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Old 06-17-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
nolant
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Default DIY: Bugeye HID Projector Retrofit (Morimoto Mini H1 4.1) - Minimal Modifications

Here is another write-up on how to retrofit the 02-03 WRX headlights with HID (high intensity discharge) projectors. I read up (a lot) on the subject before starting my retrofit, so everything went remarkably smoothly. Overall, it wasn't very difficult. This write-up is intended as a stand-alone how-to, and I hope to highlight some of the areas of confusion regarding HID retrofits. That said, here is my obligatory disclaimer that I won't take any responsibility for a botched retrofit on your end. Happy retrofitting.

Output / before-after shots posted at the end..



Motivation:
There are plenty of preachy threads online about how bad it is to use cheap ebay HID kits in a standard halogen projector headlight. To summarize, the HID bulb is physically different in design than a halogen bulb. When you put an aftermarket HID bulb into a standard halogen headlight assembly, the light from the HID bulb is not properly reflected off of the halogen reflector bowl and the result is scattered light. This results in poor visibility despite a fairly bright-looking light. More importantly, it blinds oncoming traffic because of the non-uniform scattering of the light. The degree to which the light is scattered varies from car to car, but the bugeye WRX's stock housings are particularly bad at focusing light from an aftermarket HID bulb. Despite this, I had been using the cheap HID kit that came on my car for quite some time. I only recently made the decision to do a retrofit when my ballasts started to crap out.

Parts:
The theme of this retrofit was plug'n'play. I really wanted to do this retrofit, but I wanted it to be as simple as possible. For that reason, I went with the Bi-xenon Morimoto Mini Stage III Kit (H1) from TheRetrofitSource.com available here:

http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...roducts_id=227

The Morimoto Mini H1 projectors combined with the adapter plates are designed to be installed with no modification to the stock headlight housing. This was not the case, however, and some minor modding is required (Scroll down to see what I mean).

For the 02-03 WRX, the options selected were:
  • Adapter Plate: 9007 (Doesn't really matter - These weren't used)
  • Ballasts: Morimoto 3Five (35W)
  • Bulbs: Morimoto 3Five 5000K
  • Projectors: LHD (North American Standard)
  • Re-Sealing Glue: Yes (+$10) (But I didn't end up using it)
  • Shrouds: Ocular
  • Wire Harness: Relay: 9007/9004

This kit was truly a complete kit. I did not need to purchase any additional wires/connectors/screws/etc... +1 for theretrofitsource.com

The complete package:



In addition to the functional pieces provided in the kit, I also bought:
  • Krylon Fusion Paint - Satin Black
  • Blue Painter's Masking Tape
in order to paint the housings.

Tools Needed:
There aren't any special tools you need to complete this project. Basics include:
  • Flathead
  • Philips
  • 8, 10, 12 mm sockets w/ ratchet
  • An oven, or a heatgun
  • A Dremel rotary tool with cutoff wheels


On to the Retrofit

The first step is removing the headlights. You will need to take off the grill first. This can be done with just the flathead screwdriver by pushing down and releasing the (4) clips on the top and the (2) clips on the bottom:


Then remove the side grill pieces on either side of the grill by using the flathead screwdriver to pop out the (3) snap fasteners on each piece. There are two that are easily accessible from the top, but there is one on the bottom that you might miss if you you aren't careful.


Now, you can remove the headlights. They are held on by (3) 10mm bolts. Remove them.


Be careful when pulling out the headlight assembly. It can be tricky, and there is an additional "tab" that you can't see from the front of the light. By wiggling it side to side, you can slide the tab out from the housing and remove the headlight assembly. I may be wrong, but I think this is the "tab" people refer to when selling used headlights that often have "broken tabs." In other words, I assume they're easy to break if you're not careful.

Tab:


Tab "housing"


Once you wiggle both headlights free, unplug the turn signal harness and the main harness to fully remove the headlights.
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Last edited by nolant; 06-22-2012 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:04 PM   #2
nolant
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The next part of the retrofit is probably the most difficult of the whole process. You need to separate the two halves of each headlight assembly so you can access the internals. To do this, many people recommend putting the whole headlight assembly into the oven set to 250 F for 10 min. I chose the alternative of using a heat gun to locally heat the factory sealant so it becomes pliable.

First, you should remove the parking light / turn signal wiring harness. Remove the turn signal bulb socket and the parking signal bulb socket by twisting them counter-clockwise until they are free. Then unscrew the plug bracket. You might also have to unscrew the aiming screw bracket (green arrow) in order to free the wires.


Then, remove the (2) small screws that hold the lens to the housing:



Then, either put the headlight into an oven for 10 min at 250F (double check these numbers first!) or use the heat gun. If using a heat gun, slowly move around the edge of the headlight assembly without leaving the gun in one place for longer than a few seconds at a time. As a rough estimate, the total time to apply heat to each headlight is about 3-5 min.

Wear protective gloves and grab a flathead when you are ready to begin prying. Start at one spot and work your way around, minding the few tabs you will need to lift in order to separate the housings. There are 3 or 4 tabs total.



Be careful not to get any of the sealant on anything, especially the inside of the lens. A good way to avoid this is to use a screwdriver to clear away the strings of sealant as you go.


From here on out, I'll be using the terms lens, bezel, reflector bowl, and headlight housing to describe the (4) main components of the headlight.


When you are done separating the two halves of the headlight assembly, the bezel will be attached to the lens via (2) screws. You should remove them and separate the bezel from the lens (if you intend to paint the bezel). In either case, put the lens away somewhere safe as you will not need to touch it until you put everything back together.

The next thing to do is to separate the reflector bowl from the headlight housing. Do this by unscrewing the (2) aiming screws:

The first one turns the screw that rotates the gears:


The second one is hidden beneath a rubber cap that you can pry out with a flathead:


The reflector bowl is also held in place by a ball and socket joint that allows for horizontal and vertical beam adjustment. You have to pop the ball out of the socket using a flathead. Others have suggested a trim panel removal tool. In any case, it takes some bit of force to pop it out.

Pry like this:


Separated:

Last edited by nolant; 06-18-2012 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:04 PM   #3
nolant
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Once the reflector bowl is removed, be sure not to lose these (2) pieces. There is one on each side of the reflector bowl.



The next part is the ONLY irreversible part of the retrofit. In order for the Moromoto Mini H1 projectors to be properly mounted, you have to remove a bit off the back of the reflector bowl. Removing this material allows the threads on the back of the projectors to protrude far enough out of the back of the reflector bowl to thread on the lockring. I measured 1/4" down from the edge all the way around:


I used a dremel cutoff wheel to remove the material:



At this point, a test fit is a good idea. The projector has a threaded post on the back that fits through the front of the reflector bowl. The order goes, projector, rubber grommet, reflector bowl, flat washer, lockring. I DID NOT use the included adapter plates that are intended to eliminate the guesswork from rotational aiming. They were somewhat cumbersome, and I would have had to remove much more material for them to fit properly. To clarify, with this method of mounting, the lockring on the back of the projector is all that holds the reflector in place. It is surprisingly solid despite my initial reservations. There is an alternate method of mounting where you drill (4) holes aligned with the mounting holes of the projector as well as a method known as the JnC method, which allows for rotational adjustments. Additionally, some people choose to epoxy everything together once they get the alignment just right. I chose not to epoxy and the only thing holding the projector in place is the torqued-down lockring. So far it has been fine.

Front:


Back:
(You can run the bi-xenon solenoid wires through the hole where the bulb cover on the reflector bowl used to be)


Once you are satisfied with the mounting, you should take care of any aesthetic mods you desire. I masked off the part of the bezel that reflects the turn signal, and painted the rest of the bezel and the reflector bowl satin black.

You can use Krylon Fusion paint directly on the chromed plastic pieces. Just clean the parts to be painted in the sink with soap and water and finish with an alcohol cleaning pad.





Painting is really not my strong suit, but these came out well. Use plenty of light coats (4-5) and allow 15-20 min. in between.

Last edited by nolant; 06-18-2012 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:05 PM   #4
nolant
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Once everything is painted to your liking, you can start testing and aiming your headlights. Install the bulbs into the projectors and wire up the harness. Everything is labelled, so the wiring is pretty straightforward.

Mount the projectors back into the reflector bowls, and snap the reflectors bowls back into the headlight housings. Reinsert the aiming screws and mount the lights to your car. Also reinstall the turn signal and parking light harness.

This is the time to follow standard HID aiming procedures to get your lights aimed properly. There are plenty of sources on the proper aiming of HIDs. For instance:

http://www.hidplanet.com/forums/show...HID-headlights



Aiming:


There is one issue regarding the wiring. The WRX is notorious for having finicky wiring. If you do a search on "TRS 9007 wiring harness issues WRX," you will come up with 2-3 typical problems that occur on a regular basis. One of which was that the high beam solenoids wouldn't activate upon flipping the high beam switch. After some messing around, a friend and I were able to figure out the proper fix for the problem.

I turns out the main plug on the harness needed to be re-pinned like this:


If you end up having issues similar to mine, or any of the typical issues, do some reading on that particular TRS harness. There are several discussions regarding particular problems and you should be able to sort them out eventually. There is only a finite number of pin combinations on the main plug. The other fixes include reversing the plugs going to the ballasts / projector solenoids.

Once you get the wiring and the aiming right, you can start sealing up the headlights. I chose to leave off the orange bulb cover on the bezel, however there are other modding options, such as the Koji mod, for this part of the retrofit that can add a touch of personalization.

Additionally, this is where you get to choose the shrouds you will use to cover the projector housings for a clean, finished look. I chose the "ocular" shrouds offered by TRS (the retrofit source), but there are plenty of options available.

Before you reseal the lights, make sure to clean everything so you don't end up with random bits of lint inside the lights.

I bought extra sealant from the retrofit source to reseal the lights, but there was actually enough on the headlights to get a good seal. Reheat the sealant around the edges and press the lens/bezel combination back onto the housing/reflector bowl combination and tighten the (2) screws that hold the two halves together. Make sure there are no gaps and that the two halves are pressed together all the way.

Last edited by nolant; 06-18-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
nolant
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Here are some before and after shots:

Before:


After:


Output Low Beam (Before):
Cheap ebay HID kit, 5000k bulbs. Note the scattered light and no discernible beam cutoff.


Output Low Beam (After):
Unfortunately, I chose a yellow wall on which to take pictures of the output beam, so the color at the cutoff doesn't really show up. On a white wall, the cutoff color is a really nice purplish-blue color.


Output High Beam (After):


Other Pics (After):





Last edited by nolant; 06-18-2012 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:34 PM   #6
nolant
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Reserved.......
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:26 AM   #7
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Reserved........
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:26 AM   #8
nolant
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Reserved . . .
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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Nice. Quick note on the harness. I had to go through 2 types of harness from TRS. The one on the left didn't work for me after re-pin attempts, while the one on the right (an older version) worked after re-pinning the input to the oem headlight connector. This was around the end of 2011; the one you use is probably from a newer version that they released early this year (2012).
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:29 PM   #10
Bluefoton
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THANK YOU for yet another example of perfectly done HID headlamps. Kudos to you.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:41 PM   #11
nolant
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Yea, the one I used was supposedly the new version for early 2012. I ordered my kit in May, 2012.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #12
nolant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefoton View Post
THANK YOU for yet another example of perfectly done HID headlamps. Kudos to you.
Thanks. Eventually, I'll post up some better output shots.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:23 AM   #13
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awesome write up, I did the same retrofit on my 03 wagon but I didn't cut the rear of the housings and they still worked just pain to get the lock nut on the threaded portion. I wish I woulda cut them like you did, since I painted the reflectors I would have to buy new headlights if I wanted to switch back any ways
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:54 PM   #14
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That's a good point - I guess painting the housings also makes the process irreversible..
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:16 PM   #15
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Great writeup bud, I'm sure that will help a lot of people do it (HID) the right way.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:56 AM   #16
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Subscribed, best writeup for these I've seen. Ill be doing this iin the next couple weeks.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:58 PM   #17
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Thank you much for this very intuitive write up! I've been reading other DIYs on retrofit and yours is the one that actually gave me confidence to go through it. I just need to find a second set of headlights to do the retrofit.
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ae86RSbugeye View Post
Thank you much for this very intuitive write up! I've been reading other DIYs on retrofit and yours is the one that actually gave me confidence to go through it. I just need to find a second set of headlights to do the retrofit.
For sourcing headlights, you might consider the ones on ebay like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/02-03-Subaru...d447cf&vxp=mtr.

They're brand new, and from what I can tell, the quality is decent (after all, it's just a headlight housing). It'd be a clean/easy starting point for a retrofit.

Also, a minor detail: It's hard to see from my pics, but there is a turn signal bulb cover on the oem headlights that is amber, but I removed it because I didn't want any amber in my lights. The result is that it looks a bit unfinished if you look closely. The headlights they sell on ebay have a clear bulb cover, so you can throw a silverstar turn signal bulb in there and it will look very clean. Plus the bezel is already black so you wouldn't need to paint them. You would only need to paint the reflector bowls (if you wanted).
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:46 PM   #19
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looking for more info & researching. About to follow this.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:32 PM   #20
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Just curious, but how to the shrouds attach to the projectors? I haven't seen that part mentioned before. Then again, I haven't read too many of these. Also, does the rear boot and such fit back on the rear of the lights or are they weather tight without it?

Nice job on the write-up! I plan to do the retrofit to my car sometime, and I too planned to try out running the lights without the extra mounting holes to see how they would work out.

~T.J.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02CWRX
Just curious, but how to the shrouds attach to the projectors? I haven't seen that part mentioned before. Then again, I haven't read too many of these. Also, does the rear boot and such fit back on the rear of the lights or are they weather tight without it?

Nice job on the write-up! I plan to do the retrofit to my car sometime, and I too planned to try out running the lights without the extra mounting holes to see how they would work out.

~T.J.
The shrouds attach to the projectors with the included shroud-centric rings available from theretrofitsource.com. Look into them - they make it so you don't have to glue/epoxy the shrouds to the projector. Basically, they just snap onto the front of the projector.

The stock rear boot is used in this application, and I didn't mod the rear of the headlights at all.

The ability to mount the morimoto minis through the stock hole in the reflector bowl is one of the main reasons I went with that projector. I highly recommend the retrofit to anyone with moderate mechanical skills.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:14 PM   #22
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Great write up!
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:16 PM   #23
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So you didnt have to use epoxy to mount the projector housing like some people havE?
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:12 PM   #24
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Just did my retro fit in my 02 last night, but having same issues with my high beams not wanting to work, I'll have to try repining the harness. Also my high beam indicator is like halfway lit up on my gauge cluster, after you repined the harness, did the high beam indicator function correctly? Thanks
Also used the same projectors, very easy install!
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:57 PM   #25
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I just got my kit in the mail but will probably do the retrofit next weekend. Do you have any advise while im doing this that you ran into? Was aiming the projectors hard?
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