Night Breaker Unlimited globes 

and
Fyrlyt driving lights

LandCruiser 200

Step-by-Step installation

Although vehicle headlights have certainly improved over the years, they are still well below the level required for comfortable driving at night on rural roads. Having good lights reduces fatigue, improves safety and reduces the risk of a potentially disastrous animal strike.

Vehicle lighting can be improved in two ways: Through the fitting of additional lights, and/or the upgrade of the standard headlights. This page will examine both options.

Terminology

Don't know your Xenons from your HIDs or LEDs? The three main types of light source explained:

Halogen: This is the most common form of headlight globe. It uses a metal filament enclosed in glass with an inert gas such as Xenon or Krypton, with a small amount of a halogen such as Iodine.

HID: High Intensity Discharge. These globes produce light by way of an electric arc between two electrodes which are enclosed in glass with an inert gas mixed with metal salts. They often appear to have a blueish tinge.

LED: Light Emitting Diode. LEDs generate light when electrical current is passed through a semiconductor. Because a single LED is not particularly bright, they are typically used in clusters or groups.

Selecting driving lights

You're certainly spoilt for choice when deciding on driving lights these days, with everything from $20 Chinese specials right through to $2000 LEDs or custom-made 70 watt HIDs.

I'd initially been leaning towards a pair of 50w Lightforce HIDs, but as I continued to research I came across Fyrlyt, an Australian company manufacturing premium lights using halogen globes. Specifically, the Fyrlyts use a custom-made Osram Xenophot 150 watt xenon globe, delivering a whopping 5,000 lumens.

But it was the design features of the lights rather than the light source that really drew me to them. The lights are full of innovative features and ooze quality. They have a very heavy composite resin body construction and a billet alloy base and adjustment system. Instead of clip-on covers (which reduce light output), the Fyrlyts have a sacrificial polycarbonate front element, which can be removed and replaced in a few seconds without tools. Bulb changes can also be completed quickly without tools, via a simple push-and-turn of the billet alloy globe holder, which also serves as a beam adjustment system and a heatsink for the globe. Both the front element and globe holder include rubber seals to keep water out of the light, and the wiring connector is moulded into the body of the light, so there are no grommets to perish. Thermal expansion is taken care of by a Goretex membrane which allows air to pass through while keeping out moisture. All very impressive, and costing less than $600 a pair delivered to your door.

Why not HID?

There's no doubt that HID is an excellent technology, if a little overhyped. HID produces very high light output for the power consumed. But with a 140-amp alternator, power consumption isn't really a concern on a 200-series. That takes the key factor down to price/performance, and on that front it's hard for quality HID lights to compare to Fyrlyt. For the same light output, premium 50w HID lights cost almost double a pair of Fyrlyts.

Price aside, the main disadvantage of HID is that it takes some time to reach it's full light output. In the case of a 50 or 70w HID, it can take 30 seconds or more. HID globes also degrade over time, gradually reducing their light output over the years, somewhat reducing the service life advantage they enjoy over halogen.

Why not LED?

The other 'latest and greatest' lighting technology is LED. While it's improved enormously over the last few years, LED still isn't capable of the highway range delivered by quality halogen or HID, despite the ridiculous prices being charged for some of the premium LEDs on the market. And the cheap 'no-name' LED lights only last a couple of years before their lenses yellow and light output plummets.

That said, quality LED lightbars produce a great wide flood of light making them ideal for lower speed offroad use, so I will probably add a couple of 6" Lightforce LED lightbars at some stage to complement the Fyrlyts.

Headlight globe upgrades

While fitting the driving lights, I thought I'd take the opportunity to upgrade the low-beam (H11) and high-beam (HB3) headlight globes. I've gone with an upgrade to Osram Night Breaker Unlimited (NBU) globes, from Wesfil in Brookvale, which are a simple plug-in replacement for the standard globes. They're one of a number of alternatives that provide close to the maximum light output permitted under the European standards. They deliver a nice improvement on the GXL 200, but their filament design means they produce their greatest benefit in projector-type headlights, such as those fitted to the VX and Sahara.

Performing a more substantial upgrade to the standard headlights is more problematic. Although common, HID headlight upgrades are essentially illegal for the GXL 200 series, because legal fitment requires the headlights to have washers and automatic levelling.

Another alternative is fitment of HIR1 (9011) globes in place of the standard HB3 halogens for high beam. HIRs produce around 50% higher lumens than halogen, however they require a modification to the globe base to fit the 200. For the H11 globes in the 200's low beam, there's no HIR alternative available. It is possible to modify and install an H9 globe (~40% higher lumens), however they don't have a reflective cap which could be a glare issue for other drivers. They also only have half the rated life of the H11, making them a poor option for low-beam lights.

Update May 2015: Disappointingly, the NBUs in the low beam had quite a short life, with both globes failing after about 6 months of use. I do leave my headlights on all the time whilst driving, which undoubtedly contributed to this. At this stage, I've returned to standard low beam globes and will keep an eye out for further options in the future. I've had no issues with the NBU high beam globes, and continue to be happy with their performance.




IMPORTANT

The "Installation" section should not be taken as instructions. It is simply a documenting of the procedure I followed for my own installation. No warranty is provided as to the accuracy of the information, and/or whether it applies in your situation or to your vehicle. If you're not qualified and/or don't have the correct equipment, get the lighting upgrades performed professionally.

If you undertake your own lighting installation, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Equipment required

If you prefer, you can buy a pre-made wiring loom for the driving lights. A Piranha HD harness is suitable. If wiring from scratch, assemble the required tools and other items for the installation:

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Installation

Click images to enlarge

Step 1: Remove the right-side battery

  • This will make it easier to run and access the wiring, and allow the transformers to be mounted between the headlight and the battery.
  • Remove the earth lead first, followed by the positive lead. Ensure you tape up the main positive lead, which runs across to the other battery. This will prevent the risk of it shorting on a metal part of the car.




Step 2: Run the power wire to the relay

Using 10AWG (5mm2) or larger cable, run a wire from either an inline fuseholder on the positive battery terminal or from an accessory fusebox to pin 30 of the relay. Use a 30 or 40 amp fuse.

Step 3: Run the wire from high-beam to the switch, and back to the relay. Mount the switch.

  • Find the positive high-beam wire on the back of the headlight. It is probably coloured red with silver writing.
  • Tap into it then run a light (~1mm2) wire from here to the power-in terminal of your dash switch.
  • Run another ~1mm2 wire back from the power out terminal of the switch to pin 85 of the relay.
  • Tip: Use a double-insulated twin cable instead of two seperate cables. It makes it neater and easier to run.
  • Tip: Run the cable through the nipples provided on the Toyota wiring grommets. Just cut the end off, then reseal with a cable tie. See photo.
  • Mount the dash switch. To be consistant with my previous installs, I'm using a Carling LED switch available from Mudstuff, which does require some cutting at the back of the switch plates. However, AOB now produce a series of push on/off switches that fit perfectly into the 200's blank switch plates.

Step 4: Install Night Breaker Unlimited headlight globes

  • While you have the battery out, install the Night Breaker Unlimited low and high-beam globes.
  • Remove the factory globes by turning and pulling (bayonet-style fitting). Then unplug them.
  • Install the replacement globes, ensuring you don't touch the glass. If you do, clean them with some alcohol.

Step 5: Mount the Fyrlyt driving lights

  • Using the provided bolts, mount the alloy bases to the bullbar. Tighten them, but not so far that they can't be adjusted.
  • Mount the lights to the brackets using the provided allen-key bolt (AKA cap screw). Again, tighten them just enough so that they hold in place but can still be adjusted.
  • Connect the wiring plugs.

Step 6: Aim the driving lights

  • Head out to a quiet straight road, park safely on the shoulder and aim your lights.
  • Fully tighten the mounting bolts.




Conclusion

Overall, I'm extremely happy with the lighting upgrade.

The NBU replacement globes deliver a nice improvement on both low and high beam, while the Fyrlyts are very impressive. I really can't imagine wanting brighter lights, because they'd require dipping on roads with even small refective signs due to the dazzling reflections. But if overkill is your thing, Fyrlyt also have a 9000-lumen version touted as the World's brightest driving light. The bugs had better watch out!

Update May 2015: Overkill must be my thing, as I have since upgraded the driving lights to Fyrlyt Nemesis 9000s, and also compared them to the standard Fyrlyts and a set of Lightforce LED215s. Check out the comparison and Nemesis installation here.

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