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Operation: Sight & Optics

The night can be overbearing some days, especially on the quiet roads out back. Even the highways past a time that which people cuddle in their beds. As much as we wished to be home, there will be be dark days out in the wild.

To me, Stock headlights don’t work. I honestly think our stock lights have about 40ft of range focused right in front. There is no girth to them. I’ve been spoiled with Acura TL projector lights, both with a long distance throw and wide spread of light enough to penetrate the night.

No compromise.

In these following days and weeks, I will be retrofitting two different projectors into an aftermarket “Altis” style headlight that featured a small projector. The projector headlight worked well, however, the chrome reflector bowl was fouled and damaged to a point of no return. I’ve been working on this project for some time now but I am now writing to share the process and results. This is to inspire some night riders to gear up for the Ascend.


Optics 1: Genuine Acura TL Bixenon Projectors
Pro: Excellent light throw (Distance), good width
Con: High beam very narrow

Characteristics:
Full covered Reflector Bowl. Quality OEM manufactured part. None glaring lens. High beam actuator is protected and shielded.


Optics 2: Morimoto 4.0 Bixenon Projectors
Pro: Excellent light width, good high beam width
Con: Okay light throw

Characteristics:
Open reflector bowl (light bleed possible problem), Very clear lens for best output, non-shielded high beam actuator. Highly rated retrofit piece.


Ballasts & Bulbs:
Morimoto 35w ballast w/ D2S ignitors
Morimoto 5500k D2S bulbs
I may try other bulbs in the future to test outputs.

Harness: One relay harness for each set of projectors.

Relay: I purchased the correct sockets for the two relays and made an adapter to fit stock 9005&9006 (high/low beam) sockets for the car. Later we will disable DRL to conserve HID lifespan by not running them in the day. I will make a separate circuit to activate (stock fog light button) the second projector set while the first will run off the blinker stalk. High beam wiring are currently spliced together in each headlight to activate both high beam flaps once using high beam.

This is some of the inventory for this project:
Acura top right, Mori top left, original projector lens of projector headlight bottom right(small) easily can tell the difference here.



Wiring above. Lots.
This is the headlight apart for now and how cut up it is.


The reason behind these two projectors is because each have their own set of capabilities that will complement light output. Morimoto will be used as the daily low beam light for good width and decent throw. The Acura projector is for highway light throw for the long roads. Both together will probably be the best light output any corolla has seen.
I will insert a Easter egg here: projector LED fog lights.

Join me on the Ascend.


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Discussion Starter #6
Can I send you mine to be retrofitted?
I’m not certain if I will be offering retrofits in the future but I do want to get some items out to fund more projects. I don’t make much money at my day job so that has been a challenge. I am considering getting OEM headlights from the yard to retrofit. That may be more convenient I think? I will just have to budget a time frame and see. There are some parts that our corolla desperately needs and I think I want to work with some CNC shops to make them. But to be honest, all this is just pure speculation. I love crafts but offering them is a step I want to take. No guarantees on when tho. I will let you know if I’ve progressed with the idea of retrofitting and offering complete kits. I also work for a large company that offers aftermarket automotive lighting. I’ll see if there are any new headlights that may be released for our cars and possible retrofit for those as well. Believe it or not, a lot of aftermarket projector headlights have very standard projector units... very small and not that great of output. I’ve been snooping around some damaged return units lately lol.

I'd like to retrofit my lights but I don't want to cook them and then eventually screw up bad on the sealant. Good luck!
The headlights are easy to take apart. I want to say you just need heat. I use a Home Depot cardboard box lined with aluminum foil and a heat gun. 10-15 mins and they are ready to be worked with. It does sometimes takes a few tries but not unbearable. I think the even harder part is actually cutting the stock reflectors to make room for the projector unit. I had to widen the holes for the middle projector to poke out. I just decided to go the hard way around but I’m a bit obsessed with light output lol. The sealant should be plenty from factory. It won’t get messed up as long as you separate them when they string up so there’s no chance it will stick to anything else. In my case, I bought 3M window weld from my Autobody store which is the same material as the factory.

Looking forward to another great project. :cool:
Hey welcome back! This ones going to be a tough cookie but I’m glad you are enjoying the content. I’ll do so as usual and update when I can.


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Not fully related but TRS sure makes doing a retrofit look easy...
 

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I’m not certain if I will be offering retrofits in the future but I do want to get some items out to fund more projects. I don’t make much money at my day job so that has been a challenge. I am considering getting OEM headlights from the yard to retrofit. That may be more convenient I think? I will just have to budget a time frame and see. There are some parts that our corolla desperately needs and I think I want to work with some CNC shops to make them. But to be honest, all this is just pure speculation. I love crafts but offering them is a step I want to take. No guarantees on when tho. I will let you know if I’ve progressed with the idea of retrofitting and offering complete kits. I also work for a large company that offers aftermarket automotive lighting. I’ll see if there are any new headlights that may be released for our cars and possible retrofit for those as well. Believe it or not, a lot of aftermarket projector headlights have very standard projector units... very small and not that great of output. I’ve been snooping around some damaged return units lately lol.



The headlights are easy to take apart. I want to say you just need heat. I use a Home Depot cardboard box lined with aluminum foil and a heat gun. 10-15 mins and they are ready to be worked with. It does sometimes takes a few tries but not unbearable. I think the even harder part is actually cutting the stock reflectors to make room for the projector unit. I had to widen the holes for the middle projector to poke out. I just decided to go the hard way around but I’m a bit obsessed with light output lol. The sealant should be plenty from factory. It won’t get messed up as long as you separate them when they string up so there’s no chance it will stick to anything else. In my case, I bought 3M window weld from my Autobody store which is the same material as the factory.



Hey welcome back! This ones going to be a tough cookie but I’m glad you are enjoying the content. I’ll do so as usual and update when I can.


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Is the heat even enough?

Will give this a try. Thanks. By the way, is the heat gun inside the box?

Some please educate me on the retrofit kits.

I've tried to make heads and tails from the TRS site and others. Though, I don't necessarily care for bi-xenon or hid. Bad fiasco. I'm just running 55w Hikari led bulbs.

My Mazda has halogen projectors and the beam pattern is great plus the depth. With the Corolla, it's lost in street ambient lighting and no depth. Just trying to increase it.

Could my retrofit just use the Mazda 3/5/6 halogen projector and Hikari led bulbs or do I necessarily need all the extras? Trying not to spend too much money.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not fully related but TRS sure makes doing a retrofit look easy...
Yeah, those kits are good. I bought other people’s projects to obtain my Morimoto products lol. Slightly used or brand new even. The hardest part is starting and doing the conversion really. For the price, that’s a lot of bang for your buck if your looking for performance. The size of aftermarket projector headlights are at least 1/3 smaller and non-optimized reflector housing while Morimoto has good design and light output and light width.


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Yeah, those kits are good. I bought other people’s projects to obtain my Morimoto products lol. Slightly used or brand new even. The hardest part is starting and doing the conversion really. For the price, that’s a lot of bang for your buck if your looking for performance. The size of aftermarket projector headlights are at least 1/3 smaller and non-optimized reflector housing while Morimoto has good design and light output and light width.


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Which is what they do assuming they make it for your vehicle. My thinking is should I ever do a retrofit I would not use my OEM lights but a aftermarket set instead. The issue then is plastic quality... and what you want to do for your retrofit. I hate chrome but I like proper chrome and color compatibility and black head lights with a non-mesh grille or SE ground effects in silver does not match at all. If anything, I'd just want it as OEM as possible yet quite different too (I'm not sure if that kit is only low beams or if it can be used for high beams too). Demon eyes, angel eyes? I'm not that interested in those.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is the heat even enough?

Will give this a try. Thanks. By the way, is the heat gun inside the box?

Some please educate me on the retrofit kits.

I've tried to make heads and tails from the TRS site and others. Though, I don't necessarily care for bi-xenon or hid. Bad fiasco. I'm just running 55w Hikari led bulbs.

My Mazda has halogen projectors and the beam pattern is great plus the depth. With the Corolla, it's lost in street ambient lighting and no depth. Just trying to increase it.

Could my retrofit just use the Mazda 3/5/6 halogen projector and Hikari led bulbs or do I necessarily need all the extras? Trying not to spend too much money.
Yes, the heat is enough. I too don’t use my home oven just because personal preference. I have the cheap Home Depot heat gun from Wager I think.
The box I just taped the inside with foil. Then the heat gun is outside with the tip inside. You want to make a foil shield to focus the heat away from the headlight. The heat is not directly on the headlight but your imitating a actual oven to bake it. Also, don’t forget to line the box flaps for your door. Choose a hole and make a cutout for the heat gun. The better you insulate it the more efficient your heater box will be. You can get the box really hot I can assure that. The heat gun could heat my 2 car garage if I wanted to lol.
Yeah, you can use LED in a halogen projector. It’s typically not a problem but it may not be the best light output. For the most part, most projectors shoot light from the top side of the reflector bowl. If you have LEDs it may vary if the LED chips are facing the optimal areas to shoot the light out of the reflector bowl and through the lens. How halogens and HID work is that they both are 100% emitting light in all directions which usually fills the reflective bowl more. Overall, you will indeed get the cut off line and extra range over stock.

The retrofit kit “helps” you convert to HID or LED projectors. They make it easy to mount the projector onto the original headlight housing. The Morimoto usually offer a rear thread-on install. This makes it easier to put in the unit with minimal cutting or customizing. On the other hand you have regular retrofits without any mounting brackets or mounting system. So you will have to cut and mount everything onto the stock housing. I have to cut into everything, make my own brackets, and aim the unit. The kits helps the install if you don’t want to do all the crazy extra work.
The most popular projectors people use are from Acura, Infiniti, Lexus. I would use one that has the best output. Preferably, HID projector rather than halogen. They typically are better quality too if you go OEM.


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Which is what they do assuming they make it for your vehicle. My thinking is should I ever do a retrofit I would not use my OEM lights but a aftermarket set instead. The issue then is plastic quality... and what you want to do for your retrofit. I hate chrome but I like proper chrome and color compatibility and black head lights with a non-mesh grille or SE ground effects in silver does not match at all. If anything, I'd just want it as OEM as possible yet quite different too (I'm not sure if that kit is only low beams or if it can be used for high beams too). Demon eyes, angel eyes? I'm not that interested in those.
Our headlights are easy with the retrofit kits. Ours don’t necessarily need brackets per se. Some handful of members have them from what I see.
Yes, almost all aftermarket headlight lenses are bad. OEM is best even going by feel.
You can choose with or without high beams. I think it’s a bonus for the high beams built in because our stock high beams are great with bright bulbs which flood the area. Most projector high beams don’t flood the area and are more focused straight. Having both is a bonus to me.
Yeah, no eyes for me. It’s tacky imo.


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I have some photos I took about 6 months ago when I started thinking about the retrofit. They are very interesting to compare vs aftermarket headlights.

First image: Acura TL projector up top. Bottom is broken/damaged aftermarket stock projector. Both are HID bulbs. I forgot which temperature bulbs are in each but I think the Acura had 4300k and 5500k on the car IIRC.



Second photo is the Morimoto. Lots of width! Again bottom is reference.



I’ll have shots of these versus OEM halogens later on.


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Innnn for a dope retrofit. Also on my list after this project.
 
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Good weekend guys,
I just wanted to get the update on this project. I got one side of the bracket ready to mount the Acura projector. It’s a heavy unit so 1/8 thick aluminum bracket bonded to the back of the housing will support it well. Otherwise, Morimoto I reused the aftermarket bracket. It’s made of Thick FRP and used to hold both the high beam reflector and low beam projector... poor design because if you adjust your projector aim you also are changing the high beam position with it. Lol

Acura potential fitment here: (High Beam position)


The bracket for her:


There will be three points of adjustment for the Acura projector.
1) Reference/Pivot point
2) X axis rotation
3) Y axis rotation
Note: Might need to “slot” the bracket for a support bracket to control Z axis if the Z rotation is not centered enough in the aiming stage. I’ll show that also for reference.

This projector is thiccc:


Extends past the rear dust cover.

I just put them together to show what it would look like behind the front shroud.



The one I’m holding is the Morimoto. The bracket is black so it doesn’t show well in photos. I trimmed off the high beam side but left part of the L shape for extra support. The image is just showing it mocked up. I would sink it down to its original spot but it’s annoying to get it in so you guys are left with a mock up lol. It goes down about two and a half inches where it pops into its pivot point at the top right corner.

The lens is in bad shape but I’ll rock it for its first iteration. The lens will be painted black inside and outside in the areas that light may bleed. I don’t like halogen lights that bleed around the edges of the lens. Plus it will show off the projector circles when it’s in operation without the lens being lit up as well.

There’s more to cover! Stay tuned!


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Some please educate me on the retrofit kits.

I've tried to make heads and tails from the TRS site and others. Though, I don't necessarily care for bi-xenon or hid. Bad fiasco. I'm just running 55w Hikari led bulbs.

My Mazda has halogen projectors and the beam pattern is great plus the depth. With the Corolla, it's lost in street ambient lighting and no depth. Just trying to increase it.

Could my retrofit just use the Mazda 3/5/6 halogen projector and Hikari led bulbs or do I necessarily need all the extras? Trying not to spend too much money.
If you want to improve the Corolla lights, the Morimoto Mini H1 is the one you want. It has brackets to work with 9005/9006 bulbs, a relay harness, bulbs, shrouds to your taste, and if you wait until Black Friday they always have sales from 20%, 30%, and 40% off depending on how much you spend. If you don't want Bi-Xenon you just don't use the Y-harness to connect to your highbeams. The projector bolts into the reflector bowl and the bulb adapter bracket aligns it. These are the easiest and most effective way to improve your headlights, retrofitting halogen projectors and OEM HID projectors are a lot of work and headaches.

I've done several retrofits for my own cars, and I've also used high powered, high dollar, high quality halogen bulbs. I don't believe in PNP HID and LEDs in reflector bowls, they will look bright but thats because its scattering the light everywhere and not where you need it concentrated.
 

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If you want to improve the Corolla lights, the Morimoto Mini H1 is the one you want. It has brackets to work with 9005/9006 bulbs, a relay harness, bulbs, shrouds to your taste, and if you wait until Black Friday they always have sales from 20%, 30%, and 40% off depending on how much you spend. If you don't want Bi-Xenon you just don't use the Y-harness to connect to your highbeams. The projector bolts into the reflector bowl and the bulb adapter bracket aligns it. These are the easiest and most effective way to improve your headlights, retrofitting halogen projectors and OEM HID projectors are a lot of work and headaches.

I've done several retrofits for my own cars, and I've also used high powered, high dollar, high quality halogen bulbs. I don't believe in PNP HID and LEDs in reflector bowls, they will look bright but thats because its scattering the light everywhere and not where you need it concentrated.
Projectors at a minimum. I always found reflectors to look funny when the entire housing is lit, more so with "classic" blue HIDs.
 

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If you want to improve the Corolla lights, the Morimoto Mini H1 is the one you want. It has brackets to work with 9005/9006 bulbs, a relay harness, bulbs, shrouds to your taste, and if you wait until Black Friday they always have sales from 20%, 30%, and 40% off depending on how much you spend. If you don't want Bi-Xenon you just don't use the Y-harness to connect to your highbeams. The projector bolts into the reflector bowl and the bulb adapter bracket aligns it. These are the easiest and most effective way to improve your headlights, retrofitting halogen projectors and OEM HID projectors are a lot of work and headaches.

I've done several retrofits for my own cars, and I've also used high powered, high dollar, high quality halogen bulbs. I don't believe in PNP HID and LEDs in reflector bowls, they will look bright but thats because its scattering the light everywhere and not where you need it concentrated.
What site did you see black Friday deals? Lol
Xenondepot?
Retrofitsource?
A may PM you( if thats alroght) about retrofit details as I wanna get this done, a plus if there's a sale lol
 
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What site did you see black Friday deals? Lol
Xenondepot?
Retrofitsource?
A may PM you( if thats alroght) about retrofit details as I wanna get this done, a plus if there's a sale lol
Their website(s). They always have deals around holidays.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
What site did you see black Friday deals? Lol
Xenondepot?
Retrofitsource?
A may PM you( if thats alroght) about retrofit details as I wanna get this done, a plus if there's a sale lol
I typically lurk around eBay for peoples new unused retrofit kits. I got 1) a full Morimoto kit for 155 and 2) a kit without the projector for 71 USD

1) Projector, ballast/igniter, MotoControl relay, D2S bulbs
2) Ballast/igniter, MotoControl relay, 3 sets of D2S bulbs



Both are 2nd Gen ballasts, ones 2.1 and others 2.2 model. I recommend any generation higher than 2. The 3 is the best in quality if your buying it right from a dealer.

Also, I recommend the MotoControl relay if you are expecting to start and stop your lights often. However, the HD will work perfectly as well it’s simpler. I just have a bad time with the HD relay because they cheap out on the connectors. If you can splice the connector and put in OEM connectors your ganna have a better time if you unhook the harness often.

Let us know if you have any other questions.

Happy Hunting!


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