Projector style headlight Retrofit - who has done it

delling3

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Been talking to Madd Retros about a set of their headlight retrofits. I am leaning towards LED's.

The price is a bit painful if I am being honest. I also have some hesitancy because the LED projectors don't have replaceable bulbs - fitting them is like fitting an old sealed-beam - when the light burns out, you basically pull and replace the whole shooting match. I know LED's are supposed to have long life, but like I said, I am a little nervous.

I have Cobra-style reflector style headlights currently. The light pattern sucks. They cut-off line is erratic, making aiming the lights difficult, and I have tried running a variety of bulbs in them, but still not as bright as I would like. It seems that the various aftermarket projector light housings are pretty poorly rated, with either poor fit, poor light output, inability to aim properly, or any other number of complaints.

So, who has done this? If I drop the coin to do this, am I going to be happy?
 

ttocs

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I did HID retrofits. I didn't think the led version mean the bulb was sealed inside, I thought just the projector assembly was like on the HIDs? My only complaint is I did a smoked lens and its a tad darker than I would like it to be but still not horrible, better than the halogen was for cut off

STick to halogen lights in the old style for the best results. LED/HID has a different pattern and a different shape.
 

07GtS197

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Depot at least used to make a cobra style “retrofit” but I know nothing about the quality. I can’t find them at the moment but I’d keep an eye out.

Or you could retrofit a set yourself. It’s labor intensive but the parts really aren’t that expensive. I have a set of h1 projectors that I bought years ago but still haven’t got around to using lol. They seem decent but we’re under 100 bucks.
 

ttocs

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The depot lights were crap quality. I had them and remember actually seeing the imperfections in the lenses just by eye, the output was horrible.
 

delling3

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The Madd Retros LED projectors are "one piece". Basically the LED is part of the projector. If the LED fails, you throw the hole thing away. They told me that the LED bulbs currently available on the market do not yield good results. They use Eagle Eyes headlights, and modify to install the projector. $600 for a set of headlights only, chrome/clear, no additional options included.

I can stomach the price, if they perform as expected, don't develop leaks, and the bulbs last as advertised. Just hoping someone had first hand experience with them.
 

ttocs

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I have never heard of this and it would be a deal breaker for me. I don't care how good of a quality they are or how long they last on the average I know that the difference between a great/bad set can be the slightest difference that slipped by in manf. But with that being said then go HID. They are just as bright, still a great cut off with the right projector and replaceable. The only down side is that leds do save a little bit of current and then there is the panty dropping effect of saying "they are led" - spoiler alert - no panties have ever dropped because of led headlights.
 

delling3

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I have nothing but issues with HID's. Went thru two sets in short order on my 2016 Colorado - went back to halogens. Too fragile IMHO.
 

ttocs

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I have nothing but issues with HID's. Went thru two sets in short order on my 2016 Colorado - went back to halogens. Too fragile IMO

Did you go with a reputable brand or the cheap ebay special? I had a cheap set that I was always having one on and one off but after upgrading to a better brand I have not had a single issue
 

Gregomatic

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I can stomach the price, if they perform as expected, don't develop leaks, and the bulbs last as advertised. Just hoping someone had first hand experience with them.
Delling, I love, love, love projector LED's and wanted a set so bad after I had a 12 point Whitetail buck destroy my front clip. But I did a LOT of research and talked to many of my mechanic friends about this.

If you go into this with the right mindset, you'll likely be fine as long as you know the risks. The sad thing is, sometimes you 'get what you pay for', and sometimes paying high dollar doesn't guarantee a thing....which I'll get back to in a sec.

If you do purchase them, realize there's a chance you may have to deal with some issues right out of the box.
Most are supposed to be plug and play and fit like oem but some need a little persuasion from Mr Dremel to fit correctly.

They are supposed to be hermetically sealed, but it's smart to silicone around the molding halves before installing to be sure you don't have some mystery condensate after an automatic car wash.

I heard way more than one story about the head lamp alignment adjusters either skipping teeth or bottoming out before shining straight and true. Many speak of fabricating or shimming to get the brights right. Some pointed so low they just drove with brights on...but then had no high beam to select when they needed. Yet others complained of the lights basically throwing an unpleasing yellow ball of light due to them receiving parts inferior than ones advertised.

I also heard more than one account where they burn out prematurely due to low quality projectors installed.
I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but allow me to offer this:

If you really have your heart set on the European look or love the freakin awesome spider eyes effect, go ahead and purchase a set. But if your willing to shell out $600.00 for them, go ahead and bite the bullet and spend another hundred or so for the lifetime GUARANTEE.

Then you can install them suckers and DARE them to malfunction!

Good luck and let us know what you decide to do. I'd love to add your experience to the stories I've heard so far!

Cheers!
G
 

OpalFrostGT

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Delling3
Interesting posts! Replies are just as interesting to me. After reading the LED/HID information on the Madd Retros website several of their comments seemed to jump off their page:
A. MR buys their main parts from another supplier. That would be strike One in my book. Why? Several reasons: They cannot control thd oncoming quality. Buying major parts from an outside source means Mr cannot control their cost of manufacturing.
B. MR states very clearly that these lights are only approved for fog lights!
C. In another sentence, Mr states that their lights cannot be legally used fof headlights! Perhaps I missed.something. If so, please let me know.
I would simply pass on this chance to lose $600.
My very best to you! I would never knowingly discourage your DREAMS!
OpalFrostGT
 

delling3

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Appreciate the replies, people. Unlike a lot of folks, I am not doing this cuz I want by car to look like a high-end euro car, or any other aesthetic. Simple fact is I am nearly 60 years old, my night vision sucks, and I drive my car a lot at night - including in some pretty rural areas where you appreciate having good lighting on the road. I am aware that any headlight conversion is not DOT approved, and therefore is not legal for the street, but it seems pretty plain to me that the LEO's don't care so long as you aren't blinding oncoming drivers (and even then the enforcement is pretty lax). My daily driver has projector headlights (currently running halogens) but they have a great pattern, long reach, and a very clean "cutoff". If I could get some quality projectors that matched the performance of whats in my truck, I would be pretty happy. Just trying to find someone who has done this and get a good idea of what I am going to end up with.
 

ttocs

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anyone doing retrofits is going to have to buy the parts from a supplier so I am not sure why that is an issue as long as he uses quality parts. As he said he is walking the line of liability advertising that he modifies headlights and the DOT could suddenly decide to take it more seriously like the EPA has done over the past couple years on off road pipes. I am willing to bet we all have at least one other illegal modification done to our car and if its our lights that finally take us down I will be surprised. The hard-mounted LED kit idea still kills me just because while leds do last a long time, it is not for ever. Now HID offers much better performance than halogen and are replaceable. The price to do it all is high but by the time you add up the price of the light housing, the projector, the lighting kit there really isn't all that much for labor on top of the price and it takes a little while to do each light to take it apart, mount the hardware, paint/finish in some way and then finally seal them back up.
 

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