Headlight differences & possible retrofit? - Kia Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Question Headlight differences & possible retrofit?

Hey all,

I recently found out that the headlights differ between early and late 1st gen Sorentos; apparently the early cars have reflector headlights while the later ones have projectors:



Does anyone have experience with performance differences between the two housings? Would retrofitting the projector headlights be an upgrade? As far as I'm aware, both are halogens, there ought to be no worries over self-levelling or washing systems.


2006 Sorento 2.5 CRDI EX
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 03:59 PM
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I have no experience with the early headlights so don't know if you could simply swap in the later projectors.

As far as the later projectors go it's easy to install HIDs in the projector housings. Razor sharp cutoff - never get flashed.

To get proper bulb orientation use H11A HID low beam bulbs (I have used Morimoto 5500K XB bulbs for several years) despite the H11B halogen factory bulbs.

Philips X-Treme Vision H1 halogen bulbs for the high beams.

JDM ASTAR 881 LED fog light bulbs (if your vehicle has fog lights) and amber T-10 LED turn signal bulbs.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kial98 View Post
I have no experience with the early headlights so don't know if you could simply swap in the later projectors.

As far as the later projectors go it's easy to install HIDs in the projector housings. Razor sharp cutoff - never get flashed.

To get proper bulb orientation use H11A HID low beam bulbs (I have used Morimoto 5500K XB bulbs for several years) despite the H11B halogen factory bulbs.

Philips X-Treme Vision H1 halogen bulbs for the high beams.

JDM ASTAR 881 LED fog light bulbs (if your vehicle has fog lights) and amber T-10 LED turn signal bulbs.
Thanks, but HID retrofits without HID-approved housings (which were never available on the 1st gen Sorento), self-levelling and washers are illegal here, and we have mandatory yearly inspections for cars, too.

We've used X-Treme Vision +130% bulbs in both low and high beams on the Sorento, and while an upgrade, they still feel somewhat inadequate. The later projectors housings would, presumably, focus the light better.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:21 AM
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Sorry to hear about the inspections. Fortunately they were recently terminated where i live after lobbyists for the tire stores and quick lube joints failed to provide adequate bribes to the politicians who make the laws.

I wonder if ANY changes (even upgraded halogen bulbs or a switch from halogen reflectors to halogen projectors) would comply with your inspection requirements?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry to hear about the inspections. Fortunately they were recently terminated where i live after lobbyists for the tire stores and quick lube joints failed to provide adequate bribes to the politicians who make the laws.

I wonder if ANY changes (even upgraded halogen bulbs or a switch from halogen reflectors to halogen projectors) would comply with your inspection requirements?
They have their pros and cons; they do occasionally weed out a totally unsafe vehicle from the traffic. Also, I like not being subjected to glare from misaligned unlevelled aftermarket HIDs, though that sometimes happens anyway. Police tend to stop them though.

The light output is not measured, and upgraded bulbs are completely legal and within spec anyway. Since the same vehicle was fitted with both reflectors and projectors depending on model year, there shouldn't be any issues with that swap. Furthermore this is a 2006 Sorento, and that's the year the change occurred anyway.

I've learned elsewhere that the shape is very slightly different, but not enough to be an issue, but the wiring is slightly different as well. Appparently some in UK have made the swap, so I'll ask around there for more info.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by kial98 View Post



To get proper bulb orientation use H11A HID low beam bulbs (I have used Morimoto 5500K XB bulbs for several years) despite the H11B halogen factory bulbs.
.
Just curious.....so the factory had H-11 B bulbs and you replaced them with HID H-11 A bulbs and you didnít get the dark line ( from the return wire being in the way ) some people talk about.

(I went with HID H-11 B and had limited variety and paid extra for them...when they burn out Iíd consider the H-11 A next time )
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:15 PM
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Just curious.....so the factory had H-11 B bulbs and you replaced them with HID H-11 A bulbs and you didnít get the dark line ( from the return wire being in the way ) some people talk about.

(I went with HID H-11 B and had limited variety and paid extra for them...when they burn out Iíd consider the H-11 A next time )
Yes. Here's info on proper bulb type from The Retrofit Source:

" There are two base types, H11A and H11B. We can confirm fitment on most newer Japanese vehicles as needing H11B, and most Hyundai/Kia vehicles as needing "H11A" despite what the bulb itself may state."

https://www.theretrofitsource.com/bu...to-xb-hid.html

and more here:

https://sparksmith.com/blogs/news/h1...hich-is-for-me
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:31 PM
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Thank you for the information and the follow up PM.
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