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Swapping Hella EvoX-R projectors in facelift C5 A6/S6 headlights

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  • Swapping Hella EvoX-R projectors in facelift C5 A6/S6 headlights

    I wrote this howto for Audizine and thought I might as well post it here as well just in case it's of any use to others

    Ever since I bought my S6 last December the headlights have had condensation issues, especially under high pressure such as automatic car washes. Living in the Pacific Northwest moisture is definitely an issue and something I wanted to resolve before the summer ends and we descend into another 6 months of solid rain.

    While many people have quite successfully reused the OEM sealant to reseal and waterproof their lights, The Retrofit Source sells an Oci-Butyl Glue kit for $15 which is perfect if, like me, you have no confidence in your original sealant. As I was going to have the headlights open to replace the sealant, I initially thought I'd replace the DOT spec fresnel lenses in the Hella E55 projectors used in the facelift bi-xenons with a set of clear ZKW-R's. However after some reading and realizing that chroming inside my 11yr old projectors was probably breaking down I decided to replace the projectors as well. The Retrofit Source does carry used Hella E55's but I also discovered in a thread on Audizine that the EvoX-R projector is an upgraded replica based off the original E55's. It comes with a mirror finished bowl (something our proctors never had) and the clear ZKW-R lenses. At only $40 more than a set of E55's + upgraded lenses it seemed like a no brainer.

    I won't cover removing your headlights or baking them open as that's been covered many times before, this is just about swapping in the new projectors. For this project you will need:

    - Oci Butyl Glue Kit from The Retrofit Source
    - Pair of Hella EvoX-R projectors from The Retrofit Source
    - long T30 torx screwdriver (to remove headlights from car)
    - T20 torx screwdriver
    - 7mm and 9mm wrenches
    - Phillips screwdriver
    - variety of sizes of flathead screw driver
    - utility knife
    - several 1" spring clamps
    - heat gun
    - oven
    - soldering pencil, solder, heatshrink
    - wire cutters/strippers

    First you want to remove your headlights and take them into your work area. As you can see, the repeated condensation of my lights had left them slightly cloudy. This was from water staining on the inside of the lens.



    The first thing you want to do is prep the headlights for lens removal, this means taking off as much the light as possible such as the ballast and bulb cover door, turn signal bulb, rubber gasket, headlight adjustment motor, bulbs, etc. I put them all off to the side in a small box to make sure nothing was lost.

    There are 4 metal clips that help keep the lens attached, 2 on the bottom, 1 on the top corner and one on the side closest to the radiator. we want to pop them off.



    Next we flip the light over and disconnect the housing wiring from the ballast by unplugging this 9006 connector.



    Then we remove the ballast by removing the single screw (T20) holding the retaining clip and sliding the assembly out.



    Pop the retaining wire clips off the bulb cover, disconnect the D2S wiring and the ballast unit is off the light. You should also remove the bulb cover retaining wires by popping them out of their mount holes.



    Next we want to remove the H7 high beam bulb, the D2S hid capsule and retaining ring, and the range adjustment motor. The adjustment motor is screwed in by two T20 screws, once removed the ball arm can be easily popped out of the U shaped connector with a flathead. The H7 high beam bulb is also held in the reflector housing by two T20 screws.



    Now that we've removed as much as possible, it's time to remove the lens. In order to do this you need to heat the housing so the oci-butyl sealant becomes soft enough to pull the lens apart from the housing. This can be done either with a heat gun or an oven. I chose to use my oven and baked the headlights for 10min at 170F. Place the light housing on a piece of cardboard in the oven so the oven rack doesn't scorch the housing. Once out of the oven I gently pried the housing apart with a large flathead starting on the bottom of the light. It required almost no effort which is likely why I was having condensation issues in the first place. I worked small sections cutting the butyl with a utility knife as I went to prevent it breaking and snapping back onto the reflector.

    Finally you're left with a light in two halves and have to remove the reflector. The main reflector is held in place by 3 mounting clips, 2 on the top and the adjustment motor on the bottom. As you've already removed the adjustment motor, you have only to disconnect the 2 top clips. First you remove the corner reflector, it's held in place by 2 Phillips screws you access from the back of the light housing (I forgot to take a picture of this, it will be very obvious when you look for it). The top mount points are the white clips in the housing, they're a pressure fit with a locking tab on the top. You need to pry the locking tab up with a flathead then pull the reflector out.



    Finally you can start swapping your projectors!

    The pigtail for the solenoid that flips the cut-off shield out of the beam for high beam can be disconnected on both the E55 and EvoX-R, however the plugs are different on the two models of projector so you will need to cut the E55 plug out and splice in the connector for the EvoX-R. If you reading this howto in order to replace your old projectors with stock units you will of course just skip this cutting and splicing step.



    Now find pigtail that came with the EvoX-R and clip off the metal connectors from the wire ends, they may be for the connection into the Lancer Evo's wiring harness but we don't need them. Strip and expose some wire to solder this pigtail into the headlight's high beam loom.



    Now, splice the pigtail into the high beam portion of the headlight wiring harness. Note that the solenoid on the EvoX-R is non-polar so it doesn't matter which wires you match together. Of course we're using solder and heatshrink because that's the proper way to join wiring, and crimp connectors/vampire tabs the lazy method that's really only good for causing shorts in the long term.



    This is the back of our stock E55 projector, it's attached to the reflector by three 7mm nuts, labelled 1 - 3. The threaded post these nuts screw down on is itself screwed into the reflector housing. To remove the nuts you'll need to use a 9mm wrench to prevent the post from spinning back out. I used a 7mm wrench on the nuts as I didn't have a socket thin enough to fit in the space, your results may be different.



    Installation of the new EvoX-R is a simple bolt in with one small modification required. The bowl and shield/lens assembly on the EvoX-R are held together by 4 screws and nuts. You have to remove the screw/nut indicated by the arrow as that's a mount point in our cars. Obviously that's not a big issue since the mount post replaces that as a fastener.



    Now you've gone from this:



    To this:



    As you can see there is a significant difference in lens clarity.

    If you are going to replace the oci-butyl sealant, which I did, you want to remove all the old gunk BEFORE you start reassembling the light. Removal is a messy job and you really don't want that sealant hitting your reflector. To remove it I used a heat gun and a flathead screwdriver. Work in sections, heat the sealant until it gets shiny then scrape the channel with your screwdriver. Wipe onto paper towel and and repeat until the channel is as clear as you can make it. Be careful not to heat one section for too long or too intensely, you only want to melt the sealant and not the plastic housing. Once your channel is clear, to put new sealant in. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this step, but I followed the instructions provided by The Retrofit Source to good effect. Basically I filled the channel to just below level.

    Now you just have to reassemble your headlight. Reassembly is effective the above in reverse, I would suggest plugging the solenoid pigtail into the projector before you connect the reflector back into the housing as it can be a bit tight to reach once the reflector is in the housing.

    Once you have all the internals back into the housing, you need to reseal the light. I replaced my butyl sealant and therefore followed the instructions that came with the kit, your mileage may vary if you're reusing the OEM sealant. Basically you preheat your over to 265F. While the oven is heating, put your lens back in place on the housing and give it a good press to seat it. As the sealant is cold, you won't be able to press the lens in very far. Once preheated place the light in the oven for 7 minutes, again put a piece of cardboard on the oven rack.

    When your timer goes off, remove the headlight (remember GLOVES, it will be very warm) and place it face up on a flat surface. I used a wooden cutting board covered in towels. Now, where possible, put a 1" spring clamp every few cm around the lens/housing seam to hold the lens in place. The pressure from the clamps will force the lens down into the warm sealant creating a complete seal.





    Allow the housing to cool completely then remove the clamps. There should have been some excess sealant pushed out by clamping in the lens, use a utility knife to trim off an remove this excess. Then complete the reassembly of your lights, reinstall in the car, aim and enjoy.

    And of course, everyone always wants to see output pics. These EvoX-R's are an unbelievable improvement over my stock projectors. Part of that is the fact that the OEM projectors are 11yrs old and the chrome was starting to fade and flake, part of it is the mirror finishing in the Evo's and part is the clear lens. Either way, the difference is dramatic. The Evo's have a much wider beam with a nice blue colour band across the entire cut-off. The underground in my building isn't the best place for pics like this, but it does give a good caparison of before and after. Only the projectors changed, I'm using the OEM 35W ballasts and Phillips 85122+ bulbs with about 600 - 800hrs on them in all photos.





    And of course the obligatory full night-time width/beam shots (pardon the iPhone pics, I forgot to put the memory card in my dSLR):

    Low beam. The stray light on the roof of the parkade is actually due to the cosmetic design of our C5 lights, it's reflection off the chrome bezel surround in front of the reflector. However, it does serve as a decent "squirrel finder" and helps illuminate street signs. I don't see it sitting in the car and I haven't been able to detect it standing in front so I don't think it affects/annoys oncoming traffic.


    High Beam. This pic really doesn't convey just how bright the high beams are on this car now, basically instant daylight.
    Last edited by mithrilG60; September 1st, 2013, 04:55 PM.

  • #2
    Great write up!
    2004 GMC Yukon Denali
    Hella E55 - ZKW-R - Philips 85122 - Philips LVQ-212
    OEM Euro Manual Headlight-Leveling System

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    • #3
      Nice. I use EvoX-R's but have never personally tested the original e55s. Did you try to see what happens if the EvoX-R uses the e55's cloudy lens?
      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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      • #4
        yeah, looks good
        Octa projectors, eight OEM bulbs, ~30,000lm , and 169 degrees of driving heaven!

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        • #5
          Thank you for sharing!

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          • #6
            You know what I've always wondered? What E55s look like with EvoX-R shields and clear lens. OEM bowl for perfect output and no streaking but a nice colorful DOT cutoff. Some day I'll try it lol

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            • #7
              ^
              I thought the e55 (and many oem designs) have a less mirror-like reflector bowl finish to pair with the diffuse or dimpled lens?
              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
                ^
                I thought the e55 (and many oem designs) have a less mirror-like reflector bowl finish to pair with the diffuse or dimpled lens?
                Yes but the mirror finish is what causes the streakiness

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                • #9
                  Looks really nice! great comparison to the OEM projector too. Those are actually "RS6" Bi-xenon projectors, which is a slightly upgraded version over whats known as the E55.


                  Lexus GS350 F Sport : Skipper Designs Front Lip : Rotiform BLQ Concave : Michelin PSS : Brembo GT 380mm : RSR Suspension : GS350/STi-R Bi-xenon
                  * For any inquiries please e-mail TRSMatt@TheRetrofitSource.com, PM's = not a good way to reach me*

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by satrya View Post
                    Nice. I use EvoX-R's but have never personally tested the original e55s. Did you try to see what happens if the EvoX-R uses the e55's cloudy lens?
                    Thanks, and no I didn't. Just swapped the projectors over and sealed up.

                    Originally posted by TRSMatt View Post
                    Those are actually "RS6" Bi-xenon projectors, which is a slightly upgraded version over whats known as the E55.
                    Interesting, didn't realise there was a difference between the E55 projector and the model used in the facelift C5's.

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                    • #11
                      Holy Crap! Talk about an upgrade! Very Impressive!

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                      • #12
                        Looks very nice!
                        Did this on my E39 too

                        But, how is your high beam compared to the low beam? Does it light up very high?
                        On my car it light up the three tops when the low beam is perfect adjusted.

                        So i cant get the strongest light straight forward.. :/

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                        • #13
                          Fantastic write up! Even made it on Facebook today from TRS.

                          2005 Dodge Magnum R/T
                          Headlight Setup: MH1 7.0 xb35 5500k bulbs acme ballasts MGG
                          Performance: 5.7 Hemi MDS, W5A580 Muffler delete, K&N Intake
                          Appearance: SRT8 Challenger Wheels
                          Check out my tuning page on Facebook!-------> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rapid...62482277210221

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Alpejohn View Post
                            Looks very nice!
                            Did this on my E39 too

                            But, how is your high beam compared to the low beam? Does it light up very high?
                            On my car it light up the three tops when the low beam is perfect adjusted.

                            So i cant get the strongest light straight forward.. :/
                            I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "light up three tops" but overall I'm happy with both high and low beam performance. The table-top tunnel effect the E55-type projector is known for is quite noticeable so it does throw light high, but most of the light is directed forward in the hotspots. It's also pretty hard to compare directly compare C5 to E39 lights and say any difference is due to the projector since both cars also use an independent halogen bulb on high as well. Most of your light on highbeam should be directed about 150m down the road.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the several side by side shots. I am now convinced to proceed with the swap!

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