How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!) - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums
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post #1 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

This post will be a how to on swapping the headlights in your gen9 Malibu. I have a 1LT with the 1.5L, so this may be different with a 2.0L. View the guide with this in mind.

Preface
The set of bulbs I purchased were 6000K, 8000 calculated lumen LEDs. They are fan cooled, with a "360 degree" viewing angle. I feel you are safe with either a 5000K or 6000K setup, in order to match your headlights to the LED DRLs on the lower front fascia. I'm not sure how much clearance there is behind the big dust cap, however this set fit with no problems. Maybe I should have tried the chewing gum trick to check the clearance blindly! I also managed to fit the ballast inside of the dust cap too.

Link to set I purchased - Amazon.com: 9005 HB3 Optix LED 80W 8000LM 3-Sided COB Conversion Kit 6000K 6K White Replace Halogen & HID Kit: Automotive

The Goods
Supplies

1x Napkin/rag used for gripping dust caps without marring plastic
1x Plastic sandwich bag for storing stock halogens
1x Channel locks (normal straight pliers won't work as you need something with an angled neck)
1x Leatherman multi tool *OR* a phillips head screwdriver and a flat head screwdriver (not pictured)
1x 9005 (HB3) LED conversion kit

Installation
1. Pop the hood. (Did I have to add this? No. But some smartie would say it!)
2. Beginning with the driver's side, unscrew the large plastic dust cap. They are not perfectly circular, and have little notches that have to be matched up similar to the actual headlight bulb itself. It may be difficult to turn this cap by hand, so utilize your channel locks (or whatever you may have) and your napkin-rag to get some extra torque on the fins of the cap. Facing the front of the car, you'll want to twist this cap to the left, or counter clockwise. Be careful not to drop the O ring.

3. Reach your dirty little mittens into the headlight assembly and firmly grasp the bulb base, NOT the connector. Give it a good twist and it should free with not too much difficulty.
4. Unplug the halogen from the connector taking good caution to not touch the glass of the bulb. If you reuse these bulbs, you want to be sure they're not contaminated with the oils from your skin. That will drastically shorten the life.
5. Plug in your new light, and test it BEFORE you set it into the headlight assembly. I made the mistake of not doing so, and it turned out that the polarity on the connector was reversed.
6. Set your light into the housing, carefully lining up the notches and giving it a solid twist. If you have a small enough ballast, stick it in there too (that's what I did, somebody tell me if I shouldn't have done so). Apologies for the lack of pictures during these steps, my phone is too large!
7. Give them a test fire inside of the projector housing. Here's how mine looked before and after:

8. *optional* If you feel your light generates too much heat, grab your dust cap and your philips head screwdriver. We're going to help them ventilate.

Take your philips head and stab through the small gray circular piece. It's made of a soft, expandable rubber-type material. Be careful not to stab your hand!
(apologies for my ugly thumb)
9. Reinstall the dust cap, pay close attention to two things: your O ring, and the orientation in which you install the cap. It isn't perfectly circular, so make sure you find the correct orientation and it isn't cross threaded or halfway screwed in. Should have a uniform lip between the cap and housing all the way around.
10. Stroll on over to the passenger side, and grab your flat head. Unscrew the clamp holding the flex-hose to the intake box. Remove this from the airbox.
11. Unscrew all of the screws holding the air box together. Once unscrewed, the halves should be almost separable. There are two tabs on the bottom of the box that need to be unhinged by sliding the box toward the rear of the car, then lifting upward. Don't pull too hard now, the air sensor cable is still hooked up.
12. Rest the top of your air box on the engine cover like so: as it will remain out of the way and not bother any of your wiring. If you're so inclined, remove the cable for the air sensor and move the whole piece to a safe clean area.
13. You might have to perform some freaky yoga moves here, but crane your head over the airbox and look toward the headlight. You'll see the same dust cap as on the other side. It's located behind a wire that can be easily pulled out of the way (LIGHTLY) making the light accessible with your channel locks. Undo the cover as you did in step 2.
14. We're in tighter quarters now, so be mindful as you begin to repeat steps 3-7. Watch your head!
15. Reinstall the airbox in the reverse order you removed it. Be sure to secure those two tabs on the bottom near the front of the car. I noticed something as I was reinstalling everything though...... If you remove the MAF sensor, it appears that the large plastic resonator holed donut inside of the airbox can be removed. Perhaps this will free up some turbo noises and even MORE throttle response?! Investigation being done soon.
16. Wait for night time and check them out! Here's how mine match:

Conclusion
Living in the city, I don't have a huge requirement for the blinding light of Zeus' lightning from my headlights. The LEDs, however, light up road signs and actual objects MUCH better than the stockers did. They don't appear to flood light out as much, though. I have to see about possibly re-aiming them slightly upward. It was a relatively easy swap, and it's a good way to quickly get acquainted with your new car's engine bay. The 1.5T is so cute, I just want to hold it! So adorable. The change in light temperature certainly gives the car a more upscale feel as well as fixes up the ugly mismatch between the LED DRLs and the stock halogen headlights. Let me know how your swap went and what lights you went with! If you have any questions, I'm open to . This was my first real write up, so don't criticize too much!
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Last edited by AdamA; 03-12-2016 at 02:54 PM. Reason: typo!
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post #2 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 02:30 PM
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

Good write-up, and thanks for sharing! That's exactly what this little corner of the 'web is all about.


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post #3 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 02:46 PM
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

Good write up
If anyone else does this though please post before and after shots of how much it lights up the road. That's what headlights are for, not to look pretty.

The new Malibu uses a single filament bulb like the Impala does (the Impala uses an HIR, not sure if the Malibu does but probably) and a little door that either comes down or raises to reveal more light for when it is switched to high beam or restrict light when in low beam mode. The Impala has a problem with not letting much light out to the sides which makes turning into our driveway for instance not so illuminated at night. I wonder if the Malibu is the same way. I never even considered changing out bulbs on other vehicles in the past because I have glasses and can see fine with stock headlights but in the Impala I would like to maybe change bulbs if it's possible to get better lighting to the sides out of them


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Last edited by nutcrunch; 03-12-2016 at 02:51 PM.
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post #4 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

There aren't enough places to really show how much light output there is by me, as there are high powered LED street lights every 150 feet or so... I tried! No dice. I could describe it as less actual light flooding and more light being dispersed onto actual things and objects. I can see things much further down blocks and all the street cleaning signs with more clarity, but I can't see just immediate brightness in the 10 feet beyond my hood as I did with the stockers. Same for the highway, it's a different type of dispersion. The stockers would pool light directly out in front of you as if it was a direct forward beam. The new ones are spread much more evenly, in my eyes. They don't seem dramatically more intense but they light more area.

As for your problem with lighting to the sides; my malibu easily lights 3-4 lanes of highway with no difficulty. It's a wide pattern, but I think it has more to do with the shape of the entire housing itself rather than the single filament. I believe our projector tubes work with refocusing the lens rather than the door, but don't quote me on that. I definitely don't have an issue with the width of the beam or the cutoff. Didn't with the stockers either, though the LEDs do project more EVEN light to the sides than the stockers.

Last edited by AdamA; 03-12-2016 at 03:01 PM.
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post #5 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 05:09 PM
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

MALIBU-YA!!!!!

Awesome write up. They color of the light looks so much better paired with the LED running lights. Plus they appear to really brighten the road and signs and still have the same cut-offs as the factory halogens with the projector style housing and lens. I though the Premier came with these type of headlights, but from the cool youtube review that was posted today, it appears the premier have the same headlights. It did not show the rear LED tails lights though. I am interested in those as well and if we will be able to somehow upgrade out to them.

I will be doing mine this week as soon as the bulbs arrive, and it will be so much easier now with your detailed write up.
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post #6 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 05:12 PM
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

When I say light to the side I'm talking about being at a stop sign in a dark area and you are going to turn left for instance. You look to the left of you and it isn't hardly lighting up anything. In my truck I can see the same thing fine and it has stock bulbs with less lumens than the Impala does.
The housing is what I and many others think is the problem, just was curious if the new Malibu is like that as well.
I would be surprised if they are not using the same type of door/reflector to switch from high to low lighting on the Malibu as they do on the Impala.

I may spring $584 or so for the LTZ LED DRL light kit to put in the bumper, that should I would think give some more light to the side but who knows?
http://www.gen5diy.com/Chevrolet/imp...mp-Kit-Impala/


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post #7 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

Keep us posted kman!

I understand what you meant, nutcrunch. The sideward lighting is A+ on mine. My 13 was okay but not comparable to the new one.
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post #8 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 05:33 PM
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

How is the light for an oncoming driver? I suppose this would be tough to tell. Do you think these would cause others to be blinded? I want to do mine maybe but that is a worry as it's a company car...don't want to be causing any accidents
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post #9 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 05:38 PM
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

Just looked at the 2016 Malibu manual and I see they use a 9005 SL+ bulb putting out 1860 lumens on high
http://www.vosla-german-lighting.com...f/de/27009.pdf

The Impala uses a 9012 HIR2 bulb which puts out 1875 lumens on high
http://www.vosla-german-lighting.com...f/de/28432.pdf


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post #10 of 129 (permalink) Old 03-12-2016, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: Gen9 LED Headlight Swap (HIDs work too!)

I haven't been flashed or anything as of yet, and my friends have seen me driving and haven't complained. I went and stood a half a block away and stared at the car and didn't have any issue. I almost want to say I should have put 5000k but I'm afraid they would be too white. If they sold 5500 it would be a spot on match with best output!

Nutcrunch, the SL+ part is what threw me for a loop when shopping for bulbs. They're just plain old HB3s. Saves a LOT of headache when shopping. I will say that lumen output means nothing when the dispersion and pattern is crappy. That's a major factor.

Last edited by AdamA; 03-12-2016 at 06:51 PM. Reason: forgot a piece
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