General Tarfun's X - Page 5 - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #41 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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I've decided that I'm either going blind or the headlights on modern cars are just 100x better than ours. It's like all the cars with LEDs completely wash out my headlights on the road now. I thought about upgrading to a projector lenses, etc and going with LEDs too but I don't know if the X will be my daily driver in a few years so I'm going to go with a less costly option.

I'm putting in 100/80 watt HELLA H71070387 bulbs along with a new wiring harness/relay setup. Aside from the bulb socket itself I'm not worried about heat buildup because we have enormous headlights and plenty of airspace behind them to cool everything off. I like a good project so I've ordered everything for the wiring harness as separate parts that I'll assemble. If worst case heat does turn out to be a problem I'll still have a direct to battery harness so even regular bulbs should have better output.
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Last edited by General_Tarfun; 03-18-2019 at 12:16 PM.
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post #42 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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I got the headlight bulbs in and decided to install and just keep them on low beam until the harness is built so I could evaluate the heat, output, etc. I was a little worried at first by the bulb being blue with a blue tip but once they were in my initial impression of them is great, the color is a nice white that doesn't contrast so bad with the LED fogs like the Phillips Xtreme Vision did. For some reason those bulbs are extremely yellow, like a dying flashlight or something. I re-aimed the headlights to be a little lower now because the spread is a lot better than it was before.

I drove it for maybe 30 minutes last night and looked at the harness afterwards and didn't see or feel any heat problem but I was surprised to see how little the wires are for the headlights. It's the same wire gauge I saw on my girlfriends 35 watt rated foglight wiring on her Nissan. I'm expecting to see an output boost once I upgrade the wiring to 12 gauge relayed directly to the battery.

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post #43 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 12:33 PM
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Or modern headlights are causing you to go blind.
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post #44 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brazos_bend View Post
Or modern headlights are causing you to go blind.
Haha I wouldn't doubt it, sometimes when one is behind me I can actually see better because their lights fill out all the gaps left by mine. I'm not sure when it happened but at least around here you can have headlights as bright and badly aimed as you want.
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post #45 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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I love getting parts in and today everything arrived for the new upgraded harness assembly so I know what I'm working on this week after work.

I calculated everything out and my headlights as is on the factory harness are getting a voltage drop of 6.45% on the high beam and 5.43% on the low beam (I'm running them on low only for now). With the new 12 gauge wiring in place the voltage drop should be barely over 1 percent right where I want it. The new sockets are solid ceramic and should dissipate heat nicely. Now I just need to decide if I want to do a 4 relay or 2 relay setup...

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post #46 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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So I've had to make a couple changes from my original plan so far. The first one was I realized that I don't actually need two of the 9007 male connectors because both relays are on one side right next to each other. Relay #1 is low beam and Relay #2 is high beam so I plan on capping the factory harness plug on the drivers side since it will be unused.

The next change of plan is with the ceramic sockets + terminals. Originally I liked the idea of assembling those myself but once I had them together I really didn't like how the terminals fit. First off they barely would go inside the ceramic sockets and the next part I didn't like is compared the factory terminal style these are just a generic flat rectangle. It would probably be ok but the bulb terminals wouldn't be in contact with the harness as tight as I'd like and being that I'm running high wattage bulbs I don't want to create a concentration of heat at the bulb socket. With the change of plan I located a small shop in Arizona that sells the 9007 sockets with 12 gauge pigtails already attached with a quality factory style terminal so I ordered 2.

I found some extra wiring in my collection of spare wire that I can use to get power to the relays, a 4 gauge copper wire that runs to a splitter with two 10 gauge wires coming out so I updated my design to incorporate that.


Last edited by General_Tarfun; 04-11-2019 at 04:35 PM.
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post #47 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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I’ve been driving the X daily since 2006 so I’ve been putting up with the headlights for a loooong time. I’ve 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 underpowered.

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 doesn’t allow all the power to go through and when the power can’t 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 don’t 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.

Here’s some 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. Here’s the full parts list:


Part
Store
Quantity
Price


1. 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

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

Braided wire sleeve, ¼” type
Amazon
x1
$8.50

In-line fuse holder
Amazon
x2
$5

Copper 2-gauge Compression Connector
Ace Hardware
x1
$3

Ring Terminals
Ace Hardware
x2
$1.50

Black Wire
Ace Hardware
4 feet

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 don’t have anything like that you can get away with just using x2 12-gauge wires from the battery.

Wiring Diagram:


Completed Harness


Install pics:

Last edited by General_Tarfun; 04-11-2019 at 04:27 PM.
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post #48 of 145 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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While I was testing out the new harness with the truck off I ended up killing my battery (4 1/2 year old Duracell), the truck immediately started off my jumper pack and the battery took a charge fine but I decided to replace it anyway because of age. I'll try to get some pics of the road coverage once the weather gets a little better here but in the meantime below is a comparison pic from the old (left) Philips X-treme Vision to the new (right) Hella Optilux 85/100's. I finally have the white headlight color I've been after for years.

I adjusted the beams a few times to get it right but overall I had to lower the beam angle some because with the better output the road illumination is much better defined. Before I had them higher because with the weak output I just couldn't see down the road much but with these that's no longer an issue plus there's no extra glare coming off of them. Couldn't be happier with this setup.

Old on left, new on right:

Last edited by General_Tarfun; 03-01-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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post #49 of 145 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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With my headlights how i want them now I've making some other lighting changes. I read through a pretty lengthy post on another forum about better reverse lights for 921 connector housings. The LED options are all pretty weak when it comes to actual lumen output but the stock halogens aren't great either.

What I ended up going with was a 12v landscaping bulb that is an IR Halogen ( the infrared heat coming from the bulb filament is redirected right back on the filament, causing it to burn hotter and brighter while still using the same amount of electricity). The result is a brighter light that renders color accurately and within the full spectrum of what our eyes can actually see.

The stock halogens are 264 lumens/bulb and these IR Halogens are 850 lumens/bulb. The output is insanely better than what I had before. The bulbs use pins instead of a clip to insert into the bulb socket so to make them work just take a small screwdriver and bend the socket clips until they touch and then the bulb will securely go in.

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Last edited by General_Tarfun; 03-03-2019 at 06:17 PM.
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post #50 of 145 (permalink) Old 03-09-2019, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Long day but got a lot done, installed a new 3 leaf AAL and removed the single Deaver that I put in a few years ago. Man that was a battle, both of the leaf alignment bolts had the nut freeze halfway off and then the head strip out. I ended up just grinding them off since they were being replaced anyway. The ride quality is awesome, much less harsh than the single AAL + helper spring was.

By the time I got all that done I still had some sunlight left so I knocked out replacing both of the engine mounts, they were both original and have needed replacement for a long time now so I was glad to get that done. Both were ripped and had no fluid left in them and they were so loose I could just push them around. Made a huge difference while driving, everything feels much smoother on the road. Engine mounts are really easy to replace on the X which was nice for a change.

By the time I finished this up it was dark so I skipped the rack bushings I was going to do and just replaced the sway bar mount bushings instead. Weird thing was they were both swollen compared to the new ones.
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Last edited by General_Tarfun; 03-11-2019 at 02:31 PM.
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