LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?


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dtrider
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LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by dtrider » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:10 pm



I responded with this on a headlight thread earlier, then realized that that thread was in the review forum. I thought it might be better to start a new thread here.

On my way in to work this morning I noticed that one of my headlights was out, so I guess it's time to upgrade to LED. Looking at Amazon I see the Pathfinder LED Bulbs for $110 (same price on Wingstuff). I also see others that are advertised to fit my 2012 GL1800 in the $35 range, but I'm thinking that these are Chinese knock-offs that I probably wouldn't really be happy with. Based on what I've been reading in the reviews I'll probably stick with the Pathfinders.

Haven't done much research on the replacement process yet, but from what I've heard it can be a real bitch to replace the bulbs on the GL1800. With that in mind, would it be worth it to get two sets and replace both high and low beams at the same time? I rarely use the high beams, so the OEM ones that I have will probably last the life of the bike. But will the LED low beams just overpower the halogen high beams?
/dwight


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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by jinx » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:37 pm

The low beans can be done in ten minutes by going thru the the tunnels . I just swapped installed the low bean LEDs on my 2017. The high beans are a different story. Unless you want to get frustrated out of your mind or you want to tear down the front fairing I would suggest not doing the high beans.

Also check Youtube on how to replace the lights and stay with Pathfinder.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by MikeB » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:34 pm

The LED lows will not over power the highs. The highs will just have a bit of a yellow tinge as all tungsten/halogen bulbs do.

Replacing the lows are easy, virtually no disassembly of the bike required. The highs on the other hand are a bitch. One good thing about the bulbs is that they are the same bulb, both are H7. If you got two sets you can always put them in the high beams when you get around to changing your air filter.
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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by GoldWingrGreg » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:52 pm

A good installation requires that the modules be tucked away, held in place, and that the leads (low beams) never touch, under any riding conditions, the fork pipes or steering head as the bars move from side to side, and as the forks collapse and extend. To do such installation, you'll probably find it quicker to remove the cowl and shelter too. If your going to do an insulation like that, its labor intensive, and you might as well get both sets. Even with the cowl off, tucking in, and securing 4 modules gets challenging.

If I recall, the low beam modules I velcro to the hollow area between the headlamp assemblies in the middle, and nylon tie the high beam modules to the stays that mount between the frame and the dash/windscreen stay.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by Techdude2000 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:48 pm

GoldWingrGreg wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:52 pm
A good installation requires that the modules be tucked away, held in place, and that the leads (low beams) never touch, under any riding conditions, the fork pipes or steering head as the bars move from side to side, and as the forks collapse and extend. To do such installation, you'll probably find it quicker to remove the cowl and shelter too. If your going to do an insulation like that, its labor intensive, and you might as well get both sets. Even with the cowl off, tucking in, and securing 4 modules gets challenging.

If I recall, the low beam modules I velcro to the hollow area between the headlamp assemblies in the middle, and nylon tie the high beam modules to the stays that mount between the frame and the dash/windscreen stay.
Are you referring to HIDs or LEDs? LEDs don’t require this much work.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by jinx » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:57 pm

GoldWingrGreg wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:52 pm
A good installation requires that the modules be tucked away, held in place, and that the leads (low beams) never touch, under any riding conditions, the fork pipes or steering head as the bars move from side to side, and as the forks collapse and extend. To do such installation, you'll probably find it quicker to remove the cowl and shelter too. If your going to do an insulation like that, its labor intensive, and you might as well get both sets. Even with the cowl off, tucking in, and securing 4 modules gets challenging.

If I recall, the low beam modules I velcro to the hollow area between the headlamp assemblies in the middle, and nylon tie the high beam modules to the stays that mount between the frame and the dash/windscreen stay.
If you have all the plastic off how do you know what is going to rub ? Sorry but a good job can be done installing the lows with a lot less work. Now again the highs are a different story.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by GoldWingrGreg » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:58 pm

jinx wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:57 pm
GoldWingrGreg wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:52 pm
A good installation requires that the modules be tucked away, held in place, and that the leads (low beams) never touch, under any riding conditions, the fork pipes or steering head as the bars move from side to side, and as the forks collapse and extend. To do such installation, you'll probably find it quicker to remove the cowl and shelter too. If your going to do an insulation like that, its labor intensive, and you might as well get both sets. Even with the cowl off, tucking in, and securing 4 modules gets challenging.

If I recall, the low beam modules I velcro to the hollow area between the headlamp assemblies in the middle, and nylon tie the high beam modules to the stays that mount between the frame and the dash/windscreen stay.
If you have all the plastic off how do you know what is going to rub ? Sorry but a good job can be done installing the lows with a lot less work. Now again the highs are a different story.
Unfortunately, it's trial and error. What I do is secure the modules with the cowl off, then reinstall the cowl and secure the wires from there. If I recall, after reinstalling the cowl, and with the visor still off, I'm usually securing the wires upwards with nylon ties towards the cowl stay. One might be able to do a good job without removing the cowl ... however, in either case, good routing takes time.

I've seen installations with wires rubbing, to modules hanging loose, and even some with the high beam modules dangling loosely between the outer cowl and inner cowl liners on each side. One of them nearly caught fire because of it. Many of these are installed at rallies ... install the bulbs, don't worry about wire routing, make sure they come on when the key is on, take money, and do the next one ... cha ching, cha ching ... thank you much !!!

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by dtrider » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:46 am

Thanks all. I've ordered one set and I'll get them swapped out when they arrive. Had a family emergency so I haven't had much time to look into the process yet, but it sounds like it shouldn't take too much. If nothing else it will be a good way to spend an evening out in the shop.

Thanks again.
/dwight
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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by billbob » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:41 am

Changed all my headlights to LED,only hard one was left side low beam . It is a head ach but you can do it.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by Wingsconsin » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:44 am

I replaced ALL my headlights with the Electrical Connections LEDs -
While it wasn't exactly easy to get to the high beams - it was worth it -
I just took off the cowl and did ALL my lighting upgrades -
I ride in Deer country late into the fall and they are in rut - which makes them really stupid and dangerous to riders.
SO I added extra lamps and all LED so the power draw is nearly nothing - that way my heated gear doesn't pull down the battery nor put extra stress on the alternator --

I made a couple of videos - (not great but here they are) showing the results of the work --

[youtube]

[/YouTube]

[youtube]

[/YouTube]

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by dtrider » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:39 pm

So the replacements showed up in the mail today and I got them installed tonight. Wasn't too bad, even for somebody as ham-fisted as me. It was a bit of a PITA trying to make the connection to the inline drivers, but with a little persistence I finally got it done. I found it was actually a bit easier to reach through the tunnel with one hand and come up from under the cowl with the other. I was still making the connection entirely by feel, but at least I was able to hold the one side steady while I was plugging the other side in.

I still need to tie everything down so that the drivers aren't rattling around, but I'll wait until tomorrow or so when I have better light and I can find something to tie them to.
/dwight
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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by PastoT » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:25 pm

Hey DT, before you hit the road at night check the low-beam elevation in your garage. I had to manually realign mine significantly and then discovered my high-beams were angled below my low-beams. I reverted to the H-7 halogen until I could convert all 4 headlights to LED and then manually realign the elevation. Certainly worth it but high-beam bulb access stinks, I pulled dash and shelter.
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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by old growly » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:46 am

While waiting for the weather to improve here in England I decided to change the low beams on my F6B to Pathfinder LED. Having watched various You Tube videos and having hands that fit into the tunnels I found it a relatively easy job that needs patience and dexterity of hands. Having watched the videos and having someone holding a device nearby to play them through as I proceeded it was easier to understand the process. Very pleased with the result although I still have to wait and get out to try them. I used strong velcro type adhesive pads to fix the voltage reduction box to the inner fairing and have not found a need to add any cable ties as yet. Still undecided as to whether to change the high beams as it would only be for occasional use when touring but aesthetics would be improved.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:15 am

Having done exactly this job before, I can probably offer this experience:

If it were my bike, I'd do all four, just for the uniform look - plus the reliability and long life of LEDs. That said, installing the high beams was a HELLISH job. It took two people cooperating, and a lot of jamming hands up into small spaces and doing things entirely by feel, along with scraped and bleeding hands. Doing the low beams took maybe half an hour, the high beams was probably a good hour.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by MikeB » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:17 am

Replacing the Hi Beam lamps easily, and comfortably necessitates the removal of the shelter. It is not really a hard job at all.

For those of you that like to do multiple tasks at the same time, and who doesn't, change the high beam lamps the next time an Air Filter change is required.
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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by soontobeone » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:14 pm

Something I haven't seen in any of these discussions is that Halogen bulbs begin to deteriorate from the moment you begin to use them. That means, in one years time of use, they no longer are putting out the lumens they were when they were new.

Although replacing the high beam bulbs is a literal pain it is probably wise to replace them anyway. From what I've read, the time it seems to take to replace the high beam bulbs (with the shelter on) it might just be so much easier and about the same amount of time to do it by removing the shelter first. My .02.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:53 pm

soontobeone wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:14 pm
Something I haven't seen in any of these discussions is that Halogen bulbs begin to deteriorate from the moment you begin to use them. That means, in one years time of use, they no longer are putting out the lumens they were when they were new.

Although replacing the high beam bulbs is a literal pain it is probably wise to replace them anyway. From what I've read, the time it seems to take to replace the high beam bulbs (with the shelter on) it might just be so much easier and about the same amount of time to do it by removing the shelter first. My .02.
Incandescent bulbs that run hot will evaporate tungsten from the filament. This typically coats the inside of the glass bulb - if you've ever seen an old bulb (like an instrument cluster bulb) that appears dark and shiny on the inside, yet still works - or is burned out, and looks dark and shiny on the inside of the glass, that's what's happened.

Filling the bulb with a halogen gas does magic chemistry that helps to deposit the evaporated tungsten back onto the filament. Because of this, the bulb can be run hotter, which means brighter. But it ends up running so hot that it would melt the glass envelope, which is the reason for the quartz - hence the term quartz-halogen.

However - while the gas helps deposit the tungsten back onto the filament, it's not perfect, so some tungsten still gets deposited on the inside of the bulb, and eventually this accumulation dims the light output of the bulb.

LEDs, not having a filament and running (relatively) cool, don't have this problem.

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by captdecker » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:24 pm

I had replaced my low's with Electrical Connections LEDs last year. I like the lights, ordered an other set for the high side while I was at it installed pathBlazer head light modulator. Doing a few other things I looked at it "ok" let go ahead and take the shelter and the dash cover off. Gave the room to see some and reach what I needed. Making it somewhat easy. I say somewhat. :lol:

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Re: LED Headlight replacement: all 4 now or just low beams?

Post by waituntilthebeep » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:52 pm

It's all a matter of perspective. It takes way more work to replace the high beams but it isn't a horrible job. I work on.busses for a living and I'd take a dozen high beam replacements over most any bus repair.

The lows go in pretty easy and the boost converter box can be stuck to the speaker tubes with double backed tape or Velcro or they can be neatly tucked into the voids around the speaker tubes and zip tied to a passing harness. The highs require a whole lot more tupperware to be removed.

I don't know about the other brands of lights but the Pathfinder lights need to be "dialed" in. You can put them in just as they come but they are designed to be rotated in their bases to properly aim the light output. If the cob's are aligned horizontally, it is relatively close to stock output but could be better. The design of the headlamp reflectors is pretty good and provides a decent vertical cutout of the light beam. If the cob's are at some other random place the light beam gets all wild and you light up other lanes and blast other drivers in the face. You will actually get a poor result from your bulbs if you don't at least verify the clocking of the base. I ran into this with mine. I made the adjustment and they are supremely better than the stock bulbs.



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