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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter #1
I buy basic H11 bulbs for our '15 forester. I had one burn out and I stopped for a replacement and there were no basic bulbs on the shelf. So instead of going to another store I just grabbed a pack of sylvania xtravision H11 bulbs. They appeared to be just 1 step up from the basic bulb so I thought it would be about the same as what I had purchased before. Shortly after replacing the bulbs I started to notice oncoming drivers flashing me, often enought to make me think something was wrong. Drove past the dealer and had them check the headlight alignment. When I described the issue they said "we hear this alot". They drove around back and when they came back they said the headlights were aligned properly. They checked said they check it against a line on the wall in the garage. Headed out to get a new set of basic bulbs to see if the problem goes away. Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience.
 

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2015 Forester XT CVT
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Yeah I've actually gotten a similar response by drivers when installing the XtraVision bulbs. For whoever reason, Washington state drivers were far more irritated than Oregon drivers, and I've never been flashed by a California driver. Been using those bulbs for ~60,000miles.
 

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2016 2.5i Premium CVT
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Dealer didn't do alignment. They don't know what they are doing. They are mechanics and not automotive lighting specialists. If you want to stick to dealers, find another dealer and tell them you want to be there when they aim it. I would probably recommend you find a good mechanic via Google Reviews or Yelp (notorious for charging businesses "subscription fees" like the mafia). The dealership aims your headlights lower when you tell them you are getting flashed (if they bother at all) and aim it higher when you say the headlight is too low. Not surprised.
 

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The Forester has somewhat poor control of glare so it's possible that the XtraVisions (+30 bulbs) pushed them from the barely noticeable category to the somewhat annoying category. The XtraVisions are +30 bulbs, which mean they should be putting out about 30% more light in the beam pattern, and this could be tipping the lamps over the edge.

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2010 Forester Automatic 4sp
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I swapped my OEM with 11000 lum led setup. Direct replacement from amazone. Rarely get any flashing.
But I am in NJ.
 

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2015 Forester CVT
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I buy basic H11 bulbs for our '15 forester. I had one burn out and I stopped for a replacement and there were no basic bulbs on the shelf. So instead of going to another store I just grabbed a pack of sylvania xtravision H11 bulbs. They appeared to be just 1 step up from the basic bulb so I thought it would be about the same as what I had purchased before. Shortly after replacing the bulbs I started to notice oncoming drivers flashing me, often enought to make me think something was wrong. Drove past the dealer and had them check the headlight alignment. When I described the issue they said "we hear this alot". They drove around back and when they came back they said the headlights were aligned properly. They checked said they check it against a line on the wall in the garage. Headed out to get a new set of basic bulbs to see if the problem goes away. Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience.
Actually, the straight "Vision" series is one step up from standard. I replaced the blackened and partly melted OEM bulbs in our '15 2.5.I Limited with Visions with good results. Beam pattern seemed to be improved. I don't know why. Smaller and more accurate filament placement?

Vision series is hard to find in stores because they don't claim to put out a lot more light or have that stupid blue light absorbing tint. Two years ago I replaced the low beam bulbs with DD SL1s and I'm very pleased with them. I'd get the SL1 high beams but can't justify the cost when I use high beams only about <5% of the time.

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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The Forester has somewhat poor control of glare
Were you able to find the headlight ratings for the 2015 on there? The original poster has a 2015.

When I check the model year I have (2018) it says "the low beams never exceeded glare limits." But I still get a lot of people flashing me sometimes, just because the light from my headlights are not yellow so they automatically think there's glare.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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Dealer didn't do alignment. They don't know what they are doing. They are mechanics and not automotive lighting specialists. If you want to stick to dealers, find another dealer and tell them you want to be there when they aim it.
Dealerships can have unqualified technicians but I think saying you need an automotive lighting specialist to aim a headlight is a bit of a stretch. Being there when they do any work on the car is always a good goal though. Whenever I've had dealership work done, there have always been problems.
 

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Were you able to find the headlight ratings for the 2015 on there? The original poster has a 2015.

When I check the model year I have (2018) it says "the low beams never exceeded glare limits." But I still get a lot of people flashing me sometimes, just because the light from my headlights are not yellow so they automatically think there's glare.
The halogen lamps are the same across this generation. There are no changes over the years.

I would also check for any of these conditions:

 

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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all of the feedback. We are typically driver + 1 front passenger and no load in the trunk. I was tempted to try the DD SL1 especially with the recent 20% off however given the glare issues I'm having with halogen bulbs I was reluctant to order. Maybe next year. The xtravisions do offer better down road illumination but I hate blinding other drivers. I did not know about the vision series so I'll look for them online. I'll also try to see if the technical will look at the glare issue with me there. I have to go back soon any way my brakes squeak all the time but that's a subject for another post.
Thanks again!
 

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The xtravisions do offer better down road illumination but I hate blinding other drivers. I did not know about the vision series so I'll look for them online. I'll also try to see if the technical will look at the glare issue with me there. I have to go back soon any way my brakes squeak all the time but that's a subject for another post.
Thanks again!
If you like the XtraVisions for their increased brightness, then you'll like these better. The Sylvania XtraVisions are a +30 bulb, while the Philips XtremeVisions are a +100 bulb.

Despite the Philips XtremeVisions (+100) being brighter than the Sylvania XtraVisions (+30), you might actually experience less glare with the Philips XtremeVisions, as they have to be built more precisely than the Sylvania XtraVisions to achieve the +100 rating.

Every time I go to parts stores and look at the Sylvania bulbs, I always see way too many with bent, crooked, and distorted filaments, and that can lead to issues like these. I even see bent and crooked filaments on their top-of-the-line, $50 Silverstar bulbs...



And it didn't take more than a 10-second Google search to find examples of Sylvania bulbs with bent/crooked filaments. It's very possible that one or both of your XtraVisions is distorted enough to the point of creating glare, and as the presentation above shows, it doesn't take more than a mere millimeter of misalignment to create major issues.

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On the other hand, you'd be hard-pressed to find random pictures of Philips bulbs with distorted/mislocated filaments.

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I was tempted to try the DD SL1 especially with the recent 20% off however given the glare issues I'm having with halogen bulbs I was reluctant to order.
As far as Diode Dynamics goes: no, that's not a good idea. Explained here.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks! Just a question about the +100 birghtness. I understand that better manufacturing makes for a better beam pattern, but at this brightness if I'm at an intersection and on an incline and the opposing traffic is not in the same plane as me, how bad is it going to be for the oncoming driver? Where I live I would say this happens about 25% of the time. In other words what brighness is too high?
 

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It'll be worse than with stock, and the XtraVisions, but probably not 3x worse than the XtraVisions. Below is an example of what the +100/+120/+130/+150 bulbs do, credits to Automotive LED Research. Note that none of the, despite the +130 and +150 ratings, respectively, create 130 or 150% more light at any single spot, so it shouldn't zap anyone too bad.


Unfortunately the halogens don't come with an auto-leveling motor to help with those situations.

That being said, even Europe, which is very glare-phobic, doesn't even require auto-leveling for most halogen lamps, including the ones on the Forester. The XtremeVision bulbs won't be powerful enough to bump it into the category of lamps that require auto-leveling motors either. So I wouldn't worry about it too much. And who knows, maybe they'll solve your glare problem :). Sylvania does have poorer quality control than Philips on the whole.

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Lowering is relative. Dealer supposedly set headlights to spec but I frequently got blinked. So I set up a geometrically measurable situation using a laser level and a flat, perpendicular wall and adjusted the higher aimed of the two lamps to converge with the lower aimed one. The result was no more blinking, and better light coverage at middle distance without sacrificing long distance.

After installing the Diode Dynamics units I checked for beam alignment again and the main beam looked identical but with more light noticeable in the periphery, such as the sign illumination beams.

After wall aiming I lit up my alley and photographed the DD illuminated scene and compared it with photos of the same scene with halogen lighting. I used a dedicated camera using the same settings for each photo. There is a a 40-50 foot difference in the visible reach of the headlights. The DD cutoff is the same as the halogen bulbs, so the bit of stray light at any given angle from the design cutoff will be brighter with a brighter light source. Evidently not bright enough to annoy oncoming drivers.

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Lowering is relative. Dealer supposedly set headlights to spec but I frequently got blinked. So I set up a geometrically measurable situation using a laser level and a flat, perpendicular wall and adjusted the higher aimed of the two lamps to converge with the lower aimed one.
The dealer set the headlamps to a possibly incorrect spec, but you lowered one headlamp to match the other's possibly incorrect aim. This is a very interesting stack-up of assumptions and guesses you have going on here.

After installing the Diode Dynamics units I checked for beam alignment again and the main beam looked identical but with more light noticeable in the periphery, such as the sign illumination beams.

After wall aiming I lit up my alley and photographed the DD illuminated scene and compared it with photos of the same scene with halogen lighting. I used a dedicated camera using the same settings for each photo. There is a a 40-50 foot difference in the visible reach of the headlights. The DD cutoff is the same as the halogen bulbs, so the bit of stray light at any given angle from the design cutoff will be brighter with a brighter light source. Evidently not bright enough to annoy oncoming drivers.
What happened to lowering the beams further with the DD's installed, which you described in an earlier thread?

It's very interesting that you were able to observe a 40-50 feet increase in illumination. Even Diode Dynamics doesn't claim that much of an increase. They claim ~30 feet and only in one specific vehicle, a F-150.

And the halogens should be illuminating out to 200 feet at the minimum. The sign in the picture below is at 230 feet away from the car, and it's 9 pixels across. An object of similar size that's 40-50 additional feet away would be borderline imperceptible on camera. It seems pretty hard to determine a 40-50 feet increase in reach with a simple photograph of the situation.



The referenced thread says it's not a good idea to lower the aim of the headlamps, not that purchasing or using DD products is not a good idea.
In the other thread, the Diode Dynamics user said they lowered the aim of their headlamps to compensate for a perceived flaw in the beam pattern of the Diode Dynamic bulbs.

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My point is that any bulb that necessitates a lowering in headlamp aim is necessarily a defective or a poorly-engineered bulb. Simple trigonometry shows that lowering a headlamp's aim even by a minuscule 0.1 degrees gives you a 36 feet loss in illumination distance.

Installing a supposedly superior bulb and aiming the headlamps downward is like installing a brighter bulb in your flashlight to help you see further, but then you tilt the flashlight downward. Is installing a brighter bulb in your flashlight, and then tilting it downward going to help you see further? Common sense really isn't that common anymore ;).
 

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In the other thread, the Diode Dynamics user said they lowered the aim of their headlamps to compensate for a perceived flaw in the beam pattern of the Diode Dynamic bulbs.

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My point is that any bulb that necessitates a lowering in headlamp aim is necessarily a defective or a poorly-engineered bulb. Simple trigonometry shows that lowering a headlamp's aim even by a minuscule 0.1 degrees gives you a 36 feet loss in illumination distance.
I understand the geometry. My point is that your quote above, in this thread, suggests that using a DD bulb is a bad idea, while in the referenced thread, lowering the aim is what is the bad idea.

The bulb being brighter, regardless of manufacturer or technology, is going to result in the areas where the intensity is tapering off, having more light than they did with the original bulb. If the light-emitting element is the same shape and size, and in the same position as it is in the original bulb, the illuminated area above the central target, that may taper into car windows, is going to have more light in it, regardless of the manufacturer or technology. The bulb being brighter does not mean that it is a poorly-engineered bulb. It means that the bulb is simply brighter. Whether or not having more light in this area means that steps should be taken to reduce the light in this area, is a separate topic. Maybe the collimating of the bulb's enclosure could be adjusted to reduce how much light enters car windows, without affecting other desired targeting.
 

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Thanks! Just a question about the +100 birghtness. I understand that better manufacturing makes for a better beam pattern, but at this brightness if I'm at an intersection and on an incline and the opposing traffic is not in the same plane as me, how bad is it going to be for the oncoming driver? Where I live I would say this happens about 25% of the time. In other words what brighness is too high?
I'd suggest adjusting things to spec and leaving them that way, regardless of what oncoming drivers do. You could reduce the glare for oncoming drivers even more, if you just turned the headlights off. Don't reduce the performance of your vehicle because some oncoming driver thinks your lights are misadjusted when they are not. They will have to live with improved lighting, just as they have learned to live with not having horses in front of the cars.

In some places, everything is flat. But in most of the world, there are hills and mountains and driveways and ramps and intersections etc. Your car is not going to always be on level ground. Also, some vehicles are going to be taller. Sometimes the sun will be on the horizon. People have to learn that they can't change the world by blinking their lights, and it is not all about them.

My headlights are stock and in spec. Yet people blink at me, because sometimes I'm at an intersection and my car is on a slight incline. What should I do? There are always going to be people who for whatever reason are not technically inclined and don't understand the incline, and think that cell phones cause cancer and vaccination causes autism.

The headlights are on the front of the car, they project light forwards, sometimes the road isn't flat, and the wheels are round. But some people don't get it and they blink their lights because they think something is wrong, but they don't have anything to base their opinions on.
 

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Unfortunately the halogens don't come with an auto-leveling motor to help with those situations.
What's up with auto-levelling headlights? I just read this article:


When I'm driving up the mountain to the ski hill, and going uphill, the range of my lights should be much shorter? And if I'm on the way home from the ski hill, going downhill, my lights should be shining above the tops of all the cars in front of me? (That would also mean less light on the road.)

One of our previous cars had HID lights and because the aim went up/down during power-on self check, I assume they had some sort of levelling function. I never looked into it -- it was my wife's car that she bought before I met her. But all our current cars have LED.
 
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