DIY Installation: Polo TSI gets Philips bi-Xenon headlamp upgrade
The Xenon headlight is a lot brighter and has a stronger throw compared to the puny stock halogen lights.
BHPian fluidicjoy recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
In my previous post, I covered the headlight child parts and put them together, and now it is time to put them in the car to “Let there be light.”
Installing the Headlights
Replacing the headlight assemblies is fairly simple and the basic workflow has been covered by me here when I installed retrofit LED bulbs.
For a brief moment before its eye transplant, with both of the stock halogen assemblies taken out, the Polo sure looked lost, blind to be brutally honest, but that is a little harsh, even for a car.
DRLs and Colour Scare
The Bi-Xenon DRLs I had seen on every other car looked white, and the ones I had looked Yellowish from a particular angle. This seemed quite weird, but we were quick to realise that this was just from particular angles. While Yellow isn’t all that bad, it would have been disappointing had they been Yellow DRLs and not White.
These DRLs change intensity depending on the position of the headlight Switch. With a suitable BCM, these can be coded to be OFF with the Hand-brake engaged.
With an emulator, most of the features of the Bi-Xenon headlights work like the DRLs dimming, Low-Beam, High-Beam, Cornering Lamps with turn signals etc and this is a huge win for non-BCM Max cars. Other than auto-levelling and some smart OEM-level features like DRL winking etc. this emulator gets most of the things done and most folks would be very happy with it.
Headlight Throw and Beam Pattern
The Xenon headlight is a lot brighter and has a stronger throw compared to the puny stock halogen lights. The cutoff is nice and crisp and can inspire plenty of confidence once aligned correctly. Here is a picture of the car standing a few feet from the wall.
For my initial setup, I tested the beam pattern from a distance of about 18-25 feet and manually levelled the projector beam against references on a wall.
To see which side of the headlight was contributing to what part of the beam, I blocked out one of the lenses with a towel. This experiment helped get an idea of the horizontal spread of the projector bowl.
Low and High Beam
Here’s a small video I made to highlight some of the basic functionality of the headlights, but I am not very proud of this video and there are quite a lot of better videos which I’ve left cards to in my video. Those videos have more extensive driving tests with these headlights to give you a feel of how they perform. Here is a link to another recent thread by BHPian Sarfraz which covers the Headlight performance.
The experience with Bi-Xenons is great, but it can be a little disappointing without proper levelling if you keep having a variable load in your car. After wiring these in, the stock headlight leveller in the car stops working and for the few rare folks who use it, this can be an absolute bummer. In my case, I adjusted the beam with respect to the centre of the headlight, and while it never caused a glare, I ended up having a throw which was falling too short from the car.
Eventually, I ended up installing an Auto-Levelling sensor and since then, this issue has been corrected. I will write about my experience installing the AFS system shortly.
Many folks wonder if they’re better than the Vento LED lights, and the answer in a few cases is YES, because of the warmer HID bulbs which perform better in many scenarios, especially in foggy and rainy conditions. Do they look as pretty as the OEM GTI LEDs? My personal pick today would anytime be the Red-Striped GTI LED headlights, which look a lot more modern and cutting-edge. Plus, for anyone looking to retrofit them, the LED headlights are simpler to retrofit since most of the basic functionality will work, sure it won’t work perfectly, the DRLs might not dim, and you won’t be able to achieve headlight levelling, but it’ll still be pretty cool to have if you find a great set.
That’s pretty much it for my small write-up on these headlights.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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