/100 watts will develop enough amperage through those small headlight wires to overheat terminals and connections AND/OR "No matter what, the Hella's will burn so hot they will melt the OEM headlight connector".

I see good in the day but my night vision is awful. I am getting old and this is frustrating as all get out. No amount of pleading works with the cardiologist. He is overworked and I have to wait. My social security prevents me from moving to the USA, unless I want to try living under an overpass.
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