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Lighting Forum
Angel Eyes, DDEs, lighted rings, Clear Turn Signals, LEDs, Xenon, HID, or Bi-Xenon. If it lights up and you want to discuss it, post here!

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Old 11-15-2012, 06:43 PM   #1
zha50
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FX-R 3.0 Retrofit into Facelift Coupe Halogen - WRITE UP

Hi there all. Please note this thread is more of an informational one than a easy to follow DIY, its not. Any retrofit is almost always not straight forward.

As I have come across almost nothing in relation to retrofits for the facelifted coupe, I took it upon myself to attempt a FX-R installation.
see:
FX-R in Facelift? How to ??
Retrofit options for Facelift e46 coupe

Every retrofit thread or attempt was on M3, sedan or pre-facelift coupe, where the headlight design is radically different.

There has been a few threads but the consensus out of them is that it would not fit, well here is a thread showing its possible with some work!

Please note that I had the factory halogen projector headlights. Therefore there is no Active Adaption and thus more room to work in, as well as not being constrained to the 'cage' that the adaptive headlights have.

Parts used:
* FX-R 3.0, 2.5" version
* Koito 4300K bulbs, to be Osram 66240 SVS
* Matsushita Gen V ballasts

Follow sillieidiot's sig link to remove the headlight assembly out of the car.
Headlight Removal
Then follow the angel eye tutorial on how to bake and remove the lens.
Angel Eyes installation (made by Leontiyzhp)

From now on there is not much info on how people have removed the headlight trim. The mounting is different on the facelift coupe compared to the sedans or M3 / pre-facelifts.

There are 2 clips, one on either side of the low beam projector area. You will be hardpressed to remove the ball joint as the cap pushes through all those little latching legs.

Using a small flatblade bit, pry and lift the middle tab to release the trim. The outside one is easy, you might have a tough time with the inside tab. I used a jewelers screwdriver and by feel pry on the tab and pull gently until it releases.

The process was, remove the outside mounting, then swivel and rotate it out of the way. Now with the horizontal fixing removed rotate the trim and release it from the height adjustment ring at the back of the unit. Then proceed to unlatch the tab on the middle/inside.

These are the said tabs.
Outer tab

Unlatch height adjustment ring.

The inner tab, hard to access, probably only though the top cover of the low beam.


Now that the trim is out, this is the stock headlight trim and projector.


This is the OEM Bosch/AL halogen projector vs the FX-R 3.0


As you can see, lots of cutting is required to fit the FX-R 3.0 into this frame. The way I chose to install it is from the back. The length is just about right if you mount the top tab flush with the back of the headlight frame.


A lot of cutting at the frame is required and there is no real guide. The top two mounting pegs were cut then the outside of the cutout enlarged to accommodate the projector. It needs to be mounted at the uppermost position to have the lens be remotely centered to lens.

After a crap load of cutting the test fitting this is what I ended up with. As a guide you do not need to cut the bottom of the cutout as we need to mount the projector as high up as possible. I centered the projector in the cutout the first time and it ended up too low in relation to the shroud in the lens assembly.
The bottom of the projector will JUST sit on the edge of the lower cutout, so I just slowly dremel'ed (using a sand paper cylinder) down both sides of the tabs constantly checking the vertical alignment by eye, in relation to the face of the high-beam bowl.


Next time the headlights are apart I might remember to just epoxy some reinforcement on the top and bottom of the low beam cutout as I removed a few of the strengthening angles. However the projector is solidly epoxied into the frame so it should form part of the structure of the headlight frame. The material also feels very strong and does not snap away easily, even when cut with a slot.

I did a lot of test mounting, basically putting the trim back into the housing the the clips(push them in snug but don't let it click/latch in as removing it is a royal pain. I used zip ties to hold the projector while i tested the rotational alignment. My cutting was that it would sit up against the frame and stop rotating when it was tied down. If it needed more rotation I would cut more of the frame and test it again. This prevented the projector to rotate past the ideal point.

Once i was happy with my rotational AND vertical alignment, put a few dabs of epoxy from the FRONT of the headlight while it was still mounted. This I did to avoid my rotation changing while removing the headlight.
Rechecking rotational alignment


Once I was happy, just remove the headlight trim out and fill with epoxy to securely mount it! I did't have high-temp epoxy on hand, so I used regular stuff and a screw + zipties to hold it in place in the event it did melt/soften from the heat of the oven or general operation( I do not expect the inside of the headlight to be 150*c + in any case). My epoxy says it will start loosing maximum strength above 70*c but that is off the labeled max holding strength of 150KG.

Fix up with some new butyl on the seam of the headlight, and bake them back together!

This is a final picture of the fitment of the projector. Overall fitment isn't 100% factory perfect but it is probably as best as one could get it with this headlight. It looks well enough to not raise an eyebrow, "Is that alignment off??" questions.


Hope it helps some others out there who are looking for a more serious lighting upgrade on their facelift E46 coupe!
Here are some output pics for you Click for a larger version. These output shots should be typical of a FX-R projector

Headlight closeups




Showing off some flicker




Beam pattern photos:
Spread


Distace


Cutoff


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Last edited by zha50; 11-25-2012 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
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Thanks for this write up. It gives great insight to what a FX-R retrofit entails for an e46 facelift coupe. How long did this project take you in total?
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:37 PM   #3
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A lot of trimming but WELL WORTH IT. Very nice retrofit.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:15 PM   #4
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Naveedh - the time will vary with your competence and speed of cutting the headlight frame. Over all I spent 20+ hours for both headlights. But this is because I basically had to undo the retrofit and cut some more because it sat too low the first time. The longest and most tedious step is the rotational alignment.

Solidjake - absolutely. There was a lot of material cut but the frame feels like of a high quality composite witch doesn't seem to break easily. I hope because the projector is solidly epoxied on, it will form past of the structural integrity of the frame. There is still a ridge on the outer lip as well offering extra strength.
The light output is just amazing compared to the stock projectors.!!
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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No doubt the FX-R is a benchmark projector but fitting it seems quite a task. You've done an excellent job but please post some pictures of the beam pattern I think i'll probably stick with the Morimoto Mini H1 projectors seeing as the installing is probably going to be some what easier.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:26 AM   #6
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Here are some output pics for you Click for a larger version. These output shots should be typical of a FX-R projector

Headlight closeups




Showing off some flicker




Beam pattern photos:
Spread


Distace


Cutoff


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Last edited by zha50; 11-18-2012 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:59 PM   #7
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That looks amazing! Can I ask what bulbs and ballasts you are running?
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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Ballasts are Morimoto 3five 35W from TRS. Bulbs are also the Morimoto D2S 5000k 3five. Not the best bulb in the world, but definitely good for its price ($45US) which is half the price of the Phillips +'s($95) and the CBI's ($200)

I did't know if the FX-R would fit thus my choice of getting the cheapest bulbs. Eitherway, worked out quite good!
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:34 PM   #9
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Did you opt for the 3" FX-Rs to maintain the stock look, or are these 2.5" FX-Rs?
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:07 PM   #10
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They are the 2.5" FXR's. As i believe the 3" unit is taller and currently with the mounting im pushing the upper limits of the frame. The 2.5" looks alright and not too small in the housing. I got a new pic of the cutoff using a OEM Koito bulb(most likely a 4300K Phillips 85122). Awaiting a new bulbs for TRS, Osram 66240 SVS, I have also since changed to OEM Matsushita GenV ballasts(awesome 3s warm up times!).

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Old 12-18-2013, 12:08 PM   #11
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I'm going to do this to my car. However, I may buy two lights off Ebay so I can take lots of time doing this. You think that's a good idea?

Can anybody tell me the stock lens size? I'm thinking I want the 3" lens b/c this retrofit could clean up that small gap a bit, not that it's really noticeable.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:42 AM   #12
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If your worried about gap, heres a front on. Its the 3rd and last time i've taken this apart to adjust the projector for the final time. Was not quite happy with where the projector was sitting, so did some more grinding.

You will struggle to fit a 3" lens unit inside the housing.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:52 AM   #13
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I have decided that I'm doing an E55 projector. They're very similar to the stock halogen projector. I am stuck on one thing though. Should I go with a canbus harness from TRS or a relay harness? And which do I buy? Now, I use H7 bulbs, BUT the car plugs into the headlight housing with what I think is a variant of a 9006 connector? I'm not sure. If I buy the H7 canbus from TRS, does that have the H7 type bulb prong connector, or does it plug into the external connector from the car that plugs into the headlight housing? So here's what the car has in terms of power flow:

Light Control Module --> Vehicle Harness --> headlight housing (9006?) --> internal headlight wiring --> H7 connector --> bulb
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:26 AM   #14
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Okay so I found out some info today by just buying a 9006 connector. It fits into the low beam connector on the headlight housing. So, I've purchased the 9006 relay harness from TRS.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:52 AM   #15
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Not sure if you saw this product but I went this route and couldn't be happier. A lot less hassle and cutting involved. All you have to do is buy the brackets and projectors.....everything else will fit.
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...roducts_id=254
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:02 AM   #16
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I definitely did not see that. It's too late now though. I already blew $400 for my retrofit with the EvoX-R projectors. It'll be worth it.
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