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Discussion Starter #1
Drove my wife's 2000 Sienna for about 4 hours last night. The headlights are horrible! I cannot believe I've left her driving like that for who knows how long. I have to do something right away. What bulbs have folks here had the best results with? I'm sure most here know, but this is not a yellowed plastic issue. On this model the lens (lens cover) is glass and both sides are in perfect condition. This is purely a bulb intensity, and maybe a partial aiming, issue. I'm taking the van in for some maintenance in a couple weeks. I'd like to have new bulbs installed before I have them check the headlight aim.

Thank you!
 

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Check out your electrical system while you are at it. What's the voltage as measured at the battery (engine running) vs what you get at the headlamp bulb? Aging (20 years) can mess with electrical connectors, relays and switches, adding resistance that cuts voltage, resulting in dim lighting. And while I agree that newer bulbs can help, if the fundamentals are bad they won't help much.
 

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Fair point. I will ask the mechanic to check out the system. It does have a new alternator and battery, but it seems there are other things to check as well.
 

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My 2002 Sienna has the original bulbs from what I can tell, at least no record of them ever being changed and they are pretty bright. So yea I would check out for electrical issues.
 

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Can anyone report on the value of getting LED bulbs? It seems like many of them require an adapter to use as a 9003.
 

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Can anyone report on the value of getting LED bulbs? It seems like many of them require an adapter to use as a 9003.
I went through the exercise of trying different LEDs for my 99. It ended up not working out because we are required to have daytime running lights here in Canada, and the way they work (on my particular vehicle anyway which was bought used stateside with unknown service/modification history) is by pulsing voltage to the low beams so they run at about 50% brightness. This works fine for halogens but causes LEDs to flicker. Supposedly you can fix this issue by running capacitors between the harness and bulb but I didn't want to bother with all that. On other cars that run a pulsed voltage to the high beams for DRL, running capacitors to solve the flickering issue causes the high beams to shine at full brightness which is also not an optimal situation.

If you don't have this DRL flickering issue, then the main thing to think about is the location of the LED emitters relative to the halogen filament. The main problem with simply dropping an LED bulb into a reflector housing meant for halogen is the position of the LED emitters. Most LEDs either don't get the position right -- and it does need to be exactly right to play well with the optical design of the housing -- or even if they do, the board the emitters sit on is too thick, which they kind of have to be to help dissipate heat. This results in a messed-up beam pattern that either does an even poorer job of illuminating the road, or blinds oncoming drivers, or both. Other issues include fan noise, reliability, and radio interference. For these reasons I have decided to stay with halogens, doing my best to both aim the headlights properly and keep the lenses polished and clean.

If you're dead set on trying LEDs, this thread might be a good starting point:


I'll also mention this one:


If I didn't have the flickering issue I'd still be using it because its beam pattern was quite close to stock halogen. 1mm thick board might have something to do with it.
 

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Thank you! Really appreciate you taking the time to let us know in detail your experience with LEDs. Since my last post on this I had the van in the shop for some unrelated work, and asked them to check the headlight alignment. When I picked it up he told me they were pointed at the ground, and should be much better now. I have yet to drive it at night so cannot say if it is improved. I'll report back when I do. In any case, I don't think I'll be buying LED bulbs.
 
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