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Led headlight options?

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  #1  
Old 11-17-2017, 09:14 AM
jim2029
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Led headlight options?

1994 Aero XLT 4.0L 2wd

If you have gone to LED, please let me know what you bought and how well you think they worked.

I'm tossed up between doing a bulb swap or a whole housing retrofit.

I was thinking about sticking these in but coming up with a mounting bracket might be tricky.

E-Bay Link

I had a deer jump out the other day, and while I swirved, he wrecked the passanger side of the van. Slider door doesn't seal right and rattles with the door ajar light flickering now, the bumper on the left rear side is destroyed and the left rear quarter panel is caved in. Can't find a bumper for the XLT extended anywhere near by...

I just want to see more at night.
 
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:00 PM
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Most of us have added relay controlled 12ga wiring to the headlights. Reduces the voltage drop from the cheap stock headlight switch and undersize headlight wiring in these

I added 100w combo driving/fog halogens on the front years ago powered off 10ga hd relay driven wiring.

Really helps on those rainy foggy nights especially on the freeway going by rain rooster tail truck spray

The later Aeros with the plastic headlight boxes require polishing to improve light transmission out.

May need to readjust the slider door brackets and clean the door ajar contacts
 
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:35 PM
zenish
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good luck finding a good extended back bumper.ive been looking for years.
 
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:38 PM
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Your first order of business is to clean up the plastic lenses if they're foggy, or it won't matter what kind of bulb you use.

Having tried several types of LED drop-ins, I've found they all have some problems.

Most of them use a tiny fan mounted at the base that spins at insanely high speeds (~13000 rpm) to try to move air through the tiny heat sink that tries to pull heat away from the emitter. The base is usually too big to fit into the stock housing attachments. So your headlight housing has a lock ring that holds the bulb into the housing. That ring will not fit around most of those drop-in LED bulbs with the fans. There are other types of LED bulbs that use what looks like bundles of metal mesh that are the heat sinks, that may fit through the lock rings. But I've yet to find one of these drop-ins for hi/lo beams that actually work well in their hi/lo modes; they can not be aimed properly.

Another problem with most of these aftermarket LED headlights is that they're too blue. They may be intensely bright, but their poor color rendition actually makes for worse visibility, especially in the rain or snow. Combined with their poor aiming, they're generally terrible for headlights.

Now, if you can find a complete housing that was designed together with an LED source, it might work much better, if they use a better color temperature. That's not likely for an Aerostar with the flush headlights.

A possible course is to convert your flush plastic housing to the 200mm sealed beam type housing of the 1991 and before models. Then you can get a light that has the emitter and housing designed together, so that they may not have the heat sink or aiming problems of the drop-ins. However, the reviews for most of them have shown that their plastic lenses will also haze up, and a lot of them are poorly made, that they leak. So choose carefully.

I did a conversion on my 87 Mustang from its flush mount housing to a Euro-spec 200mm H4 housing and bulb. Some pictures here:

https://goo.gl/photos/iK7t3JLWzHxyfDGE7

The initial conversion made a huge improvement to visibility, switching from the stock 9004 bulbs to H4. Later, I converted to HID, which lost some aiming precision, but yielded so much more useful light. By that time, I had already installed relays and 10G wires to power the lights.

My Aerostar is now using the Bosch H4 lights (with relays), and they work very well.

But so far, I have not found any LED drop-ins that I'm as happy with. Cars that come with LED headlights from the factory have them properly designed to provide better illumination. Aftermarket adaptations just don't work as well.
 
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:56 AM
zenish
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My Aerostar is now using the Bosch H4 lights (with relays), and they work very well.

amazon doesn't show h4s for a 1990 aerostar.are you using 1992 up housings?
 
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:38 PM
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Since the pre-1992 Aerostars used the standard 200mm (H6054) rectangular headlights, almost all housings that meet those specs should fit. They may be listed on Amazon as 7*5 or 7*6, or 190mm * 142mm. But most of the cheap stuff aren't worth the cost of shipping. The good stuff are the true Euro-spec models, and are technically not legal for street use on cars here in the US because they don't have the aiming nipples on their faces. But they are allowed on motorcycles for some reason, and that's why it's possible to find them at all here.

Amazon carries Hella H4 lights, but I think they "dumbed down" their lights a long time ago to become US DOT compliant so they can be sold in this country as their "Vision Plus" brand. Their patterns aren't as good as Bosch or Cibie'.

I got my Bosch lights from Dan Stern lighting in 1999. The only brand he carries now are made by Cibie', which are probably the best available, but they are expensive.

https://www.danielsternlighting.com/.../products.html

I just found these NOS Bosch 200mm rectangular lights on E-bay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-NOS-BOS...lXPJqb&vxp=mtr

That's a really good price for these, and I wish I could use more of them. (Note: I am not in any way affiliated with this seller; I just found them.)

EDIT: Looks like Amazon has a pair of the Cibie' (now Valeo) 200mm housings:

Amazon Amazon
 
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:47 PM
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Do earlier glass Aerostar headlights bolt in place of the plastic ones?
 
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by davran View Post
Do earlier glass Aerostar headlights bolt in place of the plastic ones?
The early lights can be installed into the later headlight holes, but you will have to scavenge some parts from the early models ton install into the later models, and it may require some metal cutting and drilling. I think someone on this forum may have done this before.
 
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:02 PM
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RE: LED headlight options

I will second the earlier comment that adding a relay kit really changes the lighting on these vans. I wasn't happy with how yellow and dim my headlights were, and the hot headlight switch (the new one) was still hot. The relay kit from Amazon was easy to install, and the lights were actually white and much brighter after the install. Looks like my link as what I ordered has gone dead, crap.

Lorrin
 
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:32 AM
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Indeed, there are a number of benefits to using relays: Brighter light due to less resistance in the wiring, less current load on the stock wiring, headlight switch, and high beam switch. The headlight switch has a thermal breaker that shuts off if it gets too hot. That usually leaves you in the dark at the worst possible moment, so I call that a safety hazard. Repeated overheating of the switch will cause it (and its wiring) to fail.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:04 AM
jim2029
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Thanks for the advise everyone. I ended up just mounting a LED light bar on the hood and only using it when no one else is on the road, which is 90% of my driving anyways. I wasn't too worried about looks as I've hit a couple deer with it and can't find any replacement parts, so I'll be making some custom steel bumbers front and rear in the next several weeks.
 
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:25 PM
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Wow!

Thanks for the updates I too want to see better @ night, I usually run the Sylvania Xtra Visions, close to standard power use and a wider pattern. I will now add an upgraded with relays headlight wiring.

Last time I looked there was a Ford F-150 set that is a perfect replacement for Aerostars. Good relays, when i find them again, I will provide a link.

i replaced my plastic headlight housings, polishing was not much of an improvement for mine. Heck the youngest Aerostars are 21 years old. I found an OEM NOS pair on Ebay, they have cheaper ones that are aftermarket.

Choose Wisely!
 
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