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AlphaRex Pro - Headlight review

Discussion in 'Exterior' started by RichardCranium, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. RichardCranium

    RichardCranium Full Access Member

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    As promised, I told several folks on here I would post up a review of my AlphaRex Pro projector headlights. I wanted to take some time to get some things adjusted, and also have some fair driving time in before I posted a review. I can compromise with some things, but others I am very particular about. Below is a list based solely on my hands-on experience with these headlights. Take it as you wish, but I try to be forthcoming with information, especially when it could help decide for/against spending some money.


    Positives:
    • These bring an updated look to the front of your GMT900
    • Improved performance over stock, especially with the use of LED's
    • Ease of installation, a literally bolt-in replacement. Plug and play.
    • Large size of the headlight assembly. The projectors are moved forward, compared to a reflective setup, which in turn allows for larger bulbs such as LED's with fans. There are also extended cup sizes available if the LED of your choice is taller than the stock cup size.
    • Excellent 'dry' lighting with the low beams. High beam still needs proper adjusting before I can give feedback on its output.
    Negatives:
    • Lack of customer support (more in the details below for explanation)
    • Terrible 'wet' lighting. When it is rainy at night and you are in a fairly light-saturated area (street lights and other traffic), light output is very poor. A halogen would still perform better for this duty, whether reflected or projected. There have been times I felt like I could have just cut my headlights off, since they were not doing me much good in parts of my drive.
    • Large size of the headlight assembly. Listing as a negative because some folks may not like this. The lens actually protrudes out several inches over OEM. This is to allow space for the projectors and accommodate for bigger bulbs (such as LED's with fans), without being held back by the core support.
    • Lack of refined adjustment for aiming. This setup is similar to OEM, although somewhat improved.
    • Constant adjustment is needed to get the correct angle for LED's, in order to get a good light pattern
    • No instructions on proper aiming for AlphaRex
    Would I buy them again?
    • I would answer this yes. Along with a note that it is quite possible I rip these apart and do a full Morimoto HID projector retrofit. With me, its inevitable. :)
    ________________________________

    TL;DR

    Read on from this point to hear the details of my AlphaRex experience, and previous setups/experiences.

    ________________________________


    AlphaRex:

    After several other improvement attempts as listed below, I decided to take the plunge and buy the Pro series during a holiday sale. I picked up my AlphaRex Pro's from TheRetroFitSource, which is who I bought my Morimoto gear from previously. Great group of folks to deal with, I surely recommend them for your lighting needs.

    The AlphaRex uses a H7 bulb in the high and low beams, so I preordered some LED's from Amazon. I went with a brand that had the better reviews, these are the units I am running currently in both high and low beam.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07J5CWZDL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    AlphaRex was able to communicate back to me to let me know this style LED was the best as tested, and with the amoleds pointing horizontally (left and right). On every one of this style LED's that I've held, there is a bit of a different in the body structure, but not a lot. When I first installed them, I put all 4 in and thought I had them lined up pretty straight. After securing both headlights back in, I went out to test the projection and to aim them. Here is what I found:

    Low beam

    low.jpg

    High beam

    high bad.jpg

    As you can see, the low beam has a great pattern while the high beam is absolutely terrible. Useless. I consulted with AlphaRex, and agreed this high pattern was not good. The inquired about what LED I had installed, and weren't familiar with what I was using. I asked multiple times what they recommended, but they would not give me a recommendation. After rephrasing the question, I asked them what they TESTED with, to which they told me Headlight Evolution S-V.4, which is a $170 pair of LED's. Gulp.

    Frustrated, but I purchased a pair of S-V.4's. They came in a few days later, and I removed my right headlight assembly. My idea was, if these LED's are so much better than my "cheap" $50 pair from Amazon, then I am going to test them out by installing them both in one headlight (high and low beam). If they packed a whole new punch, I'd buy a 2nd pair. I got the Amazon LED's out, and took one of the Headlight Evolution LED's out of its box. To my dismay, there was a fairly large driver on a pigtail with their LED, it cannot be bypassed. I gave it an effort anyways, but knew there was very little clearance between the back of the projector and the headlight housing. After paying nearly $400 for these headlights assemblies and $170 for the LED's, I wasn't about to modify anything.

    Showing the size of the driver and lack of needed clearance:



    I packed that S-V.4 back up, having not even plugged it up to try out, and sent them back to the vendor since they wouldn't work for me. At this point I was a bit more frustrated, as AlphaRex told me they had excellent results with that specific brand and model LED. I reached out to them by their recommended source, Facebook messenger. I still have yet to get a response back.

    Screenshot_20210303-143344_Messenger.jpg

    Thankfully Headlight Revolution is very receptive with communication. I explained to them what happened, they were very open for an exchange or a return. They even offered another version LED which had a smaller driver. I took some measurements and think it MIGHT fit but would be very close. Rather than take that chance again, I elected to get a refund. They authorized my return and I shipped it out last week. Great company to deal with!

    I threw my Amazon LED's back in. This time, I chose to invert the bulb. I installed both LED's with the wire pigtail on the top. It wasn't really dark out yet, but I tried them against the same wall for a comparison and saw a drastic improvement with the high beam. I actually swapped the drivers side around as well, but it still isn't showing a good pattern. I am going to rotate it slightly until I get a good beam, then I should be set.

    high better.jpg

    I hope to find the time this week to pull the headlights out and get the drivers high beam adjusted again. I will report back when I find the sweet spot for that one.

    Other setups:

    I attempted to retrofit Mirimoto HID projectors into stock housings. Everything went great, but the limiting factor I ran into was the factory adjustment, or lack there of. I bailed on this one. Click here to see the thread

    Also ended up using LED's in the OEM housings, which surprisingly yielded decent results. The better part to me, I never once was "flashed" by oncoming traffic. That was my biggest fear, and thankfully never blinded anyone. This was an ok setup, the LED in a reflector was very limited, so it had a short span of effectiveness. Depending on how you looked at it, it was either an improvement or worse than halogen. Click here to see the thread
     
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  2. RichardCranium

    RichardCranium Full Access Member

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    BI4G0228-2.jpg

    BI4G0187.jpg

    BI4G0214.jpg
     
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  3. Geoffsfas10

    Geoffsfas10 Full Access Member

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    So....couple of things.

    1. The truck looks freaking sweet in that last shot haha.
    2. The low beam looks decent enough, thats really a bummer that the wet surface performance just vanishes.
    3. I like that these look better then the first go around where they had all those little LED arrays across the headlights. This is much cleaner looking. I like the orange side reflector is full height, but why cant these aftermarket companies just leave the DRL and turn signal areas alone...they look just fine as stock and dont need special treatment. I also wish the DRL bar looked more like the previous generation Acadia headlights. Just my thoughts as I complain to myself haha.
    4. Its a bummer that for the price of them, you are getting basically 'Meh' performance out of them. It will be interesting to see if the Morimoto rumors are true of a 07-14 headlight coming out.

    On semi related topics....your HID retro thread was one i closely followed as a lurker when I was starting to research mine. I was a little bummed you threw in the towel. I went with MH1 projectors and it was super simple and they were basically a bolt in with minor trimming. This also retains the stock 9005 high beam which works very well. Someday I will get and LED for it just to match the color. Oh - did you see there is now a mini D2s projector out there?? Its basically the size of a MH1 but its a D2s so you have all the kickass bulb choices....i digress..

    Im really surprised at how good the LEDs in stock headlamps turned out. I tried them in mine for 1 night before i decided I didnt like the fitment and the money spent there would be better off on a retrofit.
     
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  4. Joseph Garcia

    Joseph Garcia Supporting Member

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    Thank you for posting the details of your project. Much appreciated. Our collective knowledge base has been increased.
     
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  5. RichardCranium

    RichardCranium Full Access Member

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    Yeah man, I hated to abandon the HID retrofit also. The light output was absolute insanity. I'm in a different age bracket now though, while I really want to be able to see well.......I don't want to blind anyone else doing it, or for my stuff to look half-assed. I might pick it back up with another retrofit, there is one fella on TAHOE NATION on Facebook who retrofitted these assemblies with Morimoto HID's. We will see, stay tuned. :)
    I am a forum guy to the core, if my post can help one person out......I'm happy.
     
  6. soulsea

    soulsea Staff Member Super Moderator Supporting Member

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    I stopped being the headlight police around here a long time ago, but please take these off your truck if you value your safety and that of your passengers and others’ around you.

    I am not doubting your review in its intent, but my sense is that you're being overly positive because they look good on the truck, and they do, but that is about as poor as output can get in terms of usable light.
     
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  7. Geoffsfas10

    Geoffsfas10 Full Access Member

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    I often wonder if starting with an already projecter housing would have made the retofit easier. I talked to the guys at lightwerkz about it and they said it was hit and miss. One set was minor modifications, another set was full cut and chop.

    If you feel likelooking at another HID build, here is my build thread

    https://www.tahoeyukonforum.com/thr...trofit-in-tahoe-build-thread-finished.116986/
     
  8. RichardCranium

    RichardCranium Full Access Member

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    I actually like the look of the OEM housings, IMO there isn't much better, especially when they are new/clean. I wouldn't say I am positive about these for their looks, its more of being satisfied with the how they look (change) in order to get a better driving light. With all the setups I've put on this truck, obviously nothing touches HID in a good projector, but these are way more efficient than OEM in every aspect. Be assured of that.

    Checking it out now.
     

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