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LED Headlights


Bushwack
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Can the OEM headlights be replaced with LEDs (plug-n-play scenario)?  I've been doing some research and have read that it's possible, but there's an issue with the headlight covers (either they will not open or close).  I also read that an additional relay needs to be installed for LEDs.  And lastly, I read with today's technology, it is a simple installation.  Of course, nobody provided documentation or which LEDs are being referenced.

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They will open but the relay will be needed to make them close. I bought the "truck-lite" brand for my "winter" Reatta [first an '89 then replaced with an '88 on that car, moving both the bulbs and an after market relay harness] because it gets dark so early in the winter time. They are a little pricey [$350.00 a pair] but with the driving I was doing at the time a great investment. They light up down the road like any modern car and have excellent side vision onto the shoulder. The Truck lite comes with an attached pigtail with the correct plug, but the pigtail is a bit short and needs to be extended as it pinches when the Reatta pop up headlights open and close. Minor aggravation to solder in a wire to extend the pigtail but a world of improvement.

 You may want to go with "Silver stars" headlights. I have put these on my other two Reattas and find them more the satisfactory with a relay harness. This takes the additional amperage off the headlight switch which could result in longer life for your switch as the silver stars draw more power. 

There was some talk years back that Buick added an extra relay in the factory wiring starting in the 1990 model year, but it was a "running" change and I don't know when that was done. If that was done on your car a relay harness may not be needed in either recommendation listed above, but that would be something your mechanic would be able to determine.

There's a great series of posts from October of 2014 started by me. Just type in Truck lites and you'll find the post. 

Edited by DAVES89 (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, DAVES89 said:

There was some talk years back that Buick added an extra relay in the factory wiring starting in the 1990 model year, but it was a "running" change and I don't know when that was done. If that was done on your car a relay harness may not be needed in either recommendation listed above, but that would be something your mechanic would be able to determine.

Correct me if I'm wrong... I don't believe the extra factory relay will solve the problem with the headlight doors not closing if you use LED headlights. It will take the load off the headlight switch.

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Ronnie in that series of posts back in October of 2014 there was discussion of the running change with the relay added being good or not for closing the headlight doors with LED lights which is why I said "May" because I don't know.

I myself did the relay harness route on the '88 and '89 and has served me well. The 'vert being a '90 has the extra relay and I am running silver stars which works for me. 

I found that series of posts and because I don't know how to link I just added a response and that brought it back. Please see "Its dark at night" and "Headlight shut off/retract repost" shown on this page of posts.

Edited by DAVES89 (see edit history)
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On 3/8/2022 at 8:00 PM, Bushwack said:

Can the OEM headlights be replaced with LEDs (plug-n-play scenario)?  I've been doing some research and have read that it's possible, but there's an issue with the headlight covers (either they will not open or close).  I also read that an additional relay needs to be installed for LEDs.  And lastly, I read with today's technology, it is a simple installation.  Of course, nobody provided documentation or which LEDs are being referenced.

Truck lite brand worked for me. Plug and play if I remember correctly.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As much as I love my LED halos on my Challenger. I think the Reatta is one of those cars that looks best with that classic yellow headlight look. Makes it look more classic instead of new. Just remember if you do go the route of LED headlights there will be additional wiring in the front end. Which might be a little tricky with the headlights closing and opening. 

Edited by Olyeg (see edit history)
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20 hours ago, padgett said:

I worry about anything that relies on a mechanical fan to control heat. Last time I looked a Syvania Silverstar generated just as much light.

That might be true on a Reatta. The LEDs I installed on my GMC pickup put out almost twice as much light as my Silverstars in my Reatta and they light up the sides of the road much better. The manufacturer claims they are 5 times brighter than regular halogen but I doubt that. It's a whiter light compared to the Silverstars. I'm not too worried about the fans. The manufacture says the LEDs should last 50000 hours. If they even come close to that I'll be happy.

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On 4/2/2022 at 7:53 AM, Olyeg said:

As much as I love my LED halos on my Challenger. I think the Reatta is one of those cars that looks best with that classic yellow headlight look. Makes it look more classic instead of new. Just remember if you do go the route of LED headlights there will be additional wiring in the front end. Which might be a little tricky with the headlights closing and opening. 

one of the features of the reatta is the headlights are hidden during the day.except in the rain.

 

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On 3/9/2022 at 8:03 AM, Barney Eaton said:

Didn't someone have a problem with the brand they purchased being too deep ?

There was interferrence when opening and closing on the back side. 

that was probably me 

i want to put Hella's Euro spec H-4 lamps in the car 

as of this writing i am about half way through going through the headlamp assemblys replacing the crank arms with yours

and doing the rollers in the motors 

i think i have figured out the problem with the Hella's 

and will be posting the results later this week when i have finished the job

i have always been a big fan of the E-spec headlamps

i was running a set of Cibie lamps in the late 70's on a 72 Skylark, Cibie Bobi lamps on my 79 Century Sport Coupe in the 80's

and IPF lamps on my 78 Century wagon in the early 2000's all Euro spec

i guess old habits die hard, i will keep you updated with pics

i was running Silverstar sealed beams and they were pretty good for a sealed beam

Marty

 

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I have the Hella E-spec lights with 80/100w bulbs, and have had for many years. They eventually killed an expensive and rare 1990 headlight switch, actually a couple of them, but then we did a relay project, which solved multiple problems. Today, very little monkey motion is required. Just add the readily available aftermarket relay harness which is completely reversible, makes LED's function properly, feeds high powered incandescent light and makes whatever stock bulbs you are running, better by providing full design voltage. For roughly $15, it supports and improves whatever you are running. YMMV

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