Ram 4th Gen Projector HID Upgrade Install and Review

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
I've been hating my terrible stock headlights even more since I lifted my truck and finally decided to do something about it last week. I ordered the 35W Morimoto kit from Retroshop. My truck is 2014 3500 Laramie with factory projectors. I ordered the base kit with Canbus adapters.

http://shop.retroshop.us/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=4G%2E13%2EHIDs

I was able to get them installed yesterday. No pics of the install but here are some detailed notes.

For the install you will need:
8 and 10mm sockets
9" and 2" extension (I used the 2" extension for almost everything. I added the long extension for the bottom headlight bolts.)
1" step bit or spade bit
4-1/2" #10 bolts, washers, and locknuts
The kit above.

The install requires removing the headlights from the truck. There are tons of videos on Youtube about that so I won't repeat it here. You do need to remove the grill. Once you pop the white tab from the access panels in the wheel wells a sharp tug on the housing will pop them loose. I left the wiring attached because I couldn't get the connector loose but looking back it's not necessary to remove them. Just let them hang.

Once the lights are hanging, remove the rear panels with the 8mm socket. Remove the bulbs from the projectors and install the HID bulbs from the kit. Drill the 1" hole in the "lower" area of the panel away from the "higher" area behind the bulb. Thread the harness through the hole and install the built in grommet. You might have to remove the wire support clip from the larger connector to get it through the 1" hole. Connect everything together.
Here is good video from Retro Shop showing how it all makes a "loop" from the HID bulb back to the factory wiring connector.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh732qQPUzQ

In that video you can see the "higher" and "lower" areas of the panel that I drilled the hole in. I wasn't comfortable drilling directly into the super expensive housing like he did. Which way you go with your $1000 factory projectors is up to you.

I mounted the ballasts to the fuse box cover on the drivers side and to the fender liner on the passenger side. That's what the #10 bolts are for. You only need two per ballast on diagonal corners.
Like I said before I used the plug and play Canbus setup. I have no flickering and no "headlamp out" message. If you get either of those, Retroshop will discount the full harness for you after the fact but that will be a more detailed install

And now for the pics.
I took these with an iPhone X so they do not have consistent F-stop and exposure between images but they deffinitely give an idea of what you will see. Those of you with these headlights know that the factory fogs and low beams are about equivalent in brightness but just light up different areas. You'll see the difference here. I aimed them in the street in front of my house by looking at the hot spot height while holding a tape measure 25 ft away so they aren't perfect but it is worlds better than the stock setup.

Fogs only


Fogs and low HIDs


Low HIDs Only


Low HIDs and High stock Halogens


From the front so you can see the color difference from the Fogs (tough to see but they are whiter than the fogs by a good bit)


Cutoff on my garage door


My factory lights were miserable and got almost unusable after my 4-5" lift from the Thuren coils and 36" tires. For $150, these HIDS are bright enough that I can actually see the cutoff move when I go over bumps. The cutoff isn't quite as crisp as a factory HID setup but it is extremely good and a literal night and day difference from stock. I ordered the 4300K and it is whiter than Halogens but not quite as white as most factory HIDs. I really like the color temp it puts out. With the stock headlights, the fog lights were about as bright as the low beams and added substantially to the coverage when turned on. With the HIDs I can barely tell when I turn the fogs on. The amount of light now put out with the highs and lows on is awesome considering there is no auxiliary light.

If you are looking for an easy, inexpensive upgrade that takes an hour or two to do and will significantly increase the safety of night driving this is it. Money definitely well spent.
 

Wirebrush

Observer
Now swap out the high beam halogen bulbs with a set of Phillips 9011s. I did the same swap and while it's a considerable improvement, I'm still not happy with mine. The factory headlights in my old 04 Silverado were better. It almost seems like a pencil beam on low and a flood beam on high when it should be the other way around.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
Now swap out the high beam halogen bulbs with a set of Phillips 9011s. I did the same swap and while it's a considerable improvement, I'm still not happy with mine. The factory headlights in my old 04 Silverado were better. It almost seems like a pencil beam on low and a flood beam on high when it should be the other way around.
Mine are definitely not pencil beam on low with the HIDs. They have a significantly wider spread than stock.
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
The factory head lights on 4th gen Rams are abysmal, I can't believe how much better the head lights on our F-250 are. I'd like to improve mine as well, but I don't want to mess with ballasts and I don't want to have to modify the mounts on bulbs. Looking for an easy plug and play swap that provides a great improvement.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
This is not plug and play but it's pretty close. Total install time was about 1.5 hours and definitely worth it. Worst case you don't like them and you have to replace the little covers on the back of the headlight housings and are out the $150. But you could probably resell the kit for $100.
 

Wirebrush

Observer
Mine are definitely not pencil beam on low with the HIDs. They have a significantly wider spread than stock.
On low, there is just zero light above the cut off, so when the lights are dimmed your vision is not just reduced, but almost completely eliminated. I'd like to have a little light above the cut off to see animals ready to dart out into the road. On High they put out a lot of light, but it's spread everywhere. Very little is focused straight ahead far down the road where you really need it. I think the Ram engineers were more concerned with making lights that look good, than ones that work well.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
On low, there is just zero light above the cut off, so when the lights are dimmed your vision is not just reduced, but almost completely eliminated. I'd like to have a little light above the cut off to see animals ready to dart out into the road. On High they put out a lot of light, but it's spread everywhere. Very little is focused straight ahead far down the road where you really need it. I think the Ram engineers were more concerned with making lights that look good, than ones that work well.
That's how projectors are designed. Any light spilling above the cutoff on low will blind oncoming traffic. The Morimoto HIDS and significant light on the sides where you'd need to see animals.
 

Wirebrush

Observer
That's how projectors are designed. Any light spilling above the cutoff on low will blind oncoming traffic. The Morimoto HIDS and significant light on the sides where you'd need to see animals.
I'm aware how they are designed. As tall as these trucks are the lows must be pointed downward at a steeper angle than with a shorter vehicle to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. Unfortunately, this means when on the interstate, the lows don't reach nearly far enough down the road and at 65 to 80 mph, I don't need hardly any spill to the sides with highs or lows. The sad truth is that even with substantial upgrades and much better technology, not to mention much higher cost, these lights don't work as well as a set of Hella sealed beam halogens from 25 years ago. They just look cooler.

BTW- In case you missed it- I have the same lights with the same Morimoto HID conversions as well as much brighter halogen bulbs in the highs. They are much better than stock, but I'd trade them in a heartbeat for the factory lights from 15 year old Chevy.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
I'm aware how they are designed. As tall as these trucks are the lows must be pointed downward at a steeper angle than with a shorter vehicle to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. Unfortunately, this means when on the interstate, the lows don't reach nearly far enough down the road and at 65 to 80 mph, I don't need hardly any spill to the sides with highs or lows. The sad truth is that even with substantial upgrades and much better technology, not to mention much higher cost, these lights don't work as well as a set of Hella sealed beam halogens from 25 years ago. They just look cooler.

BTW- In case you missed it- I have the same lights with the same Morimoto HID conversions as well as much brighter halogen bulbs in the highs. They are much better than stock, but I'd trade them in a heartbeat for the factory lights from 15 year old Chevy.

We'll have to agree to disagree. Maybe mine are aimed better than yours. Maybe we have different light sensitivity. I am extremely happy with my lights now and wish for nothing more on the road, even on backroads with zero street lights.
 

blackdmax15

Observer
Bayou would you recommend the full kit from retroshop. I’m thinking about changing my quads to the projector housing with D2S 4.0 and 50w bulbs. After pricing out multiple fogs + led hi/lows + LED light bar, these come in about the same price before I try to sell and recoup any money from factory lights that are pristine and a month old. Thoughts? I despise the factory lows so much. Brights are good though.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
I already had the projectors on my Ram. I think it would be a worthwhile upgrade if the money makes sense for you.
 

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