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-   -   DIY: JDM Headlight Blackout and USDM Light Pattern Conversion (http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127120)

eekay 12-15-2009 03:34 PM

DIY: JDM Headlight Blackout and USDM Light Pattern Conversion
 
I'm posting this because there is a lot of people swapping out their USDM headlights on the Gen2 Legacy's with the JDM projector headlights. This is great as the JDM headlights provide a much better light and also look fantastic. However, there is a problem with this that a lot of people may not realize and that is the JDM light pattern v.s. the USDM light pattern.

JDM projector headlights' cut-off plates are designed to provide more light to the left side of the road as that is where the road signs are in Japan. This can cause quite a bit of disruption to other drivers going the opposite direction of the JDM projectors as the light is shining directly in their face. Of course, you could always lower the height of the JDM projectors to shine more toward the road, but that only provides less light ahead making night driving more dangerous and basically cancels out the reason projector headlights are in use at all.

So, for all you JDM headlight swappers, please consider following this simply how-to/guide/whatever to convert your JDM projector headlights to a USDM light pattern and help keep the US roads safe!

NOTE: This how-to assumes your headlights have already been removed from the vehicle. If they have not been removed, search the forums for a how-to as it has definitely been covered more than once. Also, you might want to follow each step on both headlights at the same time to prevent having to paint and wait twice. ;)

Tools Required:
Phillips head screwdriver
Flat head screwdriver
8mm socket w/ ratchet
Conventional house oven (I've heard of others using heat guns as well)
Aluminum foil
Scissors
Toothpicks
JB Weld
Insulated gloves

Time taken to complete (Including painting:)
Approximately 8 hours.

Let's begin!
  • Remove all five (5) metal clips around the light housing
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_095.jpg

  • Remove the two (2) small screws towards the blinker end of the light.

http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_096.jpg
  • Remove all bulbs and wiring from the light housing. Taking out the bulbs should be a no-brainer and to remove the wire harness, simply bend down the metal plate it is attached to in order to gain access to the single screw holding it in.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_099.jpg
  • Pre-heat oven to two-hundred fifty (250) degrees fahrenheit (one-hundred twenty-one point one (121.1) Celsius)
  • Place headlight in the center of the center oven rack right-side-up for five to seven (5-7) minutes. The light should be warm enough to open once the bolt tabs on top are slightly bendable (CAUTION! DO NOT LEAVE IN OVEN FOR LONGER THAN EIGHT (8) MINUTES AS THIS MAY DAMAGE THE HEADLIGHT AND/OR OVEN OR POSSIBLY CAUSE SERIOUS FIRE INJURY OR DEATH)
  • Turn off the oven and remove headlight. Place headlight on a damageable mat, newspaper, table, etc...
  • Put on your insulated gloves and begin prying the front of the light away from the back of the light housing. It is easiest to pry apart starting at the blinker end of the light housing. Be careful not to get any of the light sealant on any parts of the reflective properties of the light housing.
  • Once the light is apart, remove the yellow/orange turn signal nipple.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_070.jpg
  • Remove the four (4) small screws from the reflective face on the front of the headlight housing.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_071.jpg

http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_073.jpg
  • Unscrew the two small, black screws on each side of the projector glass eye and eye housing on the rear of the headlight revealing the inside of the projector housing itself.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_074.jpg
  • Remove the projector housing by turning the adjustment screws clock-wise on the rear of the headlight housing.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_075.jpg
  • Pay attention to the black, plastic position piece once the projector housing begins its way out. This will need to be removed from the back side of the headlight using a phillips head screwdriver.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_076.jpg
  • Remove reflective projector housing by unscrewing the two (2) black screws on the rear side.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_078.jpg
  • The rear headlight housing reflective (bright light reflective,) the front headlight reflective piece, and the projector eye glass housing can all now be painted to whatever color you like. I used one (1) thin, grey primer coat, three (3) coats of black, high-temp, gloss (to preserve as much reflection as possible) paint and two (2) coats of clear high-temp clear coat to preserve the color and add a little more gloss. I let the primer dry for thirty (30) minutes before painting, waited ten to fifteen (10-15) minutes between paint coats, let the last coat of paint dry for three (3) hours, waited thirty (30) minutes between clear coats and let the last coat of clear dry for three (3) hours before proceeding.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_084.jpg
  • Time for the light pattern conversion. If you look inside the projector housing, you will see a slightly raised bump or "cut-off" in the center of the rounded plate. This cut-off is what needs to converted to the opposite of what it is now.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_083.jpg
  • Using aluminum foil, I simply cut a piece one (1) inch wider than the width of the housing from the center and folded it 4-6 times for sturdiness. I then folded the corners two (2) times to re-create the same cut-off in the opposite direction and rounded the foil to be an easier fit on the rounded plate.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_085.jpg
  • I then trimmed/shaped the foil using scissors to fit snugly all the way from the center cut-off to the wall on the side of the housing to be sure there were no gaps of light escaping the edge.
  • Once the foil was ready to be attached to the projector housing, I whipped out the JB Weld and mixed two very small amounts of the weld and hardener at a 1:1 ratio. I then applied a thin coat of JB Weld to the inside of the rounded foil avoiding the first two (2) mm of the top as to not have any oozing out of the top. The end result looked like so:
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_091.jpg
  • I allowed the JB Weld to dry for one (1) hour before beginning to the re-assemble the headlights in the exact reverse order I took them apart (Which I won't write because you can simply scroll up and work in reverse. ;) )
  • Once the headlights are fully assembled and ready to be re-pressed together, simply pre-heat the oven once again to 250 degrees fahrenheit (121.1 Celsius) and set the light(s) in the center of the center rack for 5-7 minutes. Make sure the lights are pre-pressed together as much as possible before putting them in the oven to ensure an easy removal from the oven once they're warm. Messing with two fallen away pieces of plastic SUCKS! If you chose to keep the yellow/orange nipples out of the light (I always do 'cause they're ugly,) they should be the only "leftovers" after all is said and done. You don't want any missing screws!
And, of course, is some pictures of the final result(s.) Sorry, I am limited to twenty (20) images per post so only one image can be here. Therefore, I included the side-by-side comparison of a stock headlight to the blacked out headlight.

http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...ersion_092.jpg


And here's a couple pictures of the cut-off from about 20-25 feet away. Granted, the cut-off seems a little high and/or steep, but you can adjust this to however you see fit when you create your folded foil cut-off.
http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...cut-off_01.jpg

http://www.soapintheintercooler.com/...cut-off_02.jpg

Also, don't forget to re-align your projector headlights after this as they will most definitely be off by quite a bit. I suggest following the thread at http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54740 to adjust your new USDM light pattern.

So, that's it! I hope this helps someone and if anyone has any questions about these steps or would like additional information, please let me know and I'll update this how-to accordingly.

06gtleg 12-16-2009 04:17 PM

did you use any kind of sealent to put it back together?

eekay 12-16-2009 04:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 06gtleg (Post 2748430)
did you use any kind of sealent to put it back together?

Only the sealant that came with the original lights. I've done this many times and never had any problems with leaks afterwards. Although, if you notice the stock sealant is in bad shape (hard, dissolving, corroded, etc...) I would replace it with identical sealant which you can find at any auto store.

anothernord 12-18-2009 06:36 PM

Nice writeup! You ought to post up some cutoff pics. I'm interested to see what it looks like.

eekay 12-18-2009 07:06 PM

Thanks! I'm going to post those tonight (Was out of town for the last few days.) I'll post some pictures with and without the 5000K HIDs in. Not sure how much of a difference it'll be in the picture though. We'll see!

E-Tank 12-18-2009 08:03 PM

Wow, those look kewl. I didn't use any additional sealant when I put my lights back together either. It's been more than 6 months and still no leaks.
It must have taken some bawls to do that, because those lights looked awesome already.

OhBe1 12-21-2009 05:38 AM

It appears you've blackened the high-beam and turn signal reflectors - is that correct? If so, doesn't that degrade the output quite a bit?

eekay 12-21-2009 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhBe1 (Post 2754135)
It appears you've blackened the high-beam and turn signal reflectors - is that correct? If so, doesn't that degrade the output quite a bit?

Yes, I did black out the high beam and blinker reflectors and yes it does significantly degrade the amount of light output. However, for the blinkers, it makes no difference as they are still easily seen. If you enable your projector low beams to stay on when your high beams are engaged, it actually works extremely well. Also, though the high beam light isn't as bright, it is still aimed high and does work fairly well without the reflector.

OhBe1 12-23-2009 04:38 AM

Cool. Very nice work on the shield. Makes me wonder what pattersns we could come up with that were better suited to local conditions.
Did you find the OEM/USDM pattern to be symmetric? It seemed that way on our old '97.

Sort of: __M__ with a very flat M.

E-Tank 12-23-2009 02:35 PM

I want pics of them on the car, please.

Vascoobiedude 02-25-2010 05:00 PM

Subscribed!

eekay 02-26-2010 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhBe1 (Post 2757065)
Cool. Very nice work on the shield. Makes me wonder what pattersns we could come up with that were better suited to local conditions.
Did you find the OEM/USDM pattern to be symmetric? It seemed that way on our old '97.

Sort of: __M__ with a very flat M.

There are many patterns you can use by adjusting the height, position and angle of the cut-off. Just make sure you don't go too outrageous as you might get a really strange and uneven beam pattern. The __M pattern is still there on each light but the right light doesn't drop back down. So, it's more of an ______MMMMM pattern (as mine are now.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by E-Tank
I want pics of them on the car, please.

Will do. I'll take some day and night pics as soon as I get a chance.

David E 10-16-2010 04:59 PM

Showing my ignorance..
Do you need to change the patterns on both lights or just the driver's side?

eekay 10-18-2010 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David E (Post 3132178)
Showing my ignorance..
Do you need to change the patterns on both lights or just the driver's side?

Both lights, sir. :)

David E 10-22-2010 06:17 AM

Thanks.
Got one done and of course got some of the adhesive on the reflector for the high beam, just a thread, but want to get it off. Any ideas on a solvent that won't destroy the chrome on the reflector?


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