Alright guys, I figured documenting my trials and tribulations in retrofitting my ZJ headlights might be of use to some. Bear in mind, this is a work in progress and isn't currently complete. I am targeting being complete in the next week or two. Follow along if you like it.
First off, some background info. I have a heavily modded Platinum Niner. As many of you were, I was very underwhelmed by the stock lighting. So then I upgraded to E-codes. Better, but not as good as I was hoping. So then I upgraded to PnP HID's. Way more light output, but way more glare. This basically counteracted itself because to make the glare bearable to other drivers (i.e. no flashing), I had to aim my lights down so far that they essentially weren't providing any more usable light down the road. Then I discovered the magic that is www.hidplanet.com
CHOOSING YOUR PARTS
Since it is my first retrofit, I decided to start off easy. I decided, like many, to purchase my things from TheRetrofitSource.com (TRS). I decided on the Morimoto Mini H1 for an easy install. These projectors have threaded shafts that can be (in general) placed through your original bulb holes with little/no modification. Some bulb sizes (like H4 and H7) even come with adapter plates to take the rotational aiming out of the equation. Using the original bulb hole also greatly reduces the amount of vertical and horizontal aiming. Because I already have an HID kit, I saved money by not having to buy ballasts. I also elected for the mini gatling shrouds.
Link to the kit I bought: http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...oducts_id=3181
TRS also sells a Mini D2S that (as the name implies) uses a D2S bulb. These bulbs were originally designed for HID use, so some people assume they are better. However, my research on HIDPlanet indicates the MH1 is actually better than the MD2S, when used with quality bulbs (I recommend Morimoto). YMMV when used with crappy bulbs. Also, MH1's come with shrouds that screw on (rather than being epoxied on), plus the threaded shaft is smaller (MH1 = 22mm, MD2S = 32mm) and the MH1 is smaller physically (slightly).
Lastly, these are not the best projectors out there. A TL/ZKW-R or FX-R 3.0 will mop the floor with a MH1, but the install is a LOT more involved. Had all the parts I needed been close at hand, I would already be done with this retrofit. It's not like the MH1's don't perform. See pictures below:
GETTING THE CORRECT HOUSINGS
Projector with shroud
Because the E-codes have a fluted glass lens, I had to go shopping for new lights. I got excited when I saw that ebay had two offerings - plastic lens and glass lens. I first decided on the glass lens as I felt the durability might be better but mainly because they use an H4 bulb (like the E-codes). This was great because it meant a "100% bolt-in" retrofit with the kit's included H4 adapter plate.
This is where my bowl of cheerios was first pissed in. Apparently, the glass lens headlights are sealed with some sort of silicone. No combination of heat, baking time, or solvent (including gasoline) could get them open. The breaking point (literally) was when I tried to brute force them open and screwed one up. My patience was thin anyways.
I purchased a set of plastic lens lights and these came apart easily after 10 minutes at 275*F. An added bonus is that they are usually cheaper. The downside is that all the plastic lights I've found so far use a 9004 bulb, so have your dremel handy (TRS discontinued the 9004/9007 adapter plate). This didn't exactly phase me because I've read a lot of people say the adapter plates aren't always perfect rotationally (which I'm sure is true when coupled with eBay's typical quality of crap). Ironically, the purpose of the adapter plate is to get your rotational alignment correct.
So how do you make sure you get the right lights? In general, the glass lens housings accept an H4 bulb, whereas the plastics take a 9004. Also, the glass ones have wider "blocks" in the reflector surface, plastics are much smaller blocks. See pictures below. This is probably due to the differences in the bulbs:
MODIFYING YOUR HOUSINGS
H4 (Glass Lens) Housing
9004 (Plastic Lens) Housing
So since I was stuck with the 9004 housings, I knew modifications were going to be in order. After some test fitting, I discovered the bulb holder sticks out too far. There isn't enough threads on the projector sticking out the back to do anything with. To fix this, I began by cutting down the bulb holder area until it was almost flush. Sorry, I didn't think to snap a photo of what it looked like prior to modding. Just make it look like the pic
Next, I decided to look like an idiot carrying around a headlight and projector in my local Ace Hardware store. I tried many different stack ups on the projector but ultimately settled on smaller silicone washer (included with MH1)-->7/8" ID x 1-3/8" OD x 14ga machine bushing-->nut (included with MH1)-->H1 bulb holder. The outside diameters were perfect to seal against the surface I had just dremeled down. Though I haven't done any testing, I'm 99.999% sure this is totally water proof.
Last order of business was to create a hole for wires to pass through for the BiX solenoid. I also have a little side project planned with Morimoto's xB LED halos that will also pass through the same hole.
Conveniently, the plastic lens housings came with a bulb cap that was screwed to the inside of the reflector. Of course, the bulb cap needs to be removed for the retrofit - this left an excellent pilot hole to use. I enlarged this hole using a 1/4" drill bit. Once all the wires are pulled through, I will seal this hole with silicon or similar to preserve the watertight integrity.
I think it's all coming together nicely. Here's where I'm at so far.