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I am interested to see if anyone has noticed the poor performance of the headlight main beam on the IS 300h. I had a 2004 Merc E220 before the Lexus and main beam was very good because a separate set of lights was used. And the Merc did use Xenon dip beams.

I find that the Lexus main beams add very little to the amount of light already provided by dip beam. You can tell that you have switched to main beam on a dark road because you have a bit of extra light at the sides, but in a lit up area, even a poorly lit up area, you can't tell if you are main beam.

I just wouldn't fancy driving fast down a country lane and trying to use main beam when you have just passed a car going in the opposite direction. You would end up in the hedge pretty quickly, I reckon. If I was to rate the headlights on main beam I would say that they are like a 1970's Ford Anglia !!!

Parkman.

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just to put it in perspective a gen 2 IS , on dip , is like driving with 2 candles at the front :smile:

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I have a Gen III and dip beam isn't too bad, it would be about the same as any Xenon lit cars, which I find are pretty poor compared to older incandescent bulb lights. The Merc that I owned had Xenon lights and was OK on dip but not great. The big advantage that it had main beam lights that used proper H2 bulbs with proper focusing.

 I think that the problem with Xenon is that they are not focused by using fluted glass in the light. The lights are just a clear lens with, I assume, the focusing being done by adjusting the angle of the light fitting itself. If you notice cars coming towards you with very bright headlights then the car will almost certainly be using Xenon lights, and the beams are not being focused down to the near side kerb as they should be.

When you look at older headlights the focusing is being done by the angle of the flutes in the headlight glass, and it is much, much more effective and user friendly to drivers coming towards your car. I just find Xenon lights fire out a lot of uncontrolled very bright light. Just like the fog lights on Nissan Micra's that the dumbasses keep switched on when they drive them. My real, real, real, pet hate - Nissan Micra's.

Parkman.

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I'm very surprised at your comments on your cars headlights. 

I have to definitely disagree. The dual Xenon headlights on the gen 3 IS are excellent in dip and main beam.

The cars you see with glaring headlights are illegal in that wrong bulbs in wrong headlights are being used. That is conversion to higher bright light from headlights. Wrong reflectors and lenses.

I suggest take your car to a MOT station and get the levels checked of the headlights. On my car the lights are superb.

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Yep, I never really had any issue with the IS lights.

Original fit Xenon lights are bright and focused, which is why all cars that have then need self levelling and washers to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers.

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Vlad, thanks for your comment. I will take a more detailed note of how bright, or not, they are at night.

I have to disagree about very bright headlights as I have noticed this problem quite a bit from all makes of car using new style Xenon lights. Examples are new BMW 5 series, new Merc E-class, Audi A4 and A6, and a variation of new Japanese cars. It is not all cars, and it is also obvious when you see an older, tradional lit car approaching at night. The lights are much less blinding, and the actual light isn't just sprayed around as tends to happen with unfocused Xenon headlights.

Parkman.

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Fully agree.  The lights on my 2014 IS300H F Sport are really poor. Hate driving country roads at night, and as you say, the main beam makes very little difference. Would love to get them upgraded. 

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Thanks Tom, I didn't think that it was my imagination. However, I doubt that there is anything that can be done, I think that it is the nature of the beast !!!

Parkman.

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I find the lights pretty poor too. I have an i3 with regular bulbs which is noticeably better. My previous two cars had Xenon lights, one was a mini with dual function beams like the IS300h. Both were far better. Even people travelling in the car notice it.

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I agree, the lights on my IS300H are nothing to write home about. My main comparison is with my last car - a 2004 Honda Accord with regular lights and bulbs

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I have no issues with the lights either and the country roads around here are very very dark.

I find the high beams on any car will "appear" poor in a well lit up area. 

You could always just change the bulbs out for Osram Nightbreakers or Philips Xtremevision. Only problem with those is, you get flashed by everyone.

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I have felt for some time that the lights on MY IS300H are not very good. On my previous car, Saab 9-3 Aero TTiD, they were far superior.

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 I agree with Barry. I was out in a Mercedes W124 this evening, 1991 reg, and the main beam is much, much better than my IS. Again, I would insist that it is because the Merc has dedicated main beam lights, and uses H2 75 watt bulbs. Even the dipped beams are the same as the IS.

Rayaan, I don't believe that you can change Xenon bulbs for bulbs of a different wattage. As they use a power pack to drive the lamps I think that they are not inter-changeable with other power output Xenon bulbs. I may well be wrong, but I remember looking at the Xenon dipped beam lights on my 2004 Merc E220 cdi, and they were a specific bulb with a set amount of power output.

If using normal incandescent bulbs then yes, no problem changing the bulbs. I had an Isuzu Trooper which was fitted with 100/140 watt headlights, and four KC Daylighters with 100 watt bulbs. The point of the KC Daylighters was that they gave light at almost 1 mile on a black night. This is achieved, like all powerful lights, by the shape of the reflector. On the KC's the reflector is quite deep so that the beam is much more focused, and therefore throws the beam much further than a standard Cibie 100 watt light.

The biggest problem with fitting more powerful bulbs is that of heat. It is quite easy for the light to crack the lamp glass, particularly if the lights are left on main beam for 4 or 5 minutes. I had two of the KC Daylighters crack the glass with the heat, and the glass in the KC's is a lot thicker than most.

Parkman.

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I don't know the legal position in Eire  but in the UK  max wattage for vehicle headlamps on public highways is 60 main/ 55 dipped beam. Xenon are 35 watts but  give about twice the light output of quartz halogen and so ought to be brighter. Regarding focussing.... the old "sealed beam" lamps used metal parabolic reflectors to do the main focussing with beam shaping being done by the patterned glass. The Austin Maestro introduced "homofocal" lights .....pressed polycarbonate reflectors which did focussing plus shaping so the glass was plain, which gave a slight gain in light output. Such lamps are sometimes called "free form".When I rebuilt my MGA roadster in 1981-83 I fitted some 1970s Mini sealed beams but they were just tungsten, not even halogen and were hopelessly outclassed so a couple of years ago I went for Wipac Freeform halogens ....big improvement. My Lexus IS  is my first car with bi Xenons but I haven't driven it enough in the dark yet to be able to comment fully except that I feel that the beams are more sharply defined than on other cars that I've owned.

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Roger, the rules are the same in Ireland, but I used to do a lot of night time driving, up to six hours a day between early mornings and late evenings. I also used to be driving at rather well over speed limits, especially at 03:30, and I just couldn't put up with mediocre lights. I really needed to see where I was going. !!

Most of the lights that I used on my Isuzu Troopers came from rally cars that I had, and when the rally cars were "updated" I would fit the older spotlights onto the 4 wheel drives.

Improved night vision by about 200% !!

Parkman.

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The difference between full beam and dipped beam is less obvious with the single pair of bi-xenons on the mark 3 than it was on the xenons plus halogen full beams on my old mark 2 SE-L; but in my experience driving on full beam is never a problem - what matters is whether you can still see well enough when forced to use dipped beams, and the dipped beams on the mark 3 seem very good. I do a lot of night time driving on unlit single carriageway roads.

Try driving a little smart car on dipped beams instead. Ugh. 

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My 300h f sport has LED headlights and it is very bright daytime like light. Problem is that the beam does not shine far enough in front. Fine if you do 40kmh but driving 90 on s country road is already a challenge. Same on a dark highway, you just cannot see far enough. Full beam solves that problem but one is not alone out there...

I find the light design a weak point, maybe with the facelift this was adressed?

 

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1 hour ago, dutchie01 said:

My 300h f sport has LED headlights and it is very bright daytime like light. Problem is that the beam does not shine far enough in front. Fine if you do 40kmh but driving 90 on s country road is already a challenge. Same on a dark highway, you just cannot see far enough. Full beam solves that problem but one is not alone out there...

I find the light design a weak point, maybe with the facelift this was adressed?

 

The LEDs werent available in the UK on pre-facelift cars.

However, Its definitely to do with regulations more than anything else and the height of the beam. You can always put brighter lights on - like my son did on his Golf but he now gets flashed, whereas this was not the case before (adjustments are bang on BTW)

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On 3/7/2018 at 7:43 PM, cidersteve said:

just to put it in perspective a gen 2 IS , on dip , is like driving with 2 candles at the front :smile:

What? maybe SE model with Halogens... Xenon on IS mk2 is just as any Xenon on any other brand - with-decent bulbs and they are very good lights, not sure what you talking about.

Have had a few mk3 and cannot say that light are any better and even LED lights are just about the same (on RC), the only difference is that the light pattern is much more defined, but at the same time the LED distance is probably even worse.

On 3/7/2018 at 8:56 PM, parkman said:

... and the beams are not being focused down to the near side kerb as they should be.

Both mk2 and mk3 Xenons have "flat beam", so they are not focused down the kerb (and they shouldn't be) and they don't blind the if you drive in EU.

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sorry just an opinion , just changed from gen 2 to gen 3 , so assumed i could make a reasonable comment on actual cars i have owned recently .

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You don't need to be sorry, but at the same time factually both mk2 and mk3 uses same D4S bulbs and very similar (if not the same) lenses for Xenons, so there is no way mk3 can be significantly better than mk2. If you comparing Xenon vs. halogen then it is obviously incomparable, but that is not because mk2 has candles instead of headlights, but because halogen is inferior to Xenon - in any car.

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16 hours ago, Linas.P said:

You don't need to be sorry, but at the same time factually both mk2 and mk3 uses same D4S bulbs and very similar (if not the same) lenses for Xenons, so there is no way mk3 can be significantly better than mk2. If you comparing Xenon vs. halogen then it is obviously incomparable, but that is not because mk2 has candles instead of headlights, but because halogen is inferior to Xenon - in any car.

I suspect he was sorry because you told him you didn't know what he was talking about......

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And he was being sarcastic just as I would have been :wink3:

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sometimes it's easier not to reply ,even when you believe you are right :smile:

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Very interesting posts. But I am still not convinced about the argument for Xenon headlights on the IS 300h. As far as I am concerned the quality is in the headlight glass design and the type of incandescent bulb being used, whether an H4 or H1 bulbs. After that you are into the power output of the bulbs, whether 55 w, 75 w, or 100 watts.

I still believe that the secret of good lights, and there are plenty of examples in the real world to prove it, is the design of the reflector in the light. You can produce all the light you like from a bulb but it is wasted if not correctly focused, and of course this is done by the reflector.

The second part of the focusing is done by the fluting of the headlight glass, and this, as everyone knows, is dependent on the country. As far as I am concerned the old method of focusing is far superior in operation than the new headlights which have little focus. I would not agree about the focus not being towards the curb, it really, really should be on dip beam so as not to blind oncoming drivers.

A real example of people ignoring the rules of the road are the drivers of Nissan Micra's, especially the early ones. The owners insist on driving about with the round fog/spotlights on, permanently !! The issue about these are that those factory fitted fog/spotlights are unfocused and they are blinding when coming towards you. When I owned my Isuzu Troopers which were both fitted with four extra KC 100 watt Daylighters I took great pleasure in switching on main beam and lighting up the road like Wembley stadium. You could see the dumb driver of the Micra leaping about trying to turn off the fog/spotlights !!!!!!!

Parkman.

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