HomeSite IndexSearch Logo


Brighter Lights

Written by Ken Pratte

Before asking any questions, make sure to check out Stern Lighting

Brighter Fog Lights

On the 200SX SE-R, the standard fog lamps are 35 watts using Nissan's H3 Special bulb. To get more light out of them, go to your auto parts store and pick up a normal H3 55 watt bulb (about $5). Don't be tempted to pick up a 100 watt bulb, you'll do damage to the fog light assembly from over heating. (Never mind you could melt the wires or blow a fuse.)

To install:

  • Remove the black cover on the fog lamps with a #2 Philips.
  • Remove the two nuts with either a 10mm socket or a #3 Philips.
  • Pull the assembly towards the center of the car, then out.
  • Carefully pop the wire coupler to remove the fog lamp from the rest of the car.
  • Once inside you have to take a dremel tool or a file and carefully enlarge the keys on the new 55W bulb.

This 'magical' key that I'm referring to is the actual H3 bulb's key. A key is usually something that opens something else, like a lock, but it can also be something to make sure an item only goes in one way, i.e., the item is keyed. The H3 bulbs are keyed, one side has a semi-circle cut out of it and the other a rectangle. The surface is a circle..

/   \
] O (
\   /

So, take out the 3-D hologram funky sunglasses and picture the above 'graphic' as a circle. On one side is a semi-circle cut from part of the whole circle (key). The other side part of a rectangle is cut from the whole circle. The 'O' is the bulb in the middle. You have to use a dremel tool (or a metal file) to enlarge each of the keys (semi-circle and rectangle) so that the bulb will fit flush in the fog lamp assembly.

  • Put back together.

Before putting the black cover over the nuts, you can use the screw to aim the height of the fog lamp, if necessary.

Brighter Head Lights

Most cars in the U.S. now come with 45 watt (low) / 65 watt (high) 9004 bulbs.

  • '93 - '94 Sentra SE-R use 9003 or H4 (composite headlamp)
  • '95 - '97 200SX SE-R use 9004
  • '98 200SX SE-R use 9007 or HB5 (55/65)
  • '98 Sentra SE use 9004
  • NX2000 use 9004

To get more light out of the stock system you have two choices:

A) Get some 55/100W 9004 or 80/100W 9004 bulbs. NOTE: These are not DOT approved and are supposed to be only used off-road.

Several people have complained about the 80/100W bulbs melting the 9004 connectors. Nobody has complained about the 55/100W bulbs melting anything. Note however, everybody has mentioned that these bulbs don't appear to last as long as normal bulbs.

Where to get them?
JC Whitney sells them for $10 a piece. There are other vendors out there, check the back of Car and Driver and Road and Track for more info. 
Competition Limited also sells some.

Courtesy Nissan is now selling some 55/100W and 80/100W 'Blue' bulbs. There's a catch with them through, as Rob Microys writes:

"I've got them on my Type-R too, and yes they do look cool, and no they don't let you see a whole lot at night. Just a warning to anybody who thinks that if they put these new 'neon blue' lights (80W) in their car that they are going to be getting better visibility at night, YOU WONT. Great for city driving, lousy for country roads. Blue light removes all the ability for you to pick up contrast and it is quite hard to see. I think that even my stock lights are better... "

Wagner 9004BLB) Get some Wagner 9004BL bulbs from your local auto parts store. They usually run about $8. The 9004BL are Xenon bulbs and are supposedly 55W low beams and perfectly street legal.  Both my wife and myself really like them, much better pattern and better light.

Jared Isaacs writes:

"The Wagner 9004BL 'Britelite' is sold under the Cooper Automotive label and can be found at NAPA with a NAPA name on the front of the package and a smaller Cooper Automotive label on back. The Cooper/Wagner web page states that the low beam for 'Britelite' series is 55 Watts. Note that going from 45 Watts to 55 Watts (22% more power) isn't visually that noticeable, but I like as much light as I can get on a rainy Seattle night in the boonies and it only cost me $1 more for the 55 Watt light ($8 vs $7 ea.)."