Headlights

3 DOGS

Observer
What is the best and easiest way to get brighter headlights? Do I have to replace the whole housing or just the bulb?
Then whether it's one or the other what would be the "best" route to go as far as the replacement item?
My Taco is a daily driver with the occasional trip off road. My home is in a semi-rural area and lighting isn't always the best. This means when the oversized bambi decides to play tag it's too late.
In Nebraska we obviously have no mountains, few hills and a lot of wind. Thus driving rain and blowing snow are big problems.
I have seen the Hella H4 replacement bulbs and was wondering if that is the way to go.
Once again I appreciate any advice.
Thanks

03 TACO TRD DC SNUG FIT TOPPER 265/75/16 HERCULES TERRA TRAC ATS
 

asteffes

Explorer
There are a couple of routes you can take.

1. New housings, stock bulbs. If your headlamp housings are pitted, dull or otherwise restrictive to light passing through them, replacing them with new, clear housings is a good start. A brighter bulb won't help if the light can't get through the lens.

2. Stock housings, upgraded bulbs. By "upgraded" I mean higher wattage, not uber-ricer-blue-coated-ion-crystal-meth bulbs (like the cheap Japanese imports from companies you've never heard of.) The effectiveness of upgraded bulbs is largely dependent upon the quality of the reflector and lens of your headlamp housings. If they can't focus the stock bulbs properly they will only blind people with annoying glare if you drop in some higher watter bulbs.

However, if your truck's housings are well-focused and have a nice sharp beam cutoff, upgraded bulbs (something like an 80/100 watt bulb) may help without harming other drivers. Keep in mind these aren't legal in all areas.

FWIW, I've found 80/100 watt bulbs to function amazingly well in my '06. I've tested driving behind friends and they say they are no more annoying than any other lights. Also, I never get flashed from other drivers. I think they're really on par with many HID headlamps found in many cars today, but with a better light temperature that keeps colors more true-to-life.

So long as you don't go crazy with wattage, you should be safe. I've had no trouble with 80 watt / 100 watt H4s in my '06 Taco. The factory wiring does not get hot or even warm, and the housings appear to be holding up just fine. That's not to say they'll work in every vehicle, of course. You have to keep an eye on things.

3. Auxilliary lighting. This can take many forms, but it sounds like you want something with a good, wide spread that also projects fairly far down the road to illuminate bogies (in your case, bambi and friends) while they are still far enough away for your to react. Something like an IPF 968 or Hella FF1000 or Hella Rallye 4000 Eurobeam is probably a good bet, as they project a wide, long-ish beam that is a good compromise for many driving situations. They are not fog lamps, nor are they pencil beams, neither of which will really help you in the situations you describe.

Many people sing the praises if HID (or xenon) headlamps and aux lamps. Having used various incarnations of HID kit (stock and aftermarket) I've come to the conclusion that I much prefer a quality, well-focused halogen lamp to the best HID/xenon lamps. A quality headlamp that focuses clearly and has a good cutoff can make excellent use of uprated bulbs without suffering from the odd, blue-ish color temperatures of HID kits. While HID kits are supposedly the closest to the natural color temperature of the sun, that isn't necessarily the best thing at night when identifying things in front of you depends a lot on the colors you see. A blue-ish light will tend to wash out other colors and gives everything a post-nuclear look to it.

I've tried various color temperature bulbs and HID capsules and have concluded that the simple halogen bulbs are the most effective at lighting up objects without distoring colors and are also the easiest on my eyes over long periods of nighttime driving.
 

Grim Reaper

Expedition Leader
H4 refereed more to the style plug that the headlight uses. It dates back to when Halogen lights were new. Your truck uses a 9004 and was Halogen from the factory.

Toyota is really bad about using "just enough" to make it work as far as wiring goes. There is a LOT more wire and connections between the battery and headlights then you would think. The first thing to do is with the truck running measure the voltage at the battery with the head lights on then measure the voltage at the lights to see what actually makes it there. A 1 volt drop would not be unexpected.

http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/CheapTricks/Headlights.shtml#WiringHarness
That would be the first mod I would recommend before any bulb upgrades.


Has information on how to use a couple quality relays so that you can get power right from the battery to the lights and avoid most of that voltage drop. I would recommend doing this before you go to a higher watt bulb. The stock wiring and more importantly the dimmer switch in the column will not handle high wattage lights.


Then comes the Aftermarket lighting. On my Tow rig I run a set of Hella Rally 1000 Euro Beams. The stock lighting just plained sucked especially the high beams. I really felt that on high beams I was out driving the m at 55mph. The Hella I have wired so they will come on with the high beams or I can turn them on. There is NO comparison to even the Hella H4's in my Toyota. This things will light up the road. People only have to be flashed once to get them to Dim. Other wise they get Retina burn. :yikes:
 

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mountainpete

Spamicus Eliminatus
Before you try anything else, change the bulbs you have in the truck to something like Sylvania Silverstars. I have used them on my truck for years and there is a clear difference between them and standard bulbs.

Then, the next way to go is auxillary lighting. For the price of new headlight housings, you can get a light bar, some auxillary lights and some money left over. As everyone probably already knows, I am very fond of IPF 968 lights - best value for the dollar and great light pattern. Pretty decent in the snow if you point them down a bit.

Pete
 

Mlachica

TheRAMadaINN on Instagram
mountainpete said:
Before you try anything else, change the bulbs you have in the truck to something like Sylvania Silverstars. I have used them on my truck for years and there is a clear difference between them and standard bulbs.

Then, the next way to go is auxillary lighting. For the price of new headlight housings, you can get a light bar, some auxillary lights and some money left over. As everyone probably already knows, I am very fond of IPF 968 lights - best value for the dollar and great light pattern. Pretty decent in the snow if you point them down a bit.

Pete
:iagree:

I also use the Sylvania Silverstars and prefer them over the stock bulbs because of its color and brightness. When it's pitch black or if the weather requires really bright lights or if you just want a lot of light then I would mount a light bar or get a new bumper (will help absorb the impact of the deer :p) and fix some aux lights to it.

This was my old prerunner that had DO's light bar and lightforce 170's on them. A good pair of aux lights in addition to your headlights will help a lot with night vision. A less expensive setup - for about $300 you can get a light bar from Westin and some Hella lights. You may even be able to get this stuff previously owned for less if you keep your eyes peeled.
 

asteffes

Explorer
I suggested replacement housings only if his current housings were heavily pitted or cloudy. The best bulbs in the universe will not make a lick of difference if the lenses are so weathered or beaten up that they send the light everywhere but down the road.

Also, upgraded bulbs are very economical. The Hella 80/100 H4s are $8 each from RallyLights.com.

I've used the SilverStars in previous vehicles and didn't notice a huge difference. Definitely not enough of a difference to justify the $20 per bulb I paid for them at Kragen. Also, I'm not sold on the super-white color temperature. It certainly *looks* brighter, but physics says that as color temperature goes up, actual brightness goes down. I'm all for finding lighting you like and that is safe and doesn't upset other drivers. If SilverStars work for you, terrific.

Of course, if you really need to throw down some light, aux lights are the way to go. You may as well get the brightest ones you can if you can't run them all the time (which, of course, you can't because they're so well focused that they'll burn the retinas of drivers who get in your path with them on.) The IPF 968s are an impressive value. Definitely better than my Hella 500s, which are sort of a joke compared to the more modern designs.

If you want some everyday lighting that doesn't blind other drivers, I think upgraded headlamp bulbs are a fine idea.
 

Dave Bennett

Adventurist
05 and up Tacoma Light Bulb Sizes

Here is a list of all the different bulb sizes for the 05 and up Tacoma guys...
Sylvania Silverstars are good to go IMO.

Sylvania Lamp Replacement

2005 TOYOTA Tacoma

High & Low Beam Headlamp
9003
9003ST Silverstar High Performance Lighting: the whitest and brightest Halogen
9003XV XtraVision Halogen Upgrade: Up to 30% Brighter
9003CB Cool Blue Halogen Upgrade: White Hot; Super Cool; 100% Street Legal

Parking Light
2827
4157NALL
4157AST Silverstar Signal Lighting: Complete the Look: Crisp, Clean, Style

Front Turn Signal
4157NALL
4157AST Silverstar Signal Lighting: Complete the Look: Crisp, Clean, Style

Rear Turn Signal
3157A
3157AST Silverstar Signal Lighting: Complete the Look: Crisp, Clean, Style
3157NALL Long Life Upgrade: Up to twice the life of the standard lamp

Tail Light
3157
3157LL Long Life Upgrade: Up to twice the life of the standard lamp

Stop Light
3157
3157LL Long Life Upgrade: Up to twice the life of the standard lamp

High Mount Stop Light
168

Fog / Driving Light
9145
9145ST Silverstar High Performance Lighting: the whitest and brightest Halogen

License Plate Light
168

Back Up Light
921
921LL Long Life Upgrade: Up to twice the life of the standard lamp

Front Sidemarker
2827

Map Light
168

Dome Light
DE3022
 
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