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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 10-18-2014, 03:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 1
My Ride: 2004 330i
Thumbs Up DIY: TRS Headlight retrofit 2004 330i

So I had the dreaded ZKW burnt bowls issue and my headlight output was getting dangerous. I searched for solutions and decided upon this retrofit kit:


A bit of background on myself. I'm no mechanic but can read and understand instructions and can use your basic tools. I realized this kit required a bit of cutting and soldering but from research online I believed I could tackle this. It turns out I could with a fully functioning system and ONE clip broken.

To help other people out I've put together a little DIY with pictures on how I went about it. The kit itself doesn't come with any instructions but the company has an online set of steps which I admit are a bit lacking and you'll also find a youtube video of this kit before brackets were available. Hopefully this helps someone out and I take no responsibility with any damage you do to your own car. So here it goes:

Remove headlights:

There's already instructions on how to remove headlights from your car. I won't go into detail with this so here's a link to a youtube video that showed me how to do it:

Disassemble Headlights

Again I won't go into detail with this as there are already good videos/doc of how to do this. Here's one I used from the same company that sells this kit. The video also shows you how to install the kit though its an older version. It's worth watching as some steps are the same and its good to get different sources of info. Here's the video:

Install the kit

So here I'll explain the steps I used in detail to install this kit (with pictures)

I ordered the kit as linked above and added JBWeld. Hint, if you go to their facebook page you might find a promo code. Here's what I received:

Most of the parts are self explanatory. The red rubber things and the black parts I had no idea what they were for and how to use them. My guess is they were for the electrical connections and later I'll show you how I used them.

So here's my driver side headlight unit removed from the car:

Following the video above I took apart the headlight unit to get at the burnt bowl. Here it is still attached to the stock bezel etc:

To remove from the bezel you need to unscrew the 4 torx screws. There are 3 large ones and one small one. Sorry, I can't remember the actual torx sizes but if you have a set ranging from T10 and up you should be fine. I purchased a 7 piece set ranging from T10-T40 from Home Depot ($7). Here's the bowl removed from the bezel and lens:

To remove the lens and shroud from the bezel you need to remove the shroud from the lens bracket. The video above shows how to do this but there are 2 clips on the shroud that attach to the lens bracket. Use a flat head screw driver to unclip.

Note that I decided to reuse my shrouds. You can purchase new ones if you require but mine looked fine even though the top part was burnt you really can't see this when the light is assembled. So if you decide to reuse yours be careful with them. Here's what it looks like with lens and shroud removed:

The kit comes with 6 nut and bolts (3 for each side). The bolts are a little wider than the stock holes so you need to drill the existing holes out. Note that you attach the projectors with 3 bolts and the bezel only has 3 holes fully drilled. The fourth is there but is not drilled through. For the driver side light you actually cut this out (see later), but for the passenger side, you have to drill a new hole and cut out an existing hole (see later):

At this point you are almost ready to bolt the projector onto the bezel but you will find that the highbeam solenoid hits the inner edge of the bezel. This is where you need to use a dremel tool or similar to cut notches in the bezel to make room. To find the area to cut I attached the bolts and spacers to the projector. Note that I have some plastic spacers attached as well. These came from the stock unit when unscrewing the torx screws holding the old projector. I didn't use them in this install but they came in useful at this stage of test fitting to stop the spacers from sliding off:

Test fit the projector to the bezel and you can see where about you need to cut to make things fit. The online instructions show you the area though I didn't need to cut as much as shown there. Here's what it looks like after cutting and the new projectors attached:

Now I've seen other people who have installed this kit actually use those stock plastic spacers. I could not use these as adding them didn't leave enough bolt to screw it onto the bezel. YMMV but I didn't use them and saw no instructions from the company on using them either.

Here's the back of the projector mounted on the bezel showing the area that was cutout to make room for the highbeam solenoid:

Now that the projector is bolted onto the bezel we need to install the shroud. The stock shroud clipped onto the lens bracket. No such luck here. You have to glue the shroud on. Don't like this step because if you have to get back in here to do anything the shroud is now glued. Anyway this is what you got to do and there's really no instructions on how this is to be done or where you need to glue. You first have to remove the clips. Just use some pliers and break them off. The only place I could see to glue was at the very top middle of the shroud but to get a good contact point you need to cut part of it away to make room for the bolts attaching the projector. Here's a picture of the cutaway I did on the shroud:

I used the JBWeld that I purchased with the kit and glued the top middle of the shroud to the projector. I used electrical tape to hold secure and left overnight. It says JBWeld needs 4-6 hours before fully cured but I wanted to make sure it was dry and secure before moving on so I left it overnight. Also to note, the electrical tape was not a good idea. When removing it it took part of the mirror finish off the shroud. Lovely!:

The passenger side is pretty much the same thing but I wanted to point out one thing. The part of the bezel you need to cut out includes one of the drilled holes. You can see in the picture below where I've tried to mark in black ink where I'm cutting away. What this means is you have to drill out the fourth hole. You'll see where the hole needs to go and its halfway done for you, you just need to go all the way through:

Here's what it looks like with both sides finished and reassembled:

Almost done! Last step is the electrical connections for the highbeam solenoid. You need to cut the connector on the stock wires (green and red). At this time I'd check the wiring and cover with tape if necessary. My wires were brittle and corroded and the colored jacket was crumbling off. I wrapped electrical tape around them so they wouldn't short. In retrospect, before I reassembled everything I might have checked these first to get better access:

So you solder one original wire (green or red) to one of the new black wires and obviously the other to the other black wire. Doesn't matter which wire goes to which, just pick one and solder away. Now this is where I think the red rubber things and black things I mentioned at the start are used. I actually used the red rubber things to help hold the two wires together when I soldered and left them on. The black things I think were supposed to be used to "house" the soldered wire join but my stock wires were too short and brittle to do anything like that so I just wrapped everything up in electrical tape and tucked it into the housing:

And that's really it. You just reinstall the lights and everything should work as expected. I recommend a test before you fully fit everything back together just in case something doesn't work and you have to take something apart but luckily this didn't happen for me. You also have a chance to clean around the headlight unit area on the car.

Would I recommend this to someone. You bet I would and it really doesn't take someone with mechanical skill to do this. Just take your time, read and look at as many videos as you can find and have the correct tools. I had most tools already such as a drill, screwdrivers, socket wrenches etc. What I needed to purchase were the torx bits and a dremel tool (hint, an official dremel is rather expensive. You can find some cheaper alternatives on amazon. I ended up with an alternative for $20).

Hope this DIY helps someone._a_
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