HID: Upgrade Your Truck's Appearance and Lighting Performance!

Discussion in 'Chevy Truck Accessories' started by rotaryenginepete, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. rotaryenginepete

    rotaryenginepete Rockstar ROTM Winner 100 Posts

    Hello everyone. Most of you know what the deal is with HID's (High Intensity Discharge). They are 2-3 times brighter than stock halogen headlights, last longer than filament bulbs, draw less power, you can get them in a huge variety of color temperatures, they can be a pain in the ass to install, they aren't always going to be cheap, but they look great! A while back Steve asked me to do an HID lighting thread with some pointers for people looking to do this upgrade. So a year later I finally got on the ball and here it is!! LMAO

    First off, a little background on me. I'm a special operations crew chief in the USAF. I love working not only on aircraft but also on autos and boats. I've been installing HID and LED upgrade kits on many people's cars and trucks for several years now, as well as on military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. I started out years ago buying expensive kits off of several different online lighting outlets, but now I only use one for HID kits. I will structure this thread with the basics so that anyone who is wanting to do this upgrade will have a good solid resource to turn to.

    Here is the table of contents for this thread:
    1. Choosing your HID upgrade.
    2. Purchasing your conversion kit.
    3. Installation.

    1. Choosing your HID upgrade:

    A. You need to research your local laws about headlight upgrades and HID's. As far as federal DOT/NHTSA laws go, your low beam headlight can be as bright as it wants to be as long as the beam is aimed properly, fits inside of a certain spread pattern, and doesn't glare oncoming drivers. A good website for information on federal and state laws is http://fmvss108.tripod.com/

    B. Determin what kind of headlamp and/or bulb you have.
    There are 3 main different kinds of headlamps: Lens Reflectors Optics (old style sealed beam), Reflector Optics (this is what most of your trucks will have), and Projector Optics (now found on many european and high end luxury vehicles, also in some aftermarket headlamps). [​IMG]

    If you have sealed beam headlamps, you will need to purchase aftermarket replacement lamps that use bulbs instead of an entire lamp assembly. Once you have determined the headlamp type you have, use your owners manual or pull out an existing bulb from your truck's headlight to determin the type of light bulb that you have. If you have one of these bulb types then you will be able to do the HID conversion: 880/881/893, H1, H3, H3C, H4(9003), H7, H8, H9, H10(9145), H11,H13, 9004, 9005(HB3), 9006(HB4), 9007, D2R/D2S/D2C, D1S/D1R/D1C.

    C. Determin what color temperature you want to have. Starting from the left you have 4300K, 6000K, 8000K, 10000K, 12000K, and then exotic style blue, green, pink, purple, red, and yellow.

    Now if you are looking for the brightest, BEST performing light temperature you will want to go with 4300K. That is the brightest you can get. The higher the color temperature, the less light output you are going to have. Most people who get the higher color temperatures just want that deep bluish/purple hue for looks, but they don't put out nearly as much light as 4300K. Ultimately, this is up to you!

    D. Last choose a ballast system. Most vehicles that have OEM HID lights use conventional style ballasts. When you go shopping for HID's most places have the option between conventional and digital. Digitally controlled ones do cost more. The best two things about these are that they come much smaller and they control the light output so that your beams will match a lot closer in light output and color. Honestly though, especially if you are installing these on a truck, you won't need to go digital because you already have plenty of space under the hood (unlike imports and other small cars) and conventional style ballasts don't vary that (noticably) much. Also digital ballasts have been known to be more unreliable when it comes to under hood temperatures because they are so sensitive.


    2.Purchasing your conversion kit.

    There are a LOT of online outlets out there, including eBay and Amazon. You'll need to find one, and purchase a conversion kit that is made for the type of headlight bulb your truck uses (what you researched in part 1). This is going to be up to you, but let me give you some advice on a few areas before deciding where you make the purchase.

    A. Cost. The cost of components for an HID system have come down significantly over the years. But many online stores have kept their prices the same or even raised them. You no longer need to pay $200, $300, or even $700 for an HID kit. You'll just be pissing your money away, because many of these kits are bought at wholesale from other companies and in general they are all similar quality when it comes down to it. Trust me, most of the kits out there are marked up big time. The way you install them will make the biggest difference in how long the ballasts last.

    B. Quality. Watch out for this, as many of the cheaper (some eBay and other shady distributors) sold HID kits are cheaply assembled. You're going to want a fully weather/waterproof system. Also ensure that the kit you buy will have all the necessary connections and installation parts you will need. If you compromise on quality then you might end up having to replace failed components later on down the road. Make sure you research who your buying from, including customer feedbacks, ratings, and Better Business Bureau approvals.

    C. Of all the places I've purchased from, so far www.vvme.com has the best all around quality and prices. You may hear stories about a VVME HID kit failing, but this is more likely to be the result of an incorrect install or abnormal usage conditions. I've been using these kits for a few years now and they are hands down the best bang for your buck out there, not to mention many of the parts they use are identical to what Hella uses in several OEM applications.
    2 people like this.
  2. rotaryenginepete

    rotaryenginepete Rockstar ROTM Winner 100 Posts




    Most newer HID conversion kits you plug into the headlight bulb's wiring harness. Almost everything is plug and play. There are two slightly different ways to install HID's. The easiest way is you can use the OEM wiring harness as a power source, and change your fuses to the HID kit specifications. This way your headlights will come on the same way they normally would. However if you have DRL's or any kind of automatic headlight function, it will be safer to either disable those features or install using the other method. The other way is to wire up a relay and run the power source (battery) through that. This can be a safer way to install them because HID ballasts use more power at start to warm up than they do to run at normal operation. Here are some pretask tips and warnings...
    ★ Do not touch glass part of the bulb with your hands during installation.
    ★ When installing HID Xenon Lamp, you should place the ballast in a drafty area to dissipate heat. Do not place the ballast near the engine or fan which will give off a lot of heat. If the ballast temperature goes up to 105 degrees Celsius (220 F), the over heat protection will automatically shut off the power.

    ★ During installation make sure that you have a good ground for the negative, please ensure it is grounded to metal. A poor ground will cause the HID light to flicker.

    ★ Avoid scratching the bulb when you install it, don’t touch the glass part of the bulb with your bare hands.

    ★ Please ensure all connections e.g. the plug in of the lights socket, the positive and negative of the power are well connected, as failure to do some will result in performance shortfall.

    ★ When you adjust the bulb, please don’t let the end of the bulb touch the inner glare shield of the headlamp assembly.

    ★ Any connections make directly to the battery, should go thru safety check before connecting power..

    ★ In any case, please don’t disassemble or modify the system, all warranties will be voided if you do so and the manufacturer will not be responsible for any mishap that occurs.

    ★ In case of replace or repair is needed, please seek help from the nearest professional shop.
    ★In order to ensure safety, Installation of the system should be performed after engine is totally cooled down.

    ★You must disconnect the power source before you install.

    ★Before you install, please ensure the vehicle is in the neutral or park position.

    ★Please be careful, as the output of the ballast will produce high voltage.

    ★Do not touch the bulbs after it is turn on to prevent scalding.

    ★Don’t gaze directly into the light when you turn on the headlamp, it will hurt your eyes.

    ★Don’t put the HID system near any combustible goods, such as papers, oil, spray, diluents etc.

    ★Don’t adjust the level of the beams too high, it will severely effect the safety operation of other drivers.

    ★ Be careful for bulb breakage during installation process.

    1. General installation steps:
    This is a step by step process that will take the average person about 1-2 hours to complete.Each vehicle is unique so before you go drilling holes, ensure that there isn't already a place you can run wire through on your headlamp assembly, because sometimes you can use a factory hole or you won't even need to drill one at all.


    Step 1: After removing any access panels and disconnecting power to the two headlamps, remove the bulb access covers of the low beam, high beam or both bulb access covers. Drill a small hole in the removed cover. The HID bulb wire is passed through this hole for your headlamp upgrade. On the wire is a supplied adjustable tight rubber waterproof grommet to be fitted into the hole. Next, the HID bulb is fitted into the headlamp's base (see below for additional bulb installation troubleshooting and instructions) and locked into position via the factory locking device. No cutting of stock wiring should be required.


    If the socket is metal, you should check the diameter of the installation hole first and see whether it is too small, if the diameter is less 12mm, the hole should be filed larger. When burnished, the socket opening should be downward and file the hole from inner to outer which can avoid the metal debris from falling into the headlight assembly.
    If the socket is plastic, first check the installation hole size and see whether there is a notch under the hole, if not, a new notch should be open by small file so as to make sure there is a enough room for putting into the bulb body as well as the ceramic annulations. When burnished, the socket opening should be downward and file the hole from inner to outer which can avoid the plastic debris from falling into the headlight assembly.
    If the lamp assembly comes with a plastic waterproof cover. Drill a 23 mm hole and thread the wire through, seal the hole with silicone sealant this will provide waterproofing of the system.
    When installing H4 (H/L), if the bulb’s tip touches the light cap in the assembly, the cap may be removed to prevent the Hi/Lo feature of the bulb from function normally. Removing the cap will not affect the light assembly’s focus point.

    Step 2: Reinstall the access panel and close it. Secure the ballast to a convenient location in the motorbay. Keep it away from high heat sources and moving parts. If you have twist ties, heat wrap, and electrical tape handy, they become very useful for securing the wiring and making everything look neat.

    Step 3: This is where you run the power to the ballast. Remember you have two headlights...and two different ways to power the ballasts to them.

    If you are using the OEM wiring harness simply plug in the HID ballast connection into the OEM headlight wiring harness. On some vehicles you may need to borrow the OEM headlight connector and run the pins powering the HID kit through that connector.

    If you are using a relay it is also very simple. Simply hook up the relay as if it were an accessory. It has its own ground #85 and positive wire #30 (with fuse, see HID kit for recommended amperage of fuse) to the battery. Then run the headlight power wire #86 (the one that would normally power the headlight) to the relay and the output wire goes to the HID ballasts.

    Now after double checking all connections are secure and properly seated, turn on your headlights AND LET THE HID's RUN UNINTERRUPTED FOR AT LEAST 5-10 MINUTES FOR PROPER BREAK IN. You can use this time to ALIGN YOUR HEADLIGHTS.

    If the beam appears to be distorted, check that the bulb is seated properly and is properly aligned as described below.
    After completing installation, if astigmatism occurs, please ensure the bulb sit in the socket correctly. And make sure you are using the right bulb for the application because the bulbs are not interchangeable and it will short the life span of the bulb if installed incorrectly.

    If you have any problems you can always restore the system to normal and have a professional do the job. Don't take any unecessary risks!!!

    If everything works good, do a headlight alignment and you are DONE! ENJOY YOUR HID's!!!!!!!

    Each upgrade kit is easily reversible or transferable! If you decide to sell your car/truck, it will only take a few moments to reverse the installation and re-install your original halogen bulbs as they were before. You can either sell the HID upgrade system or re-install it on your next car with same or different bulb setup. All you need to do is seal the small hole on the bulb access cover and you are done with the reversal...
    1 person likes this.
  3. oohyeah4

    oohyeah4 Member

    after years of installing hid kits on my cars and so forth this info provided on top of this thread is the best I have ever seen..great job posting it!!:party:
  4. bvogts25

    bvogts25 Rockstar 100 Posts

    great info! thanks for taking the time to do this thread. im sure it will help a ton of people! :great:
  5. GaryG

    GaryG Rockstar 100 Posts

    Does anybody make hid kits for a '98 1500?

    I had hids on my mustang an I miss the brightness
  6. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Bravo, Bravo! Well written write-up, HID's are awesome in theory if they are installed correctly. My major problem with them is the people who just throw them in and never bother adjusting them, or have a lifted truck and keep the stock headlight aiming which is a huge no no anyways. I hope this post educates people a little more about being responsible, and doing things right the first time. :great:
  7. canislupis69

    canislupis69 Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Excellent write up! This is an upgrade I have been on the fence on. Wanted to do it, just did not know enough about it. Thanks for all the info.
  8. Eddie Z71

    Eddie Z71 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Great job!!!!!!!! Thanks for the write up! :glasses:
  9. mmorgan1865

    mmorgan1865 Rockstar 4 Years 1000 Posts

    Thanks for your service. Great Post! :great:
  10. blacknight97

    blacknight97 Rockstar 100 Posts

    two questions.. i had my h.i.d's installed by an accesories place. i had 8000's put in. but i feel like they dont project as far as i want. i think they arent aligned. or maybe that cap u were talking about is blocking it. how do i allign the bulbs to make them straight? or is it that bulb cap you were talking about?

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