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Old 03-08-2005, 01:45 PM   #1
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Unhappy Headlight Bulb Destroyer Focus

I was running PIAA Super Plasma GT-X bulbs in my headlights for about one year when one burned out. I replaced it with a Sylvania Xtravision bulb. Then a couple weeks later, the other PIAA burned out. I replaced it with a Sylvania Silverstar. A couple months later, the Silverstar burned out. I replaced that with a regular Sylvania bulb (yesterday).

I have been careful not to touch the bulb with bare hands, and all the times, only the low beam filament breaks. High beams still work.

A few months earlier, the dealer found out that both license plate bulbs had burned out. They had only replaced them a month earlier. A year earlier, the license plate bulbs also burned out, although no one knows how long they were burned out for.

One and a half years earlier, one of the grille turn signal bulbs burned out.

These are the only burn-outs that I've had (not including tires).

I did the 'foglight mod' about a year ago. A week ago, I removed the relay jumper, and found out that the fog lamps would not turn on at all without the jumper. I plugged the wire back in, and the foglamps operated according to the mod again.

My car is Canadian and so is equipped with the daytime running lamp relay to allow DRL operation.

I have a 2002 ZX5 with Advancetrac. The traction kicks in quite frequently when I drive, and I like to turn it on/off in anticipation of upcoming corners or gravel.

With regards to normal bulb failure rates, does Advancetrac create voltage spikes in the car's electrical system? Would a higher quality alternator (from Hitachi?-I really have no idea) help?

Are specific brands of bulbs, such as Phillips, better than Sylvania?

Does anyone know why my license plate bulbs would keep burning out?
**update. Did search in forums and found information on water leakage causing license plate bulb failure.
BTW, the area around the chrome strip on the hatch is rusting out after being repainted by the dealer a few months ago for the very same problem! Sigh. I guess this is the cause of that problem.

Will removing the DRL relay increase the likelihood of burning out a bulb filament?

Sorry about the lack of technical knowledge.


Thanks for the help...

BTW PIAA Super Plasma GT-X light quality looks 100X better than Silverstar light quality but cost 1.7X more.



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Old 03-08-2005, 02:02 PM   #2
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From what I have read the Silverstar lights are good but burn out too quickly. I was going to purchase some of the PIAA's you had but I just dont have the money right now. I hear they are the best bulbs on the market. You should either go back to you OEM bulbs or get something in a higher quality. I honestly dont know a damn thing about Advancetrac, but I doubt it has anything to do with you headlight bulbs burning out. Check you wiring harnesses as well, look for any type of damages.
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:23 PM   #3
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Vibration and corrosion are two enemies to bulb life. Make sure the plate bulb is firm in its sockets and not touching anything else (hitting the reflector, lense, etc.). Put a little dielectric grease on the base of the bulb to ward of water and corrosion. You can by a lot of bulbs for the price of a new alternator. If the problem persists I suggest taking it to an auto electric shop (thats the only work that they do) as they can usually diagnose the problem fairly quickly which saves you money in the long run. Daylight running lamps often burn the headlight bulb at a reduced voltage. Regardless, this effects the life expectancy of the bulb. When you start with a short life bulb (sorry the PIAAS and Silverstars are VERY short life bulbs) the life of the bulb will be even less. Stick with the extravisions for reasonable life expectancy, cost, and a little brighter light.
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:01 PM   #4
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PIAA and Silverstars are spec'd to last an average of about 1 year.


I'm just wondering if you're getting current spikes in your electrical system that may cause the bulb to blow.

Do you have anything installed in the car that might put a load on the electrical system ?
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Old 03-08-2005, 04:11 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help...

Now is there any way to test my car's current or electrical system with a simple 20 dollar multimeter?

I don't have anything installed on the car at all, just a shift knob, window tint, some dust inside the car, and dirt on the outside...unless the dirt has been statically charged up...hmm...heh heh
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:30 AM   #6
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If memory serves from my days with an MGB, if you use the multimeter across the terminals of the battery or positive terminal and a ground source, you should get 14V+ when the alternator is charging (less than 2000 rpm, I think). Less than that (closer to 12V or lower), and you could have a problem with the alternator or the leads to and from it. More than 15.5V and the voltage regulator in the alternator might be at fault. Same if your headlights suddenly get dimmer for a while when you're driving.

You can pull the alternator out and bring it to most auto parts stores and they'll bench test it. If it's putting out too much current, that could be a problem for the rest of the system. You also might want to see if the relays are good in your headlight system. I don't know how to test those, so I'll defer to others (isn't someone an ASE Master around here?).
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Old 03-09-2005, 02:18 AM   #7
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hey dont know if this helps but in my 03 f-150 (that i traded for my new foci) i had bought some hid wannabe's and come to find out they were burning to hot for the factory connectors. they kept on burning out or they would get real dim so i took it to ford and had to replace both of the conectors and decided after twice on both sides i put the oem bulbs back in so check that. just my 2 cnts.
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Old 03-09-2005, 02:50 PM   #8
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hey could you give me the webpage that yougot for them and whats the bulb type for the focus
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:42 AM   #9
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I bought a set of EuroDeZign bulbs for my Focus last June off of Ebay for $18… One of them just burnt out last week but I sent it back to the manufacture and they are sending me a complete new set for $6.95 (this is how there lifetime warranty policy works)….. But they give off good light and even if I have to get a new pair each year for 7 bucks its still not a bad deal….

http://www.eurodezigns.com
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:38 PM   #10
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I got the PIAA Super Plasma GT-X bulbs from a local auto store for 100 dollars CAD which is about $80.00 USD.

I recently went back there but could not find the GT-X bulbs for sale...I wonder if they are now discontinuted. They were at about 5000k color temp. The new super white ones are about 4000k which are the same as the Silverstars.

I have not tried the super white bulbs from PIAA but the GT-X put out a unique light that looks really special and nice and that I am unable to describe. If only I had pictures of it...It made me feel special when driving at night that my Silverstars at a normal 4000k white light cannot.

I found the link to the PIAA bulbs at http://www.piaa.com/Bulbs/Bulbs-H4.html

[:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)]**

Thanks for the advice, I am going to hook up my multimeter and check the voltage levels later on. Until then, I'm running yellow OEM bulbs...sigh.
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