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HOWTO: HID Projector Retrofit

Discussion in 'Body / Exterior / Interior / Cosmetics' started by awptickes, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. awptickes

    awptickes unimpressed by you VIP

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    I have been meaning to retrofit my headlights with some HID projectors, and finally I got around to it. It only took me a whole day to do, but mainly because I picked it up, and put it off thoughout the day. I estimate that with this guide, it shouldn't take you more than 3 hours total. Most of the time I spent trying to figure out what I was going to use to mount them. Now, with no further adu...

    Required
    Oven
    Cookie Sheet
    Screwdrivers (a couple flat, and one phillips)
    Hairdryer

    HID projectors (right and left) Mine are 07 Infiniti G35 Bi-Xenon D2S Stanley Projectors
    Misc. Bolts, nuts, and washers
    Material to make a shroud with (Not needed, but reccomended if you like the looks of them)

    Dremel (or other high speed rotary tool)
    Needle-nose pilers
    Permanent marker

    Common sense.


    Procedure

    First off, you'll need to open up your headlights. If you don't know how to do this, here are some very informative threads:

    http://hondaswap.com/body-exterior-interior-cosmetics/96-98-civic-headlight-mod-71419/
    Honda Civic 96-00: DIY CTR Headlights Guide(with Pictures) - Honda-Acura.net
    Honda-Tech.com: Honda Prelude: JDM Prelude headlight casing how to repair crack & seal

    I heated my oven to 150 degrees Centigrade for 5 minutes. Worked for me, but your results may vary. Be sure to take EVERYTHING off if the headlights before you put them in. I have a Euro-spec car, so my headlight-tilt motors needed to be removed. I put one in the oven, heated it, pulled it out, popped it open, then put the other one in the oven and repeated the process. They don't seem very hot, but the insides heat up too, so it's best to let them cool.

    Bake, em, then pop them open and pull out the reflector. Basicly you'll have to unscrew all of the screws on the back of the headlight all the way, until the main reflector falls out.

    Now, set that aside and let it cool. Take a look at your projector to see how you're going to mount it. Get your dremel out, because I cut the bottom bracket and part of the top bracket:
    Before
    [​IMG]
    After
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now, keep the dremel going, and cut up your reflector assembly. Mine looked like this after I got done.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Test-fit the projector into the assembly a few times to ensure that you'll be able to attach the bulb's power plug easily, and there will be enough clearance from the headlight casing to allow you to calibrate the lights once done.

    Now it will mount in the headlight properly. My projectors were Bi-Xenon, so I had this nice little bracket with screws on the bottom to help mount the projector to the reflector (or hold on the solenoid).
    [​IMG]

    I used some washers to help keep the rest of the projector level in the housing, and I used the little black bumper things (you find them on cabinets) to make some extra room. I went out and bought some of the same size screws in 25mm form, to account for the extra distance. On the left, is the un-modified screw, in the middle is the modified screw, and on the right, is the original screw. The new screw will need to be cut down to give you the proper length.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Put the screw into the projector, replacing one of the already exsisting screws, and make it farely level. You're going to put the projector into the reflector, and find where you want to drill the hole for the screw to go. I appologize, I do not have a picture of this. Where the screw scratched the inside of the projector, is where you want to drill the hole. Make sure you go from the inside to the outside, otherwise you might break off some of the projector on the inside. You'll end up with this after you're done:
    [​IMG]


    Now, you'll want to make use of that screw and those washers, and mount the projector in the reflector. Put the screw through the hole and drop the washers on top. I only needed three washers.
    [​IMG]

    The projector should be mounted into the reflector assembly now, each side of the mounting arms should touch the side of the reflector, and it should look like this:
    [​IMG]

    Take the permanent marker, and draw dots in the very center of each mounting bracket. being in the center is VERY important, otherwise you'll end up having a cracked reflector.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now, remove the projector by unscrewing the screw in the bottom, and removing the washers, screw, and projector. Use a small bit in the dremel, and very carefully (high rpms work best at this point) drill through the dot you made, keeping careful to drill straight and perpendicular to where the mounting brackets will be. With the dremel at high rpm, it will be easier to "hollow out" more of the hole and make it large enough to fit the bolt you are using.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At this point, it would probably be a good idea to clean out the reflector. You can see my fingerprints all over the inside of the reflector. Use an air compressor or Dust Off or Endust first, then some kind of non-abarasive cleaner spray. I used some Lysol Glass cleaner.

    Put the projector inside of the reflector again, with the washers and screw. Now run the bolts through the projector's bracket, and the newly drilled holes. Put a washer on, and tighten the nut down, but be careful and remember, these are just to hold it in place, not to support the weight very much, so don't tighten it too tightly, or risk cracking your reflector.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It should look something like this:
    [​IMG]


    Now put the reflector into the housing again, being careful not to scratch the lense of the projector, I put a rubberband and a kleenex over the lense while doing this step. You'll just screw in the screws on the back of the housing, the reverse of what you did before. I had to clip my housing back in.
    [​IMG]


    I didn't use any shrouds, but if you desire, you should put them in now. If you want to paint them to match your headlights or body color, now would be a good time to do the "black headlight mod" if you ever liked the look of it. If you want shrouds, here are some ideas:
    DIY: Retrofit TSX Projectors - Lighting - Honda Civic Forum
    http://www.clubcivic.com/board/6th-generation-retrofit-style-t60862.html

    While closing up the headlights, use a hairdryer on the gum around the edge, it'll make them fit together just like they did before you pryed them apart. Be careful while putting them together, as it's very easy to break a clip off. Not fun. Some people say to use silicone to seal the edge of the headlight afterwards, but I found it unnessicary. The heated factory sealant makes a pretty good seal, and you don't have to worry about getting the silicone out should you ever need to open up the headlights again.

    Put on all of the stuff you took off before, like the citylight plug, headlight-tilt motor, vent covers, and the rubber gaskets on the back and side. I found it easy to route the wires through the stock headlight gasket, although I'll probably get something a bit more sturdy and waterproof.
    [​IMG]

    That's all folks. Hope you have some decent looking headlights after this. Mine look like this now:
    [​IMG]


    After thoughts
    I appologize for not having mounted and cut-off line pictures, but it's almost 2300 here, and it's a little cold to be in the garage. I'll have them installed and tuned tomorrow and I'll update with some more pictures.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2007
    2 people like this.
  2. awptickes

    awptickes unimpressed by you VIP

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    Updated

    I drove over to a warehouse and parked my car about 20 meters away and tuned the lights. Here's what they look like with them in the 0-position (the highest). (My car has 4 positions for the headlight-tilt: 0,1,2,3, and 4.)

    Cut-off line
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Mounted
    [​IMG]


    Forgot the mounted pic in daylight, sorry. I'll try to remember it. Hope everyone enjoyed this writeup.
     
  3. TurboMirage

    TurboMirage YEEAAAHHH VIP

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  4. ripperbone

    ripperbone angry bear

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    nice write up, i have been looking to do this to my civic
     
  5. dacheat

    dacheat ..is grounded.

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    ooh i like the nightpix u added. yay!!
     
  6. b16chaser

    b16chaser New Member

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    good job!!! i may do that if i ever get my 91 si built and running first,,,,then my 98 will be in the works.
     
  7. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    Very nice! I'm glad someone made another writeup on how to install HIDs the RIGHT way. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: to you!
     
  8. norcalgsr

    norcalgsr Honda Master Technician

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  9. awptickes

    awptickes unimpressed by you VIP

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    I keep meaning to get some pictures in the daylight, I guess I will do that tomorrow. Thanks for all the input. It helps motivate me to do more stuff and write about it. ;)

    @Calesta:
    Yeah, I can't stand people who just put in HID 'bulbs'. It's unbearable when they come head on. That's why I made absolutely sure I was doing it the right way. Now I just need to get my foglights aimed.....
     
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  10. norcalgsr

    norcalgsr Honda Master Technician

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    I would like to kill everyone that puts in HID's without a projector lens...
     
  11. awptickes

    awptickes unimpressed by you VIP

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    Yeah, it completely ruins the benefit that comes with HIDs. The problem is that they don't understand the difference between a halogen reflector and a HID projector. One focuses, one disperses. The best part with an HID system is the projector. And that beautiful cutoff.

    Although, I just wish people would aim their god damned lights (halogen or HID), then I wouldn't be so blind after driving home. Most European cars with halogen bulbs have pretty sharp cutoffs too, they just need to point them. Some even have that colored cutoff line that people lust after.
     
  12. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    :thumbsup:

    :werd:

    That and GM truck drivers that have their high beams on ALL the time.
     
  13. awptickes

    awptickes unimpressed by you VIP

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    Update

    It's been almost 3 weeks since I did the install, and I'd like to tell everyone how they're working out.


    The only thing I've noticed that is annoying is that my lights have lots of tiny pits and even smaller dings in the plastic outer housing, the part that faces the road. That makes the light distort a bit when I have the lights on. All it really does is makes the cutoff line a little blurry. It should buff out, but I think it'd be easier/better to do it while you have the lights out of the car.

    In a few days (Hours maybe) I'll update again to tell about how they work in the snow. One thing I've noticed is that they take a little longer to get up to temperature/light-output now that it's gotten colder. They stay blueish for about 30 seconds longer than they did when it was warmer. Not really a big deal, because this happens on OEM HID fitted cars as well.

    My initial concerns about the hi-beam solenoid have proven to be false. I was initially concerned that the solenoid would heat up too much when constantly on for night time back-road driving, but they seem to be doing fine.

    Fog driving is better than ever, after the retrofit. The cutoff line is visible from inside the car, and foglights seem to add very little to the visibility, I'd even venture to say that foglights are unneeded with HIDs.



    All in all, they seem to be working out very well, and I highly reccomend this to anyone who wants to change the look and safety of their car.
     
  14. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    :thumbsup:

    I'll be adding HIDs to my wife's Fit when we buy one next year.
     
  15. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    Old thread, but great job!
     
  16. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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  17. awptickes

    awptickes unimpressed by you VIP

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    I've discovered a better way to secure the rubber moisture-barrier backing. A zip tie around the part where it seals to the headlight housing, then another zip-tie sealing the hole, and you can add silicone if you want.

    Also, remember that when you're aligning the HIDs, you can align them higher than you would align halogens, because of the more even cut-off, there's less dazzle to other drivers. A good way to align them, is to park in front of another car at night, turn your lights on, then tune the lights until at about 25 feet, the cutoff is right at the headlights (it should illuminate the headlights, and they will appear to be on), and so it barely touches the hood of the other car. This works better if you happen to have another honda to line up to your HID'd honda.
     
  18. |Chaz|

    |Chaz| Well-Known Member VIP

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    Awesome write-up, I don't care if this is old I'm bumping it. This is another thing that I'll be doing to my Civic one of these days.

    +rep for you
     
  19. awptickes

    awptickes unimpressed by you VIP

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    By all means bump it. If it can help even one person, I've done a good job.

    Who knows, someday it might become a sticky.
     
  20. |Chaz|

    |Chaz| Well-Known Member VIP

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    How exactly does the wiring work for this? You didn't go into too much detail about that.
     
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