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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so today I get a message that says "HEADLAMP MALFUNCTION" on my display. I look and sure enough one of them is burned out.

When I get home, I'm surprised to find upon disassembly the 3-prong plug is slightly melted and brittle to the touch. I check the bulb, and it's a Sylvania H4 90/100 bulb.

I just got the car, and knew one headlight looked dimmer but hadn't checked the bulbs since they were both working fine. The previous owner gave me a second H4 90/100 bulb in the glove box to change the other bulb out when I had a chance.

I remove the good bulb from the other side to check things out, and it's a Sylvania H4 55/60, the same bulb that used to be in my Motorcycle headlamp Nacelle before switching to SilverStar bulbs a year ago.

I popped in a spare H4 55/60 I had in my toolbox to replace the burnt out plug, and it fired right up. I came to the conclusion that the brighter bulb generated too much heat, melted a wire, and caused the error message to come on. I cleaned up the plug, and was able to salvage it.

So, the $22,000 question is, should there never have been an H4 90/100 bulb in that housing to begin with :evil: (was the previous owner just mistaken to put such a large wattage bulb in?) And two, what's the largest size bulb you can run in the NG900 headlights w/o risk of another meltdown? ;oops:

Disaster averted for now, but that was a scary burnt plug to see inside the headlight's protective cover, y'know?

-zen
 

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Wow, an H4 90/100 in an OEM housing, i'm curious as to where they were able to purchase this type of bulb...

The OEM bulb should be H4 55/60, 55 watt I believe is the legal limit on low-beam headlamps in North America.

H4 90/100, I wonder how much current a 90 watt low-beam bulb draws...? And how much heat.

At least our headlight lens is glass and not plastic, however the headlight unit is plastic...
 

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The car's wiring is not designed to exceed H4 55/60 as they're not legal on the road in Europe. Wiring and connectors are running outside of their parameters with higher wattage bulbs.
 

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Yes I had an old alfa 90 and ran 90/110's and it melted the wiring everywhere arrggghhh what a problem that was! Best idea is 55/60's and use +50%s like silverstars or better.

Cheers M.
 

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Surprising that a H4 90/100 can even be used, I doubt that it is legal, consider the glare facing the poor oncoming drivers..... This may be OK on a race course.. And the damage to the electrical system....:nono;
 

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Philips has some +80% bulbs (X-Treme Power) and Osram just came out with +90% bulbs (Night Breaker) that are still the stock wattage. I'm sure they're exaggerating a little, but still, they are brighter than normal bulbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well the plug is identical on an H4 bulb regardless of the wattage of the bulb. I was pretty annoyed to see the melty mess, but was able to save the plug. I am guessing the P.O. bought the bulbs w/o checking the fine print on the outer rim that read 90/100W or he bought bulbs and thought they were fine since they were H4s.

I think I'll take the same advice I used on my Honda motorcycle and just switch to Silverstar 55/60 bulbs later this week.

-zen


earthworm said:
Surprising that a H4 90/100 can even be used, I doubt that it is legal, consider the glare facing the poor oncoming drivers..... This may be OK on a race course.. And the damage to the electrical system....:nono;
 

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Part of the problem is that many stock H4's and 9004 headlamp-bulbs sold in the US are actually 45/60-watts. For a while there were 60/80w-bulbs available. I used to use 60/100's and 100-w foglamps without any problems in other cars before. With quad-lights and fogs, you could throw 600-w on a lonely, dark road...hehheh....what a difference over 90-watts.

The real "*****" is that where I live you never can use your high-beams since there's still too-much oncoming traffic and other drivers too-close in front of you. It's very easy to overdrive your own headlights at highway speeds even with your low-beams adjusted to throw way out in-front. Here, 70mph in moderately-heavy traffic is normal night-driving and no-place for high-beams.

With my C900t, when the low-beams were adjusted to throw way-out-in-front, the high beams were waaay-up in the treees and unusable. If you adjusted so the high beams were level and out-front, then the low beams barely illuminated the car in front of you at highway speeds. (They must have designed those lenses as low-speed city-beams.)

I'm still playing with the adjustment on my NG900SEt. At the moment I have a bad bulb that appears to be upside-down. On low-beam it just makes one horizontal band about 2-ft high at level...with no light above or below that. I think the little low-beam reflector-shade is upsidedown. The other, correctly working, low-beam has a very sharp vertical cut-off at level that I have to coax up a little higher for more high-speed illumination, without breaking the now-stiff adjuster. (I don't feel like the expense of new headlight buckets.) Then I'll decide on higher wattage or brighter bulbs. Although people advise against them, I prefer the yellowish "all-weather" bulbs to the blue-tints...to me they make wet asphalt a little more vsible.
 

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TedBnNJ said:
I'm still playing with the adjustment on my NG900SEt.
I dare you to live in Europe; beams are annually checked; the car will fail its documentation until it is made right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, I've also experienced the low-beams being too low and ineffective. I'm still trying to find a happy place, the Haynes manual gives listings for positions 0, 1, 2, and 3. 3 being a fully loaded car (5 people) with luggage. I'm going to try a 1 tonight and see how that goes. 0 is too low.

I'm also going to silverstars later this week. I prefer the cool blue/white light, I might change my fogs to yellow bulbs, my motorcycle has a combination of yellow lightbar spots and silverstar headlights, the yellow/blue combination makes for an easier time seeing the road (Your eyes see better in the dark with cones than the rods of your eyes).

-zen

TedBnNJ said:
Part of the problem is that many stock H4's and 9004 headlamp-bulbs sold in the US are actually 45/60-watts. For a while there were 60/80w-bulbs available. I used to use 60/100's and 100-w foglamps without any problems in other cars before. With quad-lights and fogs, you could throw 600-w on a lonely, dark road...hehheh....what a difference over 90-watts.

The real "*****" is that where I live you never can use your high-beams since there's still too-much oncoming traffic and other drivers too-close in front of you. It's very easy to overdrive your own headlights at highway speeds even with your low-beams adjusted to throw way out in-front. Here, 70mph in moderately-heavy traffic is normal night-driving and no-place for high-beams.

With my C900t, when the low-beams were adjusted to throw way-out-in-front, the high beams were waaay-up in the treees and unusable. If you adjusted so the high beams were level and out-front, then the low beams barely illuminated the car in front of you at highway speeds. (They must have designed those lenses as low-speed city-beams.)

I'm still playing with the adjustment on my NG900SEt. At the moment I have a bad bulb that appears to be upside-down. On low-beam it just makes one horizontal band about 2-ft high at level...with no light above or below that. I think the little low-beam reflector-shade is upsidedown. The other, correctly working, low-beam has a very sharp vertical cut-off at level that I have to coax up a little higher for more high-speed illumination, without breaking the now-stiff adjuster. (I don't feel like the expense of new headlight buckets.) Then I'll decide on higher wattage or brighter bulbs. Although people advise against them, I prefer the yellowish "all-weather" bulbs to the blue-tints...to me they make wet asphalt a little more vsible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They stopped checking headlight/beam angle in New Jersey DMV (MOT) back in the mid-1980s.

-zen

ragtopcav said:
I dare you to live in Europe; beams are annually checked; the car will fail its documentation until it is made right.
 

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So that explains the cars I see on the Interstate on foggy nights with the one headlight pointed upwards at a 10-15 degree angle...hehheheh.


....I have this evil tempation to mount this nice set of 6-in. dia Cibie shallow-dish 100w yellow foglamps I have leftover from a previous car in-front of the grille rally-style; but I'm not wild about drilling through the front bumper assembly. And I don't want to impede too-much airflow, though most of the air actually enters through the grille under the bumper. I'm not that impressed with the lenses on the Saab fogs, and the Cibie's are true fog-lenses with a real narrow flat but wide plane of light. I figure I'll link their relay to the rear fog circuit, and leave the factory fogs on their original circuit and relay.

And somewhere I have a brand-new pair of 7-in or 8-in Cibie Oscar clear foglamps I've never used.
 

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If Saab/GM were smart and employed smart designers, they would ,in the front "bumper" (bumper cover), have built in openings for the Cibies or any good super fog light.This would increase the costs slightly, and regular fogs could still be standard equipment.

And , I now believe my daughters car was victimized by these super bright lites at one time in the past, as witnessed by the wire and connector damage..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I switched both lights out for Sylvania Silverstars today, nice & bright.

-zen

earthworm said:
If Saab/GM were smart and employed smart designers, they would ,in the front "bumper" (bumper cover), have built in openings for the Cibies or any good super fog light.This would increase the costs slightly, and regular fogs could still be standard equipment.

And , I now believe my daughters car was victimized by these super bright lites at one time in the past, as witnessed by the wire and connector damage..
 

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I noticed that several of the on-line sellers of over-wattage bulbs also have high-temp plugs that you can splice-in so the socket doesn't overheat and melt.
 
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