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csjoh's 4-hour Mini H1 retrofit on Mitsubishi Galant

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  • csjoh's 4-hour Mini H1 retrofit on Mitsubishi Galant

    After months of driving with what looked like two candles in front of the car, darkness has fallen upon the lands and it was no longer safe to drive after dark as I could see absolutely nothing. Even going into tunnels has been something I've dreaded, because the lights just weren't up to par.

    Since I've still not properly started on my "real" retrofit, I was in a bit of a pinch and decided to just grab a pair of very cheap ($23) Mini H1s from AliExpress, pop open a pair of lights to take the reflectors and cram the MH1s into them, pop them back in the headlights I'm currently using and call it a day. Sounds like an easy and painless job, right? Not quite...

    I was given a pair of OEM headlights from a friend. One of the glass lenses was chipped badly from stone chips - so badly, in fact, that a rather large piece of the lens was rattling about inside. One of the reflectors had a chipped corner as well, but looked to be intact enough for this project. On the plus side, the donors have working electrical height adjustment motors which I may attempt to use for the "real" retro.

    I started by heating the bead, forgetting that glass gets &#%!" hot, even with gloves on. Chalk one up for painful lessons learnt... Further, chipped glass does not like heat in any form, so the chipped lens decided to crack and break.

    Here's the piece that broke off:



    And here's how it should look:



    This made it easier to grab the lens to pry it off, but had the negative effect of slicing my gloves open. Cue mysterious cuts and blood... somehow I managed to avoid cutting my hands until later, when I was installing the headlights on the car... Lenses off, reflectors out, alignments taken, projectors in, rotation and horizontal adjustments made, screw hand-tightened, check again, tighten a bit more, remember that the shrouds must be screwed onto these projectors. Back to base, shrouds on, adjustments, and done. Next reflector, I put the shroud on first...

    Assembled the solenoid plugs and decided it was too dark and too late to do anything more.

    Both heads done, time spent: about 1h15m. 'Twas midnight and time for a beer...

    The day after, pull headlights from the car and bring them in. Got the cutoff line on my whiteboard, replaced the entire reflector with projector with the new ones.

    Passenger side before:



    After:



    Driver's side before:



    Despite me being unable to keep camera settings the same, you can easily see it's not bright at all. This is about 10ft from the whiteboard. Imagine how that looks at 20ft. Problem is, the light doesn't reach the wall at 20ft. At 12-15ft it just disappears, which is what makes driving in the dark a taxing experience...





    No after pic, but it looked just like the passenger side one above.

    Mounted up, aligned to the old cutoff and put the headlight lens back on. The bezel hit the shroud, but I managed to squeeze it past and everything looked fine. Heated the bead and put clamps on to keep it together while I did the other one. Same procedure. After it was done, I put the lens on and fired it up, and the beam shot almost into the ceiling. Dafuq?

    Turns out the bezel pushes the projector upwards - probably since I didn't supertighten the locking nut, as I intend to reuse these projectors at a later stage. For that reason, I tightened them enough to keep the projector steady on it's own, but not enough to prevent it from ever moving.

    Brilliant... opened the headlights again and removed the bezels completely. One was scuffed from the squeeze and hence both need repainting at some point to avoid colour differences. Put the lenses back on premilinarily and checked for light bleeds, of which there were some, but less than I feared. Good stuff. Sealed them properly, and this is the result:



    Yeah, "naked" lights. Almost wanted to get rid of the reflectors completely and just use metal brackets to mount the projectors and run them without bezels or shrouds for that raw, exposed, industrial look.

    Out into the dark to put them back on the car. Fiddled around in the engine bay with a flashlight in my mouth for half an hour to get everything connected and ziptied up properly, then went for a test drive to check vertical alignment.

    Light output was fantastic compared to what I had, yet I realize the potential my RX350+EvoX-R combo has... this is gonna be good.

    Stopped at a school 1 minutes from home to align the lights and quickly found that the driver's side didn't want to adjust vertically. At all. Poking the projector from the back revealed lack of resistance to moving, indicating that two of the mounting nutserts had stripped threads, which meant taking the dang headlight off once more, and opening it once more... Thankfully I have a lot of nutserts from the donor headlights and from the old projector setup, so that was a matter of minutes to do. The butyl bead didn't even have time to cool down before the nutserts were swapped and the lens was going back on. Another alignment and then back on the car, hopefully for the last time. Another 15 minutes in the dark (and rain, thank you ever SO much for that...) and voila! New test drive to the school, did some fine adjustments and went for a drive.

    WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS SOONER?!

    So, the current setup:

    Outer projectors: China Mini H1s with VVME 5000K 35W bulbs
    Inner projectors: FEUN projectors (el cheapo craptastic China projectors) with VVMW 5000K 55W bulbs

    All bulbs driven by F3 Fast Bright ballasts. High beam splitter before the high beam ballast to the solenoid in the MH1s.

    The high beam is very close to perfect (though it could always be better) and works very well. The Mini H1s spread the light very nicely and as such is a sort of flood, while the FEUNs are more of a pencil beam. The H1s are always on, which gives me instant high beam when I need it, and then the dedicated high beams come on in a few seconds to complete the beam. In total, I get a nice, tall and wide high beam with great distance spot beam.

    The old low beam projectors were also FEUN projectors. Identical in every way to the high beam ones, with the addition of a cutoff shield.

    I forgot to bring the camera for the test drive, so no road shots or wall shots. I'll try to have some taken tonight.

    Time spent on day 2:

    30 minutes installing the reflectors with projectors in the headlights, including prying the lenses off the headlights.
    2h15m getting the lights on and off the car, fixing broken stuff and adjustments. Test drives not included.

    Total time spent: Approx 4 hours.

    They don't look good, but they work. Everything works. This is not meant to be a permanent solution anyway, just something temporary to tide me over until I get the other pair done. Before that happens, I have to finish a retro for a friend (the same who gave me the donor headlights). He's got a Galant as well, so I'm getting aquainted with space restrictions of the headlight housings, epoxying stuff as well as trimming both reflectors and shrouds. Good times!
    Last edited by csjoh; August 22nd, 2014, 08:56 AM. Reason: Moved a few things around, typos and misc.


    OEM halogen reflector headlights | Osram Rallye H7 65W low beams | Philips Vision H1 55W high beams | Pre-facelift orange indicators

    Retrofits in progress: MDX LED retrofit | RX350/EvoX-R quad w/'moto HD relay, Mitsubishi gen4 ballasts and selectable quad wiring (needs lots of fixing)

    My retrofits

  • #2
    Progress.
    As for the interference between the shroud and the reflector assembly; you don't really need to keep the bottom of the shroud untrimmed, do you?
    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
      Nice. Progress for sure, and at least now, no need to fear when darkness dawns upon the land. Lol.
      2010 Civic Si

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      • #4
        Originally posted by satrya View Post
        Progress.
        As for the interference between the shroud and the reflector assembly; you don't really need to keep the bottom of the shroud untrimmed, do you?
        Not at all, but these projectors are for yet another retrofit (which WILL be postponed until I have finished my RX350+EvoX-R retro). I'm not sure of the dimensions of the headlight they're going into, and since I only have one pair of Mini Gatling Gun shrouds I'd rather not cut them up until I know I have to.

        Originally posted by dreamer1213 View Post
        Nice. Progress for sure, and at least now, no need to fear when darkness dawns upon the land. Lol.
        No fear anymore, I have seen the light and it was good!


        OEM halogen reflector headlights | Osram Rallye H7 65W low beams | Philips Vision H1 55W high beams | Pre-facelift orange indicators

        Retrofits in progress: MDX LED retrofit | RX350/EvoX-R quad w/'moto HD relay, Mitsubishi gen4 ballasts and selectable quad wiring (needs lots of fixing)

        My retrofits

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