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2012 Outback 2.5i Premium 5-speed
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m on my second set of LED low-beam bulbs and I’m still not happy with the light output. The first pair were Xenon Depot’s Xtreme LED Pro bulbs. While a significant improvement over the stock halogens, I wasn’t blown away by the brightness. So now I’m trying Morimoto’s 2Stroke 3.0 bulbs. They’re listed with almost 900 more lumens but they seem dimmer, or at least more diffuse.

Now I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong.The daytime running lights never go off. Shouldn’t they go off when the lows or highs are on? The DRLs are separate, tiny bulbs next to the high beams, in my understanding, so it shouldn’t be an issue with not dimming the high-beams, for example.

I’m wondering if the LEDs somehow confuse the system so that the DRLs never go off and the low-beams run at reduced power. Is that possible? (And shouldn’t the low beams go off when the highs are on?)

I’m attaching photos of the lights with the switch in the following modes: Lights off, low beams, high beams.

Thanks in advance.

—Eric S.

Automotive lighting Vehicle Hood Amber Headlamp

Automotive parking light Tire Vehicle Grille Automotive lighting

Automotive parking light Land vehicle Vehicle Automotive lighting Hood
 

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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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1,803 Posts
In our Outbacks (I have a 2011 Premium 2.5i), the tiny lamp between the low beam and high beam headlights is a parking/position light only; it is not a DRL. The DRL function is handled by providing a low-voltage (about 9 volts) to the high beam headlights when the low beams are NOT on. The DRLs are supposed to turn off when the low beams are on. In the photos, your lights appear to be nice and bright. I hope the Morimotos did the trick for you. . .

Steve
 

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From what I remember, Diode Dynamics told me that I can’t use an LED for my high beams because the DRLs are the High beams at 40% power as suggested above. The LEDs are either on or not and can’t run at a modulated power.

If you want a cleaner color, get a set of Silverstar but know that they burn out earlier. I rarely use my high beams so I would likely never notice the accelerated wear. However, I strongly advise using the long life bulbs for your low beams if you decide to use halogens because they are a major pain to get to. If I could find an LED low beam in warm white I might be willing to try that.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5i Premium 5-speed
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies.

Bassman: Thanks for setting me straight about parking/position bulbs vs. DRLs. This morning, I looked more closely at which bulbs are on. The parking/position bulbs are always on, whether the DRLs, low beams, or high beams are active. I suppose that's normal. But why are the low beams on when the high beams are active? Shouldn't they be either/or, not both?

PilotXT: Others are more knowledgeable than I, but the lighting companies at least market their DRL drivers as being capable of sending less power to their LED high-beam bulbs.

To be clear, though, I'm not interested in replacing my high beams; the halogens work fine. I'm only replacing my low beams and I'm mainly trying to figure out why the LEDs I've tried aren't very bright. I put Morimoto LEDs in our 2004 Jetta and they're awesome. It's a very different projector, of course, and the low beam and high beam use the same bulb, but I wouldn't have expected this much of a difference in brightness.

--Eric S.
 

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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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Eric,

Both the low and high beam lamps are illuminated in the 2011 and subsequent year Outbacks until Subaru went with the bi-level projector. Most, if not all state's vehicle codes allow for four foward factory lamps to be illuminated at one time, and the choice for Subaru to have allowed for this makes for great illumination of the roadway at night.

If you are looking for brighter LED headlamps, try those sold by Diode Dynamics or Headlight Revolution. They are generally very good products and produce a lot of light.

Note: LED high beam lamps will not work in the car as DRLs, in that they do not draw enough current through the dropping resistors in the DRL circuit to lessen brightness. The result is that LED DRLs blind on-coming drivers, even during the day.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, Steve. I got the Morimotos through HR, but I see that the GTRs they sell produce nearly 4000 lumens, so I may try those next.

--Eric S.
 

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I was wrong about this. Now I don’t know if upgrading the alternator is responsible, but the DRL voltage was ~12.6v on the “low” setting which the Morimoto sees as high enough to toggle the full brightness.

I just bought a 4ohm 75W resistor from Mouser and spliced it in place of the factory resistor pack in the left front fenderwell. This brought the voltage to ~9.0v and the Morimoto does what it’s supposed to.

I will update again if this ends up not working after some time or overheating after more drive time and the summer have passed.
 
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