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post #1 of 7 Old 03-11-2017, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Canada Echo headlamps

I've always bought Iodide or Halogen upgrade headlights for my vehicles over the past 40 years but the Echo versions have left me entirely frustrated. I've gone through 3 pairs of Sylvania Silver Star Ultras over the past 2 years. Sure they're brighter than OEM but they always fail within a year, and they ain't cheap. I know they're guaranteed for up to a year (I'm learning to save receipts) but it's a PITA to change them, especially during the winter months. Last week another one blew and this time I said 'hell with it' and replaced the bulbs with ordinary brightness Sylvania Long Life (2 year warranty).
There are other brands of brighter bulbs out there (Canadian Tire only carries Sylvania brand) and I'd like to hear about other people's experience with these.
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-11-2017, 08:48 PM
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From working parts, I'll tell you what Sylvania's own literature said: the brighter the bulb, the shorter its lifespan. I bought the Xtravision, which is one step up from the basic bulb. It made a notable difference from the stock headlights and both were still burning strong after three years. Fantastic compromise and it's what I'll personally be sticking with.

I'll also plug a bit of personal bias: the blue tinted headlights, both HID and others such as Silverstars, are just distracting to me.

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post #3 of 7 Old 03-11-2017, 09:25 PM
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Unfortunately you are fairly limited in choices with a 9003 headlight vehicle, but there are options.

Back when I had my Prizm (also 9003) I found GE NightHawk and Sylvania Xtravision to be the best halogen bulbs for it.

Another option (if your lenses are still clean and clear) is HID with a projector retrofit. You take your stock headlight assemblies out, separate the clear lens from the reflector, and install the fisheye and projector housing into your reflectors and reassemble. There are single and dual function (hi/lo) versions.

Hope that helps.

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post #4 of 7 Old 03-12-2017, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. I'll keep my eyes open for GE-made 9003s next time around. It's encouraging to hear that there are brighter-than-ordinary bulbs out there that last longer than 10-12 months. Sylvania is subject to a class action lawsuit at the moment (I'm unclear about the details) but it certainly has infuriated me that their upscale lighting is engineered to reliably fail in such a short time.
Accessing the lamp units on the Echo was initially a curse (having to undo the bumper cover was certainly a surprise) but I've gotten pretty handy at it, lubricated all of the slots and pockets (hey I live in the rust belt), and practiced on a junkyard car first time around.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-18-2017, 08:38 PM
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Lightbulb

I buy Sylvania Silver Stars also. Cost about $25 each. Mine last 2-3 years, and I use them all the time that the car is on. Hate to hear that you have had trouble with yours. I buy them because they are super-bright white. I want headlights that burn an eye blinding white like the worklights that road crews use after dark. The Silver Stars do this for me.

Also, I keep my lenses clear by cleaning them at least weekly with a mild cleaning compound. They look brand new after 15 years of use.

Last edited by GregN; 03-18-2017 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Wanted to add additional comment
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-18-2017, 08:47 PM
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Order some Piaa/Philips "HIR" bulbs... it's not an uncommon size you have, H4.

Another option would be LED if you wish to go that route. As bright as OE, but last forever...
*go with a fanless design, usually thick in the back as they have a fat heatsink, or one you spread out by hand.

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post #7 of 7 Old 03-18-2017, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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GregN: glad to hear you get decent mileage out of Silver Stars but I've cooked 5 Silver Star Ultras (average lifespan 10 months) so far and am not going to buy these again. Just so you know I compared Sylvania Long Life with my one remaining Ultra (passenger side still intact) and there really isn't a radical difference downroad aside from white colour of the light.

01lexpl: With how bright (and cheap) LED flashlights are these days I'd be quite interested in switching over to LED. Ought to be fairly simple since LED is considerably more energy efficient (which makes me ask; howcum a heat sink?) but I guess technology such as this would seriously undermine darn-near-monopoly manufacture and sales of conventional 'short life' automotive bulbs. So where would I go looking for these?
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