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Tribeca B9 headlamps...only OEM are available...seems like there is no way out......

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  • Tribeca B9 headlamps...only OEM are available...seems like there is no way out......

    Hi everyone, I have an 06 Subaru Tribeca and the headlamp lenses were once available from Subaru but they quickly discontinued them. The headlamps are about 300 bucks each on average plus shipping and I would consider just buying a set if the vehicle didn't have so many other expensive issues to deal with.

    The issue that I am having is that the inside of the lens appears to not just be cloudy but cracked. I have lived with this for a while but sooner or later it is going to get too bad. It really frustrates me that no one in the limited Tribeca community will acknowledge this issue. They just stick their head in the sand, refuse to talk about it, and then talk about troubles with LED and HID setups. This attitude frustrates me just as much as my cloudy headlamps. I am pretty damn good over the years about wet sanding and clearing headlamps/polishing/and clearing things. I am good enough to know that sometimes that just won't work on certain vehicle models rendering the headlamps looking like pigs with lipstick no matter how good you are. I am frustrated that DEPO/TYC/Angel Eyes just never produced aftermarket replacements. RockAuto has a part number for alternates but those have never been in stock and another body shop that citing the same alternate replacement has never had them in stock either. I like my Tribeca at it's core but I am ticked. Thanks for any help and for your time.

  • #2
    That's unfortunate. I wonder how much it costs to set up a vacuum forming kit, including the trial materials (assuming the first few tries don't result in usable part). There used to be a handful of people in this forum that are knowledgeable in vacuum forming to replace the OE polycarbonate lens and/or glass lens with clear acrylic. But that was almost 10 years ago.
    Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

    3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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    • #3
      Thanks bro. I was hoping that you would post as this would hurt your soul as a Sube guy. Yeah it's supposed to be the one that no one wants but still. Such a strange situation. Your idea would be great if I could get some awareness up in the community for a group buy. The community is not that active and no one at least overtly cares. They probably just toss their car or polish the outsides and call it good enough or maybe haven't experienced this issue. Maybe someone here will take pity on me. Once I get it right I could throw some lamin-x on it and call it good for the life of the vehicle.
      Last edited by ukiltmybrutha; October 12th, 2020, 08:05 PM.

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      • #4
        I have gen 5 Legacy GT and recently swapped the lenses with replacements from aliexpress ($200+ plus shipping). They fit 99% but scratch easily, but hey they are clear my headlights look brand new (5 year old Philips bulbs).

        Have a look on alibaba/aliexpress, you never know you might get lucky.

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        • #5
          Curious in terms of options you're willing to consider;
          For my bugeye GDAA subaru platform, there is a prodrive UK version of the headlight and a few other WRC-inspired variants where instead of a housing with an external lens (just like most vehicles), the headlight uses either a pair of Hella or Valeo sealed low and high beam units. Here's a picture I found of the UK300 ones to illustrate: https://www.ultimatecarpage.com/imag...RX-UK300_5.jpg

          What if you retrofit the housing with those weather sealed 90mm units (like this halogen one, there are HID and LED models now https://www.rallylights.com/hella-90...n-dot-sae.html ), and cut two openings through the blurry housing lens, add a sleeve along the opening that joins with the housing lens, and paint the housing lens and sleeves black etc.?

          The OE price of those 90mm units used to be quite high, but I've seen those on sale for a lot less than what you would pay for those pair of OE replacements + shipping.
          Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

          3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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          • #6
            Where I live we have shops dedicated to this, you give them a housing and they make the lens. Is this something unique to us or what? As a driver here you run the risk of car damage every time you drive, and sometimes when you're parked Maybe that's why these shops are popular here.
            2006 Grand Vitara 3dr
            Projector swap: MH1 7.0, XB35, XB 4500K, custom wiring
            CAD designed adapter plate

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            • #7
              Originally posted by NoodleFace View Post
              Where I live we have shops dedicated to this, you give them a housing and they make the lens. Is this something unique to us or what? As a driver here you run the risk of car damage every time you drive, and sometimes when you're parked Maybe that's why these shops are popular here.
              That would be nice. In north america, I don't think there's a business case for this en masse, because insurance will deal with them, and the number of people needing replacement for retrofit purposes is probably too small and sporadic.
              Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

              3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by satrya View Post
                Curious in terms of options you're willing to consider;
                For my bugeye GDAA subaru platform, there is a prodrive UK version of the headlight and a few other WRC-inspired variants where instead of a housing with an external lens (just like most vehicles), the headlight uses either a pair of Hella or Valeo sealed low and high beam units. Here's a picture I found of the UK300 ones to illustrate: https://www.ultimatecarpage.com/imag...RX-UK300_5.jpg

                What if you retrofit the housing with those weather sealed 90mm units (like this halogen one, there are HID and LED models now https://www.rallylights.com/hella-90...n-dot-sae.html ), and cut two openings through the blurry housing lens, add a sleeve along the opening that joins with the housing lens, and paint the housing lens and sleeves black etc.?

                The OE price of those 90mm units used to be quite high, but I've seen those on sale for a lot less than what you would pay for those pair of OE replacements + shipping.
                I am willing to do it but need more vision. It is rare that something like this happens and I am a bit embarrassed to say I can't figure out how to do this.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by niZmO_Man View Post
                  I have gen 5 Legacy GT and recently swapped the lenses with replacements from aliexpress ($200+ plus shipping). They fit 99% but scratch easily, but hey they are clear my headlights look brand new (5 year old Philips bulbs).

                  Have a look on alibaba/aliexpress, you never know you might get lucky.
                  Oh hey, sorry I missed this. Let me take a look. Unfortunately nothing there either.
                  Last edited by ukiltmybrutha; October 16th, 2020, 09:17 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ukiltmybrutha View Post

                    I am willing to do it but need more vision.
                    (1) The first question to ask is whether or not you are ok with a non reversible change on the headlight housings.
                    (1a) If no,
                    (1a1) One option is increasing the total cost by buying a separate pair of housings, even if it is in bad shape. My guess is that this is not a possibility, due to the rarity of finding a pair of headlight housings for your B9.
                    (1a2) Another option is to fabricate the front face of the housing. As this will be used like that UK300 and WRC -inspired headlights, the front face of the housing doesn't need to be transparent.
                    (1b) If yes, you can directly modify the cloudy housing lens.

                    (1b) is a bit simpler because presumably, the other functions like city light and turn signal doesn't need to be modified, and you can just focus on adding new low beams. I would find at least a good low beam only unit, either halogen or LED, but not HID. I say "good" meaning take one of those Hella 90mm units for example, which has proper low beam pattern. I say halogen or LED but not HID, to simplify the wiring. HID will require upgraded harness to deal with the HID ballast startup spike. Once the 90mm unit is mounted like you would retrofit a regular headlight housing, you line up a cylindrical sleeve that can surround the 90mm unit. Cut the housing lens where the cylindrical sleeve meets the housing lens, and maybe find a trim ring that matches. So, the rest of the OE units for high beam, turn signa, city lights, etc., will still remain sealed behind the cloudy housing lens, but the 90mm unit will have an opening so it won't be obstructed by the cloudy lens.


                    (1a2) is conceptually similar to (1b), but instead of cutting the OE housing lens, you remove it and make a copy of the curved shape, and cut openings for 90mm low beam, 90mm high beam, and a weatherproof city light/turn signal module (Hella also makes those). This would resemble the UK300 / WRC style headlights I mentioned. I would start by copying the shape of the headlight housing with paper mache first, work out where the holes need to be made, cut the hole, integrate the cylindrical sleeve extensions (where the 90mm units will be recessed into), and then fabricate the final one using fiberglass or other methods. One advantage of (1a2) to (1b) is that since all the units are weatherproof, you don't have to worry about resealing the housing lens (or its replacement) as there is nothing in the headlight that need further weatherproofing. A B9 with WRC style headlights may look even better with Rally Blue Pearl.
                    Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                    3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

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                    • #11
                      About using paper mache to work out the specific cuts to your OE headlight housing lens or its opaque replica "shroud", here's an example of my use of paper mache to copy the shape of a generic reflector housing. Instead of the lens, I'm copying the back in this case. Note the paper mache being applied to the back:


                      The piece on the left is the paper mache after several trims to accommodate for various lighting units, and the piece on the right is the actual reflector that is being cut gradually following new cuts dictated by the paper mache timming/fitting:


                      What this allowed me to do was to test a particular cut on the paper mache first. Also, any small mistake can be recovered by adding new material to the paper mache and re-fitting it to the original mold. You can see the left unit wears a paper mache, and the right unit wears an almost completed reflector as a "shroud". This will be equivalent to the WRC style cover per the previous discussion.



                      In your case, the analogy is when you're trying to determine the exact position of the holes for the 90mm low beam (plus others, depending on your approach), and where to add the cylindrical "sleeve" extension.


                      Another benefit is that the paper mache allows you to adjust the exact shape of the outer perimeter of the "shroud". Here's an example where I used paper mache to figure out how much to trim a foglight frame.


                      Testing different edge shapes:



                      Those two and other variations allowed me to see which one is most reasonable, and then follow the final outline to trim the actual material:
                      Jul 2012 ROTM (3-way quad headlight) ; Sep 2015 ROTM (custom muli-lens 7" fogs)

                      3-way quad wiring; foreground limiter; squirrel finder;

                      Comment

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