NewBeetle.org Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The headlights on my '99 NB with 93+k miles are terrible. Yes the lenses are a bit fogged but the light is barely passable on the road. Even after getting them cleared up it really doesn't help the weak yellow light I'm getting.

Has anyone upgraded to Silverstar lights or something similar to get more light on the road? I am not looking for a Xenon looking light for the sake of appearance I am no "tuner" lmao what a word.....

I'd just like to be able to see better with the lights on the car, right now they are just the standard Halogen bulbs.

Thanks in advance,


J T
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,753 Posts
You may very well have the original H1 bulbs in your headlights. These bulbs deteriorate with age, but noticeably yellow? Do you also have the same issue with the high beams? May be the wrong bulbs, or you may have a voltage problem. Headlights are switched through a relay and you could have a bad relay. A voltage check at the headlight would appear to be in order. Do you have, and know how to use a multi-meter to check this? Good bulbs are not cheap, and a PO may have opted for a cheap pair of replacements. Keep in mind, you should always replace bulbs in pairs. Low beam and highbeam being the pairs, not right side and left side.

As to Sylvania Silverstars, garbage! Long story, but Oshram now owns Sylvania and produces the Sylvania Silverstars. The Sylvania Silverstars are POS with a short lifespan. You want to find Oshram, sans the Sylvania name. These are considered by those who have done research and testing as the best bulbs on the market.

If you will go to
Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply
you will find a wealth of information regarding not just headlights, but all vehicle lighting. Daniel is a personal friend, and is a paid consultant to the automotive lighting industry. I hesitate to post his documents here because of copyright concerns, but they are readily accessible on his site.

Keep us all posted on your thread here as I suspect your problem is more than just the bulbs.

Btw, kudos to you for not wanting HIDs; without the proper reflectors, aiming, and complete set-up they will provide you no more lumens than halogen bulbs, regardless of whatever anyone tells you, and are no more than a nuisance to others.

Edit: In thinking more about this, you might ultimately want to upgrade the factory headlight housings, as from what I see, comparing my '02 and '05, improvements evolved in the assemblies and more importantly the reflectors. However, the headlights in both, with quality bulbs, clear lenses, and properly aimed, provide more than an adequate amount of light. What is percieved as an inadequate amount of light, may in fact, be a deminished human sight problem resulting from age. I know this is the situation I am dealing with (lol)!

MORAV
 

·
Super smart senior member
Joined
·
857 Posts
Since the beetles have projection lenses instead of reflective you could just get some HID's that are 4000k so they look closer to the original color but MUCH brighter, I got mine off ebay for like 40 bucks and they work great. If you're worried about blinding drivers you can get an eyelid that makes it impossible for the light to shine to high up.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,753 Posts
The basic measurements for headlight bulbs are:

k (kelvin) - a unit of measurement for temperature, as relates to a light bulb, this is simply a measurement of the color of the light.

lm (lumen) - a measurement of how the subject is illuminated, the higher the lumen number the better the subject is lit. Keep this in mind when shopping for halogen bulbs

Again, I suggest you go to Daniel Stern's website for a complete understanding of the use of Halogen, HIDs, and retrofitting.

Factory HIDs make use of automatic self-levelers and lens washing equipment, including the ones, that for a time, were available on the NB. Without starting another thread debatting the use of HIDs, we have all argued this elsewhere, and you have apparently already taken sides in that debate, sucifice it to say that regardless of what any modder says or thinks, I have yet to observe any HID retrofit kits on the road that were not of a color or brightness, to say nothing of the aiming, that was not objectionable to the viewer either in an oncoming or rear approaching situation. When you see high end vehicles with what are obviously HIDs, but that are not objectionable to the viewer, it is because they are designed for this type lighting, and not merely a different type bulb. You will also note that most, if not all retrofit kits are labeled "For Off-road Use Only"! Doh!

Funny thing, this HID controversy, as it will only be a short time till even they are passé, as common usage of LED headlights is in the near future and will make both Halogens and HIDs obsolete, and become the next rage for all modders under the pretense they can see better!

M.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Lenses need a cleanup too ....

Again, I suggest you go to Daniel Stern's website for a complete understanding of the use of Halogen, HIDs, and retrofitting.

common usage of LED headlights is in the near future and will make both Halogens and HIDs obsolete, and become the next rage for all modders under the pretense they can see better!

M.
Thanks for all the info, no worries about using a DMM to check the voltage at the headlight it's fine. In fact one of the H1 bulbs on the easy side, was replaced about 2 years ago.

I think a large part of my trouble is the cloudy lenses, not TERRIBLE like some I have seen but they are cloudy nonetheless. This of course scatters the light and there is no sharp cut-off in front of the car where the light stops, like on my Porsche.

I've tried rather unsuccessfully to clean off the cloudiness with a 3M kit I got at Advance Auto Parts. It took a great deal of the crud off the plastic and for a while they seemed pretty clear but never like new of course. I don't know if there is a kit that will help me polish these lenses to get them better than they are and includes some protectant other than clear bra material ( which I have in abundance.)

What have you guys used that seemed to work the best to clean the lenses on an older car?

As far as the LED lights, yes the Audi R8 has them both low and high beam but from what I read the low beam is not acceptable but the high beam is killer!

I want to clean the lenses before I spend money on bulbs, if the light isn't focused it won't help to change the temperature of the bulbs or color.

Regards,

J T
 

·
Dubbed Spiderman
Joined
·
2,830 Posts
Thanks for all the info, no worries about using a DMM to check the voltage at the headlight it's fine. In fact one of the H1 bulbs on the easy side, was replaced about 2 years ago.

I think a large part of my trouble is the cloudy lenses, not TERRIBLE like some I have seen but they are cloudy nonetheless. This of course scatters the light and there is no sharp cut-off in front of the car where the light stops, like on my Porsche.

I've tried rather unsuccessfully to clean off the cloudiness with a 3M kit I got at Advance Auto Parts. It took a great deal of the crud off the plastic and for a while they seemed pretty clear but never like new of course. I don't know if there is a kit that will help me polish these lenses to get them better than they are and includes some protectant other than clear bra material ( which I have in abundance.)

What have you guys used that seemed to work the best to clean the lenses on an older car?

As far as the LED lights, yes the Audi R8 has them both low and high beam but from what I read the low beam is not acceptable but the high beam is killer!

I want to clean the lenses before I spend money on bulbs, if the light isn't focused it won't help to change the temperature of the bulbs or color.

Regards,

J T
I just cleaned up mine after I had them tinted. First kit I used was the Meguiar's. Did OK, but not great. My neighbor had the Mother's kit that came with 2 sandpaper pads with 2 grits each to wet sand the lenses prior to polishing. That worked real well. :) As for the lamps themselves, I use 80W 5000K Arctic White Lamps for my low beams and high beams. I use 55W 2500K Yellow Lamps in my fog lights. The 80W 5000K lamps are super bright compared to the yellowish color of the stock lamps. Here is a link to the site for the lamps I get. H1 Bulbs - Buy H1 Headlight Bulbs Online :D
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Great stuff

I just cleaned up mine after I had them tinted. First kit I used was the Meguiar's. Did OK, but not great. My neighbor had the Mother's kit that came with 2 sandpaper pads with 2 grits each to wet sand the lenses prior to polishing. That worked real well. :) As for the lamps themselves, I use 80W 5000K Arctic White Lamps for my low beams and high beams. I use 55W 2500K Yellow Lamps in my fog lights. The 80W 5000K lamps are super bright compared to the yellowish color of the stock lamps. Here is a link to the site for the lamps I get. H1 Bulbs - Buy H1 Headlight Bulbs Online :D
Hi Opelmannia,

Thanks for all the good info. I attacked my lenses again with what was left of the 3M Kit it has LOTS of various grits and 2 polishing attachments + polishing compound ( mine had dried up by now of course).

I got the passenger side looking presentable and now that I can SEE the projector lens inside the headlight cover, I see that the projector lens INSIDE the headlight bucket is coated with some sort of film! This needs to be removed before I go any further with all this. I see that your car has the inside of the bucket pained red to match the car.

So how hard is it to take the thing apart so I can actually touch that lens that focuses the low beam IE: the top one?

No sense spending money on bulbs (not yet) that won'd be able to get out of the unit to the outside.

Odd I never noticed this before but there it is!

As the blind man said to his deaf brother "I SEE"... as he picked up his hammer and SAW!

Thanks again,

J T

I know we can get this sorted at some point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
867 Posts
The DOT projectors have frosted lenses on them. If you can find a set of E-code projectors, they have clear lenses and will put at least 2x as much light where you need it using a standard name brand quality 55w H1 bulb. You do need to clear up the front lenses in order to get any kind of beam out of the headlights. New lenses are available from the dealer but they are around $150 each.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Surprised..

The DOT projectors have frosted lenses on them. If you can find a set of E-code projectors, they have clear lenses and will put at least 2x as much light where you need it using a standard name brand quality 55w H1 bulb. You do need to clear up the front lenses in order to get any kind of beam out of the headlights. New lenses are available from the dealer but they are around $150 each.
I am surprised to say the least that 'film" that I see on the projector lenses is supposed to be there? Can't imagine the thought process behind that. Why try to focus the beam and then use a frosted lens to scatter it? If I was to do that with a camera lens the results would be pretty sad. Maybe I need to post a photo of that projector lens so you or someone else can tell me that it's the way it's supposed to be. Appreciate the input but it doesn't make sense to me that's all.

This coating sure appears to be on the outside of the lens, appears that it would rub right off. You'd get the same effect by leaving the outer lens cloudy :(

E-Code projectors are used on what year/model?

Thank you,

J T
 

·
Dubbed Spiderman
Joined
·
2,830 Posts
Hi Opelmannia,

Thanks for all the good info. I attacked my lenses again with what was left of the 3M Kit it has LOTS of various grits and 2 polishing attachments + polishing compound ( mine had dried up by now of course).

I got the passenger side looking presentable and now that I can SEE the projector lens inside the headlight cover, I see that the projector lens INSIDE the headlight bucket is coated with some sort of film! This needs to be removed before I go any further with all this. I see that your car has the inside of the bucket pained red to match the car.

So how hard is it to take the thing apart so I can actually touch that lens that focuses the low beam IE: the top one?

No sense spending money on bulbs (not yet) that won'd be able to get out of the unit to the outside.

Odd I never noticed this before but there it is!

As the blind man said to his deaf brother "I SEE"... as he picked up his hammer and SAW!

Thanks again,

J T

I know we can get this sorted at some point.
JT,

Its not terrible to get the lenses apart. If you pull the whole headlight out of the car, you'll see that the plastic pieces can come apart. The lens has a glue to keep it sealed and you'll need some heat to help it come apart and put it back together. If you do this, monitor for a few days that your lenses are staying in. :D My DS light is original and that projector is frosted, but the PS was replaced with a Depot brand and that one is not frosted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ok then :D

JT,

. :D My DS light is original and that projector is frosted, but the PS was replaced with a Depot brand and that one is not frosted.
Hiya again Opelmania,

Well if that's the case then the silly things ARE coated/frosted or whatever by design, but I have no idea what sense it makes.
I thought there must be some sort of sealant to keep the outer lens in place. It's like trying to take apart Audi TT lights or Porsche 986 you can do it but it's a PITA.

I have my outer lenses really clear now but have yet to drive the car at night to see if there is much difference. It may well be that the lights are out of adjustment, they've never been done since I bought the car used as the 3rd owner. You won't see much if they are aimed to spot squirrels in the trees at night that's for sure.:p

Thanks for the reply and I will defer to the knowledge of the group on this one.

Now we move on to a noise in my LF suspension that will be a new post.

Again thanks to all who added to this thread.

J Tinsby
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top