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Old 5th March 2018, 10:04   #1
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Default DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Enough has been discussed about the poor headlights of the Ecosport. The stock reflectors are extremely poor and the OE bulbs are like candles. I decided to try out various options at improving the lighting of the Ecosport. Have documented the journey to Enlightenment for benefit of other forum members. You could say below is my tryst with LED's. The purpose of this thread is not just to help others upgrading to LED but to break some myths especially the one that says LED bulbs are "plug n play".

I had replaced the stock halogen bulbs with Philips X-treme vision bulbs. While they were a good upgrade form the hopeless stock bulbs they were still far from acceptable for our roads.

I had a couple of options to explore. One was to change the fogs to LED's. I found Morimoto Fog light assemblies that directly fit into Ford vehicles. This was completely plug and play and hardly any work needed. But they were expensive for what was essentially fog light illumination and not true headlights.

Morimoto 3" Fog lights for Ford:
https://www.theretrofitsource.com/as...to-xb-led.html

Experiment #1 Hikari H4 LED's:

I thought I'll try out LEd headlights which were supposedly plug and play and would offer a bigger jump in lighting. After doing some research I realised it was important to look at LED bulbs that had the LED's in the exact same matching location as halogen bulbs. The filaments should match perfectly. There were far too many bulbs that did not have matching design vs the halogen.

I narrowed down to these 2:

1. https://www.amazon.com/HIKARI-Headli.../dp/B01LCE19PW

2. https://www.amazon.com/Auxbeam-Headl.../dp/B074GZ3S4P

I found better reviews of the Hikari and figured CREE LED's would be better than CSP. Went ahead and bought them through a friend who was in USA and carried them down to Bangalore for me.

DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180305_093938.jpg

DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180305_093926.jpg

As you can see the top half of the bulb is similar but the bottom part has a cooling fan and then a cable that goes till the LED driver.
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180305_093837.jpg

A close look at the LED light source themselves. The low beam is a CREE XHP50 2x2 array:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180305_093846.jpg

High beam is a CREE XML2:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180305_093857.jpg

In comparison with a halogen H4 bulb:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180306_101810.jpg

Now lesson #1 in installing any type of LED's. When manufacturers say Plug n play, don't take them seriously. The only part that is plug and play is the wiring connector. You don't have to cut any wiring and the connectors are compatible. In my case I had picked up H4 Hikari LED's and they had a cooling fan on the bottom, a LED driver small box like a ballast you get in HID's and the H4 connector matching what you get in halogen bulbs.

So what exactly is the challenge? Getting that huge LED with the cooling fan and LED driver to actually fit inside the headlight assembly.

The first problem is once you place the LED into the slot of the headlight you need to clamp them down using the retainer. Now this is easy with the halogen bulb as the retainer just goes over the 3 pin plugs. But with the LED's the retainer doesn't fit since the fan is too big for the retainer to go over it.

I didn't have a pic of the retainer as I was too frustrated when trying to fit it in. But here's a reference pic of a retainer with H4 bulb from google. Now imagine with the H4 LED above to go over this metal retainer.

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The retainer has 3 mounting points. 1 is removable whereas the other 2 are fixed as hinges. Now the only way to get the retainer to go over the LED assembly is to remove all 3 points. By removing all 3 the entire wire clip retainer comes off. Then you can guide it over the base of the bulb. After that depending on your dexterity and patience getting all 3 points back into their slots while holding the bulb in place with 1 hand is a royal pain in the back side. After more than an hour of trying, I would either get 2 points or the bulb would fall off. After some struggle I manage to get the clips on all 3 but now I don't know how and I am sure its going to be a struggle when I remove them.

After the bulb is in place, comes the second problem. The wiring maybe plug and play but the LED has an additional driver which can't be placed inside the assembly. The H4 female connector from the car is inside the headlight assembly in the Ford. Not so for other brands. And this connector is not water proof. So the only option was to have the wire from the bulb come out of the assembly so that the driver is outside the assembly, then the wire goes back inside the assembly to plug into the socket.

But then we have a problem. The dust cover. If a wire has to come out and then back in, you need to cut the dust cover and then it won't be sealed. The Hikari kit did not have any parts for sealing the dust cover.

In the end, I had to do a jugaad. I got the wire out but the dust cover was fit over the wire which meant there was a small gap. Wasn't top happy with this but since it was only an experiment, I went with it till I could figure out a way.

Finally had the bulb in place and working. Turned it On and it was crazy bright. In terms of illumination I could clearly see an improvement over the X-treme vision halogens. But my excitement was short lived. Parked the car against the wall and observed the beam pattern. It was sad. The cut off had disappeared with too much scatter. No bright hot spot and overall beam height had shifted too high causing massive glare to oncoming vehicles.

Low beam Xtreme vision halogen on left and hikari h4 LED on right:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20170906_223309.jpg

Halogen bulb has sharp cut off and a decent hot spot as well:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20170906_223351.jpg

Sadly the LED is all over the place. Note the lack of cut off and scatter. There's a lot more light but pointless since it's scattered:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20170906_223414.jpg

After some adjustments I realized the problem was not just the bulbs but the headlight reflector design mostly. The CREE LED's were Array type LED's which meant 4 LED in a 2x2 pattern was the light source. This meant the light source was a more square source then a straight line seen on halogen filament. Moreover the narrow slim reflector design in the ford created a wider beam than focussed beam. I tried these LED's on a round reflector of Etios and they were far far better. So while these Hikari LED's would have worked on a different car, for the Ford they were useless.

It was back to the drawing board. One lesson learnt was don't go by Amazon reviews. These Hikari LED's have Japanese name with designed in America and made in Japan. In reality they are nothing but chinese LED's sold on aliexpress popularly known as V18 turbo LED:

https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale...=v18+turbo+led

Last edited by Vid6639 : 7th March 2018 at 09:48.
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Old 5th March 2018, 11:24   #2
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Default re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Experiment #2 Xenon Depot Xtreme LED PRO:

After the failed attempt, I did not give up but decided to go deeper into the LED deisgn. Just the light source matching between LED and Halogen was not enough. I had to look at the LED construction as well. Discrete vs Array. Domed LED's were not preferred. You can clearly see the difference in the below 2 images of the CREE array LED and the CSP LED. The CREE XHP50 Hikari LED's have the right design in terms of light source location vs the halogen but the light source itself is quite different. It's more round vs the straight 3 in a line CSP LED that exactly matches the halogen bulb source. Also, instead of fan which can go bad being active I looked at heat sink models with fins for cooling.

Hikari H4 LED's using CREE array LED with domed lighting. You can see the light source for low beam is a 2x2 LED fused together:
Name:  R6cXptjgTk6g._UX300_TTW_.jpg
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Xenon Depot LED picture for reference. You can see these use CSP LED's which. 3 in a row which match the exact length of a halogen filament:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-xdxtlplumensnew.png

This led me back to my first choice: https://www.amazon.com/Auxbeam-Headl.../dp/B074GZ3S4P

The Auxbeam satisfied all my criteria but I was wary of going for cheap LED's and burning my hands again.

Found 2 brands that seemed very popular. Morimoto had the Profile Peak LED's. Damn expensive at $140 a pair. Too high a risk for what had high chances of being useless due to poor reflector design in my Ford.
https://www.theretrofitsource.com/le...ght-bulbs.html

The second option was a small but popular brand. These guys had good reviews but were not as well known as Morimoto. Xenon Depot Xtreme LED PRO.
http://www.xenondepot.com/H4-Xtreme-...led-h4-pro.htm

Even these were $125 but with Black friday sale they were discounted by 25% which meant under $100. Luckily fellow mod Moralfibre was travelling to USA and agreed to get them down for me. I picked them up from him in Pune when driving to Mumbai from Bangalore in Jan.

A look at the LED's. These were far far better in quality than the Hikari. Much better finished, better construction, materials used were better and the kit had everything from connectors to grommets to zip ties.

DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_143748.jpg

DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_143759.jpg

As you can see these bulbs are of really great quality. The construction feels very premium:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_143817.jpg

You can see the 3 CSP LED's also mimic the halogen filament light source very closely:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_143840.jpg

The entire kit comes with the H4 wiring harness, LED driver, grommet for sealing the dust cap and zip ties:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_143946.jpg

This is the connector that connects the LED bulb to the driver circuit:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_144019.jpg

Entire bulb wired up. Everything left of the grommet goes inside the headlight housing and on the right you need to zip tie them on to something:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_144120.jpg

LED's with the aluminum cooling fins fanned out:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_144346.jpg

DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-20180113_144428.jpg

I knew again that this was not going to plug and play. Other than the H4 socket, the metal leaves for cooling and the LED driver circuit were going to pose a problem.

After struggling for nearly 2.5 hours I managed to get both bulbs into the housing. By that I mean the 3 point retainer. The clip was the single biggest headache to get right which I was expecting.

Once the bulb was fixed, I had to fan out the aluminium leaves for cooling. This was not easy as well as the bulb and the opening behind it is not centered. So 1 side of the leaves had enough room but not the other. You need to be damn careful in bending the leaves as too many times bending them will cause them to break off.
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180304_143800.jpg

The final challenge was routing the extra cables. The LED's comes with a wiring kit for H4 which consists of a LED driver that connects to the LED bulb and the other side of the driver goes into the car's H4 plug. To get a clean wiring you need to take the dust cover and make a 1" hole then route the wiring and use the grommet to seal this hole.
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180304_143656.jpg

DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180304_143721.jpg

After this much of struggle it was finally time of reckoning:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180304_195437.jpg

And as you can see these lights were bang on the money. The cut off is perfect exactly matching the halogens. You can see the beam is way brighter than even upgraded halogens. Moreover there is a very bright hot spot right in the centre. Just what is needed.
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180304_195509.jpg

Low beam vs High beam pics with same exposure:
DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180306_115419.jpg

DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade-img_20180306_115425.jpg

Last edited by Vid6639 : 6th March 2018 at 22:47.
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Old 6th March 2018, 11:01   #3
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Default re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

• If you see above in the entire thread I have not mentioned some specs such as wattage or Lumens. This is because all these are marketing term for LED's. Wattage wise LED's will always be lesser than halogen's and even HID's. The xenon depot LED bulbs for example consume only 20W. In comparison the halogen's are 55/60W for low/high beam.

• Lumens depend greatly on your headlight reflector or projector design. The output of the bulb doesn't matter if the headlight design doesn't match. For example the Hikari bulbs mention 9600Lm vs the Xenon Depot bulbs which have 1750Lm. As you can see the Hikari is pure marketing talk whereas the Xenon Depot is true figure.

• Also note the temperature of LED's. The Hikari bulbs was 6000K known as Cool white. They have a tinge of blue. The Xenon depot bulbs are 5500K which are known as ICe blue. These are whiter but the difference is negligible.

• Even though the Hikari bulbs did not work on the Ecosport, it does not mean the bulbs aren't good. It all depends on the reflector design. Some people on Amazon are very happy with the Hikari's. I have a feeling round reflectors will suit this bulb, but would need to try them out.

• A couple of very informative videos from Morimoto. These videos are pretty conclusive in the sense that the best lighting is from HID's but HID's in reflectors are not advisable. The videos clearly show that LED's are a good option for reflectors and HID in projectors are the absolute best.





So in conclusion, I am ending by saying that I have sort of achieved the goal of improving the lighting of the Ecosport but will be doing 1 more upgrade. Am changing the fog lights to 3" HID projectors. Have already got all the parts from various sources and will be creating a separate thread.

My plan is also to buy the Auxbeam H4 LED bulbs and test them out. These are cheaper than the Morimoto Profile peak and Xenon depot. From my understanding of LED's so far I am expecting these to perform well and close to the Xenon Depot Xtreme PRO LED's. They satisfy all the criteria as they are CSP LED's and the design matches the Xenon depot bulbs. This is also with a heat sink and not an active fan.
https://www.amazon.com/Auxbeam-Headl.../dp/B074GZ3S4P

I cannot test the Morimoto Profile peak as they are simply too expensive to buy. The Auxbeam from Amazon is $32 which is $110 lesser than the Morimoto hence low risk.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 6th March 2018 at 22:49.
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Old 7th March 2018, 08:42   #4
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the DIY Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th March 2018, 10:32   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Have to agree with the assessment. HIDs are useless on reflectors. With LEDs there is a massive improvement over the stock setup

I have a 2011 Honda City and the headlights on those were absolutely useless. had installed reflector specific HIDs but even then there was a lot of scatter. Changed to the Philips LED kit mainly because of retention of the factory cut off and no glare. Very very happy with those. I just need to adjust the height as they set a little low. Pictures can be seen below:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...end-hid-8.html

Any reason for not trying Philips except for the price?

Rohan

Last edited by RohanDheman : 7th March 2018 at 10:54.
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Old 7th March 2018, 11:42   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Thank you for sharing your experiments.

How is the high beam performance? In my experiments with LED H4 bulbs, I found that the low beam is a significant improvement, but high beam performance got degraded.

I tried Auslamp (guess Auxbeam also comes from same manufacturer) LED lights in my Nano (thread), but removed the bulbs in few weeks due to excessive glare. If the LEDs are array type, even round reflectors wont help. Right now those LEDs are doing duty in a Maruti 800 which doesnt have highbeam stalk working

You could try to reverse the rubber dust cover if it helps.
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Old 7th March 2018, 11:54   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanDheman View Post
Have to agree with the assessment. HIDs are useless on reflectors. With LEDs there is a massive improvement over the stock setup

I have a 2011 Honda City and the headlights on those were absolutely useless. had installed reflector specific HIDs but even then there was a lot of scatter. Changed to the Philips LED kit mainly because of retention of the factory cut off and no glare. Very very happy with those. I just need to adjust the height as they set a little low. Pictures can be seen below:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...end-hid-8.html

Any reason for not trying Philips except for the price?

Rohan
Hi Rohan,

I too have a 2011 Honda City. Can you share the exact details of this product? I would like to get it. Very impressed by the pictures you have shared.

Thanks
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Old 7th March 2018, 11:56   #8
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post

These videos are pretty conclusive in the sense that the best lighting is from HID's but HID's in reflectors are not advisable. The videos clearly show that LED's are a good option for reflectors and HID in projectors are the absolute best.
I agree with you on the HID front. I have travelled extensively on 2009 Corolla Altis (HID on reflectors), and later 2016 Skoda Octavia (HID on Projectors).

The light throw is much more centred and better dispersed in the Skoda over the Toyota, which just threw light everywhere. Also, the cutoff makes the light is more pleasing to the eye, whilst being viewed head-on too.
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Old 7th March 2018, 12:01   #9
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanDheman View Post

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modifi...end-hid-8.html

Any reason for not trying Philips except for the price?

Rohan
Philips was expensive and secondly, reviews were quite mixed. Moreover at the time last year when I got these they didn't have the gen2 which is available now.

Unless I try back to back I cannot confirm which is better. Since the Xenon Depot bulbs work well, I am also not sure if the Philips will be better or on par.

But yeah if someone does get H4 Philips, I'm game to try them out on the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjithin View Post
Thank you for sharing your experiments.

How is the high beam performance? In my experiments with LED H4 bulbs, I found that the low beam is a significant improvement, but high beam performance got degraded.
High beam is really nice. Check pics. Now with the high beam opposite side cars are obediently dipping their lights.
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Old 7th March 2018, 12:43   #10
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by br_876 View Post
Hi Rohan,

I too have a 2011 Honda City. Can you share the exact details of this product? I would like to get it. Very impressed by the pictures you have shared.

Thanks
This is the product

https://www.philips.co.in/c-p/12953B...headlight-bulb

Cheers
Rohan
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Old 7th March 2018, 12:53   #11
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
So in conclusion, I am ending by saying that I have sort of achieved the goal of improving the lighting of the Ecosport but will be doing 1 more upgrade. Am changing the fog lights to 3" HID projectors. Have already got all the parts from various sources and will be creating a separate thread.
Thanks a ton for sharing this Vid and for destroying the myth that LED/HID in stock reflectors are useless. Agreed that it depends on a number of factors i.e. design of the reflector, LED/HID placement etc however, if focused properly and if your stock reflectors can work on a different light source without scattering light all over the road, they are indeed usable.

I am honestly tiered of people stating that LED/HID in stock reflectors will not work, are a hazard to oncoming motorist etc. I have HID's in my Civic and they are aimed perfectly with a cut-off comparable to stock halogens. Infact while changing the stock halogens to HID's, I was wary of using LED's because of the scatter of usable light. However, seeing how LED technology is advancing, I might soon get LED's because the one area where they completely annihilate HID's is the start-up time and the ability to flash instantly.

Will post pics of the cut-off on HID's later today.

Best,
Enigmatic
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Old 7th March 2018, 13:57   #12
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
A couple of very informative videos from Morimoto. These videos are pretty conclusive in the sense that the best lighting is from HID's but HID's in reflectors are not advisable. The videos clearly show that LED's are a good option for reflectors and HID in projectors are the absolute best.
Thank You so much for the wealth of information. I just posted my experience on my ownership thread regarding Lasfit LED Dual Color Lights which I sourced from Amazon.com USA via a friend of mine.

More here: URL

While I am happy with the decision for the Low Beams, I am on the look out for options for my High Beam in the HB3/9005 socket type for the 2014 Honda City. Will do some more research on the options that you have tried for the Ecosport

In my case the LED bulbs were truly Plug and Play in terms of the H11 socket type. Although the LED Drivers do not have a proper housing. I will possibly use Insulation tape and make them stick to a convenient part in the space available.
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Old 7th March 2018, 14:40   #13
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsrivatsa View Post
While I am happy with the decision for the Low Beams, I am on the look out for options for my High Beam in the HB3/9005 socket type for the 2014 Honda City. Will do some more research on the options that you have tried for the Ecosport

In my case the LED bulbs were truly Plug and Play in terms of the H11 socket type. Although the LED Drivers do not have a proper housing. I will possibly use Insulation tape and make them stick to a convenient part in the space available.
Thanks for sharing, this is exactly the approach I want to take as well, for my 2014 VMT. Going with Philips Xtreme Ultinon LEDs for the low-beam and one of the Philips or OSRAM NBU options for the high-beam. I guess the high-beam housing won't be able to accommodate a set of LEDs and would also prove to be an expensive affair.

Good to know that the LEDs you've bought fit well in the low-beam housing, that was one of my concerns while considering the Ultinon LEDs.

Will probably order from Powerbulbs shortly and see how they work out.
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Old 7th March 2018, 14:44   #14
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

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Thank You so much for the wealth of information. I just posted my experience on my ownership thread regarding Lasfit LED Dual Color Lights which I sourced from Amazon.com USA via a friend of mine.

More here: URL
The Lasfit LED's were on my mind as well but for H4 the design was totally off compared to halogens.

Also, I just saw the beam pattern on your thread. The light output has gone up significantly but as you can see the cut off isn't sharp at all vs the Osram night breaker halogen. Infact the entire beam has gone up which is way too high. In the photo against the wall, the NBU has a sharp cut off just below the height of the wall but the LED is way too high. This means total glare to oncoming and worse is it has more foreground light which means your eyes will not adjust to night time driving effectively.

It has a good hotspot but outside the hotspot the drop in light is too much which is again not what is desired.

Quote:
In my case the LED bulbs were truly Plug and Play in terms of the H11 socket type. Although the LED Drivers do not have a proper housing. I will possibly use Insulation tape and make them stick to a convenient part in the space available.
The H11 or H4 wiring is truly plug n play even in mine. But as you can see the Lasfit has a huge cooling fan. How exactly did that cooling fan get accommodated through the retainer pin and what about the dust cap and wiring?
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Old 7th March 2018, 21:23   #15
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Default Re: DIY: Ford EcoSport LED Headlights upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Sadly the LED is all over the place. Note the lack of cut off and scatter. There's a lot more light but pointless since it's scattered:


After some adjustments I realized the problem was not just the bulbs but the headlight reflector design mostly.
I also experienced this when I attempted to put LED Headlights on my bike. The LEDs were from CREE only. We were also not sure why it was happening. We initially thought it was a focusing issue because the light seemed to be in a different direction.

So how to solve for this? I mean you just keep putting in different LEDs and keep fingers crossed? Or there a way to know before hand?


Thank you

Rachit
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