Brighter than stock headlight bulb for 2002 Jetta

Randy Ruhle

New member
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Location
Colorado
TDI
Jetta GLS Wagon
I have a 2002 Jetta TDI GLS wagon and am trying to find a brighter than stock replacement headlight bulb.I tried a PIAA xtreme white plus #9007 and could not see a discernible difference.I am in the DARK and need more light! Please help?
 

thebigarniedog

Master of the Obvious
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Location
Fail Command (Central Ohio)
TDI
1998 Jetta tdi
Randy Ruhle said:
I have a 2002 Jetta TDI GLS wagon and am trying to find a brighter than stock replacement headlight bulb.I tried a PIAA xtreme white plus #9007 and could not see a discernible difference.I am in the DARK and need more light! Please help?
There are a lot of threads about headlights. The problem is that the Jetta lighting system on the MK4 stinks. No bulb replacement alone will fix this. My suggestion is that you get upgraded lights:

1. OEM HID
2. OEM Replica HIDs
3. FK Headlights

In that order. I have the FK headlights. Huge improvement (see my car in my signature).
 

Joe_Meehan

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Sep 3, 2005
Location
Ohio USA
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NB TDI, 2002.5, Silver
How are you headlight covers? If they are yellow or frosted, that is where you should start.

May I suggest something else. I don't have any idea how old you are other than it appears you have a driver's license, but at my age, you start loosing night vision. I have known many people who suffer from this normal aging process and refuse to accept it is happening. They also refuse to accept that it is dangerous to drive at night. I also know people who have expected it is happening and avoid driving at night. Please don't be blinded to the truth, if you have a problem admit it.
 

thebigarniedog

Master of the Obvious
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Location
Fail Command (Central Ohio)
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1998 Jetta tdi
roadhard1960 said:
I vote for Hella E-codes. Not cheap but genuine OEM and much better than DOT fixtures. No Depo or smoked fixtures. Or retro fixed fixtures. Here is a reputable vendor that lists the lights. I got my e-codes from someone else and was a bit frustrated with the ordering process.
http://www.boraparts.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=81
You can buy OEM Replicas or FKs for less. Both will be superior to the Ecodes. The ecodes are just another crappy reflector wannabe lights. My suggestion would be for the OP to find a few cars equipped with such lights and compare. True, the ecodes are better than stock, but that really isn't saying that much IMHO.
 

MBoni

Veteran Member
Joined
May 18, 2007
Location
Atlanta, GA
TDI
2009 Jetta Sportwagen
Randy Ruhle said:
I tried a PIAA xtreme white plus #9007 and could not see a discernible difference.I am in the DARK and need more light! Please help?
The PIAA xtreme isn't a particularly good choice. Any halogen bulb that tries too hard to match the color of an HID is going to be filtering out light, not adding it. If the bulb has a blue tint on the glass, then it's actually subtracting yellow light, which isn't helping the brightness any.

HID is probably your best choice, and adding foglights or driving lights is probably your next best choice. But if you want to start small, there are actually a couple of good replacement bulbs on the market. I'd suggest Philips X-treme Power (+80%) or Osram Nightbreaker (+90%) as a starting point. Sylvania Silverstar Ultra (+50%) is another reasonable choice, if you can't find the others (make sure you pick the Ultra line).

Note that your eye's sensativity is logrithmic, so even a doubling of light levels can be hard to detect. HID should be about 3x brighter than standard, and adding fog/driving lights should roughly double the amount of light you have. An enhanced bulb might be rated at +80%, but it's really not producing more than 1.5x the total brightness of a normal bulb.
 

thebigarniedog

Master of the Obvious
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Location
Fail Command (Central Ohio)
TDI
1998 Jetta tdi
MBoni said:
The PIAA xtreme isn't a particularly good choice. Any halogen bulb that tries too hard to match the color of an HID is going to be filtering out light, not adding it. If the bulb has a blue tint on the glass, then it's actually subtracting yellow light, which isn't helping the brightness any.

HID is probably your best choice, and adding foglights or driving lights is probably your next best choice. But if you want to start small, there are actually a couple of good replacement bulbs on the market. I'd suggest Philips X-treme Power (+80%) or Osram Nightbreaker (+90%) as a starting point. Sylvania Silverstar Ultra (+50%) is another reasonable choice, if you can't find the others (make sure you pick the Ultra line).

Note that your eye's sensativity is logrithmic, so even a doubling of light levels can be hard to detect. HID should be about 3x brighter than standard, and adding fog/driving lights should roughly double the amount of light you have. An enhanced bulb might be rated at +80%, but it's really not producing more than 1.5x the total brightness of a normal bulb.
You cannot put HID lights into a reflector system without having the other driver's on the road wanting to beat you :p . Reflectors scatter the lights. If your going to buy new headlights, buy the right ones the first time.
 

Joe_Meehan

Top Post Dawg
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Location
Ohio USA
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NB TDI, 2002.5, Silver
MBoni said:
Note that your eye's sensativity is logrithmic, so even a doubling of light levels can be hard to detect..
Very true. Most people will not notice a 100% increase in light. Most people will notice 200%.

Another interesting bit, your eyes are most sensitive to green light. The distortion caused by bright spectrum light can reduce real life visibility. Those pink Sodium street lamps and the blue HID and mercury all have some problem with spectrum.
 

keggo

Veteran Member
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May 12, 2007
Location
SF Bay Area
TDI
2015 Golf TDI
I vote you retrofit aircraft landing lights or even police helicopter spotlights on your car.

Are you wanting to spend a lot of money? Or 20 bucks?
 

merkerguitars

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Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
Elmwood, WI
TDI
01 Jetta
Russnut said:
You could always find a bulb with a ridiculous wattage. That'll make it brighter.
And burn up your headlight harnesses in the process. I see it all the time working at the dealership, somebody put in ultra high wattage bulbs to compensate for a foggy headlight, fried the harness, after about 2 hours of shop labor and a bunch of money into dealership parts they are back on the road.

Even the slightest bit of fog on the headlights drastically reduce a headlights output. I haven't even replaced mine, but I did put some driving lights on my car.
 

keggo

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2015 Golf TDI
merkerguitars said:
And burn up your headlight harnesses in the process. I see it all the time working at the dealership, somebody put in ultra high wattage bulbs to compensate for a foggy headlight, fried the harness, after about 2 hours of shop labor and a bunch of money into dealership parts they are back on the road.

Even the slightest bit of fog on the headlights drastically reduce a headlights output. I haven't even replaced mine, but I did put some driving lights on my car.
With that being said, build a relay harness to feed the new bulbs power directly from the battery so you don't fry the internal wiring. It's quite simple really. I do agree on polishing the lenses as it will be a huge increase.
 

FL2AK-tdi

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Location
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'01 Jetta GLS Sedan
Russnut said:
You could always find a bulb with a ridiculous wattage. That'll make it brighter.
What other wattage (halogen) options are available for the A4. I've never seen anything other than the standard, 55w bulbs from Slyvannia, et al.
 

compu_85

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... None :S
Don't install a high wattage bulb... You'll melt the headlamp housings, the wiring, and the connectors.

The A4 Jetta DOT lights' low beam pattern isn't that bad, when the lights are aimed properly. The light output is somewhat less than H4 equipped euro spec lights.

If your lenses aren't fogged over, the lights are aimed properly, and you don't have blue tint bulbs and you still can't see well enough at night, replace your headlamp housings with euro spec ones. Brighter bulbs won't make up for a poorly designed beam pattern.

-Jason
 

VeeDubTDI

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My vote is for the HIDs if you can afford them (get the actual fixtures that thebigarniedog mentioned, not some cheap aftermarket lamp replacements). The Hella E-Codes are nice, too... and significantly cheaper than HIDs.
 

Joe_Meehan

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NB TDI, 2002.5, Silver
keggo said:
With that being said, build a relay harness to feed the new bulbs power directly from the battery so you don't fry the internal wiring. It's quite simple really. I do agree on polishing the lenses as it will be a huge increase.

Then you will burn the socket and housing. :D
 

WrEkkED

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Toronto
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'04 TDI Sport
I have the silverstar's and they work pretty good. Won't be as good as HIDs but a real difference in light. I parked next to my uncles jetta with stock bulbs and my lights go much further and are way brighter, and whiter which I find better for seeing animals and driving in the snow.
 

FL2AK-tdi

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'01 Jetta GLS Sedan
WrEkkED said:
I have the silverstar's and they work pretty good. Won't be as good as HIDs but a real difference in light. I parked next to my uncles jetta with stock bulbs and my lights go much further and are way brighter, and whiter which I find better for seeing animals and driving in the snow.
There has been alot of discussion on these in the past. I just recently finished a rant in antoher thread explaining ohm's law and how it's impossible for one 55 w bulb to emit more light than another 55 w bulb.

Someone responded saying that it has (in their opinon) something to do with filament shape.

I've also recently learned that there are two ways to measure light, candlepower and lumens. Candlepower is representative of the light radiance fro the source whereas lumens is a measurement of how much light actually falls on a given test area. (typically 3 meters away.)

I wonder if this percieved difference in light output between standard, OEM -type, (slyvannias for example) bulbs and the silverstars that you've mentioned has something to do with this difference in light measurements.

PS: I've also learned that it's virtually impossible to convert candlepower to lumens due to the differnence in WHAT is measured over HOW it's measured.
 

WrEkkED

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'04 TDI Sport
Of course a light with a certain wattage can output more light than another bulb of same wattage. A compact Fluro will emit more light with a given wattage due to it's characteristics. The way a filliment is positioned can change everything. Bassically, there is less loss due to heat, noise, etc.

Also, kelvins are a huge difference too. I like cool white 4100k as opposed to the blue light you see in another of offices which is 6500k (I believe). The cool white is easier to see things, but the blue is easier on the eyes. Cool white is usually used in workshops for that very reason.

Even if it could be proven scientifically, I'll bet you if your in a snow storm or some back ass road with no light anywhere, you will rather have the white light as opposed to the yellow light.
 

VeeDubTDI

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Why do there have to be so many headlight threads? :confused:
 

egibbys

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1999 Jetta TDI GLS
Just curious and don't bite my head off if this is dumb. But would these be worth it or do the job? Ebay The watts are higher than OEM but how high is too high? I just need to buy some new bulbs before next month or I won't pass inspection. My high beams burned out. (Dumb expiriment) Anyway I would just like to know. I'm not looking to buy super expensive lighting, just better. And I heard on here that the Silverstars don't last very long so I know exactly what to get.


Edit: Ok I guess I got my wattage question answered from two posts up. Would someone show me where to buy cheap but good/blue/white/whatever.... bulbs?
 
Last edited:

VeeDubTDI

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egibbys said:
Just curious and don't bite my head off if this is dumb. But would these be worth it or do the job? Ebay The watts are higher than OEM but how high is too high? I just need to buy some new bulbs before next month or I won't pass inspection. My high beams burned out. (Dumb expiriment) Anyway I would just like to know. I'm not looking to buy super expensive lighting, just better. And I heard on here that the Silverstars don't last very long so I know exactly what to get.
I'll bet you $20 that they're dimmer than the stock lamps.
 

WrEkkED

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'04 TDI Sport
Thing with higher wattage bulbs in a 12 volt system, is the equipment takes alot more amps. Amps is what determines wire size and other conductive material. So that's why it melts. How much before it burns up, god only knows.

Example..
Volts x Amps = Watts
12v x Amps = 60 Watts
=5 amps

12v x Amps = 80 Watts
=6.66 Amps

Some food for thought.

The silverstars tend to last about a year. I had one burn out and the other was still good. I liked them so much I went to the next level up silverstars and couldn't be more delighted with them.
 

egibbys

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TDI
1999 Jetta TDI GLS
WrEkkED said:
The silverstars tend to last about a year. I had one burn out and the other was still good. I liked them so much I went to the next level up silverstars and couldn't be more delighted with them.
How long have you had the next level up silverstars?
 

VeeDubTDI

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Also, those lights you posted from eBay claim to be "Xenon HID"... they are most certainly not HID. They are conventional halogen lamps with some cheap blue tint on them. :rolleyes:

There's a sucker born every minute. Please don't waste your money... even if it is only $5.
 

FL2AK-tdi

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Tampa, FL
TDI
'01 Jetta GLS Sedan
WrEkkED said:
Thing with higher wattage bulbs in a 12 volt system, is the equipment takes alot more amps. Amps is what determines wire size and other conductive material. So that's why it melts. How much before it burns up, god only knows.

Example..
Volts x Amps = Watts
12v x Amps = 60 Watts
=5 amps

12v x Amps = 80 Watts
=6.66 Amps

Some food for thought.
You know since you mentioned this...

There is a chart that determines what size AWG (American Wire gauge) wire to use for a given voltage, wattage, and length for both momentary and continuous draw application, which is published by the Federal Aviation Admin. in AC 43.13; it is the legal reference document for installing or repairing wiring in aircraft.

I have a digital copy of that, on PDF I believe; if someone would tell me how to do so, I could publish it here, perhaps in a how to sticky or something for everyone to refer to when these discussions or projects come up. I mean, if people think it would be useful.
 
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