REVIEW: BRAND-NEW Carbide Series for 4Runner 2014+ by GTR Lighting
It has been a minute since the Carbide series was announced back in October with the housings meant for the C6 Corvette, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger. These are great headlights and with their new housing meant for the 2014+ Toyota 4Runner, you can bring a vastly superior level of performance and styling to your SUV.
In short, these headlights present a great middle-ground between your OEM headlights, and the pricey (but deservedly so) Morimoto XB LED housings. You are receiving OEM+ performance and the same build quality, modern design, and plug-and-play capabilities that Morimoto is so well known for.
Borrowing design cues from the current range of Lexus headlights, the GTR Lighting Carbide Series LED Headlight really levels up the look of the current 4Runner. The prominent design of the three LED projectors inside the headlight are functional. The two projectors on the outside are the dedicated low beam projectors, and the one projector on the inside is the dedicated high beam projector. When the high beams are activated, all three projectors will be illuminated.
The futuristic daytime running light (DRL) really stands out on this model for us. As mentioned before, these take inspiration from the current range of Lexus OEM headlights that have sharp, aggressive lines to their DRLs.
When you flick your headlights on, these DRLS dim down to 50 percent of their brightness. Either way, these really stand out and they do a great job of improving the front design of the 4Runner. The DRL also features a sequential turn signal that is practically standard for aftermarket headlights.
On the sides of the lights, you will have the option to choose between an amber side marker or a clear side marker. Something to know is that the amber side marker is DOT-compliant whereas the clear version is not DOT-compliant.
Lastly, these Carbide Series LED headlights are built to an incredible standard. Much like the Morimoto XB LEDs, these lights use a UV-resistant coated polycarbonate lens to protect them from any wear from the Sun. The rear of the housing is also built with quality materials to protect it from the elements.
To get an accurate and consistent result for all the lights we test, we will park the SUV 25 feet away from the wall and turn the lights on. Then we will get a digital Lux meter to measure the intensity of the lights. The Lux rating is not the important factor in this test, but it is the percentage increase from one headlight to another.
To begin with, we tested the stock halogen headlights on a low beam at 220 max. Lux. This is a little low for OEM headlights, but pretty average. The Carbide Series headlights came in at 800 max. Lux, a 263 percent increase over the stock headlights. You are also getting an improved beam pattern with sharper cut-off lines and a more even spread of intensity.
For added measure, we also have the Morimoto XB LED headlights for the 4Runner here. On low beam, the XB LEDs are 540 percent brighter than stock (1410 max. Lux).
Moving on to the high beams, the stock headlight was tested at 730 max. Lux where the Carbide Series headlights came in at 1250 max. Lux; a 71 percent increase. Once again, you also get a stronger beam pattern with coverage that is both deep and wide.
For the high beams, the Morimoto XB LED headlights came in at 1940 max. Lux, which makes it 165 percent brighter than stock.
Overall, the Carbide Series headlights are incredible housings when it comes to a number of aspects. Both outperform the OEM housings but if you are wanting to absolutely level the OEM parts and are willing to spend the extra cash, the Morimoto XB LED is your headlight. If you are looking for something a bit more affordable while also gaining a quality product, the Carbide Series Headlights by GTR Lighting are a great option.
We ended up using a 4Runner with a modified factory bumper for our installation. The process is pretty similar but if you are unsure on how to remove the bumper fully, check out our video here of the XB LED Headlight install.
Tools needed for the job:
Needle Nose Pliers
First, begin by removing the three 10mm bolts in the wheel wells. On ours, there is only one bolt due to the bumper being cut.
After the bolts have been removed, there are three plastic clips to push back. Doing so will separate this part of the bumper from the fender lining. Additionally, if you are going to fully remove your bumper, we recommend unplugging your fog lights from your vehicle.
Next, undo the three bolts located at the base of the bumper in front of both tires. There should be two silver 10mm bolts and one black one. On the passenger side, there will only be a silver and black bolt.
There are two more 10mm bolts located at the center of the bumper, beneath the car.
You can then pop your hood and remove the plastic radiator cover by removing all 13 plastic pins. Push them in and then use a pry tool to remove them entirely.
Removing this plastic piece will reveal two plastic pins located toward the exterior corner of the headlight and the interior corner. Remove these and repeat for both sides of the car.
Next, there are four plastic pins dotted across the interior side of the grill. Remove these.
Remove the 10mm bolt at the center of the grill, too.
You can now begin to pry the bumper slightly away from the car.
To remove the headlight, there are four 10mm bolts holding in the headlights. There is one at the top of the headlight near the fender, the second at the center of the headlight, the third just behind the grill, and the fourth on the exterior of the car, just behind the fender.
Pry the tabs up to separate the headlight from the car. Be sure to unplug the four connectors before fully removing the headlight from the car.
Before putting in the Carbide Series headlights, we will first plug in our DRL harness. Go to your fuse box and remove the cover. You will want to remove the 10A fuse pictured below and plug in the DRL harness here.
Next, run the longest wire to the furthest headlight and the shortest headlight to the nearest headlight.
Take your Carbide Series headlight and use its factory connectors to connect it to the car. Then plug in the DRL harness we just ran to each headlight.
If you are experiencing difficulties with the DRLs after installing these housings. We recently wrote another article covering the fix to this problem here. It is a super quick fix and does not require any wiring work.
Before bolting everything in and cleaning your wires up, make sure to test the lights to ensure they work correctly. Once you have confirmed this, you can then put the front of your car back together.
If you are interested in learning how to aim them, check out our blog post and video where we go over just that (it is super easy we promise)!
If you are more of a visual learner, be sure to check out our video on these new headlights. While you are there, make sure to like and subscribe to our channel for the latest lighting upgrades for your vehicle.
Have any questions about one of the products we mentioned? Contact us today, and our customer service team would be happy to help.