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Old 11-29-2019, 03:05 PM   #1
evilWagon
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 128739
Join Date: Oct 2006
Default Looking at auxiliary low beam upgrade.

After extensive searching I couldn't find very much info on lowbeam upgrades, so I thought I'd share my info for the sake of anyone else in a similar situation. This is the start of the process, not the end.

I have a 2018 base wrx (had to get the base as I'm 6'7" and the sunroof on the upper models didn't work) so I've got the halogen lowbeams.

Given that I live in Ontario Canada 2/3rds of my commute is in the dark with a lot of that being in the winter with an increasing amount of it on what would be unlit backroads. I find the low beams especially insufficient a fact that becomes even more apparent when another vehicle pulls up beside me on the dark highway and you can see the stark difference in light output on the roadway.

My profession is Electrical Engineering for buildings, so architectural lighting and the science of lighting/visual perception is something I'm well familiar with.

Let's get the basics out of the way; the halogen headlights are in good condition, aimed properly and I drive according to conditions/visibility. Though bulb upgrades are an option from past experience the higher output ones are only marginal increases for a shorter lifespan, there's no HIR option and I drive a lot so the drastically shorter lifespan isn't worth the max 10% improvement. I don't want to go down the path of a lighting retrofit for longevity/resale reasons and the oem LED headlights that are a direct swap from the 15-17 WRX/LEDS don't have significantly better performance, cost about $1,400cdn. Wrecked ones are still very pricey, you only find one at a time and they're gone quickly. Retrofitting 18 plus steering adjustable LED's aren't an option currently though I saw from previous posts that there was one or two people searching for the connectors to make a harness for the swap, but they'll be more expensive than the 15-18 plus more wiring.

I find I'm often driving below the speed limit on backroads due to visibility limitations even in clear weather, our roads are frequently traveled so it's often not suitable to have the highbeams on, due to oncoming traffic. Also in most snow/heavy rain highbeams would be counter prodcutive. While this has been a gripe since I got the car it became a bigger concern taking some great driving roads on a trip from Ottawa back to Toronto in the fall, I had three encounters with deer on the trip one leading up to twilight and right at dusk encountered a moose, needless to say it made for a slow nervous drive when darkness finally fell.

Subaru; for all the claims of safety and eyesight systems, avoiding a collision is always the safest option, I don't see why you don't carry your best headlight options across all models. The industry in general needs to pull up their socks in this category.

Options: Looking at different aftermarket options I couldn't find what I was looking for. Most options are focused on offroad with Driving (highbeams) and Fogs (wide) products the only previous option I found for lowbeams were halogen H3 lamps in a lamp holder. Recently I stumbled across a post on Daniel Sterns website which lead to J.W. Speaker auxiliary lights. They seem to focus on the Jeep/Motorcyle and Trucking markets but have lamps that have actual optic designs, photometrics and decent cutoffs, while not cheap it seems the quality is good and they're made in the USA.

Has anyone had any experience with them?

There's two main configurations I'm considering and for the record yes, aux lighting is uglier;

NBR Challenge style integration into the grill:
Pros-Cleaner more integrated visual appearance, the less ugly of the two options.
Cons- More complicated to remove if I didn't want to run them year round.
-Because I'm looking at supplementing the lowbeams aiming is critical, so a mount/mechanism for aiming would have to be integrated. Most lights in this configuration are highbeams so 'general' aiming is all that they're concerned about.
-Especially on the 18+ the upper grille is smaller limiting the space for the lighting.

Light Rail (this is the way I'm leaning):
Pros - Subtle when lights aren't installed, can be custom made to fit the vehicle.
-Potentially easier to remove and certainly easier to aim.
Cons-With lights mounted not as visually appealing as the grille integration.

I'd rather not do something as bold as a light bar and for lowbeams you want them mounted fairly high so I don't see an advantage.

J.W. Speaker offer a few lights I'm considering in different form factors, they're also available with automatic heated lens options which are nice, because in winter having lens that build snow/ice up render the light ineffective when you need them most. This wasn't a problem with halogens as they produce waste head but with LED's being much more efficient there's less heat.

There's the 7" Round 8700's that integrate high and low beams: https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/l...8700-evo-2-db/

There's the 4"x8" rectangular 8800's but they're either low or high:
https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/h...0-evolution-2/

Then there's the 93 M motorcyle lights which you could use but only rightside up (for lowbeam cutoff) but they likely don't perform as well as the full size version and there's no heated option (good though for a kit car I have planned): https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/l...ht-model-93-m/

And then finally there's the snow plow lights which could be rigged up in the top grille as is popular in a long/low profile: 3.25 x 13 though I suspect these will have diminished performance compared to the first two options and they're not exactly small:
https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/m...w-plow-lights/

Regarding wiring configuration, the intent is to feed these directly off their own fuse with a master off/on swith for these lights and a relay to control the high beam function with the vehicle highbeam switch.

Next steps are to reach out to J.W. Speaker for their recommendations and take a closer look into what would fit in which locations. I'll likely make some templates and try positioning them in different locations.

Feedback is welcome.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:08 PM   #2
coloradobound
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 1848
Join Date: Jul 2000
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: CO, USA
Vehicle:
2001 Impreza 2.5RS
Blue

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilWagon View Post
After extensive searching I couldn't find very much info on lowbeam upgrades, so I thought I'd share my info for the sake of anyone else in a similar situation. This is the start of the process, not the end.

I have a 2018 base wrx (had to get the base as I'm 6'7" and the sunroof on the upper models didn't work) so I've got the halogen lowbeams.

Given that I live in Ontario Canada 2/3rds of my commute is in the dark with a lot of that being in the winter with an increasing amount of it on what would be unlit backroads. I find the low beams especially insufficient a fact that becomes even more apparent when another vehicle pulls up beside me on the dark highway and you can see the stark difference in light output on the roadway.

My profession is Electrical Engineering for buildings, so architectural lighting and the science of lighting/visual perception is something I'm well familiar with.

Let's get the basics out of the way; the halogen headlights are in good condition, aimed properly and I drive according to conditions/visibility. Though bulb upgrades are an option from past experience the higher output ones are only marginal increases for a shorter lifespan, there's no HIR option and I drive a lot so the drastically shorter lifespan isn't worth the max 10% improvement. I don't want to go down the path of a lighting retrofit for longevity/resale reasons and the oem LED headlights that are a direct swap from the 15-17 WRX/LEDS don't have significantly better performance, cost about $1,400cdn. Wrecked ones are still very pricey, you only find one at a time and they're gone quickly. Retrofitting 18 plus steering adjustable LED's aren't an option currently though I saw from previous posts that there was one or two people searching for the connectors to make a harness for the swap, but they'll be more expensive than the 15-18 plus more wiring.

I find I'm often driving below the speed limit on backroads due to visibility limitations even in clear weather, our roads are frequently traveled so it's often not suitable to have the highbeams on, due to oncoming traffic. Also in most snow/heavy rain highbeams would be counter prodcutive. While this has been a gripe since I got the car it became a bigger concern taking some great driving roads on a trip from Ottawa back to Toronto in the fall, I had three encounters with deer on the trip one leading up to twilight and right at dusk encountered a moose, needless to say it made for a slow nervous drive when darkness finally fell.

Subaru; for all the claims of safety and eyesight systems, avoiding a collision is always the safest option, I don't see why you don't carry your best headlight options across all models. The industry in general needs to pull up their socks in this category.

Options: Looking at different aftermarket options I couldn't find what I was looking for. Most options are focused on offroad with Driving (highbeams) and Fogs (wide) products the only previous option I found for lowbeams were halogen H3 lamps in a lamp holder. Recently I stumbled across a post on Daniel Sterns website which lead to J.W. Speaker auxiliary lights. They seem to focus on the Jeep/Motorcyle and Trucking markets but have lamps that have actual optic designs, photometrics and decent cutoffs, while not cheap it seems the quality is good and they're made in the USA.

Has anyone had any experience with them?

There's two main configurations I'm considering and for the record yes, aux lighting is uglier;

NBR Challenge style integration into the grill:
Pros-Cleaner more integrated visual appearance, the less ugly of the two options.
Cons- More complicated to remove if I didn't want to run them year round.
-Because I'm looking at supplementing the lowbeams aiming is critical, so a mount/mechanism for aiming would have to be integrated. Most lights in this configuration are highbeams so 'general' aiming is all that they're concerned about.
-Especially on the 18+ the upper grille is smaller limiting the space for the lighting.

Light Rail (this is the way I'm leaning):
Pros - Subtle when lights aren't installed, can be custom made to fit the vehicle.
-Potentially easier to remove and certainly easier to aim.
Cons-With lights mounted not as visually appealing as the grille integration.

I'd rather not do something as bold as a light bar and for lowbeams you want them mounted fairly high so I don't see an advantage.

J.W. Speaker offer a few lights I'm considering in different form factors, they're also available with automatic heated lens options which are nice, because in winter having lens that build snow/ice up render the light ineffective when you need them most. This wasn't a problem with halogens as they produce waste head but with LED's being much more efficient there's less heat.

There's the 7" Round 8700's that integrate high and low beams: https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/l...8700-evo-2-db/

There's the 4"x8" rectangular 8800's but they're either low or high:
https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/h...0-evolution-2/

Then there's the 93 M motorcyle lights which you could use but only rightside up (for lowbeam cutoff) but they likely don't perform as well as the full size version and there's no heated option (good though for a kit car I have planned): https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/l...ht-model-93-m/

And then finally there's the snow plow lights which could be rigged up in the top grille as is popular in a long/low profile: 3.25 x 13 though I suspect these will have diminished performance compared to the first two options and they're not exactly small:
https://www.jwspeaker.com/products/m...w-plow-lights/

Regarding wiring configuration, the intent is to feed these directly off their own fuse with a master off/on swith for these lights and a relay to control the high beam function with the vehicle highbeam switch.

Next steps are to reach out to J.W. Speaker for their recommendations and take a closer look into what would fit in which locations. I'll likely make some templates and try positioning them in different locations.

Feedback is welcome.
Try this for better low beams, and theretrofitsource has better out h1 bulbs.

https://www.custom-brackets.tech/col...trofit-bracket

About to try these in a mini h17.0 retrofit in a gc8.

https://www.theretrofitsource.com/h1...d-philips.html
coloradobound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2020, 03:30 AM   #3
GoFrogs
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 507317
Join Date: Oct 2019
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: SW Ohio
Vehicle:
2019 WRX
Pure Red

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilWagon View Post
After extensive searching I couldn't find very much info on low beam upgrades, so I thought I'd share my info for the sake of anyone else in a similar situation. This is the start of the process, not the end.

I have a 2018 base wrx...

Next steps are to reach out to J.W. Speaker for their recommendations and take a closer look into what would fit in which locations. I'll likely make some templates and try positioning them in different locations.

Feedback is welcome.
Did you ever arrive at a final solution?

Did you consider doing an H9 bulb conversion (US$10 for a basic bulb)? Yes, still halogen, but 65w vs the 55w H11. Sure, some modding of the H9 bulb base is necessary, but nothing as complicated as ripping apart an entire headlamp assembly.

Did you thing about an H11 HID kit retrofit? I believe there are several companies that offer an HID kit (bulb and ballast) that plug directly into the H11 socket/connector.

Did you consider adding fogs with focused lenses; more of a driving light in the fog location vs the traditional wide spread fog light?

If you did something else, like you mentioned in your post, can you share it here, in this post?

I do a lot of night driving (work shift ends at midnight). I bought some Silverstar Ultras to see what the hype was. Now, four months on, they seem to do okay, but unlike you, I can use my high beams more frequently to illuminate the no-light state routes I travel.

I have an H9 modded and ready to go when the time comes. The only issue that I am hesitant about is what does 10 more watts do in the confined space of the headlamp housing; heat and current?
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