Headlight Heaven: Adding J.W. Speaker 8700 Evo 2 LED Lights

JW Speaker 8700 Evo 2 headlights Mitsubishi

Back when we had the PDXJ, our 2001 Jeep Cherokee, one of the upgrades we made was replacing the OE headlights with J.W. Speaker LED headlamps. The headlights were a huge improvement over the Jeep’s stock headlights which worked about as well as whale oil lanterns.

When we picked up our 1992 Mitsubishi Pajero, aka the Rallitractor, it had a super-sketchy old HID conversion kit. The kit was utilizing the OE headlamp housing, which is rarely good, and secondly, the right headlight kept losing power. Since these were standard 7″ lights, I knew just where to turn.

JW SPeaker LED headlight on a Mitsubishi Pajero
J.W. Speaker 8700 Evo 2 LED headlamp

J.W. Speaker offers a whole range of headlamp options, including the 8700 Evo 2 lamps that’ll replace a 7” sealed-beam headlamp. These headlights are available in standard and heated versions (the heated versions have an element that warms up to prohibit snow and ice buildup in cold climates). For our Pajero, we got the standard version with the black housing. And in case you were wondering, Speaker, which is headquartered in Wisconsin, has been in the automotive lighting biz since 1935.

The headlamps are made extremely well with high-end components. Even their weight suggests quality. The lamps feature the company’s Dual Burn high beam optics for extra light; plug-and-play installation; are DOT, ECE, and Transport Canada compliant for on-road use; are available with either a black bezel or chrome bezel; and have ComfortLite high beams, which provide illumination above the horizon as well as a powerful punch of light down the road.

Installing J.W. Speaker LED headlights

As mentioned, these are a plug-and-play affair. Simply remove the 7” OE light and install these into the factory H4 plug. Granted, my application was a tiny bit more involved due to the nature of the Pajero and its age (it’s 27 years old).

The back of a J.W. Speaker 8700 Evo 2 headlamp.
I had to remove some metal from the rear headlight “bucket” to accommodate the LED’s cooling fins.

To install, I removed portions of the grille, the plastic headlight surrounds, then the headlights themselves, being vigilant not to crack any of the 27 year old plastic bits. The headlights have a metal “bucket” on the back and a polished silver ring around the edge. I separated the buckets from rings, and went to install the lights. While they are plug-and-play, with my old ’92 Pajero, I had to modify the metal buckets to make room for the new lights’ cooling fins. I simply used my Dremel tool to remove a bit of material, test fit, and reinstalled. Easy-peasy.

I did a quick test to see if the lights would work, and they did … on the low-beam setting only. It turns out that on my old Mitsu, I needed to get a headlight relay harness to use the high-beams. I ordered a harness from Speedway Motors for about $40 based on J.W. Speaker’s helpful tech department. This easy-to-install harness has two relays which get mounted in the engine bay, then plugged into the headlights, and attached to the battery. It was a very simple installation and just like that, I had functioning high- and low-beams.

Now that I had my relay harness, my 8700 Evo 2 headlamps, and the modified OE bezels, it was time to test them out.

The Ralllitractor - 1992 Mitsubishi Pajero

Much like my previous experience with these lights, these Speaker lights didn’t disappoint. The low-light illumination was vastly improved over not only an OE halogen but the crappy HID kit that was on my Pajero originally. The high-beams were also brighter with a crisp, clear beam pattern. We’ve now had these headlights for about seven months, and they’ve been flawless. I would, however, recommend getting the heated versions if you venture into the snow or ice as it’ll keep your lights free of frozen precipitation.

As a second-time owner of J.W. Speaker lights, I can wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone looking to upgrade their headlamps. No, they’re not cheap at a price starting at $299.95 per light. But there are some things that are worth the extra cash in my opinion, and that that includes a good set of headlights. These high-quality units will probably last the life of the vehicle, too as one LED headlight has the life of over 50 halogen headlights.

CONVERT YOUR GEN 2 MONTERO LIGHTS TO PAJERO LIGHTS

If you own a second-generation Montero, you probably have the square headlights from the factory. However, you can always get the parts to do a round Pajero headlight conversion. What you will need is Mitsubishi part MB527744, which is the headlamp kit. This includes the headlight bucket, silver ring, retainer springs, and bolts. And yes, you’ll need two of them, one for each side. I’m finding prices just under $210 per side. You’ll also need the black plastic bezel that goes to the grille. Part MB831055 is for the left side and part MB831056 is the right. Each side is about $88. These are the minimum parts you’d need, but most other parts should be easily sourced.

5 Comments

  1. Great job! The rundown is really helpful especially the pictures and links. One question, if you had the square lights before, you probably have a different front frame that would accept square lights instead of round ones. How did you modify that frame to cater to round lights?

    Thanks in advance! This post has been really helpful.

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