166 headlight upgrade - Alfa Romeo Forum
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166 headlight upgrade

Hi all,

New to Alfa ownership and this forum, so forgive me if this has been addressed before. Can anyone recommend a good headlight upgrade set up for an pre-facelift 166? From what I can ascertain on my car, a previous owner has replaced the xenons with halogen bulbs and they're very dim.

I've looked online and found several companies such as LedPerf, France Xenon and loads on Ebay that do LED kits, but wanted to double-check to see if any of you had any suggestions. Naturally, I want to get the best possible dipped-beam solution, but one that doesn't blind oncoming traffic.

Many thanks.
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(Post Link) post #2 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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Two points worth noting;

a) In some countries, it is illegal to use bulbs that are not approved for the lamp/headlight unit.
b) Headlights, both reflector and projector types are designed to emit light based on the light source being at a known point inside the lamp. Bulb specs (such as H7 and HB3 the lights used in the 166) specify exactly where the filament is located in the bulb, so the light within the housing can be focused. That’s partly why you see after market xenons look like they are emiting a huge ball of light, these xeonons have a light source location that is different to the halogen bulbs.

That said, the standard halogens in the original 166 are very dim. I’ve tried xenons in the standard halogen headlights and they throw a huge amount of bright blue light out, great for driving on dark country roads, or out of city motorways but dazzle oncoming drivers and are illegal now here in Ireland.

Lately I’ve switched to LED’s, going for branded ones that have the light source in the same location as the filament of a halogen, the Philips Lumiled range. Not quite as bright as they xenons, but much brighter than both the standard halogens and the modern brighter halogen bubs such as Osram Night Breakers, but also not illegal here.

My advice, don’t don’t go with after market xenons, consider either modern extra/ultra bright halogen bulb options or branded LED’s that conform to the standard for the light source location.

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(Post Link) post #3 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice Variator. It's much appreciated and yes, I definitely want the new kit to be an effective tried and tested known brand, which conforms to local (Slovak) requirements. Just checking out the Lumileds site now.

Thanks again.
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(Post Link) post #4 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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Probably your projectors are to blame as well. Over time they become burnt on the reflective coating and lens becomes clouded/foggy. Not much to do there to be honest. Better bulbs can improve things a bit, but pre-FL 166 had poor headlights even when they were new.

Even FL 166 Xenon projectors were very prone to the same issues (projectors become burnt and clouded). I opened the headlights up and replaced the projectors with a different type and they are now amazing.


If I were you, I would just get new aftermarket headlights and put in a decent xenon kit. These guys suppose to be selling good stuff - https://www.retrofitlab.com/ they installed new projectors into mine 166 by the way.
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(Post Link) post #5 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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..yup, I had the same experience with my pre-facelift.. it didn't matter what bulb i used, the lens was cloudy so the beam never had any useful intensity. That said I managed to get a very good beam pattern and sharp cut-off with a xenon kit, but in terms of intensity there was only a marginal improvement over something like nightbreakers. Replacing the whole unit seems like a good option alright..
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(Post Link) post #6 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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That’s a good point about the dulling of the lenses over time.

On mine, the lese looked like it had yellowed. On investigation, a film of dry dirt had built up on the inside of the glass.

To remove it, I got a long nylon tie wrap, glued a small amount of tissue paper to the end and tied some string to the top near the tissue to allow me to “turn” the top once inside the unit (Much like you can bend your finger).

Remove the high beam bulb and insert the tissue end of the tie wrap and rub across the entire surface of the glass. Don’t wet the tissue, the dirt will come away. It took about 10-15 mins per headlight and with the tie wrap, so long as the tissue it firmly attached and skinny enough, you can get across the full area of the glass from the HB3 hole, and with a bit of practice, clean the reflector and front of the dipped beam projector.

Cleaning inside the dipped beam is striagh forward, just remove the bulb and use the same tool (replace the tissue as necessary).

On mine the result was that that headlight look like new, bright and silver, no longer yellowed. Didn’t make a significant difference to the light output as far as I can tell.

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Philips Ultinon LED's are the best one, I tried several different other ones in my previous 166, from cheap to expensive LED's and cheap to expensive xenonkits. The Philips Ultinon beat them all on both output and light pattern.
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(Post Link) post #8 of 8 Old 1 Week Ago
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From "another forum" for anyone feeling brave, a full strip down and clean of a 166 headlight unit

https://www.forum.alfaholicy.org/zro...ml?language=en

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