December 13, 2017 at 6:34 am #262029
I have a 2015 Sierra SLT Z71 and the headlights are terrible. What is the best upgrade for this issue please?
December 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm #267282
I feel your pain on the headlight situation. I have a 2014 SLE Z71 that I bought new and the headlights are pathetically bad. Sadly, the poor headlights and the awful Active Fuel Management (AFM) calibration really ruin what is otherwise a pretty nice truck.
Regarding the headlights, you are slightly limited in solutions due to the fact that GM used a single filament bulb in these trucks along with a shutter that generates the dark cutoff line. If your problem is the cutoff line, nothing short of replacing the headlight assembly will fix that. There are some aftermarket headlight assemblies available for these trucks, but most of the ones I saw seemed to be more concerned with adding bling than fixing the light output issue. I was never able to find an assembly that had sufficiently good reviews to convince me to spend the money.
If you just want more light output and you can live with the “curtain of darkness”, you have several options. If your truck is still under warranty, you can get your dealer to install new bulbs and reprogram the BCM as discussed in a TSB regarding the headlights. I have read mixed reviews on whether or not this really helps the situation. I also heard that the fancy German light bulbs they install are very expensive and have a short lifespan. You can also try installing higher output light bulbs such as Sylvania SilverStar bulbs, but bear in mind they are expensive and they are only rated to last about a year. Stepping up from that, you can buy LED or HID replacement bulbs. I went with LED bulbs from Xenon Depot–their bulbs have passive cooling instead of the forced air (fan) cooling that is present on cheaper bulbs. With the Xenon Depot LED or HID bulbs, you must drill a hole in the rear access covers to let the LED driver module wiring protrude. If you go with HID bulbs, you must also run wiring to the power distribution box so you have a steady voltage supply.
I am relatively happy with the LED bulbs. I replaced the headlights and fog lights with LED bulbs and I think the fog light replacement made the biggest difference overall. The LED headlights have a blue-ish cast that makes street signs really glow. Unfortunately, the LED’s do not project well on the high beam setting. If I had it to do over again, I would go with the HIDs.
Good luck on your choice!
April 15, 2018 at 4:55 pm #490462
I used the same seller you did and went with the LEDs and the entire setup driver and all fit inside the bottom of the assembly and no holes needed to be drilled. I bent the aluminum fins on the bulb back and put the cap back on. No problems they have been on since last October.
April 17, 2018 at 9:29 am #490631
I read that you could stuff everything into the housing to avoid drilling the holes. Sadly, I bought my lights literally about a day before Xenon Depot switched their heat sink from the braided style to the fin style, so I have the older braided version. If you do the recommended “flower petal” pattern for the braided heat sinks, it doesn’t leave much room in the housing. I bought pre-drilled replacement covers from a different headlight supplier so I didn’t have to drill my original ones. My Xenon Depot lights have been flawless, but they illuminate the same horizontal distance on the low and high beam setting–they just illuminate farther up vertically on the high beam setting. They are much better than the stock bulbs on low beam, but not on high beam. I believe the newer style bulbs you bought are brighter than my older style, so that may help your visibility.
Like I said previously, if I had to do it over again, I would have gone with the HIDs. The “dome of darkness” headlight system in these trucks was clearly designed for a single-filiment HID bulb–GM just took the cheap route and used the same housing for non-HID applications also.
GM really dropped the ball on the headlights and drivetrain calibration on these trucks. If I could see at night and if my truck didn’t lug and lurch, I would really like it.
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