H4 Conversion and LED Elements - The Journey Begins!

Discussion in 'Sparky's corner' started by knucklebusted, May 5, 2018.

  1. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Update 5/26/2018 - Completed install and list of what works.

    As most of you probably have also experienced, I have a problem with dim headlights at idle and high beams that cut out after a few minutes. Some have used relays and restored the brightness. I considered that but I'm going a different route to avoid all of the extra wiring.

    Here's what I'm did. Already ordered and it will all be in by next weekend if you can believe Amazon.

    First, I've ordered H4 conversion lamps. I do not except this to be the easiest thing to do but I'm not expecting any majore issues.


    Next I've ordered four LED H4 elements that are 25W each. They have high and low in one and are fanless. I hope it works out with them.


    Finally, I ordered a pair of H4 adapters so I could easily make the second pair of H4 work for high beam only without cutting anything expensive.


    The low beam draw should be 50W total and the high beam draw should be 100W total. Operating voltage is listed as low as 9V and a max of 32V so even a low idle voltage should result in bright lights.
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
    Skylark-72 likes this.
  2. ilikebmx999

    ilikebmx999 Well-Known Member

    That all seems reasonably priced. So you’re going to run this all thru the stock wiring and not use a relay?

    Can’t wait to see what it all looks like
  3. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    My little LED flashlight is still very bright when I put old batteries out of the other incandescent flashlight that has grown dim. I use batteries until they won't power a wall clock or an LED flashlight before I toss them. Which reminds me, I need to put that old flashlight in the donation box.

    The wattage is lower on the LED H4 & H7 elements by half on low beam than the halogens that mostly work on low today. LEDs will work at full brightness at lower voltage so I'm hoping it will be sufficient, just like my little LED flashlight.

    The first bits showed up today. The H4 conversion housings are in. They look good. I might drop the bumper and pull the headlight doors to test them tomorrow.


    Attached Files:

  4. john.schaefer77

    john.schaefer77 Well-Known Member

    Will they/do they fit without modifying the headlight bucket and/or the radiator support?
  5. OHC JOE

    OHC JOE Mullet Mafia since 2020

    I think he may he have cut some of the radiator support
    john.schaefer77 likes this.
  6. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    So far I haven't had to cut on the core or the headlight buckets but I do have a few snags to report.

    First, the H7 bulbs are not compatible with the headlight housings I bought. Still undecided what to do. May just buy more H4 bulbs and not use the low beam.

    Second, the housings don't sit level in the low beam buckets. They are rotated about 10° so I've bent the metal back tabs that are normally glass on a sealed beam. I haven't checked the high beam yet.

    Some more pics.


    Attached Files:

  7. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    OK, got two of them in, low/hi on each outside position. Not sure what I'm going to do about the hi/inside one but I'll figure something out or leave well enough alone.

    First, MUCH BRIGHTER! They are brighter without the car running than the halogens were with the car revving high charge.

    Second, not that bad of a job. Worst part was having to drop the bumper and loosen the grille to be sure I didn't break anything. Absolutely no trimming of the buckets or core support required for this upgrade.

    Third, after mangling the notches to get them to be level, I had to use filler material to make the bulb solid inside the bucket. I used a zip tie with the head cut off.

    Fourth, it is to be determined if the flashing on high beam is resolved. Total wattage on high with all 4 burning will be roughly 120W, well below the original halogen 170W.

    Pictures to document. The two side by side is the 71 GS with regular halogens and my 70 with LEDs. I'm more in front of the 71 and they are still dimmer than the 70 from the side. I will have to see how they are in the dark when I get a chance. The one with the grille and bumper loose and the headlight door out is the first fire one new on driver side and old halogen on passenger side.


    Attached Files:

    ilikebmx999 and OHC JOE like this.
  8. bigce1972

    bigce1972 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting! This is an upgrade I've wanted to do for a while, not just for safety but looks too. I'm thinking of LED's too. I've seen them at most parts stores (OPGI, Year One, etc.). You have to drill out the core support a bit though. I may, if it's not to big a deal and if it all works ok with original wiring and headlight switch. I don't know enough about wiring to add relays, etc.
    Good luck, please keep us posted.
  9. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the informative upgrade! I like that no trimming was required.

    I replaced taillight bulbs the other day and now I'm wondering if there's a direct LED replacement for the 1157 & 1157NA bulbs? I'd definitely upgrade if anyone has any suggestions.
  10. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    This was as easy an upgrade I've done in a long time. Easier than adding boxed rear control arms and a rear sway bar. I cut NOTHING! Not the wiring, not the core support and not the headlight buckets. The only thing I had to mangle was the headlights themselves because of the previously mentioned alignment being off by a few degrees.

    At this point I have two spare headlights and I just need two more LED bulbs to convert the 71 over as well.

    I tried some 1157 Amber and 1157 Red LED bulbs. They don't blink properly. The Amber ones for the front are fine at parking light levels but when I turn on the emergency flashers, the bright element is almost unnoticeable. I'm going to try some of those color change bulbs next to see if they work. They come on yellow but flash white.

    The red 1157 LED bulbs won't flash at all. The car acts like there is a dead bulb. I even tried one of each, standard and LED, and it still won't flash. I'm going to investigate if an electronic flasher will do the trick.

    I like the idea of the LED taillights that were done a few years back but they were way more money than I was willing to spend.
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
    TheSilverBuick likes this.
  11. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    Are you saying you've tried some 1157 LED bulbs? If not, you'd think by now that they'd be available considering it was used in so many applications.
  12. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    Check that - just looked on Amazon and see them now.

    Either way, you'd think all the bulbs in these cars would be available in LED and plug & play in 2018.
  13. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Here's what I've tried:



    They taillights might work with a different flasher but I haven't gone there yet. Will try that eventually unless someone else comes up with a better solution.
    Brett Slater likes this.
  14. ilikebmx999

    ilikebmx999 Well-Known Member

    I didn’t realize you were putting LED bulbs in halogen housings. Pretty big no no. It may seem brighter but only in front of your vehicle. You will not get the same distance of lighting as with a halogen bulb in a halogen housing and most likely blind drivers coming towards you.
  15. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    That is what these LED bulbs are are for, conversion bulbs from halogen H4. They have a very sharp cut line when compared to a halogen bulb.
    ilikebmx999 likes this.
  16. Harlockssx

    Harlockssx Brother Graw Mad

    Any reason why you specified fan-less LEDs? I keep hearing the fan-equipped ones are more reliable in headlight applications...is it due to room? I thought there was a place that custom built modern A-body upgrade headlights...I'll have to see if I can pull them up again...
  17. Harlockssx

    Harlockssx Brother Graw Mad

  18. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    I had the thought that our cars have a lot of room behind the headlights and the lack of moving parts should be more reliable. Time will tell.

    I built mine for way less than that with lower wattage LEDs, which will hopefully stop the circuit breaker issues on high beam. When I get the high beams done I'll still have about $110 in the whole thing.
  19. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Update after driving at night the first time. I haven't gotten them aimed that great yet so I'm going to have to find a level spot with a wall and get them lined up. They are bright!

    I've ordered a second set of bulbs and this adapter so I can wire the H4 bulb to the high beam circuit only. I'm using these adapters so I don't have to bend the terminals or cut on the wiring harness plug.


    I also ordered an LED flasher to see if I can get the parking, turn and brake lights converted.
  20. rjm

    rjm Well-Known Member

    The LED flasher should take care of you're turn signal issues. I have converted all the tail, side maker, turn/brake, back up lamps to LED and have no issues. I got the LED'S colored to match the lens (red, yellow, or white) that makes a big difference. Thanks for posting this upgrade, it was next on my list and it always helps having someone else pave the way ! Thanks for posting. On a side note, if the LED flasher doesn't fix the no blinking, check the polarity of the plug, it dose matter for some LED flashers. I got this one and polarity doesn't matter . ( EF32RLNP) . Got it on amazon.
    Harlockssx and ilikebmx999 like this.

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