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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone experienced any problems with the headlight wire and socket melting in the low beam non-HID lights? My car has been chewing through bulbs faster than anything I've ever seen since day one. About three weeks ago I picked up two new Sylvania Silver Star H7s at the local autoparts store and installed them. This weekend I noticed my drivers side was off and thought that is really bad but when I checked the bulb looked okay. I wiggled the wire accidentally when I was putting the rubber cover back on and the light went out. So, I inspected and found that the insulation on the brown wire is melted near the socket and the socket is melted to the point that the bulb will fall out.

I haven't taken it to a dealer yet, and if it's easy to replace and cheap I might just do it myself. I don't know where you get those sockets though.

Anyone got any ideas?
 

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I would take it to the dealer with stock bulbs back in. That is ridiculous to have the wires fry on a 55W bulb. There must have been something loose causing it to arc and fry the wire.

I have Hoen 85W and it is pretty easy to make your own harness. Some people think you get extra light out of it and you certainly wouldn't have wires frying. But, I would play with that after warranty, no reason to spend your own money and time when the dealer should cover it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I actually put the stock bulb back in this morning. I had saved that in a bag as a spare in the glove box. I just called the dealer and they said they have to replace the wire harness, it's not an in stock part either. I agree about making your own, it looks easy if you can find the parts. The socket looked like it was going to be hard to find.
 

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ganseg said:
But, I would play with that after warranty, no reason to spend your own money and time when the dealer should cover it.
Ya see because I thouht that was called fraud or something....
 

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I (and 2-3 others that I found) have had this same problem... with the stock bulbs. The problem seems to be the female-end connector that you plug the bulb into gets loose. The resulting friction creates lots of heat (I'm no EE so I can't explain why) and will end up melting the wires and the connector itself. I was finally able to fix the problem by buying a new headlight wiring harness from the dealer. I just cut off the wires and connector that lead to the low-beam bulb, and spliced them into the existing harness. Four months later, no problems. I even switched to SilverStars a few months ago and everything seems to be holding up fine.

I don't have the part number at hand, but the dealer parts dept. found it in the computer. It was around $30. PM me if you need the part number. I can get it when I get home.
 

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Every time you replace the bulb, you stretch the connectors inside the plug a little bit.

They are not a spring steel or anything like that, so any movement deforms them and they do not just pop back into place.

You can however, insert a small screwdriver (with the lights OFF, of course) into the connector and bend the contacts back out a little bit whenever you replace a bulb.

I had a similar problem and after making sure the contacts were tight, have been running 80W bulbs with no problems.
 

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DrewD said:
The resulting friction creates lots of heat (I'm no EE so I can't explain why) and will end up melting the wires and the connector itself.
It wouldn't be "friction", but rather "resistance".

If there is a poor electrical connection, for example due to surface corrosion, this produces heat. The poor connection introduces unwanted electrical resistance in the circuit. The electrical resistance impedes the electrical current, and in so doing produces heat (the electrical energy has to go somewhere - it turns into heat).

If you had 2 ohms of resistance (not very much resistance), the current flow would be 6 amps, and you'd have 72 Watts of concentrated heat. Go touch a 70W incandescent bulb and you'll start to get the idea.

If you had enough resistance, the electrical current would be so impeded that not very much would be flowing, and you wouldn't get much heat. But in that case, your lights probably wouldn't turn on, either.

A tight-fitting socket will "wipe" the connection when you insert the bulb, thus reducing or eliminating surface corrosion. A loose socket won't. Even worse, a loose connection may get moisture or other corroding influences in it.

Another factor is that in a loose socket, there will be a much smaller surface area in contact between the socket and the terminals on the bulb. The smaller surface area means more resistance, and away you go!

An interesting question is which is the real culprit here: surface corrosion, or insufficient surface area in the electrical contacts. Perhaps both are.

I'll spare you the formulas for figuring this all out. If you are curious, do a search on "Ohm's Law" and also one on "I squared R" (or perhaps "I^2*R" or "Power Formula"). Here's a related article (focused on building wiring) that discusses the problem: http://www.psihq.com/iread/faqvolt.htm

I is the symbol for electrical current. R is the symbol for electrical resistance
 

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glsvariant said:
Would you expect the melting to be any worse with the Silverstars? They are H7 55W.
No. And because they are H7 55W, they should be considered as equivalent to stock bulbs. In other words, you replaced the stock bulb with one that has the same specs.

I would bet heavily that the melting is due to poor connectivity in the socket. Now, is that due to improper bulb installation? That's one you'll need to sort out on your own.

I don't think you should have any ethical or moral issues regarding putting the stock bulbs back in before taking it to the dealer. But if you feel that you may have caused a poor connection when you installed the bulbs, then to keep your conscience clean you might want to shell out the money for a replacement socket rather than attempt to get it handled as a warranty item.
 

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Sharky said:
ganseg said:
But, I would play with that after warranty, no reason to spend your own money and time when the dealer should cover it.
Ya see because I thouht that was called fraud or something....
Why would that be since the Silvania Silver Star is a 55w and stock equivalent. So just out of curiousity, do we HAVE to replace with OE bulb in order to remain under warranty ? If this is the case, it doesn't sound right to me. Your thought ... Sharky.
 

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Go to the dealer and be straight with them. If your car is blowing bulbs, you have the right to replace it with a dot approved 55w Silverstar, and it shouldn't void your warranty. If your dealer is decent?????, they should replace it under warranty.
 

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You're right, if its a 55 watt, it should be covered regardless.

I get frustrated with these boobs that order buhzillion candlepower 3.45 megawatt off-road bulbs out of JC Whitney or someplace and can't understand why their car eats harnesses.

Just remember though, the OE bulb they sell at the dealer is the only one they can (or for that matter, must) stand behind. If your crappy aftermarket bulbs keep blowing and there is no problem with the harness, then it's your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Since the car was new I kept going back to the dealer for bulbs. They are free under warranty. The thing is that it's a pain in the butt to keep going there for something like a bulb. The time is what costs more than the small amount I'm saving in cash. In addition, my hope was that buying another brand would slow the constant burnout of the headlights. Other cars I've owned rarely blew headlights.
 

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You probably have something more going on here with your wiring. If you are blowing bulbs that often, I can't believe the dealer wouldn't do some diagnositics. Not even the owners who use DRL's all the time have that problem...and the dealers use a good OEM h7 bulb, like Philips LL's. I would get my wiring checked out???
 

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Ok, my wires melted too and its smoked the Lexan housing from the inside :???: has anyone found a way to get the smoky film off the inside of the assembly without taking the whole thing apart?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update... I took it to the dealer yesterday to replace the wire harness and when I picked it up they had replaced the whole headlight assembly. Not sure why unless maybe that was easier than the wire harness. :???:
 

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Is there adifference between the harness for a 98 and a 99? I just had a dealer tell me there was a difference between the two model years.
 
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