DDM Tuning Raptor 35W 3K Yellow High Beams: Review Of High-Performance LEDs For 5th Gen 4Runner
It’s no secret that lighting is a great upgrade. Lighting can improve your vision, safety, and aesthetic looks. For most 5th Gen 4Runner owners on the market for some high beam lights, there really aren’t “great” options out there. What do I mean?
Due to the way a 4Runner is designed and wired, the high beams work as both the daytime running lights (DRLs) and the high beams. During DRL mode, the lights are dimmed and when you turn on the high beams, the bulbs then go to full brightness… at least with a halogen bulb.
While there are lots of high beams LED options out on the market, only so many are reputable, and to the best of my knowledge, no LED dims during DRL mode. Essentially, your high beam bulbs will be at full power at all times – whether you are operating in DRL mode or high beam mode. This presents a problem.
While you are driving around during the day, your high beams would essentially be at full power. Even though it is daytime, the high beams are pretty bright when you look at them head-on. There is the potential of getting a ticket, or at least a talk from law enforcement if nothing else when you operate your high beams during the daytime.
So, what do you do? How can you upgrade your high beams on a 5th Gen 4Runner?
Yellow LED Lighting?
When I started researching high beam lighting for my 4Runner, I quickly learned that there isn’t a great option for a bulb that could work as, both, a DRL and for high beam purposes.
Then a thought came to me… What about a yellow LED? You might be thinking: “Why yellow?”
Well, one popular upgrade for almost all off-road vehicles is amber marker lighting.
Typically, this is done by installing anywhere from 2-4 small amber LED lights on your grille. I’ve always thought this looked cool, but I didn’t want to mess with wiring and mounting (even though I’ve wired and mounted several other lights). I began thinking that yellow LED high beams wouldn’t be as blinding during the daytime either, but still very bright.
At night, I’d have bright yellow lighting that would mix with my 6000K Diode Dynamics SL1 low beams. Combined, I’d have a nice neutral color that would be good for a wide range of weather conditions. During the daytime, I’d have two bright yellow “marker” lights.
As my research progressed, I found DDM Tuning. I didn’t know much about DDM Tuning as I’ve mostly used Diode Dynamics on the 4Runner, but I read lots of good reviews and decided to get a set of yellow (3000k) LED high beam bulbs – specifically the 35W Raptor LEDs.
Find it Online:
Note: DDM products have been discontinued for the 4Runner
- DDM Tuning Raptor 35W 3K Yellow LED High Beams – discontinued
- Diode Dynamics H11 SL1 LED LED Low Beams – discontinued
- DDM Tuning 50W Saber Pro LED Headlight/Foglight – discontinued
They were one of the few companies that offered a yellow LED high beam bulb, but more specifically, they were much cheaper than other competition on the market.
I was leery about the price difference, but the good reviews made me take a chance.
The 35W Raptor 3K 9005 LED Bulbs
The 9005 3,000K LED bulbs from DDM tuning actually come in two different versions:
- Raptor 35W
- Saber 55W
The factory halogen bulbs are 55W.
I ended up getting the Raptor 35W bulbs which put out 5,500 lumens (much more than the factory halogen output), but if you want you could get the Saber 55W bulbs which produce 10,000 lumens!
I ultimately went with the 35W because I didn’t want my DRLs to be too bright during the daytime, and I also wanted a slightly cheaper price point.
I know you might be thinking, “Why not get the 10,000-lumen bulbs?”
I considered the Saber 55W bulbs heavily, but ultimately, I felt like the 35W bulbs would run cooler, be more efficient, and would simply lower the risk of my DRLs being too bright.
Ultimately, you can decide which bulb would suit you best.
So, what can these Raptor 35W bulbs do?
|LED Type:||6 x Seoul LED per bulb|
|Output:||5,500 Lumens per pair|
|Color:||3,000K (6,000K offered as well)|
|Wattage:||35W per bulb|
As you can see, these DDM Tuning Raptor bulbs have impressive specifications. It was time to install these bulbs and get to testing though.
Installation of the high beam bulbs on a 4Runner is about as easy as it gets, so I’ll skip the generic process.
If you are curious to see a recent install, check out this Supernova V.4 9005 Installation that Brenan wrote.
With this install, however; there is one unique step you will have to do with these bulbs.
Even though DDM states that these bulbs will fit a 2017 4Runner, they ultimately will not without any modification.
Yes, you do have to do some cutting, but it is extremely minimal.
The tabs that the bulb connects to the factory plug with have to be cut/sanded off. I suggest using a razor blade or scalpel to do this.
Once you push the connections together, you will have to secure them with some electrical tape (because you no longer have the tab to keep the connections in place).
I might not have purchased these bulbs if I knew I’d have to do this (in fact I wouldn’t have), but I decided to continue with the install and give it a shot.
After all, I had the bulbs in my hands and was about 5 minutes away from plugging them in to test.
One thing to note is the bulbs are polarity sensitive, meaning you should test your bulbs once you plug in the connectors before taping them up.
If the bulbs don’t turn on, pull the plug out and rotate 180 degrees. They should work now.
This is really all there is to it, pretty simple.
Testing the LED High Beams
I was immediately impressed with these bulbs upon initially testing them out in DRL mode.
Yes, they are bright and the yellow color hue looks awesome! I honestly have yet to see another 4Runner with yellow DRLs like this (although I’m sure there are plenty of them out there).
One thing I noticed is there is a slight flicker in the light output since they are 35W instead of the factory 55W, but you could easily fix this by adding in a resistor. The flickering isn’t really noticeable unless you really focus on the light. It’s very minimal.
At night, these bulbs are crazy bright!
The yellow color from these high beams mixed with the 6000K white from my low beams produces a nice color hue. I have a ton of light output with these high beams on.
Honestly, these bulbs almost produce the same visual output as a 20” light bar (I know because I have one).
The other point I wanted to address is the legality of these bulbs. Depending on where you live, these bulbs could be considered too bright for the daytime (when you are in DRL mode).
I have had zero issues
I’ve passed many law enforcement officers, I’ve never been flashed, and I’ve simply had zero issues. I’ve actually had people ask me about them at gas stations, restaurants, etc. People really seem to like the look – I know I do.
One huge benefit I am noticing about these 3,000K bulbs is the great visibility I have when there is dust or other particles in the air. The 3,000K bulbs really allow your eyes to see much better than the 6,000K in my opinion.
Last, I would suggest turning your high beams off much sooner than you would with the factory halogen high beams, as these bulbs are much brighter.
You should consider these high beams as a light bar, in the sense that I only use them when no cars or people are around…these bulbs are just too bright.
Take a look at the comparison below:
Test 1. Diode Dynamics SL1 Low Beams
Test 3. Diode Dynamics SL1 Low Beams + SLF Fog Lights
Test 3. Diode Dynamics SL1 Low Beams + DDM Tuning Raptor LED High Beams
Test 4. Diode Dynamics SL1 Low Beams, DDM Tuning Raptor LED High Beams, KC Hilites 20” C-Series Light Bar
High Performance and Off-Road Durability
I’ve actually had these bulbs for about 2-3 months now.
I wanted to wait to publish a review until I had them and could test them for a while. I wasn’t sure if the quality of these cheaper bulbs would last.
After all, my low beam bulbs were nearly three times the cost of these bulbs and they don’t produce as much output. Not that money is quality, but there is a strong correlation in the saying “you get what you pay for”.
Surprisingly, these DDM tuning bulbs have held up great with zero issues whatsoever.
Now, 2-3 months isn’t a lot of time, but I’d say it is substantial enough to publish a good review on them. I’ve been off-road several times, been in the rain, driven through some water crossings, and been in some mild dust storms, and ultimately, I’ve have had zero issues at all.
I am curious to see if these bulbs are still running after a year…we will see.
Overall Impression… Are They Worth It?
If you are looking to upgrade your lighting and aren’t wanting to spend a lot of money, I’d definitely give these Raptor 35W LED bulbs a shot, particularly in the 3,000K color option.
They look really cool, produce a ton of light, and don’t cost a lot. It’s kind of like adding amber marker lights and powerful high beams all in one!
Besides the slight modification you have to do to install these bulbs, the installation process is very easy, and I think anyone could complete this job at home.
My only concern is the longevity of the bulbs.
I am a little doubtful that the bulbs will last over a year, but then again, they’ve lasted 2-3 months so there is every chance they will hold out for years to come. The only way to find out is through time.
The DDM Tuning Raptor 35W 3,000K LEDs are a great solution to a low-cost high beam upgrade for your 4Runner.
Give them a shot and see what you think… I think they are well worth their cost.