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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was just thinking, if I were to pickup a SE model, how easy is it to get to the headlights? They are positioned weird, so I assume they made the bulbs accessible from the wheel well by turning the wheel, is that right?

And if that is the only easily accessible way, how would you run wires from the battery for say a aftermarket HID install to replace the incandescent bulb in the projector?
 

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So I was just thinking, if I were to pickup a SE model, how easy is it to get to the headlights? They are positioned weird, so I assume they made the bulbs accessible from the wheel well by turning the wheel, is that right?
Per the manual, yes - you just unclip the wheel well liner to access the bulb. As for fishing a wire down to that location I have no idea, but it can't be that difficult.
 

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the manual wants front bumper removal to replace bulbs
maybe that's for dealership to bill customer labor hours they recommend that kind of procedure

turn the wheel and reach in through wheel fender is somewhat unorthodox for sure, you for sure can't see a thing, and only going to use tactile feedback to guide you the entire time can be hard
but that beats having to remove the bumper to see everything in plain sight
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
the manual wants front bumper removal to replace bulbs
Crap, you had to do that with the Fiat 500 as well to get to the fog lamps on the turbo models. Its not difficult with the plastic pry tools, but there's always a risk of messing up one of the tabs and it doesn't sound good when you're doing it.

I'm confused though because JMII indicates its accessible through the wheel liner. Hmmm... going to find a copy and dig through the manual, thx.

Edit: Found the manual: https://owners.hyundaiusa.com/conte.../santa-cruz/2022-Santa-Cruz-Owners-Manual.pdf

So I see, it doesn't actually have a flap built into the wheel liner like on the Fiat 500 and Ram 1500, they just want you to remove some of the wheel liner clips and just kind of bend it out of the way... hmm, only four clips though, so that's not too bad.
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So basically, putting in HIDs is probably more trouble than its worth, but plug&play LED socket replacement bulbs would be easy enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
the shop manuals are saying different things I guess
Ohhhh ok, I totally understand now, thanks!

The first instructions are how to just replace a bulb, so for that its just four screws on the wheel liner, bend it out of the way, and voila.

The second set of instructions were if you have to replace the headlamp assembly, and for that the whole bumper has to come off. But that's great to know too, because it shows where the wiring is (highlighted in green), so maybe you could snake HID cables through there, but looks like it would be a pain.
2275


That's OK, while HIDs are the best, replacement LED bulbs these days aren't that horrible anymore.
 

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That's OK, while HIDs are the best, replacement LED bulbs these days aren't that horrible anymore.
maybe I missed something, I thought LEDs are the best now as OEMs now all gravitate towards, I still remember that Xenon lights were all the rage back in the mid 2000s, and these days you barely find any mention of those.

What makes HID the best?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
maybe I missed something, I thought LEDs are the best now as OEMs now all gravitate towards, I still remember that Xenon lights were all the rage back in the mid 2000s, and these days you barely find any mention of those.

What makes HID the best?
Sorry, I should have clarified. When a projector is designed for an incandescent bulb, replacing those bulbs with HIDs tends to produce a more crisp and powerful light source than LED. While HIDs are basically just creating a small omnidirectional super bright ball of light, very similar to an omnidirectional filament glowing, LED chips only like to shine in one direction, and they don't like to get hot and need to disappate the heat with a heatsink on the bank of the diode.

Problem is, if you need the LED to produce omnidirectional light, you have to sandwich at minimum two together. The closer together the two diodes are, the more it converges into a single point of light and reflects off the mirrors in proper focus BUT the closer the two diodes are, the more they cook each other to death. So there's a compromise between getting the heat away from some copper medium between them that goes to a heatsink with a fan by being thick and having less heat transfer capability by making it thin so you get a good hot spot and beam pattern and what not.

LED headlights that were designed from the getgo to be LED projectors or reflectors don't have this problem. They design the projectors so they can help focus the LEDs just shining straight forward on a sandwich board with a big ol heatsink attached to their backsides, so they run cool, efficient, and focused.

So the factory LEDs will be as good or better than factory HIDs, but when replacing factory halogen setup, HID is best and LED is improving every year but not quite as great. See the design below, there's a yellow diode on each side, and they advertise how the copper submount is only 0.06" thick, but it means they are likely to run kind of hot and a hot LED is not as bright and doesn't last as long. HIDs don't have those problems.
2278
 

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Sorry, I should have clarified. When a projector is designed for an incandescent bulb, replacing those bulbs with HIDs tends to produce a more crisp and powerful light source than LED. While HIDs are basically just creating a small omnidirectional super bright ball of light, very similar to an omnidirectional filament glowing, LED chips only like to shine in one direction, and they don't like to get hot and need to disappate the heat with a heatsink on the bank of the diode.

Problem is, if you need the LED to produce omnidirectional light, you have to sandwich at minimum two together. The closer together the two diodes are, the more it converges into a single point of light and reflects off the mirrors in proper focus BUT the closer the two diodes are, the more they cook each other to death. So there's a compromise between getting the heat away from some copper medium between them that goes to a heatsink with a fan by being thick and having less heat transfer capability by making it thin so you get a good hot spot and beam pattern and what not.

LED headlights that were designed from the getgo to be LED projectors or reflectors don't have this problem. They design the projectors so they can help focus the LEDs just shining straight forward on a sandwich board with a big ol heatsink attached to their backsides, so they run cool, efficient, and focused.

So the factory LEDs will be as good or better than factory HIDs, but when replacing factory halogen setup, HID is best and LED is improving every year but not quite as great. See the design below, there's a yellow diode on each side, and they advertise how the copper submount is only 0.06" thick, but it means they are likely to run kind of hot and a hot LED is not as bright and doesn't last as long. HIDs don't have those problems.
View attachment 2278
Thanks, now I see what you're saying, maybe you can find an HID solution to replace the stock halogens on SC. The drawback I understood of HID is that it can't or shouldn't be use as a flickering light, so for low beams they are fine, but high beams that sometime requiring on-off rapidly is not ideal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, now I see what you're saying, maybe you can find an HID solution to replace the stock halogens on SC. The drawback I understood of HID is that it can't or shouldn't be use as a flickering light, so for low beams they are fine, but high beams that sometime requiring on-off rapidly is not ideal.
Depends on the setup, so the highbeams are a non-issue on the SE and SEL trim in that respect. Its just a single bulb, and either the bulb moves back and forth in the housing or there's just a flap that moves up and down, but the bulb is always on so the warm-up problem with HIDs isn't an issue at night. Its only on cars that have one projector for low beams and one projector for highbeams where you would definitely want to put LED replacement bulbs in the highbeams (or just leave them incandescent). Although it is true if the headlights are off, and you wanted to flash to pass, the HID is dim at first and takes 30seconds to get up to temp and become bright, so that would be a problem.
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While LED incandescent replacement bulbs are just plug and play, no extra wiring needed, the HIDs I've used, 55 watt highest power ones I could find, to avoid flickering or overloading the wiring since they need a ton of juice on startup were always wired all the way back to a relay that connects directly to the battery.

But I guess I could just get some 35 watt slim digital ballast replacement HIDs and see how they work on the Santa Cruz, then it can just use the factory harness and not connect to the battery. On some cars this is fine, on other people have weird issues.
 

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The first instructions are how to just replace a bulb, so for that its just four screws on the wheel liner, bend it out of the way, and voila.

The second set of instructions were if you have to replace the headlamp assembly, and for that the whole bumper has to come off.
Bulbs are designed to be replaced so they make it easy. But the lenses themselves? totally different story and likely not worth the effort.

I hope the aftermarket comes out with a bash bar to mount aux lights onto. The front of the vehicle is so smooth and clean it doesn't leave much room for a light bar. I guess one could go into the lower grille area without too much work. I drive in some pretty remote places very early in the AM where a light bar is almost a requirement.
 

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.... I drive in some pretty remote places very early in the AM where a light bar is almost a requirement.
How about a light bar with a quick-release across the roof rails?
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I hope the aftermarket comes out with a bash bar to mount aux lights onto. The front of the vehicle is so smooth and clean it doesn't leave much room for a light bar. I guess one could go into the lower grille area without too much work. I drive in some pretty remote places very early in the AM where a light bar is almost a requirement.
SC has such a clean and aerodynamic looking aesthetic, not sure how you could make it fit with the triangles over squares design. The upgraded headlights with highbeam on may also be so bright that they are the equivalent of a headlight and lightbar setup from not that long ago.

If anything, I would maybe see about just two "fog lamp" projector style pods setup that have a very wide beam focus and put the brightest headlight bulbs in them you can find, like the before mentioned 55W HIDs (provided they can take the heat). Those could be mounted by the lower grill.
 

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You might be able to get away with mounting a light bar inside the lower grill, down close to ground level. Could be a stealth-mode install like that.
 

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The upgraded headlights with highbeam on may also be so bright that they are the equivalent of a headlight and lightbar setup from not that long ago.
Very well could be, especially since I'm coming from a 20 year truck. I've upgraded the headlights on it, added yellow fog lights and two small light bars in the lower grille. The light bars made the biggest difference, it was downright scary once I realized how bad the stock lights were in comparison.

How about a light bar with a quick-release across the roof rails?
Good idea if you off road, however for me on the highway I think the wind noise and wiring wouldn't be worth the effort.

You might be able to get away with mounting a light bar inside the lower grill, down close to ground level. Could be a stealth-mode install like that.
That would be best given the sleek front end (y)

Thanks for the ideas!
 

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Ohhhh ok, I totally understand now, thanks!

That's OK, while HIDs are the best, replacement LED bulbs these days aren't that horrible anymore.
Trouble is if these aren't just standard bulbs (ie H7, etc). Projector bulbs used to be special. Haven't looked to see what these are yet. If there are std the LEDs are the only way to go now days. Had HIDs and they are better than stock bulbs but kind of a pain what with the transformer and extra wiring.
 
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