: Do Euro Projector Headlights Suck This Bad?



dkinder
02-19-09, 12:28 AM
Hey guys, I just bought a set of Euro headlights for my '98 Catera ... I get my Catz HIDs installed in them, install them, and they look great! So now I'm really excited for night to come to try them out...

They cannot possibly even be legal to try to use. The light output looks like that of 2 candles and it's all over the place, not a clearcut line like I'm used to with projectors in my Audi or Mercedes. I pull the bulb out and take a look inside and there's a metal barrier, which I assume is to provide the distinct cutoff point (that isn't there), and the back doesn't even appear to be reflective. What gives? Something about this cannot be right (and it's not my Catz HID's, because those look fantastic in my Range Rover and are amazingly bright. I'm stumped.

JRomano
02-19-09, 03:21 AM
Its your drop in HID kit effing the beam pattern up, try out the regular halogen bulbs first. Drop in HID kits usually work great in about 5% of headlights, the rest are just as you described... all over the place and nowhere near legal

Warez
02-19-09, 05:52 AM
The European TUV headlight pattern it total garbage compared to the North American DOT output. So the problem you're describing could be normal for those headlights.

Best to post a pic.

CateraMV6
02-19-09, 10:53 AM
Yeah send us a picture... also the Bulb is H1 correct... and from my personal experiance H1 is a bad bulb for retrofit... you end up getting totatly different pattern from the reflector bowl... and by the time you have to define it with the shield and spread it with the lens you end up with garbage...

I got a set of RX projectors swapped out the OEM A6 projectors and I am happy with the resutls...

dkinder
02-23-09, 01:36 AM
Sorry guys, I have been out of town (picking up another Catera no less, haha), but I will try to get some pics in the next few days so you guys can see the light output. Thanks for the replies so far!

CateraMV6
02-23-09, 11:33 AM
If the projector is of decent quality the Euro pattern is much better then the US DOT crap... the beam will be much sharper and you will see a better ilumination down the road.. .

The only problem will be the streak of light that goes at 30deg from the center up... thats there to light up the sidewalk for pedestrians or street signs so if you are ever on the highway in anything but the right most lane you will be blinding the drivers to your right... but otherwise you can crack those open and trim the projector Shield and that should fix the problem...

dkinder
02-26-09, 12:38 AM
I decided to go tackle this issue tonight and have satisfactorily resolved it. The problem turned out to be that the bulb itself needed to be mounted back further in the housing (the bulb was going too far into the housing). Once I worked up a remounting solution I finally have good, usable low-beams, so for anyone retrofitting in the future, play with different mounting depths for the bulb. Thanks for the replies guys!

Warez
02-26-09, 01:42 AM
If the projector is of decent quality the Euro pattern is much better then the US DOT crap... the beam will be much sharper and you will see a better ilumination down the road.. .

Anyone who has driven both would would disagree about the European ECE headlights being better than DOT lights.

On ECE lights, the right side drivers side LHS light points MUCH lower than the passenger RHS light, thus the LHS headlight has MUCH less range compared to a DOT spec light. If you have a look inside a real ECE RHS projector, you will notice that the cut-off shield looks different.

There is a good reason why ECE headlight are like this; If you've ever been to Europe you would have probably noticed how narrow the streets are, not just in urban areas but out of the cities as well sometimes. So ECE lights are like that so you don't blind on coming drivers which is very important on such narrow roads.

When I was is Spain last year I really noticed the difference. When I was in a car it almost looked as if the dirves side light wasn't working because the range was so short compared to the passenger side light. A frined of mine who had a rental in Germany also commented how he was constantly having to use the high-beams on the highway becasue the low-beam range was so short whereas over here he never has to use his highbeams. I also agree that the range my Catera is excellent and I can't ever remember the last time I've used my high beams on the highway at night.

People have the wrong impression about European lights being better becasue they implemented halogen lights decades before the DOT allowed them over here.

What I don't like however are our stock hazy projector lenses. I don't know why some manufacturers use these. Interestingly I have a stock DOT halogen Catera projector light and it has a clear lense.

CateraMV6
02-26-09, 09:34 AM
Well I had different experiance with those... I drove a MK2 GOLF over there with the OEM Hella Reflector lights... Reflector created a nice ___/_/ patterna and it worked quite well... The lights for once had the adjusters on them and you can play with how far you want them to light up... and the RHS beam did a nice job lighting up the sidewalk for obsitcles on those narrow city streets... and the other thing EURO lights are better for is a much sharper cutoff line which reduces glare much better then the US DOT...

On my catera I had to upgrade the lenses to get a decent sharp cutoff however all US DOT stuff has fuzzy lenses because they hid color and create a softer cutoff line which is supposed to be less distracting to the driver.

I wish we had the vertical levelers in our headlights but Cadillac left us out on that topic!... :(

I had to fix that so RX Non AFS projectors, Clear lenses custom shields...

Here are a few more pictures of the output....

Picture of the Clear Lens...
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n50/CateraMV6/HID%20Upgrade/DSCN0763.jpg

Cutoff on the Garage... COLOR SHIFT... (Couldnt figure out the camera settings) There is a good amount of color at the cutoff line but I couldnt get it to show on the pictures... and also my headlights were dirty and wet because it was raining the last few days...

http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n50/CateraMV6/HID%20Upgrade/DSCN0766.jpg
This streak of light above the cutoff line becomes much thinner and sharper in the distance and it causes a flicker effect for the oncoming drivers but it does not blind them... simply there for color/flicker.
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n50/CateraMV6/HID%20Upgrade/DSCN0762.jpg

http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n50/CateraMV6/HID%20Upgrade/DSCN0760.jpg

BackStreet
02-26-09, 02:55 PM
I decided to go tackle this issue tonight and have satisfactorily resolved it. The problem turned out to be that the bulb itself needed to be mounted back further in the housing (the bulb was going too far into the housing). Once I worked up a remounting solution I finally have good, usable low-beams, so for anyone retrofitting in the future, play with different mounting depths for the bulb. Thanks for the replies guys!

I'm going to give this a try. I can see road signs far off but I can't see a thing right in front of me. The high beams are aimed correctly or even a little high but the low beams just don't seem to shine.

I have the euro "projector" beams from ebay with 55w HIDs that produce blinding light if you look at the bulb.

98 Catera
02-26-09, 07:54 PM
awsome thread. I'm wondering where I can get a set of either HID or Halogen housings? Mine are both broken internaly and need a link or someone who will sell me theirs. I have a 98 Catera with a halogen setup, might I add I have no hi-beam at all. So a new non-foggy working set would be great.

Warez
02-26-09, 08:25 PM
The lights for once had the adjusters on them and you can play with how far you want them to light up...

The level adjustment feature is intended for when you're towing so on coming traffic is not blinded.



and the other thing EURO lights are better for is a much sharper cutoff line which reduces glare much better then the US DOT...

On my catera I had to upgrade the lenses to get a decent sharp cutoff however all US DOT stuff has fuzzy lenses because they hid color and create a softer cutoff line which is supposed to be less distracting to the driver.

Clear lenses are not ECE specific, there are cars sold here in North America that have the clear lenses.



I had to fix that so RX Non AFS projectors, Clear lenses custom shields...


When you state RX, do you mean they're from the Lexus RX?

Is the RX projector lense diameter the same as out stock lense diameter?

CateraMV6
02-26-09, 09:16 PM
Yep... on the HID Planet forums they call them the RX... typical find on the LEXUS RX SUV with AFS or NON AFS... the AFS is sealed unit the NON AFS is not... and both fit the opening on the Catera housings... 2.5" diameter...

Mine worked great... I had to modify the mounting brackets by gluing two bolts to the lower two mounts so that a nut can hold the lower portion of the projector... then on the top its a single mount so I had to create a bracket that would bolt to the OEM spot and provide a mounting hole at the middle... then aimed with the high beam and reinstalled everything back together....


My impressions... 100$ got me the most advanced lighting solution on the market today... by far these are just as good if not better the the S2000 projectors and those are considered to be the king of all projectors....


The light output is amazing... I'd say its aorund 160 spread and a very even lighting distribution from left to right and front to back...
The OEM A6 projectors had a very bright hot spot in front of the car and it reduced the forward distance brightness and it made it harder to see down the raod... with these I get brighter light in the distance and less intense right in front of the car and I can tell that it improved my visibility quite a bit...

With the 55w kit the light will become more intense and will probably shine even farther...

I got to warn you all its a no joke upgrade it took me a good part of 4 days messing with the things to get the to bolt align and produce nice colors while staying sharp in the distance...

Now if it was summer and i had more tools etc it would have been much easier but well do with what we have..

Highly recommended upgrade for the stock HID and the NON HID reflector lights...

libbysman
03-06-09, 11:28 PM
Hello: As 98Catera asked, where does one get their hands on a set of replacement housings? My 97's lights sound like a pair of maraccas. A source would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Regards, Brian