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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
jlipka98zj
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ZJ HID Projector Retrofit (56K Beware!)

BACKGROUND INFO

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:

Projector with shroud


Low Beams


High Beams


Color


GETTING THE CORRECT HOUSINGS

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:

H4 (Glass Lens) Housing


9004 (Plastic Lens) Housing



MODIFYING YOUR HOUSINGS

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.




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Last edited by jlipka98zj; 01-31-2013 at 06:05 PM.. Reason: Fixed picture links...
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:50 AM   #2
3xX
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very nice
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:55 AM   #3
jlipka98zj
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TO DO LIST:

I am currently awaiting the aforementioned halos. Current tracking data says this Saturday. Once I receive those, I need to epoxy them to my shrouds and then remount the shrouds to the projector.

Next step after that is to remove my existing e-codes and install my projector housings (minus lenses) onto jeep for test fit. Adjust for rotational aim, then drop them back in the oven to reattached the lenses. Vertical and horizontal aim should be easily handled by the jeep's existing adjusting mechanisms.

I have very little wiring to do. My existing ballast will interface perfectly with the new H1 bulbs, and I bought some BiX-to-9006 adapters to interface with the MH1's BiX solenoid connectors. The only wiring after that is to splice in the two wires for the halo's (stay tuned for that).

BiX-->HID adapters: http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...ducts_id=14163
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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very nice i have stock hids on my lexus and love them
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Unread 01-31-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
jlipka98zj
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One other important fact. According to my research on HIDPlanet, you should NOT use 55W bulbs (HID or halogen) with the Morimoto Mini projectors (H1 or D2S). This could result in bubbling the chrome reflective surface inside the bowl area of the projector. Just a heads up for those of you who currently own 55W ballasts or who were planning on it. You need to go to a full-size projector (recommendation = FX-R 3.0) if that is what your heart desires.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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Awesome! This is exactly what I was looking for. I actually bought those same headlights from eBay for my old ZJ and it really helped the light output for my halogens, and really made the front end look a lot cleaner.

Once I get some cash saved up, I'll be following this for reference to make my own. Everything looks good so far! Keep it up and lets see some finished products!
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Unread 01-31-2013, 02:22 PM   #7
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holy christ those are huge. i have a 20Mb connection and it took over a minute to load.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
jlipka98zj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseyliffick View Post
Awesome! This is exactly what I was looking for. I actually bought those same headlights from eBay for my old ZJ and it really helped the light output for my halogens, and really made the front end look a lot cleaner.

Once I get some cash saved up, I'll be following this for reference to make my own. Everything looks good so far! Keep it up and lets see some finished products!
Will do.

Not that expensive. If you need ballasts, the entire kit is about $270. Add $10 if you want them to include a roll of butyl. http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...roducts_id=227

If you don't need ballasts, the MH1 kit is about $120. See the link in my first post.

These prices don't include extras like the BiX adapters ($10), butyl rubber ($15), or halos ($55). Budget accordingly if you need those items.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratmonkey View Post
holy christ those are huge. i have a 20Mb connection and it took over a minute to load.
Sorry. My buddy hosts a site and uploaded them in their full iPhone 4S 8 megapixel glory. I should probably shrink them down. My apologies.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 02:53 PM   #9
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UPDATE: Project Complete!

Retrofit went well, guys. Quite easy and quite pleased with the results. Follow the conclusion below.


INSTALLING HALO'S

Alright guys, I told you I was waiting on those Morimoto xB LED Halos. Boy am I glad I waited! These things cast the most uniform light I have ever seen! HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM! There is really no distinguishable separation between adjacent LED's. It's like having the best of both worlds with LED and CCFL halos. The uniform output of CCFL, with the superior brightness and durability of LED.

Now I know what you're thinking. Halo's would look gay on a ZJ. I couldn't agree more. That's why I decided to take this a different direction. You see, the LED turn signal bulbs I installed, coupled with the diffused lens of the parking lens, leave something to be desired in the way of turn signal brightness. As such, I decided to buy amber LED halos for the mini gatling shrouds and wire them to my turn signals. I think it worked quite well. Okay, enough yapping, on with the pics!!!

HALOS MOUNTED ON SHROUDS


PROJECTOR MOUNTED IN HOUSINGS


TESTING HALO - PROJECTOR OFF


TESTING HALO - PROJECTOR ON


MOUNTING LIGHTS ON JEEP

So after mounting both projectors in the lights, I ran out to the jeep and did the initial test fit to get rotational alignment correct. After that, it was time to put them back in the oven to get the lenses back on. After a 10 minute soak at 275*F, all that was needed was some slight pressure to force the two halves back together. After all this was done, here was the final product:

COMPLETED HOUSINGS


After this, the simple task of mounting them back on the Jeep. And here's the new look:




Finally, I figured I'd make a short video to illustrate the halos new purpose in life. Now, I almost didn't post it as the video does not even come close to doing justice to the halos' brightness. At least as bright as the turn signals!

HALO VIDEO

Output pics are in the next post!
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Unread 01-31-2013, 02:54 PM   #10
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OUTPUT PICS

Here's the results. Quite pleased!

CUTOFF


LOW BEAMS


HIGH BEAMS


If you subtract out crap like halo's and having to buy two sets of housings, this project came out less than $300. But that's because I already had ballasts. If you have to buy ballasts, figure on $400. Even with having to buy two sets of housings and buying stuff like halos, I came out just a tad over $400. Not at all a bad investment when you consider the results. I think they speak to themselves.

The cutoff is immaculate. I was already grinning like a Cheshire cat, then I got on a dark road and excitedly pulled back on the stalk. It literally took my breath away. You haven't experienced HID lights until you have had quality projectors. WOW!

Quit thinking that a set of E-Code's or an upgraded headlight harness is going to fix your problem! This is THE CURE FOR YOUR ZJ LIGHTING WOES!!!

P.S. I have a set of e-codes for sale now...
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Unread 01-31-2013, 03:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ratmonkey View Post
holy christ those are huge. i have a 20Mb connection and it took over a minute to load.
I just have the box with the little x's. No pics.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 06:05 PM   #12
jlipka98zj
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Fixed the picture links...
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Unread 01-31-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
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Post #10 reserved for future use.
This is Sig worthy Material!!!
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Unread 02-01-2013, 12:30 AM   #14
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holy christ those are huge. i have a 20Mb connection and it took over a minute to load.
Play Xbox and you'll upgrade to a 50Mb connection. That's what mine is.

OT:Very nice turnout so far!
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Unread 02-01-2013, 07:13 AM   #15
jlipka98zj
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Originally Posted by YJSXJ View Post
This is Sig worthy Material!!!
Lol, I did that so when I make more progress, the entire saga will be on the first page so you don't have wade through 5 pages to find it all...
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