E-Code Headlight Assemblies - Complete Set
Please specify your vehicle here.
It's no secret that the '86-up rectangular Vanagon headlights stink. That's because the U.S. market got markedly worse outer headlamps than the European spec E-code ones sold in the rest of the world. For a while American Vanagon owners paid big money to get European spec headlights, plus the cost to ship them here from Germany, until they were discontinued and the supply dried up. For the last ten years no '86-up headlights have been available new at all, E-code or otherwise, leaving '86-up owners with few options to improve their night visibility. Until now. We now have brand new repros of the original Hella/VW E-code outer headlamp assemblies, imported directly from Germany, which simply bolt on in place of your existing outer headlamps. These meet strict European E-code standards for performance (widely considered to be far superior to U.S. spec). They also accept readily available H4 headlight bulbs - of which there are many choices on the market - so the sky is the limit in terms of upgrading your lighting either now or in the future. Plus, they include European style City Lights, small lights built into the outer edges of the main headlights. The included 4 watt clear bulbs can be wired as daytime running lights, or wired to turn on automatically with your parking lights. (Or you can leave them disconnected if you prefer not to use them.)
You can buy a basic kit, or upgrade it ...
Basic Kit: Includes the complete outer headlight assemblies, 55/60 watt H4 bulbs, splice-on bulb sockets to replace your stock ones (since they don't accept H4 bulbs), city light bulbs and sockets, and all the necessary plugs, boots, etc.
Upgraded Kit: This kit is well worth the $29 upcharge over the basic kit. It comes with high-performance H4 wiring harnesses instead of the standard splice-on sockets included with the Basic kit. This kit replaces your old corroded ground connections with separate grounds for each light. That can result in much brighter lighting than the stock setup, which has your inner and outer light both sharing one very old ground. Includes simple wiring instructions. All other included components are the same as in the Basic kit.
Ultimate Kit: For just $99 over the Basic kit, this kit includes the better harnesses found in the Upgraded Kit, and also adds relays and much brighter 90/100 watt German H4 outer bulbs. With this design your headlights are powered directly from your fuse box rather than being routed through your headlight switch, which dramatically improves available current (and is necessary for using bulbs this bright). Wiring instructions are included. You won't believe how good your Vanagon's headlights can be - while still keeping the stock look and not blinding oncoming traffic. Buy once and done. (NOTE: If you have a Canadian spec van with factory daytime running lights, you'll need lower wattage bulbs; let us know.)
Accepts the Stock Headlight Adjusters. Unlike the aftermarket kits sold elsewhere (which takes proprietary headlight adjusters that aren't sold separately if they break), our kit works with the stock adjusters you already have. If yours are cracked and brittle this is a good time to replace them while you have everything apart. Our $83.95 kit, linked below, includes a full set of adjusters for all four headlights. We also sell the individual adjusters separately.
Optional: Inner Headlamps. The European spec inner headlamps were always the same as the U.S. ones - only the outer headlamps differed - so replacing your inner lamps will not improve anything (as long as your existing ones are in good shape of course). However, if your existing inner lenses are foggy, crazed, yellowed, cracked, etc. then this would be a good opportunity to swap them out while you're at it. They are sold separately, linked below (and are priced each, so order one left and one right).
Yes, they're LED-Ready. These headlights accept all LED H4 bulbs, but we're including high-output Halogen bulbs instead. Why? Because retrofit LED's (for vehicles not factory-equipped with LED headlamps) aren't quite ready for prime time yet. There's a reason why the major bulb suppliers (such as Hella and Sylvania/Osram) are not offering them yet, but off-brand Chinese companies are. The beam pattern tends to be irregular (either blinding oncoming traffic, or not illuminating the road evenly), and reliability, QC, and lifespan are inconsistent. (Also they don't generate heat so they're poorly suited for cold weather; they won't melt snow that hits your headlights.) At this time we are not recommending switching to LED, but when that time comes all you have to do is plug in LED bulbs in place of the included halogen ones, it's that simple. By the time the included German H4 bulbs burn out it may be time to go LED, but if not, replacement halogen bulbs are only $8 a pair and are a huge improvement over what you're using now.
Buyer Beware! Recently a different set has surfaced on other websites. We know it well because we were offered it first and turned it down, only to see it show up elsewhere. The production samples had significant QC problems, and even when working they lack the necessary parts to work out-of-the-box in the US, such as wiring harnesses, proper boots, city lights, or even bulbs. While the other kit includes inner lamps (which we made optional since you already have them; see above), it uses all nonstandard parts. The lenses, headlamps, and adjusters don't interchange with original VW ones, and the supplier does not offer them separately. So down the road if you crack a lens or break an adjuster or tear a boot, you'll be out of luck. By comparison, all of the parts in our kit are direct OEM replacements so individual replacement parts are readily available.
Disclaimer: E-code spec headlights exceed all European and Canadian standards for street use, and are widely considered superior to U.S. spec headlights. Unfortunately the U.S. DOT never adopted the European standard (nor did they set their own), leaving a hole in the regulations. As a result, all H4's (even E-code ones) must be designated as "for offroad use only" if sold in the U.S. Compliance with local laws is the buyer's responsibility.
- 2.1 Liter : 1986-1991
- Syncro : 1986-1991