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Old 09-30-2012, 09:40 PM   #1
frederik
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Last year I made a TSX retrofit for my black chrome JDM STi headlights. Link to thread: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2122705

I was happy with the result but as the retrofit bug bites I wanted to go a little further and heard about the RX350BX (bixenon projectors found on Lexus RX350 2010). I had read they were among the best (with the Acura TLs) and was very intrigued by the apparently clever design, with a nice band of light. Also they are not too large compared to the Acura TLs which are very big and oddly shaped.

So I went ahead and bought a pair of RX350BX at TRS. Compared to the TSX, they are narrower, but much higher, they are almost as high as they are wide. The lenses are 3" like the factory JDM instead of 2.5" for the TSX so that fills the hole better.

You might recognize the pictures from my other thread ( http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2287885 ) where I was debating doing the retrofit or not but thought I'd make another thread with retrofit in the title :-)


So here we go with preparing the projectors, first I removed the top black plastic pin that is used for the AFS system (the system that rotates the lights horizontally when you turn the steering wheel). I just pried the 2 tabs and removed it:









Then I also removed the bottom thing also used for the AFS system (2 screws held it there. they are already removed in the first pic BTW) :








On the 2 pics above, projector is upside down. The black part on the left is where the connector to trigger the solenoid connects so it needs to stay. TRS includes the little connector that goes there, with short 3" wires.

This little connector, when plugged in, only add like 0.25" towards the back, but in my case it contacted the back of the housing so I had to trim the plastic around the little connector and only keep the kind of prongs or terminals to manually plug them separately on the 2 pins. I carefully shaved the little connector until the inner metal contacts and wire could be undone from the connector.


Size comparison between STI and RX350 - Top view (sorry that is actually the bottom of the STI projector lol)





Size comparison - Side view


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Last edited by frederik; 07-21-2013 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:40 PM   #2
frederik
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Getting ready to open these for the second time:






Size comparison between STI JDM projector and RX - Front view (notice the RX still have the OEM fresnel lense, but I had them polished since):





Before taking apart my headlights I took a rough shape of the STI projector I had already sitting on the shelf to have an idea of the shape of the bracket in the STI light, and did some mockup with the RX reflector.

Here with reflector mounted behind bracket you can see the reflector clears pretty well the opening so that should not be a problem. Also in the pic below you see where the high beam solenoid connector (which I talked about earlier) will connect.









Here is the bracket, with the most critical mounting location highlighted in red. The mounting hole is conflicting with the bracket. There does not seem to be possible to mount there but I found a turnaround. More on that later.





Test fitting with duct tape You just have to not turn the light ON for more than like 5 seconds or the heat will undo the tape :-)









Last edited by frederik; 09-30-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:40 PM   #3
frederik
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Here are the pictures of the projector mounted. Most of the other holes are just borderline enough to attach.

To be able to mate the projector I also ground the healdight frame lip flat at some places.








Here you see better how I was able to mount the problematic screw, I basically removed everything on the back until I had a flat surface, free to receive the screw from the back.





Last edited by frederik; 09-30-2012 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
frederik
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The brackets ready to receive both projectors. You can also see the two custom brackets I made for the white upper plastic bushing that is used for alignment. With all the holes of the original STI projector and also previous TSX retrofit I thought it would be clearer to mark the projector mounting holes in red (see second pic, same as first but edited with red). The custom bracked I made for the plastic bushing also gives some more meat to screw in one of the two bottom holes, so there is only the last hole (outer bottom) that has almost no grab. I added a washer to that one so it could grab a little bit more.

I had to grind the opening some more to be able to mount the projector high enough. As you can see there is not much left on the top inner corner... But it is still pretty solid, and with the projector mounted it will add some strenght, I hope :-)






Projectors mounted:






Next I needed to shorten the bezel or shroud, whatever you call it (the chrome ring you see around the projector) because the projector is longer than the STI one, so I could not put back the headlight plastic lenses as is. I knew I would probably have to do this.

This was more involving than I thought. You have to separate the bezel from the plastic lense, because the chromed ring is taper so you can only remove it from the front. To add difficulty my black chrome bezel was cracked so I could not bend it to remove it. Here is the chrome ring I am talking about:




From the inside, it is retained by these little tabs you can just pry off with a small screw driver (it is pretty soft, aluminium probably):






I protected the bezel so the little plastic pieces would not cling everywhere and make it easier to clean after using the dremel to grind the plastic bezel. I removed approximately 0.2", I marked in black before starting to keep a reference while cutting. For the plated aluminium ring, I used scissors to remove approximately the same 0.2". The chrome flaked slightly near the edge but you cant really tell from the outside. You have to be careful not to bend the aluminium while working it, it is fairly flimsy.






I just cut the little retaining tabs altogether, it would have been too much of a PITA to try making new tabs while still cutting it overal straight. I just used JBWeld to glue it back. I applied the JB weld on the plastic bezel, and slipped the chrome ring in.

Last edited by frederik; 10-21-2012 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #5
frederik
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The headlights completed and ready to be put back on the car. I like the OEM like look of the 3" lenses, and the fact I had them perfectly centered this time!






I forgot to take a picture, but I also had to trim the plate at the bottom of the projector that holds the solenoid. Otherwise the projector could not sit as far in the bracket. I wanted to put the projector flush with the bracket. When grinding, make sure you block the shavings from going into the solenoid assembly and jam up the movement.

I edited a pic in mspaint to show you approximately what I removed:






Here are a few pictures of the headlights put back together and on the car. Notice how the projector sits close to the chrome ring, even after removing 0.2" and with the projector mounted flush on the bracket.








Last edited by frederik; 09-30-2012 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #6
frederik
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Now for the lenses I initially bought STI-R clear lenses to swap out the RX fresnel lenses. But after some testing I decided I preferred to have the OEM lenses polished by member Paleryder on hidplanet. The STI-R lense do not have exactly the same optics, you can even tell by looking at the lenses, they do not have the same focal lenght and also the RX seems somewhat flatter.

I did some testing of the beam spread with the STI-R and the OEM (not polished in these pics) to see the differences in beam pattern. The solenoid assembly is removed in these pics to expose the complete beam.


RX350 fresnel





STI-R




The STI-R clear lense is crisper because it is clear, but that aside, you can see in the top part (normally dark, above cutoff) the beam is stretched/squeezed differently. In the two pics below you can see this also vertically, the beam is taller with the STI-R which indicates it is stretched a bit. Keep in mind this is at few feet only (me aiming at the ceiling in the garage).


RX350 fresnel





STI-R





So, long story short, I was not quite sure what the effect of the slight differences in focal lenght of the lenses would be on the road, so I decided to trust the engineers who designed the lenses to go with this fairly complicated bowl and beam design. Dont get me wrong, the STI-R is a great lense, It is just that I decided to go a different route.
Also the fact that the STI-R lense does not directly drop in the RX lens holder was a factor. You have to grind the lens holder inner part because the lense is slightly larger than the RX OEM, otherwise the lense tends to wobble and not sit straight, causing a bow in the beam.

Last edited by frederik; 10-01-2012 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:18 AM   #7
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Good work, looks good.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:10 PM   #8
frederik
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Thanks!

Forgot to add, these normally take D4S bulbs so you have to remove the tabs molded in the plastic of the projectors, or mod the bulbs so they have the additional notches. I prefer modding the projector and be done with it and always put the D2S bulbs directly.

I just roughly broke the little tabs with long nose pliers and finished it with an exacto knife, test fittedthe d2s in for proper seating et voilą.

Main difference between d2s and d4s is the d4s are mercury free. Experts feel free to chime in and add some more information on the differences with d4s as I dont remember all the details. As far as I know, and most importantly, the light source is identical enough for the d2s to perform as good as the d4s. Also d4s require special ballasts so basically everyone runs them with d2s.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:10 PM   #9
frederik
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Thought I'd bump my own thread and hopefully give some inspiration to some people who recently bought the DEPO JDM replica units and are disappointed with the output

I would really like to see some people starting to retrofit the replicas and see how different they are inside (compared to the genuine JDM).
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:11 PM   #10
frederik
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Some more pictures I took during the retrofit, there are on a brownish wall with worn out 10yo bulbs so please dont mind the color:








Interesting cutoff color progression at 10 feet. The projector is stock as far as color is concerned, so no spacing. The first pic is the actual light color, under the cutoff (10 feet is too close, nobody will really see that flicker, but at this distance there is some interesting red so I took some pics)




Cutoff color progression at 20 feet.










Last edited by frederik; 07-20-2013 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:14 PM   #11
frederik
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Crappy iPhone pics, need to have real pics with the DSLR someday:





High beam on :



High beams (bixenon plus halogen Toshiba HIR 9011) on the road:

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Old 04-23-2014, 08:31 PM   #12
frederik
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Some more crappy iPhone pics lol I was not sure which were better, "HDR" crap or raw crap so I put both versions of each pic, I'll edit later depending on what it looks like:







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Old 04-23-2014, 08:32 PM   #13
frederik
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Nice color band I think and I did not color mod at all (the slight glare is because of the rain droplets on the housings and crappy iPhone lense):


Last edited by frederik; 04-24-2014 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:51 PM   #14
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Looks good. Ambient lighting (like those mounted on the wall) makes mediocre auto lighting somewhat pointless. No wonder many prefer having a bright foreground when "upgrading".

Not saying those RXs are mediocre of course.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:51 PM   #15
frederik
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Hahaha no but I agree the photography location is mediocre though. I did not plan to go there I just happened to roll by and thought "it is a long wall, let's park close to the wall and see what it looks like" (the "cool" part is only the line on the wall, you can hardly see any light on the wet, ambient lit ground)
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:10 PM   #16
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I guess what I meant was that with plenty of ambient light in most urban areas, even the best low beams won't make nearby objects that much brighter without throwing excessive light everywhere.

In contrast, if one adds low beams with a lot of foreground (or foglights), the additional light is very noticeable, because the angle the light makes to the ground is much closer to how street lights are set up. Hence, having foreground is the most noticeable "improvement".

I think the location you chose is not mediocre from that perspective.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:04 AM   #17
frederik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satrya View Post
I guess what I meant was that with plenty of ambient light in most urban areas, even the best low beams won't make nearby objects that much brighter without throwing excessive light everywhere. In contrast, if one adds low beams with a lot of foreground (or foglights), the additional light is very noticeable, because the angle the light makes to the ground is much closer to how street lights are set up. Hence, having foreground is the most noticeable "improvement". I think the location you chose is not mediocre from that perspective.
Ok I understand what you mean. Though as you probably know the apparent "improvement" with fogs or lots of foreground light is deceiving, makes you think you see more than you actually do, and in fact will hurt your distance vision if there is too much of it.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:58 AM   #18
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I agree. Yet it's hard to shake off the gut feel that all that foreground is good.
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:54 PM   #19
frederik
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I have just put Osram Nightbreaker Unlimited D2S bulbs (this is the name of the Osram SVS improved sucessor). Have yet to drive in the dark with them, here are a few pics showing the color compared to the HIR 9011 high beam:





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