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Old 11-17-2007, 10:19 AM   #1
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Hella lights installed by SMB questions

Hi all,
After coming back from my 8,000 mile trip last month, I determined I wanted more light on the front of my '05 SMB.

The Ford headlights are really bad (in fact I think the high beams are worse than the lows). Also the Hella 500s that SMB installed in my Aluminess bumper are not all that bright on dark evening with no moon.

So I have some questions.

1. What have you done to improve the Ford headlights?
2. Does anyone offhand know if the Hella 500s are wired with a relay? (though I cannot find it now, I remember reading that SMB does not use a relay when wiring them)
3. If SMB did not use a relay, will adding one improve the light output?

I know I can add some Hella 4000's or other large lights (which I intend to do for offroad) but I would like to have some good driving lights without overly blinding oncoming traffic.

Any thoughts?

Steve
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:37 AM   #2
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Oh yeah mine suxxor big time too. The wiring is convoluted enough I haven't found a relay. But they are terrible! The $40 walmart lights on my Jeep are way brighter.

Putting another relay in won't hurt, but it might not help either- the rear lights are so bright I can't imagine SMB would relay one and not the other.

The other possiblity is the ground. I've been meaning to add a relay and reground the lights to the frame with some nice chubby wire. I haven't had time to look, but it wouldn't suprise me if SMB just threw a bolt into the Aluminess becaue that's what they used to do when the bumpers were steel.

It's pretty easy to test too, just get some fatty wire and some alligator clips and jump from the ground to a known good ground spot and see if the lights brighten. And let me know!
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:12 PM   #3
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I don't have a SMB yet, but I do have a set of Hella 500's on my LR.
They don't really impress me either. The kit does come with a relay, so I'm sure your SMB has one. Relay should not add more power...but it prevents all the current for the light going through a switch (which may get very hot and melt)...think 50, 100 or 200 watts of power going through a little switch.

Relay makes it possible to go directly from battery (through relay) directly to the lights, with the switch just handling low power just to activate the relay.

I had a set of Hella Micro DE fog lights on my FJ...and while such small lights would look strange on a SMB, I would recommend a nice set of fog lights to supplement the stock low beams. I would wire them so they come on with the parking lights so you can fire them up whenever you want. They do a good job of lighting the area 10-25 feet in front of the vehicle, and a much wider pattern than your stock headlights.

Good foglights help a lot to fill up all the holes and dark spots in stock headlights close in to the vehicle and to the sides. They have a sharp cut-off (even the really big one's) so you can leave them on without annoying on-coming traffic.

If you wire them to the parking light circuit (power to the switching circuit for the relay) they will remain on when you hit your high beams, which I find helps a ton by keeping some light right in front of your vehicle instead of most of it going way down the road.

I also had a set of IPF 968 hybrid lights on my FJ, but wasn't really happy with them. They were supposed to be a combination of spot/flood, and while the concept is great...they couldn't quite pull it off. They worked well in really dark areas, but in the city they were not quite bright enough for me (although better than the stock high beams).

Jeffrey (Canyonclan) has a nice set of lights on his SMB. Some big Hella lights converted to HID lights for much cheaper than they normally cost. Super bright...but for off road use only.


Mark
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oni
If you wire them to the parking light circuit (power to the switching circuit for the relay) they will remain on when you hit your high beams...
Why not just wire them directly to 12v power? I can see having all the lights relayed to the high beams because you can easily flip everything off for oncoming traffic, (and it's the law in some places) but otherwise I've always stayed completely off any other light circuits.
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Old 11-17-2007, 03:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Why not just wire them directly to 12v power? I can see having all the lights relayed to the high beams because you can easily flip everything off for oncoming traffic, (and it's the law in some places) but otherwise I've always stayed completely off any other light circuits.
I like to wire them that way because I've accidentally hit a switch before during the day and turned my aux lights on without noticing...only to come back to a dead battery.

If you wire them to parking lights...most vehicles have some sort of bell/chime if you open your door and the lights are still on as a reminder.

Just a precaution. I guess if your switch placement is where you won't accidentally hit them you should be fine. Mine were placed so that once in a while I would hit them with my knee or something I was carrying when getting out of my truck.
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Old 11-17-2007, 06:02 PM   #6
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If you wire them direct to 12V then you need bigger wires to go through the firewall to the switch. Two 60W lights need at least 10 amps. The relay only takes about 0.1 amps to make the connection.

Also, if you wire them without a relay all the power has to go through the switch. If you use a relay then only the relay coil power goes through the switch, resulting in longer switch life.

Mike
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:17 AM   #7
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I agree the stock headlights are a joke...on backroads i always felt uncomfortable driving around at night. I did two things to upgrade mine. My van has the 200mm rectangular lights and I upgraded them to e-code lamps like these http://www.rallylights.com/hella/200mm.asp except mine are autopal brand that i picked up on ebay.

The e-codes helped a little (definitely cut down on the glare when driving in snow) but the real upgrade was installing a 5000k xentec hid kit that i also picked up on ebay. The light output is tremendous, literally a night and day difference. I've only been running them about a month so I can't comment on the longevity of the hid kit but so far i am extremely pleased with them.

I really think this is a must do upgrade but I would not recommend installing a hid kit without the e-code headlights. If you put the hid kit in the regular headlights you're really going to blind oncoming traffic.
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