2003 golf tdi headlight upgrades

Hoffa235

Active member
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Location
Mount Shasta
TDI
2003 TDI Golf
Hi everyone, I have a headlight out and I am tired or having poor visibility. I don’t want to spend as ridiculous amount of money on headlight but I want a definitive answer what what the solution it. I am planning on new housing and bulbs. I do lots or rural driving in Northern California
 

MOGolf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 27, 2001
Location
underneath something
TDI
2001 Golf GLS TDI Reflex silver, rough road suspension and steel skid plate, 2004 Passat Variant, Candy White, rough road suspension and geared balanced shaft module, and much, much more. 2016 LR RR HSE TD6, 2019 Jaguar I-PACE
I'd suggest replacing the lenses with glass lenses (Urotuning and other sellers) and adding Weathertech LampGard on them. You get the benefit of lenses that won't go yellow and are protected from stones, etc. I've had LampGards on all headlights of every car I've had for several decades and never experienced a broken lens (plastic or glass).
 

Hoffa235

Active member
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Location
Mount Shasta
TDI
2003 TDI Golf
Okay that sounds good I’ll look them up, what abt bulbs? Hid? Led? Projectors etc. lots of lingo out there and I don’t know what to do
 

Hoffa235

Active member
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Location
Mount Shasta
TDI
2003 TDI Golf
I'd suggest replacing the lenses with glass lenses (Urotuning and other sellers) and adding Weathertech LampGard on them. You get the benefit of lenses that won't go yellow and are protected from stones, etc. I've had LampGards on all headlights of every car I've had for several decades and never experienced a broken lens (plastic or glass).
Okay that sounds good I’ll look them up, what abt bulbs? Hid? Led? Projectors etc. lots of lingo out there and I don’t know what to do
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
Aftermarket housings are generally much worse than OEM in terms of light output.

Your best economical solution is, as posted above, put glass lenses on your OEM headlights. Putting HIDs or LEDs in those housings will lead to light going all over the place. Stick with the H7 halogen bulbs - go a little whiter there if you like; keep in mind, though, that *too* white (like 6000K) is terrible on wet pavement - the road all but disappears. Philips XtremeVision or Sylvania Silverstar bulbs are solid choices.

If you want a serious upgrade, then you need to buy/build some projectors - the housings with projectors in them that you find on eBay or Amazon are absolute trash (ask me how I know 🤦‍♂️). If you want a winter project, though, buy one of those housings, take them apart, replace the bulb or projector with a decent quality HID projector, put in some good-quality bulbs (CNlight; Morimoto) and decent ballasts - then you got something.
If the bulbs/ballasts are like $30-$40 for the set (two bulbs, two ballasts)...that's not gonna cut it. "Decent" costs closer to $100.
4500K or at most, 5000K color temp is best for all-conditions visibility. Much higher than that and wet roads start disappearing.

You can do a fairly decent upgrade/retrofit with just some mini-H1 projectors that screw into the reflector bowl of OEM headlights. The problem with those, though, is that they protrude out the back - won't be able to get the rear cover back on. It is possible (I've done it) to work around that, but it is a bit of a kludge. Going to some better projectors (like FX-R with D2S bulbs) is another significant improvement from those.
 
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jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
I have a pair of factory Valeo European Ecodes with glass lenses and fog lights if you are interested, I would have to check what bulbs are in them
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
I used to have some Hella E-codes on my 2002 Golf and I'd say they were marginally better, mostly attributable to the glass lenses. Given how much I spent for them (this was back c.2009), I was quite disappointed. If the OEM lights were a 4 out of 10, the e-codes were like a 4.5, while the H1 HID projectors were 8, and the FX-R projectors are 11/10. :)
 

Hoffa235

Active member
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Location
Mount Shasta
TDI
2003 TDI Golf
Gotcha okay, I just realized my drivers side headlight assembly has 2 broken mounts on top also. So looks like I will need at least 1 new housing
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
If you do want to keep your existing housings and just replace w. glass lenses, I worked around broken tabs by just using some metal strapping. Did the trick for me for 5+ years before I sold the car.
 

Hoffa235

Active member
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Location
Mount Shasta
TDI
2003 TDI Golf
Gotcha, if those housing are the best the I might try that. How did you incorporate the metal strapping?
 

hskrdu

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Location
Maryland and New England
TDI
2003 Golf GLS 4D 5M, 2015 GSW SE 6M
The black plastic tabs on top of the housing can be repaired. A search will get you some how-to's.

If you have to replace the housing, try to replace with Hella/Valeo. Almost all other aftermarket housings will leave you chasing better lighting, as the interiors are generally inferior (to put it mildly) than OE suppliers. Add glass lenses, protective coating (I prefer Lamin-X), and good bulbs, and things will be much improved. I prefer the Philips VisionPlus H7 for a good combo of temp/life/visibility/price.
 

PakProtector

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
AnnArbor, MI
TDI
Mk.4 and the Cummins-es
Nuje, I can tell you that there are D2S projectors you can cram into a set of Helix E-Codes. And close the back cover without kinking anything. D2H bulbs are the way. A set of 4500 35W bulbs and a set of A005 Hylux 45W ballasts throws some serious light. Aozoom projectors, which I have put right next to the best from Mori and found feel/quality to be the same...and surprisingly a slight nod to the Aozoom projectors in terms of pattern. The MH1 is an easy fit into e-codes.
cheers,
Douglas
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
Yeah - I'd initially tried HIDs in the projectors that came in the Hella e-code Golf4 lights, and they were....not good. A projector designed for halogen bulbs is still going to scatter light hither and yon if you put non-spec bulbs (HID or LED) in them.

Thanks for the tip on the Aozoom projectors and D2H bulbs - i'll take a look at those for my next headlight project. I've always thought the Morimotos were a little pricey for what you got; $40 Nilight H1 projectors from Amazon, with good bulbs/ballasts are probably 85-90% as good as the Morimoto H1 mini (at least, when I first tried them).
 
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