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Old 01-02-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
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Which offroad lights would you choose?

I've always had KC Hilites. Other than their price, they've been the perfect light for me. Since it's been a few years since I've had to buy any, I've noticed a collection in new options from PIAA, Rugged Ridge, etc. and many of these options are less expensive for what looks like comparable quality and specs.

Which offroad lights would you choose if you had to start over?

I'm looking for the best mix of value and reliability, has to be black housings (no chrome) and I'm pretty specific on my needs.

Bumper Mount (low) - 2 fog lights, would prefer 100 watt. Looking at KC 1687.
Bumper Mount (high) - 2 driving/long range lights, would prefer 100 watt or 130 watt. Looking at KC1634 or KC1631.
Mirror Mount - 2 driving/long range lights, would prefer 100 watt or 130 watt. Looking at KC1634 or KC1631.
Rear Mount (mounted to rollbar facing backwards) - 2 flood lights, prefer 100 watt. Looking at KC1609.

All are independently switched pairs so I'll have control over what goes on when. Is there an option as good (or better) than the above mentioned KC HiLites for less money? I've racked up close to $600 in what is listed above. If I can cut this figure while keeping quality, I'm all ears.

Thanks for the recommendations guys!

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Old 01-02-2012, 12:40 PM   #2
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I have used a lot of different brands of lights, and the Daylighters is what I have on my YJ, but they were off of my old Blazer light bar. I have some of the 100 watt "Baja" lights from wal mart, on one of my other Jeeps, and they actually do the same job at night in the woods here. I like the fog light/rectangle style for a light bar due to the wider pattern, than the round lights personally. There are a lot of choices out there. My sons $40.00 lights work just as well as my $150.00 lights, and if the $40.00 ones get busted in the woods I sure won't be too upset.
I haven't always been impressed with the big name lights with the huge price attached to them, but the covers do look cooler

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Old 01-02-2012, 12:45 PM   #3
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d5string - So you're saying the name brand KCs probably aren't worth the extra cash? I was looking at the ProComp lights as well. Their 100 watt equivalents about about 2/3 the cost of the KCs and seem to be of similar quality.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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I am saying that in the woods I can't tell the difference between them and some $40.00 ones. The daylighters are a bit heavier and the mount looks stronger, but I can't tell a difference between them when in the drivers seat and using them to see. The Procomp ones are nice. I had a set of the 6" round ones on my XJ when i sold it a year ago. They worked good.
My next set will be the WalMart ones though
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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The bulbs used in the Walmart ones and the KC are the same. The difference is the quility in the housing.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:34 PM   #6
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My $.02 cents...

I totally agree with d5string. For me, a guy that wheels in Florida that mostly consists of Everglades and woods, spending a lot of money for lights that are waiting for a tree limb to rip off or damage is just not worth it to me. Furthermore the terrain and trees just don't allow for long distance illumination. I just bought a set of Eagle Eyes after seeing them perform on a friend's rig. Save your money... Go with the cheaplights. They will do the job just fine.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:23 PM   #7
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tell you what i did and you probably wont find anything better / brighter. go to napa and get some par36 bulb housings. they'll probably just be laying in a bin, not anything you need to ask for. they are black rubber ( not cheap stuff that will rot . fall apart) with metal mounting / adjustment bracket. these are maybe $12 a piece. then order some aircraft landing lights from GM, i can get you the part # if you're truly interested. they are super bright, i use them in the woods all the time. and even sometimes driving down backroads at night. these are pretty cheap too. probably $10/ea at most. a roll of wire, a switch, two inline fuses, and a small relay. Probably under $15 total. i've had mine for abt 3 years and have never had a problem. use them fairly often, not just for looks like most people. took me abt 3 hours to install. and wouldnt have been that long if i wasnt one of the people who like to make everything look good. i put that spiral wire wrap around the whole installation and mounted mine on the hood through the hood hinges
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:26 AM   #8
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then order some aircraft landing lights from GM, i can get you the part # if you're truly interested.
I am interested if you get the time to post up the part number
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:30 AM   #9
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I am interested if you get the time to post up the part number
Same! Also, can I get a picture so I know what housings you mean?

I've been thinking of the same kind of deal. I know a light is a light, and there are many different kind.

I was actually also thinking of getting a housing and order LED bulb replacements off eBay or something and seeing how that works.
A friend replaced his inside lights / fog lights in his VW GTI, and they're much brighter and don't get hot at all.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:37 AM   #10
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:46 AM   #11
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I have 4 100w ProComps on my light bar on top and 2 100w KCs by my winch and I can't tell the difference.

Besides the brand, housing and price, lights are lights and will do about the same job for you. My .02.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:03 AM   #12
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I run 4 of the WalMart KC Knockoff's on my YJ, The KC stone guards and covers work perfectly on the lights and they are inexpensive enough to not worry about trail damage. They are bright and I also have a hard time telling the diffrence between the 100 wat KC's and these. I have read many say save your money and but the KC's, did you notice they bought the 130 watt lights?

For people on a budget I don't think you can go wrong with these. I have 2 brand new lights in the garage for spares. Couldn't afford to do that with the KC's price

As for the 23 year warranty with kc's, just buy some KC bulbs when these burn out and you get the 23 year warranty on the bulbs.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:06 AM   #13
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I have used a lot of different brands of lights, and the Daylighters is what I have on my YJ, but they were off of my old Blazer light bar. I have some of the 100 watt "Baja" lights from wal mart, on one of my other Jeeps, and they actually do the same job at night in the woods here. I like the fog light/rectangle style for a light bar due to the wider pattern, than the round lights personally. There are a lot of choices out there. My sons $40.00 lights work just as well as my $150.00 lights, and if the $40.00 ones get busted in the woods I sure won't be too upset.
I haven't always been impressed with the big name lights with the huge price attached to them, but the covers do look cooler
Heres my $0.02:

I've had a set of cheapo housings ($15 each with bulb) with 150w bulbs and a set of KC daylighters with the 130w bulbs on my rig at the same time, both were the long range style. When used up close say ~100 feet or less I would compare them close to equal. The KCs were better, but not $70 better. Now if your out in a clearing or field, the KCs win hands down not even a close compairison.

When I first installed my lights and I was out adjusting them, I went to a school parking lot near my house, that had a baseball field between it and a line of trees at the start of a small patch of woods (300+ feet away). With the cheapo lights, at that distance, you basically had a set of poor flood lights (lots of spread out dim light). With my KCs, I could still distinguish the centers of both lights as a bright spot, and the diffused light around those points were brighter also.

At the time I also had a set of the 130w KC daylighters in the driving light style. Turning these on when I was adjusting my lights at said parking lot through out more light onto the trees than the cheapos, a similar flood light appearance, but brighter with no deffined center point like the long range lights.

Cashing out:
If most of your wheeling is in woods or close spaces, where a long straight section is seldom come across, go for the cheaper lights. If you find yourself more often in wide open areas or larger spaces, Go for the KCs or some other name brand (I personally only have experiance with KCs, but I'm toying with the idea of going to LEDs or HIDs when I upgrade my lighting next time).
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:24 AM   #14
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I have done a lot of research and a cheap good light is a Hella 500. Now if your looking to go HID I would get a standard 100watt VisionX Halogen spot beam for 27.50$ on Amazon.com .From what I have heard, they put out exactly the same light as a KC daylighter. You can later upgrade the internals with China parts from eBay for WAY less than a normal HID.

Now, I already know what some of you are going to say but they do work just as good, American only cost more cost because they are UL rated, taxed, and so on. Its even where some of these American companies get there parts anyway
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:00 PM   #15
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Look up "snappylights" on ebay. He sells many different light combos on there (2, 4, 6, 8) and they seem to be really nice. I have 8 of them on my jeep now and I love them. He gets them from a company that makes other offroad lights so they may not say a brand name but the quality is very high.
Fog Lights, Driving Lights items in Fog Lamps store on eBay!
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:11 PM   #16
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To add to my last post, I bought 8 lights that came with extra bulbs, 16 stone guards and all wiring and relays needed for $245.00 with free shipping. Just read the description closely becuase all of the ads look similar but what you get may vary.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:26 PM   #17
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My light project is almost complete. KCs mounted almost everywhere they go. Just waiting on the light bar and the rear lights to show up.

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Old 02-05-2012, 08:16 PM   #18
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My light project is almost complete. KCs mounted almost everywhere they go. Just waiting on the light bar and the rear lights to show up.

You are definately going to need a High Output alternator, and a good dual battery setup for all those lights and winch.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:58 AM   #19
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Definitely. Going to switch to a Green Mean Alternator and dual Optima Yellow Tabs some time in the next few months.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:44 PM   #20
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You are definately going to need a High Output alternator, and a good dual battery setup for all those lights and winch.
Wow,now thats some lights.I love lights myself.The more the merrier!
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:30 PM   #21
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then order some aircraft landing lights from GM, i can get you the part # if you're truly interested.
I too would be interested in that. Love a custom build of sorts while saving money! Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:52 PM   #22
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I'll be installing my engine today and will snap yall some pics
You haven't showed us any pics. Also, did you mean to post in this thread about your motor?
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:56 PM   #23
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That is some serious lights my brother is running 6 kc's and it pushes his alt to the limit
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:45 AM   #24
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wow...
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:27 AM   #25
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take a look into the PIAA 525 Plasma Ion low & high beam, its a dual fog and driving light. Excellent bulbs
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:00 AM   #26
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My light project is almost complete. KCs mounted almost everywhere they go. Just waiting on the light bar and the rear lights to show up.


WOW I do like my 4 KC Lights a lot but you win hands down.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:45 PM   #27
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tell you what i did and you probably wont find anything better / brighter. go to napa and get some par36 bulb housings. they'll probably just be laying in a bin, not anything you need to ask for. they are black rubber ( not cheap stuff that will rot . fall apart) with metal mounting / adjustment bracket. these are maybe $12 a piece. then order some aircraft landing lights from GM, i can get you the part # if you're truly interested. they are super bright, i use them in the woods all the time. and even sometimes driving down backroads at night. these are pretty cheap too. probably $10/ea at most. a roll of wire, a switch, two inline fuses, and a small relay. Probably under $15 total. i've had mine for abt 3 years and have never had a problem. use them fairly often, not just for looks like most people. took me abt 3 hours to install. and wouldnt have been that long if i wasnt one of the people who like to make everything look good. i put that spiral wire wrap around the whole installation and mounted mine on the hood through the hood hinges


interested
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:29 PM   #28
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I've always bought KC offroad lights, because they're quality and KC fully supports their products. My spotlights aren't exactly water tight, and always get moisture in them. Emailed KC about it and they said to send them back and they would send me some replacement lights for free, all I had to do was pay shipping to them. Same goes for their bulbs, I broke the filament free in one (somehow) and they said to send it in, free replacement.

Plus their beam spread pattern is excellent. I'm running a 5" Apollo Driving light on one of my ATV's, with an HID in it and it spreads the light out perfectly.

The Jeep has 2 Daylighter Spotlights and 2 Apollo Driving lights:



And yes, the spotlights on the outside have 55w HID's in them, going to get another set of daylighter spotlights and mount them on the windshield, of course with 55w HID's

I don't really run the spotlights on the local trails because often times we're driving where the light goes right into peoples windows (no, they aren't terribly close, and yes they are that bright!!!).
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:37 PM   #29
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Very nice
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:38 PM   #30
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Being a budget wheeler, I understand costs vs. performance. I read this thread from the first, the one thing I haven't heard is that it is the quality of the glass and reflector is what gives the quality light. Hella, in my opinion is the best light for the money. The glass is crystal quality. You can buy hella 500's that are 55 watt for $70. Go to any parts house and buy 100 watt halogen H2 bulbs for $10 and replace the smaller bulb. These lights can handle that. I have used the trailblazers from walmart and they have their place, but I have found they won't hold up. I know that lightforce is good, but pricey. PIAA are quality, but I have no experience with them. Just my 2 cents worth. OK 1.5 cents worth. Good luck

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