How to Roof Mount Install the new Vision X 51″ XPI LED Light Bar

Have you seen this new LED light bar technology from Vision X? They’ve invented a light bar that uses individual reflector style LED optics instead of the traditional style, and THEY ARE NOT ALL STRAIGHT! This is a totally innovative way to design a light bar, just check out the effect when turned on:

The other thing that is different about the new XPI series of LED light bar is the mounting method. There was no option for side / end-cap mounting, only with the supplied brackets, and these supplied brackets are not designed to mount on the roof using an N-Fab bracket kit, so we got creative and made it work! Here’s how we did it:

 

Vision X 51" XPI LED Light Bar install parts

These are the install parts that came with the Vision X 51″ XPI LED Light Bar.

The Vision X 51" XPI LED Light Bar mounting

The Vision X 51″ XPI LED Light Bar comes with two options for mounting. Bottom style “foot” mounting like this.

The Vision X 51" XPI LED Light Bar

This second option is installing mounting feet to both ends.

 

We wanted to do something a little different. With roof brackets already installed on the Tundra, we wanted to do a roof mount install. If you’re like us and want to install the Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar on your roof, keep reading and we’ll show you what we did.

Bolt size for the Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar

By bringing the Vision X bolt that was included with the XPI light bar to the hardware store, we were able to find its size. M6x1.0

Bolt size for the Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar Bolt

The bolt we decided on was a Hex Flange Bolt, M6 x 1.0P x 16mm

Bolt and washers for the Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar Bolt

We also picked up some locking washers and a pair of heavy duty Grade 8 washers (not pictured here).

Bolt and washers for the Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar Bolt

On the right you’ll see the bolt that was included with the XPI light bar. The one on the left is the one we put together. We wanted something stronger and longer to support a roof mount install.

lock tight for the Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar Bolt

We added some lock light to the bolts.

Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar

XPI light bar has two sets of holes on each side that both bolt on the mounting feet. Since we’re doing a roof mount, we got to choose which hole to use and decided on the top one. That brought the Light Bar closer to the roof.

Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar

With one side bolted on, we went to the next side.

Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar

Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar

Vision X  XPI LED Light Bar Roof Mount install

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar roof mount install completed.

This style of mounting method worked, but I don’t think it would be recommended by Vision X! If you want to copy what we did, beware that you do so at your own risk!

After doing the install and driving around with it mounted on the truck for a while, here are some new tips and tricks:

1. Install a rubber washer between the light bar and the roof mount brackets. This will help with any vibration you might have and keep some positive pressure on all of the hardware.

2. If you have vibration issues try removing the long metal bracket that supports the underside foot-mounting system. To do this you have to break the seal on the end caps, which voids the warranty, but then you won’t have that loose metal bar clanging around. Be careful, we can do it for you if you don’t want to try it!

3. It’s really easy to point the light bar up too high or down too low. Play around with it, keep the tools in your truck and mess around with it at night until you get it just right!

If you want to order a Vision X XPI (Xmitter Prime Iris) light bar please contact Headlight Revolution for all of your LED needs!

Installing LED Headlights in 2014 GMC Sierra

We had the opportunity to see how someone installed their GTR Lighting LED Headlight Conversion Kit in a 2014 GMC Sierra so we thought you might like to see it also! The LED Headlights from have a built in heat sink and fan for forced air cooling. These cooling features do make these bulbs larger in size. Sometimes, as in the case of the 2014 GMC Sierra, the dust cover needs to be slightly modified. An extra rubber flap was added by this installer (custom build) to keep out water. The downside to this method is they are still not 100% sealed like they were in the factory, but this does allow you to still use them and at least keep water away from the LED system.

LED Conversion Kit installed in the 2014 GMC Sierra

 

GTR Lighting LED Conversion Kit in a 2014 GMC Sierra

 

GTR Lighting LED Conversion Kit in a 2014 GMC Sierra

 

GTR Lighting LED Conversion Kit in a 2014 GMC Sierra

 

GTR Lighting LED Conversion Kit in a 2014 GMC Sierra

 

GTR Lighting LED Conversion Kit in a 2014 GMC Sierra

 

The owner of this 2014 GMC reported that the light output is brighter than stock, and still has a good beam pattern like the factory bulbs. It is not recommended to install the dust cover completely over these LED conversion kit bulbs because without the proper airflow created by the fan inside the heat sink, they have a high risk of overheating and failing. The truck’s original bulb was bulb model 9012 and the product used in this install was the GTR Lighting #7010269 9006 LED Headlight Conversion Kit.

WARNING: HID Bulbs Will Melt Subaru BRZ Fog Lights – Try These LEDs Instead!

Did you know HID lights will melt the fogs on your BRZ? We will show you what happened to our BRZ and show you 2 good high power LED options so you can STILL have upgraded fog lights.

 

brz

If you’re like us, we love the look and power of HID bulbs in our vehicles and will use them any chance we get. So when it came to updating the Subaru BRZ we went all out and put HIDs in the headlights and fog lights. The strength and intensity of HID lights make them a perfect safety upgrade in headlights and fog lights during poor weather conditions. However, we found out that HIDs were not an ideal choice for our Subaru BRZ fog lights. In the Subaru BRZ, the power of the HID bulbs was too great for the fog light housings; within a few days they began to melt.

burnt fog lightburnt fog light 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HID light sources provide the brightest illumination available and are considered the benchmark against which other forward lighting technologies are measured. HID light sources provide three to four times the light output of standard halogen light sources and promote better driving visibility by providing enhanced peripheral vision and improved down-road illumination. HID Bulbs use up to 65% less energy than conventional lighting and can last up to 10 times longer, but all of that light creates heat. I recommend never installing HID bulbs in Subaru BRZ fog lights. We had these 35w HIDs installed in the fog lights for 1 week until we noticed some bubbles forming on the lens. Then within another week we also noticed the chrome reflector starting to flake and melt. As soon as we could, we ordered new housings and replaced them with new LED lights instead.

So now what, are you stuck with dim, yellow light in your BRZ fog lights? Not to worry, we’ve found two great options from Black Top Racing that will look great and keep your fog light housings intact.

Their first option is a 950 lumen 80 watt LED bulb from GTR Lighting. These bulbs will give you the crisp, white light of HID, with the long life and simplicity of LED bulb replacement.

led_fog_light_kit_level_1 2

Comparison of stock bulb and GTR Lighting LED Bulb in fog light housing.

 

Their second option is a complete LED Conversion Kit that boasts 2,200 lumens per bulb—that’s up to 2.5 times the output of standard halogen bulbs! Totally plug and play, this kit will give you the crisp, white 6000k look of HID without the higher HID price tag. Although the LED Conversion Kit doesn’t quite match the power level of HID, the LED Kit is a great choice where heat and melting issues arise. The LED bulbs in the Conversion Kit are molded from aluminum to conduct and dissipate heat through the bulb.  Also, an embedded fan in each bulb creates a forced-air cooling system to cool the bulb, prolong the bulb life, and protect your fog light housings.

 

LED bulb in housing.

LED bulb in housing.

Comparison of stock bulb and GTR Lighting  LED Conversion Kit bulb in a fog light housing

Comparison of stock bulb and GTR Lighting LED Conversion Kit bulb in a fog light housing

So if you want to update your Subaru BRZ fog lights, learn from our mistake and looking into these other great options. And if your looking to make any other upgrades to your Subaru BRZ, take a look at all the other BRZ specific options Black Top Racing has to offer.

How to Upgrade to 2006+ Style 350z Tail Lights

The Nissan 350z starting in 2006 came standard with really cool LED tail lights, so if you were “lucky” enough to get an older model (2003-2005) you’re stuck with the boring reflector/halogen style tail lights. In this writeup I’m going to show you how easy it is to convert your 2003-2005 Nissan 350z to use 2006-2009 style OEM tail lights.

First off I’ll tell you that I am NOT A FAN of using aftermarket tail light housings when something this good and easy to install exists. There are some cheap ~$150 tail lights out there for the early year cars that resemble the OEM LED tails, but they don’t fit as nice as OEM housings, they’re not as bright, and they surely won’t last as long! So, my first suggestion is to get your hands on some stock 2006 and up LED tail lights. Just make sure they have the wire harness coming out of them. I’ll explain more on this later.

1. You can see here a 2005 Nissan 350z with the stock tail lights, these lights are actually being lit up by LED bulbs, but I want to show you how to change the whole housing:

Here are the original 2005 tail lights that use an incandescent light bulb.

Here are the original 2005 tail lights that use an incandescent light bulb.

 

2. The first step is to take the tail lights off the car, and remove the bulbs and wiring from the tail light. To do this remove the three 10mm bolts on each tail light that hold it to the car and carefully pull the tail light off and away, then twist and pull the bulbs out of the housing:

There are 2 wire harnesses going into the housing. Twist and pull each one off and set it aside.

There are 2 wire harnesses going into the housing. Twist and pull each one off and set it aside.

3. Here are the LED bulbs we were using before doing the upgrade. If all you want are LED bulbs for your 350z, then these are a great option! We used the Reflex series 7443 LED bulb in red and the smaller bulb is the 5-LED T10/194 from GTR Lighting in red.

The larger one is the Reflex Series 7443 in red, and the smaller one is the 5-LED 194 in red, both from GTRLighting.com

The larger one is the Reflex Series 7443 in red, and the smaller one is the 5-LED 194 in red, both from GTRLighting.com

These are the best LED bulb replacements you can get to fit the old style housing.

These are the best LED bulb replacements you can get to fit the old style housing.

4.  The wiring to go from the old style (2005) to the new style (2006+) is plug and play. However, you will not need the smaller 2-wire connector that was holding the 194 bulb in place. Tape that up into the harness so it doesn’t short out or get wet:

Remove the 194 bulb from the smaller connector, and use electrical tape to hide it and keep it safe. It's not required on the new headlights.

Remove the 194 bulb from the smaller connector, and use electrical tape to hide it and keep it safe. It’s not required on the new headlights.

5. Next, don’t just remove the 7443 bulb, but remove the adapter plug that connects it to the wire harness. This is the one that will plug into the new 2006+ LED tail lights. This is what through me for a loop at first. I thought we were supposed to use the connector lower on the car and make that work somehow but that is definitely not what you want to do. This 3-wire connector uses an adapter: With the adapter it can use a 7443 bulb and fit the older style tail lights. Without the adapter it plugs directly into the new style LED tail light housings:

Here you can see the wire harness on the back side of the new tail light matches up perfectly to the disconnected 2005 wire harness. Make sure if you are getting a set of new style tail lights for your car that it comes with this little harness!

Here you can see the wire harness on the back side of the new tail light matches up perfectly to the disconnected 2005 wire harness. Make sure if you are getting a set of new style tail lights for your car that it comes with this little harness!

The bulb adapter comes off easily by pressing the plastic clip in the middle.

The bulb adapter comes off easily by pressing the plastic clip in the middle.

Here you can see that the 7443 bulb adapter and the LED tail lights use the same connection.

Here you can see that the 7443 bulb adapter and the LED tail lights use the same connection.

If you are trying to source a set of 2006+ LED tail lights for your Z car, make sure it has that round plastic cap on the back side of the housing, along with the 3 wire harness/connector that comes out of it. Without these parts built into the housing it is not a plug and play install!

6. Plug the one remaining harness in and mount it to the car just like the old tail lights! There’s really nothing else to it: The new style LED tail lights will fit perfectly and just the same as the old style housings with no modifications required.

Plug and Play Wiring

Plug and Play Wiring

Here you can see the OEM 2006+ LED tail lights on the left (driver's side) and the original older style 2005 tail lights on the right (passenger side).

Here you can see the OEM 2006+ LED tail lights on the left (driver’s side) and the original older style 2005 tail lights on the right (passenger side).

The new tail lights are beautiful, bright and very high quality!

The new tail lights are beautiful, bright and very high quality!

 

If you want to do other LED bulb upgrades to your car like LED rear blinkers, LED reverse lights, LED License Plate Lights or interior lighting on your 350z, check out Black Top Racing for all kinds of vehicle specific LED packages for your Z!

We only recommend GTR Lighting for high power LED bulb replacements because we only recommend the best!

We only recommend GTR Lighting for high power LED bulb replacements because we only recommend the best!

New LED Headlight Technology Explained

If you’re like most enthusiasts, you want to know what’s new and exciting coming to the marketplace and new headlight and fog light technology is no exception! I want to show you some information about a wild new product that I believe (within 4 years time or less) will revolutionize the automotive forward-lighting industry! Most car people have already heard of, and many have tried, the HID conversion kit available from many different places. Today they are commonplace at car shows and city streets. Until now an HID conversion kit has been pretty much the only product available for noticeably brighter headlights and fog lights, but just announced at SEMA in November of 2013 was the newest product in headlight upgrades. Introducing the LED headlight conversion kit!

LED Headlight Conversion Kits are Just Getting Started!

LED Headlight Conversion Kits are Just Getting Started!

Right now when this post is being made I have seen different types of LED headlight conversion kits that range anywhere from 4,000K – 7,000K and anywhere from 1,200 Lumen per bulb all the way up to 4,000 Lumen per bulb! This is a pretty stark array of options and one of the things to remember is that this product is quite new.  Right now most manufacturers only have one color available, but I think this year you’re going to see different places offering 5,000K 6,000K and possibly 8,000K as color options, but unlike HID kits there wills till probably only be one power level available for each style of LED headlight kit.

There are currently 2 styles of LED headlight conversion kits available: With Reflector and without Reflector. This (in my opinion) is the most important part of the whole product. Let me show you why:

The first style (the original type of LED headlight conversion kit) uses a giant LED chip on a flat surface and creates light in a chaotic and uncontrolled manner:

This LED headlight style with no reflector is an old model.

This LED headlight style with no reflector is an old model.

The new style of LED headlight conversion kits (released November 2013) are made by GTR Lighting and use a reflector around the large LED chip. What this does is focus the beam pattern and make it operate more like the original headlight bulb.

The new style of LED headlight has a hidden fan and a reflector around the LED chips.

The new style of LED headlight has a hidden fan and a reflector around the LED chips.

There are 3 main differences between the old style and the new style:
#1: The LED chips have an integrated rocker type reflector around each LED to help focus the light inside the housing, thus creating a more usable light. Just because an LED headlight kit is technically brighter than another due to having a higher Lumen rating, doesn’t mean it will work well. The trick is focusing the light – what use is a lot of light if it’s everywhere except where you need it?

#2: Hidden/Protected low profile fan – On the old style of LED headlight the fan was exposed and unsightly. On the new style from GTR Lighting you can’t see the fan, it’s hidden inside the heat sink and protected by a shroud. This makes them more reliable.

#3: The older style of LED headlights didn’t have a waterproof connection, and the new style does. Make sure whatever style you’re purchasing comes with a single waterproof connection! These things get mounted in places that likely will get wet!

You NEED to be using LED headlights with the reflector. Here's why:

You NEED to be using LED headlights with the reflector. Here’s why:

Difference between HID and LED Conversion Kits

For a long time if you wanted to update your headlights to something brighter or a different color than stock the only option was to install an HID conversion kit, and this product has really been the only decent option for about 10 years now. In late 2013 a new product was announced by GTR Lighting that is set to shape the headlight landscape for the foreseeable future! I’d like to introduce to you the LED conversion kit and hopefully explain to you what the difference between this new LED kit product is when compared to an HID kit.

This infographic shows the main differences between HID and LED headlight conversion kits.

This infographic shows the main differences between HID and LED headlight conversion kits.

 

Here are the main points broken down even further:

1. First of all, HID and LED aren’t necessarily better than one another, they’re just different. You need to understand both products then decide what you want.

2. As of right now each brand is only offering 1 power level, where with HID you can get 15w, 35w, 55w, 75w and 100w. I imagine this will change in the future, but right now LED is only available in one size per manufacturer.

3. As of right now LED headlight kits are only offered in two color choices: 5,000K or 6,000K and most manufacturers are only offering one color. If you want a special color like gold or purple, maybe HID is more your style.

4. HID bulbs take anywhere from 4 to 15 seconds to fully “warm up” and get to their full light output level. On the contrary LED headlight kits are “instant on” and require no warmup time.

5. Single beam HID kits and single beam LED kits are equally plug and play as another. HID bulbs are smaller, so in some cases they’re easier to install. But when it comes to dual beam kits, LED is way easier to install. A dual beam (aka Bi-Xenon) will require a relay harness ran to the battery, and ballasts mounted and wired up at each headlight. The same bulb in an LED kit will be plug and play just like it’s single beam counterpart.

6. A lot of people are concerned about adding heat to their housings when doing headlight upgrades, especially when looking at replacing a low power bulb in a fog light with an HID. Now with LED it’s not an issue. LED headlight kits are almost half as hot as an HID bulb.

7. LED bulbs draw 2.33 amps at 23 watts and HID bulbs draw 4 amps at 35 watts. This is not really an issue for modern vehicles, but if you’re considering an install on an older vehicle with a weak electrical system, this power saving from the LED headlight might be desirable.

8. Considering that you wouldn’t ever have a defective bulb, by the time you went through one LED headlight kit bulb you could have gone through up to 15 HID kit bulbs. The longevity of LED is HUGE compared with HID.

9. Right now the best LED headlight kits produce roughly 2,600 Lumens of light per bulb, whereas a standard 35w HID bulb can produce up to 3,500 Lumens of light. This is the biggest benefit to sticking with HID. However, in the near future we could be seeing LED conversion kits that more than double that of a traditional HID kit.

LED Foglight Kit installed

LED Foglight Kit installed

Even though HID kits are still brighter than LED, and they come in more colors, LED Conversion Kits still have their merits. The above picture displays a 2013 Dodge Journey running a set of GTR Lighting 5202 LED conversion kit bulbs. The comparison shows how much better it is than the original 5202 bulb.

 

A first look at the new LED Headlight Conversion Kits

We recently had an opportunity to install new 7×6 headlight housings and high power LED headlight bulbs into a 1995 Toyota Tacoma. This truck originally used H6054 sealed beam rectangular headlight housings, so the first step to installing the new LED headlight technology was to replace the original housings with new ones that can accept a replacement light bulb. To do this we put Vision X #VX-57 rectangular sealed beam housings in place. These new housings are DOT approved, and just fitted with the regular H4 halogen bulbs would be 30% brighter than the original sealed beam headlights.

After picking a set of housings, instead of using an HID kit or standard H4 halogen headlight bulbs we used a set of the new LED Headlight Conversion kits from GTR Lighting. These new high power LED bulbs are suitable to replace any version of original halogen light bulbs for cars and trucks, and our ’95 Tacoma with the new housings required the H4 version of this product:

GTR Lighting brand of H4 LED Headlight Kit

To put it in perspective, the original sealed beam headlights put out approximately 900 Lumens of light and a 35w HID conversion kit would produce nearly 3,500 Lumens of light output. The new LED headlight conversion kit produces 2,200 Lumens of light on low beam and 2,600 Lumens  of light on high beam. So you can see that if you’re going for overall brightness then an HID conversion kit is still the brightest option, but the dual beam LED conversion kit bulbs are easier to install than a dual beam HID kit and much brighter than the stock bulbs. So there are some benefits to going with the LED bulbs, but it just depends on what you want to accomplish.

The first step was to replace the original sealed beam headlights with the new housings from Vision X:

Here are the stock sealed beam headlights.

Here are the stock sealed beam headlights.

The old headlight.

The old headlight.

The new headlight

The new headlight.

 

After getting the old sealed beam original headlights out and the new Vision X brand of 5×7 replacement housings installed, it was time to put in the new bulbs. The LED headlight conversion kit comes with 2 bulbs, a wire harness and a very small external driver. The new bulbs fit right in place with the housings, even though they stuck out a little bit on the back side. There was plenty of room for them and the fit was secure.

LED Headlight Conversion Kit Installed.

LED Headlight Conversion Kit Installed. This picture shows the back side of the housing with the LED bulb fan and heat sink exposed. This is normal and as long as it’s not touching anything you’re fine.

LED Headlight Conversion Kit Installed.

LED Headlight Conversion Kit Installed. This picture shows the new LED headlight conversion kit bulb installed inside of the housing. It sits in place of the original H4 headlight bulb but with one LED firing up and one LED firing down. It doesn’t interfere with anything in the housing and fits easily.

Here is a comparison of the two headlights. We have the new headlights shown versus the original headlights. The old headlights were fairly dim and had a yellow color to them. The new headlights are actually a 5,500K color but in pictures they look more blue than they really are. But they are brighter and whiter than stock headlights:

The headlight on the right is the original halogen sealed beam headlight. The white light on the left is the new housings with the new LED headlight bulbs.

The headlight on the right is the original halogen sealed beam headlight. The white light on the left is the new housings with the new LED headlight bulbs.

Here now you can see the finished product with both headlights outfitted with the new housings and LED headlights.

LED Headlight Conversion Kit Installed.

LED Headlight Conversion Kit Installed.

The final test was to go driving with the new headlights installed. The new headlight setup was DEFINITELY brighter than stock. There was more light on the road and the color was a perfect crisp white instead of a dull yellow color. We could see the street signs better and could see further down the road. Here is a comparison of low beam versus high beam on the highway with the new headlights:

Here you can see the low beam light output of the new headlight system going down the highway. The left to right output is good and the light is where you want it in the middle also. The important thing is that the beam pattern is a pretty good shape without any weird shadows or odd light output shapes.

Here you can see the low beam light output of the new headlight system going down the highway. The left to right output is good and the light is where you want it in the middle also. The important thing is that the beam pattern is a pretty good shape without any weird shadows or odd light output shapes.

Here you can see the high beam output on this setup. The shape doesn't change a whole lot - there is a little more light at the top of the output pattern but the biggest difference is the sheer amount of light that is being projected. The high beam is brighter but it doesn't go that much further or higher. This will act differently from housing to housing though.

Here you can see the high beam output on this setup. The shape doesn’t change a whole lot – there is a little more light at the top of the output pattern but the biggest difference is the sheer amount of light that is being projected. The high beam is brighter but it doesn’t go that much further or higher. This will act differently from housing to housing though.

This project was easy and the results were as good as we though they were going to be. The output is awesome on them even though it’s not quite as bright as a full HID conversion kit – the tradeoff is that this kit is easier to install and cheaper than a 35w dual beam HID kit from the same manufacturer. The lights are easily twice as bright as stock or more, and the only real drawback is that on this application the high beam didn’t make a huge “wow factor” impression. It’s there, it’s brighter, but it doesn’t quite blow your socks off.

If you want to do this exact same setup, you’ll need the Vision X part number VX-57 and the GTR Lighting part number 7010273. These two together will work with any sealed beam style 5×7″ or 7×6″ rectangular headlight system. For other options on these headlights we recommend you check out this website for sealed beam headlight replacements and LED headlights.

Here is the product we used. The GTR Lighting H4 style LED headlight conversion kit and the Vision X 5x7" sealed beam headlight housings.

Here is the product we used. The GTR Lighting H4 style LED headlight conversion kit and the Vision X 5×7″ sealed beam headlight housings.