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Old 06-28-2018, 06:49 PM   #1
TheGriz
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Low Beams are Terrible

Hey folks,

I really like my 2017 Silverado 2500 HD Duramax LTZ Z71...with one exception. The low beams are useless! The forward illumination is about the worst of any of my vehicles over the last couple decades. Additionally, the peripheral illumination is near non-existent. I have to put the fog lamps on to see anything near in and out to the sides.

I talked to dealer several times, and they can do nothing.

These are the stacked headlight version with projector style low-beams.

Who else has these headlights and what are your thoughts?

I have researched upgrades, but my head hurts...HID, LED, halogen, lumens, color, watts, etc, etc . The OEM is halogen. Each have their pros and cons. Some of the cons I've seen...burning of lens cover, warranty voided, HID's expensive.

Has anyone done an upgrade? Feedback??? Suggestions welcome???

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:27 PM   #2
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I feel your frustration. I bought a new 17 Ford Explorer with HID? LED? Don't know, but what I do know is that I could not see crap with the LED lights in the dark. I always had to run on brights. How did I find that out?.....almost ran over a guy walking into me in the dark....never saw him. The new fangled junk is not so "good".
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:33 PM   #3
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94 Camaro had the smallest head lights I ever used. I adjusted them down, pointing toward road closer to vehicle then the factory setting and that worked but was never as good as a vehicle with bigger lights.
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:37 AM   #4
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Mike,
Are your Halogen low beams in reflector housings or projector housings? Most likely a projector housing as you have a LTZ trim line...but I'm not personally familiar with headlight options on GM trucks.

My 17 Ram has the "premium" factory halogen projector housings. The same complaints over on several Ram owners forums, poor light output.

So I did what everyone recommended...upgrade the halogen bulbs to HID bulbs and ballasts. This was the first vehicle I ever had to upgrade the headlight bulbs on as the light output was that bad. Boy, what a difference. And not a subtle difference. I complimented the low beams with LED bulbs in the fogs and my truck now is safe driving at night.

I do have to point out that HIDs should only be used in projector style housings as a cutoff exists to prevent blinding oncoming traffic. Halogen reflective style housings do not provide a cutoff and will scatter the light above "hood level" into the eyes of other drivers.

LED bulbs are even more sensitive in existing non-LED headlight housings and tend not to be effective at casting the light properly. OEM LED housings are engineered to the exact specs and demands of LED bulbs. In the Ram projector housings, LEDs cast a halo in the center of the light trajectory causing dark areas in the middle. Almost every RAm owner who upgrades to LED bulbs in their low beams ultimately revert back to halogen or bite the bullet and install HIDs. It's really difficult to retrofit an existing halogen housing to LED.

However, LED bulbs are fantastic as road/fog lights since the light output is directed downwards and out to the sides, never causing a blinding scenario.

Worth mentioning too is color temperature (kelvins) that can help with light output. OEM Halogen bulbs are yellowish around 3500K. Lower Kelvin color temp bulbs provide a greater amount of visible light down the road. They're just not very 'modern' looking. I went up a degree on the scale to get a true white light at 5000K. Anything higher than 6000 Kelvin gets into the blues and purples that I personally detest.

The other option for a bulb replacement is to upgrade to a higher wattage halogen bulb...like Sylvania Silverstar Ultras. Unfortunately, the bulb life is significantly reduced to do the higher wattage and taxed filament. I had a set that lasted 1.5 years in a Buick Rainier that I owned. At $45 per set, it wasn't something that I wanted to reinvest in. They do produce noticeably better output though. But nothing like high intensity discharge bulbs.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:03 AM   #5
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Hey Mike.....even though my present truck and the previous truck were Ford Super Duties, to me, the headlights left a lot to be desired. I switched both of them over to HID lights and was extremely pleased with the results. The light output was probably 2 1/2 to 3 times what the Halogen lights produced. Both of those truck did NOT have the projector style headlight housings, which usually result in light being scattered all over the place and pissing off oncoming drivers to no end. The key to making that work is twofold.
1. Buy only HID kits that have a capped bulb
2. Readjustment is required for the beam upper cutoff line

I did both of those thing....capped bulbs and readjustment, and the only time I would ever get someone flashing their high beams at me is when I was pulling the trailer and my truck was a bit higher in the front because of the tongue weight.

So in your case, with the projector housings, it should be even more simple to add HID to the truck and not have some of the beam scatter issues. One thing to remember, actually....a couple of things to remember with HID headlights
1. They use less power than Halogen and are almost never an issue with overheating the housing.
2. The best Kelvin color number to get to provide the MOST light is the 4300K

HID light will usually be available in 4300K, 5000K, 6000 or 6500K, and up. The higher the Kelvin number, the more blue the light output is, but not the best for visible light. The 4300K is the closest to natural sunlight (actually about 3800K, but almost no one makes an HID at that color temperature), Both of my trucks were wearing the 5000K HIDs and to me, that is a very good combination of very slightly bluish color but mostly a white light and also making a LOT of light. The bulb "capping" on the end of the bulb helps to keep the light from scattering everywhere and reflects it back into the headlight housing so that the housing reflectors can direct the light as it was intended to do......and not scatter it everywhere else.

I have no personal involvement with this company other than I've purchased, over the years, 4 different HID kits from them....my 2011 F250, my 2016 F350, my wife's Ford Mustang, and my 2008 Honda Civic. The Civic has a projector type housing, but that is the only vehicle of the four that did....and there was/is absolutely ZERO issues with heat, running a 55W HID lighting system in it. So here is the link to what I have bought over the years.....company/brand that has worked for me.....

http://retro-solutions.net/product-i...IT-pid664.html

If you are interested, you might want to call them and ask them about the bulb capping option, and whether or not it is really necessary when used in a projector type housing. I would say no, but then again, I've only had one experience with a projector type setup and that is on my Civic....and I didn't use the bulb capping option and it works just fine.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:54 AM   #6
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Yep, low beams are awful on my '17 3500 Silverado. Mike and Vern, great information and clarifications. I'm going to dig into this further and make an improvement.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:19 AM   #7
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I have the '17 Sierra, lights are great. I have owned quite a few gmc and chevy products, I prefer GMC.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ctbruce View Post
Yep, low beams are awful on my '17 3500 Silverado. Mike and Vern, great information and clarifications. I'm going to dig into this further and make an improvement.
Chip, holler if you have any questions....I'll try to answer them if I can. I'm certainly not a Subject Matter Expert in HID lighting, but I've done 4 different installs and do have a bit of experience.

Same goes for you Mike....holler if you have any questions!

My normal "consultant" fee is $150/hour, but in the case of you guys on this forum, I'll drop it down to a fair price..........let's say..........$00.00!
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:14 AM   #9
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Chip, holler if you have any questions....I'll try to answer them if I can. I'm certainly not a Subject Matter Expert in HID lighting, but I've done 4 different installs and do have a bit of experience.

Same goes for you Mike....holler if you have any questions!

My normal "consultant" fee is $150/hour, but in the case of you guys on this forum, I'll drop it down to a fair price..........let's say..........$00.00!
Now that's a deal at twice the price! Dont worry, I'll holler. That's my normal mode. Try it myself first and then ask how to do it right! I think ill switch it up this time and ask first.

Thanks
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:26 AM   #10
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Chris, the low beams are projectors...see pic.

Vern and Chris...thanks for the very helpful info...great stuff. Your input will help considerably in making a decision.

Dan...are your headlamps the stacked style? Low beam projector style?

Was talking to a local shop in the area that primarily does audio upgrades in vehicles, but also does head light upgrades as well. They used to do HID upgrades but say they had problems with pre-mature failures. Now they do LEDs. I said LED are problematic in projector lamps. They showed me an LED specifically made for projectors. Nice part are plug and play. However uncertain as to how much brighter than stock they are. And still expensive...$45 for two LEDs and $150 for decoder (fools truck computer into reading appropriate resistance so the LEDs don't shut off unexpectedly)...$195 total.

Vern...your four HID conversions are very encouraging!!! Was your HID installs a "plug and play"? What was included in your conversion kits? Price??? I tried calling the vendor you left in link...no answer. I sent an email as well...no response. I am hopeful I hear back.

I saw a youtube vid on HID conversion. On my truck it requires drilling a 7/8" hole in backside of each Dust Cover of my headlamps. This will be an irreversible mod that likely would have warranty implications if something happens to come up in future.

I am leaning toward the HIDs, but the warranty implications are a concern.

Mike
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Old 06-30-2018, 08:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by TheGriz View Post
Chris, the low beams are projectors...see pic.

Vern and Chris...thanks for the very helpful info...great stuff. Your input will help considerably in making a decision.

Dan...are your headlamps the stacked style? Low beam projector style?

Was talking to a local shop in the area that primarily does audio upgrades in vehicles, but also does head light upgrades as well. They used to do HID upgrades but say they had problems with pre-mature failures. Now they do LEDs. I said LED are problematic in projector lamps. They showed me an LED specifically made for projectors. Nice part are plug and play. However uncertain as to how much brighter than stock they are. And still expensive...$45 for two LEDs and $150 for decoder (fools truck computer into reading appropriate resistance so the LEDs don't shut off unexpectedly)...$195 total.

Vern...your four HID conversions are very encouraging!!! Was your HID installs a "plug and play"? What was included in your conversion kits? Price??? I tried calling the vendor you left in link...no answer. I sent an email as well...no response. I am hopeful I hear back.

I saw a youtube vid on HID conversion. On my truck it requires drilling a 7/8" hole in backside of each Dust Cover of my headlamps. This will be an irreversible mod that likely would have warranty implications if something happens to come up in future.

I am leaning toward the HIDs, but the warranty implications are a concern.

Mike
Mike, can you link the YouTube you watched. I'm interested in Vern's upgrades too.
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctbruce View Post
Mike, can you link the YouTube you watched.
Here you go Chip https://youtu.be/EtirHvY3OJY

This is done on a 2014 Silverado 2500 HD, but is the same for 2014 through 2018.
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:31 AM   #13
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GMC lights aren't stacked. I met a contractor at work come to think of it with the 2016 GMC sierra who also added an LED light bar behind the grill, he said it really made them pop. He lives in the country.
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:32 AM   #14
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Sorry, yes low beam projector
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGriz View Post
Chris, the low beams are projectors...see pic.

Vern and Chris...thanks for the very helpful info...great stuff. Your input will help considerably in making a decision.

Dan...are your headlamps the stacked style? Low beam projector style?

Was talking to a local shop in the area that primarily does audio upgrades in vehicles, but also does head light upgrades as well. They used to do HID upgrades but say they had problems with pre-mature failures. Now they do LEDs. I said LED are problematic in projector lamps. They showed me an LED specifically made for projectors. Nice part are plug and play. However uncertain as to how much brighter than stock they are. And still expensive...$45 for two LEDs and $150 for decoder (fools truck computer into reading appropriate resistance so the LEDs don't shut off unexpectedly)...$195 total.

Vern...your four HID conversions are very encouraging!!! Was your HID installs a "plug and play"? What was included in your conversion kits? Price??? I tried calling the vendor you left in link...no answer. I sent an email as well...no response. I am hopeful I hear back.

I saw a youtube vid on HID conversion. On my truck it requires drilling a 7/8" hole in backside of each Dust Cover of my headlamps. This will be an irreversible mod that likely would have warranty implications if something happens to come up in future.

I am leaning toward the HIDs, but the warranty implications are a concern.

Mike
Plug and play mostly....here is a brief description of the process. You will be installing a wiring harness that comes with the kit. It will have it's own inline fuse that will connect to the pos. battery post. Both OEM headlamps will be removed and when the wiring harness is installed, ONE of the OEM headlight plugs will plug into a matching connector as part of the harness. This will be the "signal" source when you turn your headlights on. That signal source will energize a relay that will supply power to each one of the ballasts that come with the kit. The ballasts are pretty small in size, so there should be plenty of room by each headlight area to find a place to mount them. The ballasts then provide the power to the actual HID bulb. Everything is included in the kit mostly. You may find that for your actual installation you need a few small misc. items.....tape, small electrical connectors for say the battery terminal, etc. I'm not saying that you will, but saying that sometimes you might want to do it a bit differently than the supplied stuff. Being an Electrician, I may choose to heat shrink a connection (I'm anal that way) and you may not. What I'm saying is that all the components are supplied to make it work but you might decide to do yours a bit "out of the box"...as I did. Make sure that because you will only use ONE of the OEM headlight connectors, that you protect the other one that isn't connected any longer. I usually put the end of the unused one in a zip lock baggy and then tape everything as tightly shut as I can to keep moisture/water away from it....just in case I would ever need it again

And PLAN on making adjustments on your headlights when done. Most cars/trucks (in my experience) will not have an adjustment for side to side, but will have one for the up and down. What I generally try to do is BEFORE I START the install, find a garage door of wall and park the vehicle 20' away from it (headlight housing to wall...20'). Turn the existing headlights on (you're doing this at night BTW) and take some masking tape and put across the area that is the top of your headlight beam. You are marking your "adjusted" existing headlight height. After the install is done, put the truck back in the same exact location and 20' away and proceed to adjust your new headlights to the exact same height. You may have to raise the beam a bit or you may have to lower....every single one of them are different.

And AGAIN....unless you are using projector housings, opt for the little extra $$ and get the HID bulbs that are capped on the end with a metal cap....oncoming drivers will thank you....and your light/beams will be more useful as the bean is not allowed to scatter nearly as much as without the capping.
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:01 PM   #16
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Here you go Chip https://youtu.be/EtirHvY3OJY

This is done on a 2014 Silverado 2500 HD, but is the same for 2014 through 2018.
Thanks! This looks doable.
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Old 06-30-2018, 04:46 PM   #17
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Plug and play mostly....here is a brief description of the process. You will be installing a wiring harness that comes with the kit. It will have it's own inline fuse that will connect to the pos. battery post. Both OEM headlamps will be removed and when the wiring harness is installed, ONE of the OEM headlight plugs will plug into a matching connector as part of the harness. This will be the "signal" source when you turn your headlights on. That signal source will energize a relay that will supply power to each one of the ballasts that come with the kit. The ballasts are pretty small in size, so there should be plenty of room by each headlight area to find a place to mount them. The ballasts then provide the power to the actual HID bulb. Everything is included in the kit mostly. You may find that for your actual installation you need a few small misc. items.....tape, small electrical connectors for say the battery terminal, etc. I'm not saying that you will, but saying that sometimes you might want to do it a bit differently than the supplied stuff. Being an Electrician, I may choose to heat shrink a connection (I'm anal that way) and you may not. What I'm saying is that all the components are supplied to make it work but you might decide to do yours a bit "out of the box"...as I did. Make sure that because you will only use ONE of the OEM headlight connectors, that you protect the other one that isn't connected any longer. I usually put the end of the unused one in a zip lock baggy and then tape everything as tightly shut as I can to keep moisture/water away from it....just in case I would ever need it again

And PLAN on making adjustments on your headlights when done. Most cars/trucks (in my experience) will not have an adjustment for side to side, but will have one for the up and down. What I generally try to do is BEFORE I START the install, find a garage door of wall and park the vehicle 20' away from it (headlight housing to wall...20'). Turn the existing headlights on (you're doing this at night BTW) and take some masking tape and put across the area that is the top of your headlight beam. You are marking your "adjusted" existing headlight height. After the install is done, put the truck back in the same exact location and 20' away and proceed to adjust your new headlights to the exact same height. You may have to raise the beam a bit or you may have to lower....every single one of them are different.

And AGAIN....unless you are using projector housings, opt for the little extra $$ and get the HID bulbs that are capped on the end with a metal cap....oncoming drivers will thank you....and your light/beams will be more useful as the bean is not allowed to scatter nearly as much as without the capping.
Okay Vern...more great info! So if I understand, there is no need to drill a 7/8" hole in back of dusk cover as in the Headlight Revolution HIDs shown in my referenced video...correct? And you have no flickering issues...correct? What was the kit price for the 2017 Silverado 2500...if you recall? Did you simply order on-line from your vendor without any communication?

I think the low beams are the projector housing? Can you confirm from looking at my previously posted pic??? If projector housing, then no need for capped bulbs.

Sure hope you don't mind me bombarding you with questions.
Mike
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:42 PM   #18
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Okay Vern...more great info! So if I understand, there is no need to drill a 7/8" hole in back of dusk cover as in the Headlight Revolution HIDs shown in my referenced video...correct? And you have no flickering issues...correct? What was the kit price for the 2017 Silverado 2500...if you recall? Did you simply order on-line from your vendor without any communication?

I think the low beams are the projector housing? Can you confirm from looking at my previously posted pic??? If projector housing, then no need for capped bulbs.

Sure hope you don't mind me bombarding you with questions.
Mike
Mike, it looks like on the Chevy you probably would have to drill a hole to allow the wires/connectors to pass through....remember,....all of my installs were on Ford products and I don't recall any dust covers. The Civic has dust covers, but they are a soft/pliable rubber that can be cut with a pocket knife.

I've not had flickering issues with any of the 4 kits that I installed....but again...3 fords and one Honda

The kits are around $125 plus on my 2011 Ford, there wasn't a built in "cap" in the housing like there was/is on the 2016. Capping adds another $15 I believe. I ordered mine online without any communication from the vendor, but as I stated in an earlier thread....you probably need to talk to someone on the phone if you have questions about ....using projectors, capping, flickering and the fact that I don't know about installing on a Chevy....if there is anything special about that install. Sorry I can't answer some of the questions, but I would rather you talk to someone that does this everyday and is most likely familiar with pretty much all of the applications....not just Ford. The guy that I worked with at RetroSolutions LLC was named Todd.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:09 PM   #19
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Mike, it looks like on the Chevy you probably would have to drill a hole to allow the wires/connectors to pass through....remember,....all of my installs were on Ford products and I don't recall any dust covers. The Civic has dust covers, but they are a soft/pliable rubber that can be cut with a pocket knife.

I've not had flickering issues with any of the 4 kits that I installed....but again...3 fords and one Honda

The kits are around $125 plus on my 2011 Ford, there wasn't a built in "cap" in the housing like there was/is on the 2016. Capping adds another $15 I believe. I ordered mine online without any communication from the vendor, but as I stated in an earlier thread....you probably need to talk to someone on the phone if you have questions about ....using projectors, capping, flickering and the fact that I don't know about installing on a Chevy....if there is anything special about that install. Sorry I can't answer some of the questions, but I would rather you talk to someone that does this everyday and is most likely familiar with pretty much all of the applications....not just Ford. The guy that I worked with at RetroSolutions LLC was named Todd.
Vern, I really appreciate all your effort in answering my questions. I will continue to try to get through to the company.

Again many thanks,
Mike
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:44 PM   #20
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Absolutely no problem Mike. And I forgot to include in my last post....I'm pretty sure they are a Monday - Friday company.....pretty much normal business hours..like 9-5 or something similar.
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2019 Can Am Spyder RT Limited (Phoenix Orange)
Excessive payload capacity is a wonderful thing

"If it ain't Fast....It ain't Fun"
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