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Old 03-12-2018, 04:51 PM   #1
Casper50
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Default New eyeballs

So back in January I started a new job in the fine mountains of Colorado with the plan to make the move up there come summer. In the mean time I am putting on roughly 186 miles per day on the little Saturn. I figured it was much better to run the car than my Duramax because of the mileage being racked up and for fuel costs. Anyway, my latest project to make this car mountain worthy was some new headlights with LED lights. I couldn't see anything and night and this was such a huge difference that I am happy with my $150 upgrade. I can actually see the road in front of me know. Here are a few pictures and I'm also happy to say that my best mileage per tank was 41.85 mpg running up and down that mountain. I get two days to a tank which is about 372 miles and it usually takes about 9 gallons to fill it.

Check out the light saturation on the ground between the first and last picture. Also, the lights are not dirty like the car in these pictures. I actually cleaned them if you can believe it.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: New eyeballs

The stock headlamp assemblies, on most late 1990s-early 2000s GM vehicles had issues with the lens getting foggy like that.

Those photos look like two entirely different worlds, and probably about 110% improvement to your night-time visibility. Your front end looks pretty sharp, now.

The one wrecking yard, I used to work for, had a guy that did excellent work with polishing those lenses. Worst case, get them polished and sell them on eBay or Amazon(or even keep as spare assemblies if these ones become damaged/faded)

Not sure why it was such a sudden change, unless it had to do with headlamp lenses being plastic instead of glass. Even my pop-ups are foggy plastic, whereas my Fiero never had any issues but the lenses were glass.

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Old 03-12-2018, 07:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: New eyeballs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Casper50 View Post
Anyway, my latest project to make this car mountain worthy was some new headlights with LED lights. I couldn't see anything and night and this was such a huge difference that I am happy with my $150 upgrade. I can actually see the road in front of me know.

Check out the light saturation on the ground between the first and last picture. Also, the lights are not dirty like the car in these pictures. I actually cleaned them if you can believe it.
Wow, dramatic difference. Can you say more which brand of replacement headlights you went with? Also, did you opt for LEDs only on the low beams? I think the high beams have the challenge of Daytime Running Light circuitry.

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: New eyeballs

Quote:
Originally Posted by hholbein View Post
Wow, dramatic difference. Can you say more which brand of replacement headlights you went with?
+1, a link would be great. Looks fantastic!

When you say you cleaned the headlights, do you mean "washed the dirt off with soap and water" or "sanded and polished until they were clear and shiny?

Because the cleaned up ones look like they are brand new

I'll be curious to see what you think of the LEDs in snow. I've had to ice and snow build up in the front of my headlamps on several occasions but the heat from the incandescents kept the front part from being blocked.

My understanding of LED headlights is that there is not much heat output through the front and most is in the heatsinks in the back.

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: New eyeballs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
The stock headlamp assemblies, on most late 1990s-early 2000s GM vehicles had issues with the lens getting foggy like that.

Those photos look like two entirely different worlds, and probably about 110% improvement to your night-time visibility. Your front end looks pretty sharp, now.

The one wrecking yard, I used to work for, had a guy that did excellent work with polishing those lenses. Worst case, get them polished and sell them on eBay or Amazon(or even keep as spare assemblies if these ones become damaged/faded)

Not sure why it was such a sudden change, unless it had to do with headlamp lenses being plastic instead of glass. Even my pop-ups are foggy plastic, whereas my Fiero never had any issues but the lenses were glass.
These made a huge night time improvement. I'm pretty sure the fade happens because of the plastic not being as resilient as glass. I will probably keep the old ones as spares. The other problem I had with the passenger side was moisture inside the housing. They would need to be polished and resealed. I've tried cleaning up lenses before and it looks good for a little bit but quickly goes back to being foggy. I just don't think it's worth it for the price you can get these replacements for.

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: New eyeballs

Quote:
Originally Posted by hholbein View Post
Wow, dramatic difference. Can you say more which brand of replacement headlights you went with? Also, did you opt for LEDs only on the low beams? I think the high beams have the challenge of Daytime Running Light circuitry.
I did LED's on both the high and low beams. The DRL's do not work with the LED's but I wasn't concerned with that part of it. For bulbs I went with the LASFIT 9005 and 9006 hi and low beam combo pack off of Amazon. For the headlight housings I got some ebay specials from uzooka with an 11 year warranty.

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: New eyeballs

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
+1, a link would be great. Looks fantastic!

When you say you cleaned the headlights, do you mean "washed the dirt off with soap and water" or "sanded and polished until they were clear and shiny?

Because the cleaned up ones look like they are brand new

I'll be curious to see what you think of the LEDs in snow. I've had to ice and snow build up in the front of my headlamps on several occasions but the heat from the incandescents kept the front part from being blocked.

My understanding of LED headlights is that there is not much heat output through the front and most is in the heatsinks in the back.
Yes cleaned up with soap and water. The clear ones are brand new. I will try to post a link of what I used if I have enough posts to do it.

That is my one worry is when the snow and ice start forming on the lenses. There isn't very much heat output on the front form the LED's so I might have to stick the halogens back in for winter time if they don'e work out.

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: New eyeballs

One more post for URL's

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: New eyeballs

Here you go.

LED's https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Housings
https://www.ebay.com/itm/01-02-Satur...1aBf7t&vxp=mtr

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Old 03-13-2018, 11:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: New eyeballs

The secret to polishing plastic lights is......clear coating, not mentioned often when discussing refurbishing faded plastic lights. Factory lights are formulated to resist UV attacking plastic, degrading them as time goes by. Refurbishing light covers start with 400 or 800 grit paper along with water. Graduating to 1000, 1200, 1400, whatever to polish plastic then applying a clear coat or more to seal the surface from future UV attack. Guess how I know? My 15 yr old lights do not look like factory new perfectly clear plastic with a slight blue tint but have a light yellow tint. Several clear costs after polishing them is far clearer than faded lights. They're good enough that I put in hid lights. My low beams are projector lights and although GM went cheap with halogen lamps, it was the simplest upgrade to use hid lamps without blinding opposing traffic. Projector lights have a built in cutoff plate to eliminate the upper beam, without it would make projector lights just high beams. The one piece plastic light covers are still looking great two years after clear coating.

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Old 03-13-2018, 03:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: New eyeballs

Cool, thanks! Added to my watch list. I may try LEDs later.

I found a set of good, clear aftermarket housings at the junkyard and that is what I have in my '02 SC2 at the moment. Clear, but the left/right adjustment does not seem to work. I've read other people pulled the adjustment mechanism from the OEM lights to get them to work.

I'm actually running a high beam (9005) bulb in my left headlight low beam spot. The 3rd gen SCs have a cutoff thingie in the housing. It is aimed a little more to the right and a little lower than I normally would aim a bulb

I have not been flashed yet and you can see the light cutoff reflecting in the back of the trunk of the car in front (and testing on walls) so I am pretty sure it is not blinding other drivers.

I also got the HIR 9012 / 9011 bulbs OldNuc and others have mentioned but have not tried those yet.

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Old 03-14-2018, 03:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: New eyeballs

My left to right adjustments work on this one but its the up and down that I can't get right. I would like them to aim a little more up but I'm going to have to mess with them a little more to figure it out and get it right.

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Old 03-14-2018, 03:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: New eyeballs

It's very similar aiming issue I have on my other non-Saturn car.
I just cannot get the LED lights to really fill-in the whole scene.
Mine are complicated by the fact of being large projector style on the low beams.

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