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'03 350z OEM Hot Spots

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  • '03 350z OEM Hot Spots

    Sorry for making a new thread as my first post, but I feel like I have a pretty specific set of questions. If I'm wrong then you can lay into me and I'll understand completely.

    I asked on my350z.com but I figured people would be more knowledgeable here for lighting questions.

    Anyway, I just installed new (used) OEM '03-05 headlights on my car to replace my headlight which shattered when my brother hit a deer when using my car . Now, let me just say first that I never noticed any issues with my old lights, but I'm not happy with the way these new ones are working for me. My 350z is a 2003 touring edition, so it has D2R HIDs for the low-beam and halogens for the brights.

    I'm not sure if "hot spots" is the correct term for the issue I'm having, so please correct me if that's not the right terminology. The cutoff (at least to me, a noob when it comes to the world of HIDs) looks pretty poor when looked at from 10' back (pictured), but when I drive, the low-beam seems perfectly fine. The issue I have when driving is with the high-beams. The road is lit up very well, and I have no issues seeing where I'm going, but there are two concentrated parts of light that are shining either down on the road or up in the trees depending on how the lights are adjusted (I have the lights adjusted to about 26" vertical from 8' back. This makes the hot spots shine into the trees. When they were set to 24" they were definitely too low; I couldn't see far at all).

    Are these "hot spots" caused by the bulbs, the lenses, or the housings? The bulbs I'm using are the same bulbs that were in my previous set of lights, however I didn't realize at the time that you weren't supposed to touch the glass on the bulb. Now, I didn't intentionally touch them, but I'm thinking I may have done it by accident, not knowing to stay away from them. The plastic covers (are they still called lenses?) on the housing are in good condition, better than my previous lights. I have not opened the lights to look at/clean the glass lenses for the projectors.

    So what's most likely causing these hot spots?

    Hopefully I explained what I was trying too and wasn't just typing gibberish.

    Here are some pictures. Mind you, these are taken against a yellow garage door which is why the lights look so yellow.

    Low-beam


    High-beam


    Low-beams


    Low-beams


    Lights off (obviously)

  • #2
    On the low beam, I wonder if the bowl of the projector on the left side is a bit burnt. Burn marks in a projector is not uncommon in oem headlights.

    On the high beam, assuming you haven't moved the car relative to the wall, it looks like the hotspot is a bit weak. I think the fact that the center of the hotspot is at about the same elevation as that of the low beam is not necessarily a bad thing (in terms of the alignment). However, I assume it is not as narrow as that. Is the halogen bulb fully seated? Maybe there's a notch or some alignment feature that hasn't locked in, placing the bulb a bit further back than it should be. Relative to the intended location, that can produce a pencil beam effect (i.e. narrowing the beam pattern to a very small angle or a line).

    I find it odd that both the low and high beams on the left side are the weaker ones.
    Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

    3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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    • #3
      03-05 350Z headlights suck. There's not much fixing. OEM HIDs get outperformed by MD2Ss which are the worst projectors TRS has on offer

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      • #4
        Not all OEM HIDs, just the 03-05 z lights lol.

        But yeah, honestly I think it might be some burnt bulbs as Satyra said..
        2012 Volkswagen Golf R. 2016 Ford Fiesta ST

        The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback.
          I'm just struggling to understand, if it is indeed the bulbs, why I never noticed an issue with the original housings.

          I've heard lot's of people say they hate their 03-05 lights, but never understood why. If they're all like this then I understand haha.

          And about the cutoff on the low-beam, doesn't that look pretty bad?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by xECKSx58 View Post
            I'm just struggling to understand, if it is indeed the bulbs, why I never noticed an issue with the original housings.
            I'm actually referring to the reflector bowl inside the projector unit; typically right above and/or below the capsule of the HID bulb.

            Originally posted by xECKSx58 View Post
            And about the cutoff on the low-beam, doesn't that look pretty bad?
            If you look at the right side unit, the fact that the hotspot is a sideways elongated ellipse centered around the step is a good thing; you want the intensity to drop rapidly from the center going downwards relative to going sideways. The left side of the step is horizontal, which is the reason why there is the step to begin with; to allow better distance on the right hand side without blinding oncoming traffic. The right side of the step tilts a bit upwards, which helps illuminate road signs.

            So, overall, I'd say there is nothing unusual from the output, beyond what one expects the projector to do. That's not saying that there aren't better projectors of course.

            The simplest solution, imho, is to get another left side headlight, or transplant a clean OEM projector to replace the one on the left.
            Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

            3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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            • #7
              Get the 06-08 lights, you will be much happier. The low beam and bixenon performance is great.

              *I will be unavailable for projector modding and retrofits until further notice*



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              • #8
                Originally posted by greenkouki View Post
                Get the 06-08 lights, you will be much happier. The low beam and bixenon performance is great.
                Yeah, I'm tempted to buy some Depo housings and put some 5000k bulbs in and maybe STI lenses. But I really don't want to spend the money on new lights when I JUST bought these second hand OEM ones.
                I wish I knew you could get Depo 06+ lights for $320 (without bulbs or ballast etc.) before I bought these 03-05 ones. Oh well

                Thanks again for the input though

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