Projector Retrofit DIY

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Projector Retrofit DIY

Postby Godlike » Thu May 07, 2020 3:39 pm

ImagePICT0186 by GodlikeMotorsports, on Flickr

This is an old DIY I tripped over. I think I originally posted this on Bstuff

The purpose of this thread is to explain step by step how I have retrofitted projectors into my Berettas. I wrote this in response to a number of questions Ive been asked over the past few years about my headlights.
Is it legal? Of course not. But ive never had a problem. I believe my area to be pretty lenient in that regard. If you get pulled over just tell them I said it was ok. Heres a link for more on this topic: ... -retrofits

Skip to the next section if you don't want to hear my life story

I have mainly done headlight modifications to my own vehicles with the exception of Chad (lmnjlo)s 3400 GTU and that was only because he threatened to do things to me if i didn't.
The first set of headlights I modified was the set that my GTZ came with. This was in '03 when a Xenon D2S bulb (singular) cost $150 to replace. I worked at a body shop and I got my hands on a pair of smashed Infinity QX4 headlights that the insurance company replaced at $1200 per side. Those were just HIDs with no projectors that I retrofitted into the stock housings. They were pretty damn bright. I think the original first gen Beretta lenses let more light through with less scatter. The next set was a pair of Audi TT Projector headlights (only $900 per side) that I got the same way. This was my first projector retrofit which went into and still resides in my Z26.(This car has been crushed) Once that was done I had to get my GTZ up to par and picked up a set of Acura TSX projectors that I swapped into a really clean Pair of 2nd ged headlights. Both cars turned out pretty nice with the GTZ being a little clearer. The GTZ has aftermarket ballasts that are plug and play while the Z26 has the Bosch ballasts from the Audi lights. I have since used a lot of aftermarket ballasts that have proven to be pretty reliable as well.
The last retrofit I did was on Chads car > TSXs and aftermarket ballasts same as my GTZ but at that time I had no spare parts available so I had to buy everything outright and it ended up being pretty expensive.
I got more crazy with HIDs once they became readily available and even had a set of 10ks on my Astro van.(This has been sold) I think the twin cam has a set on them now too. (Sold) I also have an atv with 10k Xenons (Sold) and a lawn mower with 55watt H7's soon to be LEDs (Crushed) . Therese just something about blinding everyone that I enjoy.

The next section:

Back when I did the swap on my GTZ Acura TSX projectors were $145-200 on Ebay
[you can now buy retrofit projectors specifically for this] DDM TUNING sells all of the individual components plus complete swap kits with projectors, trim rings, ballasts and HID bulbs for $70-200. This is what I would go with myself:
This is just an example. I have dealt with this company a lot and have always had a good experience. You could also certainly go with LED bulbs and drivers. My HIDs have just worked so well I don't have much of a reason to switch to LEDs.
The first set I installed was a set of Audi TT projectors. What I liked best about these is the refractor base is small enough that with minimal trimming I was able to form it right up against the back of the headlight housing while still clearing the headlight frame. What this does is eliminates steps 3 and 10 (removing the headlight lenses*). After doing 2 sets of Acura TSX projectors I think I prefer how they turned out over the TTs. With these your forming the projectors right to the inside of the headlights while still epoxying on the outside. These arrant the only 2 options but the only projectors I have dealt with and know will fit the 3 3/16" high housing with minimal trimming. I plan to eventually size up some DC2 integra projectors to see if they can be separated form the headlight housings and if they would fit. Integra projectors use standard 9006 bulbs so you can stick with your stock incandescent bulbs if your a cheapskate. The other 2 projectors mentioned use D2S bulbs which are reserved for Xenon applications.
Now-a-days you can get a HID kit for $50 with the 9006 plug interface for an Lbody and whatever style bulbs you want and in whatever color temperature you want.
LEDS - My perspective:
LEDs seem to have come along way. At first they didn't impress me. Ive seen some really pricey kits on cars that looked bright but didn't have any reach. Ive also noticed some really high output bulbs listed as having a pretty high wattage and a short lifespan. And on the other end I have seen some really cheap ones for sale with low light output that are basically just for looks.
However I think a lot of companies have worked out the bugs and found a sweet spot between light output, run hours, and heat output(wattage) and are making really good usable headlight bulbs. I tried a set of high beams on my GSR this year and there pretty bright. Im still a little skeptical of the lifespan of the tiny cooling fans they have but well see. Some have a woven ribbon type heat dissipater made for tight spaces that would solve that issue. Anyways my 9005 high beams came from DDM tunning. If you have LED bulbs you like, post what they are.
One thing that this DIY is not going to cover is that projectors are designed to be mounted behind clear lenses with no refractor lines. There is no easy solution to this but Im pretty happy with the light output my cars have. I have been flashed a couple of times in the Z26 over the coarse of around 8yrs but ive never been bothered by The Man.

ImageUntitled by GodlikeMotorsports, on Flickr
ImageUntitled by GodlikeMotorsports, on Flickr
Screw drivers/ small pry tools*, razor blade*, 5.5,7,10mm sockets, Rotozip/ or 3" air grinder
Things to purchase: (you will want everything lined up before starting this project)
-Permatex #84115 Permapoxy plastic weld
-Permatex #81158 Black Silicone Adhesive Sealant or 3M window weld* #08609
-Masking tape
-Projectors (Ebay, body shop, stolen...)
-Donor headlights (you may not want to chop up your only set especially if its a dd)
-HID or LED kit. Don't use halogens you cheapskate.

1. remove headlights leaving the 9006 low beam lamps in place

2. strip light from frame 10mm nut and x2 5.5mm screws holding the up/down adjuster + spring on inboard side of housing

3*. (Tsx instructions) baking..
Pop the 4 SS clips holding the lens to the housing
Heat each head light individually to 250 degrees Fahrenheit In an oven.
give it 10 min then take it out and lightly pry and work a razor blade into seam between the light housing and the lens. Keep in mind the light housing is the weak link here. Its very easy to crack and break a piece of the housing by prying at it. Start on the bottom side where no one will ever see. I would suggest sliding a thin piece of metal between the housing and your screw driver/ pry bar to dissipate the pressure. The lens can take the abuse but the housing will crumble like an oreo

4. for this step, to do it my way you will need a 9006 plug with pig-tail and a 12vdc power source. Setup lights on a table facing a wall. Mark their exact locations on the table with tape then power up the low beams and mark on the wall where the light is concentrated. you will use these guides later for aiming.

5. start cutting: mock up the projector and mark off your first cut, fit test and cut some more, fit test cut some more....
Imagetsxretro by GodlikeMotorsports, on Flickr
6. when your close power up lights and aim the projectors at your guides on the wall to make sure your where you want to be.

7. Tack into place: tape the projector into place in 3 or 4 spots then mix a small amount of epoxy and tack it in in 4 spots. apply whatever you have left to any areas that will require extra build to seal them in. let fully cure
8. finish epoxying / sealing. This might take several layers depending on how much gap your filling.

9. paint housing. optional... I like to mask and spray flat black over the epoxied area to make it look a little more stealthy.

10. Glue lens back on with Black Silicone Adhesive Sealant or 3M window weld. The lens should have 4 metal clips to help hold it on. Its common for these to fall off over time so if you are missing any I would suggest finding some at a yard as they do a great job at holding the lens in the right spot as the adhesive cures.
11. Reassemble

If anyone does this swap, post a pic here if you have a chance. I would love to see it!
Last edited by Godlike on Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:16 am, edited 8 times in total.

90' GTZ 189whp NA 14.00@99 / 237whp 50 shot 13.3@104 /95' Integra 225whp / 69' Impala / 04' Z71 Tahoe/ 85 K20/ 15' IS350F
projects 86 Bonneville 6.0 swap / MkIII Supra LS1 swap

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Re: Projector Retrofit DIY

Postby Stencil » Thu May 28, 2020 2:02 pm

Great write-up sir! Question - how was the nighttime driving visibility? I've always shyed away from doing something like this because I wasn't sure how well the light would come through the textured/patterned lenses on the Beretta lights. I bought a set of E36 lights which had been retrofit, but ended up selling them as I happened upon a set of Euro lights that I liked better.

'92 Beretta GTZ 2.3L 5M - Undergoing "unibody off" restoration ATM (almost done!)
'93 Beretta GT "MISEREE" 3.1 5M
'95 Beretta Base DGGM 2.2 5M
'96 Beretta "FAUXZ26" 2.2 5M

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Re: Projector Retrofit DIY

Postby Godlike » Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:43 pm

Sorry for the delayed response.
Excellent question. I really liked the light output on my Z26 TT swapped headlights. They lit up the sides of the road really well too which was probably a non DOT legal beam angle/radius but I was flashed with those only a couple of times and deer are a major concern here.
The GTZ on the other hand doesn't quite throw as much light. But I just pulled the covers off the car last week and looked under the hood at the aftermarket HID kit I put in those TSX housings and they are the lower wattage ballasts (35watt vs 55) and I went a little blue with the color temperature. Probably 8000K whereas the OEM denso units that the Z26 had were around 5000K or less. I think that makes all the difference.

90' GTZ 189whp NA 14.00@99 / 237whp 50 shot 13.3@104 /95' Integra 225whp / 69' Impala / 04' Z71 Tahoe/ 85 K20/ 15' IS350F
projects 86 Bonneville 6.0 swap / MkIII Supra LS1 swap

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