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2010 Forester
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HAve a 2010 Forester which i want to put fog lights on and HID headlights. Got a quote on the HID installed for 300. Is this a good price. Any special brand I should be looking for? Also PIAA is the brand of fog lights the installer wants to put in. Any input on other types.
 

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2001 Forester S, auto
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471 Posts
Don't get aftermarket HID's unless you're absolutely sure the headlight housings can handle it (probably not, but i dunno). You should be able to buy the OEM HID lights sometime after february. They'll cost more but won't be halfassed. As far as foglights, PIAA are decent. I prefer Hella or Cibie myself.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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If you're at all capable of turning a screwdriver and have basic reading-comprehension skills, you can easily purchase a good-quality "plug-and-play" HID kit for around $100, and have the install done in less than an hour. If there are other Subaru enthusiasts in your area, I'd be more than willing to bet that they'd be willing to help/serve-as-guide for nothing more than just a burger and a beer.

It's truly that easy.

The following are based on typical aftermarket "plug and play" HID kits, as-installed on the Subaru Legacy (both past and current generation models). You'll, of course, need to get a bulb-type that matches what the Forester uses, but these threads will show you just how easily you can do this, for yourself:

~~~Plug and Play HID Install Walkthrough~~~ - Subaru Legacy Forums
DDM/Apexcone HID Kit installation questions - Subaru Legacy Forums

Note that modern ballasts are much smaller, and this is reflected in the following:

Detailed Volt HID Install Howto - 2010 Legacy - Subaru Legacy Forums (out to john abella Subaru Legacy Volt HID Install)

Typically, you should *not* have to pull the front bumper skin - nor remove the headlamp housing - to effect installation of a "plug and play" kit. The '10 Legacy owner above was being *very* meticulous!

If you go this route, pick up a couple of spare dust/moisture caps for the low-beam elements - they're of little cost, and you then won't have to worry, at all, about drilling either them or the caps you already have.

It's all too easy for most "shops" to purchase a $60 (that's retail - you can see how much profit margin there could be, if they have a wholesale-level contact) kit, and make hundreds of dollars' worth of profit, for what is otherwise a *very* simple-to-do modification. This is why I'd recommend that you go at the labor on your own, and, instead, invest in a quality kit.

The thing to worry about, as Jared highlights, would be whether or not the factory reflector optics of the SH can decently control the light coming off the HID element - remember, night-time safety is not just about you being able to see, but also that you don't blind oncoming drivers enough so that they'd crash into you (or something else, and in-turn get you with secondary damage). While, typically, reflector optics tend to offer less "glare control" than optimal, it is not to say that all such systems do a poor job of it, and yes, there have been very successful use of simple "plug-and-play" kits into reflector-housings, with excellent overall lighting as well as glare-control. What worries me is that although I've seen many pictures of various SH owners showing off their "plug-and-play" kits with head-on pictures, I've yet to see any of beamshots - even just cursory ones - to say nothing of more detailed and technical examinations of beam patterns (look at what you can find on LegacyGT.com, with a search for "HID comparison" as the keywords - HID kit comparison tests with measurement data - Subaru Legacy Forums , Complete Review of Mr_Luv HID Retro's w/ pics! - Subaru Legacy Forums , How to Align your headlights! if you don't know now you do. - Subaru Legacy Forums , and the next link that I posted below) .

If that $300 you're quoted is a full-optics retrofit, using quality take-off projector optics (such as: Rx330 OEM conversion for Full OEM HID's Write-up - Subaru Legacy Forums), with the cost including the fabrication of whatever is necessary to hold such optics in your factory reflector bowl setup (search "Advancedlites" username on YouTube, for example), then by all means, go for it. I'd be surprised if this was the case, though, as that truly seems to be really, really low, in terms of pricing. Typically, the cost of such projects will be in the $600 to $1000 range.

I've done several full-optics retrofits before, but on my '05 Legacy, I decided against it, as the factory incandescents - particularly after upgrading to a 65W solution - worked extremely well. Recently, though, I've decided to start playing with things on that front again, and installed a "plug-and-play" 50W DDM kit (at 4500K color), filling the "squirrel-finders" in the factory cut-off-shields to further control glare. The BL/BP's factory optics, along with conservative aiming, plus the fact that my LGT is about an inch lower than stock, and combined with my use of LaserVEIL coating on the headlamps, has meant that I've not yet been flashed by oncoming traffic. I'm decently satisfied, in that I've recovered the output ("light on road") that I'd lost from VEIL, but there is a noticeable lack of horizontal spread (for which I can compensate, if I choose or need, with use of my up-wattage and re-aimed factory fog setup), and there is also noticeable beam artifacts (return wire, etc.). Still, until I have catastrophic failure of some critical portion of my current setup, I'm happy enough with it that I won't play with it any further (I've baked and cracked opened my headlamps a half-dozen times now, with various lighting mods, and I've got a spare set of OEMs in the garage, awaiting the day when I need to re-do things again).

One thing you might want to entertain is to upgrade your low-beams with the incandescent H9 option (search "Daniel Stern," using the search engine keyword function), which will noticeably improve your SH's lighting capabilities (my wife's '09 FXT currently uses this low-beam solution, combined with HIR1 high-beams [which I highly recommend as pairing to any HID-low-beam setup] and fogs, and I'm more than happy), and to, as Jared points out, await the 2010-USDM option, to see both what they use, as well as to see if you can't get either the factory replacement components (at least the headlamps, if not the leveling hardware) and/or to see if a fellow lighting enthusiast pursues opening up the factory HID setup and sees if it can be "cloned."

Also, have a search and see if anyone with a '09 Canadian or Euro-market SH-FXTs has yet posted anything regarding the "dissection" of their OEM HIDs. If it's using a reflector-type setup, you may be able to pick up tremendous hints as to how to control glare, as well as to optimize lighting output.
 
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