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Discussion Starter #1
I know that this has been covered in more than a few posts, but I wanted to gather all the info I could and put it in one place for others. I’ve done my share of mods in the past, and retrofitted my 6th gen with a set of Mini H1’s from TRS so I had a decent idea going into it of what was expected. One thing I did not deal with in the first retro was any sort of modding of the projector, and since it was generally expected that the 4th gen TL projector would need some help, I tried to take some pics of the process for others who would need it in the future. I was looking for a sharp cutoff and that’s what this is detailing. I didn’t care so much about color mods so I’m sorry if I don’t answer any questions you might have concerning that facet of projectors.

Tools needed:
Ratchet, extension and sockets
Phillips head screwdriver
Flathead screwdriver
Panel tool
#8 Washers
Box of blue gloves

Let’s start with a simple money shot of what I was working with. I bought the retro-quik kit but upgraded a few aspects, the lens and the ballast. In my last retrofit I used a Morimoto ballast without any issues but I generally keep cars many years (I still have the 6th gen mentioned above after 16 years of ownership!) so I chose to upgrade to the Mitsubishi OEM ballasts. There is a big debate on which ballast performs better, more reliable, faster starting, etc… but I like to do things once. I bought the roll of butyl but ended up not even needing it, and get grey if you choose to have some in case.



First thing you need to set up some sort of power supply to do your initial testing and setup. I have an 80 watt power supply that I used for my old Accord at car shows and had a pig tail to power up the ballast. I didn’t make any sort of projector mount since I would be handling it quite a bit. I first swapped to the TSX-R lenses. Simply pry back the housing and pop out the old lens and snap in the new one. The new lenses have notches that are not quite 180 degrees out, or if it even matters, but I made sure that they were the same for both projectors (sorry I didn’t take any pictures of them!).

Once you’ve got them in, now it’s time to start with the washers. The washer mod is more of an art form (as in there is no hard and fast answer as to what’s “right” or “wrong”) and in my case I ended up with two on one projector and five on the other. I used #8 washers since the posts on my projector were a little tight with #6 washers. You’ll also need some screws and nuts to keep things together during the experimentation phase since you can’t “snap” the projector back together. I used some 8-32 screws and nuts I had laying around. There are a few camps on how far out you need to be when it comes to setting up the cut off and I settled on 40’. Some people set them at 25’, others somewhere in between. I am lucky enough to have an unfinished basement with a 50’ span so I chose 40’.

Start by powering up the projector (once you’ve got it all wired up and the bulb inserted) and see what you’ve got to work with. Here is a pic of what I had to work with:




I started with two washers (on each lower pin, none on top) to get to this point, and was pretty happy. Now I fired up the second one to see how it looked. Here it is compared to the first one:



As you can see the upper line is much more blurry, and the image looks diffused. This is with both projectors in the same plane on the table, with one slightly above to show the two different cutoffs. Like I said earlier, just add a washer to each lower pin and fire it back up to see if there is any improvement. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you’re happy with what you end up with. There is no real right or wrong in this aspect, and like in my case, I had one that needed two washers, the other needed five. Once you are happy with the cutoff of both projectors, bolt them together with the screws and nuts until you are ready to install them.




Start by pulling the bumper off. There are two screws (one in each fender edge) and a bunch of pop pins. I don’t know if I had so many due to mine being a Hybrid or if they are all like that now but I probably had 20-25 pop pins to remove to get the bumper off. Once it’s out of the way, pull the headlights. There is a pop pin in the top near the fender, one bolt on top near the grill, and three in the plastic bracket supporting the headlight. Once you’ve got all of those loose, and the bulbs disconnected, the assembly will pull out once you flex the top and fender side mounts to release the molded in alignment pins. Once the entire assembly is out there is one last bolt from the bottom of the mounting bracket that needs to come off to get the honeycomb bracket separated from the actual headlight.




Now it’s time to have fun. There are a few opinions on how to bake the headlights, and I prefer the low temperature long duration option. I use 170 degrees and cook the lights for 20-25 minutes. This way they aren’t so hot when they come out of the oven and I don’t risk melting anything if it’s touching the inside of the oven.

New you’re almost ready to bake! Take all of the bulbs out, the sealing rings from around the two OEM bulbs, four Phillips screws, and since mine was an EX-L, I had to remove a cover and the plug leading to the LED DRL. Once you’ve got it empty put it in oven. I worked in tandem and kept working on the wiring while the first one was baking so mine might have been in there closer to 30 minutes before I got to a stopping point. I used blue gloves to keep the butyl off me but the lights weren’t hot enough to burn me, and a panel tool to help get the headlight halves apart. Basically I started by prying up the tabs and worked from the grill side of the headlight to outer side. I took my time and was able to get it into two pieces after 10-15 minutes of work.





Now that you’ve got the open headlight you can paint the shroud or add a halo or any other accent LED’s. Since my Accord is a Hybrid, the shroud is blue and the outer trim is already black so all I had to do was swap projectors and put it back together. The sedan has one headlight adjuster (the white T shaped thing on the bottom of the shroud) and there are two swivel pins (the black two eared dog bone shaped thing attached to the back of the shroud). The first swivel pin was unscrewed and the adjuster was backed all the way off to get the shroud to move to get the second swivel pin. The pic below is the back of the shroud and what the two swivel pins and the headlight adjuster look like.



Once you’ve got the shroud loose it’s a simple unbolt of the OEM halogen projector and bolt in the new TL projector. In my case I had one tab on each shroud that interfered with the cutoff shield of the TL projector (on the left side of the picture).



I used a set of tin snips but a Dremel or other rotary tool with a cutoff wheel could be used as well. I didn’t have to disassemble the projector to snip it off. Once it’s out of the way use the OEM screws from the halogen projector to screw down the TL projector. The OEM projectors in my car had a squirrel finder/foreground limiter (I’m making an assumption to its function here) that is held down by the top screw. I did not install it on the new projector (nor did I try to install it to see if it made a difference). The extra piece is the one in between the two projectors in the picture below:



At this point you’ll need to install the harness, relays and the ballast (and igniter if you used the XB ballasts). I tucked the relays and the ballast into the cavity behind the headlight near the battery and OEM fuse block on the driver’s side of the car. I used the OEM ground point on the front sheet metal near where the headlight mounts, and ran the passenger side wiring along the upper core support. I tucked the passenger side ballast in a cavity near the washer bottle and grounded the harness to a similar spot that I used on the driver’s side. I tried to mount the ballasts where water wouldn’t sit on the ballast, even though they probably won’t see much moisture as it is.




Here is a picture of the ground, it’s hard to see but if you look closely at the OEM ground point next to the D2S connector from the ballast, it’s just to the left of it:



At this point, it’s time to put them housing back in the oven to get the butyl to warm up and press them back together. I used some clamps to hold things together while they returned to room temperature.



Now that you’ve got your fancy new projectors installed, its time to put it all back together. Pretty simple reversal of what you did earlier. All in all it took me about 5 hours from start to finish, not counting the time to mess with the washers. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t interested in a custom shroud or anything like that so you’ll have to defer those questions to the guys over on HIDPlanet.com.

Now to the most important part, the aiming of your new projectors. I follow the guidelines found on HIDP that you measure how high you beam is just in front of the car and use that as your base number. Park the car 25’ from a block wall and adjust each side until you have the lower line 2” below the number you measured earlier. In my case the measurement of the headlight was 28”. The block wall I was aiming for a point at approximately 26”. I borrowed this image from a post over on HIDP.
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d27/linuxglobal/aiming--sortaJPGSMALLrevised-2nd.jpg

You’ll probably need to do some fine tuning but you’ll be in the ball park. Here’s what I ended up with:



Overall I’m pleased with the service and products that TRS offers and recommend them to anyone looking to add HID’s to any vehicle. I know it’s a lot of money, but doing things right the first time will save money, time and headache in the long run. Thanks for taking the time to read this over and feel free to ask any questions or feedback on things that I need to clarify, etc… It’s 1:20 am so some of this may not make sense!
 

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Great post. I also did my retrofit with clear lenses, but chose to avoid doing washer color mod. I am more than happy with my output. Be ready to light up roads for everyone else!
 

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I wanted to add some pics from my iphone for you to look at but its not working out so ill have to get to my computer also accidently hit send when writing this post doh!

driver's side shroud


back of tl projectors


top


bottom


Don't know if these photos will help but if you need more let me know. The reason why i'm posting these are because the mounting of the projectors aren't lining up with the shrouds on the very first image..

your shroud seems to be abit different than mine.. but for projector it seems to be the same but im not to sure.
 

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EarthDreams
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Cute write-up. Interesting to see each step you took along the way.

I'll be doing a retro sometime in the future, but there's no way in hell I'm shellin' out 400+ bones in order to do so. The 4G TL projector is nice because it fits with minimal modification, but I'm also exploring other similarly priced options that yield better output. Bolt-on mods are nice, but if I'm going to be baking and dismantling the entire headlight, I'm not really concerned about needing to do additional modification to fit a beefier projector. I might try to score some S2K projectors for a decent price.

The main question I have is in regards to the ballasts. Other than the TRS ballasts supposedly being waterproof, what advantage do they have over the stock Acura TL ballasts?

Seems like nobody ever stays fully OEM with these retrofits, and I was wondering why. I've seen several complaints about TRS ballasts dying. I know they warrant their retro-quik kits for 5 years or whatever, but I'd still rather not have to deal with returns.

Another thing I hate is how TRS lists their 9G Accord Retro-Quik for $200...until you click on it and realize that $200 ONLY covers the projectors. Come on, bro. You might as well just list the kits as FREE and then offer shipping for $400+.
 

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Cute write-up. Interesting to see each step you took along the way.

I'll be doing a retro sometime in the future, but there's no way in hell I'm shellin' out 400+ bones in order to do so. The 4G TL projector is nice because it fits with minimal modification, but I'm also exploring other similarly priced options that yield better output. Bolt-on mods are nice, but if I'm going to be baking and dismantling the entire headlight, I'm not really concerned about needing to do additional modification to fit a beefier projector. I might try to score some S2K projectors for a decent price.

The main question I have is in regards to the ballasts. Other than the TRS ballasts supposedly being waterproof, what advantage do they have over the stock Acura TL ballasts?

Seems like nobody ever stays fully OEM with these retrofits, and I was wondering why. I've seen several complaints about TRS ballasts dying. I know they warrant their retro-quik kits for 5 years or whatever, but I'd still rather not have to deal with returns.

Another thing I hate is how TRS lists their 9G Accord Retro-Quik for $200...until you click on it and realize that $200 ONLY covers the projectors. Come on, bro. You might as well just list the kits as FREE and then offer shipping for $400+.
The previous gen ballast had issues with low temperatures, however this was corrected and TRS replaced all the ballasts free of charge. Other than that they are pretty reliable (not sure about the new generation). I thought about the Mitsubishi ballasts (gen 4 is weather proof) but at the time they were quite a bit more than the TRS designed ballast.

You can buy damaged Acura TL headlights off eBay (that's what I did and essentially what TRS does) and save maybe $50 on just the projectors. It also gives you experience opening up the housings if you've never done it before.

I do strongly recommend OEM bulbs, even over TRS's designed bulbs. The QC that OEM's have is vastly superior to what TRS can offer. I'd recommend the Philips 85122.

Also, using other projectors might end up being a lot of work. There are some S2K's out there, but bolt on is much, much better than manual mounting, especially if you want headlight height adjustment and not having to deal with leveling. We are lucky enough to have almost perfect mounting points as the Acura TL. I'd consider another projector if there was a conversion bracket.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would've like to get a hold of some S2K projectors but it comes down to time. When I did the Mini H1's in my 6th gen it was a much more time intensive project, and this was much easier. Like I said, my old setup had zero problems with any of it, the bulb, ballast or wiring and chose to go with the OEM ballast because I didn't to pull the front end apart in the future if I change my mind. I will eventually try the Phillips OEM bulbs, hopfully it will be in time to compare to the XB bulb.
 

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1.) I did this mod a year ago, and at first I had the cheap $20 ballast from amazon...fast forward 2 months i bought the TRS ballast(xb35 i believe)....2 months later i ended up with OEM Matsushita ballast from a wrecked G37C (also found on ebay.)

2.) I did the same thing with the bulbs. first with the cheap d2s bulbs supplied with cheap HID kits. One burned out on me. Then onto 85122/85122+ which offers really good output when weather gets nasty up here in the northeast. Now i am on Osram CBI's they are expensive but worth the money. The only reason why i went with CBI is due to the fact that i wanted my projector to match the LED strip better than the 85122/85122+ did without going with higher kelvin rating bulb.

3.) Stock(OEM) HID components are always best. The cheap ballast took nearly a minute or sometimes more to finally warm my bulbs up until the output was usable. TRS ballast i would say around 35-45seconds. OEM is quicker around 20 seconds or less.

I used the rest of the components on my bike and my brothers bike and also as backup just in case one of these ballast/bulbs die on me.
 

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EarthDreams
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. I just wanted to make sure there were no problems with the OEM ballasts that I simply wasn't aware of.
@nayr14 were you able to resell the headlight assemblies after disconnecting the parts you sourced for the retrofit? I have been looking for damaged assemblies from junkyards every now and then, and was just wondering if there is any potential cost recovery after stripping the headlights of their electronics.

Damaged parts are the way to go, in my opinion. I was able to get one of my V6 headlights for $50 because it had 2 broken tabs (which I fixed by epoxying a washer to the defected area) and the other for $120 because it had a cracked chrome reflector (which I epoxied as well). Or I could've paid over $800 for new 2013 EX-L V6 headlights.

I know it's not relevant to the thread, but I also noticed that the 2014/2015 EX-L V6 headlights have different part numbers than the 2013 EX-L V6 headlights. Also, the 2013 models are nearly twice as much. Anybody else noticed this? I don't understand how that could be, unless they've changed suppliers, as all EX-L V6 models get the LED DRL strip.

*All information was pulled from Majestic Honda's website
 

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Blinded by the light
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. I just wanted to make sure there were no problems with the OEM ballasts that I simply wasn't aware of.
@nayr14 were you able to resell the headlight assemblies after disconnecting the parts you sourced for the retrofit? I have been looking for damaged assemblies from junkyards every now and then, and was just wondering if there is any potential cost recovery after stripping the headlights of their electronics.
Typically it's just a broken headlight. You could try selling stuff on eBay but I doubt it's worth it. You can transfer over the alignment piece if you strip the OEM Accord one (I did!). There aren't any electronics in the headlight.
 

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EarthDreams
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Typically it's just a broken headlight. You could try selling stuff on eBay but I doubt it's worth it. You can transfer over the alignment piece if you strip the OEM Accord one (I did!). There aren't any electronics in the headlight.

I was just referring to the projectors/ballasts/igniters as "electronics." Those headlights are over $700 brand new so I wasn't sure if there would be any residual value to them or not.
 

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I was just referring to the projectors/ballasts/igniters as "electronics." Those headlights are over $700 brand new so I wasn't sure if there would be any residual value to them or not.
They typically sell damaged headlights without ballast/bulbs from what I remember and received. Unless there was an identical pair of broken ones I wouldn't use the bulbs even if they were left in there.
 

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Stupid question....
I'm about to do this same retrofit but I'm a little confused on the adding of washers on the new projectors. Can someone explain that to me please?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Essentially what the washers do is allow you to vary the focal length to get a better (cleaner) and more focused line. Most of the time the projectors will have a fuzzy cutoff and adding washers allow you to bring that into focus, kind of how an optometrist moves the lenses closer or farther from your eyes when you get glasses.
 

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I'm dinking around with my first retrofit.

My question is with the cut off angle.

I'm using TRS 4TL-R replica's since I can't seem to find any OEM's floating around.

Is the cutoff ideally suppose to be perfectly level or slightly angled like in Lashee's pic?


I test fitted one headlight on my car yesterday and it looks similar to above, but wasn't sure if I should trim the back of the shroud to rotate the projector counter clockwise a bit.

Great writeup, thanks!
 
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