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Hi,

CJ oem headlights leave a lot to be desired. I drive a lot of twisty mountain roads and highways. I've had encounters with wildlife on the road at night that would have been much better if I'd seen them sooner!  I want better headlights. I also want fog lights that can also work as supplemental lighting to headlights. Then there is the wattage / amp draw / wiring harness issue. When turning on the oem headlights (especially while running the heater and wipers), the voltmeter on the dash drops significantly and the dash lights dim down a bit as well.

LED's seem to "solve" the electrical draw issue, since they are very low wattage, with even brighter light. However, there are a few things I don't like about them (I tried the Quadratec reflector style). (1) The beam pattern is too "boxy", the top of the beam cutoff goes from light to dark very sharply. They do not illuminate trees or anything much above the street level. (2) Apparently, they do not get warm enough to defrost themselves in a good snowstorm. I don't have any experience with this problem, so I don't know how bad it is. But I'd prefer not having to worry about it. (3) Perhaps these problems could be solved with a higher quality light, but then the cost becomes very, very high.

There is an H4 option (European spec) that is much better than oem/DOT spec. Much cheaper than LED. And no defrost problem. However, they still seem to have a very sharp upper beam cutoff. Also, they are the same wattage as oem, so I assume the electrical drawdown issue will be the same. They sell a headlight wiring harness that runs right off the battery. This will make the lights perform better I assume. I'm not super good at understanding electrical issues, but if the wattage of the bulb is that same, even with the improved wire gauge (harness), won't it still pull the same amount of electrical power away from the rest of the vehicle?

Can you recommend a headlight set up that would resolve these issues (1) smoother beam cutoff to be a bit more like the oem beam pattern, but with brighter lights that project further down the road? (2) less electrical draw on the rest of the electrical system and (3) if LED, no issues with frosting up?

PS, if sharp beam cutoff lights are the best idea, are there fog lights that are street legal that would illuminate a bit more like a flood light, giving a smoother transition to the upper beam cutoff?

Thanks!

James

 

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James, headlights are a time-honored issue.  I just got back from the SEMA Show where I met with 3M folks and discussed their headlight shield polishing compounds for "modern" plastics that deteriorate and cloud over time.  In many ways, headlights are no better today than in the Jeep CJ era.

Your observations about LED lamps is insightful, especially their failure to defrost!  I like the European products but have also experienced the issue of beam cutoff.  In fact, the diffusion hoods/caps on OEM halogen headlamp bulbs like our 2005 Ram 3500 create a light beam(s) that are diffused, all over the place instead of straight down the road and, frankly, the worst headlamps of any sealed beam vehicle I've ever driven.  Add to that the clouding lamp covers, and you have a safety hazard.

I'd like others to jump into this discussion and share their experiences on this universal problem.  Thanks, James, for airing the subject.  Let's see how others have solved these headlamp dilemmas.

Moses

 

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Moses, thanks for your response. I find this helpful when considering beam cutoff:

https://www.retrofitlab.com/blog/dot-vs-ece-beam-pattern/

And this makes me lean toward the European style. I think my plan now is to try some H4 European,

http://www.rallylights.com/hella-super-7-round-h4-for-2-headlamp-systems-each-with-city-light-hl39519.html

and see how I like them.

I think I will wait for the LED's to get better/cheaper. I'd like (a) LED's that defrost (b) better light pattern (smoother, a bit more diffuse), and better price.

Anyone, please chime in!?!

 

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MomoJeep...Thanks for the link on beam cutoff, many will benefit.  I like science!

Please keep us informed on your findings with these H4 lights.  I'm very curious.  They sound traditional and proven.  The Jeep CJ's single lamps are a very good test...Hella has great products.

Moses

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