Headlamp replacement with GE NightHawks

IdahoDoug
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:21 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1988 Mitsubishi Van Wagon
Location: Coeur d'Alene, ID

Headlamp replacement with GE NightHawks

Postby IdahoDoug » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:09 pm

So, I'm pretty picky about my vehicle lighting and all my vehicles get upgrades as we spend a lot of time on country roads and long journeys out here. These original sealed beams have been showing their age on my Van. Not wanting to just get auto parts crap lights, I did some research and was delighted to find that GE makes a NightHawk version for our vans. They're Xenon filled and promise 30% brighter than stock. I put them on tonight and drove them around as part of my normal alignment procedure, which involves getting them close on the garage door, then driving around and stopping to tweak them here and there until I'm happy. The old ones were like a pair of flashlights - two blobs of bright light with not much around these two hot spots. These GE's are brighter in the same hot spots, but the beam pattern spreads the light much more evenly in previously dark areas. This reduces the hot spot effect and brings up the light level around it for a more even effect. I was not expecting much of a sealed beam light assembly but clearly advances were made in the beam pattern and they are more like a 50% improvement looked at in terms of overall automotive lighting improvement. Naturally, the old lights were no longer at full power so some improvement would be expected just getting new ordinary lamps in there.

A warning to anyone considering this improvement. The screws to get the lights out were a nightmare. I have an impact screwdriver and even this stripped two of the screws - a first in several years of owning this fabulous tool. Without it, I'd have been drilling out all 8. With it, I had to drill out two. What a pain in the ass it is to plan on a 30 minute bulb change and then spend 3 hours on it, including going to get new screws at the store. Jeez. I tried to get them out last night and realized they were seized. So they even sat all night with PB Blaster on them, then I hit them again with morning coffee. Late in the afternoon, I hit them again with PB. Then went at it with the impact tool to no avail on a couple. So budget your time accordingly. The screws are cheap and they were a poor choice by the factory. I unclipped the bezels and removed them to get to the screws, and this gives easy access to hit the back side of the screws with PB. Also hit the adjusters. One of mine was seized and I had to grab it with pliers to keep it from spinning and break it loose so I could later align the lights.

As winter and the long darker hours arrive, I am happy to be prepared. These are not easy to find, but I was VERY surprised to find my local Fred Meyers store had a full display of the GE NightHawk lighting products. The reason I sought them out was I put the GE NightHawk bulbs in our 2013 Subaru and the difference was close to amazing. Not quite, but close - a real improvement. So, twice I'm happy that this store chain carries the line. They are even on sale, so I got them for less than Amazon pricing. I suspect once these are gone, you will never see them again because there has not been a car made needing these headlights for 20 years. I also noticed that the GE home page no longer lists them, so I suspect they built them out and no longer make them. Sorry this reads like a product push ad, but I have no affiliation other than being impressed, and wanting my Van Wagon brethren to know about 'em.

Doug

User avatar
teamtestbot
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:48 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1989 Mitsubishi Van/Wagon
Location: MA, USA

Re: Headlamp replacement with GE NightHawks

Postby teamtestbot » Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:27 am

My current headlights are RockAuto specials - Wagner BriteLites. The box they came in had a NAPA logo on it. While I don't know how well renowned these are, they were a universe apart from what came with my original purchase (Koito branded) normal output halogens. When I replaced them, I only lost 1 screw to head oxidation, but went ahead and replaced all 8 of them with stainless steel threadforming screws in case I have to do this again in the future.

A while back when I was replacing all of my interior lighting, signal lighting, and other non-headlamp lighting with LED, I was checking out LED headlight replacement units for sealed beams. I wasn't very convinced of the market then, but that was last year. Maybe it is time to look again...

IdahoDoug
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:21 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1988 Mitsubishi Van Wagon
Location: Coeur d'Alene, ID

Re: Headlamp replacement with GE NightHawks

Postby IdahoDoug » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:01 pm

There is actually an LED light made for the VanWagon's size lights. Might even be GE. But they are crazy expensive. For me, the LED flaw is their short wavelength light output that causes light blowback in fog, rain and dust. To see the difference, go outside at night with an LED flashlight and an older incandescent on a rainy or merely humid night. With the LED, you can literally see tiny moisture particles in the air floating past the lense. The longer lightwave of the older light will mostly go through the droplet rather than refract inside it and bounce around. I am curious how automakers are getting around this as more and more are appearing from the factory with LEDs.

Doug

User avatar
teamtestbot
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:48 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1989 Mitsubishi Van/Wagon
Location: MA, USA

Re: Headlamp replacement with GE NightHawks

Postby teamtestbot » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:14 am

That was part of my issue with them, wondering how full spectrum they were. A lot of effort has been put into LED room/interior lighting to make the output less harsh. My principal issue was that they were all made of many (like 10+) parallel devices and I just wondered about the lifetime and reliability of each small device as well as the beam pattern and aimability. No use scattering light everywhere. I sure hope they're better engineered for beam properties than the average LED flashlight.

Plus if you have 1 LED out of many go out, it looks ass-ugly. Ever seen an Audi with 1 LED in the lighting accent stripe missing? Yeah.


Return to “Mitsubishi Vanwagon”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests