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Here’s my DIY for installing TheRetrofitSouce E46 projectors. Unfortunately i did this a while ago so I’m doing this from somewhat faded memory.

Skipping removing the headlights from the car, you can see my bulb DIY for that since I basically removed the headlights in that DIY. All you do is disconnect the plugs and slide the housings out. Be careful not to scratch the bumper when doing this.


PREP: Need drill, dremel/rotary tool, dust mask, olive oil, q-tip, gloves, flashlight, torx screwdrivers.
***Make sure you measure/mark where your lights currently point. I parked on level ground 25 feet away from a wall and marked where my old projectors pointed first, using tape to designate where the cutoffs are.You’ll need to do this because you mess with the adjuster knobs during replacement.

*Picture Numbers are in red on the photo and almost all refer to the Driver’s side*

Step 1: remove the plastic headlight cover. This is just clipped on so it comes off easy. If yours are faded/yellowed, hopefully you bought new ones because it’s so easy to replace.

2: Remove the bulbs (I removed the halogens as well just to prevent accidental breakage) and leave the bulb connectors disconnected.

3: You’ll want to use the angle adjustment knob to angle the headlight housing all the way down. I forget which knob this is so just play with one or the other until you see which one doesn’t the up/down, not left/right.

4: This is the hardest part for me: getting the silver plastic piece that holds the projectors disconnected from the outer housing. The auto-leveler was stuck (its a rounded ball that I forgot to take a picture of), plus the clips (see Picture) were really small and I didn’t want to break while holding them open. A Pick tool set would have been great here but I didn’t have one. Shout out to fatherlemmisty for the olive oil tip (apply with q-tip). This was great. I really had to force it out and it scared me when it popped out but luckily nothing broke on either headlight. To be clear there are two connections, the lover ball clasp thing and the clips which needed olive oil in the picture. PICTURE 3

5: Unscrew ZKW projectors from silver piece. The back bulbs will come off separately from the lenses and shrouds. I didn’t take a picture of how to remove the shrouds, but you just use a flathead screwdriver to pop them off the lenses. I saved my ZKW lenses cause they look cool and the glass quality is better than the new lenses. Maybe one day I’ll figure out a way to combine the old lenses and the new bulbs.

6: Now it’s time to modify the silver housing and attach the new projectors. You need to do 4 things to the housing.
Drill through one of the screw holes that doesn’t go all the way through. I either used a 5/32 bit or 3/16 bit. Start with the smaller and use the bigger if it sticks. The bigger may actually help with the problem in step 7… PICTURE 6
Sand down the edge of the screw hole blocking the connector. PICTURE 1, 1A, 1B, 2
& 4) Create two cut outs to allow for the high beam solenoid and lever arm to operate freely. PICTURE 4, 6A, 7, 7A, 7B

7: Check fitment of projector to the housing. You’ll notice the holes don’t line up exactly. It’s unfortunate that this kit doesn’t really have holes that line up. The screws will angle outward-ish. I also only used the included metal spacers. Some write-ups used both the old rubber and the metal, but the screws provided weren’t long enough so i just used the metal.I attached using the head screw on the projector side, not the housing side. PICTURE 5, 8, 9

8: There’s no set way to screw the projector to the plastic, so i just made sure everything was as even and flat against each other as possible and secured the screws. Be warned the screw on the bottom may catch the lip of the projector and not sit flush. This is why I put the head of the screw on the projector side as I needed to force it down and tighten from the housing side. PICTURE 8,1A

9: Once everything is all screwed in, make sure the high beam solenoid and lever arm can move freely. Detach and use the dremel more if need. Better to give extra clearance and get it right now than to take everything apart again. The shrouds covers the cut outs anyway so don’t worry too much if you mess up a bit.

10: Now to do the high beam wiring. I cut off the connector from the outer housing and “stripped” the wires (using quotes because the plastic just crumbled off in my hands). I decided that instead of directly attaching the wires to each other, I would use the supplied black connectors and went out and bought the connect female ends (can’t remember which connector it is, but got it at autozone). This will facilitate easier removal later if necessary. Attach the orange rubber connectors to the crimped ends and slide into the black piece and pull until it clicks (I think, check online just in case) Some more stripping, electrical tape (I used high heat tape just in case but it was tough to get to stick, if you feel comfortable using standard it will be easier to fit back in the housing) and bam, done with that. Connect the black connector to the projector before step 11, that helped me because it gets tight once the projector is back in the outer housing. PICTURE 10, 11, 12

11: When replacing the silver housing and projector back in the outer housing, make sure you remember to attach it to the angle/lever thing on the left(driver)/right (passenger) of the outer housing. I screwed this up the first time and had to re-detach the ball joint thing and the other clip from step 4. That sucked. So once that’s in the slot/hole thingy, pop the ball thing back and make sure the clips are secure and you’re good. You can test by using the knobs to see if it moves when you turn them.

12: At this point, start reconnecting things. I did the high beams then tucked them down and out of sight. Then the halogen bulb and connector and then my new-ish CBI bulbs and connector.

13: Before putting the plastic cover on, attach the shroud. Some people use JB weld, or try to glue. I just shoved it on there and it’s pretty secure. It hasn’t fallen off yet! Also, be very careful to clean with microfiber and not touch the glass lenses. I would actually clean the glass before putting the shroud back on. You WILL see fingerprints and markings on the road if you don’t keep it clean.

14: Reattach plastic cover and then mount back to car. I didn’t screw it in until I plugged the plugs in and turned the car on. Luckily no issues with either headlight, both lit up on the first try (thank god…).

15: Adjust headlights according to the markings you made before taking everything apart.

And you’re done! A couple things: line isn’t as crisp as the ZKW projectors, and on the right side you’ll see that you can see where the arm for the arm that moves the shields is. Super annoying but you’ll get used to it. Also, my glass isn’t perfect and you can see it on the road. It looks dirty but it’s actually ridges in the glass casting shadows. I attached a picture of the glass ridge you can see. The ZKWs don’t have this and are perfect, oh well. I got used to it too. Oh and one of the high beam connectors was missing the rubber inserts so TRS was nice enough to mail me the inserts and connector, that’s great service. All-in-all I’m very glad I did this as my lights are bright and clear. The price point is great and I’m definitely glad that I paired the projectors with new bulbs. The cut-off is drastic but it’s not a problem at all, I have zero issues with the cut-off, the lever arm showing is more annoying.

Special thanks to the following posts: they helped me piece things together, even if they were putting in different projectors.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1125062&highlight=burned+bowls Great pictures in this one!!!


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