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    1. · Registered
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      560 Posts
      Discussion Starter · #91 · (Edited)
      2022 LED Bulbs Edition

      I've always thought that LEDs - and whiter lights in general - really modernized the looks of the car. They also last a long time - 30k-50k hours for LED - compared to 1k hours for halogen bulbs and 10k for xenon/HID. I know this is a bit of a controversial topic with many people adamantly against retrofitting LEDs in cars that did not come with them from factory. I'm not here to debate the topic, just sharing my experience of trying to install LEDs in the 159. Also, I don't need to go thru a regular MOT test in my country, so it's not that much of an issue here.

      LED tech has come a long way since they first launched years ago. LEDs of all shapes and sizes for all automotive use cases are cheap and abundant these days. Majority of the cheap sets come from China, but that's not to say they are no good. That said, not all LEDs are created equal, and false advertising is all over the place. When it comes to LED, price/brand really does not equate to quality. I did not have a great experience trying to install LEDs for the 159, so hopefully my experience will save some people some money from not making the same mistakes I did.

      Headlight low/high beams
      This was by far the best bang for the buck mod I've done to the 159 to date. My headlights were non-Xenon, so both low and high beam bulbs were H7. I went and got the cheapest well reviewed H7 LEDs I could find and installed them and they worked fantastically (you can see my earlier pics on Pg3 of this thread)! And it only cost me £20 for both low and high beams. The LEDs fit directly in the headlight housing, no modifying necessary (unlike when trying to retrofit HIDs). Tips when looking for LEDs for the headlights:
      • Look for CANBUS compatible LEDs. These come with built-in CANBUS decoders/resistors that prevent bulb error messages on the dash.
      • Even the lowest end LED will be brighter than a normal halogen bulb. I went with 12000LM (6000LM per bulb) and they were plenty bright.
      • Do pay attention to the LED bulb wattage. You want to try to keep it below 100W per bulb to prevent electrical issues.
      • IMPORTANT - Install the bulbs so that the LED chips are shining out at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. Else you will get a distorted beam pattern.
      • The bulb retention clips may not fit due to the LED bulb heatsink. In this case you may need to cable/wire tie the bulb in place. So this may be a headlight out job.
      Side blinkers
      This is another easy one to do, it's just plug & play. LED side blinkers nowadays are whole unit replacements, not just a bulb. They provide a full LED bar and some even come with a dynamic sweep pattern which is pretty cool. Below is the one I ordered and works with no errors.
      18.65US $ 31% OFF|2pcs Led Dynamic Side Marker Lights Arrow Turn Signal Blinker Lamps For Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon Boera Spider Typ 939 2005-2012 - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

      Rear license plate lights
      Easy, plug & play, no errors. Gives a super bright white light shining on the license plate. This is the one I used.
      9.9US $ 1% OFF|Canbus Error Free Rear Led Number License Plate Lights Kit For Alfa Romeo 147 156 159 166 Brera GT Spider Nuova Plug N Play|led alfa 147|alfa romeo platekit kits - AliExpress

      Reverse lights
      Easy, plug & play, no errors. The set I used was this:
      7.14US $ 35% OFF|Auxito 2pcs P21w Ba15s Led Canbus 1156 Bay15d 1157 P21/5w Led Bulbs T15 R5w Car Lights 6500k White Brake Lights Reverse Lamp Drl - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

      Confident from my earlier successes, I decided to try to see if I could change more bulbs to LED. Below are the ones I had limited or no success with. Alfa Romeo CANBUS is a beeyatch. In the below areas I simply could not get it to work without some sort of error despite using CANBUS LED bulbs.

      Front turn signals and sidelights
      The front turn signals are PY21W and the sidelights (the small bulb above the turn signal bulb) is W5W. The first cheap set I tried gave me errors on both turn signal and sidelight. Shortly after installation, one of the turn signal LEDs burned out. I then tried a 2nd more expensive set from a more reputable brand named MAXGTRS. This brand listed them as CANBUS error-free and also provided the per bulb wattage which I made sure was higher than the normal 21W and 5W CANBUS was expecting in these positions. Still, the 2nd set gave me errors even though they actually work. So I will be switching back to normal bulbs for these two positions.

      Interior lights
      This was another problematic install. The first set was a cheap China set which was specifically for the Alfa 159 and also listed as error free. When I installed it, the bulbs would glow when switched off, indicating that the built-in resistors were insufficient to make CANBUS happy. After a while, the front roof light would not even switch on, so I tossed it.

      The 2nd set was a much more expensive set I got from an eBay UK seller called Ultimate Bulbs. This set provides a bright white interior light, but it still glows slightly when off. This is only evident in the roof lights. I can live with this as the glow is slight and looks a bit like ambient lighting in modern cars (pic below), so I will be keeping this set. Link to the set below:
      Alfa Romeo 159 - Interior LED Light bulb Kit | High Quality | 2004-2011 | eBay

      I hope this helps those of you looking at installing LED bulbs. Do let me know if you know of a set that works well, especially for the front turn signals and sidelights.
       
    2. · Registered
      Joined
      ·
      408 Posts
      2022 LED Bulbs Edition

      I've always thought that LEDs - and whiter lights in general - really modernized the looks of the car. They also last a long time - 30k-50k hours for LED - compared to 1k hours for halogen bulbs and 10k for xenon/HID. I know this is a bit of a controversial topic with many people adamantly against retrofitting LEDs in cars that did not come with them from factory. I'm not here to debate the topic, just sharing my experience of trying to install LEDs in the 159. Also, I don't need to go thru a regular MOT test in my country, so it's not that much of an issue here.

      LED tech has come a long way since they first launched years ago. LEDs of all shapes and sizes for all automotive use cases are cheap and abundant these days. Majority of the cheap sets come from China, but that's not to say they are no good. That said, not all LEDs are created equal, and false advertising is all over the place. When it comes to LED, price/brand really does not equate to quality. I did not have a great experience trying to install LEDs for the 159, so hopefully my experience will save some people some money from not making the same mistakes I did.

      Headlight low/high beams
      This was by far the best bang for the buck mod I've done to the 159 to date. My headlights were non-Xenon, so both low and high beam bulbs were H7. I went and got the cheapest well reviewed H7 LEDs I could find and installed them and they worked fantastically (you can see my earlier pics on Pg3 of this thread)! And it only cost me £20 for both low and high beams. The LEDs fit directly in the headlight housing, no modifying necessary (unlike when trying to retrofit HIDs). Tips when looking for LEDs for the headlights:
      • Look for CANBUS compatible LEDs. These come with built-in CANBUS decoders/resistors that prevent bulb error messages on the dash.
      • Even the lowest end LED will be brighter than a normal halogen bulb. I went with 12000LM (6000LM per bulb) and they were plenty bright.
      • Do pay attention to the LED bulb wattage. You want to try to keep it below 100W per bulb to prevent electrical issues.
      • IMPORTANT - Install the bulbs so that the LED chips are shining out at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. Else you will get a distorted beam pattern.
      • The bulb retention clips may not fit due to the LED bulb heatsink. In this case you may need to cable/wire tie the bulb in place. So this may be a headlight out job.
      Side blinkers
      This is another easy one to do, it's just plug & play. LED side blinkers nowadays are whole unit replacements, not just a bulb. They provide a full LED bar and some even come with a dynamic sweep pattern which is pretty cool. Below is the one I ordered and works with no errors.
      18.65US $ 31% OFF|2pcs Led Dynamic Side Marker Lights Arrow Turn Signal Blinker Lamps For Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon Boera Spider Typ 939 2005-2012 - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

      Rear license plate lights
      Easy, plug & play, no errors. Gives a super bright white light shining on the license plate. This is the one I used.
      9.9US $ 1% OFF|Canbus Error Free Rear Led Number License Plate Lights Kit For Alfa Romeo 147 156 159 166 Brera GT Spider Nuova Plug N Play|led alfa 147|alfa romeo platekit kits - AliExpress

      Reverse lights
      Easy, plug & play, no errors. The set I used was this:
      7.14US $ 35% OFF|Auxito 2pcs P21w Ba15s Led Canbus 1156 Bay15d 1157 P21/5w Led Bulbs T15 R5w Car Lights 6500k White Brake Lights Reverse Lamp Drl - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

      Confident from my earlier successes, I decided to try to see if I could change more bulbs to LED. Below are the ones I had limited or no success with. Alfa Romeo CANBUS is a beeyatch. In the below areas I simply could not get it to work without some sort of error despite using CANBUS LED bulbs.

      Front turn signals and sidelights
      The front turn signals are PY21W and the sidelights (the small bulb above the turn signal bulb) is W5W. The first cheap set I tried gave me errors on both turn signal and sidelight. Shortly after installation, one of the turn signal LEDs burned out. I then tried a 2nd more expensive set from a more reputable brand named MAXGTRS. This brand listed them as CANBUS error-free and also provided the per bulb wattage which I made sure was higher than the normal 21W and 5W CANBUS was expecting in these positions. Still, the 2nd set gave me errors even though they actually work. So I will be switching back to normal bulbs for these two positions.

      Interior lights
      This was another problematic install. The first set was a cheap China set which was specifically for the Alfa 159 and also listed as error free. When I installed it, the bulbs would glow when switched off, indicating that the built-in resistors were insufficient to make CANBUS happy. After a while, the front roof light would not even switch on, so I tossed it.

      The 2nd set was a much more expensive set I got from an eBay UK seller called Ultimate Bulbs. This set provides a bright white interior light, but it still glows slightly when off. This is only evident in the roof lights. I can live with this as the glow is slight and looks a bit like ambient lighting in modern cars (pic below), so I will be keeping this set. Link to the set below:
      Alfa Romeo 159 - Interior LED Light bulb Kit | High Quality | 2004-2011 | eBay

      I hope this helps those of you looking at installing LED bulbs. Do let me know if you know of a set that works well, especially for the front turn signals and sidelights. View attachment 971304
      Great post, thanks. I may have missed it, however have you a link for the replacement H7 headlight LED’s?
       
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