Anyone have any experience with LED headlight upgrades? As I get older (or maybe it's the headlights getting older), it's getting harder to see clearly at night with the original OEM bulbs. Any suggestions appreciated?
I also tried some LED bulbs, and was very disappointed. The ones I ordered claimed to have about 4x the output of the (dim) originals (4800 lumens vs. 1200, IIRC). Got them installed, and they weren't as bright as the originals. Sent 'em back (and they weren't cheap LED bulbs, BTW).
What I ended up doing was to install "high beam bulbs" in the low beam projectors. That required breaking off a tab (don't recall offhand whether it was on the bulbs or the connector), but it nearly doubled the light output from the low beam projectors, which makes a huge difference. Also, since the bulb is similar in design, the pattern of the projector is still correct (so I'm not blinding anyone or wasting most of my light lighting up the trees and the road six feet in front of my MDX, like the HID conversions that people do).
I did not try led but I went to a headlight shop in Seattle and had them install a 5000k morimoto hid kit on my 05. It is a massive improvement over halogen in wooded areas, I can now see the road far ahead without high beams and spot deer with enough time to stop safely. I also kept halogen high beams and fog lights as they go through fog allot better than hid which just reflects off the fog and blinds you.
FYI, the update you need to do to run a 9005 "high beam" bulb in the low beam projector side is to break off a locator tab in the low beam socket (a thin "wall" between the contacts in the low beam conector). The light output of the 9005 bulb is about 50% higher than the 9006 low beam bulb, probably at some cost in lower life. From what I can see, the 9006 low beam bulb is good for about 1200 lumens, while the 9005 high beam bulb comes in at 1800 or so (with some aftermarket bulbs putting out more than that).
In regards to HID conversions - they're a terrible (!) idea in a non-projector halogen headlight... they end up spraying light in every direction other than the one you want (down the road). I keep hoping someone will post a photo of the low beam light output from their MDX using a HID conversion - I suspect it will be a lot better than a reflector housing (which suffer because of the physical difference in where the "light comes out" of the bulb), but until I see a photo, I'd be hard-pressed to recommend a HID conversions in an MDX. Here's a photo of a "good light pattern" from a typical projector headlight: http://www.brazeauracing.com/ducati/hidretrofit15.jpg
Not to muddy the waters any further, but in their July 2015 issue, Consumer Reports did a short comparison of "high-tech" headlights to standard halogen, and they found that although the newer LED and HID headlights are brighter, they didn't shine light any further down the road. And back in January 2013, they looked at the premium halogen bulbs (SilverStar, etc.) and found the same outcome - brighter bulbs, but didn't shine further.
They found most improvement from using headlight restoration kits to clean off the haze on the plastic housing, and also noted that halogen bulbs just need to be changed every couple of years or so, as lose their brightness over time.
Thanks, egokcen - I'd add that the CR study was also comparing factory HID and LED headlights, not backyard-modified LED or HID conversions, which (it should be obvious) won't fare as well.
FWIW, the factory projector HID headlights in my BMW are light-years (pun intended) ahead of any other projectors I've seen - they really DO throw light further down the road than any other headlights I've ever seen, and they have a razor-sharp cutoff so they don't blind oncoming drivers as much as regular halogen headlights.
But if you want to do a little study on HID conversions, just watch for the car or more often, truck coming up behind you with blinding blue-white headlights. You know it's an HID conversion if the area all around the front of the vehicle is brightly lit up (it shouldn't be with working headlights, of course), and look down the road. Normally, you'll see things down the road lit up to match the color of your headlights rather than the blue-white headlights. This means that while the HID conversions look brighter, they normally don't work as well for driving as the halogen bulbs that they replaced.
The jury's still out on how our MDX projectors work with HID conversions - I'm hoping someone will post a photo or three of the light output against a garage door at 12 feet or so (there are plenty of photos of the "standard headlights" that could be used for comparison. It's funny looking at HID conversion websites - almost all the photos show the car from in front, or a photo "down the road" without any reference, not the light pattern against a wall so you can see where the light is actually going. Many of the photos make it clear that both ditches are brightly lit up (not a good thing), as is the area directly in front of the bumper (also not a good thing, as that light won't help, and will actually reduce your eyes' ability to see in the dark).
I installed HID lights on my 05. No regrets. I believe I got 6000k and its a white with a blue tint. Much brighter than the original bulbs and it lights up the road beautifully. I ordered it off of amazon, it's the SDX HID kit I believe. Installed it myself and no problems with flickering or anything. I had to replace a ballast from my first kit tho because it was flickering, but amazon sent me a new one ASAP and haven't had no problems with the new one.