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HID Lighting Upgrade

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by: Mean Green

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In the following article I'll go through the installation procedure for High Intensity Discharge (HID for short) lighting. First off, if you are unfamiliar with HID's here is basically how they work and differ from the standard Halogen lights; HID's have no filament like a halogen bulb does, instead they are filled with Xenon gas and metal salts that create an arc between electrodes within the bulb itself. That arc heats up the gas within the bulb which creates the light that you see. That is the reason a ballast is needed, because of the large amount of voltage it takes to ignite the gas and allow it to have a steady arc.

HID Bulb

What should I buy?
Alright, now when ordering a set of HID's you need to decide what Kelvin temp you want, as well as how many watts. They are avalible from 3000K (yellow) - all the way to 32000K (purple). Alot of people think that the higher the Kelvin number is, the more light output you will have. That is a false. The most light output you can have, is right around 4200K-5000K. And the higher the Kelvin number, the less lumens they produce. To find out what bulb style your vehicle takes, Click Here. (GMT400's take a 9005 high beam bulb and a 9006 Low beam bulb)

Aftermarket HID kit

(picture of bulb, ballast, and wires that generally come with the kits)

Where do I buy a HID kit?
There are various internet retailers that sell "Plug n' Play" HID kits, and they all vary in price. Ebay is a great place to buy a kit for a reasonable price. Also try to find a kit that utilizes the "Slim Ballast" as they tend to have better internals in. I bought my Xentec kit off of Ebay and it was here (Minnesota) in 3 days from California. Also beware of sellers that are selling bulbs that are like $10. They use buzz-words like “HID” and “Xenon” to get people interested. These bulbs dont utilize ballasts and do not run like a true HIDs. They’re just a halogen bulbs with a blue tint.


1. Start off by finding a suitable place underneath the hood to mount your ballast's, it's optimal to find a place that is always dry and relatively close the opening in the core support for the headlights. On GMT400's the inner fenders are a perfect location. Be sure to make sure that you mount the ballast so that the wires reach the bulb!

2. Now you are ready to remove your headlights, to accomplish this task is very simple. Just locate the two bolts that protrude the top of the core support near the top of the grille. The heads of these bolts are 3/16. Remove the bolts (2 bolts per headlight) and the headlights will simply pull out. (You can also remove your parking light for ease of installation, but it isn't required to do so)

3. Now it's time to mount the Ballasts', most of the HID kit's utilize double sided tape for mounting the ballast. My Xentec slim ballast also have a metal backing plate for mounting as well. So find the location you desire to mount them and mark the hole to drill for the screw to mount the ballast. Once the hole is drilled, install the ballast with a 1/2" #8 or so metal screw. I opted to use both, the double sided tape AND put a screw through the eyelet in the backing plate. Also be sure to use some Lacquer Thinner or Rubbing Alcohol on a rag, where your Double Sided tape will be installed to promote adhesion.

Mounted Balast

(The Ballast mounted)

4. Now you're going to route the wires from the ballast to the bulbs, just be sure to run them UNDER the headlight assy. mounting bracket. Your going to run a total of 4 wires per bulb (2 wires plug into the original 9005 or 9006 headlight plug, the other 2 plug into the HID bulb)

5. Now plug the wires that routed in step #4 to there appropriate locations. The 2 wires that have 1 female plug, will plug into your original headlight (9005 or 9006 for GMT400's) plug. Also be sure that the 12+ red wire from the ballast plugs into the 12 + side of the 9005 or 9006 plug. The other set of wires, gets plugged into the HID bulb.

6. Remove the old halogen headlight bulb from the headlight itself, and install your new HID bulb into it's place. Be sure that you turn the bulb in fully to insure a weather tight seal.

7. Now simply put your Headlight assy. back in it's place by reinstalling the 2 bolts that you took out in step number 3. Also take caution to not pinch any wires while doing this task!

8. Now simply repeat the process for the other side, and then your done! You now have HID light's in your truck! When you first get your bulbs installed, let them on for around ten minutes to "burn them in". You'll notice that it takes from 3 -8 seconds for the bulbs to get up to temp and achieve full brightness. Also if you are installing HID's in your high beams, you should do the 4-Hi mod; as the HID bulbs are dim when they are first ignited and can be dangerous with reduced visibility during the 3 - 8 second period while they are warming up!

The finished product should look a little something like this!

Thanks for looking, feel free to ask any questions you might have, in the discussion forum!