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Discussion Starter #741
Not sure you know this, but:

1. The dash diagram (your first pic) is a 2005-2008 center console.
2. Your second pic is 2009-present dash
3. Your third pic is a earlier (2009-not sure when) center panel (1-piece)

Also IIRC:

- The center dashtop bin is not compatible between the 05-08 and the 09+
- The center dash panel "texture" is different between the 05-08 and the 09+
- The center dash colors are different shades between 05-08 and 09+

Going back to the second pic, that's how my dash is too, and the Metra kit filled those gaps on the sides out of the package, no mods required.
 

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Yeah that's about the best pic I could get off of the internet to show you the entire bezel cluster together as one I know it's not the exact same here but you kind of get the idea and the one that I took sitting on my workbench obviously isn't fully correct year I don't know why I bought that one but it is not a big deal thanks

Sent from my Galaxy S9+ using Tapatalk Pro
 

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What is the exact size of 10.9 bolts you ordered for your wheels? I'm thinking about ordering the wheels you have and like the black look. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #744
What is the exact size of 10.9 bolts you ordered for your wheels? I'm thinking about ordering the wheels you have and like the black look. Thank you.
I don't remember, that was 3 years ago. I think someone posted the bolt size in the Level 8 Bully Pro thread IIRC
 

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Discussion Starter #746

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I'm trying to figure out what panel you installed the Kenwood hands
free mic into. I'm installing a similar Kenwood deck into my 2017 DR.
Maybe my truck doesn't have the Bluetooth mic location so I can use it.
Otherwise, I have to figure out where I can mount it.

mdlweb
 

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Discussion Starter #748
I'm trying to figure out what panel you installed the Kenwood hands
free mic into. I'm installing a similar Kenwood deck into my 2017 DR.
Maybe my truck doesn't have the Bluetooth mic location so I can use it.
Otherwise, I have to figure out where I can mount it.

mdlweb
It's the panel on the overhead console behind the sunglass holder
 

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Discussion Starter #750 (Edited)
Katana LED Headlamp Bulb Upgrade (10.18.18)



This upgrade all started with Skibane's thread back in October 2018 claiming that there was finally an LED light bulb that worked with our halogen housings. After spending about a month testing these same LED bulbs, here’s my take on them:

First of all, a quick refresher as to why this is one of the more active topics – second generation Nissan Frontiers (2005-2019) halogen housings are really, really bad! With a stock halogen bulb they barely put enough light on the road, and over the years any attempt at using HID or previous generation LED bulbs resulted in glaring, horrible light scatter and less useful "on the road" light. The only "real" upgrade was to go with a full projector retrofit, which costs anywhere from $200 to DIY up to $650+ for ready-made units.

Aside from a full retrofit, for me the only viable alternative solution available was to swap my headlamp bulbs to some Phillips CrystalVision halogen bulbs (not much brighter than OEM but at least the headlamp color wasn't a dim amber anymore) and swap out my OEM fog lamps to a set of super bright Rigid Industries LED lamps back in March of 2017. Basically my fix was to aim the Rigid's so that I could actually use their light as my main "headlamp", and it worked – but it wasn’t exactly ideal.

Fast forward to October 2018, and after a few days of discussion in the thread above, I went ahead and ordered a set of the same Katana 9007 LED Headlight Bulbs that @Skibane purchased. Original price was $47.99, but thanks to some Amazon credit I only forked out $20. Upon arrival I immediately started analyzing them because I had a genuine interest in finally being able to upgrade my headlamps. Sure - I could have done a full headlamp retrofit years ago, but to be honest, I haven't seen a retrofit that I actually liked. Okay - let's get to it.


Installation Notes
Upon delivery, the Katana LED kit comes in a foam padded box, with a pair of the LED bulbs, a pair of LED drivers, a totally useless 1.5mm hex wrench, and some generic "instruction manual" that doesn't even apply to our headlamp type. Out of the box the LED drivers have the 9007 Socket pre-installed (nice), but the drivers and LED bulbs themselves still need to be connected together by simply attaching the two ends and turning the threaded lock ring until the bulb and the driver are secure.


This is it. No relays, no wiring harnesses, no giant ballasts, no modding.

IMPORTANT NOTE #1: With the first set of bulbs I received one of the bulbs was not in the correct orientation. The alloy bulb housing uses a separate molded mounting ring that can be rotated around the housing to position the LEDs, with a small 1.5mm hex screw holding the ring in place. Because these are high/low LED bulbs, the orientation of the LEDs must be in the correct position - take a look at the photo below:


The correct orientation when installing the LED bulbs.

First, the metal bulb housing must be vertical, with the LEDs positioned on the sides of the housing.
Second, make sure that the LEDs are positioned with the upper LED farther forward than the lower LED:


Photo rotated to how the LED would sit in the housing, so you can get a better visual.

When the bulbs are correctly positioned/oriented, you should have the wiring harness coming out from the bottom of the LED housing; if you have the LED bulbs positioned with the wiring harness at the top, it will not work correctly because when you flick the lights to high beam, the light beam will actually move downward! Aside from making sure the LEDs are positioned correctly, you don't need to do anything else.

The installation is basically the same as changing regular halogen bulbs. Everything is plug and play, with no added wiring/relays needed. One thing you do have to do when installing the LEDs is to pull the black mounting rings off, slide the headlamp lockrings (white plastic rings at the back of the OEM headlamps) over the bulbs, then reinstall the mounting rings. You only have to do this because the LED fan assembly is too large to fit through the white lockrings. Oh, and if you're good you can get the passenger side bulb replaced without moving the battery, but if not well... then move the battery.


I installed the LED drivers on the radiator support using 3M heavy duty double-sided tape, just above the bulb location.


Headlamp Aiming and Adjustment
The OEM headlamp housing uses a single adjustment screw for up/down angle (there's no left/right adjustment). You can turn the adjustment screw by using either a Phillips screwdriver or an 8mm socket. For this job I used an 8mm 1/4" drive socket combined with a 1/4" drive thumb wheel ratchet; this setup won't slip like a regular screwdriver, it's very compact, and I could easily gauge how far I'm adjusting by listening to the ratchet clicks while keeping my eyes on the light movement. Why did I explain this? Because...

IMPORTANT NOTE #2: It is imperative that you check and adjust your headlamp aim when installing these LED bulbs! The LEDs put out more light with a different light source compared to regular halogen filament bulbs. Simply putting the LED bulbs in will add brightness, but you won't gain full advantage of the LED's extra output if your headlamps aren't aimed properly. DON'T BE LAZY - AIM YOUR HEADLAMPS CORRECTLY. Seen too many people put these in and not do the aiming, then complain that the light isn't good. Case in point: when I first installed the LEDs, the light beams were slightly lower than the OEM halogen (you'll see this in the photos below). I figure since you're adding an upgrade, it only makes sense to "calibrate" it correctly, right?





To properly aim the headlamps, I used the inside door of a friend’s warehouse. The warehouse had a perfectly level floor, with enough room to park my truck inside at the correct distance. Also, the warehouse was completely pitch black with the ceiling lights off. Using the inside of the warehouse ensured that I could go full “lights out” so that the only source of light was from the headlamps.

VEHICLE SETUP
  1. Truck had approximately ½-tank of fuel.
  2. All four tire pressures were checked and adjusted equally to 36-psi.
  3. We put about 190-lbs. of ballast on the driver’s seat.
  4. I had a camera mounted on a tripod securely in the upper storage bin on top of the center dash.
  5. Headlamp lenses were wiped clean.
  6. Rigid Industries and PIAA lamp fuses were removed.
  7. A custom DC charger with an adjustable regulator kept battery voltage at a constant 13.5-VDC.
Aiming Procedure
*Note that depending on who you talk to, you’ll get all kinds of ways to aim headlamps. This is my method.
  1. Park truck perpendicular to the warehouse door, about 2 feet away.
  2. Measure the height from the floor to the center point of my headlamp housings.
  3. Place two strips of masking tape vertically, each aligned to the center of the headlamps.
  4. Mark center point height on the tape.
  5. Place two horizontal strips of tape, also at center point height.
  6. Measure 2-inches below center point height.
  7. Place two additional horizontal strips of tape at center point height -2 inches.
  8. Target for hot spot of headlamps is at this -2 inch height.
  9. Reverse the truck until the center point of the headlamps were exactly 25 feet away from the tape markers.

Masking tape can be used for more than... masking things.

With the truck in position, I started with the OEM Sylvania halogen bulbs, using their hot spot to aim my headlamps. Turns out my headlamps were fairly close to alignment, the left beam was slightly lower than the right beam. I adjusted both headlamps to an equal height and aimed exactly at the tape markers on the warehouse door for correct alignment. From here, actual testing began.


Bulb Comparisons and Observations
Animated photos first, with description and notes below the photos.

NOTE: Due to the new forum, the animation in the photos below might not be happening. You'll have to click on the image to see the animation pop up.


Bulb Name: OEM Sylvania 9007 (HB5)
Type: Basic Halogen
Price: About $18/pair
Notes: This is your basic OEM halogen light bulb. The output color is a warm white (somewhere around 3000K) and brightness is barely serviceable in our trucks. The low beam pattern is a standard rectangular shape with some peaks at the hot spots, and the high beam upper cutoff is relatively flat.


Bulb Name: Philips Crystal Vision 9007
Type: Premium Halogen
Price:About $22/pair
Notes: This is what I've been running in my headlamps for the last 4 years (still on the first pair too!). For a few dollars more than OEM, the Crystal Vision's output color is around 3700K and brightness is a slight improvement over OEM, with a similar low and high beam pattern.


Bulb Name: Katana 9007
Type: LED
Price:$47.99 on Amazon.com
Notes: There is no question that the Katana LEDs are much, much brighter than halogen. The color temp difference compared to halogen is noticeable at 6500k, but at the same time since the light output is brighter, you can see more light scatter outside of the beam hot spots.


All Three Bulbs: Low-Beam Comparison: When comparing all three low-bream bulbs back to back, you can see that when compared to the OEM halogen, the Philips Crystal Vision is definitely brighter, with a very similar but slightly taller beam shape. However when you see what the Katana LEDs do, it's very noticeable. The light output of the Katana's are much brighter and with a taller pattern, with a lot of added useable light below the hot spots. There is some visible scatter above the beam cutoff, but if you look at the reflected scatter on the higher metal door beams, it's about the same as the Philips (this is a good thing).


All Three Bulbs: Low-Beam Comparison: When compared to the OEM high beam, the Crystal Visions are projecting thinner but slightly brighter and whiter. When it comes to the Katana LED bulbs, the results are similar to the low-beam comparison - the LEDs are much brighter, with a taller beam pattern and also a wider beam pattern. Above the beam cutoff there is noticeable light scatter, but we're talking high-beam, when you're using high beam properly you do want more light to see the road ahead.


Driving Observations
With the beam comparisons done I went ahead and adjusted my headlamps aim again, until the Katana LEDs were aimed properly. From here I drove my truck for about 3 more weeks, making observations and (trying to) take photos to show “real world” results. I purposely removed my Rigid fog lamp fuse so that the only bulbs lighting up the road were the Katana LED low-beams. Here are some of the better (read: in focus LOL) road photos:


Neighborhood road near my house.


Two-lane highway through a semi-mountain area.


Behind the warehouse, Katana LEDs only.


Quality/Reliability
As far as build quality goes, the materials are pretty good. The alloy bulb housing is finished well, and the connectors are molded out of good plastic. The cables are thick and have a nice braided sleeve around them. The fitment in the headlamp housing is nice and snug, no tighter than regular halogen bulbs. Now about reliability... unfortunately when I got my first set of LED bulbs, 4 days after installing them one of the LED drivers mysteriously decided to fail.

The Katana bulbs come with a 1 year warranty, so I contacted Katana immediately and they honored the warranty with no questions asked. However, before I could get a replacement I had to literally remove both LED bulbs and drivers from my truck and cut all four wires (2 on the bulbs, 2 on the drivers) then send them a photo of it! In other words, all I needed was a replacement LED driver, but they couldn't send me just a replacement driver... instead they had me destroy the entire LED kit (with photographic proof required) only to send me A WHOLE NEW REPLACEMENT KIT. Doesn't make sense, but whatever. Also unlike the first LED set that I had in 2 days (Amazon Prime) the replacement second lED set was mailed through regular, super slow standard mail... so I was back using halogens for another 12 days before the replacement LED set arrived. The second set is what I've been running for the last 3 weeks, so far no issues.


Conclusion
Did you make it this far? If you did, here's my conclusion. Anyone who's been around the forum for awhile now knows that I was one of those guys who would tell everyone on the forum that HID/LED bulbs suck in our OEM headlamp housings. Was I wrong? No, because at that time there wasn't an HID/LED kit available that does what these Katana LEDs do inside halogen housings. Now it seems that LED technology/design has advanced to a point where they can be used inside standard, non-projector headlamps, and the Katana LEDs are a good example.

So as far as I'm concerned, the Katana LED bulbs are a viable upgrade. They aren't perfect (if you want a dead flat horizontal cut-off, there is still nothing like a full projector retrofit) but after proper headlamp aiming I found that the Katana LED bulbs are very useable for daily driving. The light is bright, the beam pattern is pretty good, and aside from the slight scatter, these LEDs are a huge improvement over previous generation LEDs and definitely useable in our headlamp housings, unlike HID kits. Also, the price tag is very reasonable for the improvement gained, and a bargain compared to doing a full projector retrofit. Throughout the last 3 weeks I have not come across any oncoming traffic flashing their high beams at me, so that's good sign.


Behind the warehouse, with Katana + Rigid on.

Bonus: if you run what I run and combine these LEDs with Rigid Industries LED fog lamps (or Morimoto Type XB Type-S fog lamps) you'll have a pretty good light combo that has excellent close and long-range coverage.

Thanks to @Skibane for being the first to try these bulbs =)


All in a day's (er, evening's) work.
 

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Great write-up, may give these a whirl.
 

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How were the adjusting screws on the two sets of bulbs you had? Mine stripped out even using a good allen wrench.

Also, on the Warranty, I have a feeling shipping back to them is not worth what the cost of the kit is to them (or the customer for that matter), so, having you cut the wires guarantees the parts are indeed taken out of circulation.
 

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How were the adjusting screws on the two sets of bulbs you had? Mine stripped out even using a good allen wrench.

Also, on the Warranty, I have a feeling shipping back to them is not worth what the cost of the kit is to them (or the customer for that matter), so, having you cut the wires guarantees the parts are indeed taken out of circulation.
I had to use a jeweler's torx screwdriver due to screws being slightly bigger than the 1.5 Allen wrench. I rounded the 1st screw slightly then went on the hunt for a wrench that would work. Ymmv.
Thx raine for the thorough review and write up and skibane for the discovery!
 

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the reliability scares me a bit for sure. i will keep a spare oem set onhand in the truck at least while running them.
everything else looks awesome compared to the 200$ set i first purchased with no gosh darnit brights what the frick.
 

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Discussion Starter #755
How were the adjusting screws on the two sets of bulbs you had? Mine stripped out even using a good allen wrench.

Also, on the Warranty, I have a feeling shipping back to them is not worth what the cost of the kit is to them (or the customer for that matter), so, having you cut the wires guarantees the parts are indeed taken out of circulation.
the reliability scares me a bit for sure. i will keep a spare oem set onhand in the truck at least while running them.
everything else looks awesome compared to the 200$ set i first purchased with no gosh darnit brights what the frick.
The screws are made of a soft metal, but they're not designed to be taken in and out all the time... I used a good 1.5mm allen wrench and I still had to push the tip a little to get it to lock into the screw. Once the mounting ring is in the correct orientation you shouldn't have to touch these screws ever again.

As for the warranty - yeah, that's exactly what it is. THis happens a lot with Amazon sellers based overseas... the sellers don't want to cover return shipping and they have no use for the "defective" items anyways, so they make you destroy what you have and just replace it with an entire new set. I just mentioned it because they basically had me kill 2 working LED bulbs and 1 working LED driver, kind of a waste but whatever.

the reliability scares me a bit for sure. i will keep a spare oem set onhand in the truck at least while running them.
everything else looks awesome compared to the 200$ set i first purchased with no gosh darnit brights what the frick.
You can always apply the backwards logic of "but I can buy 8 of these LED bulbs for the price of a projector retrofit kit!" haha
 

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Discussion Starter #757

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Thanks for the detailed write-up, raine. You da man!

Is there any consensus on which aftermarket bulbs have the longer/longest expected life between LED vs HID?
While I really like the idea/concept of the projector retrofit's beam pattern/cutoff, it seems like a nightmare to have to replace a bulb...as I have gotten the impression they must be re-baked open to do so??? Hope I'm wrong on this.

Otherwise, it is good to know that we now FINALLY have a viable LED alternative.
 
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