My LED Headlight Conversion (97 T-bird) - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2016, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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My LED Headlight Conversion (97 T-bird)

I used to have projectors retrofitted, but after several years, the high beam solenoids started to act funny, so I bought a new set of factory housings that were NOS and ran halogen bulbs.

I recently looked into LED bulbs, but I knew anything with a fan on it would not last very long. These latest 7th generation LED bulbs came out around Dec 2015/Jan 2016 using Philips ZES Lumiled LEDs.

Basically Philips engineered a factory retrofit LED bulb in the H4 size. You can look those up if you want, Philips Ultinon H4. They are legal because they mimic the size, shape and location of the factory filaments and the brightness is not too extreme. Then the aftermarket copied their design using similar ZES LEDs. It's great if you want an H4 or single beam bulb, but not so great for a 9007 due to the high beam filament being in the wrong location. (The low beam filament position is a bit too rearward as well, but can be altered)

The high and low 9007 filaments are the same depth, but the high beam is a little higher/lower to shift the light upwards on the road. The 9007 also doesn't use any shields. These 9007 retrofits copy the H4 design adding shields and putting the high beam closer to the base. Maybe soon they will fix these problems and come out with a proper 9007.

Supply in the US is a bit limited, but there are shops in California with them. Look on ebay for Philips 160w. The 9007 pair tend to run about $60-$75.

Last edited by JasonWW; 06-15-2017 at 12:52 PM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2016, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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I bought a set of these 9007 bulbs and modified them quite a bit. The metal shields you see around the front low beam can be unbolted with an SAE sized (not metric) allen key and the shield portion cut off with a dremel to create an unobstructed output from the low beam LED. I then screwed the metal pieces back together as I think they help squeeze the LED's against the heatsink.

I pulled the head lights out. Then I modified the black plastic mount to get rid of the detent ball functionality. This allows easy movement of the bulb to find the right pattern.

I then added some thin aluminum from a can to wedge in and create some resistance so I could move the bulbs in and out as well as rotate them to get the best pattern. A single folded piece seems to do the trick.

Here is the drivers side location.

And here is the passenger side. You can see different depths and rotations. I tailored each bulb to each headlight housing.

I then carfully removed each bulb and added a few drops of super glue into the other 3 detent holes to lock it into position.

Then to seal the rear, I ditched the skinny rear o-ring which won't work anymore and I filled the gap with high temp copper rtv. I let them sit for a half day to make sure the super glue dried thoroughly and the RTV would set up mostly. Longer would be better, but I was limited on time.

After drying, I put the locking rings on then screwed the heatsinks almost all the way down. I left a few threads, positioned the set screw to the top and locked it into place. Then I put the bulbs into each housing and popped the headlights back into the car.

NOTE: (With the headlights in the car, you have to unlock the heatsink set screw with a tiny allen key and spin the heatsink off to get the bulb in and out of the housing. So make sure the set screw is always facing straight up.)

Wiring is plug and play, no relays needed. It uses a tiny voltage box smaller than a pack of cigs. Each bulb only uses 23w. No startup like HID and no high current consumption like when the HID's are starting,

Now I have a super bright light with a factory beam pattern on low.

High beam is not so good. Since the high beam LEDs are in the wrong location they basically scatter creating a flood pattern. This is great for slow driving in a dark area, but not so great for high speed night driving. I decided to live with it because it's not so bad at all, plus I can see really well with the low beam. Better than the HID projectors even. I may add a spot beam auxillary light to act as a high beam later.

Last edited by JasonWW; 05-10-2016 at 08:24 AM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2016, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the result. Keep in mind the exposure is low to better see the shapes. The actual brightness is pretty amazing.

The cutoff. Not perfect, but pretty much factory.

The scattered high beam.

Here is a comparison next to a Sylvania Silverstar halogen. I didn't have the LED tweaked just right, it's aimed a little low and it still had the shield in place in this early test so the cutoff is not very sharp. The brightness is a big improvement. The color as well. It makes that Silverstar look weak and yellow.

I'll be ordering some more of these, but not in a 9007. I want to get an H4 for my motorcycle and a 9006 for my truck. These 2 sizes should not need any modifications (I hope).

Update, the H4 bulbs work perfect in my motorcycle. Low and high beam are exactly like stock with a sharp cutoff on low.

Last edited by JasonWW; 04-15-2017 at 05:31 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2016, 01:41 PM
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Nice write up. I've been thinking about getting a set of 9007 leds. Thanks for the pics.

Originally Posted by JasonWW
look weak and yellow.
Some do run yellow

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-08-2016, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for the info and pics, I am going to get me a set and do them the same as you.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the drivers side installed. You can see there is plenty of clearance around the heatsink and the little controller box fits right next to it.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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I've updated to a new LED kit. It is easier to modify than this kit, has good high beams and the color temperature is more white with less blue in it. I get the same factory beam pattern and same output. Measured at 4 times the output of the stock bulb.
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Last edited by JasonWW; 06-15-2017 at 02:21 PM.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 06:33 AM
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Just a note....
I tried led headlight install on my 98 mark 8 due to them no longer making stock bulbs for the low beams...THEY DONT WORK in the m8 it sends a voltage check signal to the headlights every few minutes and that tiny change in voltage shuts off the led ballasts . so every time I would have to turn off and back on the headlights ..needless to say it never left the garage and the leds wound up installed on my daughters powerwheel and I had to find a stock lowbean bulb used for 75$...?
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