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#3348151 - 04/20/14 12:11 PM 9012 vs H7
G-MAN Offline

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 8925
Loc: SC

My 2012 Chrysler 300 has the 9012 HIR bulbs as standard in the dual-mode projector headlights. Initially, I was satisfied with the lighting performance. I mean, any bulb in a good projector headlight should perform well, right? Maybe not. The first time I drove in some heavy rain with a little fog it was apparent just how inadequate these headlights are.

The H7 bulbs that were in the projector headlights of my Hyundai van were brighter than the 9012s in my Chrysler. The H7s that are in my non-projector (E-code with complex freeform reflectors) of the 2010 Audi I just got put quite a bit more light on the road on low beam than the 9012s in my Chrysler did.

Clearly, in the Chrysler 300, they are trying to get more out of the 9012 than it is capable of. If only one HIR bulb is going to be forced to pull double duty for both high and low beam in a projector light, they should use the more powerful 9011.
2013 Cadillac ATS 2.5 (Pennzoil Platinum 0w20)
2005 Corvette (Mobil 1 HM 5w30)

#3348172 - 04/20/14 12:51 PM Re: 9012 vs H7 [Re: G-MAN]
Volvohead Offline

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 3550
Loc: SE Pa
That surprises me, as the H7 is no world beater. We've upgraded our H7s to Osram 64217s, which plants a glare-capped H9 to an H7 base. Much better output, with no meaningful risks in an OE fixture.

Sometimes, the fixture is the limiting factor, no matter the bulb used.

Fwiw, there is a gen 3 version of that 9012 available:

If yours are original, maybe it's just time for fresh bulbs.

#3348846 - 04/21/14 07:27 AM Re: 9012 vs H7 [Re: G-MAN]
Hokiefyd Offline

Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 14108
Loc: Top of Virginia
I wrote about this about a year ago after after having a rental 300 for a month. Chrysler's projector setup here is simply not adequate, in my opinion. It's one of the few headlamp systems I've used which I did NOT like. I think the key to the original post is "good projector". I think these simply aren't.

I don't like the low beam-high beam operation on these (too little light on high beam), but even on low beam, there doesn't seem to be a good hotspot in the beam and the light seems pretty "washed out". Wet conditions at night are particularly troublesome.

The headlamps on both of our current cars seem to handily out-perform the 300's headlamps. I don't think it's the light source (9012) as much as it is the optics in the projector. I'm sure they meet all of the FMVSS 108 requirements, but they sure don't instill confidence when driving at night.

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