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How To: Install PnP Projectors

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Old 06-25-2013, 04:34 PM   #1
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How To: Install PnP Projectors

I posted this on TTORA a couple of years ago but I figured I would go ahead and repost it here to inform some others looking to do this.

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This is a detailed write-up on how to install PnP (plug n play) projectors into 01-04 Tacoma headlights. The procedure is similar for all other generation Tacoma headlights. This write up is for Mini H1s but will work for the Mini D2S, or other plug and play projectors.

End result: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZDD2L6grdE

Starting your HID setup from scratch? Click here. Tacomas use the H4 relay.

Now, if you don't want to do all this reading, here's a cliff notes version:

1. After removing all plastic/rubber components with pliers and a screwdriver, bake your stock headlights in the oven at 300 degrees for 8 minutes or use a heat gun around the edge of the lens/housing. If you're going to buy aftermarket headlights, get the ones with the silver back (see pics).

2. Remove lens from housing once warm (use oven mitts and flathead, see video).

3. Slide projector assembly (after installing shroud) into housing and tighten down with nut.

5. Reheat silicone around the headlight housing and apply the lens (you may want to add an extra bead of silicone beforehand).

6. Install ballasts and relay, plug all necessary components in.

7. Install headlight and plug projectors into ballasts and relay.

That's all there is to it.







Some of the cutoff color. Purple wasn't showing up well on the camera but the blue was.


There's a lot of purple above the blue in real life. The camera was not picking it up for some reason but it looks really cool.

For the choice of my projector I chose the Morimoto Mini H1 Projector. This projector is very good quality and can keep up with high quality OEM projectors. There are a few small tweaks that may need to be made to get these performing perfectly, but they are a step up from the G1/G3 projector lineup.

Here is the type of headlight I bought from eBay for the retro:

They came in a set with black turns signals and black/clear corners.

I want to STRONGLY ADVISE everyone to get headlights with the SILVER BACK. If you get the headlights with the grey plastic back, you will have zero luck getting them apart. The lens material will bend, and the grey plastic shit will just crack and break on you like a cracker. On top of that, the lenses are on there with some kind of freaking heat resistant glue. No amount of heat you use will get them to separate. So, before you order, make sure you see a picture of the BACK and make sure it is a silver color like such (OEM headlights are not in question, they come apart just fine):


Now we will go to the baking phase of the retro (you can opt to follow this method but for the actual "baking" part you can instead use a heat gun and cardboard cutter to remove the lens if you wish. This has been a successful method as well however I personally have not tried it):


First, you will want to remove all of the plastic brackets from the headlight. All of these brackets can be removed with needlenose pliers.







These specific headlights were funky, there was a spot on the large bracket where I should have been able to get off with needlenose pliers but there was this round thing there instead, so I had to back off the vertical adjustment screw to access a philips screw, take that off, then turn the bracket some to gain access to the other screw. You will want to remove the top clip off this bracket first no matter what type 01-04 headlight you have. This way you can slightly turn the large bracket to gain access to screws or clips on the bottom half. Then remove the entire bracket.






On OEM and other headlights (above picture), you would have two of these things, just like on the smaller bracket, where you could just pinch both sides of and pull it off.

Remove the rubber boot and H4 bulb, and also that little rubber tube thingy at the bottom:





Also remove the two metal clips on each side of the housing.


Then get a cookie sheet and some aluminum foil. Put a headlight on that.


Preheat the oven to 300F, once it's ready stick your headlights in and set the timer for 8 minutes.


I personally like to check on them periodically just to make sure nothing weird happens.

Once 8 minutes has passed, get your oven mitts on and take the headlight out and put it on the stove or some other flat surface. Leave on the cookie sheet. Take a glove off and grab a flathead screwdriver. Find a good spot in the lens to stick the flathead screwdriver and work your way around the headlight lens, turning the flathead to move the lens away from the housing. Once it's loose enough you can try to pull off the lens from the housing (may need to take the other mitt off to do this).

Here is a video I made of me removing the lenses off one of the headlights:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy5riZvsvE4


After the lenses are removed, you will want to remove the bulb holder spring and the chrome reflector piece:








Viola! You are now ready to put in your PnP projector.

For this portion of the write-up, I demonstrated with a Morimoto Mini H1 projector. A link of this projector is provided at the top of this post. However, if you are starting from scratch, you can get a complete kit here which comes with everything you need to convert from halogen reflector to HID projector in no time. If you are using a Morimoto D2S, G1, or G3 projector, installation method will be very similar.

Out of the box, I thought "damn this thing is small!" Here is the projector in relation to my pocket knife which is roughly 4.5" long when closed:


This first thing you will want to do is remove the bulb holder, which is held on by three screws.
When the bulb holder is removed, you can slip on the silicone spacer, which is there to avoid vibration, etc.





Put the projector through the front of the headlight housing, and slip on the H4 adapter plate. It may take a little jimmying to get it fully seated (MAKE SURE THE HI/LOW WIRES ARE ROUTED THROUGH SO THEY WILL NOT GET PINCHED!):


Thread the retaining ring on the projector. It may have a little resistance at first, but once it got about halfway down it threaded smoothly. Make triple sure you are not cross threading though.






Put the bulb holder back on and put the bulb in:


For the shroud, right now I just slipped it on. You can go and buy 8 screws that go through preexisting holes in the projector and into 4 holes in each shroud, but I have not done that yet. Of course do not get screws with too large a diameter so that it cracks the plastic.

What I ended up doing was getting some screws at Lowe's and then drilling out the holes slightly so that the screws would not stress the plastic and make it crack. Just use a drill with a diameter slightly smaller than the OD of the screw (threads included since you want the threads to bite into the plastic):





Pic with shroud screws installed:








That's all there is to it!

You have a couple options to finish up. If you plan on making "tweaks" to the projector, I recommend just placing the lens back on loosely so that dust will not get in, and just mounting temporarily to make observations in your driveway. This way if you have to make tweaks you can just remove the lens and do whatever you need to with the projector assembly.

If you do not plan on making tweaks (usually the G1 and G3 do not require any minor modification and are ready to go out of the box) or you are done tweaking the projector then you have a few options:
-You can heat the lens up for a few minutes and try to squish the lens back on with the housing assembly, then reinstall the brackets and metal clips.
-Or you can heat the assembly up and put the lens back on. I have not tried this.. I'm always afraid something related to the projector may melt.. but they get pretty hot on their own so if you feel like doing it that way then I don't see much risk.
-You could also heat up both and put them back together when you pull them out of the oven.
-You could also try a heat gun and go around the housing and lens where the silicone sealant is, then put them back together, or place the lens back on and then go around the edges with the heat gun until you can press the lens and the housing together so that they are completely flush.

-It's a good idea to add a small bead of sealant around the headlight channels before applying the lenses back to the housings, however I have in the past just heated them up and put them back together without extra sealant and did not have any moisture issues, so it's up to you.



The next stage, which I have not gotten to yet, is "tweaking" the Mini H1 as there are some minor modifications that need to be made in order to make sure everything works/performs perfectly.
Also I need to check the bulb clearance in relation to the airbox and battery which I will not be able to get around to for a couple of days.


Stay tuned!
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:34 PM   #2
thunderone [OP] thunderone is offline
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The next steps will only apply to the Mini H1 projector itself, however some of the fundamentals and workings may include other projectors.

One common problem with the MH1 (maybe not with the newer versions) is that the high beam gets stuck and does not return completely to the low beam setting. This can be fixed by stretching the spring. Also, you can choose to slightly sand down the plunger, and use high grit to smooth it off before applying graphite lube. I chose to do it my own way. I stretched the spring out but used general silicone lube (heat resistant up to 400F) on the plunger, just a little bit. If this doesn't work I'll go to the original advice.
Do not stretch the spring TOO MUCH. Just a little bit. I am currently having a problem with them even going to high beams at all. Quite frankly I wouldn't even stretch it if I could do it over again, and just lube the plunger and that's it. I think spring stretching is just making the high beam not even work at all.

Another mod that is optional is to cover up two boxes that are letting out some glare. This is easy to do with some aluminum flashing. You can cut it with scissors. This is what my design looked like:






Another thing that users have noticed is a bright glint of light being shot very high with the high beams on. Is was reported that painting the backside of the shield flat black has significantly reduced the intensity of this stray light. I used flat black Krylon BBQ and Grille paint since the shield would get very hot.






Another thing that I will need to do is fix the bowing cutoff (happening with both of mine, one worse than the other) and center the hotspot on one of the projectors. Stay tuned!

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Old 06-25-2013, 04:35 PM   #3
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A couple of output shots, prior to "tweaking."





This projector in the first picture has a slight bow and an off center hotspot. Also, this one has the top two flat washers removed to supposedly get more color. The other one has significant bowing.

The off center issue should be fixed by moving the entire bracket (bore out the holes and move the bracket). Also, spacing the shield closer to the lens should fix the bowing. You can use aluminum foil in several layers to do this, however I am going to try aluminum flashing first. Less layers will hopefully yield a faster and easier result.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:35 PM   #4
thunderone [OP] thunderone is offline
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Okay so the main problem with the bowing cutoff is occurring due to the bulb being slightly out of place. A little bit of jiggling the bulb upwards in the bulb holder was able to fix one completely however the hotspot is still a little off and it wouldn't hurt for me to drop it down a little also. So far one of the projector's cutoff is completely straight.

Another way to change the cutoff straightness or color is to space the shield. I spaced mine like such, with aluminum foil:







After doing this, however, the shield could still be moved and the cutoff could be altered by another method. You can move the rod forward or backwards that connects the shield parts to the bracket and runs under the solenoid. I moved the rod forward or backward until both cutoffs looked to my liking, then I applied some drops of Super Glue control liquid to the rod where the yellow arrow is. This assured that the rod wouldn't budge while I took it into the house, but was not a permanent adhesion in case I need to make adjustments while I was still outside. I let the Super Glue dry a little to make sure the rods would not move. I used the Super Glue because it was fast drying. After that, I put some JB Weld on the rod where the yellow arrow is shown and let it dry overnight. This will make sure that the rod never moves and messes up the cutoff. Since the solenoid wires wrap around the rod, simply pulling on the wire could move the rod if it were not JB Welded in place, and alter the cutoff's color. I preferred to have mine have some blue and purple at the cutoff line at about 25 feet.




You may not even need to space the shield with aluminum foil and may be able to just get away with simply moving the rod and gluing it in place. Just make sure that the shield still goes up and down without any issues before you JB Weld it in place for good.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:37 PM   #5
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Pictures of them mounted on the truck:

These pictures really don't do the cutoff line any justice. There is a lot of purple above the blue that my camera was not registering for some reason.







And a video (you can sort of see the purple in the cutoff line when I point the camera at the truck):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZDD2L6grdE
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