Aftermarket Headlight Options

Since we all know that stock f-body lights aren’t the greatest, the majority of us turn to aftermarket lights to help us at night.
The goal of aftermarket lighting is to achieve more visibility, and up close to a wall should resemble this:

NOT THIS:

Different bulbs:

For better output, one route to take is to get aftermarket brighter bulbs, such as Sylvanias or the array of other brands at any auto store. Installation should be plug and play.
Bulb sizes:
Early 4th Gen Firebirds/Trans Am- high/low: H4666 fog: 880
Early 4th Gen Camaros- low- H4351 high- H4352 fog: 885
Late 4th Gen Firebird/Trans Am- low: H4703 high: H4701 fog: 880
Late 4th Gen Camaro- low: 9006 high: 9005 fog: 894

H.I.D.:

Note: It is illegal to put H.I.D.s into a car that didn’t come stock with them, but if readjusted so as to not bother other vehicles, it is highly unlikely you will be punished for having them.
H.I.D. stands for High Intensity Discharge and do just that. The bulbs burns brighter than stock lights and will give out more light. Most kits out there include 3 major components: the bulbs, ballasts, and a relay harness.
Known for their more exotic colors, here is a chart of a break-down of the temperatures the bulb will burn and associating colors:

Note: Many sellers sell kits that vary in temperature and color. For example: one seller can sell a kit that burns at 10k and the color will be dark blue or almost purple while another seller can sell a kit that burns at 10k but burns at a lighter blue or almost white.
Also, the higher up the scale you go, the less visibility you gain. For example: A 6,000k kit will shine more than a 12,000k kit.

Kits may also come with bi-xenon or other ways to achieve a high-beam. I had a kit which physically moved the bulb a little to aim the light upwards. It is generally not a good idea to keep flashing H.I.D.s on and off as it shortens the life of the bulb or may fry the ballast. That is why cars that come with stock H.I.D.s have a halogen bulb for the highs.

Ballasts come in generally 35w or 55w kits. You can also get them slim to save space. The difference between a 35w or 55w ballast determines how bright the bulb burns. A bulb hooked up to a 55w kit will burn brighter than the same bulb hooked up to a 35w kit so the color will shift.

Because our f-bodys have sealed lights (except 98-02 Camaros), it is to the best of our interests to buy an aftermarket housing while we install an H.I.D. kit. The housing will be a major determining factor on how good the output is: the better the housing, the better the output. Aftermarket housings also make it easier to install the kit, so you don’t have to modify the stock housings. Most housings will tell you wish bulb size to get for a conversion kit.

Some dealers include XentecHID and DDM Tuning.

Retrofit:

If you have the e:xtra coin, I’d recommend going retrofit. It’s a projector lamp matched with an H.I.D kit to maximize output. The projector essentially concentrates all the light downward, providing the best output with no stray light blinding oncoming traffic. This will require custom fabrication, but the result is this:

This is what most brand new cars use. To put them in retrospect, I was in a school parking lot next to a brand new Acura TL which has stock retros. It was dark, and my stock lights were on (I was sitting in my truck) and my lights would shine up to the sidewalk 30-50 feet away. The Acura’s lights would easily hit the building another 20 feet from the sidewalk with that perfect line of light. On the interstate, from behind a car with them you can see a perfect wall of light from side to side. My uncles new BMW x5’s lights will shine from the farthest lane in a 3-lane two way highway plus a shared lane while he’s in the farthest right lane (so 6 lanes to his left), and way beyond the shoulder to the right with a perfect wall of light and no dark-spots.

Here are some examples:
Early fourth generation Firebird
http://www.camarozone.com/forum/f26/93-97-firebird-bi-xenon-fx-projector-retro-fit-updated-w-write-up-3699/
Later fourth generation Firebird
http://www.camarozone.com/forum/f26/my-bls-hid-install-82596/
Early fourth generation Camaro
http://ls1tech.com/forums/appearance-detailing/1489326-bls-93-97-camaro-bi-xenon-projector-retrofit-install-pics.html
Late fourth generation Camaro
http://ls1tech.com/forums/appearance-detailing/1504792-2002-camaro-morimoto-mini-h1-install.html

Some famous dealers of retrofit projectors include Blackbird Lighting Solutions (BLS) and The Retrofit Source.

Discussion can be found here: http://www.camarozone.com/forum/f20/official-aftermarket-headlight-thread-176608/

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