How To: DIY HID Projector Retrofit Headlights - : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-28-2016, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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How To: DIY HID Projector Retrofit Headlights

Factory headlights are a joke.
I've tried LED replacement bulbs in stock housings- output was alright, poor beam pattern.
I had the Lantsun 13 LED Headlights - not too bad, good output, alright beam pattern (had hotspots), but way better than factory (Beachbound is getting those bad boys)

I wanted a light with a great pattern, awesome light penetration, and of course, badass looking. Cue the holy grail of lighting; HIDs through a projector housing. While there are some awesome retailers that sell some kits ready to go, I wasn't prepared to pay $600-$700 for their housings, plus, I like doing things myself!

I ended up getting an AWESOME set of headlights with EXCELLENT light output, with top of the line components, for roughly $300-$350. You will not be disappointed with the light output and its a fun little project to undertake. The following are some light output pictures. (Note that my projects need to be aligned and tweaked just a little bit, but are pretty close. It's not really noticeable when driving, but when you are looking at a wall or back of a car, you'll notice it until it's aligned/tweaked)

Low beam:

High Beam:

Drool a little bit...

I was able to knock this project out over the course of a few days, the most time consuming part was painting the housings and making slowing perfecting the size of the hole in the housing.

Parts List:

-OEM JK Housings - $FREE
-JK Horizontal Headlight Adjustment Screws - $7
-Epoxy of your choice; I chose a quick set JB weld - ~$10
-RTV/Silicon Sealant - ~$10
-x2 PVC 1.5" to 2" coupler (I believe this was the size, you get the idea) - ~$5 (Buy an extra in case you mess up, they're cheap)
-x2 Large washers to glue to the PVC (Can't remember the exact size, but the OD should be about 1-1/2", ID should be that of the projector mounting shaft) - ~$3
-Dremel with appropriate attachments for PVC/plastic housing
-Belt Sander
-Paint of your choice (I used satin black Krylon fusion)
-Scotchbrite Pads
-Sandpaper, misc
-Safety Equipment (Face mask, safety glasses, you will make a TON, like a lot, of fine dust)
-The Retrofit Source Morimoto H1 Universal Kit - ~$300
---Mini Gatling Shrouds
---55W XB55 Morimoto Ballasts
---I went with 6500k bulbs due to the 55W kit; it's has a tint of blue and it fine, but will try the 5500K next time for a more pure white
---IMPORTANT: If you have a 2013+ with the CANBUS, call them and get the MOPAR Bi-Xenon harness; it's not listed as an option, but they'll hook you up
---I got the black sealant; you will have a ton left over
---The kit is all Morimoto (excellent quality stuff)

I'm going to skip the removal of the headlights as it's a VERY straight forward process(5 push pins, disco mark lights, pull) If you can't figure that bit out, then I don't suggest taking on this project.

Bake each headlight housing for 8-10 minutes @ 285*F; wearing gloves and using a scraper/screwdriver, carefully pry the lens off of the housing, taking care to not chip the housing. Slowly pry your way around the housing and they'll come right off. If you have a lot of resistance, throw it back in the oven. I highly recommend doing this one at a time so that you can take your time and not risk melting your housing if the first housing takes longer than expected.

Remove the reflector bulb cap from the housing using a Torx bit; throw this wherever your want, you will not need it any more.

Step 3:
Time to back the mounting platform for our projectors; this is where the PVC coupler comes into play! Cut (sand with belt sander for perfectly flat surface) down the small size of the PVC coupler. There is a point where the inside of the coupler starts to bevel into the large side -- cut it down to this point. You can see the point I'm talking about in the following picture. On the large side, I ground off the width of one of our washers; reference the sharpie marks on the large side. (Easiest way to do this is put the washer next to the PVC, mark, rotate, mark, do this as many times as you want so you have reference points to make sure it's a level grind.
Next you need to cut a relief for your Bi-beam actuator wires. Make sure that you cut a slot big enough to get the connector through as well.
Set these aside when cut down.

How the washer will sit on top of the PVC coupler:

Take a deep breath, grab a beer, shit is about to get real.

It's time to cut up your housings. This process is going to be trial and error, slowly grinding away material until the projector sits far enough in the housing to clear the lens. I started back whacking the H13 bulb platform off with a dremel bit, don't worry about being super precise, this is only the beginning. From there, I recommend using a belt sander to evenly take down the material until the opening in the reflector matches the ID of the 2" side of the PVC coupling(NOTE: You might have have some points where the hole is bigger than the PVC). Note that due to the shape of the housing, the PVC coupling will NOT make fully contact on all points of the housing so there will be gaps. You didn't mess up, that's just how it will be. We will fill those in later. I also beveled down the inside of the housing to contour to the projector, this will gain a good bit of clearance.

Before calculated molestation:

Making some progress:

Test the PVC housing, washer, and projectors into the housing. The projector nut and housing will clamp everything together while you test fit the lens onto the housing. You want to have about 1/4" of clearance between the projector lens and housing lens. Keep reverting back to Step 4 until you have the required clearance. Slowly remove material, check, rinse, repeat. NOTE: Make sure you account for the silicone washer that will go between the PVC and projector.

Test fitting:

When you're happy with how the projectors fit into the housing and have proper clearance, it's time to epoxy everything together. Because there are gaps, I covered the gap between the PVC and housing with tape from the inside. This will keep the epoxy from leaking through and gluing the projector to the housing. I don't have a picture of it, but it should make sense when it comes time. Use a narrow tape and tape vertically, not a continuous piece around the gap. Go all the way around the housing, even if there's not a gap; it's cheap insurance.
Time to glue;
The best way to accomplish this is to put it all together, clamping with the projector nut like when you were test fitting. MAKE SURE THAT YOU INCLUDE THE KEYED WASHER(small one in the kit) BETWEEN THE BIG WASHER AND NUT! It is important that you align the key with the top of the housing so that your beam is level. Let your epoxy set up a little bit so that it won't run. Be liberal with the epoxy, extra won't hurt. Glue to PVC to the housing, the big washer to the PVC, and the small keyed washer to the big washer.
Let the epoxy set up overnight. If you're going to paint, then do so after the epoxy is set up. Also paint your shrouds if desired at this point. Make sure you rough up all surfaces with the scotchbite pad. I used a satin black. Go have a beer, you're done for the night. :wootrock: (I don't have any pictures between epoxy and paint)

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post #2 of 6 Old 02-28-2016, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Clean everything with A LINT FREE TOWEL; Everything will probably be covered in dust from all the sanding, so make sure you get the inside of the projector as well. Windex on everything, alcohol works for the GLASS lens of the projector. Screw your shroud to your projector. Make sure that you don't forget the silicone washer between the PVC and projector(inside of the housing). Run your hi-beam actuator wire through the slot you made and do your best to align the slot on the projector to the top of the housing! Once you have everything tightened down, go ahead and glob some RTV around the hi-beam wires to seal it all up. Also inspect to make sure that you glued all the way around the PVC to housing joint to make sure it is sealed. Epoxy or RTV any gaps.

Test fit with the lens ONCE MORE TIME TO BE SURE! (And admire)

Time to seal that lens back on the housing using the sealant you ordered. The glue will be too wide for the gap on the housings, so stretch it out to thin it just enough to get it into the channel, making sure that it is ALL THE WAY IN THE CHANNEL! (Ha ha ha...). There should not be any of the sealant above the top of the channel. You should be able to press the lens into the channel a little bit. Once this is done and the lens is pressed into the channel a little bit, throw that bad boy in the oven. 8-10 minutes @ 285*F. Pull it out of the oven and press the lens onto the housing until it is flush and you can clip the lens onto the housing. Do it for the other one, trim off excess sealant. ALMOST DONE!

Install your bulb, using gloves to make sure you don't touch the bulb. If you touch the bulb with a bare hand, the oils on your skin will ruin the bulb. I modified the rubber gasket a little bit to cover the back of the bulb a bit. Don't remember exactly what I did, but just mess with it a bit, you'll have to cut it up a little bit. I secure it by stabbing the gasket onto the ends of the bulb clip.


The installation is pretty straight forward. TheRetrofitSource has a guide on installing the MOPAR harness on their website. Here's a couple of pictures of where I mounted everything. There's not really super ideal places for things, so you'll have to be crafty and use liberal amounts of 3M double sided tape.

Adjust accordingly. You will likely have to purchase horizontal adjustment screws for the factory light buckets. US JK's do NOT come with these from the factory. They're cheap, though:

That's it! You're done and have some legitimately bright headlights that look badass and perform incredibly. Now go drool over your new creation and enjoy not fearing the dark anymore.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-28-2016, 06:57 PM
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Didn't Matti do a smiler write up in 2014?

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post #4 of 6 Old 02-29-2016, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mason View Post
Didn't Matti do a smiler write up in 2014?
I've seen a couple of different write-ups here and there and figured that I would throw mine into the fray.

I know that I'm no where near the first people to do this, but when I was researching to do it, the more materials and perspectives of doing things, the better!
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-29-2016, 12:03 PM
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Why wouldn't you go with a better projector like the mini d2s? I have the sealed7 housings from TRS with the mini d2s projectors and they are 100% better than any mini h1 I have ever seen
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-29-2016, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by baddkarmaracing View Post
Why wouldn't you go with a better projector like the mini d2s? I have the sealed7 housings from TRS with the mini d2s projectors and they are 100% better than any mini h1 I have ever seen
Size. The MD2S 3.0 is too long, it doesn't leave enough headspace between the lens and the projector glass and would end up melting or damaging the lens.

Originally Posted by braindead0 View Post
Some folks are fine with being screwed over, perhaps finding confrontation to be more stressful than just living with whatever the problem is. These are excellent consumers, manufactured to the finest specifications.
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