The headlights of Diablo and earlier cars leave much to be
desired in terms of lighting intensity. Poor lighting
often becomes the limiting factor for high speed night driving
in these cars. These days there are a number of
aftermarket kits available to allow you to add your own Xenon
high intensity lighting display (HID) to your car. What is
needed is to replace the low beam light with HID lights.
It is not necessary to replace the high beam lights since the
low beam lamps remain on with the high beam. On 1999 and later
Diablos the lights are actually Nissan 300ZX units. This makes
it easy to find a replacement HID unit.
|Figure 1. Diablo
First a few points about HID:-
What is HID
HID stands for High Intensity Discharge. It refers to lighting
technology that relies on an electrical charge to ignite xenon gas
contained in a sealed bulb. The technology of HID automotive lamps is
similar to that of common vapor-filled street lamps. HID lighting
doesn't have a filament but instead creates light by igniting an arc
between two electrodes. HID lights get their name from the intense white
light produced by the electrical discharge. HID lamps are also called
xenon lamps, referring to a gas inside the lamps. HID general lighting
has been used for years in sports arenas and stadiums around the
Most HID Xenon conversion kits are a simple and affordable way to
convert your factory halogen lights to the a HID system. These kits are
designed to retrofit head and fog lights of virtually any cars, SUVs and
trucks with no modification to the car.
How is HID Different
HID lighting provides about three times the light output of standard
halogen headlights while using less energy. HID lights are designed to
last up to ten times longer than standard halogen lamps.
Some auto experts cite the almost complete darkness on isolated highways
as a reason for why HID lighting is becoming popular. HID lights promote
safety by providing a better overall view of the roadway and the ability
to see upcoming objects quickly and more clearly. For example, road
signs and objects on the road are easier to see when illuminated by HID
What about HID's Color
color of the light source is expressed as its color temperature. As the
color temperature increases, the color of the light moves from yellow to
white to blue-white. HID headlights provide light at a higher color
temperature than standard halogen headlights, which gives them a crisp
white appearance. More K does not mean it is brighter. These 8000K lamps
provide a very white/blue color.
Kits are usually available in 3 color temperature
ranges: 6000K Aqua Blue, 8000K Deep Blue and 10000K Violet Purple. This
characterizes the type of light given out. The 8000K lamps are a the
Are HID Headlights Better, Brighter, Safer
HID lighting provides the brightest illumination available. The more
intense, higher color temperature light results in three times the
output of standard halogen lighting, which means improved peripheral
vision and enhanced down-road visibility. The end result is safer
driving for everyone on the road.
There are a number of suppliers of these kits. I found the group at
to be excellent and provide a good price for their products (see fig 2).
For Nissan 300ZX like headlights you will need their "HID Conversion Kit 8000K HID8000K".
The important thing to remember if you are getting a kit from somebody
else is that the lights have to be of the "9006" type.
The lights on a 6.0L are exposed behind a panel in the front wheel well.
In contrast, in 1999 Diablos, access is through a port at the side of
the trunk. I am not sure about other cars. I shall
outline my approach for a 6.0L Diablo. The whole replacement
process should not take more than 2 hours. Jack up the front of the car
and remove both wheels. The light access panel is then visible (fig 3).
Remove this panel to expose the lights themselves (fig 4). Carefully
remove the halogen light bulb taking care not to get fingerprints
on the glass (in case you later wish to reuse it). Insert the
Xenon bulb being extra careful not to get finger prints on the glass
(fig 5,6) . If
this happens clean it with ethanol carefully. I found the bulbs
tight to get into the socket. You really have to push inward as you
rotate the bulb. Use a screwdriver to push each of the flanges in as you
rotate. It should then snap into place.
Next comes the installation of the power supply. This is a
rather heavy unit. By trial and error I concluded that the best location
for it is to attach it to the inside of the wheel well panel we took
off. Two bolts hold it in place (fig 7). The only complication is that
for one bolt you need to add 3 washer to fill in the curved space of the
panel and the flat surface of the power supply (fig 8). Insert the
black input lead of the
power supply to the black lead of the cars light socket and the other
(red) lead to the cars white (+) lead (fig 9). Cover the wires with
plenty of electrical tape (fig 10). Then attach the output of the
power supply to the two leads of the light bulb (fig 11), they go only
one way. Check the light works before
closing everything up. Note the position of the power supply on
the panel should be such that it does not rub against the light
assembly. The position shown in figure 7 gives plenty of room.
Finally put back the wheel well panel. I have coated the panel
with a rubber spray that keeps water out (fig 12 and 13). This way the
whole light fixture is kept dry and dirt free. While this
particular cement is brown in color (as shown in figure 12) when fresh, it
turns black when dry and does not show up.
Figure 14 to 17 show the before and after pictures. I know there
does not seem to be much difference in these photographs. In real life
it is much better. Must be something to do with light wavelength
sensitivity for my camera.
||Fig 3. Wheel
well light panel location
||Fig 4. Remove
Fig 5. Xenon light
Fig 6. Xenon light
Fig 7. HID power supply
attached to panel
Fig 8. Close up of power
Fig 9. Input for power
Fig 10. Cover wires with tape
Fig 11. Output of power supply to
Fig 12. Seal panel with rubber coating
Fig 13. One brand of