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Offline eaglefreek

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New headlights
« on: September 03, 2011, 10:41:30 PM »
I have always disliked the performance of the stock headlights. Some have reported success with switching to a relay and larger wiring to the headlights. I decided to use better headlights and do the relay upgrade at the same time. I purchased some AutoPal headlights from an Ebay seller. They are 165mm glass lamps that take a removable H4 bulb. I highly recommend the relay upgrade. You might want to do that first and that may be enough. I live in a rural area that doesn't have many streetlights. I am extremely pleased with the new lights. I used to struggle to see with the low beams and would use my high beams and fog lights but would have to turn them off when approaching oncoming traffic. I drove tonight with the low beams and didn't have a need for the high beams.
First you will need a 5 pin 30 amp relay and preferably a relay socket. However you can use .250 female terminals instead of a socket.

 I prefer the one with two 87 pins and without the 87a pin. This way you can run 2 separate leads to the 2 headlights. You want the relay as close to battery as possible preferably and use 12 gauge wire for input and ground. Run 12v+ to pin 30. A 20 amp resetable circuit breaker inline with the +  would be a good idea. Run a short ground wire to pin 85 and attach it to the body or another suitable ground. You will need another relay for the high beams if you wish.

The H4 conversion bulbs use a plug just like the stock Eagle's plug, however the orientation of the 3 leads is different.

I didn't want to cut or splice into the factory harness, so I just slid a .250 spade terminal into the low beam's female socket and that goes to pin 86 on the relay. That wire doesn't need very large since it is just a switch wire.
I bought some new bulb socket pigtails and ran 12 awg wires from the 87 pins to the appropriate pin on the socket for the low beams.  Run a ground wire to the appropriate pin for the bulb and you are good to go.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2011, 10:56:07 PM by eaglefreek »
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Offline darjeeling

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 01:57:45 PM »
Okay I got a question- I have the regular 4556 lights on my car and I noticed when I turn the high beams on the low beams go dimmer.  Is that supposed to happen?  Or does this mean my socket is H4 style?

Offline Sunny

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2011, 02:11:22 PM »
I had the same problem with the sealed headlights on my car. They were horrible, and I ended up doing an HID upgrade. It took a little bit more effort to get them to look stock [the lenses they came with were awful looking], but no one ever can tell until I turn them on. The difference was well worth it. I ended up going with 6000K lights, as they are pure white. You can get tinted light, depending on what K you go, but I found 6000K was the purist white, with the best visibility. Some charts list 5000K as pure white, but they aren't as bright. There is a very slight tinge of blue for the first 30 seconds - 1 minute before they warm up.

Overall I was really happy with the upgrade.



I think a headlight upgrade is one of the first thing's people should do on older car's.

Online vangremlin

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2011, 02:49:50 PM »
Sunny, I'm doing the same thing to my car today.  I've got the relays installed, now I'm about to put in the HID's.  I can't wait to drive at night and see how much of a difference they make...
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 06:52:58 PM by vangremlin »
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Offline Sunny

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 05:09:42 PM »
Sunny, I'm doing the same thing to my car today.  I've got the relays installed, now I'm about to put in the HID's.  I can't wait to drive at night and how much of a difference they make...

It's a pretty straightforward install. You should have no problem doing it. I personally noticed a huge difference and was super happy. One word of advice though. AIM THEM!. Even a millimeter too high and they can blind people. HID's have a bad rap for blinding people, but it's always misadjustment.

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2011, 07:01:34 PM »
It's a pretty straightforward install. You should have no problem doing it. I personally noticed a huge difference and was super happy. One word of advice though. AIM THEM!. Even a millimeter too high and they can blind people. HID's have a bad rap for blinding people, but it's always misadjustment.

Hey Sunny, I got the HID's in and they look great.  Its getting dark here so its almost time to take them for a test drive.

The only problem I have is that the main headlights go out when I turn the brights on.  In a stock Eagle, there are two filaments in the outside headlights, and three wires that go to that unit.  When the brights are off, the one filament lights up, fed by the light green wire.  When you turn on the brights, the first filament goes out, and the second one turns on, along with the inner headlight (fed by the white wire).  Since my HIDs are wired to off of the low beam, they turn off when I turn on the high beams.  Need to figure out a fix for that.  Did you have the same problem?  Thanks.
1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
1972 Gremlin X 304
1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
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Online vangremlin

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2011, 08:04:15 PM »
ok, i have thought about doing this on my 2 sx4's. did you guys go with those crystal clear lenses that take the h4 bulbs that are found on the bay site all the time?? do the hid lights have high and low beams or just a single beam?? most cars i have noticed with HID have a 2nd bulb in them for low beam it appears. when do we get to see pics of these lenses and the hid install?? VERY intrigued...  :blob1:

The kit that I got came from Pro Street Graphix on the bay site.  It includes 4 housings, 2 HID bulbs and 2 ballasts, and then two H4 bulbs for the high beams.  A true HID light requires the ballasts.  My HIDs are low beams only.  The problem I have to resolve is that the way the Eagle lights are wired, the low beam in the outside headlight goes out when the high beams (one in each outer and inner headlight) comes on.  I tried a quick fix of tying the high beam feed to the low beam feed, but then all four lights are on all the time.  I've got a couple ideas to try, involving the relays I also installed today.  I'll get it done somehow.  I will take some pictures once I get the high beam housings installed and wired up.
1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
1972 Gremlin X 304
1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
1964 TBird 390 - sold

Offline WoodenBirdOfPrey

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2011, 08:11:29 PM »
ok, i have thought about doing this on my 2 sx4's. did you guys go with those crystal clear lenses that take the h4 bulbs that are found on the bay site all the time?? do the hid lights have high and low beams or just a single beam?? most cars i have noticed with HID have a 2nd bulb in them for low beam it appears. when do we get to see pics of these lenses and the hid install?? VERY intrigued...  :blob1:

I can't speak for what vangremlin and sunny used, but most of the cheap(affordable) HID kits i've seen for sealed beam headlights use fixed position bulbs, so no high/low.

My dirt bike is street legal, but riding at night with the standard 35 watt bulb was kinda sketchy.  Since it takes a standard h4 bulb I figured doing an HID conversion on it would solve the problem without having to modify the appearance of the bike.  I had to do some searching, but I did eventually find a few sellers on the 'bay that had High/low capable HIDs.  Since HIDs don't have filaments, they change high/low position by use of a reflector/shade around the bulb that is magnetically shifted like a solenoid.  
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Offline WoodenBirdOfPrey

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2011, 08:30:32 PM »

I tried a quick fix of tying the high beam feed to the low beam feed, but then all four lights are on all the time.  I've got a couple ideas to try, involving the relays I also installed today.  I'll get it done somehow.

I'm not sure how your relays are set up, but if you can't figure out your low beam issue that way, you can also fix it with a couple high current diodes.  

Are you using one relay to switch the lights on/off, and a second one for the high/low?

If that's how you did it, just put a diode in line with the jumper from the high to low beam on each side.  It'll work like a one way valve to let the current flow from high to low, but not backfeed from low into high.  Just make sure you get diodes capable of handling the current, to be safe I would use diodes rated for 10 amps.  The HIDs should only be pulling about 5 amps each but the initial turn on current for them is higher until they warm up.

There are diodes that will work for you listed on the 'bay for less than $10 shipped for a pack of 5.  You'll only need 2 but it won't hurt to have extras.  Search for "10A Schottky Diode" and you'll find 'em.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 08:32:17 PM by WoodenBirdOfPrey »
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Offline Sunny

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2011, 08:34:54 PM »
I can't speak for what vangremlin and sunny used, but most of the cheap(affordable) HID kits i've seen for sealed beam headlights use fixed position bulbs, so no high/low.

Mine have high/low, but they are on a single lens.
A buddy of mine did it on an Astro, I should ask him if he has high/low or just low. It has the 4 headlights like an Eagle.

What Vangremlin said is right, true HIDs have ballasts. You see a lot of shops selling 'plug in HIDs' that are basically normal bulbs.

Online vangremlin

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2011, 09:11:20 PM »

I'm not sure how your relays are set up, but if you can't figure out your low beam issue that way, you can also fix it with a couple high current diodes.  

Are you using one relay to switch the lights on/off, and a second one for the high/low?

If that's how you did it, just put a diode in line with the jumper from the high to low beam on each side.  It'll work like a one way valve to let the current flow from high to low, but not backfeed from low into high.  Just make sure you get diodes capable of handling the current, to be safe I would use diodes rated for 10 amps.  The HIDs should only be pulling about 5 amps each but the initial turn on current for them is higher until they warm up.

There are diodes that will work for you listed on the 'bay for less than $10 shipped for a pack of 5.  You'll only need 2 but it won't hurt to have extras.  Search for "10A Schottky Diode" and you'll find 'em.


Thanks for looking into those diodes for me.  After it didn't work the way I wanted it to, I thought I needed a "check valve" (can you tell I'm a water guy lol) for the electrical current but wasn't sure exactly what I needed. 

The way I currently have them wired is one relay for the lows, and one for the highs.  What I was thinking of trying is hooking the wire from the 87A terminal on the low beam relay to the power feed for the low beam lights.  As I understand the relay, 87 has power when the switch is on, and 87A has power when the switch is off.  But maybe that will send power to the lights even when the lights are off....maybe I need to do some checking first before I start splicing anything.  If that doesn't work, I'll go the diode route.  I was thinking I could hook up the hi-beam signal wire to the low beam relay, so that it turns on the low beams whenever the low beams or hi beams are on, and put the diode in that circuit.
1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
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Offline WoodenBirdOfPrey

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2011, 09:26:38 PM »
I was thinking I could hook up the hi-beam signal wire to the low beam relay, so that it turns on the low beams whenever the low beams or hi beams are on, and put the diode in that circuit.

I've had a few beers tonight but as well as my brain is working right now, that actually sounds like a good idea, and won't rely on the diodes taking the full current of the lights.  In that case, the 3 amp diodes radio shack sells would work fine.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062577&filterName=Type&filterValue=Diodes

They don't exactly lend themselves to an easy install in automotive applications since they're typically installed on a circuit board, but it's not hard to make it work and look stock.  You can cut off all but about 1/4" of the leads on both ends, and solder your jumper wires to those legs.  then I use some fine gauge heat shrink over each of the legs, then larger heat shrink over the entire unit to keep any moisture out.  They aren't going to be damaged by moisture, but water on any electrical connection will eventually corrode and cause problems.

Like a check valve, if you install them the wrong direction you'll get undesirable results.  One side of the diode will have a stripe around it, that side is the direction of flow.  Make sure you mark which side is the side with the stripe before you tape it/heat shrink it.  The side with the strip will go towards the low beam relay in your application.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 09:29:32 PM by WoodenBirdOfPrey »
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Online vangremlin

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2011, 10:45:47 PM »
Thanks, I'll go ahead and pick up a diode and make that my project for this weekend.

I took my HID's out for a test drive and they work great.  I can see a lot better.  Mine are 8k, so they have a slight blue tint, but not too much.  I noticed as I was driving that I was thinking to myself "why are everybody else's headlight's so yellow?" lol
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1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
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Offline TLC87Eagle

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2011, 10:57:34 PM »
I am considering doing the "Crystal Clear" headlight conversion with the 55/60W bulbs.

So the only thing I need to do to make them function properly is the switch the ground and low beam terminals on the plug? And do I have to switch all four plugs or just either the high or low?

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 12:00:30 AM »
bird of prey, consider me having a couple with you bud. ;-)

Count me in too!
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1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
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Offline Sunny

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2011, 12:10:45 AM »
but i WAS running the really blue 80/110watt 9007 bulbs in it.

HID's are significantly better in my opinion. Anything that plugs in to the stock wiring harness can't put out anywhere near the light that an HID does.

I found most of the 'brighter bulb!' options that plug into a stock socket really wern't that much brighter.

Offline priya

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2011, 12:05:24 PM »
One word of advice though. AIM THEM!. Even a millimeter too high and they can blind people. HID's have a bad rap for blinding people, but it's always misadjustment.

HID's are the bane of night driving for me.  What makes it far worse is nowadays most drivers are too obnoxious to dim their lights to oncoming traffic - what's this world coming to?!

Offline Sunny

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2011, 12:54:31 PM »
One word of advice though. AIM THEM!. Even a millimeter too high and they can blind people. HID's have a bad rap for blinding people, but it's always misadjustment.

HID's are the bane of night driving for me.  What makes it far worse is nowadays most drivers are too obnoxious to dim their lights to oncoming traffic - what's this world coming to?!

Generally when people do an HID upgrade, they swap in projector headlights to aim them.
Unfortunately, they just take the lenses out of the box, put them in and go.
I see lots that are cross eyed, or one is pointing at the ground, and one is up.

When I put mine in, I got my dad to drive the opposite way, coming at me to see how they were and we adjusted from there. Also, when putting HID's in reflector style lenses, the light tend's to not be nearly as focused and can just go anywhere.

Before I put mine in, I heavily debated it just because the factor of other drivers, and I've been blinded by people with HID's before, but my headlights were really poor. I actually have mine aimed a little bit low, just for that reason, because I was afraid of blinding other people.

Offline Draekon

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2011, 02:31:17 PM »
There is a nice writeup on the thirdgen camaro website:
http://www.thirdgen.org/headlightupgrade

Most of it should be applicable as they have the 4 headlight systems, and use the same stock headlights as eagles.

Offline TLC87Eagle

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2011, 11:12:26 PM »
There is a nice writeup on the thirdgen camaro website:
http://www.thirdgen.org/headlightupgrade

Most of it should be applicable as they have the 4 headlight systems, and use the same stock headlights as eagles.

Thanks Draekon,

Looks like only the low beam plugs need to be switched to make everything operate right.
I've seen people have issues without switching the wiring like low beams dimming or going out with high beams on and such.
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Offline BenM

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2011, 03:12:09 PM »
Okay I got a question- I have the regular 4556 lights on my car and I noticed when I turn the high beams on the low beams go dimmer.  Is that supposed to happen?  Or does this mean my socket is H4 style?

It means you have the Good sealed beam bulbs. Standard 4656 outside bulbs are (High/Low) 35w/35w, the better bulbs are 40w/55w. The 4651 inside high beams are 50w. You can swap in 4666 designed for 2 headlight systems that are 65w/55w, but they have one angled pin on the connector, and I'm not sure if the pins are re-arranged or not. You would need to modify something.

Yes, the high beams are 50w instead of 65w, but because they are not designed for high/low they waste less light so should have the same apparent brightness. The outside high beam provides more of a middle focus on high, while the inside high beam is focused further away.

Hella and Cibie make an inside high beam housing that uses H1 bulb, which is 55w@12v under European law, or 65w@12.8v under US law, but is exactly the same bulb; there are just different ways to measure it. It's a better high beam then using H4/HB2/9003 in the inner pair for the same focus issues.

I always avoid the blue-tinted bulbs. Only a very slight coating is legal, and in any case it's filtering out light, which I don't want. The U.S. only allows white, however most of the rest of the world allows selective-yellow as well.
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Online vangremlin

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2011, 07:35:16 PM »
I put in the inner headlights today and took some pictures.  I still need to do some slight rewiriring to add a diode so the low beams stay on when I turn on the highbeam.  Here are some pictures







1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
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1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
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Offline WoodenBirdOfPrey

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2011, 09:44:09 PM »
Looks like they focus the light pretty well.  I had similar style composite headlights on my old s10 and with the regular h4 bulbs they threw light all over the place, not good for the oncoming traffic.  I think I might have to invest in a set of these soon.
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Re: New headlights
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2011, 02:19:14 PM »
I did the wiring modification today that allows the low beams to stay on when you turn on the brights.  Thanks for WoodenBirdofPrey for teaching me about diodes.  Picked up a 3A one from Radio Shack, dusted off my soldering skills, and wired it in.  Here is a shot of the HID 8000K low beam alongside the H4 high beam.  The combination looks a little odd, but I've heard that with the HID's you'll rarely need the high beams.  I'll test it out this evening.

1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
1972 Gremlin X 304
1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
1964 TBird 390 - sold

Offline TLC87Eagle

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2012, 03:21:35 PM »
I recently upgraded all of my headlights with the sealed beam conversions, and new Hella Fog Lights.


The kit came with 4 semi-sealed beam housings with glass lenses and 55/60W H4 bulbs.
I also installed Hella Model 550 fog lights which have 55W H3 bulbs.


Here's without the fog light covers.


Close up on driver's side.

After using the Thomas Edison Incandescent (Not even Halogen) 35 Watt Sealed Beams, these headlights are amazing. I can see over 10 times better, and the fog lights cut through anything.  I would highly recommend them to anyone who's tired of not seeing clearly at night. 
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Offline DESA

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2012, 03:31:33 AM »
Old topic here but I have have a question relating to this thread that may be easy to answer for the electrically inclined. When doing this h4 conversion I notice lots of pre fabricated wiring harnesses with dual relays have a plug and play type connection for the original headlight switch of whatever vehicle your installing it in. I looked and can't find any such plug for my eagle just the green white and black wires from the headlights to the dash. Would a guy be able to splice the new harness into these wires eliminating the original system and use the new h4 built harness with dual relays and the battery positive connection without doing damage?
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Offline eaglefreek

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2012, 09:41:59 AM »
Absolutely, that's what needs to be done. You can get a harness that either plugs into your old headlight sockets or cut them off and solder on the harness. The original wires that powered the lights will now only let the relay know to power the new H4 bulbs, substantially lowering the electrical load on the switch and providing more volts to the bulbs.
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Offline Baskinator

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Re: New headlights
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2013, 07:10:24 PM »
This thread is excellent! I was originally very interested in the headlight upgrade, but grew wary of them having an excessively blue light. Now that I can see pictures of such nice white light coming from an Eagle, I can easily say that these will be on my car when I can afford it. Even with my headlights newly adjusted, they are still very dim at night and make it difficult to see clearly. They look great on Pepe, vangremlin, and it's also nice to see a comparison of the different strength bulbs for reference, Sunny. Thanks for the helpful info and diagrams as well, eaglefreek!

May I recommend this for sticky, or possibly Eaglepedia if someone compiles the pictures and diagrams here? Eggs to you guys!
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