Upgrading mark viii Gen 1 headlights


New LVC Member
Dec 28, 2023
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Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Hi all

I know that the headlight brightness of Gen 1 mark 8s are a known issue. With my new for me car I’ve been looking at options on actually being able to see the road at night. My car currently has some garbage yellow halogens. My lenses are ok and the chrome is not looking the best but they’re acceptable as is. In terms of upgrading I’ve found a few options for Gen 1s on the forum. I wanted to make a post for any possible future owners and advice on which is the most cost and time effective to actually do. For my case I do want to keep the car looking stock or as close to stock if possible so I was heading down the route of either rechromimg and running silver stars or just running some old leds

Here’s the list of “upgrades”
- cleaning lenses + rechrome and install silver stars or other low heat hight light bulbs
- DDM tuning HID kit with possible rechromimg based on condition
-just running some ipf leds

Any feedback is appreciated and we can always make this post available for future members and owners to enjoy driving Gen 1s at night
DDM tuning? been there done that and had one bad bulb/ballast after another. Tried the more expensive Morimoto HID bulbs, again not impressed with no light situations. Of course this is Gen II but the quality of what's out there in questionable "upgrade" is not good after many, many hours fitting & refitting bulbs. Weather you have gen 1 or 2 the housing reflectors just suck for throwing good light with factory halogens. The only way to get around this if you want more or less todays standard of LED light is ditch the idea of these housing reflectors giving you a decent & strong light beam. After about 100 spent on LED's Iv found unless they are fan cooled, they are nothing more than ATV lights. Even fan cooled ones have mis leading wattage use. Thats why I put a meter on the wattage draw and that gives a fair idea of the REAL lumens you get from the bulb but with these poorly designed housing reflectors, the power in the bulb generated is lost by poor reflectors. I tested the new style projector bulbs as a last resort because they would demand modifying the housings but it was well worth it since they entirely by past the housing reflector issues. I can understand you wanting to keep to original condition set ups but for that, all I can say is good luck and be prepared to be disappointed with the results.
Interesting on how it’s all disappointing based on the housing reflectors. From what I’ve read is that even today’s LEDs aren’t meant to work well with the “older” cars that used halogens in the first place just because of how the whole light emittence is engineered. That being said would it even be worth it to spend somewhat extra $$ to get nicer halogen bulbs that “should” be brighter so I can somewhat see or just get some low heat bulbs and try to keep the chrome looking nice and ditch the idea of seeing at night while driving? Or is there another reasonable solution I’m not seeing that doesn’t require modifying the reflectors?
I'v got a box full of LED 9005's and 9003's from ebay and they arnt worth a crap. And thats in the "improved" gen 2 housings. The only ones that were half way good were the 6 sided 9005 LEDS with fan. But even that, they needed the halogen bulb cup removed or they just throw light all over the place. no discernable beam. forget about rainy nights. The adds of 200w output is all bull. Even the ones I'm using claim a 50w draw but it is 43w with high and low activated. And the high beam uses the cars reflector housing and its so scattered that its absolutely worthless to power high beam. The low beam projector Lense is where you get powerful white light beamed on the road. I wish my 97 had Gen 1 housings since they look way better than gen 2's. With projector bulb mods, you would have it all, looks and great function.
There are clear housings on eBay for sale. I think Jay has them. I'm on my second HID kit in 13 years.

Kensun 9005 with 6K bulbs

Housings on eBay

HID relay harness <----- you will need this to prevent any flickering.

I have 2 kits installed for highs and lows. I have absolutely no problem seeing the road at night with the low beams only. I did buy my housings new, back around 2011-2012, I think... My multi-function switch has been pinned so that if I ever turn the highs on, the lows will remain on also. I never need the highs for where I live. The main reason I went with two kits is because I didn't want any halogen bulbs in the housings. (TOO MUCH HEAT) I also want the light to match, if I ever do use the highs. HID's don't burn them up like a 65 watt bulb will. I did try LED's once and they sucked.

Get some good clear housings and put a 9005 HID kit in and you'll be fine for a long time.

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