DIY: Install projectors and corners on a 5G Civic

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This is an article I wrote for Civicland way back at the beginning of the year, and have just refreshed for general consumption. If you actually need this to change out your headlights and corner lenses, god help you when you try to perform an engine swap. Aside from that, this might be useful for you, so here it is.


DIY: How to install new headlights and corner lenses in a 5th gen Civic; stock vs Hiper bulbs

What you'll need:
  • 10mm socket, ratchet, driver
  • Medium sized Phillips screwdriver
  • Your new headlights
  • Your new corner lenses
  • Some towels or newspapers
  • An hour or two
Note: If you're only replacing your corner lenses, only follow steps 2 and 6.

Here we go...

1. Get your bumper off

First, pop your hood. You'll find 5 screws on a metal bracket at the top of your bumper cover. Use your screwdriver to remove these screws.


Remove the screws and bracket, and put them in a safe place.

Next, turn your wheels all the way to the right. Go inside your driver's side front fenderwell and look for this screw:


You might have to pull your fender lining away to get to it. Remove this screw (yours could be either a screw or a bolt, mine have been both at different times of repair). Turn your wheels all the way to the left, and remove the screw from the opposite fender.

Now look under the car- there should be one more screw/bolt holding the bumper cover on, a little off center towards the passenger side. Unscrew this one too.


You should be able to pull your front bumper cover completely off the car now- tug at it gently, then lay it down on your towels so you don't scratch it, and so that it's protected if it rolls over. You may want to get a friend to help you move the bumper cover so you don't accidentally hit something. I had a few zip ties that were still holding the bumper on (body shop did this, go fig), so I just let it hang.


You should have 8 bolts/screws, a metal bracket, and your bumper cover removed from the car.

2. Pull your corners out

Look at the top of headlight where it meets the corner lens. You should see a plastic bracket right next to the edge of the fender with a screw in it. This is all that's bolting your corner lens in- unscrew it and take it out.


Once your corner lens is out, gently twist the bulb holder counter-clockwise and pull it out. Do not touch the bulb with your fingers! If you must touch the bulb, do it with a clean paper towel. Remove your corner lens and put it with the screw you pulled out earlier. Let the turn signal bulb hang against your fender- it'll be ok.

Take note of the two holes shown here- you'll need to remember them later!


Repeat on the other side of the car. You should have a total of 2 Phillips screws and 2 corner lenses removed from the car for this step.

If you're not installing new headlight housings, skip to step 6 to install your new corner lenses.

3. Rip out your stock headlights

Start at the top. You'll need your 10mm driver and ratchet here. Go ahead and zip off the two bolts you see holding down the top bracket of your headlight.


Next, go slightly inboard of the bolts you just pulled out. There's a nut just inside the front part of the frame- you'll need your 10mm socket and nut driver to get to it easily. Loosen this nut a few turns so that it's loose, but don't unscrew it all the way- you don't want to risk dropping it, plus you don't need to remove it to take your headlight housing out.


The last bolt is right where the corner lens used to be. This is another 10mm bolt. Unscrew it.


Now you have the headlight loose- unplug it and pull it up and out from the frame.

While you've got the headlight off, you might want to remove this bracket. It's used to hold the front bumper cover in place, and taking it off makes installing the new headlights much easier.


Repeat it all on the other side of the car.

Now you've got 2 headlights, 6 10mm bolts and 2 10mm nuts from the headlight housings, 4 10mm bolts from the brackets, and the 2 brackets.

4. Wire it all up

Depending on what kind of replacement headlights you bought, your wiring will differ from what I have here. My system involved 2 relays tripped by the original headlight harness which allow the new headlights to feed directly from the battery, resulting in more juice and higher brightess from my headlight bulbs. Yours could be as easy as plugging it all in to the stock wiring. Whatever you've got, rig it up and make sure it all works before you bolt it all back down. There's not much that sucks more than taking your car apart, putting it all together again with new goodies, and finding out that you have to pull it all apart again to fix some simple problem.

I won't go into what my wiring mess looks like (I really just forgot to take pictures while I was wiring it up, plus I was running low on camera batteries) but every setup is different. Just follow your instructions. Here's what the Denji Generation 2 Projectors look like with their stock bulbs:


The outer lights are the low beams, the inners are the high beams, and the little blue bulbs at the very inside are the 'city lights'. You have to wire the 'city lights' up separately... if you have these and yours are blue, don't run them on the street!

Unplug it all before you bolt it in, just to be safe.

5. Install the new headlights

Go to the bolt pile you made when you pulled your old headlights off and get the two 10mm nuts. Hand-thread them onto the innermost posts on your new headlights, just enough so that they don't fall off. Fit your new headlights into place, and lightly screw down the 10mm nut.


Get the remaining 10mm bolts, and lightly bolt your headlights in on the side where the corners go, then at the top. Tighten it all down.

Reinstall this bracket after you've put the headlight in. Remember that this one takes two more 10mm bolts.


Repeat on the other side.

6. Install the new corner lenses

Line your turn signal bulb holders up with the back of the corner lens. The holder is keyed so that it only goes in one way. Gently turn it clockwise to lock it into place. Again, do not touch the bulb with your bare hands! Only handle it with a clean paper towel or some other soft oil and lint free material.

Putting the lens back into the car can be a bit tricky- you have to make sure that the tab on the headlight (upper box) slides under the tab on the corner lens (lower box):


and that the two pegs go into the holes in the fender at the same time:


Once you get it all lined up, line up the lens bracket with the hole in the headlight housing and screw it in. If it doesn't all line up just right, you might need to loosen the bolts holding the headlight down and adjust it a bit.

Repeat on the other side.

7. Put your bumper cover back on

The easiest way to do this is to first fit the bumper back to the frame and then loosely screw down the center 5 screws and bracket. Go to the fenderwells and tightly screw the sides back into place, then go underneath the bumper and tighten that one up. Go back up top and tighten down the 5 screws in the center. Again, a friend to help you while you fit the bumper cover back to the car would be beneficial if you're worried about hitting something or scratching it.

8. Button it all up!

Make sure your engine bay is clear of all foreign material, plug it all in, shut the hood and fire up your new lights! Now stand back and enjoy your new headlights.

Camera lens aperture closed down so you can see the shape of the lights:


Camera lens aperture opened up so you can see just how bright they are:


If you need to aim your lights, drive out to where you have a wall to shoot against, and aim them there. Make sure your low beams don't aim up, and that both lights are aiming forward and not off to the side at some weird angle.

That's it! Now go out and have fun blinding the crap out of people.

Update! I installed a set up Hiper Super Plazma bulbs, and here is the comparison. Images are clickable for large 1280x960 images in new windows:

Denji Gen 2 Projector, lights off (ignore the dirty bumper):

Denji Gen 2 Projector, stock bulbs:

Denji Gen 2 Projector, Hiper Super Plazma bulbs:

The stock bulbs included with the Denji Gen 2 kit are 55W H3 for the low beams and 65W 9005 for the high beams. Both the H3 and 9005 Hiper bulbs are 80W.

Note: The picture with the Hiper bulbs was taken at a more direct angle than the picture with the stock bulbs, so the lights appear slightly brighter than they really are, compared to the stock Denji bulbs. In real use, the Hipers are only slightly brighter than the stock bulbs. The only real benefit to installing the Hiper bulbs was a change in the color of the projector beam.

Another note: I now run PIAA Platinum Superwhite bulbs for both the H3 and 9005 application, and they are much whiter and much brighter than the cheapie Hiper bulbs. I'm running the 85W version of the H3, and the 65W version of the 9005.


Tutorial written by: Calesta / Phunky Buddha / Karril / whatever the hell you wanna call me.
All images hosted free, courtesy of ImageStation.