Volkswagen Passat Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lights.jpg

I've just bought a 2002 Passat B5.5. I've never had a VW before so excuse me if I come across as asking dumb questions. My headlights are awful, not bright at all. As you can see by the photo, I know they aren't adjusted correctly, but when I get them adjusted to where they look the best....I still can't see 15 feet in front of the car at night, so dim. And as you can see by the picture...there are pronounced straight cut-off lines in the light as well. These lines run horizontal then start angling up, then higher horizontal...casting a rainbow looking effect, almost like a hologram look.

Anyone have this issue? What could be wrong?

Thank you,
Stretch
 

·
Registered
2004 GLS 1.8T
Joined
·
12,159 Posts
The headlights on the B5/5.5 aren't world-beaters, but not awful. Are yours original, or aftermarket? Are the lenses fully clear, or fogged? Proper alignment and recently-polished lenses can help a lot. The angled cut-off lines are normal, and usually seen on most quality lighting systems. The idea is, a lower beam where it illuminates the road (to spare oncoming motorists eyes) then rises to better illuminate the shoulder of the road.

Note that many original headlights have broken adjusters (they're fragile!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,012 Posts
I have a set I got from the junkyard a couple of weeks ago. Just polished the lenses and they are good looking, no broken tabs or anything.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
That pronounced horizontal line with the angled portion right above the light beam is coming from inside the projector that the light sits in. It's normal.
By looks of the color of light, you have the halogen lights.
These lights are of fairly decent quality. Adjustment would be needed to get the light pattern in the proper position so you can effectively see down the road.
Projector beams have the ability to 'focus' the light pattern making the available light much more effective. The projector has an actual aperture flap inside of it that cuts off the beam on the top end so it doesn't effect on coming drivers.
If your projectors are out of adjustment and or your lenses are clouded over with the yellowish oxide, that will severely hinder light output.
Seeing as you already have projector style lights, upgrading to a Xenon HID is quite easy. The difference is night and day between halogen and Xenon.


I converted my 1998 GLS halogen headlights to the projector style HID's with a 55 watt 5000k bulb.
Before the conversion my lights were so bad I couldn't even drive at night outside the city.
That black car is about 120 feet in front of me in the picture.

Just for the record, I posted this same picture a few months back and was told the light output is 'splotchy'. The parking lot surface is nowhere near flat hence the difference in light reflection of the ground.




Here's a video that shows how to adjust the projectors. (this video is for the auto level option, but the basic adjustment is still the same.)

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
Just thought I'd add this.

Over the Thanksgiving break I drove over to CA, from Phoenix AZ. Driving through the desert at night with the Xenon HID's is almost like driving during the day, the light output is that intense.
I also drove down to meet up with member 'ylwagon' and he lives where there are NO city lights. Driving through those hills at night, I had the same confidence as I do during the daytime driving hours.
That's how awesome the HID's are.

Added note: I have yet to be 'flashed' by oncoming drivers. If you install and focus the HID's properly, they have no blinding effect to oncoming drivers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
283 Posts
Just thought I'd add this.

Added note: I have yet to be 'flashed' by oncoming drivers. If you install and focus the HID's properly, they have no blinding effect to oncoming drivers.
AndreasPassat, do you have the "auto-level" on your HID's? I still have my W8-HID --> B5.5 Wagon project in the queue, but just want to install and focus the HID's properly, and not have the "auto-level" W8 vw feature. If I could make a manual driver for the leveling stepper motors, that might be kind of fun though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The headlights on the B5/5.5 aren't world-beaters, but not awful. Are yours original, or aftermarket? Are the lenses fully clear, or fogged? Proper alignment and recently-polished lenses can help a lot. The angled cut-off lines are normal, and usually seen on most quality lighting systems. The idea is, a lower beam where it illuminates the road (to spare oncoming motorists eyes) then rises to better illuminate the shoulder of the road.

Note that many original headlights have broken adjusters (they're fragile!).
Thank you! I was told the housings were replaced a few months ago. They outer lens look clear, but the lens where the low bean resides behind is fogged looking. But isn't that the design of that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
Thank you! I was told the housings were replaced a few months ago. They outer lens look clear, but the lens where the low bean resides behind is fogged looking. But isn't that the design of that?

Your headlight lens covers should always be crystal clear.

This company makes awesome products to protect your lights.
https://www.lamin-x.com/
 
  • Like
Reactions: PZ

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
AndreasPassat, do you have the "auto-level" on your HID's? I still have my W8-HID --> B5.5 Wagon project in the queue, but just want to install and focus the HID's properly, and not have the "auto-level" W8 vw feature. If I could make a manual driver for the leveling stepper motors, that might be kind of fun though.
Not on the HID's for my 1998 GLS. Those are DEPO brand headlight assemblies, manual adjustment.

My 2003 W8 has the auto levelers. But honestly, I haven't touched that car since I bought it, so I have no idea how to mess with it.
Just thinking as I'm writing here, can VCDS 'code out' the auto level option?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Your headlight lens covers should always be crystal clear.

This company makes awesome products to protect your lights.
https://www.lamin-x.com/
Though it is a rainy overcast day out...here is two photos of my housing. One without the camera flash and one with the camera flash on. The lens for the low beam behind the headlight lens cover is like a darker/cloudy looking. Is that because it is a projector lens?
Light.jpg Lightflash.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,656 Posts
Ah now I understand what your saying.
The 'outer' light is the regular low beam and that is the projector. The way it looks is normal.
Re-aligning the lights will help significantly. If your still not happy with the light output you change to a brighter halogen or like I mentioned earlier do an upgrade to HID type bulb.

Here is the HID kit I purchased.
I upgraded to the 5000k bulb and 55watt AC CAN-BUS ballasts ($146 for the kit)

https://www.xenonhids.com/low-beam-h7-full-xenon-hid-conversion-kit.html?i=0jX8v3
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ah now I understand what your saying.
The 'outer' light is the regular low beam and that is the projector. The way it looks is normal.
Re-aligning the lights will help significantly. If your still not happy with the light output you change to a brighter halogen or like I mentioned earlier do an upgrade to HID type bulb.

Here is the HID kit I purchased.
I upgraded to the 5000k bulb and 55watt AC CAN-BUS ballasts ($146 for the kit)

https://www.xenonhids.com/low-beam-h7-full-xenon-hid-conversion-kit.html?i=0jX8v3
Great thank you! I do think I'll change to the HID in the near future, but for now, try some brighter halogens to see if that will suffice for awhile.
 

·
Registered
2004 GLS 1.8T
Joined
·
12,159 Posts
Great thank you! I do think I'll change to the HID in the near future, but for now, try some brighter halogens to see if that will suffice for awhile.
Careful; there's a couple of ways to go "brighter." One is over-wattage bulbs; these simply draw more power than the standard 55W. These tend to burn up the wiring or even melt the reflectors. On the other hand, you have brighter standard wattage bulbs like the Sylvania SilverStar. Downside to these is the thinner filament has a shorter life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,569 Posts
My headlights are awful, not bright at all...I know they aren't adjusted correctly, but when I get them adjusted to where they look the best....I still can't see 15 feet in front of the car at night, so dim...Anyone have this issue? What could be wrong?
As many have mentioned, hazy lenses can have a huge effect on light output. Our '99 was really bad, so we sanded and polished the heck out the polycarbonate lenses, then removed the lenses entirely from the housings to clean inside, and also the reflector. One lesson I learned is to not try polishing the shiny metal reflector, which is just an extremely thin coating of Aluminum. One or two little rubs with metal polish, and it wore right through to the black plastic. But don't forget the bulb's Voltage. When turned on, voltage measured at the bulb terminals should be very close to the battery voltage. Any difference of a Volt or more, I would suspect the headlight switch contacts, fuse contacts, etc being burned or contaminated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
I agree -- when I got my 2004 in 2015 the headlights were AWEFUL. Polished them, aimed them, still bad. Had to drive with the brights on just to drive safely (and never even got "flashed" by oncoming traffic so obviously they weren't too bright! Replacing bulbs with brighter ones didn't help either.

Bought some no-name replacement assemblies from eBay and they were bright but had bad coverage. Tried to aim them and they broke internally. Returned them.

Finally spent the extra money and bought genuine Hella's from ECS Tuning and they are AMAZING.

I definitely recommend completely replacing whatever's in there with new, real Hella's (and from ECS they came with all of the bulbs installed as a bonus!)

PS - The Hella's came perfectly aimed out of the box. Worth every penny!

PPS - Even though the old ones looked pretty good after polishing, having brand-new ones also made the car look about 10 years newer.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top