2020 GC Altitude Headlights - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 38 Old 12-19-2019, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
dthomas3901
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2020 GC Altitude Headlights

I got a new 2020 GC Altitude a couple weeks ago. The halogen headlights are horrible. I'd like to upgrade to either LED or HID bulbs. I don't want to do the full headlight replacement. I've read a bunch of posts about headlight replacements, but still unsure if works, and what I need.

First, any suggestions from anyone that has done it?

Second, I've found several LED/HID bulbs, but wondering if they will work. They all say just plug and go. But is there any other things I need to do? Some conversion kits have ballasts, some do not. Some come with warning cancelers, others do not. Some have a power harness for anti flickering, others do not.

It's all a little overwhelming. I know the bulbs are a pain to replace, so I want to do it once and have it work. I'm leaning toward LED since they will last much longer than HID before replacement is needed.

Thanks in advance for any input.

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post #2 of 38 Old 12-19-2019, 07:25 PM
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Personally, I would start with quality LED bulbs since you can get some that are the right size to replace a halogen bulb. HID’s are wonky in non-HID housings, so I would make that a last option.

I haven’t kept up with the advances, but the Philips Luxeon LED’s were the next-gen a couple years ago.

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post #3 of 38 Old 12-19-2019, 09:00 PM
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Swapping headlight bulbs can be a can of worms, there are tons of threads here discussing the subject. There are higher power halogens but LED bulbs seem to be the go to option now days. You probably need to buy adjustable ones as the WK2 housings likes the LED bulb cocked 90 degrees different than most for the best beam pattern. HIDS can be done for much more money and, on a 2020, are probably aren't worth the trouble over LEDs. There are a couple forum sponsors that sell kits or bulbs, sometimes at a discount to forum members.

If you haven't found a good thread by the time I get back I'll try to find one of the better threads for you. There may be a couple options indexed in the modification sticky thread.

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post #4 of 38 Old 12-19-2019, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply Coldcase. Iíve read through some threads, but am still confused. Iíd appreciate it if you know of a good one. I am leaning towards LED. Any suggestions?
Also, on the 2020, the dust cover is a flexible rubber cover. So Iím hoping for something without too many components. Iíd like to be able to fit the components within the bulb compartment. Canít really drill a hole through cap like I saw on older models.
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post #5 of 38 Old 12-19-2019, 11:15 PM
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Quality LED like diode dynamics SL1 is what Iím using on my 2018 GC. Itís been a couple of months and so far no problems. All the components like the anti flicker module will fit inside the housing without any modifications. The beam pattern is good enough for me. Also change your fogs with Vledz H11 LED while your bumper cover is off.


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post #6 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dthomas3901 View Post
Thanks for the reply Coldcase. Iíve read through some threads, but am still confused. Iíd appreciate it if you know of a good one. I am leaning towards LED. Any suggestions?
Also, on the 2020, the dust cover is a flexible rubber cover. So Iím hoping for something without too many components. Iíd like to be able to fit the components within the bulb compartment. Canít really drill a hole through cap like I saw on older models.
Let me see if I can clarify some things.


Here is the legal situation:


Lighting (in the US) is governed by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 108. This mandates that you can you can only replace a headlighting bulb with the same type - so halogen with halogen, HID with HID, etc.).


OK, so that's the law and we know that some laws are stupid. Is there a real reason why you shouldn't swap bulbs?


Actually, there is a good reason and you can read about it here and in the link towards then of the article.


The only legal way of getting HIDs is to trade your car in. If you're not worried about legalities, then the only other way (that won't cause glare and decreased vision for you or others) is to get the OE HID housings, ballasts, bulbs, wiring and all the other stuff.


What you will get is lots of people on forums that will say "just do it" - in part because they aren't driving your car and aren't driving the cars coming towards you.
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post #7 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by slim0531 View Post
Quality LED like diode dynamics SL1 is what Iím using on my 2018 GC. Itís been a couple of months and so far no problems. All the components like the anti flicker module will fit inside the housing without any modifications. The beam pattern is good enough for me. Also change your fogs with Vledz H11 LED while your bumper cover is off.


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That is a very telling statement.


I know there will be many posters extolling the advantages of their kits - even if they know deep down that they are causing glare and actually diminish the driver's visibility - but everyone needs to justify their purchase.


That's perfectly fine, but the bottom line is that there is no legal HID/LED "upgrade" - for good reason.
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post #8 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 10:11 AM
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That is a very telling statement.


I know there will be many posters extolling the advantages of their kits - even if they know deep down that they are causing glare and actually diminish the driver's visibility - but everyone needs to justify their purchase.


That's perfectly fine, but the bottom line is that there is no legal HID/LED "upgrade" - for good reason.


Based on my experience. The ones I use is not glaring/ blinding to others at all. I asked my friend (driving a sedan) to drive in front of me and heís not bothered with the light as it is projected downwards. The beam pattern is the same as oem just brighter and whiter in color. This was one of my issues before I changed to LED because I hate drivers with glaring headlights! Especially the ones with reflector headlight thatís upgraded to HID or LED which is aiming like itís on night beam all the time. Iím planning to get LED high beams to use it against drivers with glaring headlights.


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post #9 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 10:19 AM
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Let me see if I can clarify some things.


What you will get is lots of people on forums that will say "just do it" - in part because they aren't driving your car and aren't driving the cars coming towards you.
Good info here.

And sad to say totally correct. There are non-OEM halogen bulbs you can try that if they have the DOT label should be legal. That would be the smallest can of worms for this. Given the issue seems to be headlight design, that is reflector, placement, etc, I don't think you are going to get much improvement with a bulb swap. A HID bulb swap while possible is likely to be a problem for oncoming drivers. My 2019 is HID so I'm not sure how high beams work on the halogen lights work, but unless it's a separate bulb you will lose your highs.

I will say that my HID 2019 does not seem to compare well to my 2013 Wrangler with (DOT approved) JR Speaker LED lights...
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post #10 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 12:04 PM
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Good info here.

And sad to say totally correct. There are non-OEM halogen bulbs you can try that if they have the DOT label should be legal. That would be the smallest can of worms for this. Given the issue seems to be headlight design, that is reflector, placement, etc, I don't think you are going to get much improvement with a bulb swap. A HID bulb swap while possible is likely to be a problem for oncoming drivers. My 2019 is HID so I'm not sure how high beams work on the halogen lights work, but unless it's a separate bulb you will lose your highs.

I will say that my HID 2019 does not seem to compare well to my 2013 Wrangler with (DOT approved) JR Speaker LED lights...
Unless you performed the conversion and saw the results you’re just speculating.

In Ceb’s link above the 3 failed 9004/9006/9004 bulb tests were on a ‘98 Nissan Frontier, a ‘96 Chevy Lumina, and again on a ‘98 Nissan Fronitier.

These 2 decade old vehicles had reflector housings, not projector domes. And no doubt not all vehicles have quality projector domes like the GC has.

Same thing for that horrid video in Ceb’s link - it’s an HID conversion into a reflector housing dispersing blinding light all over the place.

As per Slim’s experience with LED bulbs in a GC with a projector dome, I converted my 2016 almost 4 years ago with the Xenon Depot (acquired last year by TRS/The Retrofit Source) kit.

There is a clean demarcation line of light below a sedan’s trunk level, not a flood of light all over God’s creation.

I just traded the car in about a month ago and like Slim I also had never been flashed by an oncoming driver.

Btw, I gave the the dealer full disclosure on the lighting mod. Honestly, the salesman said: “Excellent, it will help sell it quicker.”

Here is a video by Headlight Revolution where you can see Reflector vs Projector housing conversions using HID & LED:

HR and TRS have a number of videos with comparisons of HID vs LED, as well as shootouts within bulb type.

For the OP, here is HR’s latest test on a Durango using LED. It’s a simpler, cleaner conversion and the LED performance now matches or exceeds HID:

Lastly, if you want the stock GC look with the LED DRLs and HID D3S’s, then this is the pricey option CC mentioned. I have yet to read anything negative about their products or work:
https://www.mhfautolighting.com/

I am certain you will enjoy the results of your conversion without impacting other drivers just as I and others have.

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post #11 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Danamr
I will say that my HID 2019 does not seem to compare well to my 2013 Wrangler with (DOT approved) JR Speaker LED lights...
Hey Dana, that doesn’t surprise me. The $55 per pair H11 HID kit lights I had in my 2016 were brighter and fuller than the OEM Osram D3S’s in my 2019.

When the weather gets better here I will swap in a pair of Osram Night Breaker Lasers, or Philips XV2’s, or Osram CBB’s.

You can view D3S shootout result videos that quantify the performance over the OEMs. It’s like night and day

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post #12 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 01:23 PM
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Unless you performed the conversion and saw the results youíre just speculating.

In Cebís link above the 3 failed 9004/9006/9004 bulb tests were on a Ď98 Nissan Frontier, a Ď96 Chevy Lumina, and again on a Ď98 Nissan Fronitier.

These 2 decade old vehicles had reflector housings, not projector domes. And no doubt not all vehicles have quality projector domes like the GC has.

Same thing for that horrid video in Cebís link - itís an HID conversion into a reflector housing dispersing blinding light all over the place.

As per Slimís experience with LED bulbs in a GC with a projector dome, I converted my 2016 almost 4 years ago with the Xenon Depot (acquired last year by TRS/The Retrofit Source) kit.

There is a clean demarcation line of light below a sedanís trunk level, not a flood of light all over Godís creation.

I just traded the car in about a month ago and like Slim I also had never been flashed by an oncoming driver.

Btw, I gave the the dealer full disclosure on the lighting mod. Honestly, the salesman said: ďExcellent, it will help sell it quicker.Ē

Here is a video by Headlight Revolution where you can see Reflector vs Projector housing conversions using HID & LED:
https://youtu.be/ygPiFvCth3U

HR and TRS have a number of videos with comparisons of HID vs LED, as well as shootouts within bulb type.

For the OP, here is HRís latest test on a Durango using LED. Itís a simpler, cleaner conversion and the LED performance now matches or exceeds HID:
https://youtu.be/U0sPFOsoFpI

Lastly, if you want the stock GC look with the LED DRLs and HID D3Sís, then this is the pricey option CC mentioned. I have yet to read anything negative about their products or work:
https://www.mhfautolighting.com/

I am certain you will enjoy the results of your conversion without impacting other drivers just as I and others have.
Let me quote Daniel Stern's last paragraph:


Please note: From time to time, I am asked to comment on what are marketed as "new developments" in HID kits, and those asking sometimes point out to me that these "new developments" might render this article out-of-date, since the copyright date on the article is older than the date of these "new developments". Please understand, marketeers will always be coming up with dazzling new pseudoscience, tempting new hype and sneaky new ways of trying to convince you to buy their stuff. It's what they do. This article will never go out of date, because the problems with HID kits are conceptual problems, not problems of implementation. Therefore, they cannot be overcome by additional research and development, any more than someone could develop a way for you to put on somebody else's eyeglasses and see correctly.
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post #13 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 02:04 PM
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Yeah, keep in mind the late model WK2s use projector housings where the early model uses reflector type, its different.

If we are just talking just about replacing the bulb in the late models, look at LED bulb replacement options. Dunno the differences in the 2020 housing. If you want to talk about DRLs and other features its a different story.

There is a disclaimer in the modification thread for HIDs (https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...index-1325215/), because of the many lighting complaints some states have been enforcing the DOT regs.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...rades-4330629/

Also the tail end of this thread:

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...71/index2.html

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory;
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post #14 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 04:00 PM
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Yeah, keep in mind the late model WK2s use projector housings where the early model uses reflector type, its different.

If we are just talking just about replacing the bulb in the late models, look at LED bulb replacement options. Dunno the differences in the 2020 housing. If you want to talk about DRLs and other features its a different story.

There is a disclaimer in the modification thread for HIDs (https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...index-1325215/), because of the many lighting complaints some states have been enforcing the DOT regs.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...rades-4330629/

Also the tail end of this thread:

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...71/index2.html
All very good points that reinforce that any headlight mod is technically illegal. I'd like to add my final 2 cent's worth (currently on sale for a penny)about the reflector vs projector housings.


There is this misconception in the enthusiast community (reinforced by vendors) that it is OK to put HID or LED bulbs into projector housings because they "focus the beam".


This is patently incorrect. A projector housing designed for halogens is significantly different from a projector housing for HIDs - in part because of the differences in how the bulbs work.


The second common misconception is that "brighter is better". That too, is incorrect. In layman's terms, the eye is always drawn to the brightest area and all of the HID kits create hotspots and invariably places the brightest part of the light too close to the car. Additionally, the glare will reduce your ability to see anything in the shadows.


Halogens actually have several advantages in some instances. Because they aren't overly bright, they will allow you to see things that may be in near darkness - that deer or pedestrian.


A well designed HID system will actually mimic a halogen system in that there are few hotspots and that the beam is projected far down the road.


One of the best designed systems is on the 2011-2014 Acura TSX. The low beams are HID and the high beams are halogen. Why? Because the "warmer" light of the halogen bulb provides sufficient light, yet doesn't kill everything in the dark.


Unfortunately, we've been told that HIDs and LEDs are the cat's meow - yet testing from organizations like IIHS show that most OE LED headlighting units are inferior to HIDs
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post #15 of 38 Old 12-20-2019, 05:31 PM
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I believe you. Its hard to beat the lighting on my 85 Vette for distance and beam pattern, those are H6054 sealed beam halogens. The fact they are set lower to the ground than the average vehicle may have something to do with it. The WK2 HIDs don't come close to providing as much usable light.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory;
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