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Xenon / Bi-Xenon / HID headlights


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19 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Hybrid dude

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 05:58 PM

Here's a start to a discussion about retrofitting Xenon (aka HID (High Intensity Discharge)) headlights to the C-Max Hybrid and Energi. Our foglight discussion took a turn towards this subject, so I thought it best to create a stand-alone topic. I hope we can avoid a discussion of the pros and cons of HID lights and just concentrate on whether the retrofit is even possible. Since our cars already have headlights, perhaps the infamous BCM (Body Controle Module) won't be an issue.

Here's some info:
A) One can get them in European and ROW spec. (Rest Of World) C-Max vehicles, though I think the US and Canada exclusively have the Hybrid and Energi models, on which the option doesn't exist. At this point, purchasing them from somewhere else in the world is the only option. The units are manufactured by the same company, Valeo, that makes our halogen ones. There is a bit of difference in the parking light bulb position and perhaps a reflector or two as well.

B) I've seen photos from the 2011 Detroit auto show in which an Energi model had the HIDs equipped (photo attached). This autoshow version also had Focus-style foglights which didn't make it to the finished product. Granted, this was an autoshow model and since that show, Ford also canned the Grand C-Max but I've seen discussions in other forums about the desire for the HIDs, specifically on the Energi model, to save electricity.
I'm not an engineer but from what I've read, HIDs take a lot of amps to ignite but then use only 35 watts each bulb or so. Interestingly, photos at the top of the competing fordcmaxforum.com show a Grand C-Max with HIDs on the left and regular C-Max on the right. (For those die-hard detail fans, you'll notice both those vehicle have a slightly different shape to the foglight grill, as well as having only two main grill openings. Our version has three openings.
Attached File  cmax-energi-detroit-2011.jpg   57.62KB   40 downloads

C) I'd rather not go the 'hack into the headlight, cut the reflector and glue-in the HID units which are readily available everywhere' route. I realize there are very skilled DIYers out there but that method may result in problems with state vehicle inspections, headlight alignment, warranty voiding, etc.

D) The units I have seen for sale cost about $500 each and that is without two necessary components, those being the ballast and the bulb. I would guess those components could be the same as ones used on Fords which do offer HIDs here, which are readily available new and used. Used headlights do occasionally appear, though.


E) Voltage drop: I'll need help explaining this but since our cars have so many electrical monitors, the voltage drop which I think is caused by HIDs might be an issue but I have seen products which trick the vehicle into thinking everything is normal.

I hope this is helpful and look forward to your replies.







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#2 OFFLINE   pixelwiz

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:11 PM

I really want HID or LED headlights in my C-Max hybrid!!! Hopefully someone will make them available soon, has anyone bought the ones from Europe?

#3 OFFLINE   Hybrid dude

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:57 PM

Thanks for mentioning LEDs, which I should have originally indicated in the topic title.

At this point, I don't want to be the guinea pig and spend $1,000 for the HIDs from Europe and the additional many hundreds for the ballasts and bulbs here and then have it not work or worse, ruin something. I've already been through the 'what if' scenario with my foglight posts.

Perhaps if the 2014 model has that option, at least the parts/electronics will be here and we can take a look at the installation, etc.

#4 OFFLINE   MikeB

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

Hiya dude,

Somebody needs to be the guinea pig for the ebay lights. I'd do it, but I don't even have my C-Max yet. So I nominate you. :) However, I suggest you send a message to the seller, and tell him you don't know if they'll fit in the 2013 model, and want to do a test fitting. I bet he'll give you a more generous return policy, since he'll potentially be getting a good bit more sales. And you can order just one of the pair, since I suspect both sides are symmetric (just reversed), to further reduce your risk.

I'm sure we can find a ballast and bulb that will work, there's thousands of sites selling them these days. Getting a Ford OEM ballast would be nice, but probably more expensive than we need. Most HID ballasts for the retrofit market are wired to accept the plug from a halogen light, so I think the wiring will be pretty simple. Mounting the ballast inside the lights might be the more difficult part, if you didn't get a Ford ballast, but that shouldn't be overly tough, and we can always mount the ballast externally as a fallback plan. And I bet the ebay seller with the lights can find the matching Ford OEM ballasts, if you ask him maybe he'll put together a package.

I'm not sure what the concern is about voltage drop. HID uses lower wattage than halogen, and the ballast hides all the high voltage circuitry from the vehicle. If anything, HID will have slightly less voltage drop, which shouldn't cause any major issues.

#5 OFFLINE   Hybrid dude

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:24 PM

Hi MikeB-
Thanks for the nomination but until I find a less expensive set, I'll have to quote General Sherman "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected."
Here's a link to the Latvian OEM one:
http://www.ebay.com/...bac3f3f&vxp=mtr
They have a 30-day you pay the shipping return policy. My previous price quote was a bit low, as two lights would cost $1,220.

Yes, I agree there are a wide variety of ballasts and bulbs for not too much money available. Since I have never seen them installed, I don't know if the ballast is contained within the housing. I can ask that question on the UK site.

Less expensive used lights do appear occasionally on eBay Germany. eBay UK would have the incorrect beam pattern, since they drive on the left.

I don't have the necessary electrical knowledge but I've seen discussions of voltage drop effecting other things, thus my mention of it. The bulbs do use fewer watts when illuminated but I think the initial amperage required to ignite them is more.

#6 OFFLINE   Hybrid dude

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 11:23 AM

I'm toying with the idea of going to a local aftermarket shop just to have them connect an HID bulb and ballast to see what happens electronically with the vehicle ... if the light works, if any codes appear, etc. Since the kits seem to be plug and play, it would seem a reasonable first step. The only fact of which I don't know is if a ground wire has to be attached somewhere on the frame but this must not be a big deal.



#7 OFFLINE   dutchsher

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 01:38 AM

Tomorrow I am going to try and hook up the ballast and HID bulbs to the C Max to see what happens. It shouldn't be an issue, but we will see if it throws anything back at me. I really miss having bright headlights! But I guess I will be your guys' Guinea pig on this one. Unless this has been answered elsewhere?



#8 OFFLINE   HotPotato

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 10:02 PM

Check the C-Max Energi forum - someone has already done this. It was expensive and tricky. Your car also loses its amber side reflector/lamps (which is technically illegal, although maybe you could add some ugly non-flush ones like on 80s BMWs).

#9 OFFLINE   mtb9153

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 10:53 PM

Check the C-Max Energi forum - someone has already done this. It was expensive and tricky. Your car also loses its amber side reflector/lamps (which is technically illegal, although maybe you could add some ugly non-flush ones like on 80s BMWs).

where's the link to this other thread?  Sorry I'm lazy, I don't want to look for it.


Edited by mtb9153, 20 September 2013 - 10:53 PM.


#10 OFFLINE   HotPotato

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 02:06 AM

where's the link to this other thread?  Sorry I'm lazy, I don't want to look for it.

 

Oferpetesake, Search is your friend. Found it in under 2 minutes: http://fordcmaxenerg...it-from-europe/

 

Having toyed with it a while, the guy who did it is now selling his setup: http://fordcmaxenerg...eadlight-setup/  You can pick it up for little over half his cost...but you'll be finishing the guinea pig process of getting it just so.



#11 OFFLINE   mtb9153

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 02:32 AM

Oferpetesake, Search is your friend. Found it in under 2 minutes: http://fordcmaxenerg...it-from-europe/

 

Having toyed with it a while, the guy who did it is now selling his setup: http://fordcmaxenerg...eadlight-setup/  You can pick it up for little over half his cost...but you'll be finishing the guinea pig process of getting it just so.

Excuse me! no need to get bent out of shape, I'd just rather a link


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#12 OFFLINE   BIG ROCCO

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 06:21 PM

Excuse me! no need to get bent out of shape, I'd just rather a link

 

Seems reasonable enough



#13 OFFLINE   dutchsher

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:56 PM

Connected a ballast and bulb from amazon kit. Light flickers and then shuts off. Probably just need a relay wired up to it. The system doesn't like the initial draw of electricity and stops it. Or doesn't like the latent drop. Super easy and not invasive. Will let you know the results.

#14 OFFLINE   cmax-nynj

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:16 PM

What kind of ballast did you use?  Can-bus or Non Can-bus?



#15 OFFLINE   webcontrol

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 12:32 AM

Would LED be a lot more affordable?  Two 50W led bulb costs less than $80 on eBay. Just don't know if they fit on C-MAX hybrid



#16 OFFLINE   mysterymeat

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 10:05 AM

  Whdz® Auto 6th LED Headlight H11 Conversion Kit - LED Bulbs H11 6000lm 44w - Super Bright I found these LED headlights on Amazon to replace the OEM Halogen low beams. The price at the time was $55 for the pair. They're plug & play, with no separate ballast, or igniters to be squeeze into the housing. Installation wasn't that difficult. I had no problems removing the right housing was really easy. The left I couldn't remove, but was able to move it enough to swap the lights.

 

I was pleasantly amazed of the difference. Plus the 22W LEDs draw less than half as much power than the 55W Halogens.

 

There are several different conversion kits available at a wide range of prices. be sure to look at their physical characteristics before buying them, because some may not fit. 

 

http://www.amazon.co...ailpage_o06_s00

 

 

 

 
 


#17 OFFLINE   livesmith

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 11:03 AM

 

  Whdz® Auto 6th LED Headlight H11 Conversion Kit - LED Bulbs H11 6000lm 44w - Super Bright I found these LED headlights on Amazon to replace the OEM Halogen low beams. The price at the time was $55 for the pair. They're plug & play, with no separate ballast, or igniters to be squeeze into the housing. Installation wasn't that difficult. I had no problems removing the right housing was really easy. The left I couldn't remove, but was able to move it enough to swap the lights.

 

I was pleasantly amazed of the difference. Plus the 22W LEDs draw less than half as much power than the 55W Halogens.

 

There are several different conversion kits available at a wide range of prices. be sure to look at their physical characteristics before buying them, because some may not fit. 

 

http://www.amazon.co...ailpage_o06_s00

 

 

 

 

 

So these LED replacement lights actually seem as bright and cover as wide an area as the stock halogens?



#18 OFFLINE   vonsche

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 04:46 PM

Connected a ballast and bulb from amazon kit. Light flickers and then shuts off. Probably just need a relay wired up to it. The system doesn't like the initial draw of electricity and stops it. Or doesn't like the latent drop. Super easy and not invasive. Will let you know the results.

 

Use these with any HID / LED kit on any vehicle to stop flickering and be able to use lights for DRL.  Worked on 2016 Cmax and 2016 Colorado.

 

https://www.amazon.c...1&keywords=bow3



#19 OFFLINE   jestevens

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 06:07 AM

My Prius had Xenon lights,  A regular parts place wanted $130/bulb and Toyota wanted $300 per headlight to change them.  Thankfully you could get the bulb for $82/ea on Amazon and if you had really small hands and a cosmetic mirror you could change them yourself without taking the bumper cover off and the headlight assembly out per the shop manual.

 

The HHR had some weird thing where you had to turn the steering wheel all the way to lock position so you could reach up, pull out the push pins and pull back the inner wheel liner so you could reach up into the headlight housing and change the bulb.

 

I'm sorry to say the C-MAX was actually the easiest "modern" car to change - using some hex bits and a push pin removal tool you can flex the front of the car enough to pivot the headlight assembly and remove the bulb cover to access the bulbs - I remember doing this on a nice, breezy 4F day.

 

On my '94 Cavalier you'd just basically open the hood, pull out the bulb and change it in like 30 seconds.



#20 OFFLINE   livesmith

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 10:08 AM

So, on a related topic, has anyone actually found some way to noticeably enhance the lighting?  Now that we're back to the shorter days, and especially after driving the minivan(with standard halogens) I notice how very NOT great the C-Max headlights and foglights are...

 

I've contemplated hooking up one of those LED light bars, but with the battery in the trunk I'm not entirely sure how I'd get the wiring hooked up.  Let alone that I'm always hesitant with the drilling holes and things.

 

I'm wondering if there are some replacement/retroft LED headlight bulbs that might not be too expensive and make a significant difference.








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