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High Performance Headlights: My Personal Headlight Retrofit (Version 4)

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High Performance Headlights: My Personal Headlight Retrofit (Version 4)

Old 06-08-2017, 09:51 AM
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Default High Performance Headlights: My Personal Headlight Retrofit (Version 4)

As some of you know I like high performance headlights.

My focus is always light performance and output with a bright, wide, and controlled beam pattern. Headlights which feature these qualities offer not only improved performance but also safety as you as the driver can see better, which means your occupants are also safer, and when the light output is controlled and aimed properly this also means the roads are safer for others as your lights will not be blinding them. It's a win-win-win.

I have been tinkering with headlights and HID components for a while, this is now the 4th retrofit for my E61 and IMO this is the ultimate build in terms of light output, this setup will blow most other HID and LED setups out of the water in terms of beam pattern, intensity, and control. The laser tech recently released as an option ($10,000+ option that is) in the BMW i8 and Audi R8 V10 are the only setups which a likely comparable in performance.

Automotive LED technology is developing quickly and WILL surpass HID eventually but it isn't quiet there yet, manufacturers seem to be working through thermal management issues getting these intense LEDs into small packages while keeping them reliable. Oh the joys of engineering. LEDs offer numerous advantages over HID mainly the small footprint and the multiple light sources which can be stuffed into a single lighting unit and the articulation that allows, the new Mercedes Multi-beam system on the new E-class is a great example.




This was my last headlight setup (Version 3):
https://www.hidplanet.com/forums/for...ack-demon-eyes
With my current headlights gone I needed to re-retrofit my original set of lights (Version 1):
https://www.hidplanet.com/forums/for...ustom-orion-v2

I guess you could consider this Version 4 my "dream build" for this point in time, for city/urban driving I appreciate a WIDE beam pattern which helps to give panoramic-like visibility, for high speed and/or situations where other cars are not around then a high beam with strong on-center intensity is great for distance vision. It is comprised of HID components which I consider to be the best of the best and a clean/aggressive/unique headlight style with a full black out (eye brow included) and an angel eye delete; OEM angel eyes suck, aftermarket LEDs are not very reliable, and since all BMWs have angel eyes your car is instantly unique with them removed. I also love the clean look without the "circles" in the headlight. The look isn't for everyone but that's ok as these are my headlights and it's the look for me.

Here are the specs.

- Lexus SC430 Low Beam Projectors
- E30 Clear Lens
- Bowl shift
- Shaved "J slope" shield
- Black demon eye
- Shroudless
- D2S 4.0 High Beam Projector
- Shield/solenoid delete
- Black demon eye
- Boosted Hella Gen 3 Ballasts 46w Low, 55w High
- Osram CBI HID Bulb (Low), Morimoto 5.5k D2H HID Bulb (High)
- Full Vader Black Trim "distressed" finish
- Frosted Fins and Eyebrow Strip

The aftermarket HID/Lighting brand Morimoto is considered by many to be the standard in aftermarket lighting and they do have some nice products but there is no substitute for the high-end oem stuff. Since many people who are lighting enthusiasts or at least done some research with aftermarket HID components are familiar Morimoto, here is a comparison of my "boosted" 55w Hella ballasts vs. the Morimoto xb55 50w ballasts. The Hellas are nearly instant on, which is insane for HID. You can pause the video at 1 second to see the difference.


The "Dynamic" motorized gimbals were removed in order to fit the SC430 projectors. Many people scratch their head at deleting such a helpful feature, and it is great but the issue is the oem projectors are not great performers so even with them swiveling to aid light placement they simply can't compare to a high-end projector like the SC430. This projector is a low beam only projector which means it does not offer a high beam, consequently I had to add another HID projector for high beam duty which makes these headlights a "quad" setup with 4 projectors.


Dynamic motor and gimbal is OUT, SC430 is IN


After some trimming I got the 4.0 to sit flush in what was originally the reflector bowl for the oem angel eyes.



I was originally going to mount switchback Diode Dynamic strips in the eyebrows but it takes a surgeon's hand to remove the material without damaging the brow, I tried with my dremel and failed, it would likely be possible with an ultra sonic cutter and laser focus, I passed on the mod at this time but maybe in the future...



As I was keeping the oem LEDs my plan was to keep the side marker intense but kill off the light shining down the tube. In hopes of doing this I removed the reflector for the large LED, I couldn't desolder it as it would break the circuit.



I have a brushed aluminum theme on my wagon inside the cabin and in the engine bay so my plan to was to brush the SC430 and leave it raw so I sanded everything by hand. Here the lens retainer on the left is oem and the one on the right is brushed,




Everything brushed


Drilled out the mounts to allow mounting hardware


Shields were sanded to create a "J step" and allow a tad bit more light to pass through. My E61 is lowered and have no concerns about the added light blinding people.


Projectors are mounted rock-solid, no wiggle or wobble. The lower tab on the bowl sits nicely on the outer gimbal.


SC430 left, oem Hella Bi-X on the right.


Brow was originally silver which was "fine" and unoffensive but I wanted the brow to match the complete look of the headlight, I also wanted to test my skills on extracting and reinstalling the brow. It resides in it's own cavity above the main headlight area. So you could remove it with the headlight lens remaining sealed. It is VERY challenging to remove since it is so visible and when you use razor to cut it out any blemish form the process is easily visible.
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:52 AM
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Here is the look I was going for; tying the lights and the brushed look into the rest of the car, unfortunately the SC430s were so recessed behind the larger shroud they were not able to be "celebrated" as I had hoped and instead of them being showcased they were tucked away and the silver in the otherwise blackheadlight made it looked a bit unfinished. This was confirmed after I mocked up the headlight with the lenses off.




D2S 4.0s with solenoid removed and black demon eye applied



SC430s after receiving the "Vader" treatment. Being high temp paint with ceramic I put it through a few heat cycles to help it cure and release any extra gasses.


My original wiring harness was in bad shape, luckily I had some extra parts from an eBay light I bought for components. It should be easy to tell which harness is which.






SC430 painted, tuned, and ready to go back in


Digital angle finder and a Bosch laser level FTW



Going back in


Love the raw projector look #CelebrateOemProjectors


You can see the D2S slightly aimed upward.


No JB weld here, just some precise dremeling and serviceable hardware. i wanted to run CBIs for the highs but Mori CBHs were called into duty for space constraints, happy I got the D2S 4.0 to fit in here, previously it was a MH1.


Grommets for the D2H


Excess butyl after the seal


Trimmed


All done, finished up just in time for Bimmerfest 2017



Running light


Laser beams
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:52 AM
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Disclaimer: Acme 75w ballasts are powering the high beam in these pics, NOT the 55w Hellas, (still need to build the custom Hellas), The high beam will be strong but not as face-melting nuclear strong as shown in these pics. The output is INSANE.
BTW this is about 15' from the wall, love the SC430 width.






Low beam


High beam champ: D2S 4.0 + Arsenal


Laser beams


Exposure locked for the following 2 photos



Choppin trees




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Old 06-08-2017, 07:12 PM
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u got my money....were is the address were to send my headlights???

there are NO WORDS ON THE DICTIONARY that can describe your attention and knowledge when it comes to this projects

hands down..

u are a inspiration of dreams for the people low skilled like myself)
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:05 PM
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great work and amazing attention to detail as usual. from the pictures, it looks like you have a dead spot from the front bumper to about 5' or so in front of the car. maybe it isnt so pronounced when you're actually in the car and is only accentuated in the pictures, but do you see this as a potential safety issue?
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by BostonJon View Post
great work and amazing attention to detail as usual. from the pictures, it looks like you have a dead spot from the front bumper to about 5' or so in front of the car. maybe it isnt so pronounced when you're actually in the car and is only accentuated in the pictures, but do you see this as a potential safety issue?
The very last 2 pics were taken with the camera through the pano roof so when sitting in the driver seat there isn't a gap between the hood and the projector foreground. This isn't necessarily a good thing however, the foreground (light immediately in front of the car) is only really useful for VERY low speed stuff like going over a hump, parking, etc. At any speed above say 5pmh you will 100% know what is coming since that object will pass through the main beam pattern before arriving at your bumper. Furthermore if the foreground light is too strong it will make your eye constrict and actually impede distance vision, think of driving at night with a REALLY bright navigation screen glaring in your face, some idea.

Evan
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:59 PM
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That is just an unbelievable headlight project and build. Stunning results. They look amazing.
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ucsbwsr View Post
The very last 2 pics were taken with the camera through the pano roof so when sitting in the driver seat there isn't a gap between the hood and the projector foreground. This isn't necessarily a good thing however, the foreground (light immediately in front of the car) is only really useful for VERY low speed stuff like going over a hump, parking, etc. At any speed above say 5pmh you will 100% know what is coming since that object will pass through the main beam pattern before arriving at your bumper. Furthermore if the foreground light is too strong it will make your eye constrict and actually impede distance vision, think of driving at night with a REALLY bright navigation screen glaring in your face, some idea.

Evan
And if you are really worried about the lighting "gap" in the foreground at low speeds, then that is the time to activate the fog lamps!. Congratulations on a superb project. You seem to have a good comprehension of vision and lighting. Your comment on foreground light being too strong are right on and not usually understood by many..
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