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UK SG9 XT - HIDs to Halogen headlights, is it possible?

2935 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Dabooka
My motor has just failed the MOT on poor lights (no pattern; out of alignment and too low).

As one unit is completely borked and the other one clearly isn't moving correctly (I know the rear self adjusting unit is missing) I'm looking into replacements. I am thinking it may be simpler to downgrade to normal halogen headlight units, has anyone done this and is it even possible?

The HIDs are are as hell on the used market anyway, new ones I'm not sure are even available and I'm not certain it'll fix the problem anyway. Halogen units seem easier to find.

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As far as I know, all of the HID "stuff" is built into the light. It should be as simple as unplugging the HID lights, and plugging in the halogens. You would probably need an adapter to go from the HID bulb plug to the halogen, but that would be fairly cheap and easily sourced or made...Maybe get the adapter, and find a used set of halogens you can plug in and test.
if you get a headlight with the wiring on it, it should be plug and play, as the wires that connect to the ballast and bulb are typically included with used units on eBay and similar, I don’t know as much about forester but on the Impreza and WRX it is plug and play, I didn’t change any wiring on mine (2007) when converting besides unplugging the DRL module (which won’t be a problem for you).
The Halogens did not have self levelling from memory, so you might still end up with the self levelling light on the dash if you switched over.....

The rest should in theory switch over. I might double check the cable thickness to make sure it's ok for 60Watt Halogens.
You might need to make a mini harness from the factory connection to the relevant bulb holder type connections for H1, H4, H7 or whichever bulbs the halogens use.

What was wrong with the lights? If they were glazed up, you can get headlamp restoration kits for £30 off Amazon/Halfords.......
Hi chaps, I trust you've all had a nice Christmas. I can't believe it's been two months since I posted this (!) but to be honest it's just been sat on the driveway since failing as I've had too much on to even contemplate getting it sorted. However I have a week off so need to decide the future.

Right, the deal with the headlights is this;
  • The nearside (left) is borked. It's not cloudy in a way that can be polished out with a kit as it's knackered on the inside. Despite resealing the unit, it still has condensation forming and appears cracked after a shunt of some description. I am assuming over time the water has heated up from the lamp and caused the distortion of the plastic as it clearly been a long term issue.
  • The offside (right) functions normally but doesn't move. I have noted that the rear level sensor is missing completely, and I probably need to check the front one too once I find out where it's located.
  • There are no error lights on the dashboard relating to the lights.
I appreciate after looking replacement units are rare as hen's teeth hence wondering if I could just downgrade to halogens. I guess I'd have to manually adjust them and accept I couldn't control them from inside although I don't see that as much of a problem.

Once i get this resolved I can move on to the next problem which is to get the secondary air pump deleted and then I should have an advisory free motor. Which would be lovely!

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Have you tried any Subaru breakers for used spares?

You could go non-turbo headlights which from memory were Halogen and if you find them lacking in performance, perform an HID retrofit, which would give insanely good light performance far beyond what your factory HID headlights had. The Retrofit Source in the US is probably the best place for retrofit stuff and they'll sell both LHD and RHD projectors etc. @Inactive_55959 did a write up of how he did his here, to give you an idea what might be involved: ('06-'08) - 2008 - SG Projector Retrofit - a...

Here's some breakers or vehicles that appear to be being broken for spares

Jap Performance Parts Not cheap

And the Scoobynet favourite:
MB Developments
unit 3 addenbrook street
darlaston,west midlands
WS10 8HJ

There's a couple of non turbos being broken on Ebay too, if you were to go the halogen route.....

If the car hasn't been moved for a couple of months, it might be worth taking it for a spin around the block to free up the brakes etc so nothing is stuck/seized.

If your borked headlight still has an operating ballast, that might help recoup some costs of headlight changes as you'll then have a spare to keep or pass on.
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Crikey TMX, what a fantastic response!

I'll have a look at those links later. I've tried a few breakers with no joy so far; either sold or equally as knackered as mine. One even sent me some SG5 lamps despite double checking they were the correct ones. :mad:

Personally I'd be happy with the halogen route if it works although obviously I'd prefer to keep the HIDs. The real problem is knowing exactly where the problem lies. Will the rear level sensor (and possibly front) solve the issue or is it something else too? What if the lamp motors are knackered too? What if... you get the idea! This is why I'm considering the halogens as it seems a route less fraught with problems.

I'll feedback, and thanks again. Much appreciated.
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Just thinking about this............ I'm assuming the MOT is the biggest problem right now for the vehicle. How far out was the beam pattern? Could it be solved with small spacers between the headlight assemblies and the chassis they bolt to? Just to get through an MOT to raise the beam pattern/entire enclosure...........I would think a corner garage would overlook the spacers perhaps?

I'm not sure if there was a rear sensor for the levelling, I thought there was just the 1 sensor - It's been years since I was under an MY06+ model so probably remembering wrong...... (I wonder what happened to my old MY06.......)
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Thanks for the reply, again much appreciated.

The headlights are the biggest problem at the minute. The air pump is £100 to resolve locally and there's a handful of minor things expected of any fifteen year old car. I've had the timing belt done as it was needed and completely overhauled the rear brakes otherwise it owes me little. TBH I'd rather tackle some rust than this. I cannot believe how much of a challenge it is.

The idea of the spacers is what I considered if needed although how I could apply them I do not know; on the clear headlight it doesn't move an iota and I know from my previous car (a fabulously good fun Swift Sport) that they settle upwards by quite a bit when first turned on. Also it was my friendly corner garage that did my MOT although the tester is someone I hadn't seen before. They help me with my '99 Cougar so are known to be, ahem, 'sympathetic' when needed. :ROFLMAO:

My missus is keen for me to spares and repairs it as she wants to go down to one car instead of two* as we don't have the need anymore. The Forester has done its job over the summer with the house move and renovation and she now works from home permanently. It just annoys me headlights of all things could sink it. Crazy.

*we have another car. I don't count the Cougar as that's my summer plaything / restoration / tinkering toy
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Oh forgot to add that there's definitely a small 'ball joint' kind of link at the rear, behind the wheels. I posted about it here at the time.
Does the working headlight not move in regards to the motors, or the manual adjusters with a screwdriver also do not move?
I would think you could put spacers underneath the mounting points of the headlights to the chassis? It might cause issues with fitting the front bumper though - Not 100% sure though

Halogens are probably the cheapest and easiest way forward - Not sure if it would bring up a levelling warning light though?

If you do decide to get rid, make sure you post on here before you stick it on the bay of E etc
Has anyone tried LED headlights upgrade on a third gen forester?
@TJLang Do you mean complete enclosures or LED retrofits?

Probably best to start your own thread either way so this one doesn't go off topic regarding the 3rd gen
Just a quick update.

Luckily I was able to source a reasonably priced n/s headlight unit so I swapped that at the weekend. I still have to sort the alignment out. Other than the white manual adjuster on the back I can't see any other way to do it?

Picture shows the improvement it has made and just how bad the existing unit was, with the clouding on the inside that would not polish out. As it also continued to fill with condensation despite resealing it, a replacement really was the only way.


Thanks for those who took the time out to reply.
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