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Discussion Starter #1
It's only fair to report like I did with the %$^&#@! lower radiator hose transfer tube pinhole leak, what I did to resolve the inadequate lighting out here in never-never land. A person would have to be mighty careful doing something like this where there is other traffic. Things like adjust lamp aim way, way down. The car is a 1994 Spirit.

I ordered and installed the HELLA 80/100 watt 9004 headlamp bulbs. I read more conflicting advice, accounts, testimonials, warnings, and Danger Will Rogers, on the web about those Hella bulbs. Everything from "They don't work, to stories of flaming wire harnesses, blown lamps with destroyed headlight housings. Rants and raves about relays, ten gauge wire, ceramic lamp sockets. The list was horrific. I decided to rely on common sense...

The car has a headlight relay from the factory and since it is a Bosch style relay, it'll certainly handle 17 amperes total from both 100 watt lights. End of story. The OEM wiring looks to be in 'tween size, maybe 17 gauge. Enough to handle 8 amps each. Yes there is voltage drop and yes only a fool tries to power 12 volt quartz lamps with 14 volts. Just ask any sailboat cruiser. So forget harness upgrades more wattage, and hotter sockets. Everything is OEM, except the bulbs.

Do the Hella's produce "more" light? Yes. How much more? Significantly. Is the lighting less yellow? Yes. Did this satisfy my need to really light up the road? No.

I had purchased a pair of dirt cheap 55 watt Harbor Frieght rectangular driving lights. I did not like the big holes through the reflector on the base of the lamps, so I disassembled them and plugged the holes, all of them with black silicone sealant. I let the sealant dry a long time. I figure if headlights can work well, sealed, so can the driving lights.

I looked at the dash, and I looked at the firewall. I did not like what I saw. No really good place to mount a switch, and worse yet was access to behind where any switch would mount. I could use the switch as a ground for a relay coil wire but this is 2013. I went on AMAZON and purchased a wireless relay control unit for around twelve dollars. It uses a key FOB switch with 2 buttons. Of course I was not going to risk the control unit so I added a TYCO relay to actually fire the lights. High Beam operation. 30-amp fuse protecting a 25 amp auto reset breaker protecting the TYCO, and a 5 amp ATO fuse protecting the wireless unit.

But I am forgetful. So no way was I going to wire the circuit straight to the battery. Yeah right, park the car walk away with the fog lights blazing...I supplied the driving lights POWER relay the TYCO with ignition to the relay coil. I shut off the engine and the driving lights die and stay dead until I press the key fob again with the ignition switched on.

Flawless operation. The key fob works through firewall or hood 100% perfect. Works from 100' distance with the hood closed.

With 310 watts of halogen lighting now, I can see asphalt colored steers, bottomless potholes with faint echos of Chinese music coming out of them, undercut shoulder edge pavement, large rocks the Mexican drivers leave on the highway after they drive away from their portable "wheel chocks".

Propabably 35 dollars spent on materials. And no hint of armageddon backlash 'cause I did it all-wrong.
 

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You should research the gauge of wiring in your car. My 93 Daytona actually has 20 AWG wire to the headlights, according to the Factory Service Manual. No way would I run the current through there that you are trying.

Yet, other cars have 16 or 18 AWG wires. Best to find out.
 

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KOG
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"Yes there is voltage drop and yes only a fool tries to power 12 volt quartz lamps with 14 volts."

You are confused. "12V" systems are actually 14-14.4V and the bulbs are designed for that voltage. The efficacy (perceived light by a human eyeball in this case) of an incandescent lamp is a least the square of the voltage increase at the lamp.
Thus raising the actual voltage at the bulb from 12V to 14V will increase the effective output of the lamp by 36%, an increase that you can perceive.

I can also tell you from direct personal experience that you're not only asking for trouble with small wiring, you will have it. I've been using 80/100 watt bulbs for over 25 years in various vehicles. The only trouble I've had is from aftermarket headlamp sockets with OEM sized wire which don't even match the ability of OEM sockets to handle current and temperature. I've melted several of those inferior things in the past. I've learned to hit the junkyard and use OEM sockets along with 12 gauge wire to each headlamp or 10 gauge for a pair.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I'm trying to prevent your having expensive, extensive trouble in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I read too many accounts about folks who wired those Hella 80/100 bulbs with large wire then had the bulbs explode utterly ruining the headlight housing. Detailed accounts. Folks who checked voltage and decided for instance "14.2 volts is OK). - Boom!

Being that I am in a poor position to run a few thousand miles up to the border to get replacement bulbs, I elected to stay with OEM wire. Yes, I am getting 12.02 volts at the lamps while the battery is seeing 13.96. Almost a 2 volt drop. But I will trade off 2 volts, less light, for extended bulb life and protection for the housing any day. My post was intended to show the Hella lamp replacements DO OFFER significantly better light with a direct replacement and no other changes.

Over the years I have done my homework with quartz lighting and while, for sure, raising voltage does dramatically increase lumens, it conversely shortens lamp life. This issue is "old-hat" on cruising sailboat forums wherein most voltage regulators have a special circuit to reduce charging voltage when operating quartz lights. This is no doubt one reason why regulated LED lighting is making a big splash. At eight dollars and change for a Hella bulb and a pittance of a pension I cannot afford to make a big splash these days.

Will my OEM wiring harness "catch fire" due to over amperage? Gee I sorta thought OEM had such things in mind when they selected ATO fusing for the headlamp circuit. Why use a higher rated fuse when there are so many amperages to FINE TUNE from...

And I agree, this is not a debate. It is simply an observation I made after I had read so many online accounts of "You Can't Do That!" (take your pick there are at least 30 different approaches that "cannot possibly work"). I love the one that emphatically said the Hella lamps will produce less light than the originals unless ten gauge wire is used along with a monster relay and ceramic sockets...
 

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Interesting write up.

My Dodge has sealed beam 6054's and I was reading closer to 3 volts drop at the bulb. Higher wattage sealed beams were not an option

I can't afford Cibie's, and apparently the Hella 6054's for use with replacement bulbs are not designed well, if the low beam is adjusted correctly, the high beam is too high.

I am not going to experiment with Autopal's offering, and the other ones I found have plastic lenses and probably poor optics too
.

Replacing the 20 awg ground wire from socket to body with 10 awg gained me half a volt. My service manual states my headlamp wiring is 14 awg. The low beam wire is 16 awg and the high beam is 14 with the low going to the drivers side first, then back out and around to the passenger side. The High went separately to both lamps from somewhere closer to the firewall.

Later I made a 12awg harness with fancy ceramic 12awg h4/9003 connectors and used relays and got rid of the Silverstars in favor of GE Nighthawks( not the blue ones), and the voltage drop is now less than 0.3v. The original headlight plugs are still operational too, if a relay fails.

The lights are now significantly brighter, and the beam pattern of the GE's is a bit wider and flatter than the Sylvania's
My Headlamp switch no longer gets hot.


I have some Hella fog lights too, but these are not really helpful in most of my night driving. Nice having them for slower potholed driving though, like the road to Asuncion.

I'm not so concerned about bulb life, but my voltage regulator does not permit voltage in the 14.5 range for long before reverting to 13.7, much to the chagrin of my depleted auxiliary battery. I have not really checked that at night though.



Hoping your wiring does not melt on you Mex.
 

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KOG
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Exploding bulbs due to "high" voltage? OK, whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Reading so-called reviews is "such" fun. When the poster said he ruined three housings with "light yellow powder" coating the reflector when the bulbs exploded a person (me) cannot help but keep it in mind. Maybe he dipped them in motor oil before installing them.

I'll keep an eye on the sockets. More succintly on the color of the contacts. If they start to change color I'll spring for the ceramic jobs.
 
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