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My FX-R Projector Retrofit Thread

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    My FX-R Projector Retrofit Thread

    OK, now that I have all of the necessary parts, I am going to post the details of this project as I go. The aim here is to adapt FX-R projectors to Hella Euro "Smiley" headlight housings and run proper Phillips 85122+ D2S bulbs. As usual, I will probably "over-do" this in terms of sheer anal retentiveness. That means it may take a while. Nevertheless, I hope that people enjoy following along & can learn a few things from this!

    Talk is cheap. Let's look at pictures.

    To start, I made a number of measurements on the new & old parts. Then I tossed them into CAD & did some super basic interference checks to get an idea of how much cutting would be needed.

    Red is where the parts interfere.






    And just for fun, here's a silly ray-traced rendering.



    I also took a ton of pictures of the headlight assemblies as I disassembled them, and of how I popped the glass covers off. It was really easy (and smelly...had to ventilate the apartment like crazy before my fiancee got home & discovered that I had been putting car parts in the oven again lol). It is late, so I will try to get around to posting some of the photos tomorrow.

    I plan to stick the plastic low beam housings onto my lathe & chop the back off cleanly. That should give me a nice reference surface that I can machine a mounting plate for and keep the projector lens on a perfectly parallel axis with the housing. I need to be careful since there are other protrusions on the housing for the aiming posts (not sure if I really need to put them on the model...looks like I have enough room).

    More to come...!

    #2
    Very interested to see how this turns out. I like when people do things "right".

    Comment


      #3
      Everyone's favorite...picture time!

      I have done a little more modeling to get the positioning of the projector nailed down. Right now, the plan is to leave 1mm between the lens & cover.


      Another angle. I colored the "glass" so I could tell what the heck I was looking at. CAD can make things easier to visualize...and it can also do the opposite if you get carried away with adding surface finishes (me me me).


      From the back. You'll probably notice the adapter plate.


      Partially exploded.


      With the housing & cover gone, you can see the relative position of the new lens & the existing "shroud". I am a little concerned that the shroud will block a lot of light as it is positioned here. This will just take some real-world experimentation. Worst -case, I will have to cut the shroud up, or make a new one. I plan to paint it black to give the "smoked" light appearance, so modifications might not be all that noticeable. We'll see...


      Here's a quick shot showing what I plan to do to the housing. I want to chop off 32.675mm (29.5mm + 1/8" for the adapter plate). I omitted the adjuster brackets that are part of the housing since I do not plan to cut them. One of them will be in the depth of the cut, so it is going to take some careful cutting to not destroy it.


      Finally, here it all is from the back. I plan to mount the FX-R projector using the existing assembly screw locations, rather than the little ears that stick out. It helps to keep things compact. The unused ears will get cut off, and I want to seal it all up with a big rubber boot thing (still looking for something to use). The diameter of the adapter is 5". If anyone can recommend a rubber cap for a 5" circle, and that is 2.5"-4" long, let me know. Basically, I need a bigger version of these.
      http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...oducts_id=4649

      Doing it this way allows me to avoid putting RTV or aluminum tape all over the projectors. I wanted to use some 5" ID tubing at first, but the hole in the headlight bracket won't accommodate that without chopping it up, which I won't do.


      I disassembled everything the other day. The plan is to clean the hell out of it all since it is greasy & nasty.


      Here's the stock projector.


      You can see where the Euro cut-off comes from. You may also notice that it saw a lot of heat & UV!


      The world, as seen by an H1 bulb.


      The reflector dish was in bad shape. Decades of heat & oxidation have taken their toll. You can't see it in this photo, but there are a couple of spots where the heat was intense enough to cause the metallic coating to crack & peel. It is supposed to look like a clean mirror in there. Based on what I see here, I think I will stop recommending used ellipsoid lights as an "upgrade." I bet you lose a LOT of light output with the old tarnished reflectors. Some new Hella or Cibie H4 housings (used with sealed beam brackets) probably give far better output at this point since their reflectors are, well, NEW! If you want ellipsoid lights & good lighting, pay for new ones.


      Removing the glass covers was really easy. I put the housings into the oven and let them bake at 250°F for ~15 minutes. Open a window & run the vent fan; these things got smoky & stinky!


      Start with the low beams in the little slot where the cover's locating leg rests.


      The low beams are really easy. The housing deflects a little, so you can easily get a screwdriver in there. Pry with it, but DO NOT TWIST. Work it into the adhesive in 5-6 places before you really pry too hard. Break it loose in a bunch of small spots & then pop it out.


      The high beams are done the same way, but they are a little more of a pain. Since the housing is metal, you have to be careful since it doesn't really deflect. Find one of the little notches in the outer lip & start there. Work your way around, jamming the screwdriver in to break it loose in a number of spots.


      Wear gloves or use an oven mitt. You want to have comfortable grip on these when you work on them. To get the old glue out, re-heat the parts with it on them & scrape it off with the screwdriver.

      That's all I have for now. The coming weekend will probably be pretty busy with holiday stuff, so this is going on the back-burner for a little while. Merry Christmas & happy holidays to you E30 guys!
      Last edited by bmwman91; 01-23-2012, 10:15 AM.

      Comment


        #4
        What exactly do the screws go into that hold everything together? Are they threaded into the adapter plate and then the adapter plate will be attached (glued?) to the stock cut down housing?

        As far as cutting the housings down, milling the material off would be the easiest and most accurate, if you have access to one somewhere. A lathe could work as well if there was an easy way to chuck it up.

        Comment


          #5
          Dude. That is in intense. CAD. Machining. Lathes. Cooking headlamps.

          Well done sir.

          Comment


            #6
            While you are at it, make two sets. Nice work.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by NitroRustlerDriver View Post
              What exactly do the screws go into that hold everything together? Are they threaded into the adapter plate and then the adapter plate will be attached (glued?) to the stock cut down housing?

              As far as cutting the housings down, milling the material off would be the easiest and most accurate, if you have access to one somewhere. A lathe could work as well if there was an easy way to chuck it up.
              I'll drill out the threaded holes in the projector housings and then screw it all into the adapter plate. I am thinking of attaching the adapter plate to the housing with some pop-riveted sheet metal tabs and sealing it with the same stuff used to glue the glass cover onto the housing.

              Does anyone know of a shop with a water jet, laser cutter, CNC mill that has reasonable rates for cutting out 2D shapes from steel or aluminum? Thanks.

              Comment


                #8
                that is awesome.... i smoked out my own us spec elips and i thought that was a lot of work.. this makes me what to do some more...

                i love this process... i just wish i had those plates...

                nice work
                sigpic

                Comment


                  #9
                  Looks like this is gonna be done right. What part of the bay do you live?
                  The first car I ever rode in was an e30

                  Originally posted by Cabriolet
                  Wish you the best and hope you don't remember anything after 10pm.
                  1992 Mauritiusblau Vert
                  1991 Brillantrot Vert

                  2002 540i/6 Black/Black
                  2003 GSX-R 750

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You going to be selling the adapter plates? I would love to buy a pair.
                    Your signature picture has been removed since it contained the Photobucket "upgrade your account" image.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by wishno87 View Post
                      you going to be selling the adapter plates? I would love to buy a pair.
                      +1
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Wishno87 View Post
                        You going to be selling the adapter plates? I would love to buy a pair.
                        +2, I did this retrofit on my e36 and I was sold. Light output is insane!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Yes! Adaptor plates would be sweet. I would be in for a set
                          Originally posted by blunttech
                          r3v does not fuck around. First you get banned, then they shoot you

                          Comment


                            #14
                            ^ seriously. I've seen the TSX projector housing conversion and that implementation just can't meet my anal retentive expectations..this looks like its going to be hella clean(no pun intended).
                            I don't always wreck cars, but when I do I wreck them into trees.

                            91' 318is S50 swap - The Black Widow

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by bmwman91 View Post
                              Does anyone know of a shop with a water jet, laser cutter, CNC mill that has reasonable rates for cutting out 2D shapes from steel or aluminum? Thanks.
                              I work at one ;)

                              http://www.iscomach.com/

                              Comment

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