Part 9: A Win-Win With LED Headlamps
Throughout the years our staff has upgraded just about every area of our Teal-colored project Jeep. Items such as bigger axles, a more powerful engine and even the more recent AEV Brute conversion have advanced our beloved TJ to amongst the ranks of some of the coolest vehicles ever built. However, despite the 12-year overhaul process, two things have remained consistent since the very beginning: the factory halogen H4 headlamps.
Recently, a new type of replacement headlamp became available for the highly popular 7-inch halogen H4. The design is made by Truck-Lite Global and utilizes 10 high-output LEDs in place of the less efficient halogen bulb. Typically speaking, the average life expectancy of a halogen H4 headlamp is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 hours. However, in many cases, such as with vehicles subjected to rough roads or trail work, the life span of a halogen bulb is greatly reduced due to vibrations. On the other hand, LEDs feature solid-state construction and last up to 10,000 hours, nearly five times longer than regular halogen bulbs. The reason a halogen bulb is so vulnerable to road vibrations is because they are constructed of a glass housing that is fitted with a tungsten filament. That filament is encased inside a smaller quartz housing. Both housings are extremely brittle and can break quite easily when subjected to relatively low force or vibration. LEDs, on the other hand, feature housings manufactured from durable plastic, which is far superior at resisting shock and vibration over glass bulbs. LEDs also provide light output that is closer to the color temperature of daylight, which dramatically improves a driver's ability to process visual information at night. Additionally, LED headlamps come with impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses that virtually eliminate damage caused by flying rocks and other debris, an obvious benefit over traditional glass lenses. The installation process was simple, requiring just one basic handtool and less than 15 minutes to complete. The guys at DC Customs in Ukiah, California, performed the install while we took pictures.
3. Once the headlamp was free from the grille, we unplugged the connection plug and reinstalled the one from the LED unit. As we said before, the new LED headlamps include the same type of plug ends found on halogen H4s, which makes installation a breeze. Once the new plug was connected, we reinserted the lense retaining ring and secured the new headlamps with the three factory Torx screws. Before reinstalling the plastic headlight bezels, it's a good idea to take a moment to aim the headlamp to create better visibility for alterations in ride height (if you haven't done so already). The process of installing the screws that secure the bezel to the grille is slightly impacted by the thicker LED lenses, but you can still get the screws in where they need to go.
What We Think
In a word, "Wow." We're impressed with the bright white light output afforded by the LEDs. Our forward night visibility was significantly improved over the old halogen headlamps. Besides visual improvements, another noticeable benefit is their minimal power consumption. One single LED headlamp pulls 2.5 amps on low beam mode and just 4.5 amps on high beam mode. That's a pittance compared to the typical 7 amp draw of a standard halogen H4 they replace. Everyone knows that less amp draw means less work for your charging system, which in turn equates to less fuel consumption and longer life from components such as voltage regulators, alternators, and batteries. We also love the fact that these headlamps are made entirely in the USA. Top it off with the fact that they are DOT-approved and the decision becomes a simple matter of affordability. At the time of print they sold for $298.00 each, which is not exactly cheap, but still a win-win upgrade for the enthusiast who appreciates a high-quality part with outstanding results.
Popular 4x4 Fitment
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