HID headlight conversion for new Colorado

Hi, I am interested in a few of the HID headlight conversion kits that I have seen around (as in replace your headlight bulbs, not mount extra lights). I have heard that HID lights are the best to get when looking for spotties so it sounds like converting my headlights to HID would be a great idea. I am not really concerned about changing the low beam, I only want to change the high beam so that I dont need to get a set of spotties.

However, I dont really know much about these kits and have seen some very conflicting views. If HID lamps use less power than the original halogens, why can't the HID lamps just be plugged straight in?

What are ballasts? I have seen them sold with the kits but dont know what they do. Why dont halogen lamps need ballasts?

How do HID headlights compare to HID spotlights that you would mount?

I have heard about these sort of kits turning the perspex/refelctors of the headlights opaque and rendering them useless. How do I know if this will happen?

What sort of bulb do I need for a 2015 Colorado? Has anyone used these kits on a new Colorado?

Any help appreciated!
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 16:15

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 16:15
Sam, a lot of people put these in, and on some vehicles it's legal, others not.

I am fairly sure if a vehicle is factory fitted HID, that's ok to play with them, if not factory, pretty sure it's illegal . . . think OEM setups having protection to stop headlight blinding drivers coming the other way.
Sometimes the glare they give off is terribly bright even on low beam, very annoying and dangerous at times.

Do some more research as to the legalities, and if able to set this up just ensure it's not going to incur the wrath of other road users.

HID ballast is needed to fire them up.
AnswerID: 594629

Reply By: TomH - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:34

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:34
You can only legally fit HID lights of under 2000Lumens???? unless you fit the full enchilada Like correct reflectors auto levelling lights and auto headlight washers. Also you shouldnt put them in low beam.

Lights of that brightness are hardly worthwhile doing.

The focal length of the globe assembly is incorrect for normal headlight reflectors and thereby makes them flare a lot.

I have HID standard in my car and they have projector lens and shutters to dip them rather than changing globes to do so.
They dont like being flicked on and off as they need time to warm up.

Mine have auto levelling and every 5th time I turn the headlights on the washers pop out and clean them .I was also told not to put headlight protecors on as then the glass cant be washed.

Far better to buy a set of HID driving lights that are built correctly to do the job.

To retrofit a car like mine legally to what I have is just under $5000 Worth reading to back up what I have said


AnswerID: 594635

Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:35

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:35
Correction Every 5th time I turn the WIPERS on they wash the headlights
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Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:55

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:55
Forgot to say that despite people thinking the higher 6000k stark white/bluish bulbs are brightest they do NOT give more light than a bulb of betwen 4500K -5000K K is color temp Lumens is light output

Normal headlights are normally about 3000K which as we know is slightly yellowish

See herehttp://www.accessconnect.com/color_temperature.htm


You may be better to buy some of the higher output Philips Nightbreakers which are designed for your reflectors
FollowupID: 863114

Follow Up By: sam d47 - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 20:31

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 20:31
Thanks for the info. If I buy HID spotlights to mount on my ute, do they all have auto levelling systems and lens washers? I don't think I've seen any that have that. Why would there be different rules for them when they're in the headlights as opposed to mountable spotlight units?
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Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 20:37

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 20:37
I have no idea.

Am just quoting the rules. Probably becuase you have your headlights on all the time in the dark and only allowed Spots on when no oncoming traffic. As I said retro fits are a poor imitation of real ones and the Nightbreakers will give you as much if not more light than HID's under 2000 lumens.
FollowupID: 863135

Follow Up By: disco driver - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 21:07

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 21:07
If you fit HID headlights to a vehicle not designed for them you will blind every oncoming motorist with the glare and intensity when they are on. No 'if's", no 'but's", that will happen.

Fitting non factory HID's is illegal for onroad use in all states AFAIK.

As others have said, getting them to work properly is bluddy difficult and expensive and it may have an adverse effect on your new vehicle warranty as the wiring has to be adapted somewhat .

You would be much better replacing your existing "Halogen Globes" with something of a higher output and spending lots less on fitting a pair of good LED spotlights or similar.

FollowupID: 863136

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:07

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:07
Sam wrote "If I buy HID spotlights to mount on my ute, do they all have auto levelling systems and lens washers?"

The spots don't need any of the std headlight stuff, as they are wired to low beam Sam, so when you dip high beams the spots automatically go off, and just the lows on then in their factory format.

If you are thinking "I'm only doing the high beams, and lows are left std" I'm not really sure about your light setup to know if they have separate globes etc.
I'd check with your states transport people to get the correct legislation for your specific needs.
Arm yourself with info about your cars headlights, if indeed they are set up as independent beam areas / globes etc.
FollowupID: 863140

Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:42

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:42
Spots are only allowed wired to high beam and must go out when you dip. Not allowed hooked up to low beams
They are normally hooked up through a relay which allows them to turn on when high beams are on.

You can have the switch that turns them on or off on high beam as you may not always need them.

When you dip the relay is deactivated and they go out along with the high beams.

Some have a bypass switch on them to allow them on at any time and I believe this is illegal.

Fitting HID bulbs with a light output of under 2000 lumens is NOT illegal most states.

Anything above that IS illegal as they must be correct reflectors and have the washers and levellers. A business on the Sunny Coast installs them in VW 's but I believe they are hardly better than standard.
However both are stupid

The Nightbreakers are better and about $4000 cheaper than a full retro HID setup.

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:23

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:23
Whoops, meant wired to go off on low beam.
Yes, should have manual switch too.
With HIDs you turn them off when approaching another vehicle from a couple of ks out, the highs can usually stay on a bit longer before dipping.
Makes the transition from brilliantly lit road to what looks like the black of night, by stepping down like that.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 18:30

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 18:30
The fact is headlights are very strictly controlled under the ADRs ..... the section on headlights is so big it is split into 2 sections for download ..... hundreds of pages. ... from memory about 400.

The upshot is .... there is NO LEGAL HID lamp conversion for headlights ..... a given headlight MUST have the type of lamp it is approved for ...... so if that headlight was approved with a halogen lamp .... that is what it must have in it.

The practical probem with HID is that the filament lengths are different and you simply can not get a HID lamp to perform to specifcation in a lense and reflector designed for halogen.

In addition the HID replacement globe, shifts the filament to dip the headlight ..... this mechanism is fundametlly flawed and unreliable expecially with excess vibration.

As far as Fitting entire HID assemblies, it is pretty much, practically impossible to do so and achieve compliance unless that vehicle was fitted with HID at least as an option. ..... among other things HID required self leveling suspension and lense washers.

Because the low beam function in particular in headlights is very strictly controlled, there is very little to gain by converting headlights if you wish to remain legal ........

There is one point where gain may be had ..... that is to fit an aftermarket or modified headlight loom that ensures the headlight recieves full voltage at its terminals ..... that will ensure you have the brightest legal low beam.

On the matter of HID in general ...... its days are numbered ...... LED is progressing rapidly and it can be a point of argument as to LED having overtaken LED as the most viable driving light ...... if LED has not surpassed HID at this time, it will do so within 12 months.

AnswerID: 594638

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:38

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:38
".......shifts the filament to dip the headlight........."

Couple of points, Bantam. There is no filament in HID, just a little ball of gas, that's why they aren't affected by vibration, like a halogen.

The other point, from my experience, is that the "filament/ball of gas" doesn't move. Rather a solenoid shifts a shroud to give high 'n low.

Agree with your points on the legalities though.....


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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 00:00

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 00:00
In the real world of lighting we call it a filament length regardless of there being an actual filament or not..... purely for convienience. ...... if ya picky and it is an arc lamp ... call it arc length.

In an arc lamp, it is not just a little ball of gas .... it is an arc with a finite length ..... in the real world of lighting we refeer to long and short arc lamp forms.

The size shape and length of the light producing element is critical in designing lenses and reflectors.

In a standard halogen headlight unit as well as the low beam being shrouded, the low beam filament is forward of the high beam filament ..... this changes the beam pattern.

If the HID lamp does not move the filament it can not produce the same effect of beam narrowing that the standard halogen lamp does ..... If the particular HID conversion in question does not shift the filament ..... this is another reason why HID cant produce a compliant pattern.

Regardless these fiddly little mechanisms are fundamentally flawed and unreliable.

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 11:46

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 11:46
The conversion I (illegally) fitted to my Prado had a solenoid in the base of the bulb. It moved the whole bulb to dip the lights. There was no shutter.

In addition to being illegal, it was not very successful. Heaps more light on low beam, but it annoyed other drivers. (That's why they are illegal). There was little improvement on high beam. Although the bulb produced heaps more light the focus was in the wrong place and the light just went everwhere.

And by the time I sold the vehicle the reflectors were getting dull spots, either from heat or UV, I don't know. But they were losing considerable areas of reflectivity (if that is a word) above the bulbs.

I'm not doing a conversion to my new vehicle. Instead I might try some of the more advanced conventional QH bulbs. And I've installed LED driving lights - combination spread and spot. They are excellent.


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Follow Up By: sam d47 - Monday, Jan 11, 2016 at 22:36

Monday, Jan 11, 2016 at 22:36
Are the ADRs an Australia wide thing or does each state have its own additions? Where can I find the ADRs for download?
FollowupID: 863320

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016 at 00:10

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016 at 00:10
The ADRs apply Australia wide ..... on the matter of headlights them selves there will be no variation. ... much of what is in the ADRs is bassed on international standards.

There are some minor variations and differences in enforcement on things like roof mounted spot lights from state to state.

The design rules can be found here https://infrastructure.gov.au/roads/motor/design/

Remember there are other sections that influence headlights and driving lights appart from the sections specifically on headlights ....... you must understand the generalities. ... things like restrictions on frontal protrubances for example.

And there is some federal and state legeslation that should be read in conjunction.

OH and reading VSB14 is advised.

I recommend buying a large bottle of coffee or a carton of RedBull.... before you start ... the section on headlights is over 400 pages.

FollowupID: 863325

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 19:15

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 19:15

I became fed up with the poor OEM headlights on the Troopy and fitted these LED replacements. (The price is for a pair) Drop straight in to the existing mounts and are fully waterproof. They are superb as headlights but will not show up a roo at 1km. And neither will HID inserts into your existing reflectors. For that you need decent driving lights.

I scrapped my big halogen Oscars that blocked radiator airflow and fitted 6" HID's which are OK at the road speed of the Troopy, but if doing it again now I would, as Bantam recommended, use LED driving lights, maybe lightbars. Better performance and low current draw which does not require fancy wiring and relays etc. None of these will give you problems.

The reason that HID's require a ballast and cannot be simply plugged in is because of their operation. They produce light by means of an electrical discharge (High Intensity Discharge) which is essentially an arc between two electrodes in a gas. This requires a special starting function and control of the current so a control unit known as a 'ballast' must be employed. Halogen lamps contain just a simple wire filament that needs no special controls.


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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 19:40

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 19:40
I just had reason to recheck the invoice and that price of $399 was for a single unit. So yes, they are exxy!

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 00:09

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 00:09
I have been lusting after a pair of fully compliant LED hedlights for some time now ...... but the price HELL man. One set I looked at where $600 per headlight.

A lot of the big American trucks are being offered with an LED headlight option.

BUT the big thing is these headlights are built as an approved and compliant package ..... these are not a conversion.

As a matter of interest, what brand?

I'd have to check the ARDs .... LED may also require self leveling suspension and washers ...... but at leat these units will produce a low beam pattern that does not bling oncomming traffic like HID lamp conversions will.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 00:33

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 00:33
Bantam, they are bright and white, but not blinding. The beam shape is well controlled, especially on low.
Fully compliant?....I dunno, I hope so.

The brand?.... Narva Genuine Truck-Lite 9-33V 7" from 4wdextreme on eBay. $399 each.

Low Beam 1.80A at 12.8V
High Beam 3.6A at 12.8V

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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 07:39

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 07:39
I've fitted the Trucklite LED headlight assemblies to three different vehicles now, both the rectangular and round versions and they are superb, low power drain, have a similar beam pattern to a good H4 and don't glare like HID's when adjusted correctly.
Yes they are exxy but well worth it, no globes to blow, no reflector delaminating problems, no lens problems and they just plug straight in to the original wiring and don't require wiring upgrade due to the low power requirements, even the Toyota wiring harness can handle them!
You can buy direct from the US either online or while travelling and they are a bit cheaper there, as they are not setup for either RHD or LHD but have a symmetrical beam which you then adjust with the original vehicle headlight adjustments to get the aim correct.
As has been said with the later model vehicles with vehicle specific headlights you are restricted to whatever they left the factory with which is basically changing the globe to a better quality one. Don't be tempted to fit higher output globes as they will often lead to reflector and lens degradation due to heat.
FollowupID: 863230

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:25

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 22:25
The globes for your Colorado should be listed in the owners manual Sam.

I've just replaced the original headlight globes, in Landcruiser ute, with Phillips 130Plus globes that are legal, but supposed to be much brighter and give 50% or more, light down the road. Tried them early this morning and low beam was very good.

In 2 previous vehicles, I've put HID inserts into the inner high beam lamps, and they worked very well. On one vehicle, a Toyota wagon, I removed the driving lights, as I didn't need them.

Have had HID's in another vehicle, and they worked alright, but I did wind the alignment down, to reduce glare for oncoming motorists. Many vehicles using these haven't been checked, and they are blinding.


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AnswerID: 594647

Reply By: sam d47 - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 09:59

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 09:59
Thanks for the help so far guys. Has anyone heard of the HID bulbs turning the reflectors/perspex white/opaque? I assume it is something to do with the larger amounts of UV light produced by HID (especially with the higher temperature colours). I'm interested to know if this has happened to anyone here or if you know how to ensure it wont happen. I think I read about it on another thread here but it may have been a different website.

As an alternative to converting my headlights, has anyone heard of adding some sort of spot or spread light into the fog light cutouts? I bought the Colorado LS (base model) so it has no fog lights but still has the necessary cutouts for them and just has grey plastic inserts in there at the moment. I thought it might be a good little project to try and make use of it. It would be nice to hook it up to high beam and have some good floods lighting up the sides of the road. Size would be the limiting factor here though.
AnswerID: 594656

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 11:29

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 11:29
The problem with fitting diving lights into the fog light locations is ... they are too low.

mounting driving lights too low results in deep shadows in the dips.

Headlights and driving lights need to be mounted as high as practical .... Idealy you should be able to see the top edge of your driving lights from the drivers seat. This ensures that the lighting is comming from close to your line of vision.

As for the plastic headlight lenses ..... on modern vehicles they will be polycarbonate ...... but its anybodies guess how bad a particular headlight will be effected .... yes arc lamps do output considerably more UV than filament lamps.

FollowupID: 863173

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 13:23

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 13:23
It is illegal to drive with fog lights on unless there is fog or other inclement weather. Am sick of the posers driving around with W++ker lights blazing like the sun in my eyes.

You have been given good advice here so take it and either buy a pair of driving lights or an LED light bar.

Then you will be able to see and so will traffic coming the other way. You will also be legal and considerate to others.

FollowupID: 863181

Follow Up By: sam d47 - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 22:01

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 22:01
Tom, as I said, I am not interested in changing my normal low beams at all, only my high beams. Therefore, I will not be affecting other drivers because I obviously wont have any extra high beam lights on when other drivers are around.
FollowupID: 863221

Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 14:26

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 14:26
Well basically what you are trying to do is illegal. So is up to you. I prefer to be legal and know nothing untoward will happen.

There are always those who have a different view unfortunately
FollowupID: 863245

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 23:34

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 23:34
It's not just headlights that you can not replace the globes with anything but the original specification globe if the lights are subject to conforming to an ADR. If your lamps are filament lamps then any replacement globe must conform to Australian Design Rule 51/00 Filament Lamps Download that PDF file and peruse it, you will notice:

This Australian Design Rule (ADR) prescribes the dimensional and
photometric requirements for filament lamps which ensure
interchangeability and correct functioning when installed in a lamp unit."

If the globe is not replaced with one conforming to this ADR then your lamp is no longer ADR approved and your vehicle will be deemed as unroadworthy.

This includes replacing tail and stop light gllobes with LED units.

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AnswerID: 594675

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:50

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:50
while what you are saying is absolutely true, replacing lamps in stop, tail and indicator lights is not the problem it is in headlights.

The ADR sections on headlights go hundreds of pages, while the sections on stop, tail and indicator lights go several pargraphs pluss some diagrams. The stop, tail and indicator sections mostly specifiy in fairly simple terms intensity and viewing angles.

It is possible with some care to select LED substitute lamps that will achieve or be very close to achieving practical compliance in an existing fitting for stop, tail and indicator.

It is not however possible to achieve practical compliance with a substitute lamp in an existing headlight fitting .... not even close.

The practical enforcement also differes greatly ...... The police and inspectors are red hot on headlight compliance, because it is a known practical issue, but on stop, tail and indicator lights ...... as long as it is working, showing the correct colour, visable over the correct range and not rediculously bright .... most officers will look no further.

FollowupID: 863233

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Jan 11, 2016 at 18:43

Monday, Jan 11, 2016 at 18:43
Sam there's been some great advice but it's starting to get messy.
To recap.....
*Forget about HID inserts! I've tried them & they're bleep .
*Upgrade your OE globes to Philips X-treme Vision
*Yes you can fit LED's in the fog position BUT must be switched with the high beam not the fog light switch. While there are plenty of suitable brands an option that works well are Jcar LED spots. These are small diameter but still powerful enough to effectively light up to 300m, ideal for winding roads & tracks.
*If serious about better lighting, HID driving lights for long range & quality LED for short & mid range.
AnswerID: 594740

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