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HID Headlight Bulbs / HID Projector Retrofit

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**The Sierra & Silverado HID topics have been merged and edited, in an attempt to create one comprehensive HID topic**


This topic will cover HID information, HID headlight bulb upgrades, HID fog light bulb upgrades, as well as installing aftermarket HID projectors/bulbs ("retrofit").


This information was last updated on 04/18/14





Automotive lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment must adhere to the United States §571.108 Standard #108 to be legal for road use (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=571.108). Your state or local governments may also impose standards and restrictions on vehicle lighting. If you choose to install HID bulbs and/or projectors, you alone are responsible for compliance and possible legal consequences.




-----HID BASICS-----


Lumen - a measure of the total visible light emitted by a source


Incandescent Bulb – The traditional bulb design which passes electricity through a filament inside a bulb containing an inert gas or a vacuum. The filament heats up and gives off light. Unfortunately, only 5 to 10% of the electricity supplied is converted into light, with the rest being lost as heat.


Halogen Bulb – An improved incandescent bulb, which is filled with a Halogen-family gas, allowing it to operate at higher temps and produce more light. The average 9006-type 55watt Halogen headlight bulb produces roughly 1000 lumen.


HIR (Halogen Infrared Reflective) Bulb – A further improvement on the incandescent bulb, these Halogen bulbs are given special coatings on the interior of glass which reflect infrared back into the filament, allowing it to run even hotter/brighter than a standard Halogen bulb. The average 9012-type 55watt HIR headlight bulb produces roughly 1700 lumen.


HID (High Intensity Discharge) Bulb – A different bulb design from the incandescent, these arc-type bulbs look similar but do not use a heated filament to produce light. Instead, an electrical arc is created between two metal tips in the presence of special gases and vaporized salts contained in a bulb. The electrical arc converts the gases & salts into plasma, producing significantly more light per watt. HID bulbs are often called Xenon because many early HID’s used Xenon gas inside the bulb. The average 9006-type 35watt HID headlight bulb produces over 3000 lumen, while only using two-thirds the power of Halogen bulbs.


LED (Light Emitting Diode) – Technically not a bulb, LED’s are a type of semiconductor which produce light through electroluminescence. The short version: electrons jump around and emit photons of light. LED's are very efficient, operate at low temps, and are the future of lighting, but are currently still too expensive to compete with HID’s when it comes to total light output per dollar.



Which headlight bulbs do the 2014+ GM trucks use?

Silverado - H11 Halogen bulbs for low beams and 9005 Halogen bulbs for high beams.

Sierra - 9012 HIR bulbs which function as both the low and high beams.


What are projector headlights?

Traditional headlights utilize a simple reflector, which results in significant light scatter, similar to a flood light.

Projector headlights incorporate a lens forward of the reflector to control the light distribution, resulting in more focused light pattern. They also contain a shutter between the reflector and lens which creates a cutoff line, blocking light above a certain height. Projectors were created to reducing glare to other drivers & pedestrians, as well as reduce white-out in fog & snow.




The Silverado's projectors have fixed shutters and function as low beams only (they have a separate traditional headlight for high beams).

The Sierra's projectors have movable shutters. The shutter is closed when using low beams and opens when you hit the highs, allowing more light output. This setup is strictly mechanical and the output of the bulb does not change whether using lows or highs.




Why upgrade to HID bulbs?

Projector headlight systems were originally designed to be used with HID's. Instead of offering HID's in the 2014 trucks, GM opted to go the cheap route and use halogen bulbs instead. The result is headlights many of us consider inadequate, at best. Installing HID bulbs helps to partially correct what many see as a significant design flaw. HID bulbs are not perfect (primarily because of GM's use of inferior lenses and reflectors in the stock projectors) but are a substantial improvement over the stock halogen bulbs.


What is a projector retrofit?

A projector retrofit is the process of installing HID projectors into vehicles that were originally equipped with standard halogen reflector headlights. It has also come to include any upgrades to a vehicle's existing projectors, whether they be the halogen or HID variety. Aftermarket HID projector retrofits are the best lighting upgrade currently available, but have significantly higher costs and generally require a greater knowledge & skill level to install compared to HID bulb kits.





Three main components are required for HID install: (1) HID Kit, (1) Relay Wiring Harness, (1) Pair of Capacitors / Code Eliminators / CAN-Bus

(1) HID Kit

This HID kit will include two HID bulbs and two ballasts (ballasts regulate the amount of current flowing to the HID bulbs).

When ordering, you must specify the bulb number, wattage, and color temp:


Bulb Number:

Silverado - H11 kit

Sierra - 9006 or 9012 kit


Wattage: The majority of HID kits come in either 35 watt or 55 watt. I personally recommend the 35 watt, which are 150% brighter than the stock bulbs, but not too bright that they draw unwanted attention to your truck or blind other drivers. There are a few members on here running 55 watt kits with no heat/melting issues.


Color Temp: The actual color of the light, measured in Kelvin. 3500K is stock yellow, 4500K to 5000K is white, and 6000K is white with hints of blue. Color temps of 7000K & above are very blue/purple and are definitely not recommended.


(1) HID Relay Harness

The relay harness will consist of relay(s) and the necessary wiring to connect to it to the battery, ballasts, and stock headlight output(s).

This harness allows the HID's to run straight off the battery and is required for a proper installation.

(1 to 2) Capacitor(s) / Error Code Eliminator(s) / CAN-Bus

On the 2014's, the factory headlight wiring contains a type of "electronic noise" known as PWM (pulse-width modulation). When PWN is introduced to the relay or ballasts, it often causes the HID's to flicker/fail and the relay to make a loud buzzing sound. Capacitors correct this issue by filtering out the PWN and passing along a clean signal to the relay/ballasts.

If you purchase a single input harness, you need (1) capacitor to complete a proper install.

If you purchase a dual input harness, you need (2) capacitors to complete a proper install.

That said, the vast majority of vendors only sell them in pairs.


(made in South Korea)
Morimoto's are the Mercedes of HID's. High quality stuff but at a high premium. If you decide to go with Morimoto's, you need to buy the HID kit and choose the included HD relay harness option. You'll also need to purchase separately a pair of CAN-Bus error code eliminators.
(1) HID Kit with included HD Relay Harness + (1) pair of CAN-Bus = $180 + S&H
(made in China)
DDM is a US vendor that drop ships HID kits straight from the factory in China. On the plus side, you save a ton of money on the price, but the trade off is their shipping takes 2 to 3 weeks. Normally, I try to stay away from cheap chinese electronics, but myself and many others on this forum have been using DDM for years with no issues. I highly recommend their kits as an economical alternative to Morimoto. That said, a few forum members have reported receiving bad ballasts that failed to ignite right out the box (based on what I've seen on the forum, I'd say it's 1 in 50). DDM will send you a free replacement, but you do have to wait 2 more weeks. I don't think I've seen any members report bulb/ballast failures past the initial install. If you're worried about being that 1 in 50, you can go with a higher-end brand HID kit or you could order two DDM HID kits and have plenty of spare parts (that's what I do, because two DDM kits are still half the price of one high-end brand kit).
**I do not have any direct interaction with DDM, other than as a HID customer, nor am I paid/compensated for recommending their products - I'm simply think it's a good deal**
(1) HID Kit + (1) Relay Harness + (1) pair of Capacitors = $55 + S&H
(made in China?)
I really don't know much about this company or their HIDs Forum member icecrm is affiliated with them and he posted a really good "How To" HID install with pics further down in this topic.
(1) HID Kit + (1) Relay Harness + (1) pair of Capacitors = $170 + S&H

Amazon / eBay

(made in China)

You can find all kinds of different brands/vendors on Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers. There's no "wrong" brand to buy, as the majority are all made in China anyway. Most people on the forum are either Morimoto or DDM, but I'm definitely not saying you should only choose from those!


When completed correctly, installing HIDs is a simple process that makes a dramatic improvement. No kit out there will be a 100% plug-n-play setup because of the 2014's sealed headlight design. Current kits are roughly 75% plug-n-play, mainly involving connecting plugs and installing +/- leads to battery/grounds. The 25% exception exists because all HID kits will require the drilling of a small hole in the headlights' rear-facing removable caps to allow the bulbs wiring to reach the ballasts. It's not difficult by any means and, because the caps are removable, you can buy replacements if you ever decide to remove your HIDs in the future.

Testing - Before beginning any install, you should test your bulbs and ballasts! The last thing you want to do is go to all the trouble of installing everything, only to find out you have a bad component. With the engine off, lay out the parts on the radiator cover and make all the necessary connections. For the test, use the driver's side factory headlight output, since it's the less difficult to access. It's often also easier to use jumper cables to connect the +/- for this temporary setup. Once you're ready, test the lights with the engine off and then with the engine on. If possible, do in daylight to test DRL activation and then cover light sensor on dash to simulate night to test auto-headlights.

Wiring - In order to access the rear of passenger headlight and complete a proper install, you will need to raise the air box's cover and remove the lower portion of box and filter. You can leave the top attached to the intake tube and just move it out the way while working. The cover is held on with (4) screws. The lower box is held in with rubber plugs along the bottom... just yank straight up on box to remove.

There are several different styles of wiring harness out there, but whichever you end up with it's important to determine if it's a Single Input or Dual Input harness. Each has a slightly different wiring method.

-Single input harness will have two headlight-type plugs for the ballasts and a third input designed to connect to the stock headlight source. You must flip/reverse the connection between the stock signal and capacitor to account for the truck's reversed polarity. From the capacitor, you'll then connect relay, to ballasts, then to bulbs (see attached diagram)

-Dual input harness will have two headlight-type plugs for the ballasts and two inputs designed to connect to the both stock headlight sources. You will not flip any connections during wiring. The stock signals connect normally to capacitors, who then connect to relay, to ballasts, then to bulbs (see attached diagram)


Regardless of which you have, just remember the flow should be "Stock Signal ---> Capacitor ---> Relay ---> Ballasts ---> Bulbs"


Access Holes - Most HID bulbs come with rubber grommets pre-installed on their wiring. If yours didn't, you can pick the up at a parts store. Basically you just drill the appropriate sized hole removable cap, pass through wiring, and secure the grommet in the hole. You might also consider using butyl rubber or silicone around the grommet for extra moisture protection. (icecrm has a good picture of this in his post later down this topic).


Bulbs - This should go without saying but never touch the glass part of the headlight bulbs, HID or Halogen! The oils on your fingers may cause them to shatter when they head up.

Many HID kits include additional O-rings, so that you can adjust the fit of the bulb in the socket. If your kit did not include any, and you feel the bulb isn't seating correctly, you can pick up spares at any parts store. Keep in mind however, the majority of HID bulbs will never fit as tight/snugly as the stock halogen bulbs, so don't fret too much.

It's important to note there is a certain orientation in which the bulbs must be positioned when inserting into the stock housing. I can't remember the exact was to insert them as it's been a good while since I did mine, but there's a simple way to check if your are correct. When parked about 10 feet from a wall, if you notice little diamonds of light above the cut-off line, it means you need to rotate the bulbs' orientation slightly (if you thumb is at the 9 o'clock position when removing, without changing grip, try inserting the bulb with your thumb at 12 or 1 o'clock).




If you're not sure about your wiring harness, a specific connection, or anything else, feel free to shoot me a message.





Edited by MotoMedic
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-----HID FOG LIGHTS-----


Installing HID fog light bulbs in the 2014's has so far been a mixed bag. Some members have installed operated them for months without incident, while others have had their HIDs melt the fog light housings. It seems to happen across the board and isn't due to one brand running hotter than another. It might possibly be to duration of each use, with some magic number of minutes that, if you exceed, it'll begin melting the plastic. No one has really shown any evidence for why some melt and others don't. So that said, if you choose to install HID fog bulbs, realize it's a toss up on them damaging the housings.






(1) HID Kit

This HID kit will include two HID bulbs and two ballasts (ballasts regulate the amount of current flowing to the HID bulbs).


When ordering, you must specify the bulb number, wattage, and color temp:

Bulb Number:

5202, 9009, or H16 are acceptable (all three are physically identical but were designated with different numbers by different agencies)

Wattage: The majority of HID fogs on this forum have been 35 watt. With those, like I said above, it's a toss up. The 55 watt will absolutely melt your fog light housings. Some discovered 25 watt kits while searching online, but there has been debate if they're actually 25 watt or just re-labeled 35 watt kits. Hard to say what's correct.

Color Temp: The actual color of the light, measured in Kelvin. 3500K is stock yellow, 4500K to 5000K is white, and 6000K is white with hints of blue. Color temps of 7000K & above are very blue/purple and are definitely not recommended.


(2) 5202 male / 9006 adapter *optional*

Most HID fog kits only have two bare wires for connecting to the stock source (which sometimes have metal pins on the tips). You can either jam these pins in the factory fog sockets, cut into the factory wiring and splice in the wires, or purchase 5202 adapters off eBay which you can connect to HID kit and then easy snap into the factory connections.


Edited by MotoMedic
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  • 2 weeks later...



When the HID kit, relay, & capacitors are installed correctly, you should have no issues with the operation of your DRL's.


*Many non-SLT owners have inquired about permanently disabling their DRL's. Unfortunately on the 2014+ trucks, the DRL's are controlled by the ECM and you can't simply pull the fuse like on previous models.

There's currently a separate topic dedicated to this issue: http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/157553-disabling-daytime-running-lights-drl/






Aiming / Adjusting the Headlights - http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/158300-aiming-adjusting-headlights/


Aftermarket LED DRL Strips - http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/158526-silverado-led-daytime-running-lights/


Halogen & LED Headlight Bulb Upgrades - http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/156233-halogen-led-non-hid-headlight-bulb-upgrades/


LED Fog Bulbs & Lights - http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/156170-led-fog-bulbs-lights/


LED Front Light Bars & Pods - http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/155567-led-front-light-bars-pods/

Edited by MotoMedic
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  • 1 month later...




As of March 2014, no member has successfully completed a Sierra HID projector retrofit.



I finally completed my HID projector retrofit! Took me about 4 hrs to get it done .LOL

3 hrs for the first headlight and 1 hr for the 2nd. :D
I'm very happy with the result. Unfortunately, i have to remove them again this weekend to clean the dust inside the lense.. :(
Here are some pics..
Enjoy! ;)

Hid kits : http://www.ebay.com/itm/Morimoto-3Five-D2S-4300k-HID-Kit/231001803006?_trksid=p2047675.m1985&_trkparms=aid%3D444000%26algo%3DSOI.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D17393%26meid%3D1181368540983893039%26pid%3D100012%26prg%3D8093%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D231001803301%26#ht_1569wt_959
This kit will eliminate the flickering and gives you the full 12v DRL instead of 9v . ECM canceller do needed..
3" Fx-R bi-xenon projectors: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Morimoto-FX-R-3-0-Projectors-3/231046993545?_trksid=p2047675.m1985&_trkparms=aid%3D444000%26algo%3DSOI.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D17393%26meid%3D1181368540983893039%26pid%3D100012%26prg%3D8093%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D231001803301%26#ht_710wt_959

Craptory projector on the left, new bi-xenon Fx-R on the right..
This is in front of my garage: Low Beam.
High Beam:
this is at an empty restaurant lot :

These are the one i tried to capture the colors from the cut off, but my camera lense doesn't do justice. you can still see the blue and purple hue.. :D

Edited by MotoMedic
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It wasn't that hard and I didn't have to bake the headlights since the cover in the back is huge.you can remove the factory projector thru there...

The factory projector is holding by 4 #20 torx screws..

You need to drill the 2 bottom hole of the new projector to be able to match up with the factory location and yes you do need couple washers and longer screws..

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Here some pics of the projector from the outside. Just like the factory and you won't even know if it has been swapped.. :D










This one showing the factory projector before before being remove


This one is after the projectore is removed..




I'll take some pics of the new projector mounted this weekend.. :D

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That looks great!

Dumb question: What makes these projectors better than the factory projector? For example, if both are equiped with the same HID kit, would there be a noticeable difference between the two? If so, why?

Do they disperse light better?

Sharper cutoff?


I may have to do this mod if there will be a significant difference between them.

This projector called Fx-R stand for Infiniti Fx 35/45 HID projector the R stand for Revised from The Retrofit Source .

They reproduce the projectors with clear lense and have sharper cutoff"

These projectors disperse better light output and farther than any Factory Equipped Projector HID let alone Halogen projector...

This is a sample pic of how far the cutoff travel:


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rookie question: So you just work from theback of the headlight. No need to remove grille etc.? Longer screws, source?will one get flashed with these as being too bright? I drive in the hill country and even low cut offs seem to bother some. Your experience?

You do need to remove the headlights off the truck in order to do this...

I don't think any one will flash you unless you have the cutoff line too high...

The factory headlight adjuster still functional the way it is...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Wow man! That looks great! I was debating about just putting

in some HIDs but I may have to look into this. How much farther back does the

new projector with the bulb set compared to the stock one? Are you able to get

the cap on the headlight or is there no need for that? I’m guessing the

Silverado doesn’t have the same shutter as the Sierra for high beams on the projector

so that may make the swap a little harder unfortunately. Also, I was looking in

the engine bay for a good place to put the relays and run the wire, did you

find a good spot for them or have any pictures?

The high beam shutter on the Fx-R projector can be connect directly to the factory high beam Power source..

With the bulb and the plug in place, they only stick out about 1/4" pass the cover...

The total part and free labor costed me $240..

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  • 2 months later...

To those with HID fogs. I know BringTheRain has a pair and told me he had no issues, but I was just looking at mine and noticed the driver's side housing has some marks that look like they came from heat exposure. The passenger's side is fine which doesn't make sense why one is and one isn't getting those marks. Has anyone experienced this?


Edit* Here's a picture. It got tilted for some reason, the heat mark is on the left side of the bulb.


Edited by EChavez
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My HID headlight bulbs install on a 2014 Silverado:


Parts used:
(1) 35W H11 HID Kit 6000K
(1) Relay Harness
(2) Error Cancelers / Capacitors



Tools used:
Utility knife
3M/Double Sided Tape for mounting ballasts
Side cutters/pliers to snip end of zip ties
Zip Ties
Retainer Clip Remover/Flat Head Screwdriver
10mm/7mm socket
3/4 Spade Bit/Hole Saw





1. Remove Air Box: Air box is clipped in so just give it a good pull and it will pop out



2. Wire Relay Harness: power to (+) to battery connection, ground to (-) battery connection



3. Remove two clips holding in cover behind headlight and remove dust cover from headlight, unplug bulb and remove.

4. Using 3/4 Spade bit, drill a whole in center of dust cover.



5. Insert bulb, pull wires through and install grommet that comes with bulbs.



6. OPTIONAL - I used Rubber Butyl Tape to seal grommet from moisture (you can use silicone, putty or just roll the dice)



7.Install HID bulb into headlight. Connect other wire to Factory Plug (picture shows it's reversed polarity, since this is a DUAL relay harness, you'll plug it in red to red and black to black) then re-install dust cover.



8. Error Cancelers

Install male plug (coming from dust cover) to female end of Error Canceler

Install male plug from Error Canceler to female plug of relay harness
Install male plug from relay harness into ballast



9. Mount Ballast - apply double-sided tape to back of ballast. I installed ballasts next to headlight on rad support/frame
10. Run remaining two wires from relay harness to driver side. Repeat Steps 3-9.

11. Zip Tie all wires and tidy up the install to your liking.





1. Headlights don't come on at all: Check power and/or ground wire.

2. One headlight turns on but not other side: Check connections and ensure ballast is plugged in.
3. Headlights work but when I start the truck, they turn off: You probably don't have the Error Cancelers installed/wired correctly.
4. Headlights work but the relay makes a loud buzzing noise: See #3


For the courtesy of others and to avoid confusion and clutter, please PM me or feel free to email me directly at 250mo[email protected] for any questions or troubleshooting issues.

Edited by MotoMedic
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Finished doing the FX-r retro for my fathers truck. I am amazed at how much FX-rs blow away my Mini h1 retro on my Avalanche, the foreground on the FX-r looks nasty but still drown out minis. Got to thank block8head for the help, was confused on if the d2s socket fit without major cutting to the cap but it turns out the back of it needs to be cut out, I cut out more than what was needed just so that the wire was not strained, I sealed the hole up with AC aluminum tape. Not pretty but the tape holds to the elements.


I used 3.0 FXrs, Phillips 85122 bulbs, Morimoto D2s long cord ballasts, Morimoto CanBUS and HD relay harness. I still have to install a delay relay that I made today to prevent lights from turning on before engine crank.








Now I am praying that the 2.5 inch lens FXrs I have sitting in the garage will fit the Avy since their isn't a lot of room behind the light. Got to love how mods always leaves to other mods.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here are pics to show one option for running the wires threw the cap on the back of the Sierra lights. I just used a uni-bit and drilled out the center to the correct size for the grommet to fit. The other pics show how I originally had my bulbs installed which created a shadow. The next pic shows the new way I mounted them to remove the shadow. I also did a pic to show the 2 tabs you must trim if you want to move the bulb to the new angle. If you enlarge the pic you can see the red squares I used to mark the tabs I trimmed. Hope this helps some people.


Old angle


New angles

Hid New

Trimmed tabs

HID tabs


Edited by Bbowen826
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Just got my DDM 5000K kit in, will post an update after. Also ordered the adapter above for my fog lights as well. Haven't gotten down there yet but I would assume I'm going to have the same issue.


DDM 5000K Kit

Edited by Craftism
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