Truck-Lite 27004 Headlight Kit in a Land Rover Defender 90
Land Rover Defenders use standard 7" round headlights. A few years ago, I replaced the stock lights with Hella eCode headlights purchased from Susquehanna Motorsports. These have been great lights. They have a lot of light output and a very nice pattern. They have glass lenses and aluminum bowls, which is something that I prefer. But there is a downside. They are not waterproof. These lights, like most 7" round light housings on the market, use H4 bulbs. The H4 bulb does not have any facility for sealing to the housing. They come with boots to fit over the connectors, which make them water resistant, but when you are in deep water for a long time, water gets in. I was getting tired of cleaning out the housings, so went out looking for something that is waterproof.
In the search, I found some H4 housings that claimed to be waterproof, but I was sceptical as the bulb is not designed to seal. I found a company called Detroit Speed that is selling a headlight conversion kit called "Bright Driver". These are now more commonly available and sold by Truck-Lite with the part number of 27004, see this link. I ordered a set and have gotten them installed. I've compiled a bit of a comparison below to help people see the pros and cons of each.
What you Get
It is not 100% clear on the Detroit Speed site. The package includes the housings, a set of Sylvania 9007QL (Quantum Life) bulbs and wiring connectors to plug into the H4 style connectors.
I was curious as to the source of the housings. Obviously Detroit Speed could not have these made for the price but I could see no other stores that sold the same items. A quick scan of the housings showed that they are built by Trucklite with the buckets by Visteon. Google revealed that they are OEM lights from a Hummer H2. Now this does not help in buying new ones as the GM list price for a Hummer H2 headlight is over $400 each!! But it might be usefull information for the junkyard searchers in the crowd.
Hellas on the left and
Bright Lights on the right. The brightlights have a clear
polycarbonate lens and a plastic bowl with a Goretex vent. The
Hellas use a tempered glass lens and an aluminum bowl.
The Bright Lights use
the HB5 (9007) bulb, which is a
modern (introduced in 1992) halogen bulb that is designed with a
sealing O-ring and uses a sealed connector. Another plus to these
bulbs is they are available in subtantially higher life ratings.
1500 hour versions are easy to find. The H4 bulbs on the other
hand have typical lives of under 300 hours and the best I could find is
800 hours. The photo below shows an H4 bulb on the left and the
9007 on the right.
The housings use they
standard 7" round mounting system used in every normal 7" round
headlight. On the Defender, they fitted straight in with no
modifications. They are bit longer overall, so may not fit
buckets on other vehicles. The H4 end of adapter did not fit the
Rover plug so I spliced in the harness to the Rover wiring. Note
that I already have heavy gauge wiring and
relays in my truck. I would suggest this to anyone as the stock
wiring in the Defender causes a large amount of voltage loss and
reduces the light output considerably. Below is the light
installed in the truck. It is hard to see in the low quality
photo, but the lenses are completely clear. These give a nice
Ah yes the important question. OK they look pretty and they should not leak, but can you see anything at night.... I was a little concerned going from the eCode lights to the DOT style as DOT lights have notoriously poor patterns. It seems my fears were unfounded. Perhaps the newer generation of DOT lights have made good strides forward.
In order to do a good comparison, I installed one new light and left the Hella in the other side. As mentioned, the Detroit Speed lights have the Sylvania "QL" bulbs. The Hella have Osram 64193 bulbs. These are both stock wattage decent quality bulbs. Give some latitude to the photos below. I did maintain the same exposures, but the camera equipment was not leading edge...
Here we see the low
beams with the 9007 on the left and the H4 on the right. They
both have a very good upper cutoff. The H4 is a bit better, but
the difference to my eye in person was less than what is in the
photographs. The 9007s have a smaller hot spot with a good wide
horizontal spread outside of the hotspot. The H4s have a much
bigger hotspot with less horizontal overall spread and more vertical
And next we see the high beams. The 9007 has a similar sized hotspot with good horizontal spread and still maintains a vertical cutoff on top. The H4's spread is a bit "wild" outside of the hotspot. One other point of note is that the angular variance between low and high is much less on the 9007. For me, this is good thing as I can aim the low beam a bit high giving more throw without the high beams being too high.
I still need some seat time with the lights to give a final opinion, but so far I'm very happy (May 2011).