550 headlight upgrade | FerrariChat

550 headlight upgrade

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by stan996turbo, Feb 1, 2023.

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  1. stan996turbo

    stan996turbo Formula Junior
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    Jun 11, 2004
    684
    Philadelphia
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    Stan
    I’ve read different headlight replacement threads over the years and wanted to ask if anyone has a recent experience and could share information on parts available. The shop I use has done a couple HID conversions but suggested that I consider just upgrading the bulb with the existing hardware. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. Ferrari55whoa

    Ferrari55whoa F1 Rookie
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    Dec 21, 2005
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    Eric
    This will make me sound like I’m 90….but I hate driving at night.

    Do you currently do a lot of “Ferrari at night” driving where the existing headlights are insufficient?

    Mine has the upgraded HID and my mechanic said “let’s take it back to factory” and I said….”how much do you think I’m driving this at night?”
     
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  3. Mirek

    Mirek Formula 3
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    Oct 20, 2019
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    Mirek
    Interesting. My 456m just started having pop-up headlamp issues this very week (sticking, then both suddenly stopped working). AKA not mechanical IMO.

    Today my mechanic (who runs a 456m) tested the resistors (?) and said he replaced his 456M FOG lamps with newer ones (LED ?) and said he used actually used them primarily at night due to their efficiency vs the actual headlamps. I authorized this upgrade today.

    That said, I hope my headlamps get sorted with an internal cleaning (or with the new battery going in). No more motors seem to be out there. The doors stopped latching shut during all of this nonsense to boot. I pray it is the battery but having both looked into $$$ to be safe
     
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  4. ajyiii

    ajyiii Formula Junior
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    Mar 6, 2014
    319
    Chicago
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    Andrew Y
    @stan996turbo what shop do you use to modify headlights? I need to get a set of 550 headlights restored/repainted.
     
  5. F456M

    F456M F1 Rookie

    Jan 8, 2010
    3,670
    Oslo
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    Erik
    That is not an easy task. I freshened up mine and took them appart. There are some pictures in my "550 Modification thread".
     
  6. Qavion

    Qavion F1 World Champ
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    Feb 20, 2015
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    Ian Riddell
    #6 Qavion, Mar 13, 2023
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2023
    Does your horn also not work? If not, change fuse 2. Test headlights. If nothing happens, retest the horn to see if the fuse has blown again.

    If your horn works... There is a single relay which affects both headlight pods (relay "D"), but I'm not sure what you mean by "sticking". Sticking half way? Slow to rise?

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    Interchange relay D with relay E (Right Headlight Motor). If your Left headlight rises, but not your right, the relay you put in position E is faulty. Or if you have a new relay handy, just change relay D first.

    (EDIT: Which headlight pod failed first? Perhaps I should have asked you this first)
     
  7. Mirek

    Mirek Formula 3
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    #7 Mirek, Mar 13, 2023
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2023
    Horn worked as far as I knew. I had both motors rebuilt and all relays replaced. NOW the drivers side “sticks” and when it does come up it has trouble closing all the way. To the point where it is still trying pull itself down over and over when the car is switched off until it is down all the way. “Pop up headlamps are so cool !” My ass.

    Back at the shop getting some other stuff done so he is going to take another look. Hopefully it is resolved and/or resolvable ! Seems mechanical.

    BTW OP the LED foglamps vastly outperform (my) factory headlamps…need to get them aligned though.
     

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  8. Qavion

    Qavion F1 World Champ
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    Strange. It does sounds like a motor/gearbox electrical issue from this description, but both failing after being overhauled seems odd. Do you know if the diodes were replaced?

    The motor/gearbox to pod linkages can be improperly set up, causing issues like this, but I can't say I've seen any factory procedures for setting them up.
     
  9. Vilhuer

    Vilhuer Karting

    Aug 3, 2008
    128
    Helsinki, Finland
    There are several ways to make headlights better. Best bulbs money can buy is easiest. Usually its not LED's put into stock old style reflectors. Most LED's produce more light than bad quality stock style bulbs. Problem is many LED's do not produce that extra light in correct place for it to end up out from reflector towards proper direction. Old bulbs have very small surface area from where light exits. Most LED's simply have wrong and too large shaped area where light is produced. Therefore all that extra light is simply reflected out to wrong area of the road ahead by reflectors which are specifically designed to bulbs they were designed for. Same applies to HID's unless they are specifically designed to be used as old style bulb replacement. There are quality HID's and modern LED's available now which have correct design to overcome this. Phillips has special EU approved LED replacements for ROW H1, H7 etc. style bulbs. This leaves another problem in just about all LED's which is cooling element they need to have at rear end. Same for HID's. For many applications they are simply too big to fit properly into stock location. At least rear cover needs to be left off which isn't very smart idea if car is actually used.

    Another possible way to improve stock lights it to do custom wiring harness with electricity supply directly from battery though proper size wiring. This is something which really should be done to just about all old cars. Original wiring harness is many ways compromised and do not provide best possible voltage to bulbs. Using stock wires just to control custom relay setup can be bigger improvement than any possible bulb change. Combining both best aftermarket bulbs and large diameter wires together improves stock lights more than most people can even imagine is possible. Having done this to several cars in past by doing one side of car first its easy to see difference on broad daylight which side is upgraded one. In case of many Ferrari models this is even more important as fuse board is designed way it is.

    I would only think about HID's after doing above first. Its definitely improvement but basic problems still remain. Same with LED's. Only best designed LED's and only after fundamental problems are sorted out first.
     
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  10. Timmo

    Timmo Formula Junior

    Aug 26, 2017
    423
    Continental Europe
    This sounds familiar... We may now need an @Aerosurfer lighting harness.
     
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  11. Aerosurfer

    Aerosurfer Formula 3
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    Nov 21, 2020
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    Haha! Yes indeed it does. I guess Im going to have to develope an entire engine bay fuseboard to distubute out now to headlights, fans, may as well be prepared for a fuel pump kit too. If only there was more space to mount everything cleanly.
     
  12. Mirek

    Mirek Formula 3
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  13. otoupalik

    otoupalik Formula Junior
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    Feb 22, 2004
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    Brad Otoupalik
    why back to stock?

    What is the consensus as I need to do something to improve ours. We DO drive at night and need more light! No lights where we live, so you only can rely on what your car puts out ("DarkSkies" laws in scottsdale arizona)
     
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  14. Ferrari55whoa

    Ferrari55whoa F1 Rookie
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    Dec 21, 2005
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    My guy wanted to go back to stock because he is a Ferrari guy……8-(

    No mods are the only mods for some guys (clearly not my opinion)…..He also wanted to go back to OEM on the filters which I agreed to…..
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  15. otoupalik

    otoupalik Formula Junior
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    So he prefers to not see at night! Lol.

    it’s funny how those of us that like to modify are cool with anyone - people who like to mod or leave them stock. Yet the “leave them stock” crowd are pretty vocally clear that any modification is verboten.
     
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  16. Cribbj

    Cribbj Formula 3

    Eric, what’s your guy have to say about the COP ignition?

    Gonna be tough to go back to OEM on that, particularly finding the parts, unless Dave included the old wires & coil packs in the sale?
     
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  17. otoupalik

    otoupalik Formula Junior
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    Feb 22, 2004
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    Is the hid upgrade you posted years ago on the other site still the way you would go with the Valeo 2.5” parts?
     
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  18. Cribbj

    Cribbj Formula 3

    I think HIDs are still a “safe” option, particularly if they are sourced from well known, highly regarded manufacturers and suppliers. It’s a mature market now, and you’ll get what you pay for.

    If you’ve ventured into the LED marketplace, you probably found it to be a confusing, chaotic experience with wildly exaggerated claims by the Chinese suppliers on Amazon.

    I did my due diligence and thoroughly researched the LEDs and still managed to go through two highly rated mfg’s (one of which was Philips!) with very unsatisfactory results before biting the bullet, and purchasing the most expensive set on the market (GTR Ultra 2), which finally lived up to my expectations for quality & output.

    I still found it very disappointing to have to shell out $265 for only two bulbs, but the light output justified the outlay. Out here in the boonies of Montana we are always encountering elk and bison on the roads at night, so we need as much lighting as possible. These GTR’s provide that and I haven’t had any oncoming traffic. “flash” me when I’m running on just the low beams.

    BTW, this experience was not with a Ferrari with well engineered Valeo projector housings, but was with my Dodge Durango with reflector housings and halogen bulbs.
     
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  19. otoupalik

    otoupalik Formula Junior
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    Feb 22, 2004
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    Thanks. I was looking at some LED projectors that look to be the same size as the Valeo HID. Would you consider that opposed to the HID? Or would you still push for the HID 2.5" projector.

    Would you still do Valeo? There are a lot of 2.5" HID projectors now it seems.

    We are in Scottsdale, and with Dark Skies, like you, we need as much light as possible.
     
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  20. Cribbj

    Cribbj Formula 3

    I’d give the LEDs a try, particularly if you buy them from Amazon, where you get a 30 day free return.

    Jusr steer away from the no name $79.95 sets that promise you unbelievable lumen outputs.

    Also, read a few reviews and see how well certain LEDs work with projector housings versus reflectors.

    One of the “tricks” to getting optimum output and beam pattern with LEDs is to make sure they are “clocked“ correctly, meaning that the LED elements should be pointing at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock once they’re in the housing. Most of the higher end LEDs can be clocked, but check for this in their specs. That was one of the disappointments with the Phillips. They had very limited adjustment and I couldn’t set the LEDs at 3 & 9 o’clock.
     
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  21. ixlr8

    ixlr8 Formula Junior

    Aug 24, 2015
    309
    Eastern Shore- Virginia
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    Jim
    I have used Morimoto HID projectors and found them to be of high quality. Although not as high a quality as the Valeo's that John used originally, but those are about impossible to find now. At least I couldn't find any when I looked several years ago. I would be skeptical of the NHK's based on their price.
     
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  22. Cribbj

    Cribbj Formula 3

    I’d vote for the Morimoto’s also. They would probably work well with your projectors.
     
  23. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Sep 25, 2002
    13,317
    MO
    For the 456, I would find out what 348 owners are using and see if we can leverage for headlights.
     

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