Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) Tech Guide

In the world of automobiles, there are three main types of lighting used today; Halogen, Xenon (HID), and LED. Halogen is the most common and also the oldest and most tried technology available. Halogen bulbs are used in every aspect of daily life, not just on your car. Most household bulbs are Halogen, they are cheap to make and have been in use since the early 1900′s. Halogen bulbs consist of a metal filament that glows when electrical current is sent through it, and Halogen gas inside the bulb is used to help promote long life and durability.

Xenon High Intensity Discharge, or HID, is a newer technology with many benefits over a standard Halogen type bulb. Instead of using a metal filament that is prone to failure over long term use due to high heat, Xenon bulbs use Xenon gas to create light instead. A steady electrical current is sent through the gas causing it to ignite which gives you the brilliant white light we have come to love from Xenon. There are a few advantages to using Xenon over Halogen, one being the significantly longer life, another being a brighter white color vs. Halogen’s yellowish light. Xenon technology also uses less wattage than a Halogen bulb and therefore Xenon runs significantly cooler than it’s Halogen counterpart. This lower temperature reduces risk of fire and premature failure. The white light emitted by Xenon bulbs also better represent daylight and make nighttime driving easier on the eyes.

LED technology, or Light Emitting Diode, is the newest technology available to the automotive lighting world. These tiny bulbs come in many colors, sizes, and shapes. They use the least amount of power out of the three technologies and run cool by comparison. They also have the longest life of all the bulb types because there is no heat to cause component failure. The downside to LEDs is their brightness, they are rather dim by comparison, and in order to create a similar amount of light to that of a Xenon bulb, you would need dozens of the smaller LEDs.

So now that we know how they work and what the benefits are, it’s pretty easy to see why HID technology has really dominated the automotive market when it comes to headlamps. You get the brightest whitest light available in a package that outlasts Halogen and runs cooler. Another advantage to Xenon technology is the ability to offer different “Color Temperatures” with different kits for different applications to fine tune the perfect look for each and every customer.

Typically HID color temps range from 4300k all the way to 12,000k. Although you may assume a higher number means the light is brighter, it’s actually the exact opposite. A 12,000k HID bulb emits a blue almost purple light, however this blue light isn’t as effective when it comes to illuminating a night road. Many people assume that the higher the number, the brighter the light…this is incorrect. The higher the color temperature the less usable light you have to use. A 4300k tempurature will create a pure white light that peirces through the night, and is by far the best at lighting up a night road. The kelvin rating is for color, the output is measured in lumens. A 35W HID bulb outputs 3x the lumens that a 55W Halogen bulb would output. The image below shows the differences in color temps from 4300k to 12,000k.

If you are looking for an HID package that will not stand out too much and will offer better visibility without the blue tint, 4300k is the perfect temperature for you. This is a pure white light that is the closest to a Halogen bulb’s color output. 6000k is our most popular temperature as is adds a bit of stylish blue tint without reducing visibility. There is almost no difference in visibility between a 4300k HID and a 6000k HID. Once you get to 8000k and above you start losing a small amount usable light, but you get the stylish blue tint that many enthusiasts demand from their HID kits. No matter what you choose in terms of color temperature, it will almost certainly be an improvement over your stock Halogens. Not just in terms of light output, but in longevity as well.

Now that we’ve covered the technology and color temps, what about the hardware? Included with every HID kit are ballasts. The job of the ballasts is to regulate electric current through the Xenon gas within the HID bulb. Without the ballast, the current would vary and the light would flicker. Ballasts come in many shapes and sizes, and depending on the quality of the kit their materials will vary. Cheap kits use plastic ballasts that are prone to overheating and pose a fire risk. Quality ballasts are constructed of metal materials and will last significantly longer in the harsh environment of your engine bay.

Below are some customer images showing different color temperatures:

4300K

6000k

8000k

10,000k

For more information on StangMods HID kits, visit our store and view our HID selection at: http://www.stangmods.com/Mustang-HID-Lighting-s/61.htm – Here you will find kits for late model Mustangs as well as kits for Non-Mustang applications.

How-To: Installing Headlamp Lenses & HIDs in 79-93 Foxbody Mustangs

With more and more cars on the road coming equipped with HID headlamps from the factory, older cars are really starting to show their age in terms of lighting technology. The foxbody Mustangs come standard with halogen bulbs and plastic housings that are prone to clouding over time, which is rather dangerous for night visibility. At StangMods we love lighting, so when we picked up our 93′ LX project car one of the first things we replaced were the headlamps. We opted for an OEM style 3-piece design. There are 1-piece lenses out there for the fox, but they don’t fit the same and look a bit tacky in our opinion. We wanted to keep the car looking as original as possible while improving light output and appearance. The image below shows the difference between the stock with halogen and the new lenses with our 4300k single-beam HID kit.

The install was rather simple, took about an hour and a half from start to finish. The most difficult part is removing the stock lenses, some of the nuts that hold the lenses in are hard to get to, but with patience and the right tools for the job it was well worth it. On each headlight, there are 7 nuts total. The image below with the lenses removes shows clearly where these mounting points are, circled in red. These nuts are 11mm, and we used both a socked and an open-end wrench, depending on the location.

These 7 nuts are located on the back of the headlights, the passenger side was a little easier to work on. On the drivers side there was one nut we had to access from the bottom through the front bumper, but again we stress that patience and an open-end 11mm wrench and socket will get the job done. We started with the passenger side corner lens, once you remove the two nuts holding the lens in place, rotate the bulb and free it from the lens.

The center lens, the actual headlight, has three 11mm nuts holding it in place. After removing these the lens slides out. Twist the bulb retaining ring and slide it back, the headlight bulb will come out easily. Make sure to keep this black locking ring, it is required and you will be re-using this on the new lens.

Next up remove the inner lens that houses the turn signal. We decided to replace the stock amber turn signal bulb with our 3157 chrome/amber bulbs. They look chrome when off but light up amber.

Back to the headlight lens, you will need to remove the three black clips holding the plastic bracket to the back of the headlight. These clips pop off and the bracket shown below will separate from the back of the stock housing. You will be using these three clips to fasten the stock bracket to the new lens, so be sure to keep these handy.

After removing the bracket, remove the rubber weather stripping shown below from the stock lens, as you will be using this on the new aftermarket lens. It is held on by clips on the side, it slides free easily.

Install the original headlight bracket onto the new lens and fasten it with the black metal clips. The rubber weather stripping also installs on the new lenses.

Install the new outer clear lens and side marker bulb.

After installing the new clear outer lens, find a safe and secure mounting place for the HID ballast behind the headlight, make sure none of the wires will be pinched. Feed the wires through the hole behind the headlight lens and connect the harness.

After the ballast is in place, install the HID bulb in the lens and feed the wiring through the locking ring. Install the locking ring and connect the bulb to the HID harness. Be sure to check power and make sure the HID bulb comes on before mounting the new headlamp lens to the car.

Last step is to reinstall the turn signal lens. After all the new lenses are installed, be sure to replace and tighten all 7 nuts behind the lights.

Repeat all the above steps on the other side. The install is simple, hardest part is getting the lenses out and locating the nuts holding the lenses in.

Below are some photos comparing the stock lenses to our aftermarket clear ones.

New HID Install Guide + Photos for 2011-10 Mustang

If you have a 2010-11 Mustang that lacks the factory HID option you can now add your own HIDs that look and perform a lot like the factory offering for a fraction of the price. The photos that follow are from the install of our StangMods Dual Beam Bixenon HID Headlight & Fog light Package for 10-11 Mustangs product code 00157 in color temperature 6000K.

HID color temperature typically ranges from 4300k to 10000k. A color temperature of 4300K has a “‘Pure White” color, 6000k, our most popular color temperature, has a slight blue tint. 8000K is primarily blue, and 10000K is blue/slightly purple. While a blue light output may be far more stylish than the standard factory halogen bulb’s yellow output, it’s important to note that the higher your HID color temperature, the less usable light you will experience at night.

At StangMods we make it easy to do this upgrade to your non HID 2010-11 Mustang. We provide lightning fast 2 day shipping on all HID orders, detailed installation instructions with photos for all Mustang applications, and provide a full lifetime warranty on all of our HID upgrade kits. HID kits get your Mustang noticed, not only giving your ride that premium look that will set it apart from the rest, but providing extra light for safe night driving.

If you’ve purchased an HID upgrade kit for your 2010-11 Mustang from StangMods, you can view the installation instructions HERE