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The HID kit I installed in Pirate Jenny shortly after I bought her has been working well, but my goal was always to have projector (ellipsoidal) HID headlights, preferably of the bi-xenon variety, because their sharp cut-off keeps them from blinding other drivers while still allowing for very bright and effective headlights. Using HID technology seems to be the best way at this point, as LEDs are not yet bright enough for automotive headlight use -- but I'm sure that will change.

First I had to decide how to approach this project. One way was to mount the projectors directly to the body metal of the car and make up a shroud to fill in the difference between the 2.5" to 3" diameter of the projectors and the 5.75" diameter of the headlight openings. Of course this mount would have to allow some adjustment for aiming the lights. This could have been done, but would have entailed quite a bit of custom fabrication and it would also change the look of the front-end of the car more than I wanted to. Yes, in spite of all the modifications I have done to Pirate Jenny, I still wish to maintain the basic look of the car.

The second way presented itself when I found some 5.75" round reflector housings with clear lenses for sale on eBay. These mount to the original "buckets" the same way as the original equipment headlamps do, be they the American "sealed-beam" units or the European and British separate reflector housings with Halogen bulbs as were originally installed on Jenny. Using these housings allows the use of the original adjusting hardware.  If I could mount the new projectors centered and straight in the clear-lens reflector housings it ought to work. These particular reflectors (I keep calling them 'reflectors' as that was their designed purpose, even though they will do no reflecting with the projectors installed) are made from a rather sturdy black plastic with glass lenses and are designed to take the H4 bulb. The bulb style didn't really matter as I was going to cut off the rear of the units anyway to allow for mounting the projectors. The only physical change to the car would then possibly be opening up the rear of the "buckets" (yep, had to do that) and the matching part of the body metal (nope, didn't need to do that) to allow for the rearward projection of the projectors.  Obviously shorter projectors are better for fitment issues!  

So, with this second plan in mind I ordered 4 of the clear-lens 5.75" diameter reflector housings. When they arrived they looked like this:

I then had to choose a projector, and there are many from which to choose! The folks at The Retrofit Source were very helpful and there is a lot of good information on their website. Initially, I wanted to use a 3" diameter projector but I finally settled on the 2.5" Morimoto Mini D2S bi-xenon unit and I ordered four of them. As I am in the USA, I ordered the projectors with the LHD cut-off pattern; they are also available with the RHD cut-off pattern at the same price.

The new Morimoto projectors look like this:

As I would not be using the supplied mounting hardware, I removed it:

OK, time to prepare the housings to accept the projectors. I cut off the rear part of the plastic housings with a common hacksaw, being careful to keep the cut parallel to the front of the unit. The resulting opening was a bit smaller than the black plastic part of the projector that would have to go into the reflector housing, so I used a Dremel tool with a sanding drum to slowly open up each of the new holes until they would just accept the projector. I also cut two slots at the bottom of the opening to match the two reinforcing struts on the projector. These slots also position the projector so that the shutter that creates the cut-off at the top of the light pattern is horizontal, so be careful to get them in the right place so that the top of the projector and the top of the housing are both in the same place! Now the housings looked like this (looking from the bottom):

Again, I cannot emphacise enough how important it is to get the projectors rotated in the housings so that the beam cut-off line is perfectly horizontal when the units are installed and powered on. I would suggest installing and wiring the ballasts, installing the modified "buckets" back in the car, placing the projectors (with bulbs installed) into the new housings BEFORE cutting the slots (note that the projectors will not go all the way into the housings but they will go far ehough for this test procedure), connecting the wiring, and placing the housings and projectors as a unit into the "buckets" when you can power them up and view the beam pattern against a wall, garage door, or another car -- whatever is handy. Just hold the new unit against the modified bucket so that it is not tilted.  If the cut-off line is NOT horizontal, note which way it needs to be rotated and shut off the power. Make the appropriate rotation and re-check. Repeat as needed. If the cut-off line IS horizontal, carefully remove the projector/housing unit WITHOUT moving anything and mark where the cuts need to be made. Believe me, if the cut-off line is not horizontal it WILL annoy you immensely, even if it is within the allowable limits of the laws of your country.

With the projector in place the whole thing looks like this:

And this:

And from the front:

With everything fitting, I glued the projectors to the reflector housings. Make sure that the projector does NOT tilt in the reflector housing before the glue sets. I used two-part clear epoxy on three of them and plastic model cement on the fourth. Both seem to work well, but the plastic model cement seems to be easier and neater. Be careful not to get any glue on the moving parts of the shutter. It's probably a good idea to check it for free movement after gluing.

I also purchased four of the 35-watt Morimoto HID ballasts from The Retrofit Source. I chose 35 watts as that is what most makers of new cars use for their HID headlights and it provides plenty of light as well as keeping the electrical load on the car's system as low as practically possible. Each ballast draws about 3 amps when running and I will have four of them running whenever the headlights are on. The original headlights in Pirate Jenny used four H1 lamps which are rated at 55 watts each which is about 4.8 amps at 12 volts. So, when the main beam was on, the original lights drew a total of 19.2 amps, or 220 watts. For the dip beam, it was half of that, or 9.6 amps and 110 watts. The new system will draw 12 amps for 140 watts whenever the headlights are on, either dip or main beam. The original wiring ought to be able to handle this load easily.

Going to the car, we see the right-front corner looks like this before modification:

The reddish highlights are due to sunlight being reflected off a red car behind the camera.

First step here is to remove the trim panel around the headlights. Automakers call this the headlight "door." This is what you see after removing it and removing the inboard headlight unit.

After removing the headlamp from the "bucket" it looks like this:

and this:

You can see why they call this a "bucket."

The rear of the "bucket" needed to be cut off to make room for the rearward part of the projector. After cutting, the "bucket" is more of a ring. The two black Phillips-head screws that are to the right and left in this photo are the adjustment screws for aiming the headlights. See the mark on the light-coloured metal ring, just to the right of the notch? I'll get to that in the next photo.

The three notches in the light-coloured metal ring are the locators for the headlamp units.  There are matching bumps on the back of the reflector housings and they only fit one way.

This is a close-up of the top of the headlight mounting ring:

There are actually two different patterns for these mounting rings and which is which depends on whether is is meant for a dip beam lamp unit or for a main beam unit. The position of the notch nearest the top of the unit is shifted one way or the other. The pattern on the new reflector housings is a dip beam pattern and this is a main beam mounting ring, so I had to cut out a new upper notch; I did so by removing the metal in the area indicated by the X as far as the line.  Now this headlight mounting ring will accept either pattern, main beam or dip beam.

This is the projector unit and the reflector housing installed in the headlight mounting ring.  Front view:

Rear view:

Notice that I cut a few slots into the mounting ring to allow bending the metal away from the projector unit.  You have to allow some clearance for movement when aiming the headlights. On the last unit I did, I trimmed off more of the "bucket" metal -- practically down to the bottom of the slots that show in this photo. That left just a ring and it worked very well; this mounting ring is screwed solidly to the car body, so it will be plenty strong to hold the headlights steady. Note also that the main beam solenoid wires (red and black) have been looped around the projector housing and tied off. This is to keep them away from the sharp edges on the cut off parts of the mounting ring. If the projector runs too hot for the insulation on the wires I'll have to change that.

This is a shot looking into the inside of the car body through the outboard right-hand (starboard, offside) headlamp opening. You can see where I have attached the two ballasts for the right-hand (starboard, offside)  HID units. The two ballasts are connected in parallel -- the red wires from the ballasts are connected together and likewise the black wires from the ballasts; the small black wires from the projector solenoids also need to be earthed and can be connected here as well. These four black wires can be earthed anywhere convenient -- I used a handy black earth wire that was originally connected to the earth side of the dip beam headlight. The two red wires (from the ballasts) are then connected to the dip beam wire that was originally connected to the old dip beam headlights. The two small red wires from the projector solenoids are connected together and then to the wire that was originally connected to the main beam headlight.  The left-hand (portside, nearside) headlights are wired the same way.

An addition I decided  to incorporate is applying some high-temperature aluminium tape to cover the open areas of the projectors as a defense against dust getting in.

Everything in place just waiting for the new headlamps to be installed.

Now to fire them up, adjust the aiming, and replace the trim.

All that's left is to do the whole process again on the other side.

After doing that, here's what the finished project looks like:

With headlights on.

And with headlights off.

And from a lower angle.

Yes, I can hear you asking: "What do they look like on the road at night?" Well, these photos show that fairly well:

Residential street on dip-beam. Note that there is enough "spill" to illuminate the reflective street sign on the left.

As above, on main-beam.

And two more that show the beam coverage better. The aim can be improved a bit, but good enough for now.

Dip-beam against a wall.

Main-beam against the same wall.

The next thing was to modify my dip-switch operation due to the dip switch being awkward to operate sitting under the clutch pedal as it does. This won't be necessary unless you have converted to a manual gearbox as I have.

I purchased a DEI model 611-T electronic relay from an eBay vendor and configured it to operate in latched mode with negative keying (that's in the instructions that come with the 611-T). I then perused the Jensen wiring diagramme and came up with a plan. I located the wires that come directly from the "headlight flash" switch that is part of the turn signal stalk -- that was the hard part. I had to remove the tachometer (LHD car) and search through the tach opening to find these wires. They were the only two that had cloth-wrapped rubber insulation; all the rest in the bundle that comes out of the turn signal switch area are of the more modern plastic-insulated variety. For reference, these were a Purple wire and a Blue with White stripe wire. I removed both wires from their connectors and connected the Purple wire (from the flasher switch) to an earth wire. The Blue/White wire (from the flasher switch) I connected to the keying wire (green) from the 611-T. The black wire from the 611-T was earthed to the same point where the Purple wire from the switch was earthed.  Still with me?  OK, the red and brown wires from the 611-T both were connected to the Purple wire that goes into the wiring loom and ends up in the fuse box. This Purple wire is normally connected to +12 volts all the time, but I moved it to a neighbouring terminal that only has +12 volts applied when the ignition switch is ON. This way there is no drain on the battery when the ignition is OFF. Finally I connected the yellow wire from the 611-T to the Blue/White wire that goes into the wiring loom (and thence to the main-beam light circuit). The wires that went to the original dip switch were removed. Now when I pull once on the flasher stalk the main-beams are activated and stay on until I pull again on the stalk, whence they revert to dip-beam operation. The only drawback is that I now have no headlight flash function when the headlights are off -- not really much of a drawback unless your local vehicle code requires this, and the law here in Nevada does not.  By the way, I searched the relevant Nevada laws and there is nothing precluding having four dip-beam headlights operating at the same time.

Actually, I bought two of the 611-T units and configured the second one to be a time-delay relay with positive keying. Again, the black wire was earthed; the red and brown wires were connected to +12 volts (always hot -- necessary for the time-delay feature to work and the current draw in the resting state is very small); the green keying wire was connected to the +12 volt ignition circuit; the yellow wire was connected to the +12 volt accessory circuit. I had previously reconnected my window motors to the accessory circuit from their original connexion to the ignition circuit. This allowed my passenger to lower (or raise) the window(s) when stopping for petrol. Now when I shut off the ignition I still have power to the accessory circuit for whatever time the 611-T is set to give (I have it set to 30 seconds right now). This gives me 30 seconds after I shut off the ignition in which to roll up (or down) the windows and retract (or extend) the aerial.  This "maintained power" arrangement is used in quite a few new cars and I find it very convenient as I never (Never? No, never. Not ever?... Well, hardly ever) remember to position the windows and aerial before shutting off the ignition.

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