How-to: Build an Upgraded Headlight Wiring Harness for 85/100 Watt Halogen Bulbs - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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How-to: Build an Upgraded Headlight Wiring Harness for 85/100 Watt Halogen Bulbs

Iíve been driving the X daily since 2006 so Iíve been putting up with the crappy headlights for a loooong time. Iíve tried every halogen option you can buy and aside from the slight color variations none of them were very good, the headlights just always seemed dim and under powered.

I got to thinking about it recently again after another winter of not being able to see the road and decided to finally do something about it. After researching it more I found some sites selling custom harnesses for the headlights that promised to make even stock wattage bulbs perform brighter because they use relays to pull power directly from the battery and send it to the bulb with much thicker wire than the factory setup. After looking at it I realized I could easily build my own upgraded harness and also use higher wattage bulbs.

I wanted to find out exactly how much power would be used by the new lights and what wire gauge would support them with minimal voltage drop. Basically too thin of a wire doesnít allow all the power to go through and when the power canít get through it creates heat. This can lead to fires which obviously we all want to avoid but it also leads to dimmer headlights.

After a bit of math I was able to come up with a decent plan, I would run a single main power line off the battery ( about 6 inches of 2-gauge copper strand wire) to a splitter that had 2 short 10-gauge wires each connected to an in-line fuse. By having two power sources fused separately the low beam and high beams would be on different circuits so if one went out the other would stay active and then you donít end up without headlights in the case on of them goes out. Also this allows for a smaller amp fuse to be used on the low beam circuit and a higher amp fuse on the high beam circuit.


Hereís some background info on the factory bulbs vs the 85/100 watt bulbs:

9007 55/65 watt (factory spec)
Low Beam: 4.58 amps per bulb
High Beam:7.08 amps per bulb

 
Hella Optilux 9007 85/100 watt
Low Beam: 5.42 amps per bulb
High Beam: 8.33 amps per bulb

After calculating the amp load I found an online voltage drop calculator, put my numbers in and found that 12 gauge wire at around 5 feet would only have a voltage drop of a little less than a percent. Perfect. With everything planned out I got online and started ordering. Hereís the full parts list:


Part
Store
Quantity
Price



12 gauge wire, Noble brand
Ace Hardware
x1 (15 feet pack)
$8.50

2. Hella Optilux 85/100 watt bulbs
Rockauto
x1 pack (2 bulbs)
$22

3. Pico 40 Amp Waterproof Relay
Amazon
x2 Relays
$23.98

4. 9007 Male Socket with 12 Gauge Pigtails
autolumination
$14.99

5. 9007 Female Sockets with 12 Gauge Pigtails
ceautoelectricsupply.com
x2
$21.90


6. 12 Gauge butt splices
Ace Hardware
x1 pack
$5

7. Various shrink wrap tubes for wires.
Harbor Freight
x1
$3

8. Braided wire sleeve, ľĒ type
Amazon
x1
$8.50

9. In-line fuse holder
Amazon
x2
$5

10. Copper 2-gauge Compression Connector
Ace Hardware
x1
$3

11. Ring Terminals
Ace Hardware
x2
$1.50

12. Black Wire
Ace Hardware
4 feet

13. Rubber Splicing Tape
Ace Hardware
x1 Roll
$7



With all the parts you have everything you need to assemble the harness. As a sidenote I used a 2-gauge wire I had already in my scrap wire collection combined with a 2 to 10-gauge splitter that I connected the fuses to. If you donít have anything like that you can get away with just using x2 12-gauge wires from the battery.

Wiring Diagram:


Completed Harness


Old on left, new on right (low beams):
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Last edited by General_Tarfun; 03-15-2019 at 11:34 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 02:28 PM
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 03:13 PM
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Pics work for me. I did this with an old Jeep a while back and it made a very noticeable difference with just the stock rated sealed beams. I wish my wiring diagrams looked as nice as yours do. Yours make mine look like they were drawn in crayon by a kindergartner.

I looked at doing this to the X, but went the HID retrofit route instead. Pros and cons to each, but I like that this way you don't have to bake and split your headlights open.

Any concern with heat from the hotter bulbs? It isn't a massive jump in amperage so I'd think you're probably fine at any rate.

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My X,
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks man, I always end up having to sketch these things out so I can visualize where everything goes.

I actually planned on going the HID route next if these didn't perform like I wanted but they've been great. No yellowness at all, it's a nice white color somewhere in 4000-4500k range and they don't even clash against my 6k LED fogs that bad at all which is nice. The high beam range is insane and there's no additional glare after re-aiming the housings. It's weird but they perform like these are the bulbs our housings were designed for. Maybe the housings are too big for only 55 watt bulb illumination?

I was worried about heat early on and have been checking the harness/housing after driving for about 3 weeks now and it's always been fine. I should have used a temp gauge for a before/after but it's never too hot to the touch or anything, the bulb sockets look good. Also I only run the high beams while driving so there's good airflow to help cool things off. I've found one benefit of having huge halogen housings is there's plenty of space for cooling but I def wouldn't run these in projectors.


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Just to follow up on the heat question as it's a couple months later now, there's been no issue with it. I've checked the sockets and wiring from time to time and they all look the same as when installed. Same with the reflector housing, all good.


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