The Shining

One of the surprising things about the 300ZX is quite how bad the headlights are. And there are number of solutions with varying effect. Here's one of them.

The Voltage Drop Story

I have no idea whether this is true or not but it sounds plausible so here it is.

If you want nice bright headlights, you need to get as many of the 12 volts which left the battery to arrive at the bulbs. If your wiring harness is below spec or the connectors are mucky or the under bonnet heat has cooked your wiring, you might be running the bulbs at 10 or even 8 volts. So they are dimmer than they should be (and they're quite dim to start with).

Some cars have an after-market add-on mini-loom and relay fitted. This uses the original loom simply to actuate a relay which controls a direct feed from the battery straight to the headlights. The theory is that this gives a better connection and hence less voltage drop.

Jeff of Zedworld spotted this on mine. Does it work? No idea - I don't have a non-equipped car to compare it against. Where to get them from? Pass - it was already on my car when it arrived!

Changing the Bulbs

So I went the route of trying upgrade bulbs. First off were a pair of 85w sourced by Leigh from the US. These seemed to give a bit of an improvement. They were not as extreme as the 100w bulbs which some people tried and ended up melting bits of their headlight. Remember, the OEM bulbs were 55w and I guess the lights / wiring were specified accordingly. Someone told me that fitting bulbs with a higher rating than 55w might be illegal. Worth a check if that's what you're going to do.

Certainly, I had no fuse or electrical problems with my 85w. They were around £23 per pair. One did blow after a few months but the others are fine after more than a year.


I heard good reports about the various specs of PIAA bulbs. When I got the car back after the accident, I wanted to buy her a present so lashed out on a pair of Superwhite bulbs (£23 + p&p + VAT each - good grief). Were they worth it? Well I took some photos so you can decide for yourselves:

Driver side 55w OEM <> Passenger side 85w US

Passenger side 85w US <> Driver side 55w OEM

Driver side 85w US <> Passenger side 85w US

Passenger side 85w US <> Driver side 85w US
Driver 55w PIAA SW <> Passenger 85w US
Passenger 85w US <> Driver 55w PIAA SW

Driver 55w PIAA SW <> Passenger 55w PIAA SW

Passenger 55w PIAA SW <> Driver 55w PIAA SW

(Yes I have spotted that passenger side appears dimmer than driver side when photographed from the front but the other way round when looking at the results.. Reality? Optical illusion? Camera angle? Don't know......)

Bulb Types

These are all H3C. OEM 55w on the left. US-sourced 85w in the middle. PIAA 55w Superwhite on the right.

Japanese Imports have H3C

One thing to bear in mind is that Japanese Imports have a physically different dip-beam bulb (H3C). You can convert to take the standard bulb and there is probably a link to this on AndyP's site but I can't remember exactly where right now.

Replacement or upgrade bulbs which fit H3C (i.e. 2 prongs coming out of the bulb instead of 1 prong and a lead) are fairly rare.

Other Ideas - Bacofoil!

No it's not really bacofoil but is an upgrade that some people swear by - and some don't like it. Your choice.