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2018 2.5i Forester
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been finding my stock halogen low beams rather lack luster, so I was thinking of upgrading them to LEDS, any advice on this? I saw SoftRoadingTheWest's video on his upgrade and it seemed to go well but does anybody have advice or recommendations? I was thinking of using these to replace my low beams:OLM Headlight Low Beam Al Series (Lumileds CSP) Bulbs (I have checked with OLM they are compatible even thought they are not listed as on subispeed)
 

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Premium Member
2019 Subaru Forester Limited CVT
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107 Posts
I would recommend considering diode dynamics bulbs. They are expensive but worth it. With that said it also depends if you have open reflector headlights or projector lens style. LED upgrades work best in the projector style housing. I can't recommend upgrading your bulbs to LED if you have the open reflector style. I would recommend the Sylvania Silver Star line for those open reflector types of housings for a brighter and further reaching light output.
 

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2018 2.5i Forester
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@OuchDamn Any idea how to check what housing I have?

Sent from my SM-G965U1 using Tapatalk
 

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Premium Member
2019 Subaru Forester Limited CVT
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107 Posts
This is a picture of the open reflector style headlight..
91MLB5TTszL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
This is the projector style..
For-Subaru-Forester-SK-2019-2020-Head-Light-Lamp-Eyelid-Eyebrow-Headlight-Cover-Molding-Trim-E...jpg
The projector style is able to focus the light much better from a LED aftermarket bulb. The open lens type tends to just blow light all over the place and not necessarily where you need it down on the road. I hope this helps!
 

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2018 2.5i Forester
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@OuchDamn Thanks for the pictures, I looked at my forester, and I have the "open style" healights, so I will do a bit more research but probably go with the upgraded halogens
 

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Premium Member
2019 Subaru Forester Limited CVT
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107 Posts
I'd wait just a bit before you make a decision. I'm sure some other people will read this post and have some good input. My advice is if you do try the LED upgrades in those housings I would make sure that they are returnable just in case.

There is a compatibility issue I believe with the open style reflector and the LED aftermarket upgrade bulbs. The problem is that the headlight housings are designed to focus exactly on the filament in the existing halogen bulb. The aftermarket LED upgrades typically don't get the positioning of the LED just perfect so it tends to project the light in odd ways. Plus LED aftermarket bulbs don't provide a full 360° light output like a bulb filament does. The LEDs are usually mounted to two sides of a stick heat sink. LED bulb designs may have gotten better over the past year. Hopefully another reader might share some advice.

I tried some LED aftermarket bulbs in my factory fog light housings and they literally shot light forward and up into the sky. Not much light made it down to the road. On my initial driving trip after installing them I was flashed by multiple drivers. I didn't know what was wrong until I went and stood in front of the Forester and was surprised at how blinding they were because the focus wasn't right.

The projector bulbs also have some of the same compatibility issues but are much more forgiving due to the cutoff plate and lens.

I've used silver star bulbs in a couple of my cars and really liked them although they tend to burn out a little quicker than standard headlight bulbs because the filaments run hotter.
 

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2017 Forester Premium ES CVT (Sold)
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138 Posts
I have used SilverStar in the past, and never again. I found that they burn out very fast. They also deceive you into thinking they help you see better, but they don't. Halogens can dim over time. XtraVision bulbs are brighter and don't last as long as regular, but they are normal color so they actually improve things. Even putting in new standard stock bulbs will be an improvement as they will be full brightness. Another thing you can try is the H11 to H9 upgrade. That involves modifying your sockets and popping some H9 bulbs in. But yeah, I'm definitely not a fan of putting those "blue" lights in. My 2017 Premium with EyeSight is all stock and is pretty good. This trim level has your standard reflectors but comes with fog lamps that also have H11 bulbs, works really well for halogens.
 

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2017 Forester Premium 2.5i, 6-speed manual, moon-roof, fog lights, skid-plates, winch, 2nd bedroom
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115 Posts
As a long time user of the Silver-Star Ultra bulbs, I like them.
But they are delicate, starting the engine with them on will damage them enough in the first dozen or so starts to lose their performance, and tends to kill the bulbs in 6 to 9 months. Adding a good set of street-legal fog-lights, has helped my pathetic Subaru lights the most. And I find that to be a very sad statement, If I could buy better lights for this car; I Would!
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,788 Posts
I've had both high-end halogen (like the Silver Star) and a few low-price to high-priced LED bulbs.... A few thoughts and findings...

1 - check to be sure that your headlamp housings are not faded, oxidized or just plain dirty. Getting them polished up will help for sure. After having them polished, I'd suggest a clear lens cover (there are many brands out there - I chose XPEL when I bought new housings).

2 - I found a short life expectancy with the Silver Stars. I should note that I drive with my lights on ALL THE TIME. I would get about 6 to 9 months out of a bulb. And you should replace them in pairs and that can get expensive.

3 - when it comes to LEDs, there are hundreds of different styles and forms out there and price points. What you need to do is get one of the bulb units that is designed to have the LED chips in the same (or about the same) location as the original halogen bulb filament. Diode Dynamics did this with their design, but I do believe that they've pulled them from the market as there have been issues with glare and such from many other brands and they "may" be illegal to sell and use.

4 - if you DO get the LEDs and they are designed to work like the stock halogen (using the stock shape and reflective surfaces of the silver housing), you will probably still need to adjust your headlamps a bit to not be too low and not too high. If you look at the Diode Dynamics site and if they have not stripped the images and video, they discussed the way they engineered their bulbs and what a well aimed, well designed LED replacement SHOULD look like.

All of my bulbs - inside, out, wherever - have been replaced by LEDs. My offroad lights are also LEDs. I do it mostly for the longer lifespan from LEDs vs incandescent bulbs - and also for the brighter light.
IMG_1670.JPG
 

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2018 2.5i 6MT
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16 Posts
You could try doing the Touring headlamp conversion. I got mine used off eBay for $600 total, and put them on my 2.5 base model. You could probably get them cheaper but I was impatient. Very easy and totally worth it IMO.
1181D1F2-591F-4D92-83B7-ED344E54AF1C_1_105_c.jpeg
 

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2009 Forester manual
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70 Posts
I would recommend considering diode dynamics bulbs. They are expensive but worth it. With that said it also depends if you have open reflector headlights or projector lens style. LED upgrades work best in the projector style housing. I can't recommend upgrading your bulbs to LED if you have the open reflector style. I would recommend the Sylvania Silver Star line for those open reflector types of housings for a brighter and further reaching light output.
Diode dynamics have stopped selling led headlight bulbs due to their lack of legality
 

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2009 Forester manual
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70 Posts
@Delowi You'll find not only not dot compliant but not state compliant either,especially when used in a reflector housing. Nothing will get you stopped quicker then blinding a cop approaching you.
Dont use them in high beam space cause DRLs 1/2 the voltage and LEDs dont dim down at 1/2 voltage. 10 years ago all wanted to put HUDSON in their reflector housings, whether or not they blinded people. Now it LEDs.
 

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2018 Forester Touring 50t CVT
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20 Posts
I have been finding my stock halogen low beams rather lack luster, so I was thinking of upgrading them to LEDS, any advice on this? I saw SoftRoadingTheWest's video on his upgrade and it seemed to go well but does anybody have advice or recommendations? I was thinking of using these to replace my low beams:OLM Headlight Low Beam Al Series (Lumileds CSP) Bulbs (I have checked with OLM they are compatible even thought they are not listed as on subispeed)
You won’t be sorry, use on my 2003 forester that are always on. OSRAM Night Breaker Laser (Next Generation) H4 | PowerBulbs UK
 

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2018 2.5i Premium
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3 Posts
I installed a pair of SEALIGHT H11/H8/H9 LED Headlight Bulbs in my 2018 last January which was a big improvement in the low beams. There may be brighter and there may be better out there, but these were inexpensive and work great in my reflector low beams. I like the fact that the power supply is built in and not hanging from a cable behind the lamp. I didn't need to re-aim the headlights afterward either.
 

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If the stock bulbs are H11, you can do a minor mod (Google H11/H9 conversion) to install H9 bulbs in their place. Filament location is identical so the beam pattern will be correct, and they are substantially brighter. Note however they are a higher wattage and there is always a risk of heat or wiring issues. My 2010 had H9s installed without issue for years, however. The only way to increase light output meaningfully with a halogen bulb is higher wattage- it's a physics thing. Higher quality bulbs like Silverstars, etc. will be a small change but not really worth it considering H9 bulbs are cheap and brighter. There is a similar mod to allow for 9011/9012 high beam bulbs.

As others have mentioned, please don't install aftermarket xenon or LED light kits without appropriately modifying the headlight reflector. They may be brighter, but the pattern is wrong which results in worse real world visibility. Same issue as when aiming the headlights too high.

Less obvious suggestion- reduce the gauge cluster brightness at night. If it is too bright your eyes are prevented from adjusting to provide full night vision. When in the middle of nowhere I often have them at the lowest brightness which brings an unexpected increase in exterior visibility.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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71 Posts
@Delowi,

I am running the Morimoto 2 Stroke 2.0 LEDs in my low beams. Super bright and no issues. They are designed to have the LED chips in the same location as a halogen bulb's filament, so the beam pattern's cut off line is super crisp and you have no glare with a reflector headlight housing. I've been running the Morimoto's for 4 years now and they are still just as bright as the day I bought them. I highly recommend getting the canbus driver for them as well, this regulates power to the bulbs just like an HID ballast. And will prevent any flickering or strobing from the LEDs that can happen with power fluctuation. They are on the pricier side but totally worth it.

I am running the Sylvania Silver Stars in my high beams, but never use the high beams since the Morimoto's are bright enough.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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2,816 Posts
@OuchDamn Thanks for the pictures, I looked at my forester, and I have the "open style" healights, so I will do a bit more research but probably go with the upgraded halogens
Try one of these:
I went with the VisionPlus because I do a lot of night driving and was concerned about bulb life. Post #12 in the following thread convinced me that Philips builds a better bulb than Sylvania:
 
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