How-To HID Projector Headlights
*Disclaimer: The material in this post is advanced and should be attempted only by those competent on the subjects necessary to replicate this modification. Without proper prior planning you may cause irreversible and costly damage to your light housing. Remember to measure twice and cut once because one time may be all you get. Furthermore, I am in no way responsible for damage caused due to improper modification. Please read carefully and proceed with caution, as it is a very costly modification to perform. Please also keep in mind that this how to is not a perfectly accurate depiction of how this modification was carried out. Following this how to in the dictated manner may result in unforeseen problems. Understand that this project took 8 months to complete from concept to completion and this guide is a means to make that time shorter for you, but do not lose sight of the fact that this project is quite difficult and the final product may require you to take steps you didn't consider when planning it out.
The following HOW-TO was performed on a 2002 Protege5(USDM) with an aftermarket HID conversion kit. The desired product of this protocol is a set of low beam xenon projectors that work to improve the existing HID conversion kit while remaining street legal. Unlike the sedans, which use an H4, this model uses separate high and low beam bulbs. Your car may or may not have this arrangement in the light housing, which may complicate the modification. If you don't understand what you just read in the preceding lines, please save yourself a lot of money and headaches by dropping some knowledge in that head of yours before you proceed.
Figure: Protege5 USDM headlight pre-modification
Some time ago I bought an HID kit, but was unhappy with the beam clarity and spread. I felt too much was being diffused into places it shouldn't go. Not only was I not getting the light in the right places, it was getting sent by the reflectors to oncoming drivers. The reason for this is the slight variance in the HID capsules' and Halogen filaments' designs. Only when you replace your lights with an HID conversion kit can you understand how much R&D goes into the design of the stock headlight.
When using an HID conversion kit you do not get an optimum beam pattern and intensity because of the design of the bulb. Remember: H1, H3, H4, H7, 9006, etc…are SAE and industry standards meaning each bulb has a given filament length, size, and position when installed in the housing. It is the automotive engineer's job to calculate the correct vectors and angles at which the light rays will reflect. Done correctly they can create a beam and pattern that conforms to SAE/DOT specs.
Go to any website selling conversion kits. As a selling point to make you think you are getting a well-designed product they will post an HID capsule and a halogen bulb of the same bulb type side by side to show you that the capsule's position sits at the exact same place the filament does on the Halogen. On the surface this appears to be logical. Why then does the bulb make the difference? The difference is in the dimensions you overlooked. The halogen bulbs filament (light source) is a long and slender coil of tungsten. In the HID capsules case the Xenon gas chamber is fat and round. Little did you know that those minute differences in the capsule/filament dimensions translate into aberrations in a light rays by up to a couple feet. This is why most kits tend to have a soggy beam cut off and why the lights seem to illuminate objects perpendicular to the housings position.
Figure: Here are side-by-side comparisons of the factory H7 bulb and the H7 Xenon capsule it supposedly directly swaps with. Compare the light sources and you will see a big difference in size and shape. Many conversion bulbs start their lives out as D2S bulbs and are subsequently modified.
The purpose of this modification is to improve the efficiency of the kit you have(or are going to) invested in. As an added bonus you improve the overall look(IMO) of the car as well as stay street legal. This is definitely a worthwhile modification because it is totally custom and you get both the look and function of the expensive European cars' headlights.
Phillips Head Screwdriver
Flat Head Screwdriver
Torx Screwdriver size T15
2x D2S Xenon capsules (not D2R capsules) multiple
2x D2S/D2R Sockets (Do not buy these at misterjung.com he sells shitty bulbs and no returns)
2x D2S Conversion Kit www.misterjung.com2x Hella 90mm Low-Beam Projector www.rallylights.com
2x Large Metal Washer Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Heat-Activated insulation shrink insulation Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Plastic Garbage Can Lid Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
X-acto Blades and Razor Saw Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Fiberglass fabric Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Resin Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Hardener Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Popsicle sticks Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Disposable Brushes Lowes, Home Depot, Ace
Plastic Cups Supermarket
Latex Gloves Stolen from work
Dust Mask Stolen from work
Parafilm Stolen from work
Note:For further reading consult www.hidforum.com Here you can go for ideas, opinions, and sources for parts. You will also find a very bad vendor review for misterjung which I wish I saw before this project began and you can see why I wouldn't recommend him as a dealer.
Wiring Harness Modification
Due to the design of the new projector the H7 bulb that your conversion kit came with is obselete. Not only are D2S bulbs readily available, they are cheaper to replace(~50$) than the conversion bulbs(~89$) and they are made by more reputable sources like Phillips and Hella. Since the plugs on the ballasts aren't compatible with the D2S's design I purchased the D2S Caps. The old plugs were cut off and the new Cap spliced in. Extra special caution must be used when insulating the wired. If there were anything in this write up that can screw you it is this. Shrink tube and insulate everything thoroughly. Remember at the point where the harness is cut electricity runs through those wires at very high voltage so the likelihood of arcing between the two wires is a hundred times greater. Arcing is bad; it's a short circuit that can blow your ballast.
Figure: Ample insulation was used in covering the bare wires with a lot overlapping the insulation on the wires
The housing you just bought for a mere sixty dollars is actually very similar to the Hella projector that comes with their D2S kit that costs upwards of seven hundred dollars. If you inspect the bottom side of the glass lenses you will find a marking: H9/D2S. You have the H9 low beam. After opening the black aluminum backing you will also see a pit in an otherwise perfectly round circle where the bulb goes in. Coincidence? I don't think so, that pit is actually there for the electrode lead going to the front of the HID capsule. Although Hella has told me twice already that they are not the same products the pit, which is a space for the ceramic-coated electrode lead, as well as the marking on the projector tell me that they are the same part. And when you see the beam pattern there will be no doubt in your mind
Figure: Here are the two give-aways that tell me this doubles as a D2S projector.
Now the only thing to do is to modify the back mounting plate for the bulb to place the capsule in the same spot as the filament in order to maximize light output. When placing the D2S bulb in the H9 mounting location you will find it is about 5-7mm short of where it should be.
Figure: Placing the bulbs side by side out of the housing you will see if the bulbs were mounted with the stock mounting plate the D2S bulb does not go deep enough.
Take a look at the bulb and test fit it into the place where the H9 should go. You will see around this is a raised flange that guides the bulb into the proper orientation. Coincidentally both the H9 and the D2S have the same diameter. The next thing you must do then is grind out all that material inside the flange except for a little tab at the top of the projector back plate to align the D2S capsule. Take a large washer you purchased from the hardware store and grind it down to fit inside the back plate. Take some small machine screws and drill through both the washer and the back plate and tightly bolt them together. If you choose to glue these pieces together make sure the bond is tight by hitting it with a hammer with moderate pressure. Also ensure to test fit the bulb to make sure the electrode lead does not touch the washer and grind down if necessary. Why have you done all this just now? Your light is mounted properly and your capsule is now deeper in the projector where it needs to be.
Figure: Here is the back plate after being bored out. Note that at the top of the plate a tab that remains to align the bulb correctly
Figure: Here are all the parts used before the washer was drilled and inserted
Figure: This is what your final product should look like. Depending on the size of the washer purchased more work may be involved in getting the flange fitted in the back plate. I found a washer with a 2" OD and 3/4" ID fit perfectly.
The first step of course is to take apart the housing so as to get inside please refer to HOW-TO: Paint your headlights submitted by ghostP5. Once in there you take off everything that can be unscrewed. This here is the point-of-no-return if you go any further your headlight will no longer be able to be put back to its original condition. The next step is to cut the leveling screw on the low beam side. The correct one to cut is the non adjustable one with the white cap over it
After removing all the pieces, cut out the low beam reflector with the rotary tool. The small cut-off wheel works best for this. Make sure this is done in a well ventilated area along with eye protection and a dust mask. This will make a ton of dust so do it away from the other pieces that have been removed.
Figure:Above is a picture of the housing after removing all the parts and cutting out the low beam. Please note that one of the aiming screws for the high beam is retained and its mount should not be cut out when removing the low beam reflector.
At this point space is cleared inside the housing for the projector. It is now time to test fit the projector. Move it around with the bezel in place to see how much movement you have starting at a particular spot. This may vary from projector to projector but I found ample space when the projector was positioned about 7mm from the bottom of the bezel, about 13mm from the top, and equidistantly placed from the sides.
By tracing along the sides of the low beam section of the bezel, a wood template was cut out as an insert. I originally conceived this insert as a three dimensional concave piece but the idea was dropped for two reasons. The first is that, with the fitment of the projector in mind, a two dimensional insert seemed to fit the best around the light. Second, due to the symmetrical shape of the opening a flat insert without contour would be best because it could be flipped to the other side and used for the other headlight. This saves time and difficulty in cutting a three dimensional part using a two dimensional template.
Now take a bezel and sand it down and roughing up the edges around the low beam so the fiberglass has a non smooth surface to adhere to. Take some rubber cement and brush a very light coat of cement onto the bezel and cover it with Parafilm. Substitutions for the Parafilm can be made but see if the substituted film will react with polyester resin. Parafilm was used because it is very inert, doesn't wrinkle when stretched, and can stretch a lot.The Parafilm acts as a non adhesive interface between the bezel and the fiberglass so when the fiberglass has been full cured it is easy to remove the insert for the next bezel.
After wrapping the Parafilm tightly behind the insert and taping it down. Place the insert in the back of the bezel leaving about 3-4 mm of space between the insert and the back of the bezel. Behind the insert place modeling clay so none of the resin runs down onto the rest of the bezel, kind of like caulking the edges. One more important thing to do with the clay is inserting it in little cracks in the insert. This was done by rolling little snakes and pushing them in the cracks with a toothpick then smoothing the edge. This will ensure that the fiberglass lays up on a smooth surface.
Figure: Above is a picture of the bezel and the wood insert. Keep in mind that the insert will not be part of the final product. It is merely a surface to which the fiberglass can lay on until cured.
Now it's time to lay up the fiberglass. You can get as professional and extravagant as you want with this but I found that the regular kit of fiberglass you can get at a local hardware store would suffice. This part will not bear any great load and it's merely a fancy cover. In fact you may not even need to use fiberglass but instead a little plastic and bondo.
Mix the fiberglass as directed. The amount of catalyst(MEKP) you add the faster the cure time. I poured and three ounces of resin per headlight and added 7 drops of MEKP. This resulted in a cure time of about 3 hours while in a heated room of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The lay up was done by cutting out five pieces of fiberglass in the shape of the insert. The fastest way to make these is by placing your insert on the cloth before it gets wrapped in Parafilm and using a razorblade to trace its outline. Do this five times with the direction of the strands on each cloth facing a different direction. This will increase rigidity in all directions and will make fewer wrinkles after the resin shrinks. A sixth layer will be cut with a ¾ inch over hang compared to the rest of them. The reason for this is the first five layers will sit in that 3-4 mm gap you made and the last will cover those and wrap around the back of the bezel.
Once all is cut out and prepared. Start brushing on generous amounts of resin covering the insert evenly. Then lay on each layer, properly wetting out each one. The last is done in the same manner with the extra ¾-1 inch fabric draping over the sides. I would suggest laying resin only in the areas where there will actually be covering as well so do not brush it in the area will be popping through. This will make it easier to deal with during the green cure and full cure.
Note: This is not a fiberglass how-to so further reading and even some practice runs is highly recommended
Figures: Here are the two different stages of curing. The first is during the green cure where the fiberglass is easy to work with. Rough cutting should be done at this time so less dust is produced and cutting can be done with a razorblade. At this point the resin should have the consistency of hard clay. Be careful not to delaminate the fibers at this time by cutting gently and stop at the first instance you see your lay up being delaminated. The second picture is the fully cured lay up before sanding.
Now that everything is prepared it must all come together. The most important part of this is the projector mount. This mount will utilize the ball and socket aiming screws that came with the projectors. The holes were roughly calculated out to have a distance of 85mm from each other. Only three screws come with the projectors which is fine since there is limited space in the housing anyway. Notice in the picture that the mounting surface is offset to the side. The reason for this is there is curvature of the housing near the side of the light which will change the angle of the beam spread. The offset is there to avoid this curvature.
Figure: Above is a schematic of the mount to be made out of 16 gauge mild steel sheet. At the mount's bottom there is a large rectangular area which will be bent 90 degrees to function as a mounting surface to the housing. Note: This was a preliminary schematic and the final mounts were lower and angled.
Figure: Above is the mount attached to the projector. Make sure when you put these together it is the only time it is done. On the first run the mounts were too tall and the ball and socket fittings could not be removed so the mounts had to be cut and scrapped. The final mounts had the attachment point put in the opposite direction.
Figure: The mount and projector is put in and tested to see how much space there is, not much.
Once the pieces are fitted together they must then be fitted and bolted into the housing. Space is tight so the adjusters had to be cut 1.5cm on the top and 1cm on the bottoms. This causes the low beams to no longer be externally adjustable. The lights have to be adjusted before all the parts go back together. To aim the lights consult another source. I made it easier by putting my marks on the wall before I took them apart.
Figure: Here the beams are aimed and adjusted to the points marked on the wall earlier
After the headlights are aimed and installed the highs must be put back in. Since HID's virtually eliminate the need for high beams I didn't really care how they were aimed and mounted them into the housing using a cabinet hinge at the top and adhered it to the housing using 3M heavy duty mounting tape. Once done, CLEAN EVERYTHING. You don't want to close everything up and find a huge greasy fingerprint right on your projector lense.
The final step is painting and putting everything in the oven so the lights can be put back together.
Figure:Here is the headlight out of the oven and ready to be put back onto the car. I chose to paint it a factory color without a clear coat. I plant on opening these up later and repainting them so it's ok for now
If none of this deterred you from starting this project this is what it cost me for just the materials put into the lights, this doesn't include tools:
HID Conversion Kit 460.00
D2S Capsules 130.00
D2S Converter 30.00
Bolts Etc. 25.00
Total 830.00 holy $hit…