Z32 LED Headlight Retrofit

Posted: May 31, 2014 in 300ZX Build, Automotive Related
Tags: , , , , ,

Z32 LED HEADLIGHT RETROFIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO

Years ago, I remember thinking my first Z32 had incredibly bright headlights (compared to anything I had driven at that time). Flash forward 10 years, and my 06 (non HID) Honda Civic puts it to shame. What a difference 10 years of technology make.

I was incredibly disappointed while driving my current Z at night; it was damn near dangerous how lousy the stock Halogen projectors were. HID retrofit kits are fairly cheap, but they’re well known to not work correctly (and for being illegal) when installed in “non HID” designed housings, the most common issue being a non focused beam shooting bright light everywhere without the proper cutoff (blinding other drivers in the process).

So when a forum post introducing a new LED retrofit kit popped up (that was said to work correctly with the old Halogen housings), I took a chance and got in on the group buy. Here are my first impressions.

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

The group buy was from a company called Helios Optix. They were a little more expensive when compared to similar Fleabay kits offered, but the company stated better parts were used in their kits, and offered a 5 year warranty to back up that claim.

Honestly, I don’t know that much about lighting technology to prove or disprove the above statement, so make your own judgements accordingly. But a few bucks extra for a 5 year warranty sounded pretty good to me.

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

Each side consists of an LED light bulb (with integrated cooling fan), and a ballast.

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

The install is incredibly simple. Connect the OEM plug to the ballast, then the ballast to the LED light. I had both sides done in about 5 minutes. I just zip tied the ballasts in place for now, when I get some more time I plan to mount them somewhere out of sight.

It’s worth noting that they also offer a high beam kit, but I honestly didn’t notice a difference between the Halogen VS LED high beam in their photos, so I chose not to purchase them. Install may be a bit more difficult for the high beam as there’s a large wire harness running right where the cooling fan would sit.

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

Here’s the cutoff with the stock Halogen bulb (*note that the stock Halogen is yellowish in color, but my Iphone auto-corrects the while balance).

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

And here’s the LED. Same cutoff as stock! The beam is also fuller (VS the stock Halogen beam), and bright white in color.

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

Close up of the LED cutoff with both bulbs installed. Same as stock. No blinding other drivers!

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

Here’s a before and after of the Halogen VS LED from about 25 ft. The reason the lines are so much lower is because my driveway is on a slope, so the Z is sitting at a downward angle in relation to the garage when at the top of the driveway.

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

Here’s a before and after from around 50-60 ft. It’s incredibly hard to get good pictures at a distance – it’s almost impossible to replicate what your eyes are seeing unfortunately (if I had a DSLR with a fixed aperture lens maybe I could do it correctly).

Z32 LED RETROFIT KIT HALOGEN 300ZX TWIN TURBO HELIOS OPTIX

Finally, here’s a picture with the high beams on (just to show what we’re looking at in the pic above). After a 20 min blast down some dark mountain roads, here are my first impressions…

I can definitely say it’s a big improvement over stock Halogen’s. I would never have taken this particular road without my brights on before, now I was able to do it low beam only. At 50 ft or less, you’re definitely getting crisp bright light with a great cutoff (road signs and anything reflective is much sharper as well), but past that distance, you’re still getting improved light over the Halogen’s, but I would stop short at calling these “HID” comparable at long distance.

Overall I’m definitely happy with the purchase, and would do so again. Hope this helps anyone on the fence about picking up a set or not.

Jay

*In the interest of full disclosure – the before/after photos were taken on different nights (but that should have no bearing on the outcome). I also have no affiliation with Helios Optix, nor did I receive any discount, etc. for this review.

 

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