For Science! HIDs For My Lancer… Not So Smart But I Just Had To Do It.

A week or so back, a colleague of mine at work sold off some bits and bobs off his previous Civic VTi, which included a pair of HID H4 headlight bulbs and HID H11 foglight bulbs. My training supervisor got hold of the set but after putting them into his own Civic VTi, he found that he didn’t like them all that much and passed the stuff on to me to see if I’d like it on Aska.

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This is one side of the bulb set that I got. 

The colleague who owned the parts were selling the bunch for just Php 500 or a little below $10, and I figured I’d like to give it a try. At that amount, there is very little in the way of loss in my opinion, and would give me something to do with Aska.

A couple of days back, I got the set and split it with another friend of mine who coincidentally needed the H11s for his Jazz (Fit). I got the headlight set and made a test fit the night I got the stuff. Earlier tonight though, I scraped some time to do the install job.

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My old man set up a work light for me. How nice, now I don’t have to work with a flashlight held by my mouth. 

Before I get to the juicy parts,  let’s talk about headlights for a moment.

HIDs or High Intensity Discharge (lights) are kind of car lighting system that uses gas to generate its light. Think of it as your CFL (compact flourescent light) that you use at home, but adapted for use in a car. The lights first came out with luxury and high end vehicles in the very early 2000’s and towards the middle of that decade, it became the rave among car enthusiasts due to it’s very bright and while light. Some are so bright that along the edge of the light, a band of blue often appears to the eyes hence some people calling HIDs as “blue lights”. While it’s a good add on for a car, it’s not always a very good idea to simply swap it into those that use reflector headlights.

Reflector headlights use a polished surface inside the housing to reflect light from the bulb on to the road. This is used for a majority of vehicles on the road today, but they are steadily being replaced by projector headlights.

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On the left side is a projector headlight, and on the right is a reflector headlight. This is a common arrangement, and is called a dual lamp (or light if you would) system.

Reflectors are great, they work well enough and fairly cheap compared to projectors. However, most reflector headlights were designed to work with halogen bulbs and HIDs were originally meant (still are actually) for use in projector headlights. The problem is how the light is “thrown” into the road. In reflector headlights, there is a lot of light scattered around and are not exactly the most efficient in a sense. Also. reflectors work best with regular halogens with “normal” color temperatures (measures in K or Kelvin) of around 3600 up until around 4200 something. HIDs though normally produce white light, commonly around 6000K. This white light tends to get scattered much more easily, resulting in a light that appears bright at short distances but doesn’t have the “reach” of conventional halogen bulbs in the same reflector housings.

Enter the projector headlight – as the name implies, it projects the light onto the road much better than reflectors. This is due to the glass lens at the front that focuses the light and throws it further. One of the good things about it is that it doesn’t produce as much glare as a reflector headlight would. HIDs work very well in projector headlights and many cars come with it standard, although some lower spec models may use halogens instead of HID.

All A17x Lancers use the familiar reflector headlight with flutes on the glass, ostensibly to throw the light in a more predictable pattern on the road. It works great with halogens and works well in all weather conditions. Essentially all I’d be doing is change out the bulbs from halogens with the kit that I have now and hope for the best.

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This is half of the kit that I got and the parts are labeled. This one is supposedly rated for 6000K which means I’ll be getting a more white light than stock halogens. 

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A close up of the bulb I’ll be using. This one uses HID for the low beam and halogen for the high beam. This combo is often used for retrofits since a full HID kit is often very expensive. 

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Secured the ballast to the body using an existing hole on the body. I find it amazing that whenever I need to work on the car, mod something and would be needing a hole, there would almost always be one where I need it to be. Conveniently, there is even a metal screw for me to use. Also if you’d be interested to know, “chong” or “tiyong” is derived from the Spanish word “tio” which means an older man, usually an uncle. It is a common term of endearment among men in the Philippines. 

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I had to “mod” the headlight lock ring to get it over the back portion of the bulb. Because of the wires and other things in the way, simply threading it through was not possible. I snipped one portion of the ring and made the wires go through the ring. Now my headlight is ready to be installed into the back of the headlight housing as one would normally change bulbs. 

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Done installing the passenger side. Here I’m testing the output, which suffice to say looks better than the halogen on the left. Repeat the process for the left side, which is just a wee bit trickier since the battery is in the way. 

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A comparison of the lights from the front.

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Both babies are in. Notice the greenish, bluish tint along the edge of the light.

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How it looks from the inside through my tinted windshield. 

Now, I would be the first to admit this isn’t exactly a super smart idea and it’s best to stick to whatever OEM parts were used or if in case of headlight upgrades, going with 90 / 100W Halogens would prove to be better on the most part. But I thought that I’d go with this for now, mostly for kicks. If I am to stick to HIDs though, I am looking to get lower color temps, probably around 4200K or something to mimic the beam and throw of regular halogens.

See the problem with white light in general is the lack of depth (as my friend put it) – this simply means that yellowish light throws further and has better contrast in the dark than a comparable white light. Still, I leave it entirely up to you guys to decide and remember to check local laws and regulations about headlight modifications. In most US states, I will get a ticket for what I just did, or even if I stick in 90 / 100W bulbs. Here in Manila where the roads are mostly lawless, this is fine. But in the interest of a better motoring experience, do check local laws before putting in any mods.

 

 

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