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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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997 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, my standard sealed beam headlights don't do a good job. Compared to modern headlights, they're pathetic. No surprises there. I bought some fancier Philips sealed beam headlights and they were just marginally better and one lasted like a month, tops.

I'm looking at Hella retrofit kits that use replaceable H1/H4 halogen bulbs. Like this kit:
https://www.amazon.com/HELLA-003177801-164x103mm-Conversion-Headlamp/dp/B001G72UE0/

They look like regular old headlights, which I like. Anyone got any experience with those retrofits? Will H1/H4 bulbs be much brighter?

p.s. They're supposed to be plug-and-play. Are they really?

Thanks,
Scott
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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19,059 Posts
Hi guys, my standard sealed beam headlights don't do a good job. Compared to modern headlights, they're pathetic. No surprises there. I bought some fancier Philips sealed beam headlights and they were just marginally better and one lasted like a month, tops.

I'm looking at Hella retrofit kits that use replaceable H1/H4 halogen bulbs. Like this kit:
https://www.amazon.com/HELLA-003177801-164x103mm-Conversion-Headlamp/dp/B001G72UE0/

They look like regular old headlights, which I like. Anyone got any experience with those retrofits? Will H1/H4 bulbs be much brighter?

p.s. They're supposed to be plug-and-play. Are they really?

Thanks,
Scott
=====================
I used the Hella Euro conversion lamps on a car many - MANY years ago -
the difference between the old sealed beam and the Hella lamps was UNBELIEVABLE -

WELL WORTH THE MONEY -

if memory serves me correctly -
they included a short wiring harness/adapter that changed the pin locations -
other than that - YES - they were Plug-N-Play -
 

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1984 Eldorado Biarritz
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1,186 Posts
Scott, I think we had discussed this in the past. Good to hear Bass has some s’perience here. The one thing that you will probably lose are the lamp monitors. The fiber optic end sits on an intentional light leak on the back of the sealed beams. When they went to composite headlights in the late 80s, this fiber optic piece was made to connect to the housing directly. So unlikely the existing lamp monitor will work with the Hella a-dapter kit.
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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997 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys.

That's high praise, Basscatt. I will pull the trigger. Thanks. Helpful stuff.

Smokus, indeed we did discuss it. My fiber optics are pretty shot. I tried cleaning them (pencil eraser maybe?) but stopped short of taking the next recommended step, which I believe was cutting the ends off with a razor blade. Does anyone even sell the sealed bulbs with the light-gathering nipples at the back anymore?

Regardless, part of this is that I drive through a lot of urban parkland at night with lots of deer. Currently I don't see them till the last moment, which isn't good. Given that concern the fiber optic indicators aren't worth it.
 

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Registered
1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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997 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hi guys, I've been driving around with my new high/low Hella retrofits. Install was a cakewalk. Results are good, though I need to readjust the beam angles for the new Hella housings. I'd planned on doing some scientific side-by-side testing, but just wanted to get it over with and it was daytime anyway.

So, they're good. Wild guess, 25% better light just from the high/low lights alone. (High beam-only lights are still old-school sealed beams). Eventually I'll upgrade high-beam onlys too.

For now, I'm thinking about upgrading the H4 bulbs in my current kit. They come with base Hella H4 halogens which are like $3.50 apiece. Internetting reveals that the best rated H4s logically have higher wattage. Hella kit comes with 60W/55W H4s. These: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IKM61MQ/

I suspect and Googling confirms if I simply put 100w H4 halogen bulbs in, something will melt, probably first the plastic adapters that came with the kit.

Question: Can I use higher-wattage halogen bulbs if I upgrade just the adapter harnesses? Or is the rest of the existing wiring a problem too, and I'd need to install something like this?
Painless Performance Headlight Conversion Harnesses 30815

Doing anything more than simply installing new adapters sounds like a big PITA. If I'm stuck with 60w max, that's cool. I'll try better Hellas or SilverStars like these: https://www.amazon.com/SYLVANIA-SilverStar-Performance-Replacement-Technology/dp/B0012ETJ1O

Thanks!
 

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1984 Eldorado Biarritz
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1,186 Posts
Nice work Scott. Installing a relay to run the headlights will probably net you some further performance improvement of its own right. Running all the current thru the dashboard switch is the equivalent to breathing with a straw.The switch and it’s connections will likely be the first point of contention with attempting to run higher wattage bulbs.

Kit is interesting and probably your best bet to get it done quickly and cleanly, but it shouldn’t amount to anything more than a couple of Bosch cubes, weatherproof sockets, and a few feet of 10 or 12 wire.
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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997 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Signore Pollutus, nice to see you. Thanks for the thoughts. Cakewalk was kind of an understatement. Basically the same as replacing headlights. I should add that the Hella housing quality is impressive... all metal and glass. Very sharp looking.

Interesting notion... I could just check the actual amperage at the bulbs with a multimeter, right? I've realized that those Sylvania Silverstars are basically the top rated bulbs anyway, despite the 60W. Lifespan is apparently shortened though, relatively. But not seeing much need to rewire stuff. I've already got my fancy stereo wiring for the amplifier in the mix... should probably quit while ahead.
 

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1984 Eldorado Biarritz
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1,186 Posts
Caesar will do.

Correct about the multimeter. Glad to hear Hella appears to be a quality product. I have been looking at the feasibility of getting composite headlights in mine with a minimum (no) modifications to the car. Good to know ready-made headlight a-dapter kits are already out there.
 
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