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9-7x: Replacing stock HID ballasts and bulbs cheaper

Discussion in 'Article Submissions' started by Mooseman, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    Although I'm not sure of other models in our platform, the Saab 9-7x has HID headlights from the factory. I just bought a 2006 and both were not working. 12V was getting to the connectors so it was either the bulbs or ballasts. The previous owner tried swapping out the bulbs with his Vette's and they still didn't work so likely the ballasts are dead. Looked up some parts, found some used ballasts on eBay for $172 (they're also used on the Cadillac DTS) but used parts at this price can be risky. New ones online vary between $255 and $408 each!

    There had to be a cheaper option. Searched through eBay and found a kit that looked like it would fit the rectangular hole at the bottom of the housing and the price was right with the included bulbs.


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    Now to make them work and fit in the stock housing.

    First, remove the cap and take out the bulb by unhooking the two clips. It may be necessary to unplug the wire from the bulb first because it is a tight fit between it and the housing. The good news is that the new wire with the kit will make it easier in the future to replace the bulb.

    20141101_171146 (Large).jpg
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    Then unscrew the stock ballast from the bottom of the headlight housing.

    20141101_171320 (Large).jpg 20141101_171350 (Large).jpg

    Remove both plugs from the ballast, remove the braided steel wire from the housing and discard both (unless it still works and want to pawn it off on eBay).

    Cut off the black connector with the black and green wires in the housing and strip the ends. On the 12V supply wire to the new ballast, cut off the plug and strip the ends of the white and pink wires (cut off the black wire, it's not used).

    20141101_172130 (Large).jpg 20141101_171854 (Large).jpg

    Solder the black wire to the white wire and the green wire to the pink wire. Use heat shrink tubing.

    20141101_172355.jpg 20141101_172456 (Large).jpg

    Now here comes the fun part. As you may have noticed or tried to fit the new ballast in the hole, it's just oh so slightly longer so the hole will need to be enlarged to allow the ballast to fit in there. But there is also a screw nub that also in the way of the new ballast so cut/snap it off, as circled in the pic.

    Screenshot - 01_11_2014 , 10_57_53 PM.jpg

    A before and after shot of the hole. I first used a knife to whittle away at it but it was slow and dangerous. The other headlight I used a Dremel. Much cleaner and quicker job. Just be sure to tuck the wire and connector out of the way in the housing to not damage it.

    20141101_172750 (Large).jpg 20141101_190342 (Large).jpg

    Now you're probably thinking "I'm gonna have to remove that seal on the new ballast because it won't fit and use silicone to seal the hole". Not so fast. If you leave the seal on, it will slip right over the housing's lip and form a perfect seal. No silicone required. Don't forget to connect the 12V supply to the ballast as well as the bulb wire and thread it into the housing and out the other hole for the bulb.

    20141101_190921 (Large).jpg

    Now secure the ballast to the housing using the screws supplied with the kit. Just screw straight down and into the housing until snug. It will not go down all the way onto the housing and that's fine. (Sorry, this is the only pic I have)

    Screenshot - 01_11_2014 , 11_17_55 PM.jpg Screenshot - 01_11_2014 , 11_15_29 PM.jpg

    The rest I don't have pics for (sorry). Plug the bulb onto the connector and install the new bulb into the housing, same as the original, except this new wire makes it a whole lot easier to clear the housing and put it in straight into it's receptacle. Re-hook the two retaining clips and stuff the excess wire into the housing. Put the cap back on and install on the truck.

    As far as the bulb colour temperature selection, I used 4300k, which is the same as stock. It is the brightest and whitest with just a slight hint of blue. You can choose whatever colour you want but the higher the k, the more blue it is and less bright. If you want more blue without losing too much light output, 5000k would be a good choice.

    Hope this helps somebody with their HID headlights.

    And I don't know why, this thumbnail is here and I can't get rid of it. If a mod can get rid of it, it would be nice (and this message).

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    BlazingTrails, Mounce and dmanns67 like this.
  2. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    Update revival. After 3 years, one of the lights died. Not sure if it's the bulb or ballast but I'm replacing them all. They were flaky from day 1 especially when cold outside. Sometimes one or both wouldn't fire until warmed up a bit. And I was never satisfied with the light output. I just ordered this kit from fleabay for 55w 5000k HID's instead of the stock 35w 4300k. The ballasts are the same type as the previous kit so should be a direct swap. I also have to polish the lenses again.
  3. jsheahawk

    jsheahawk Well-Known Member

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    Can you not throw LED's behind the lenses?
  4. Mooseman

    Mooseman Moderator

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    I'm not entirely convinced that LED's can match the output of HID, and certainly not the light pattern. Another problem is the cap that can't be closed to seal out the lens from the elements with LED's, either because of a fan or even with a flexible heat sink, may overheat or damage the housing without air circulation. Some of the ones I looked at on eBay for D1S housing/bulb had some crazy wattage.

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