Night driving a Corvette can be a dangerous endeavor. Not being able to detect a hazard soon enough can be costly to the Corvette owner. The next best thing to daylight-only driving is to upgrade the lights on your Corvette with something as close to sunlight as possible. For now, that alternative is HID. High Intensity Discharge lights put out more light, are higher in temperature (whiter) than halogen lights, draw less power after the initial startup, and last approximately 10 times longer than a standard halogen bulb. Needless to say, we weren't surprised to hear rumblings that the C6 may use this new light technology. Unlike halogen lights, HID uses a ballast and a high-voltage cable to operate the high-beam section of the bulb.
In our Dec. '02 story highlighting Sylvania's Xenarc line of HID headlamp systems, we mentioned that Sylvania had a Xenarc system for every year Corvette except the C5. The hardest obstacle to overcome when installing such a system in a Corvette is the rotating headlamp systems in mid-year or C4 Corvettes. Despite the challenge, we felt a step-by-step installation was in order. Our donor car was a C4 that, putting it mildly, wasn't stock. The Xenarc headlamp kit comes with everything you need for installation, but it is not a bolt-in kit. The extent of the necessary modifications is dependent on the owner's taste. While a completely stock look wasn't a big concern on this particular car, we wanted an installation that, to the untrained eye, would appear to be original. That meant we needed to trim some wires and change a few connectors to blend with the factory harness. The end result was a mostly stock-appearing headlamp system that churns out more light than the original system ever dreamed of. Daylight at night-what a concept!
|Difficulty Index - 3 Wrenches|
|Anyone’s Project: no tools required||1 Wrench|
|Beginner: basic tools||2 Wrenches|
|Experienced: special tools||3 Wrenches|
|Accomplished: special tools and outside help||4 Wrenches|
|Professionals Only: send this work out||5 Wrenches|
We had to make clearance for...
We had to make clearance for the new wiring before installing the headlamp. The large connector on the back of the lamp is for the high beam. We used a hole saw to make a cutout for the rubber housing for the low beam.
The kit comes with all the...
The kit comes with all the necessary wiring and connectors; but, since we were working with a small area, we trimmed the wires and used factory weather-packed connections, or soldered the connections and used shrink-wrap to seal out the elements. The kit comes with wiring diagrams, making the install straightforward.
To use the factory weather-pack...
To use the factory weather-pack connectors, you'll need this tool from Snap-on or another automotive tool supplier to remove any of the terminals.
The headlight assembly has...
The headlight assembly has a three-wire connector for power to high, low beam, and a ground. We patched in the green wire from the kit to replace the original green wire. This connection is used to trigger the relay for the headlamp instead of actually powering the lamps.
The system uses this bridge...
The system uses this bridge to allow power for both the high and low beams. It's basically a diode to direct power for both bulbs. Sylvania reports that there is usually only one bridge necessary. We put ours in the driver-side assembly and hard-wired it into place. If you decide your system needs a second bridge to operate properly, contact Sylvania to get one.
The original headlight assemblies...
The original headlight assemblies are wired through the pivot hinge of the assembly. We disassembled our units to replace the green wire. Remove the clip that holds the wires; then there are only two Torx bit screws and one nut that hold the units together.