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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a set of the Hella 500ff driving lights in my lower grill. They are fairly bright, but not as bright as I want them to be. What are my options for a brighter bulb? I read in places that a 100watt halogen will work and some say it will melt the housing.

I see that Hella has a 100 watt xenon blue bulb (crutchfield has a $10 sale). Is the light output as good as a 100w halogen and is the light white or blue? What are my other options for a brighter bulb (besides the $60 HID kits-thats how much the lights were to begin with)?

Either way I know I need to upgrade the wiring and fuse. Is 14g good enough with a 20 amp fuse? Can I just upgrage the wire from the battery to the relay and the relay to the lights? Or does the ground and signal wire also need upgrading?

Thanks,
Sean
 

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A 35W HID bulb is way brighter than a 100W halogen.

Consider doing an HID retrofit to the Hellas.

Many have done this mod. Most recent one I know is Madrock.

Google "hella 500 hid conversion" and you'll find a lot of How-to threads.

And if you want the HID to have a white light, stay in the 4300-5000K range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Started looking at the HID conversion more like you said. DDM tuning sells the kit for only $45. I was off on that prices so now its more reasonable. It seems the only real problem is the 500ff's. They don't project as well at the regular 500's. Anybody have first hand experience or a pic of the difference.
 

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I have the FF's converted and mounted in the bumper upside down like a lot of other members have done. I'm not happy with the beam pattern at all. I guess I should have searched a little more. I have found that they have an "arrow" pattern to the beam and it doesn't seem to spread the light out very well. In like the looks of the lights whe they are mounted, just not very happy with the light output.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What did you use in your conversion? Any pics? I was looking at the DDM 55watt 5000K or so. Maybe I should grab a set of regular 500's and keep the FF's regular halogen. But then I would have to modify the license plate to accept 4 hellas in the grill.
 

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I have 3 500's (driving pattern) mounted upside-down like others too.

When I installed them, I used my own wiring, mil-spec 14AWG (you can use any 14 AWG, I'm just being snobbish) for each run to each light, a 75A Tyco relay and 8 AWG mains wire with a 30A fuse. I plan on putting in 100W bulbs, so that is why I beefed up the wiring as the stock wiring kit is too chintzy to handle 100w bulbs.

Anyways, I also researched HID kits and 100w bulbs. Here's what I found:

HID retrofit:
The beam on the regular 500's is only so-so with a HID retro. The beam on the 500FF's is just horrible. The FF reflector does not play nice with the arc of a HID bulb. Just Google "500FF HID retrofit" and look at Google images from all around the web. Basically, it takes your pencil driving beam and turns it into a splotchy pinpoint beam.
http://www.fullsizechevy.com/forum/...r-tech/393381-hella-500ff-hid-conversion.html

If you must do HID, please stay between 4300K and 5000K color. Anything else is just for show, and honestly you can't show off your HID 500FF's on public roads....

100W upgrade:
100W bulbs burn out faster than 55W. Colored 100W bulbs burn out pretty much in a few hours. Stick to name brand clear 100W bulbs. Auto parts stores have Sylvania's for about $8-10 a piece.

You should beef up your wiring accordingly to handle the 100W bulbs, but others have stated that a Hella 2 lamp kit does handle 200W fine. I wouldn't bet on it.

No one ever experienced melted housings, when asked people stated they never melted. The reflector is metal, and the lens is glass. So, I wouldn't doubt the plastic housing will soften a bit when hot, but it should be OK.

People were mighty impressed by the performance of the 100W bulb. Everyone stated it was a huge upgrade. I would say it is better than HID since the beam is useful and very bright despite not being HID.

Remember, colored bulbs are bad. They burn hotter and die sooner, and they are less bright.

I'd tell you how 100W bulbs worked for me, but we are getting 16 hours of daylight here so I'll have to wait a while to trail test them at night....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I'm definitely going to stay away from HID with my FF's. I think Ill pick up a used set of driving 500's and convert them to HID and then upgrade my FF's to 100watts. Then I can have the two HID's blasting out straight down the road and the 100watt FF's lighting up the whole area. Just gotta figure out the stupid license plate problem.

a 75A Tyco relay and 8 AWG mains wire with a 30A fuse.
Will the relay that came with the kit (45A?) and 14 awg would be sufficient for 200 watts. Maybe 10 gauge from the battery to the relay? I would only run the two FF's off this harness and the new 500 HID's on another.
 

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Yeah I'm definitely going to stay away from HID with my FF's. I think Ill pick up a used set of driving 500's and convert them to HID and then upgrade my FF's to 100watts. Then I can have the two HID's blasting out straight down the road and the 100watt FF's lighting up the whole area. Just gotta figure out the stupid license plate problem.

Will the relay that came with the kit (45A?) and 14 awg would be sufficient for 200 watts. Maybe 10 gauge from the battery to the relay? I would only run the two FF's off this harness and the new 500 HID's on another.
Yeah 200W is only a little under 17A of current, should be fine for that relay.

I think your idea of having 2 different sets of 500's sounds pretty good. I want to get a fog 500 for my center lamp so I can have near front fill too.
 
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