There are currently FOUR different types of lights available.
1) E-Code (aka european) “jewel” lights
2) DOT (aka US Department of Transportation approved) “jewel” lights
3) E-Code “fluted” lights
4) DOT “fluted” lights.
There’s a great write-up comparing the four on swedespeed.com
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread … Projectors
The consensus is that, for the budget-minded, the E-Code “fluted” lenses sold by FCP Groton are better than the DOT “fluted.” This is just a lens replacement. You keep the existing reflector and headlight assembly. DOT lenses are required to diffuse up to (IIRC) 20% of the light up-ward to light signs. This reduces the “usable” light on the road and causes some glare. E-Code lenses do not do this. They put 100% of the light on the road and have a very sharp vertical cut-off to prevent glare. IIRC, this is because in Europe all signs are required to be lighted, so headlights don’t need to diffuse upward to light signs
This swedespeed.com posting lists all the applicable part numbers
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread … Parts-list
If money no factor, the “jewel” upgrade is supposedly the best. You get a whole new headlight assembly (new lens, new housing, and new reflector). The E-Code “jewels” are the better than the DOT “jewels” not only because of the beam pattern (see my summary above), but the E-Codes use H7 bulbs for High and Low Beams, while the DOT uses H11 Low Beams and H7 High Beams. The H11 bulb has a lower lumen output than the H7 (1200 lumens for the H11 vs. 1450 for the H7) See this website for information about bulbs and lumens (light output). http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech … types.html
You mentioned that if I had the stock lens, I would need to just replace the lens with an E-code version. However, I notice the reflectors have little-to-no chrome. They have almost a “matte” finish. So I’m thinking that’s part of the problem that makes me nervous to drive at night….the lighting is VERY dim.