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2016 2.5i Premium CVT
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am posting this quick summary because when I was doing research on this forum as well as r/subaruforester, I did not see anyone who did this process the correct/proper way. Conversion of halogen headlights to LED/HID headlights is NOT simply switching the halogen bulb with a LED or HID bulb. There is no such thing as a "HID kit" or "LED kit" no matter what DD or other online LED sellers tell you. It is ALSO not using a dremel and sanding off headlight assemblies as shown here, and baking them. The one and only correct way is to replace the entire assembly. This is very costly and so nobody usually does this. ALSO, DO NOT GET YOUR HEADLINES AIMED BY SOMEONE WHO SAYS THEY AIM BY SHINING IT ON A GRAPH ON THE WALL X feet away. This is a bunch of baloney and you need a headlight aimer to do it properly. In VA, every safety inspection location should have one (but may not disclose or offer it as a service). I am appalled at the amount of misinformation for headlights and the amount of people who cut perfectly good headlight assemblies and put "custom" reflectors or aftermarket bulbs in them.

Headlight assemblies are meant to be sealed systems and have Department of Transportation regulations because it is crucial to our safety at night. Do you think automotive companies who spend millions on R&D and have several teams of engineers and lighting experts do not know better than some Chinese online shop like Morimoto? Do you think you personally know better than these companies? Really? Well then, this is not the thread for you.

I consulted automotive lighting consultant Daniel Stern who I read on reddit was the go-to person for any and all automotive lighting questions. He walked me through the steps on how to do this properly, and gave me recommendations on bulb upgrades.

I was able to do this because my car was in the body shop getting the entire front bumper, grille, halogen headlight assembly and chrome replaced. It was literally as easy and popping the headlight assemblies in. No wiring changes or anything. It was true "plug-n-play." This is a very unique situation since I had the fenders and everything removed and just gave the headlight assemblies to the body shop when they were ready to put them in.

HID headlight assembly part # is 84002SG102 (passenger) and 84002SG112 (driver). Lowest that I could get them was $1538.80 total ($725.85 each and $87.10 tax) from a dealer about five minutes away.

The best price Jackie from Annapolis could do for forum members was $1581.65 ($746.06 each and 6% tax).

The original halogen headlight assembly part number is 84001SG091 (driver) and 84001SG081 (passenger)


Bulb suggestions from Mr. Stern for my particular HID headlight assembly:
The only legitimate upgrade for the HID bulb (D4R) is this Koito pair here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H4068LE/?tag=2402507-20
Be aware this should be a two-pack, but the seller is being sleezy and selling them individually.
Chat with Amazon CS if you only get one bulb. These are sold by the manufacturer in a two-pack based on the part #.

Upgraded HID bulbs (Koito D4R)

The bulb upgrade for high beams (halogen) are the Toshiba HIR1 / 9011 available only through the Toyota parts system.
I got these both for $114.18 (cheapest I could find) from Conicelli Toyota on eBay

Upgraded high beam bulbs (Toshiba HIR1):
Sand the plastic part down to make them fit (see Mr. Stern's guide here)


End product:
 

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2015 Forester CVT
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I am posting this quick summary because when I was doing research on this forum as well as r/subaruforester, I did not see anyone who did this process the correct/proper way. Conversion of halogen headlights to LED/HID headlights is NOT simply switching the halogen bulb with a LED or HID bulb. There is no such thing as a "HID kit" or "LED kit" no matter what DD or other online LED sellers tell you. It is ALSO not using a dremel and sanding off headlight assemblies as shown here, and baking them. The one and only correct way is to replace the entire assembly. This is very costly and so nobody usually does this. ALSO, DO NOT GET YOUR HEADLINES AIMED BY SOMEONE WHO SAYS THEY AIM BY SHINING IT ON A GRAPH ON THE WALL X feet away. This is a bunch of baloney and you need a headlight aimer to do it properly. In VA, every safety inspection location should have one (but may not disclose or offer it as a service). I am appalled at the amount of misinformation for headlights and the amount of people who cut perfectly good headlight assemblies and put "custom" reflectors or aftermarket bulbs in them.

Headlight assemblies are meant to be sealed systems and have Department of Transportation regulations because it is crucial to our safety at night. Do you think automotive companies who spend millions on R&D and have several teams of engineers and lighting experts do not know better than some Chinese online shop like Morimoto? Do you think you personally know better than these companies? Really? Well then, this is not the thread for you.

I consulted automotive lighting consultant Daniel Stern who I read on reddit was the go-to person for any and all automotive lighting questions. He walked me through the steps on how to do this properly, and gave me recommendations on bulb upgrades.

I was able to do this because my car was in the body shop getting the entire front bumper, grille, halogen headlight assembly and chrome replaced. It was literally as easy and popping the headlight assemblies in. No wiring changes or anything. It was true "plug-n-play." This is a very unique situation since I had the fenders and everything removed and just gave the headlight assemblies to the body shop when they were ready to put them in.

HID headlight assembly part # is 84002SG102 (passenger) and 84002SG112 (driver). Lowest that I could get them was $1538.80 total ($725.85 each and $87.10 tax) from a dealer about five minutes away.

The best price Jackie from Annapolis could do for forum members was $1581.65 ($746.06 each and 6% tax).

The original halogen headlight assembly part number is 84001SG091 (driver) and 84001SG081 (passenger)


Bulb suggestions from Mr. Stern for my particular HID headlight assembly:
The only legitimate upgrade for the HID bulb (D4R) is this Koito pair here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H4068LE/?tag=2402507-20
Be aware this should be a two-pack, but the seller is being sleezy and selling them individually.
Chat with Amazon CS if you only get one bulb. These are sold by the manufacturer in a two-pack based on the part #.

Upgraded HID bulbs (Koito D4R)

The bulb upgrade for high beams (halogen) are the Toshiba HIR1 / 9011 available only through the Toyota parts system.
I got these both for $114.18 (cheapest I could find) from Conicelli Toyota on eBay

Upgraded high beam bulbs (Toshiba HIR1):
Sand the plastic part down to make them fit (see Mr. Stern's guide here)


End product:
Interesting take, Jasson:

I also upgraded the halogen headlights on our '15 2.5i Limited. The only reason was better lighting on the road. We only care about what we see from the driver's seat.

I agree that all the cutting, sealing and baking type mods verge on the ridiculous. I do, however have a different opinion on aiming and conversion to better lighting.

First, optical-mechanical aiming is good but not optimal most of the time. Since it is based on several assumptions on the accuracy of the reflector/bulb relationship, it cannot account for individual variations among headlamp assemblies. After having headlights mechanically "computer" aimed several times on different cars, I have checked the actual beam pattern and found that some correction to optimum made a big difference. There is no substitute for optical aiming, even if it is a little tedious to get the geometry right.

I installed Diode Dynamics SL1 lighting units. The actual beam patterns were essentially identical to the halogen units but I lowered the beams a bit because the fringe areas above the main beam are brighter, even though not wider, than for halogen. The result is as bright a light as I want on low beam and, subjectively, 100% improvement in low beam performance. It cost $ 150 plus a few zip ties and electrical tape. After two years they are still going strong. The other bonus is that LEDs are more energy efficient than either halogen or HID and last longer.

So, it depends on what you want. If you just want better headlight performance, just install the DD SL1 units.

GD
 

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First, optical-mechanical aiming is good but not optimal most of the time. Since it is based on several assumptions on the accuracy of the reflector/bulb relationship, it cannot account for individual variations among headlamp assemblies. After having headlights mechanically "computer" aimed several times on different cars, I have checked the actual beam pattern and found that some correction to optimum made a big difference. There is no substitute for optical aiming, even if it is a little tedious to get the geometry right.
I'm not clear by what you mean here. The aiming machine used and depicted in the original post is an optical aiming machine. It examines the actual beam output from the headlamp, which takes into account all the "assumptions" by definition--it's looking at the end product of all the "assumptions" between the reflector/bulb relationship, which would be the beam pattern.

This machine is very different from the mechanical aiming machines used in decades past, which interfaced with the "nipples" on the lenses of old headlamps and did not involve inspecting the actual beam pattern.

I installed Diode Dynamics SL1 lighting units. The actual beam patterns were essentially identical to the halogen units but I lowered the beams a bit because the fringe areas above the main beam are brighter, even though not wider, than for halogen.
Lowering the aim of you headlamps in response to perceived glare is the incorrect course of action, to put it mildly. We can perform a very simple autopsy on how you decimated your headlamps' performance.

The Forester's headlamps are ~32" high based on an estimate by taking the reported total height of the Forester and dividing it by 2.

The high-intensity zone of a headlamp is approximately outlined by the triangle created by points 11, 12, and 14 on this chart.



Point 11, which corresponds to the right edge of the road, falls at 0.6 degrees below the horizontal for a properly aimed headlamp.

Simple trigonometry involving a right triangle with one leg representing the height of the headlamps on the Forester at 32", and the angle the hypotenuse makes with that leg set at 89.4 degrees (0.6 degrees below the horizontal), we find that the high-intensity zone reaches 254 feet.

A "small" 0.1 degree downward aim adjustment (change the angle from 89.4 degrees to 89.3 degrees), and we find that the high-intensity zone reaches 218 feet, for a 36 feet loss in seeing distance

The Diode Dynamics bulbs, in a best case scenario, provide ~30 feet of increased sight distance (based on the movement of the 1 lux line in the only isolux diagram that they dare post on their website). Your 0.1 degree aim adjustment gives you a 36 feet loss in seeing distance, which completely neuters your $150 dollar purchase.

527214




A 0.2 degree downward aim adjustment results in the high-intensity zone ending at 190 feet, for a 64 feet loss in seeing distance.

If your definition of "lowered the beams a bit" corresponds to lowering the beams by 0.1 degrees, then you just ruined the performance of your headlamps.

All this goes to show that subjective impressions of lighting, and our actions that we take based on our feelings of how well or poorly our headlamps are performing, are usually ill-advised.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
JoanClaymoreMine's estimate of 32 inches was spot-on and the math all checks out. Thank you for helping educate others about the science behind automotive lighting, JoanClaymoreMine :)

Math:
It is hard to take pictures and hold the tape measure at the same time, but I tried to get both landscape and portrait orientations.

Photo album:
 
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