What Headlights Can I Use?

[TS] We have had the PIAA 990 HID Driving Lamps on our special yellow Comptech project car for quite awhile… PIAA sent us the second set that came into the country.

 They are awesome lights for the NSX. Great performance and they fit very nicely into the  lower spoiler area without any modifications to the car. Each lamp has its own power pack  that needs to be located no more than 12" from the actual lamp unit. 
 For fitment of the power pack units, we removed the outer case as this particular kit was  designed to be installed on a Toyota Supra. Wiring harnesses, fuses and switch come  included in the complete kit. If you want the brightest and best built lamp available, go  with the PIAA 990. It's pricey, but you will love the performance.

[KS, AWN] Note that the article is about 9005 and 9006 bulbs, which are the size used on the NSX. The same places sell 9004 bulbs also.

As far as relays and wiring go, I know PIAA makes relays for this purpose, and they include wiring instructions. Several of the ads in the back of the major car magazines show the PIAA logo so they carry their stuff. Maybe PIAA has a web site with an e-mail address? Also one of the sources in my article sells harnesses; see below.

[TP] I’ve been running 80 watt "blue" low beams for about a year. Bought them from Competition Ltd. for $19.95 each. I’m very pleased with them as they cast a very white light, but when viewed from the front or side the light has a "bluish" cast not unlike the gas discharge lights. BTW, I just received the latest Imparts Ltd. (800-325-9043) catalog and note they are offering the "blue" bulbs for $9.50 low beam and $11.50 high beam.

Headlight Bulb Replacement

So one of the headlight bulbs on your NSX burns out… or maybe you just wish your headlights were a bit brighter. You can replace these bulbs yourself; no tools are necessary. You do have to wiggle your hand in behind the headlights; there’s not much room in there. Also, make sure you do not touch the glass part of the bulb, as the natural oils from your skin can cause hot spots on the bulb which can result in premature failure. If you do touch the bulb surface, cleanse it with alcohol on a clean cloth before installing it.

In purchasing replacement bulbs, you have several options. When you look up the size bulb in your owner’s manual, it may say that the car takes an HB4 (low beam) or HB3 (high beam) bulb. Then you go to the auto parts store and find that they’ve never heard of these size bulbs. You wind up going to your dealer and paying around $20 per bulb.

But wait! These are bulb codes that Honda made up in order to encourage you to buy replacements from your dealer. In fact, there is a standard size code which is the same as the Honda codes. The bulbs in many vehicles made by Honda in the past few years (including the NSX) are size 9006 (low beam) and 9005 (high beam). You can buy stock-wattage replacements at any auto parts store for 9005 and 9006 bulbs, and probably pay less than your dealer charges. My local Trak Auto store charges $9.96 each, or you can get them from Warshawsky/Whitney (see below) for $7.49.

The stock bulbs are 55 watts low beam, 65 watts high beam. Brighter bulbs are also available in the aftermarket and are rated at 80 watts for the 9006 low beams and 85 or 100 watts for the 9005 high beams. These bulbs can be purchased from the following sources:

Competition Ltd. BHMA JAZ Concepts Warshawski / Whitney
Box 337 200 South Robertson Blvd P. O. Box 2249 P. O. Box 8410
Pinckney MI 48169 Beverly Hills CA 90211-2811 Livonia MI 48151 1916 South State Street
      Chicago IL 60680
313-464-1458 800-FOR-BHMA 800-414-BULB 312-431-6102
313-878-5477 fax 310-657-4800    
9006 $15.95 (80w) 310-657-4664 fax    
9005 $17.95 (85w)   9006 $19.95 (80w) 9006 $11.49 (80w, #83XX0804N)
9005 $18.95 (100w) $19.95 9005 $19.95 (100w) 9005 $11.49 (100w, #83XX0803X)
ship $5.00/order shipping $6.00 per bulb ship $5.50 / order shipping varies

In considering using the brighter bulbs, you should be aware of a few disadvantages. The brighter bulbs were developed for off-road racing use and are not DOT approved for highway use; this could be a big concern if law enforcement decides to look into a headlight wattage detector gun. Also, the brighter bulbs may not last as long as stock bulbs. Finally, to quote literature from Competition Limited, "While most cars can handle the increased current without blowing fuses, tripping circuit breakers, etc., the increase can cause a strain on the factory head lamp switch, relays, and the factory wiring. In addition, the heat of the high wattach bulbs can sometimes lead to a softening of the factory headlight plugs."

Personally, I address this by using stock bulbs for the low beam, but higher-wattage bulbs for the high beam only. I also generally do not leave my high beams on for extended periods while driving. If the demand on your car’s electrical system is a concern for you, you should consider purchasing an auxiliary wiring harness. The harnesses replace the factory wiring with heavier gauge wire, relays, and fusible links. According to Competition Limited, average installation takes less than 30 minutes and can be accomplished using only a screwdriver and a wrench. Competition Limited sells the 9005/9006 wiring harness for $55.95, and offers a 10 percent discount on a purchase of the harness plus two pairs of bulbs.

Oh, in case you’re wondering whether you can see a difference in brightness with the higher-wattage bulbs, it is striking. Of course, seeing is believing.

[BZ] Is anyone using the aftermarket 80 watt low beam and the 100 watt high beam bulbs AT THE SAME TIME? Competition Limited sells a heavy duty wire harness with relays. They claim that the stock headlight housings can withstand the heat of both bulbs (180 watts per side!). There is one main relay for the headlight system and one for just the high beams. There is a 20 amp fuse per side. So assuming that the relays, connectors, and wiring harness can handle the extra load, a separate wiring harness may not be necessary. Looks like some voltage drop measurements are required.

JC Whitney has the 9006 type 80 watt low beam bulbs (pn 83XX0804N) and the 9005 type 100 watt high beam bulbs (pn 83XX0803X) for $10.49 each, in stock. They could not tell me who manufactures them, only that they buy them from Hamsar Diversco in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. I assume that this is a distributor.

Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories quoted me $24.95 for the same bulbs. When asked who the manufacturer is, they said Competition Limited. Yeah right. See ya!

I then called Competition Limited and they were very helpful. They buy the bulbs direct from the manufacturers. They quoted me $15.95 for the "standard" bulb, $17.95 for the "All Weather Gold" and $17.95 for the "heavy duty". The heavy duty (made by Flosser of Germany) is made for rally use and is available in 70 watts for the type 9006, the others are available in 80 watts. The high beams are available in 100 watts, although I’m not sure about the heavy duty. They described the "All Weather Gold" as an "ionized" bulb that has a bluish tint when off, and gold cast when on, which helps with depth perception. They are made by Philips of Holland in Korea, but packaged in a generic white box. They offer a 90 day warranty on all bulbs – pretty good.

They also sell an auxiliary wiring harnesses. It is made in Japan and contains the wire harness, high temp plugs for the bulbs, relays, etc. Cost is $108 which includes 4 of the standard bulbs. $2/each extra for the "All Weather Gold."

[TP] I’ve been running 80 watt "blue" low beams for about a year. Bought them from Competition Ltd. for $19.95 each. I’m very pleased  with them as they cast a very white light, but when viewed from the front or side the light has a "bluish" cast not unlike the gas discharge lights. BTW, I just received the latest Imparts Ltd. (800-325-9043) catalog and note they are offering the "blue" bulbs for $9.50 low beam and $11.50 high beam.

[DNG] OK, I finally had a chance to drive my NSX at night with the Super White bulbs [from Auto Indulgence]. They look really close to HIDs, BUT the amount of light projected is insufficient on really dark roads. At times, I thought that one of the bulbs had burned out. Even though they are rated at 85 W, it’s still not as bright at OEMs.

[BL] I have gone through 2 sets of the 80watt Super whites. I have had to many probs with one bulb not shinning as bright as the other. So your better off just sticking with the stocks 55w.

[MFP] Don’t waste your money on PIAA Platinum Super White bulbs. They actually produce less light than a ‘full spectrum’ bulb like a GE Nighthawk and cost about three to four times as much. It all boils down to their hype – making the light whiter than the stock slightly yellow halogens requires a blue filter covering on the lens. But covering the lens with a filter reduces the amount of visible light that is emitted. It is simple physics. Super white lights by PIAA, or any similar brands are a waste of money. Daniel Stern has a great website http://www.danielsternlighting.comthat explains this in detail.

Can I Switch To Euro or Japanese Tail Lights?

European Tail Lights

US Tail Lights

[KS] The center tail light piece on the European version is a somewhat darker red than the North American version.

[HS] I have made these changes. I bought the parts in Japan. You DON’T want European tail light lenses, only the Japanese.

  • Hood emblem (NH-552M Sebring Silver) #75700-SL0-000ZF -- x3,800
  • "H" rear center reflective panel #75520-SL0-013 -- x14,626
  • Left and Right tail lenses to match center piece (MUST BE JAPANESE... NOT EUROPEAN - NOTE!) (misplaced part numbers) x54,590
  • You'll also need to buy new gaskets - $147.88 in the US.

The part number for the center Acura reflector is STANLEY 067-4610 and is manufactured for Honda/Acura by Thai Stanley Electric Co., Ltd.

[2001/8/24 – VB] When I got my Japanese taillights, they included the gaskets, wiring and bulbs. Others got the lens only. The part numbers off my receipts indicate "taillight assembly."

LEFT taillight assembly (includes gaskets,bulbs and wiring): 33550-SL0-013

 RIGHT taillight assembly (includes gaskets,bulbs and wiring): 33500-SL0-023

My friend got me the taillights and Honda recommended new screws for the taillights which he got for me. I know you can reuse the existing screws but I’m listing the part number for those who may need it: screws for both taillight assemblies: 94071-05080 (Quantity: 24)


How Can I Install Fog or Driving Lights?

[BP] I called an Acura dealer in Ontario (416-620-1987) today to ask about the driving light mounting bracket. The mounting brackets are not in stock at the Acura Parts Warehouse. They would take 4 weeks to get. If anyone is interested in the parts they are:

PT# 33920SLOCO1 $7.05 Canadian RT Mounting Bracket

 PT# 33970SLOCO1 $7.05 Canadian LT Mounting Bracket

By the way, they are made of plastic.

If anyone is interested in the whole lighting kit, here are the part numbers:

PT# 33900SLOCO1 $410.00 Candian RT Driving Light and hardware

 PT# 33950SLOCO1 $410.00 Candian LT side

[AW] From the 1991 Electrical Troubleshooting Manual:

The high beams are turned on by being grounded by the dimmer relay (terminal 4 of C936). That signal (ground to turn on) goes from there via a red/blue wire to terminals 11, 12, 13 and 14 of junction connector C237, which is wrapped up inside a wiring harness behind the right side of the dash (accessible only with the glove box removed). That doesn’t seem like a good place to pick it up. So…

C237-13 heads for the left high beam, and passes through C314, pin 8.

 C237-14 heads for the right high beam, and passes through C208, pin 8. 
 C237-12 heads for the dashboard indicator, and passes through C247, pin 2. 

All of the above still on a red/blue wire.

C314 is a 14-pin grey connector right below the security horn on the left side of the front compartment.

 C208 is a similar connector between sub-relay box B (long and skinny) and the main relay  box at the right side of the front compartment. 
 C247 is a 14-pin green connector behind the right kick panel (possibly requiring dash  removal). The signal goes from their via red/blue wire to C437, which is a 30-in green  connector just below the voltmeter at the lower right side of the instrument panel  (requires trim panel removal). 

For hooking up driving lights C314 or C208 are the easiest places to pick up the signal, unless C382 or C282 pin 6, which the books lists only as being "on the headlight assembly" (no photo), are more convenient.

In general, you’re after a red/blue wire, unless you’re on the headlight assembly side of C382 or C282, in which case it’s blue.

PIAA’s phone number is 800 321-1191.

[DLJ] I’m pleased to report that my 85 watt PIAA fog lamps are working well. I installed an additional relay so that they turn off when the high beams are on (requiredin CA). They fit in well on the inside portions of the air conditioning ducts.

I chose white rather than yellow light because the yellow light unit looks blue *when off*, and I’ve heard of some drivers being stopped for having "blue" lights on the car (illegal). While one could then demonstrate that the light was yellow when on, I just don’t want to get stopped, since, as we know from others on the NorCal list, once stopped, a policeman man "save face" by finding some other violation.

Anyway, I use the lights as "daylight" lamps also, which allows me to drive with lights on for safety, while still keeping

 the neat smooth front-end.

[AT] You need to add a fog lamp relay to the parking light circuit. The relay uses very little current and should not alter the lighting brightness of the parking lamps. However you must provide the relay with a fused wire source to either the battery directly or a connected to a circuit which can handle the amperage that the fog lights require. Usually with his relay they give you a wiring diagram to show you where to connect the switched side (the side which turns on the parking lights and will activate the relay switch) and the terminals which connect to the higher amperage side source, like the battery, which will provide the fog lamps with the voltage and high amperage they need, and also which terminals now go to the fog lights themselves.

Some things to remember when hooking up fog lights; like headlights, they usually require more power or amperage than parking lights; they will require larger wire diameter than parking lamps but often no larger than would be used for your headlights. The high input side of the relay which is usually connected to the battery will need some kind of fuse in the line. Often it’s 10 to 15 amps at most. Finally make sure you ground the lamps to the chassis or even the negative terminal of the battery with the same gauge wire as the input side. A poor

 ground will often cause the circuit to glow dimly because of it's high resistance. 

The nice thing about all these parts is that they can be hooked up loosely in the car before final installation to test. Once you have the general idea of how the circuit works, it can then be installed in it’s final fashion.

[CWI – 98/12/15] Today, after about 4 hours of work, I now have something I am proud of on my NSX. Here’s the story:

I wanted fog lamps on my car for better illumination + looks. I did not however, like third-party add on lights that I have seen, although I am quite aware of their quality. Rounds and Ovals are just not my bag, baby.

I really like the factory Honda OEM NSX ‘Euro-lights’, but the $900+ price also wasn’t my bag. SO. What to do? Luckily Chris, a manager down at RM Racing had a set of Canadian driving lights on hand off a customer’s car. I bought these and retrofitted the standard bulb to a high-wattage halogen bulb to act as a directional lamp. I am very impressed with the look.

The OEM Canadian lights fit in the same area as the Euro Lamps, but are longer and about a centimeter shorter. They follow the lines of the front area very well, looking very congruent with the rest of the car. The Euro lamps list for about 895 bucks US dollars, and the Canadian lamps list for about 390 Canadian.

They bolted on with much ease. Most of the time was figuring out how all the sections fit together without the help of a manual. In addition, if you want on/off capability, you need to customize a switch residing in the passenger compartment. I think I’ll let the pros tackle this one with the custom dash mounting.

Parking Lights

[AWN] For parking light bulb replacement, a single captive screw holds the light assembly in place. The screw is accessible from below, through the air duct under the light assembly. The screw is located near the inner end of the light assembly (the end closest to the center of the car). Once you back it out, the whole light assembly will pull out of the bumper.

At that point, disconnect the lights from the wiring harness. The bulb sockets will remain attached to the lens. To access a bulb, remove its socket by turning it 45 degrees counterclockwise. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.

[CWI – 99/2/16] Corner, turning, and back up bulbs can be replaced with a brighhter bulb. This bulb is rare (as I have found) but is available. Again, being on the road, I don’t have specific info, however, if you go to your local auto store, tell them you are looking for bulbs for ‘Blazer’ fog lamps. Blazer fog lamps are VERY entry level fog lamps that don’t use the hi-powered H-3s. They will run you a good 8 bucks each.