HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
Bicycle Rider
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: MD
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HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking

I'll preface this by saying I've searched the forum before posting this and have found no definitive explanation posted anywhere, so I thought I'd share a few things I've found out about the HID bulbs fluttering over harsh bumps. All the following information comes from 6 months of studying the issue with the assistance of a Master Mazda Technician who is a friend of mine, and the help of some horrible Maryland rural highways.

It comes down to several reasons, the first and most obvious is that our projectors are NOT designed for HID headlights. I have a friend with an '08 Miata with HID & a friend with a 1st gen Mazda3 with HID. The projector housing and bulb are completely different. HID bulb shake does still happen with some factory HID's as I found out from an Audi coming towards me one night. Kind of surprised that a $100k Audi would actually shake, but it happened. And because our projectors are not made for them, the metal piece that the bulb is held by is actually suspended with rubber. It doesn't move a lot, but it is enough to have the bulb physically move.

It is also true that not all bulb bases are made the same. My assumption is the cheaper the HID kit, the looser the fit. I paid $60 for my cheap HID's (look identical to DDM's) and the bulb fits tight. There is no movement between the bulb and the projector, except that tiny bit allowed by the rubber surrounding the mount.

The other question people have had is why don't you see it with stock bulbs, and also why does it seem to always be the passenger side? Stock bulbs you will not see the vibration because the light is softer and more scattered. HID bulbs, the light is stronger and more focused, so the edge of the beam is more obvious and therefore more noticeable. That small amount of rubber in the projector allows just enough movement to be noticeable. As far as seeing more on the passenger side, Mazda directs the left headlight more straightforward than to the side as to not blind opposing traffic. Many people have noticed this and questioned how they can fix it, but simple answer, you can't. Because the light is more directed to the front and right, it overlaps the beam from the right headlight and enhances the shaking towards the right side of the car. There is also that whole thing about driving on the right side of the road, so the trees and objects off the road are closer and reflect the light closer to your view. From what we found, the shaking is not noticeable to opposing traffic, or the people driving in front of you, unless you are tailing some big ass suv, and the light cutoff is at his back window.

I hope this helps those of you out there that can't seem to get a definitive answer on bulb shake. And after 6 months of driving with HID's, you kind of get used to it.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 05:46 PM
Moped Rider
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Oxnard, CA
Posts: 13
Re: HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking

So, replacement housings would be needed to stop this shake?

Or some kind of brace/mount built around the rubber?

I havn't replaced my lights w/hid yet, but i don't like my lights bouncing around :P
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 11:17 AM
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Location: Bay Area, CA
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Re: HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking

i have went through quite a few HID kits. and the only flickering problems i've ever had was due to lack of wiring harness....

do you have a wiring harness attaching your HIDs staight to your battery? if not, thats prob gonna fix your problem.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 11:47 AM
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Re: HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking

The problem isn't flickering, the bulb is just a little loose and shaking. Mine has been shaking for years and I don't even notice it anymore.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 12:18 PM
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Re: HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking

are you sure the rubber thing is put on the right way? u have to take it off and flip it around, it should be really tight and slightly difficult to put into the hole because the rubber is very tight.

all the HID kits i have gotten have had the rubber put on the wrong way for packaging purposes.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking

If you look at where your bulb goes into the housing, the silver metal mount that holds the actual bulb is surrounded by (and suspended by) a large round rubber piece. If you were to remove your bulb, grab that metal ring, you would see it moves quite easily. There is no way around this, but the shaking is not noticeable at all unless you hit a major pothole or expansion joint. I just happen to live where there are many of these, including horrible railroad crossings, so I notice the shaking a lot. But for the most part, it is a minor issue, that as burgmo3 stated, you eventually don't even notice. It has nothing to do with the power to the bulbs or the harness issue, as I have tested my current and found it to be consistent. I am running 35W ballasts and have not made any other changes to the cars electrical system (such as stereo upgrades), so everything has run smoothly from day one. I highly recommend the conversion as it is easy to do, and the benefits far outweigh the single negative.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 09:03 AM
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Re: HID Headlights Fluttering, Flickering, Vibrating, Shaking

i never had a problem with the bulb being loose. i find it quite hard to move the actual bulb once it is inserted into its place. the rubber thing is very tight and theres no way its gonna move...

been through at least 3 different bulbs....

maybe im just lucky? i live where there are horrible horrible streets.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-11-2013, 07:14 AM
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Location: Boston, MA
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Thank you for the excellent post crf50racer! I recently installed a HID kit from TRS and noticed the same exact flicker over bumps. I checked my mounts and they are indeed rubber. As you said, the benefits do far outweigh the minor flicker you see over bumps. I'm thrilled with the results and driving in rural New Hampshire is far less dangerous than it was with the stock halogens.

Best regards,
Trem
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