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VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old August 12th, 2018, 17:41   #1
rich121
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Default Replacement headlight options

Are there significantly better aftermarket headlights on the market (golf) that give much more light?

Please, would really like to see your posts!

Last edited by rich121; August 12th, 2018 at 19:40.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 21:53   #2
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How much do you wanna spend on better headlights, since you can go from $150 to $800.

You could see if Jeff has something that might work for you. http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=388085

Otherwise you could try VX Tuning https://www.vxtuning.com/product-cat...-golf-gti-r32/
Jetta Headlights https://www.vxtuning.com/product-cat...k4-jetta-bora/
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Old August 13th, 2018, 22:18   #3
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Rich, I pulled my housings and replaced the lenses with glass and covered those with Laminex-like protectors.



The additional light output made me forget about sinking $$ into aftermarket upgrades.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 05:54   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3L3M3NT View Post
How much do you wanna spend on better headlights, since you can go from $150 to $800.

You could see if Jeff has something that might work for you. http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=388085

Otherwise you could try VX Tuning https://www.vxtuning.com/product-cat...-golf-gti-r32/
Jetta Headlights https://www.vxtuning.com/product-cat...k4-jetta-bora/
Thank you for your information and still searching... 'Jeff' seems to be non-responsive... a few days ago I also sent a message and have not heard back... it seems that is all too common.... would like to buy from reliable source.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 05:55   #5
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Originally Posted by OlyTDI View Post
Rich, I pulled my housings and replaced the lenses with glass and covered those with Laminex-like protectors.



The additional light output made me forget about sinking $$ into aftermarket upgrades.
Looking like there isn't much in good reliable aftermarket lights as far as I can tell... appreciate your input and I just may do the same.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 06:54   #6
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If you want to spend minimal dough, you don't even need to go glass.
Pop the plastic covers off, wet sand them starting maybe with 750 or so grit and then work your way up to 1.5 or 2k grit.

Once you've done that, hit them with this 2-part clear. It's the best you can get that's not a true mixed automotive clearcoat. This stuff is awesome:



Make sure it's the high gloss clear, and wear a respirator with this since it has a hardner that gets mixed in.

A lot of videos show 1-2 coats. If it allows, I usually do an extra coat because I'd let the last coat dry, then hit it again with 1.5-2k wet sanding to get rid of any paint imperfections (ie orange peel).

Take a buffing compound with a DA buffer (or just elbow grease if you don't have access to one) and they will come out crystal clear, likely as good or better than factory. That clearcoat will last a REALLY long time. It's not like the cheap ones you get off the shelf at the automotive store.

Or spend more money for retrofitted headlights with new lenses, or make a DIY set.

Those are about your options there.

Good luck, follow up and let us know what you decide!

Edit; my apologizes about the larger pic, this forum does not allow resizing images the BBcode apparently...

Last edited by KrashDH; August 15th, 2018 at 07:30.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 07:53   #7
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Jeff's lights were nice, but made from cheap chinesium units that didn't hold up (or survive shipping). For a golf, R32 headlights would be a nice upgrade. Or - buy glass lenses and retrofit HIDs.

On my 03 wagon, I just wiped the crusty old plastic with carb cleaner - nice and clear (for the time being).
On my 04, I started with stock, polished them, replaced with Depo GLI "ecodes" with glass lenses and then a set of Jeff's lights which I had to modify to get to work correctly (ditched the relay crap that powered everything from one fuse and rewired the car to retain lowbeam power).
I have a set of glass lenses and ebay HID reflectors that will go into the 03 if I keep it long enough.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 08:06   #8
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Originally Posted by gforce1108 View Post
buy glass lenses and retrofit HIDs.

On my 03 wagon, I just wiped the crusty old plastic with carb cleaner - nice and clear (for the time being).

I have a set of glass lenses and ebay HID reflectors that will go into the 03 if I keep it long enough.
One thing to note here is that if you're going to buy glass lenses, you'll have to make sure and buy the ones that DO NOT tell you that they have imperfections. There are cheaper glass and more expensive glass, and usually the seller will identify if the glass has imperfections. The imperfection of the glass will distort the projector cutoff. Composite lenses won't do this.
I hope when you said retrofit HID's you meant retrofit in projectors, and add HID's.


I'd expect the carb cleaner trick not to last very long. When you do this, or just sand and polish, they may look good, but you've gotten rid of any UV protection the lens may have had

HID reflectors or projectors? Having experienced the ebay projectors on multiple vehicles, they are junk and often have worse output than an OEM headlight. The Depo ones seem to be the best bet if you want to buy something outright
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Old August 15th, 2018, 09:39   #9
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I have Hella OEM E-codes in mine, and they are awesome, better than just about anything else, including my brand new Sprinter, which says something since its headlights are 4+ feet in the air!

Sadly, I have not been able to find glass lense Hella E-code lamps lately for a customer, but we did find some plastic lense E-codes (Hella) from ECStuning that seemed to work just as well. Just that the plastic may degrade over time.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 09:42   #10
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Originally Posted by oilhammer View Post
I have Hella OEM E-codes in mine, and they are awesome, better than just about anything else, including my brand new Sprinter, which says something since its headlights are 4+ feet in the air!
Sadly, I have not been able to find glass lense Hella E-code lamps lately for a customer, but we did find some plastic lense E-codes (Hella) from ECStuning that seemed to work just as well. Just that the plastic may degrade over time.
I have the Hella E Code's that have the OEM plastic and they were excellent for standard halogen lamps. I've been debating during my retrofit going with glass, but I figure after issues with distortion, it's just easier for me to remove the headlight every 5+ years and re-coat if I need to. My car takes a lot of rocks out where I'm at, I'd be worried about them shattering or chipping too easy
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Old August 15th, 2018, 10:54   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrashDH View Post
One thing to note here is that if you're going to buy glass lenses, you'll have to make sure and buy the ones that DO NOT tell you that they have imperfections. There are cheaper glass and more expensive glass, and usually the seller will identify if the glass has imperfections. The imperfection of the glass will distort the projector cutoff. Composite lenses won't do this.
I hope when you said retrofit HID's you meant retrofit in projectors, and add HID's.

I'd expect the carb cleaner trick not to last very long. When you do this, or just sand and polish, they may look good, but you've gotten rid of any UV protection the lens may have had
HID reflectors or projectors? Having experienced the ebay projectors on multiple vehicles, they are junk and often have worse output than an OEM headlight. The Depo ones seem to be the best bet if you want to buy something outright
I bought the glass lenses from Volux a while ago. No mention of imperfections - but I had them on the shelf prior to deciding to do HIDs.
Retrofitting projectors into the stock headlight. It's a test project. It's very easy to get the lenses off so I figured I'd start with a cheap set and see how the project goes and figure out if I need a better set the next time.
As far as the carb cleaner - it's lasted several months so far. The set I polished only lasted about 6 months before starting to fog again and this is much simpler! A very light, quick wipe with a clean lint-free rag did wonders. (band-aide of course)
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Old August 15th, 2018, 13:30   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilhammer View Post
I have Hella OEM E-codes in mine, and they are awesome, better than just about anything else, including my brand new Sprinter, which says something since its headlights are 4+ feet in the air!
Sadly, I have not been able to find glass lense Hella E-code lamps lately for a customer, but we did find some plastic lense E-codes (Hella) from ECStuning that seemed to work just as well. Just that the plastic may degrade over time.
Depending if you wanna take the time or not, but you could upgrade to glass lenses if you already have the headlights.
Golf Glass Lenses
Jetta Glass Lenses

Otherwise if you haven't ordered the lights yet you could always order a set of E-Code headlights with glass lenses already installed. If you own a Golf you're in luck and they're in stock, but the Jetta owners are going to have to wait till the middle of October.
Golf E-Codes
Jetta E-Codes on Back Order

Quote:
Originally Posted by KrashDH View Post
I have the Hella E Code's that have the OEM plastic and they were excellent for standard halogen lamps. I've been debating during my retrofit going with glass, but I figure after issues with distortion, it's just easier for me to remove the headlight every 5+ years and re-coat if I need to. My car takes a lot of rocks out where I'm at, I'd be worried about them shattering or chipping too easy
One thing that I always made sure that I put on my headlights when I got them was Lamin-X headlight film to prevent rock chips, the headlight lense from shattering, and it also prevented the lenses from yellowing.

If you wanna give it a try.
https://www.vxtuning.com/shop/vehicl...-jetta-bora-2/
https://www.vxtuning.com/shop/vehicl...mkiv-golf-gti/

ECS Tuning sells Lamin-X as well.
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Old August 15th, 2018, 14:58   #13
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My experience may be out of the normal, but I had good luck with letting Walmart polish the lenses on my stock headlights last May.

They're over a year in service now, and not showing any signs of yellowing.
The light output with clear lenses is amazing when coming from hazed and yellowed lenses. Being that it only cost me ~$30 and an hour waiting, I figured it was money well spent.
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Old Yesterday, 17:31   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3L3M3NT View Post
Depending if you wanna take the time or not, but you could upgrade to glass lenses if you already have the headlights.
Golf Glass Lenses
Jetta Glass Lenses
Otherwise if you haven't ordered the lights yet you could always order a set of E-Code headlights with glass lenses already installed. If you own a Golf you're in luck and they're in stock, but the Jetta owners are going to have to wait till the middle of October.
Golf E-Codes
Jetta E-Codes on Back Order
One thing that I always made sure that I put on my headlights when I got them was Lamin-X headlight film to prevent rock chips, the headlight lense from shattering, and it also prevented the lenses from yellowing.
If you wanna give it a try.
https://www.vxtuning.com/shop/vehicl...-jetta-bora-2/
https://www.vxtuning.com/shop/vehicl...mkiv-golf-gti/
ECS Tuning sells Lamin-X as well.
Aren't those Jetta E-Code headlights at VXTuning aftermarket units rather than OEM Hellas? I understand the quality of the aftermarket is significantly lower than OEM.
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Old Yesterday, 20:30   #15
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Originally Posted by McGuillicuddy View Post
Aren't those Jetta E-Code headlights at VXTuning aftermarket units rather than OEM Hellas? I understand the quality of the aftermarket is significantly lower than OEM.
I honestly don't know one way or the other who makes the headlights for VX Tuning. If I had to guess, I'd say they're aftermarket headlights, but the real question then is which aftermarket company makes them? Since I'm sure like anything else there are variations in the quality from one manufacturer to the next.
Like these E-Code headlights I pulled up on ECS Tuning for example:
OEM $476 https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-...t/1j5698001bg/
Helix $169.95 https://www.ecstuning.com/b-helix-pa...ack/hvwj4hl-b/
Spec-D Tuning $129.95 https://www.ecstuning.com/b-spec_d-t...lhjet99rs~sdt/

IMO paying $476 for OEM E-Codes is nuts. I'd rather purchase a set of retrofits at that price and have even better light output than a set of E-Codes. Otherwise I'd take a chance on the set of $169.95 set of E-Codes and hope that they're better than the US factory headlights and if they aren't you could always send them out to get retrofitted with a set of projectors and have a really nice set of headlights.

That's just my .02, since I believe having good visibility at night makes a huge difference in your safety.
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