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2004 Forester 2.5x
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi I have a question for all you gurus out there. I have searched and have found some ideas and some answers, but that in turn just created more questions so bear with me please.

I have a 04 Subaru with a stock alternator. It has an aftermarket heated seat installed by the previous owner. I am planning on adding some hella driving lights and fog lights, do I need to upgrade the alternator to cope with the lights? Or would a good deep-cycle battery be just fine for my use?
The only thing that I have done sofar is put in a set of Philips Xtreme Power bulbs and they make a nice difference.

When mounting the lights I have two locations, down on the front bumper (would have to fab a light bar) or up top on the crossbars. Which setup would give the better performance, for example are the lights up top going to have too much glare for me when I am driving? Do I get better coverage up top than down on the hood? What are the pros and cons?

Sorry for all the questions :biggrin:
 

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Official sf.org decal guy
2006 FXT
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12,516 Posts
I would always suggest getting a good deep cycle battery. It's a good precaution. As for an upgraded alternator i wouldn't bother. Not unless you're going to be getting a big stereo and other electric goodies that would all be on at the same time.
 

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Super Moderator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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17,887 Posts
Do be on the lookout for melted headlight sockets. Even regular bulbs will make it happen over time. See our FAQ and my Sources Thread for details and suggested sources for high temp sockets.

Also take a look at my Snippets of electrical information thread for cautions and suggestions regarding wiring auxiliary lights into Subaru's 'low side switching' way of doing things.
 

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Premium Member
2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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4,259 Posts
I am planning on adding some hella driving lights and fog lights, do I need to upgrade the alternator to cope with the lights? Or would a good deep-cycle battery be just fine for my use?
Dbdawn,

The nighttime load (“normal” engine loads plus headlights, taillights, marker lights, dash lights, etc.) on a car’s electrical system (alternator and battery) is not trivial. Operating the heated seat, stereo, defroster(s), and/or the A/C (including one of the main cooling fans) along with nighttime loads can really stress the system.

A pair of driving- or fog lights would add an ~8 A load to your system. This is probably at least 10% of your alternator’s effective ampacity. For example, my 09 X’s alternator is rated at 90 A, but, once it heats up, it’s effective ampacity is typically 10% to 30% less that its cold rating. The ’09 XT’s alternator is rated at 110 A.

Note that your car may already be fitted with load- and fusing provisions for factory fog lights and a trailer. If you don't have these loads, then your new lights might be acceptable alternate loads. However, running a whole bunch of heavy loads, especially at night, might still be something of a stress.

You could add the extra lights and try ‘em out, with, I presume, the fog lights only available with the low beams and the driving lights only available with the high beams. If you notice that other lights dim when you activate the extra lights, then you might want to consider a larger alternator and/or checking the health of the battery.

Auto-style flooded lead-acid (FLA) batteries are generally available in three types: SLI, deep-cycle, and hybrid, or marine. SLI batteries, or starting-lighting-ignition, are appropriate for cars. Their internal grid structure is rather porous, resulting in a large surface contact area between the plates and electrolyte (battery acid). This large surface area provides for the ability to deliver the high starting current required to start a car engine, especially when the battery and engine are cold. On the other hand, the construction of SLI batteries means they are not good for deep cycle applications.

Deep cycle batteries contain more solid plates. They can deliver low current for long periods and they can be recharged many times. Accordingly, they're popular in PV (solar) energy systems. However, they generally are not good for engine starting applications, as the battery voltage tends to dip precipitously (called the “coup de fouet”, or “crack of the whip”) when first loaded and/or cold. The voltage can in fact drop low enough to fall below a load’s minimum voltage requirement.

Hybrid batteries, also called marine batteries, as a “hybrid” of SLI and deep-cycle battery design and performance. They’re not particularly good at either job, but, because they are typically used in marine- and RV applications where ambient temps are usually above freezing, they’re typically cost-effective “good enough” solutions for a wide range of non-critical applications.

Accordingly, I recommend you pass on the deep-cycle battery idea, especially if you use your car in a cold climate.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2004 Forester 2.5x
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Jim, thanks for all the great information. Gives me the information that I need.
I think that I am going to take the alternator in and get it checked, that and the battery. I put ~300 miles on the Subaru this weekend and I noticed that the headlights dimmed slightly when stopped and I stepped on the brake or rolled up a window.

Yes the fog lights will be low beam only and the driving lights will be high beam only.
 

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2003 XS MT
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5,522 Posts
If you want fog lamps they should ONLY be low. If you want these lights only for on road use, I would say keep all the lights low. Being up really high won't do much for you on pavement, but is very handy for offroad.
 

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2004 Forester 2.5x
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Got a replacement battery as the one in there was still the original battery. I am waiting till it warms up a bit to install. On Saturday going to a buddies garage and going to fab a bracket to hold my driving lights. We will see how everything goes!
 

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2004 Forester 2.5x
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Got the lights installed on the car. I wired everything correctly the first time cause when I hooked the battery back up and hit the switch I had the lights working like they should. On/off with the high beams :)
The longest and hardest part was making a bracket to hold the light.

Thanks to everyone that helped me.
 

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Premium Member
2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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4,259 Posts
Good news! :icon_cool: I hope you'll come back in a few days with a performance report.

Enjoy!
Jim / crewzer
 

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2004 Forester 2.5x
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well the lights work really nicely. Camera is not working atm, but will try and bower one to get some pictures up.
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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5,813 Posts
You could always drop in a cheap HID retrofit to the lamps (off-road use) and they'll only draw 35w versus the 55w conventional halogens pull. Not to mention they're much brighter. If you do go HID (as I did), I would stay as close to the 4300k color temp as possible to keep it white and not blue.
 

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2004 Forester 2.5x
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Discussion Starter #13
Well here is one picture that shows what I did.
I don't have any comparision shots at night yet. I might be able to get some after this weekend though.

I just took some aluminum flatbar and bent it to fit through the grill. I bolted it to the top lip where the radiator connects and then bolted it to where the license plate was bolted through the bumper.
It is real lite weight and it does not bounce at all.

This thing throws light all around up close, lights up the ditches and trees on the side of the road which is nice to catch any critters that might be out there before they cross the road. It does not throw light out far like a pencil driving beam but for anything up close it works great. I just want some more lights, lol.
 

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Premium Member
2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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What brand / model light is that?

Thx, and Merry Xmas!
Jim / crewzer
 

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2009 toyota
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Well here is one picture that shows what I did.
I don't have any comparision shots at night yet. I might be able to get some after this weekend though.

I just took some aluminum flatbar and bent it to fit through the grill. I bolted it to the top lip where the radiator connects and then bolted it to where the license plate was bolted through the bumper.
It is real lite weight and it does not bounce at all.

This thing throws light all around up close, lights up the ditches and trees on the side of the road which is nice to catch any critters that might be out there before they cross the road. It does not throw light out far like a pencil driving beam but for anything up close it works great. I just want some more lights, lol.

Yeah, its looking great. It would be good, if you post the clear details about this.
 

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2004 Forester 2.5x
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66 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thanks! I had a great Christmas/New Years holiday.

The light is a VisionX XIL-200 which is a 12" light. Here are the specs from the manufactures web site.


Code:
Dimensions  	12" x 3.05" x 2.75"
Length 	        12"
Weight 	        5 lbs
Mounting Depth 	2.25"
Amperage Draw 	5 @ 12 Volts
Input Voltage 	12 Volts DC
Housing 	Aluminum Extrusion
Number of LEDs 	20 - 3 Watt LEDs
Housing 	Black
Lumens 	        3600
Watts 	        60
Beam Pattern 	Euro
What brand / model light is that?

Thx, and Merry Xmas!
Jim / crewzer
 
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