Update: My lights are complete! I am now working on the FXR part of the guide. Please take a read through it when I am done!
Hey guys! I have been reading a ton of retrofit guides, a few on here and a few more around other sites as basically every install is the same.
I am typing up another guide to help everyone that want's to do it without paying somebody to do it. This will be my second retrofit, first being Mini H1s on my old car: 2011 Ford Focus.
This guide will be a little more in depth about things that the others were unclear about. Also feel free to PM me for any questions or information. This is geared towards the 2012-2013 headlight assemblies, but will work for the older ones too!
Disassembly: sockets, screw drivers, pry bar, torx bits, razor blade
Painting (optional)- Scuff pad, paint
Projector mounting: dremel, aluminum tape, Jb stick weld and epoxy
Reassembly: more butyl (optional), torx bits and screw drivers.
1. Buy a Tacoma
2. Remove your headlights. Follow this since there is no point of me retyping a perfect guide.
I will be leaving the bolt that is inside the fender area out for a few weeks to make sure the install goes 100% and there are no issues. That one is not fun to get to!
3. Once you have the headlights removed, you can remove all of the parts you don't want in the oven. This included bulbs, bulb clips, bulb sockets, dust covers, screws, and honeycomb pieces. Make sure you get all of the screws off the back. Some Philips and some torx. You do not need to remove the weatherstripping on top of the light. The oven will not harm it.
4. I read a few guides and saw temperatures from 250 °F-300 °F, so I went right in the middle at 275 °F for 6-8 minutes. Left my oven on in the process, I tried the other method of preheating it then shutting it off but it didn’t work. My focus lens went in at like 280°F for 20 minutes with the oven on because they are permasealed. We are blessed with butyl in these lights!
Set them on something that won’t get hot enough to melt the backing like carboard. As soon as they are done pull them out. They will be quite hot, so I recommend gloves/pot holders but gloves will make it easier as you have to hold the assembly next.
5. While the assemblies are still hot, start at the bottom with a flat screw driver and pry the lens from the backing. Once it gets a little wider between the backing and lens, shove something much bigger in there like a big flat head or in my case a pry bar. If you keep going with the small screw driver you will mess up the back of the housing. For some reason the plastic they use is very pliable and actually twists very easy. When you get about a 1” gap take a razor blade and cut the butyl and keep working your way around. When you get the whole bottom done you can basically grab the lens and carefully pull it off the backing plate. These are mine fresh out of the oven and put into my office.
6. At this point you are either going to A. Mount the backing of the headlight back on the truck and mark the output, or B. Make a jig (mount) for the headlights inside. A jig is just something you want to be able to put the headlight in the exact same spot to aim, some clamp the headlight to a table and some actually make a jig the headlight fits into out of wood. I decided to put them back on the truck, I mean it’s only 20°F out no biggie. Mark your beam cutoff (with an empty gas tank! a full gas tank will cause leaning towards the driver side!).
7. Now back to work. Remove your turn signal reflector.
Your assembly will now look like this.
Headlights don’t look that complicated, until you rip all this crap off
8. Now you will be removing the reflector bowl for paint. I looked at how many threads were sticking through the adjusters and noted the following (yours MIGHT be different, but probably about the same)
Adjuster by the inner turn signal had about 2 threads coming through
Adjuster by the outer marker light had about 8 threads coming through
Then there is also the ball joint clip that holds the reflector on shown in the top left of this picture. To get this off you need a little pick or flat head. The tabs push in towards the center of the piece of plastic, and the reflector pulls off of the black piece. It stays in the headlight, don’t break it off!
As soon as you have the reflector out, there are 2 metal tabs coming through the back that hold the metal bulb cover. Pry the 2 tabs up, and it will pop right through the front.
Then you will have your reflectors out. These are already painted, I used Krylon Fusion satin black AFTER scuffing the chrome with a red scotch bright pad. Some people decide to remove the chrome lining with oven cleaner first and paint the plastic. But I have never seen chrome chip off of headlights so I didn’t worry about it. I did this all 2 days before my projectors will be delivered. I wanted to let the paint dry good.
You can also paint your turn signal reflector and shrouds. I think I am leaving both of mine chrome, but that will be decided today, projectors should be here in a few hours. It all depends how it looks when I mock it up on the truck.
9. Now back to your lens assembly, remove the 2 torx screws that hold in the headlight surround/bezel and remove it. Take any butyl off that is on the chrome surround (mine had a little bit on one of the corners).Use wax tar and grease remover and it comes right off. Best to scuff it first. A 100grit sanding sponge works good.Now you can paint your headlight surround (BHLM)
10. Here is the assembly mock up (turn signal reflector might be painted, not sure yet)
11. Morimoto Minis. All you have to do is reinstall the reflectors, put your Mini through the hole with a silicone washer on it, slip on your 9003 adapter plate, see where it aims and you will have to make up for how crooked it is by grinding the tabs of the adapter plate (see others' pictures below) Still a very easy install. Mini H1 installs from removing the headlights to completing all this shouldn’t take more than 2-3 hours if you work steady. Install them, snug them and take them to the truck/jig and see how they compare. Any adjustment can first be made with grinding the adapter plate and second the headlight adjusters.You want to rely on the adapter plate & grinding for aim and not so much the headlights themselves.
This is what yours will look like (not a tacoma headlight!!!)
Some grinding will be required as the headlight assembly is made so the bulb is not perfectly straight shown below. (Thanks Burt!) Also note the dust, make sure you blow everything out before reinstalling the lens later!!
Then you make sure its snug, mount them on the car and make sure your aim is perfect, take them of tighten the nut more (don't go crazy, it's just aluminum!) Check the alignment once more to make sure you didn't slightly rotate it while tightening (kinda like measure 8 times and cut once). And follow with epoxy to make sure everything stays put. You want to epoxy the nut to the shaft, maybe a little from the shaft to the bowl. I used general purpose 60 second epoxy for this, jb weld will work too! This is not a Tacoma assembly. It's from my 2011 Focus.
12. The first part, is the scariest part. Hacking your reflector apart with a dremel and drill. I went to Lowes and bought a 3 inch hole saw. Glad I didn't get a smaller one! I read somewhere to start with a 2" and dremel from there. That would have been a lot more hacking and a lopsided hole. I held the hole saw centered through the reflector hole and had my girlfriend mark around it with a permanent marker for reference lines while I was drilling. Before you proceed, mark the top of the reflectors as the "top" or you might mess it up like I did.
13. Now you will be dremeling out the hole for the solenoid. You will be cutting out the section of plastic that has the hole for the halogen bulb shield! Make sure you don't cut the top like I did. So I had to cut 2 solenoid tabs on mine, luckily the shroud is huge and covers it anyway! Before you do the next step do a mock up mount of the projector and draw a circle around the back of the projector bowl, this will show you where it meets the housing and were to put your JB Weld in the next step.
14. Now mount the reflector back into the housing, use the # of threads you saw sticking out in the beginning- in my case 2 and 8. And also make sure you get the ball socket clip in. You want this as close to the original setting as possible, the rest of the adjustment will be made up in your JB weld mounting on the truck and finally the adjustments on the back at the very end of your install.
Your bulb should stick out the back a bit
15. Next you will be mounting the headlight and reflector back into the truck and following this video.
Using the JB Stick weld stuff gives you the ability to quickly mount the projector adjust it left/right, up/down and rotation. Within a few minutes it sets up and stays put. While you are aiming it, push it into the reflector of the headlight to spread the JB weld out. The more surface area the better. (With an empty gas tank! a full gas tank will cause leaning towards the driver side!)
16. Now you will be mounting each projector and Aiming them individually. You should already have your wiring harness on the vehicle just like TRS so you can plug in and aim. You have a few minutes to set it up, if the cutoff drops at all, simply aim it back up. Leave your lights on for this so you can see if anything is off by the time it cures. My bulb was not seated correctly in this picture. Explanation below.
17. Mine actually partially unmounted after a few hours (it was sprinkling and cold out when I installed them and kind of just set them into the housing without much pressure. Luckily the projector set back down in the JB weld right where it was aimed prior and I added some of the 2 part JB weld like TRS did in their video. I had to JB Weld 2 part around the stick stuff I put on the projector in step 15 and also added it to the back of the bowl around the whole area where the projector meets reflector.
18. This step might not be required for your projectors, but mine would not seat properly. Perhaps they were side specific and I just grabbed the wrong bulb, but the little feet that hold that glass part of the bulb were hitting the edge of the bulb hole and I had to dremel them out. I set the bulb in, rotated it back and forth a little to scratch where it was hitting and that was were I dremeled.
19. Now you should have a mounted projector that won't come off and which bulbs seat properly in.
20. I grabbed some clear 60 second epoxy to mount the shrouds. Wear gloves, if you try wiping fingerprints off the chrome shrouds you scratch them, if you rub too hard or use water/alcohol the chrome comes off rather quickly.
Since the shrouds and rings click together so tightly I recommend going with 5 minute stuff just to give you a little more time! I heated my centric ring up so it would bend without breaking the tabs (heat gun) and epoxied the inside of the shrouds. You don't need much. Clicked the centric ring and followed it by a little more clear epoxy where the shroud met the ring. Then I heated this up with the heat gun and then put epoxy on the 4 tabs that click over the projector lens. Then I clipped them onto the projector and rotated them a hair to be what looked horizontal (doesn't matter on some shrouds, the Apollo shrouds have 2 tabs on opposite sides, so you should make them horizontal or vertical.
21. Now you start reinstalling everything. Turn signal reflector, and the headlight bezel in the lens. Dont forget to put the little amber triangle back in. I put the BIXENON sticker on my bezel just for fun.
22. This is optional, I put a small bead of butyl in with the existing butyl. Some people scrape it all out and start fresh, and some just let the original flow back together.
23. Make sure your projector lens is clean, shroud is clean, and dust out everything else. Set the lens back where it should go and put it in the oven at 200°F for a few minutes to warm it up. Pull the assembly out and push the lens into the channel and start all the screws into the lens to where they start to pull the lens in but stop there. Put it back in the oven for a few, no more than 5 minutes. Pull it out, push the lens into the assembly while tightening the screws. Now you can add your bulbs back to it and have your almost completed assembly.
24. Install any left over pieces to the assembly like the weather strip that goes right below the hood on top of the headlight assembly. Leave the adjuster caps off, as you might need to adjust a hair when it's on the truck.
Retrofit outputs: Coming soon
camera exaggerates glare
Some output shots finally