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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm a car guy...and my echo is my daily driver. It's that awesome car that has absolutely nothing on it to break...4 wheels, a transmission, a radio, and great mpg. Perfect!

Well...almost. The one thing that has bugged me to no end about this car is how terrible the stock headlights are. After doing a bunch of research, I decided to go with a plug and play kit from TheRetrofitSource.com. This is the kit that works with the Echo:
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/hid-systems/morimoto-elite-hid-system-h4-9003.html#.VRODw-GzniA

If you do research about HID's, you'll realize the absolute best way to get perfect performance is not to use a plug and play kit...it's to retrofit HID projectors into your stock housing. This requires cutting and custom work....and I'm not sure all states are ok with that. Because the echo is my daily driver...It can't be down for long periods of time, and not having headlights would be killer. I don't daily drive my supra. So, I weighed the pro's and cons of each setup and I decided to try the plug and play kit. (For those that don't know...potential issues with the plug and play kits are not quite so uniform light distribution(hot spots, stray light), and the big one....blinding other drivers because the lights are so damn bright).

All that considered...I'm VERY HAPPY with the results. Below is an install guide because...let's face it, it's a lot easier to follow the instructions of others than to discover everything yourself. After the install guide, I'll touch on the potential issues with plug and play kits and talk about what I did to mitigate the issues.


BEFORE/AFTER And in the background...the car that eats my wallet

Notice how much higher the light is on the rear of the the supra and that there is more light straying upwards on the wall with HIDs. Take a look at how much more of a Shadow there is around the supra. We've achieved the amount of light output that we're looking for! (But were going to have to deal with the light placement issue. After the install my low beams would light up the tops of highway signs and drivers flashed their lights at me. More on adjusting that away after the install guide)



THE INSTALL
This is what came with the kit. I've already emptied the bags in these pictures. You get the bulbs, ballasts, moto-control box/harness, and high/low beam hookups

Everything in the kit is very clearly labeled. The plugs that go to the ballast are labeled BALLAST. The ones for triggering High beam are labeled HIGH BEAM. For that reason this install guide is going to focus on where to mount things in the echo. I'll trust you can match up labels on your own :)

THE BULBS
Here's the lights, with the required wires hooked up to them already.

Notice that the bulb has metal shielding to help reduce glare, and note the white labels. These are the ones that'll let you know how to connect things. The top connector in the picture below is for the high beam hookup.

The bulbs install the exact same way the others come out. You unhook the spring clip, move the clip to the side, pull bulb out, replace with new. The bulbs have two prongs on the bottom and one on the top. When you line these up, the bulbs pop right in. The new bulbs are slightly larger and you may have to put some pressure on the spring clip to bend it up over and around. Nothing crazy...but its not going to just slip into place.

BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER, I RECOMMEND YOU COMPLETELY PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER AND TESTING IT OUT. You never want to install something only to find out it doesn't work. You can skip ahead here to find out what I used as grounding locations. I just set the HID's on something stable, connected everything together, found my 2 grounds, and fired everything up.

BATTERY HOOKUP
Power gets connected to the battery. I made the sure wire stuck out to the left, because the cover has an opening there for wires to come out of. If you run it out in any other direction, the red cover won't close.

I then ran the power wire behind the battery. You can see it in the second picture of the moto-control box below


INSTALLING THE CONTROL BOX WITH HARNESS.
I really struggled here. The little orange control unit comes with a note that says the end with the harness MUST FACE DOWNWARDS. This makes total sense. It'll make sure no moisture or rain gets in there. The problem is that there is literally nowhere to mount in that way while still being able to reach the driver side headlight. You could mount it right behind the headlight, but that's a tight area and sort of in the wheel well. I decided I'd rather leave it mounted way high up in the engine bay where it's less likely to get wet, as opposed to down near the wheel well where it could easily get some spray on it in a rain storm.

I mounted the control box to the fuse box cover using double sided 3M tape. Best thing about this is that the fuse box cover can still be lifted and the control box can move around with it.

Note the driver side ground location in the very foreground of this photo. It's partially cut off.



BALLAST LOCATIONS
CLEAN THE SURFACES BEFORE MOUNTING!!!! Use some degreaser. Dawn works fine. Then make sure everything is dry.

I really spent some time trying to figure out the best ballast placement. the drivers side ballast JUST BARELY clears the hood, but it does if you stick it here. I wouldn't recommend slamming your hood, but I can gently close it and the hood latches just fine. This is also mounted with 3M tape, and after I was finished I added one zip tie just for safety.



I mounted the passenger ballast on the strut tower with 3M tape and a zip tie. The ground is also visible in this picture. It's the top nut on the rusty bracket.


I highly recommend the use of a zip tie. If the 3M tape were to fail, the engine fan is directly below the driver side ballast, and the belts are right near the passenger ballast. You don't want anything falling down in either location.

RUNNING THE WIRES
I wanted to keep all harness wires out of the way as much as possible. Because of where I mounted the control box, the driver side wires run next to the battery, to the ballast, and then right back under to the back side of the head light. On the driver side there are 4 things to connect. The main 3 pronged power switch, the ballast plug, the high beam plug, and the ground. (On the passenger side, you end up unplugging the 3pronged piece from the passenger headlight, but I don't believe you end up using it for anything. The driver side one controls the whole system)

The 3 prong piece gets connected to this, which you've pulled out of the back of your driver side headlight


Here is a view looking down behind the driver headlight. The white on the right is the headlight. The black round thing in the foreground is the headlight. You can see the other plugs down there. I decided to wrap the 3prong pieces together with electrical tape. They didn't seem like the would seal perfectly and i didn't want water in there.



RUNNING THE WIRES TO THE PASSENGER SIDE
I ran the wires through the back of the engine bay. See the series of pictures below.
Coming off the moto-control box

Back of the engine bay

Through here to keep the wires from drooping

Where the wires come out on the passenger side and where I grounded the passenger ballast


That's really all there is to it. I should note that the order I did things in does not match the pictures. I recommend this order:
Disconnect battery first
1) Set control box on the fuse box cover
2) Set ballasts where you plan on mounting them
3) Connect Power to battery,
4) run power wire next to battery to the control box
5) run wires from control box to driver ballast and plug in
6) Plug in driver side headlight and connect all driver side wires( ground, ballast, high beam, and 3 prong connector)
7) Run wires across the back of the engine bay and connect to ballast
8) Connect passenger side wires( ballast, high beam and ground)
9) Reconnect battery
You're good to go.

Here are some more after shots. These are the final ones, after adjusting.
You can see that after the adjustment the light is concentrated in a straight line. There is some stray light above the line. For this reason I chose to keep my beams aimed downwards and not perfectly parallel to the ground. This is a courtesy to other drivers. I'd like to leave their retinas in tact. This was not the case when I first set everything up. There was a ton of stray light going upwards making swirl patterns over the garage door. Now that the lights are so bright, this becomes VERY apparent, whereas its not very visible with regular old halogens. This is why other drivers get pissed and why I was lighting up the tops of overhead highway signs. You cannot just plug in HID bulbs and assume everything it going to be pointed perfectly.





If you look carefully, you can see a hotspot dead center. before I adjusted the headlights, it was not noticable because it was so high up it was actually hitting drivers in the face and not on the road at all. After adjusting the beams down too far, it was VERY noticeable when the headlights weren't adjusted to the same hight. After the headlights were lined up as shown above, its not that noticable.


The high beam is better than it looks in the next picture. But you can see a hotspot off to the left. This is just the nature of the fact that HID's are best matched to projector housings that evenly distribute light everywhere. Reflector housings(which echo's have) just don't get the job done as perfectly. But overall the low beam is very effective at lighting up what I need to see in regular driving and the High Beams get enough light out there for me to see far enough ahead.


SUMMARY
For $160, a couple of hours worth of install and tweaking, and NO CUTTING of the stock headlight, these do everything I was hoping for. Installing projectors adds cost and complexity. This was literally plug and play (and tweak). Those of you who have an echo know just how bad the stock headlights are. This remedies that problem. I'm happy.


THE IMPORTANCE OF ADJUSTING YOUR HEADLIGHTS
Don't be a dick to other drivers. HID's are very bright when they're coming towards you, especially if they're not adjusted. All headlights have a veritical adjustment. The echo's is a little 8mm hex piece on the back of the headlight. Or it might be a phillips head screwdriver. I had to replace a headlight a while back and I forget which is which now. If you have the hex piece...do be careful. I snapped mine off and it was really hard to get any sort of adjustment after that. Counter clock wise moves the beam down. Clockwise moves it up. I had to move both beams down a whole hell of a lot because I was literally lighting up the tops of highway signs with my LOW beams. My high beams overshot the signs. I felt bad for the poor soul who was in front of me on my way home. After I passed him, he flashed his headlights at me a WHOLE lot to let me know he wasn't happy. I don't blame him. Who wants to see that in their rear view? You want to adjust the beams so the majority of the light is about knee high (I'm 6'2"). The garage door picture is a great example. Park on a flat spot in front of a wall and lower the beams until they're in a good spot. Id consider a good spot when the beams actually point down a bit. This is because the reflectors do leak light upwards. So if you have your beams parallel to the ground and pointing to the wall in front of you...with our reflectors you're probably still going to blind someone. I'm going to play around with the height a bit more, but the goal is to end up with a straight line of light as displayed above, and no light leaking upwards to where it hits other drivers in the face.


These pictures sort of illustrate the before and after of beam adjustment, but its hard to see. In these photos look how bright the beams are and how little light is visible on the ground.

Would you want this following you or passing you in the opposite direction?






I sure as hell wouldn't.

These next pictures are difficult. People will point to the halos/glare and say its still a bad install, but in this case its more a function of the camera. Yes, it's still bright coming toward you and you wouldn't want to stare straight at it, but look at how much light is actually hitting the ground in front of the car. I walked up and down past the car as if i were in the lane next to it. What's not visible by way of the camera is when looking at the lights you can actually see the light being reflected downwards and it isn't too hard on the eyes. That is ALL because of how far down I adjusted the beams. Notice in the last picture the light isn't actually that bad, and its not spraying too far off into oncoming traffic. I want to do more testing about the proper height of the beams so I won't blind the drivers right in front of me. I picked a random small(ish) car in a parking lot and pulled in behind it. I made sure all the light I was putting out was staying on its trunk or lower, and slowly backed up away from the car as I was checking.


 

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Thanks for this write up. I ended up buying this exact same kit for my 2000 Echo.

My kit did not come with a hi beam connector though like yours shows in the photos. So i have an unconnected plug hanging from my bulb. Did they perhaps forget to pack it in my kit?
 
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