Headlight tune-up -- optimising the OEM headlights

Alpha Dog
Blue MY06 STi Driver
Blue MY06 STi Driver
Posts: 344
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 12:49 am
Location: twisties

Headlight tune-up -- optimising the OEM headlights

Postby Alpha Dog » Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:26 pm

Here are a few steps I’ve taken to get the maximum possible performance from the existing lighting on my MY06 STI. This model comes standard with a reflector high beam fitted with a halogen 9005 (HB3) 55-65W lamp. The low beams are projector lens fitted with a HID D2S 35W lamp. Both are in the same housing with a polycarbonate cover.

For the high beams I've replaced the 9005 lamps with Philips 9011. These are a newer and brighter lamp but still only consume 65W. However the base of the lamp needs to be modified slightly to fit into the headlamp bayonet style mount. This is a well known upgrade from the 9005. You can find out more about the 9011 development here: http://www.rallylights.com/9011-hir1-90 ... -bulb.html

I ordered mine from Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00480J5CW

The packaged 9011 lamp as it arrived:
ImageIMG_0848 by STiMY06, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0850 by STiMY06, on Flickr

The modification is described here: http://shnu.us/HIR%20Trimming%20Stock.htm
and here: http://dastern.torque.net/Mods/HIRmod.html

Here are comparison photos of the 9011 (right) versus the 9005 base (left) before and after the mod, which is simply removing some of the material from the ‘key’ on the 9011 base.
Before the mod:
ImageIMG_0837 by STiMY06, on Flickr
After the mod:
ImageIMG_0847 by STiMY06, on Flickr

When doing the mod, do not touch the lamp glass — if you do, wipe them with alcohol to remove any grease. I used a nail clipper and a small file to remove the plastic..

Replacing these high beam lamps is easy. In the driver’s side remove the forward facing air intake: 2 x 10mm bolts at the front edge and lift away from the pipe into the front guard. On the passenger side remove the clip holding the windscreen washer filler pipe and move the pipe away from the headlamp.
Looking at the high beam lamp when installed:
ImageIMG_0855 by STiMY06, on Flickr

Depress the locking clip and remove the connector downward. Rotate the lamp anticlockwise about 30 degrees and pull straight out. Install in the reverse order - don’t let the lamp glass touch anything. That’s the high beams done.

To improve the low beams we’ll replace the existing lamps with Osram Night Breaker Unlimited D2S lamps. These lamps have a reputation of being the brightest available, again without increase the power consumption above the rated 35W. This is important to avoid generating too much heat.

I bought mine from here: http://www.powerbulbs.com/au/product/os ... d2s-single

Here is the package:
ImageIMG_0866 by STiMY06, on Flickr

And here is the HID lamp:
ImageIMG_0867 by STiMY06, on Flickr

You’ll notice I did not buy from eBay. I simply don’t trust the items sold there to be genuine Philips or Osram products.

Replacing the HIDs is a bit tricky but not hard. Remove the round black plastic cover - rotate about 45 degrees anticlockwise. Underneath you’ll find a large metal connector attached to the back of the lamp (I think this houses the ‘ballast’ that generates the high voltage needed to start these lamps).

ImageIMG_0875 by STiMY06, on Flickr

Rotate that about 20 degrees anticlockwise and it will pull straight off. Undo the spring clip by squeezing the two arms together and the clip will hinge from the top. In this photo the hinge is at 2 o’clock.

ImageIMG_0880 by STiMY06, on Flickr

The lamp will almost fall out so grab it by the plastic connector and lift straight out. Assembly is the reverse. Just take your time and again try not to let the lamp glass touch anything. These lamps get very hot (200 deg C) and also start with high voltages - its important everything is clean.

The passenger side may need the battery to be removed, buy I did it without removing the battery - I removed the battery hold-down and pushed the battery toward the rear of the car - there was just enough room.

Now we have the best available lamps installed there are some more things to do.

Check the high beam aim, which ‘officially’ is not adjustable, but which can be moved vertically with the very crude method of loosening the 10mm bolt holding the top of headlamp assembly and moving the whole assembly back (aim up) or forward (aim down). Then tighten the bolt when its at the desired aim - basically straight ahead or just above straight ahead. Mine was about right.

Then check the low beam aim. You can adjust the low beam using a large philips head screwdriver - the vertical and horizontal adjustments are marked on top of the black housing. I found the vertical adjustment too low, so moved them up. I use my own guides (made years ago on my garage wall) to aim. In the end though you just check that you are never sending light into the back window of a car you are following. You want to aim as high as possible without dazzling approaching or followed drivers. This is easy to set as the HIDs have a very sharp horizontal cutoff.

The manual warns against leaving the lights on for more then 2 minutes while making these adjustments.

Another idea is to check for any clouding of the front polycarbonate cover. I noticed a small amount of opaqueness so I’m going to try some Maguires Plast-X which is intended for such light discolouration.

And lastly, keep your windscreen spotless to avoid ‘starring’ of lit objects. I use Autoglym glass polish which is the only product I’ve found that removes the film from the interior without leaving streaks everywhere.

Enjoy a safer experience with your night driving!
Photo credit: Joel Strickland Photographics - thanks Joel!

Impreza RS Driver
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Re: Headlight tune-up -- optimising the OEM headlights

Postby bigBADbenny » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:16 am

Great tips thanks :)

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