H4 Headlights - Again

 

OK, I know there have been a million posts here on H4 lights and bulbs, but there are almost too many to make sense of.

I've put off upgrading from sealed beams because I hardly drive at night - only when I get caught out later than planned or have to start a rare trip at o'dark thirty.

But it looks like an upgrade to basic H4 halogens is pretty simple. Can I just order these Hella lights and bulbs from Amazon and be done? Is there any reason not to? I notice that most Amazon bulb ads don't indicate P45T (euro) or P43T (us) bases. So, is it assumed (if not specified) that a US source will ship P43T? Is that what I'm looking at in these ads?

I think I want to stay with standard 60/55 wattage. I'm hearing that's still way better lighting than sealed beams, no?

Total cost, lamps and bulbs, looks to be around $75.

(Clicking on the photos will link to the Amazon ads.)

HellaLampHellaBulb

 

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Sacto...I'm with you. It's confusing !    I have the P45T hella sockets. The H4 Led's I ordered from Superbright LED.com did not fit in any way. They looked exactly like the one you posted  from Amazon with the three tabs around the base. My current halogen bulbs do not look like that.  I have talked to guys at Superbright and they know nothing. I think there is a euro adaptor that will work but they are something like $30 USD and available in Europe  So...I'm in the same boat as you....Bruce

Mitch I did the conversion the easy way for me. I had Anthony do it. I can actually see the road at night now. Driving in the dark is generally past my bedtime for about half of the year.

Touching any of the wiring on my car usually causes some sort of unexpected problem. I am going to have to pay Anthony one way or another anyway. Might as well make sure I do not screw it up. I am known for my Brown Thumb. 

 

Noel, I've had pretty good luck working on the car's wiring, but there shouldn't be any wiring involved here.

In theory, it's pretty much plug and play. The Hella lamps are the same shape as a sealed beam headlight (sort of) and snap into the same place in the headlight bucket. They, in turn, hold H4 bulbs. The new bulbs and new reflector are supposed to focus the light a whole lot better than sealed beams.

What could possibly go wrong?

 

 

Thanks for the links, guys.

My lights are already wired through relays, so I'm good to go.

But I'm still wondering about this whole P45t and P43t thing (which turns out to mean that some sockets (and presumably some bulb bases) are 43 mm diameter and some are 45 mm.

So, if I get a gen-u-whine German Hella lamp, do I have to search for gen-u-whine German bulbs to fit it? The garden variety Hella lamps are supposedly made in Mexico or other places where they don't speak German.

I went over to my friendly local NAPA store today. They had at least four different flavors of H4 bulbs in the same physical size and wattage. They were all 60/55 watt bulbs at different price points, supposedly offering better brightness as the price rose.

But nowhere on any of the packaging was anything said about P45t or P43t. So is there just one Amurican sized H4 bulb that I need to worry about? I'd like to be able to get bulbs at any FLAPS.

I think I'll just order the cheapie Hella lamps from Amazon and hope that bulbs from NAPA fit.

 

This whole headlight thing has gotten way out of hand. I bought two Sylvania sealed beam Xtra Vision halogens for the Spyder for $37 delivered and hope (HOPE!) that means I'm done. 

I personally recommend basic road headlights, properly wired through correctly-sized fuses and relays and properly aimed, to anyone who wants to drive a car on ordinary roads at legal speeds at night or during other periods of darkness. That's all of us, whatever our Mittyesque LeMans fantasies might be. 

PUT IN HEADLIGHTS, AIM THEM CORRECTLY, AND DRIVE THE DAMN CAR.

This nonsense with "halos" and blue tints and LEDs with various resistor packs and friggin' fans and and BS with 7 bajillian-watts has got to go. I mean just stop. 

 

Ed, don't hold back - tell us how you really feel.

Actually, I'm pretty much the same. My 2002 had basic three-dollar sealed beams and that worked out just fine for over 20 years. Same with the Miata I had after that.

But the lights in the Speedster are just plain rotten. I do run them through relays, so it's not that. It might have something to do with the fact that they're really close to the ground. I think higher mounting points tend to 'reach' farther and light the ground in front of the car better.

At any rate, I ended up taking Stan's advice and got what's probably the cheapest H4 solution - the EMPI lamps, which our local Bugformance had in stock. Thirty-four bucks the pair out the door - with bulbs! Such a deal.

They do look a lot brighter than the sealed beams. The shades of night are just falling here now, so I'll know fersure pretty soon.

 

Sacto Mitch posted:

 

Ed, don't hold back - tell us how you really feel.

Actually, I'm pretty much the same. My 2002 had basic three-dollar sealed beams and that worked out just fine for over 20 years. Same with the Miata I had after that.

But the lights in the Speedster are just plain rotten. I do run them through relays, so it's not that. It might have something to do with the fact that they're really close to the ground. I think higher mounting points tend to 'reach' farther and light the ground in front of the car better.

At any rate, I ended up taking Stan's advice and got what's probably the cheapest H4 solution - the EMPI lamps, which our local Bugformance had in stock. Thirty-four bucks the pair out the door - with bulbs! Such a deal.

They do look a lot brighter than the sealed beams. The shades of night are just falling here now, so I'll know fersure pretty soon.

 

@Sacto Mitch Those sealed beams are only a whopping 17 watts. That's why they didn't look all that bright.

 

Robert, I had previously swapped in Sylvania Silverstar sealed beams which were supposedly rated at 40/60 watts (what it said on the box).

A bit of an improvement over what came with the car, but not much.

Just back from my test drive, these H4's are much better. I'm not burning holes in sheet metal, but they at least light the road like a normal car (and these are probably the wussiest H4's you can get).

If I were cruising the autobahn at 130, I might want more, but as Ed reminds us, I ain't.

 

Sacto Mitch posted:

 

Thanks for the links, guys.

My lights are already wired through relays, so I'm good to go.

But I'm still wondering about this whole P45t and P43t thing (which turns out to mean that some sockets (and presumably some bulb bases) are 43 mm diameter and some are 45 mm.

So, if I get a gen-u-whine German Hella lamp, do I have to search for gen-u-whine German bulbs to fit it? The garden variety Hella lamps are supposedly made in Mexico or other places where they don't speak German.

I went over to my friendly local NAPA store today. They had at least four different flavors of H4 bulbs in the same physical size and wattage. They were all 60/55 watt bulbs at different price points, supposedly offering better brightness as the price rose.

But nowhere on any of the packaging was anything said about P45t or P43t. So is there just one Amurican sized H4 bulb that I need to worry about? I'd like to be able to get bulbs at any FLAPS.

I think I'll just order the cheapie Hella lamps from Amazon and hope that bulbs from NAPA fit.

 

I found H4 bulbs at Walmart with the three tab base at $8.37 a bulb, they are packaged as Sylvania but are actually Osrams out of Germany.

 

Mitch,

To be clear, I got the el-cheapo (non-DOT) EMPI H4 headlights, and bought some Silverstar bulbs at my FLAPS. I'm not sure the Sylvania (Osram) bulbs were any better than the EMPI's since I'm pretty sure they all come from the same mud-hut in China, but they're adequate.

FWIW, the bulbs cost more than the headlight assembly, delivered.

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