Write-up: How to equip an 87-93 stang with HID's the RIGHT way. LOTS of pics.

RacEoHolic330

I like to dress like a pretty girl
15 Year Member
Mar 4, 2003
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**Final pics are on page 2**

Okay, this write-up is going to describe, in as much detail as possible, how to properly equip an 87-93 mustang with HID headlights. The same general process can be used to do it on any other car as well.

First, before I begin the write-up, let me give a little lesson on HID lighting.

This website give a lot of very good information about halogen vs. HID lighting:
http://www.intellexual.net/hid.html

To paraphrase some key points from the site above:
High Intensity Discharge systems consist of a bulb and a ballast/ignitor. The ballast acts as an ignition box to fire up the gas discharge process. The bulb itself is filled with a mixture of noble gases as well as alkali earth metal salts. In this setup, the noble gases and metal salts are actually used as part of the lighting processes. The ballast takes in a small amount of input power of 35 watts at 12 volts and inducts a solid-state charge of 25,000 volts to the positive electrode. This creates a very high-powered arc of electricity across the electrodes, which excites xenon gas into discharging photon particles (light).

The problem:
Most people think that they can put HIDs in their car by purchasing one of these plug and play kits. This can be done, and it will give better light output than stock halogen bulbs. However, it is the totally WRONG approach. HID bulbs produce a very bring light, that is obvious. The key thing is focusing this light properly and safely. The light emitted from an HID bulb and a halogen bulb is not the same. HIDs have different optics compared to halogen. It requires a special type of reflector housing or a projector.

The biggest problem with just throwing an HID “kit” is the glare caused to oncoming drivers. Halogen housings are not made for HID bulbs. The light gets scattered in all kinds of directions instead of being focused towards the ground like it should be. This creates a nightmare for oncoming drivers and it can be very dangerous.

The solution:
Equip a halogen housing with HID projectors. This is a VERY custom job and takes a lot of time and patience. There are a lot of different projectors out there to choose from. Some are small, some are large. Some have HID high beams, some do not. The Fox housing is rather large so size was not an issue for me. That is why I chose to use a set of BMW E46 bi-xenon projectors. The bi-xenon means that I have both low AND high beam capabilities.

***********************************************************
Okay, time to get down to business. First I'll describe the retro itself, then the wiring and aiming and all that.

These are the housings that the projectors are going into:
DSCN1206.jpg


Here is a picture of the projector itself
DSCN1032.jpg


Because of the type of projector I chose, I had to do a little extra modification to get it to work properly. I needed to create a shroud around the open area between the lens and the bulb. I only want the light to shine through the lens, not anywhere else. In other words, I need to create a “sealed” beam.

So my solution was to create a shroud out of fiberglass. This was my first time ever working with fiberglass, so if it’s not perfect, that is my excuse, hah.

I used aluminum foil and strips of thin aluminum to lay the fiberglass on:
DSCN1033.jpg


Then I layered the glass:
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trimmed it:
DSCN1038.jpg


put some filler on
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smoothed it out
DSCN1208.jpg


and the final product.
DSCN1209.jpg


Here are some pics of it on the projector. The shiny piece on the front is a bezel from a 5 series BMW that I trimmed
DSCN1210.jpg

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Once I got that out of the way, I started work on the housing itself. I drew out marks of the smallest and largest parts of the projector. So the cutting I do will be somewhere within those lines.
DSCN1214.jpg


This is basically what is going to happen. The back of the housing is going to be cut out and the projector will be inserted and then fiberglassed into place.
DSCN1215.jpg


The last time I did the retrofit on my car, I needed to bake the housings in the oven for 10 minutes at 250* to melt the glue so I could separate the lens from the housing. The way that I am doing it this time will not require that, thankfully.


To cut out the back of the housing I used a drill to make some holes around the perimeter of the circle. Then I simply used a jig saw to cut the hole. The back of these housing were surprisingly thick.
DSCN1289.jpg



Then I had to enlarge the hole some more. Yes, it's quite large.
DSCN1290.jpg



Here's the projector halfway mounted into the hole. I still need to cut out some more to get it to slide in a little further.
DSCN1291.jpg


And a little teaser of how the final product should look.
DSCN1295.jpg


Here's the passenger side which is ready to be mocked up in the car and aimed.
DSCN1307.jpg



Now for the wiring/electrical part. This is one of the most important parts of the install. A typical HID bulb operates at 35 watts and pulls about 3 amps of current, compared to a halogen's 55 watts. Not only do they take less power to run, but they burn cooler and create less heat than a halogen bulb. However, there is one issue. When you flip the headlight switch to turn on your headlights, all those gases in the bulb must be ignited. This occurs during the first 5 seconds after the lights are turned on.

Here's what an HID bulb looks like, for those of you that don't know. You can see a small round bubble in the middle of the bulb. That is where the salts are that get ignited. There are 24,000 volts running through those bulbs when they are on.
View attachment 488968

Here is the ballast/ignitor that powers the bulb. The red connector attaches to the end of the bulb. The other side of the ballast is where it gets it's 12v source and ground from the car.
View attachment 488970


You may notice that when a BMW or Audi turns their lights on, they come on very blue and then slowly turn whiter and whiter. This is what the bulb does when it warms up. During this warm up period, the ballast/ignitors draw close to 15 amps of current for each bulb, which is much more than the stock wiring can take. After a little while the wiring isn't going to take that abuse anymore and will probably burn up. To fix this problem, an additional wiring harness consisting of relays is required. The relays take the grunt of the high current so the stock wiring doesn't have to. There are tutorials online that show how to make one, or you could just buy one already made for around $50. www.suvlights.com sells pre-made plug and play wiring harnesses. And besides, an upgraded headlight harness should be on of the first things upgraded on our fox bodies. They didn't exactly come with great wiring from the factory.


For final pics, check page 2
 

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RacEoHolic330

I like to dress like a pretty girl
15 Year Member
Mar 4, 2003
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That link just brought me to the 50resto homepage. Like I said above, the only reason that I had to do the fiberglassing was because of the type of projector I used. There are many other projectors out there that won't require all the fiberglass work. An example is projectors out of an Acura TL. They already come sealed.

webshot: The fiberglass and filler and resin is just cheap stuff from home depot. There is better quality stuff out there but the shrouds I made don't need to be super strong. The bulbs I got from a friend. They typically cost around $45 used and around $80 new.

I'll be working on these again on Sunday.
 

Euphoric306

New Member
Apr 5, 2004
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if i follow this right, then the light you see coming out of the headlight will just the a circle emitting from the lens of the projector??

or will it fill the whole housing with light just like the halogen bulbs? i like the look of HID lights but don't want that euro round light look at night :shrug:


anyway... congrats on fabricatin
 

RacEoHolic330

I like to dress like a pretty girl
15 Year Member
Mar 4, 2003
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From far away, its hard to tell. This is how it looks up close.

441070_131_full.jpg


I know some people won't like how that looks, but this whole project is more of a function over form sort of deal. It's important to me to have very good lighting at night.
 

MadRed92GT

Founding Member
Oct 22, 2001
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0
16
The lights arrived today, have not put them in yet. I need to know how to wire up the small light in the corner of the headlight, so I'll email the guy tonite to see how to do it. I paid about $110 shipping included.
 

PRO50SC

New Member
Dec 28, 2003
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MadRed92GT said:
The lights arrived today, have not put them in yet. I need to know how to wire up the small light in the corner of the headlight, so I'll email the guy tonite to see how to do it. I paid about $110 shipping included.
The small lights just get wired into the running lights.
 

Michael Yount

Mustang Master
Apr 10, 2002
9,039
6
79
raceoholic - GREAT work and documentation! I have questions....

"I needed to create a shroud around the open area between the lens and the bulb. I only want the light to shine through the lens, not anywhere else." Why? If the projector doesn't come already shrouded, why do you need to shroud it? I'd think that it would be designed so some of the light from the bulb would pass through the projector lens, and some of the light through the unshrouded part of the projector would be distributed and focused by the reflectors inside the headlight. But I'm just guessing based on the way I've seen light distributed by factory HID cars. Also, how did you know the fiberglass shroud and the plastic headlight housing would stand up to the heat generated by the HID projector?