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Old 09-11-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
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Default Bi-Xenon Headlight Retrofit Thread

I have been asked to post a build thread on my headlight conversion by a few members.
If mods feel this thread is not appropriate here, please feel free to move it an necessary.

Here we go:

I was not very happy with the light output of my halogen headlights - either that, or I am slowly going blind, I am almost 48 - so I decided to go bright with the lights. The headlights were badly discolored and cracked, too.
I did not want the ever irresponsible and unfashionably ghetto drifter Xenon bulb kits, so I decided to go full tilt with the more pc projector set up. They have a cutoff line, are brighter, you know, they are better.

So, I looked around and found a pair of Mercedes Benz E55 Bi-Xenon projectors for under $30 each.

OK, better make a parts list than tell my life story here..

Pair of MB E55 Bi-Xenon projectors $55
D2S Ballast kit w/6000K bulbs $195
Wiring, Relays, connectors $30
Fuses, shrink tubing, etc $10
Assorted sandpaper $5
Dish sponges free
Epoxy, paint $20
Extra bulbholders $4
Mirror Glaze #10 & #17 don't remember, maybe 30 bucks

I started by sanding the hell out of the headlight surfaces. I hit them with an orbital sander and 200 grit paper to literally remove the top layer.
I progressively worked my way to 250, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 and finally 2000 grit. The finer sanding was done wet.
Sanding bit was finished with the Mirror glaze products..
The result was simply amazing.
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Last edited by Godless Commie; 09-11-2009 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:58 PM   #2
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Then it was time to open the headlights up.
I sed a heat gun for that, and it was actually easy with some patience.
Here is the projector, and a shroud I made from a recessed ceiling light reflector insert.
There would be too much stray light otherwise.
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Last edited by Godless Commie; 09-11-2009 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:13 PM   #3
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Removed and cut up the backsides of the reflector housings so they would accomodate the larger projectors. This was pretty much the most unnerving part. Measured quite a few times and drew reference lines for beam aiming before cutting. The trick is to remove very little at a time. Had to make modifications to the cuts to make room for the solenoids, etc, along the way.
Drilled the holes for the projector unit.

The small hole in the housing is actually for the parking light bulb. Our cars over here are not DOT spec, so the parking lights are inside the headlight reflector housing. Besides the fact that I don't particularly like the way they look, they would not work hidden underneath the projector. So I made a double socket, and moved the parking light to the turn signal housing, just like the US cars.

Then I test fitted things for fit, aesthetics, etc..
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Last edited by Godless Commie; 09-11-2009 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:35 PM   #4
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this is awesome. it should be stickied.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:40 PM   #5
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Then it was time to paint stuff.
You can either sand your *** off and try to get into evrey crevice to prep for painting, or you could just drop them in the dishwasher and run the pots&pans cycle with lots of detergent. I did not sand.

Painted everything black for a dark look.

Test installed everything once the paint dried...
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Last edited by Godless Commie; 09-11-2009 at 09:41 PM. Reason: spelink
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:47 PM   #6
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...and hated it.
Was not the look I had envisioned, at all..

* the light source in the tast fit pic is a single LED flashlight. I wanted to see the effect.

* And yes, the car was in the shop, receiving a fresh - actually five coats - of paint at the time. Which meant I could not drive for a month and a half, which meant I could take my time with the headlights.

Anyway, the black look was plain ugly.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:57 PM   #7
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I repainted the reflector housing chrome. That is some resiously expensive paint.
I then tossed the painted bezels and found some chrome Mercedes bezels..

Looked much better.

Then I - very carefully - installed the projectors with large washers, locking nuts and epoxy for good measure.

The rubber doodad fit nicely with some trimming at the back to protect and weatherproof things in there.
I also ran the solenoid wires through the now defunct parking light socket hole and epoxied the hell oout of it.

Last shot is through the backof the projector. Shows the partial shutter operated by the solenoid for low/hi beams.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:02 PM   #8
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Couple shots of the finished headlights, and the Mirror Glaze stuff..
Could not find that stuff here, had to ask a friend in AK to send me those.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:17 PM   #9
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Then came the wiring part...

I tapped into the headlight relay for a trigger lead for the individual relays for the ballast units.

The idea here is to avoid any extra load on the car's circuits. Halogens draw 6-7 amps each. While HIDs draw very little during normal operation, they draw as high as 14 amps per ballast during the initial surge. So, I wanted separate, relay and fuse protected circuits for those.
The stock wiring, as well as the column stalk would then be merely used for triggering the on/off and low/hi beam functions. Total load would be reduced to maybe .3 Amps total (whatever is necessary to trigger the relays, in other words) on that circuit that way.

Power came from the main fuse. I used 3mm wires (heavier than necessary) and used a heavy duty eyelet to bolt on the main fuse (fused side) bolt.
Installed inline fuse holders on the line as well.

Best location I could come up with for the ballasts were just inboard of the headlights. There is a fkat patch of sheetmetal there. I cleaned it with alcohol and used some really strong double sided tape.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:29 PM   #10
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I used heavy duty relays just aft of each headlight, triggered by the headlight relay of the stock wiring. I left the stock headlight plugs intact, and plugged one lead of the hi/low solenoids of the projectors in the hi beam terminal of those plugs. That way, the column switch works. Ran the grounds to a common ground bolt on each side.

Also, call it paranoia if you like, but I don't like taking chances with wiring work. I soldered and double shrinkwrapped every joint, every terminal. And used dielectric grease. Safer that way. Lasts longer, too. Made me feel better both times I saw a burning car on the side of the road.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:36 PM   #11
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Finished..

The Mazda tech was kind enough to break out the adjustment equipment and give me a hand with the adjusting part.

I had asked the Mazda guys for permission to work on my car and do the wiring as they were putting the car together after the paint job. They agreed, and I was able to do all the electrical work there.. Made life much easier for me.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:48 PM   #12
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And here's how it all looks after everything is done.

Light output is considerably more.
High beams are amazing.

The kit originally came with 6000K bulbs. I will switch to the much brighter 4100K bulbs once these wear out..

All in all, it was not really a difficult project. I did most of the work in the living room, on the coffee table. My wife helped with the heat gun work, so I had an extra hand for the awkward parts.

Oh, almost forgot.. I padded the reflector housings with dish sponges on top and below as I installed them in the main housings to prevent vibration issues with the relatively heavier projectors in them.
Beam adjusting motors work, and I can adjust the beam height as I drive, just like the stock halogens.

Good night, and thanks for reading this far...
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:25 AM   #13
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would those have fit into the 01 housings any easier?
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:44 AM   #14
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I don't see why it would be any more different for an '01..

You might want to look into Acura TSX or Lexus projectors. They are somewhat smaller and have more light output.
I had to work with what I could get my hands on around here.
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:58 PM   #15
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I like it. Nice work.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:18 PM   #16
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Very good writeup +1 on the sticky, also where did you end up finding the E55s?
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godless Commie View Post
I don't see why it would be any more different for an '01..
well for one, you would already be starting with a small round hole where the headlight is...

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Old 09-12-2009, 03:29 PM   #18
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Wow, that very clean work! A lot of people might have been satisfied with a half-assed job with no high beams, no motors, etc. That you took the time to aim the things, addressed vibration issues, kept the motors' functionality... wow!
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:57 PM   #19
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Thanks..

I bought the projectors off a guy who scavenges them from junkyards..
There are quite a few on on eBay, tho.
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
well for one, you would already be starting with a small round hole where the headlight is...
You could look in the Acura TSX and Lexus projector selections. They are much smaller than the E55 projectors, have amazing light output, and are very much sought after items.

I guess, since you live in the states and have infinitely more resources than I would ever have in Turkey as far as auto parts are concerned, you could buy a busted up headlight from a junkyard for next to nothing and make your plans based on your own measurements and intended modifications.

(I know, I used to spend half an hour at the junkyard and collect precious crap that I could use for my projects when I was there.
I even built a $60.000 "Panther" (an articulating dolly/boom assembly for a movie camera) for exactly $600 that way..)
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