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Old 07-25-12, 02:38 AM   #1
draco
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Default Aftermarket Headlights

Most people say here that if you change the headlights you lose the AFS that comes with the stock light. I have a 2003 RX330 (2004 for the US model) with self-levelling headlights, hence mine doesn't swivel around the corners. I assume that this is a type of AFS and hence would lose this functionality with an aftermarket headlight?

Is it really that big a deal to lose this particular functionality. I know it's meant to be for when you are towing a trailer and it self adjusts. I also know it will adjust as you drive down a hill for example. The other thing I do like about this self-levelling is the fact that my car "bows" when it's started, which is just so cool. Is there a way to integrate these self-levelling function in aftermarket headlights, or not worth it?

The other option is to buy 2nd hand headlights and paint the inside black. Has anyone seen a silver RX with black headlights before? If so does anyone have a picture?
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Old 09-11-12, 02:51 AM   #2
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Thought I would grab this thread out as no-one has responded to it. An additional question I would like to ask regards aftermarket headlights and HID. My car is the top spec for it's year, so it has Xenon HID. If I bought an aftermarket headlights, can I just use my existing globes and place them into the headlight? The headlights I am looking at have projectors but the low beams do not have anything installed to them, they are blank. According to the ad, this is designed to allow you, the customer, the choice on what you want installed. Can anyone provide me some information regarding this?
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Old 09-11-12, 06:56 AM   #3
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Well I have been able to finally track down some pictures of a Silver RX with black headlights. On these forums I have seen a white one and a dark blue one, but never a silver RX with black headlights. I think it looks great especially when compared against the chrome standards.

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Old 09-11-12, 02:26 PM   #4
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It looks like a tint.
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Old 09-11-12, 03:26 PM   #5
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I'm a little confused about your headlights. The low-beams on a 2004 with HID have the "focusing" lens, so from the front of the car you can't really see the bulb. (In the picture above, the low beam is on the outside of the lights module, and on.) If you already have HID, then you should be able to use any compatible HID bulb and hot have to install after-market ballasts.

I looked into this when I got my '05 RX because I bought it knowing it had one bad ballast (that I could fix cheaply), and after some deliberation decided that simply replacing my one bad ballast with a new stock OEM ballast was the simplest, and cheapest solution to my bad ballast. I originally wanted a "whiter light" but after looking and reading, decided that my lights were white enough, and bright enough.

The general consensus was that a good aftermarket ballasts and bulbs kit was more expensive than a single new OEM ballast. In addition, it wasn't clear if a replacement ballast would fit into the same space in the lights module that the OEM ballast originally occupied (the screw holes did not look similar at all), or if the lights module or the after-market ballast could be modified to fit one another without causing leaks.

Some A/M kits came with a mounting bracket for the ballast; some came with "tie-wraps" for mounting the ballast; and some came with nothing. Some posts indicated that they simply used sheet-metal screws to attach the ballast to "something" under the hood. The thing is, both the power cable to the ballast, and the power cable to the bulb both need to be long enough or your options about where to mount the ballast get small quickly. And, if the A/M ballast won't fit inside the lights assembly they you're going to have to drill a hole through the back cover over the original HID bulb power cable and snake the cable (and connector if it has one) through the hole, then seal it against water infiltration.

Some kits were dirt cheap - bulbs included - that I wondered how they could possibly compare to the stock ballasts and bulbs, while others at the top of the price range boasted "potted" ballasts that would work underwater! Many posters noted that A/M (after-market) bulbs were cheap Chinese knock-offs marked as, boxed as, and being sold as, Phillips bulbs (which have a reputation for long wear and bright light), but were not really Phillips bulbs at all. One site even had pictures comparing bulbs.

A $39 kit that included ballasts and bulbs? That was a bit "iffy."

One distributor boasted warehouses in two locations in the US and when I mapped their locations in Google map, one was a private residence and another was an office building. Really?! You don't get a warm feeling from that!

Some purchasers of A/M kits complained that after the sale, when a ballast went bad they couldn't contact the company, others bragged that after their ballast went bad (twice!) another company honored their warranty with a new ballast each time!

Warranty or not, once you replace a ballast you're not likely to want to have to swap it back out again for any reason. On the other hand, if you've velcroed the ballast to the wheel-well then swapping it out probably isn't all that difficult.

Others complained that after installing an A/M kit they got radio interference on both FM and AM, but went on to note that "it didn't matter; I listen to satellite radio," which they may actually get on their FM tuner (aren't they forgiving!).

The OEM ballast has a heavy metal braided shield enveloping the wires that carry power to the HID bulb, emanating from inside the ballast case and extending to the metal cap on the back of the HID bulb, grounded on both ends, to provide the maximum EMI RF shielding possible (EMI - electromagnetic interference; RF - radio frequency). Lacking this shielding, as a number of A/M kits do, the potential for radio interference increases.

To put it clearly, there wasn't enough consensus to convince me that I would be better off buying a kit to replace both ballasts and bulbs instead of simply buying a new, OEM "stock" ballast, and replacing it.

I'm sure some kits must be terrific. But you already have HID lights, right? You want bluer whites? Just replace the bulb with another 35 Watt bulb. But save your old bulbs to replace the new ones when they go bad.

On the ASF: the lights go up and down, but don't "turn" when the car does? Odd. Try resetting them again. Eight slow clicks of the ASF on/off switch, one second apart. When the dash warning starts to blink, press the ASF switch one more time and they should work fine. ASF is only an option of vehicles with HID bulbs.

Did that help?
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Old 09-11-12, 04:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul1307 View Post

I'm sure some kits must be terrific. But you already have HID lights, right? You want bluer whites? Just replace the bulb with another 35 Watt bulb. But save your old bulbs to replace the new ones when they go bad.

On the ASF: the lights go up and down, but don't "turn" when the car does? Odd. Try resetting them again. Eight slow clicks of the ASF on/off switch, one second apart. When the dash warning starts to blink, press the ASF switch one more time and they should work fine. ASF is only an option of vehicles with HID bulbs.

Did that help?
Thanks Paul, a very informative post.

Yes I already have the Xenon HID's so I will use the original ballasts. It's good to know that these should hopefully just plug in without to much of a problem.

Regards to the ASF, the RX330 was released in 2003 in Australia (as opposed to it's first release in the US being 2004). I believe any pre-MY05 models did not have this and this was an option only on the MY05 RX330's. So hence I only have self-levelling headlights and not the full ASF.
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Old 09-11-12, 04:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
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It looks like a tint.
It's not tint
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Old 09-11-12, 05:43 PM   #8
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Russian tunning from the Motherland.
Let me know where is the article on this - I can translate and will let you know how they made it.
It doesn't look like the latest trend though - BMW-style angel eyes were popular in the past 7-10 years, now the Audi-style LED's are in!
I think dark fogs is not the best idea either - lost functionality.
Unless all you go for is looks, then go for it. If you're planning to drive your car after the sunset...driving lights should be bright and unobstructed.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:09 PM   #9
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First time replacing my left ballast took about 3 hours time. Not complex once I figured out what actually needed to be done. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll post my dog and pony show on the process.

Sorry about not having that turning-light gizmo on yours though. I'm not sure it's functionally useful, but it sure looks neat!
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Old 09-11-12, 11:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockfordRX View Post
Russian tunning from the Motherland.
Let me know where is the article on this - I can translate and will let you know how they made it.
It doesn't look like the latest trend though - BMW-style angel eyes were popular in the past 7-10 years, now the Audi-style LED's are in!
I think dark fogs is not the best idea either - lost functionality.
Unless all you go for is looks, then go for it. If you're planning to drive your car after the sunset...driving lights should be bright and unobstructed.
The driving lights are not obstructed. These are headlights with the chrome parts painted black, not tinted (like some cars these days). You can see this in the design. There are a bunch out there on ebay where the inside has been painted black (not tinted). You're right about the fog lights, those shouldn't be tinted (in Australia it is technically illegal to have them on).

As far as the Angel eye things, yeah these pics I assume are quite old. I am looking at a set to actually get the LED's on the headlight, but haven't made up my mind yet.

It was more of the look of a Silver RX with black headlights vs a Silver RX with the stock chrome headlights.
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Old 09-11-12, 11:06 PM
 
 
 
 
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