Join Date: Dec 2011
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take on projector retrofit and housing paint.
so i finally got my projectors installed and the headlight housings painted/tinted.
here is what i used
bixenon h13 retrofit projector from retro-solutions
3157 parking/ turn led bulbs from rero- solutions
Factory matched paint for housing
vht for side marker lamp
audi style led strip 9"
Ok, so first off let me just say, that when it is all said and done, the light output is ten fold better than the factory halogens! You can actually see more than 20ft in front of you. Why Ford did not offer hid (even as a UPGRADE) is beyond me? Other than maybe costing a little more, i cant see any significant negative aspect of hid lighting, and lets be real, most of these rigs stickered at 60k+, and i would not have blinked an eye to get factory projectors even if it was a 600$ option...
Second, for those of you who think the drop in hid bulbs using the factory housing perform as well as a full blown projector unit, your simply mistaken. While the drop ins are most definantly BRIGHT, the beams are considerably more scattered in comparison. I originaly put drop in hid's in the housing, but to be completely honest, they just did not look nor function at a level that i thought was acceptable for a 60k vehicle. i didnt want ricer blue color, nor to be "that guy" blinding every other car within a mile. While that portion is personal opinion, the superiority of a full projector is not.
Anyway, as far as the install it was not overly difficult per se, but it is rather time consuming (a friday evening, and ENTIRE weekend in my case). I opted to paint the housings black, and to use vht on the yellow sidemarker.
i ran into a few issues, but nothing catastrophic.
1. Baking the headlights is a *****..they are big, bulky, and sealed well....i used 235degrees for 25min....got em apart in one bake each. I was sweating and out of wind when i finally got em apart!! LOL
2- there is not much room for ballasts, and the supplied harness from retro-solutions is JUST long enough to reach them if you mount them in the right spots on the rad support. i suggest a trial connecton of all the wires to make sure everything reaches BEFORE you permanantly mount the ballast. (i had to remove and reinstall BOTH of mine after the fact)...hahaha
3- the crimp terminals (at least on my harness) were kinda thin and weakly especially the negative ones on the ballast...considering the issues i read about with some people having ground issues, i can only imagine this was not a good thing. In fact, one of the connector heads on my harness simply broke off while i was straightening it with my fingers before i ever installed it. I promptly cut off every one and replaced with higher end gold plated "stinger audio" connectors i use for stereo installs.
4- the "orientation ring" for the projector base did not fully seat in my housing, which required some trial and error refitting to get the projector alignment correct....definantly not a simple "bolt on" solution i was anticipating. also, you must not only remove the factory bulb cap, you must also cut off the lug that holds it on....so you can never put your housings back to "original"...not that i could think of a reason on earth you would want to!
5- while resealing the housings, i ran into an issue where one of the back portions of the housing was "tweaked" making the halves not fit together well. This was on the housing that i just grabbed and "muscled" apart, and im assuming that since the plastic was hot an soft, i tweaked it while getting it apart and it cooled that way. had to stick finished assembly back in oven to soften it so i could reseal halfs.
6 the only other "bug" i have not ironed out is that the led back color ring supplied with the kit will not function as indicated. the ring lights up and works fine, but any time it is turned off and turned back on it "defaults" to on and to the red color, even if it was set to "off" before it was powered down. this is a problem, because it is illegal to have foward facing red lights on a vehicle while in operation. For the record, i have been in working from todd at retro to figure out a solution, but as of yet, nothing.....hopefully soon. I probably will not use the led backring much, but im somewhat of a perfectionist and it bugs the crap out of me to know they dont do what they are supposed to.
thats all i can think of off the top of my head, the pics of the finished job are on the way...gotta resize for your sanity....LOL