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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, new here, and first time Volvo owner. :D I've gotten lots of great info here already for my v50, and wanted to start contributing.


I come from the world of classic BMWs (still own an e30). I needed to get a 'newer' vehicle, and I'm a wagon fanatic, so I scooped up a v50 2.5t AWD 6 speed.

I'm obsessed with proper lighting. I don't upgrade headlights for aesthetics, its for function. I drive a lot on poorly lit or unlit backroads. I don't care about sharp cut-offs, or blue tinges, or halos, blah blah blah, only light output.

I've retrofitted every car I've owned, and several for other people, so this mod was the first on the list for the Volvo.


My car was spec'd with the factory Bixenon setup (early model). However, I am familiar with the the Bosch/AL design from BMW e46s and knew it wouldnt be good enough for me. It did, however, eliminate having to add a wiring harness and deal with the PWM crap on this chassis.

Summary of my setup
Factory early model (2005) Bixenon headlight units
Morimoto Mini D2S 5.0 projectors
Morimoto XB 3800k D2S bulbs
The Retrofit Source Mini D2S to Bosch/AL adapter brackets
Factory igniter
High beam splitter harness
Additional small spacers

I was going to use the Morimoto FXR 3.0 projectors I have sitting on a shelf, but the Mini D2S setup was far too easy to pass up. Maybe in the future if I'm bored I'll go down that rabbit hole.

Step 1 was bringing the headlight lenses back to clear. A hazy lens will decrease output dramatically.
Before:


After wetsanding process (started at 220 grit to remove all pitting, then progressed to 400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000, 2500 grits)


After final polishing with a polishing compound, foam pad and DA orbital polisher


Step 2 was disassembly
Remove headlight from car by pulling the pin and disconnecting the wire harness


Remove cover from back of headlight by flipping the two metal wires


Remove the ignitor plug, ignitor, bulb holder and the bulb


Remove the projector by remove the 3 torx screws holding it to the plastic bracket




Take a moment to pet your nosy cat.


Here is the Morimoto projector (left) next to the factory projector. It is physically smaller, which is great.


Pictured here is the TRS Mini D2S to Bosch/AL bracket (bottom left). I bought the AMP to D2S harnesses shown here, but did not end up needing them.


This is the bracket setup in its final iteration. The TRS bracket is spaced back from the projector (that's how it fits by design) then I used plastic spacers on the factory mounting screws to keep the projector back from the plastic mounting ring inside the headlight.



Morimoto projector installed. Its a bit fiddly to get it lined up with the screws and the factory auto-levers, but itll go.


Factory igniter connects to the bulb just fine.


I didnt take a picture of it installed, but to power the high beam solenoid of the bi-xenon projector I used a high beam splitter. It splits the power from the high beam bulb to two outputs. The Morimoto projector comes with a plug for the solenoid that has the same 9005/9006/HB3? style so its all plug-and-play. You could also tap into the factory wire that powered the original bixenon solenoid, but this was easier.


All buttoned up! The alignment is not 100% the same as the original projector (it sits farther back), but it won't affect the output.


Don't forget to re-aim your headlights when you're finished.
 

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Hi
well done! I see you have similar attitude as me ("lights are the most important, rest of the car can follow later" :D). I have done 2 retromods already on my factory H7 car (pdf with info in signature, if ur interested) although I had bit more preparations than you because ow PWM etc etc.
I guess what I am getting to is to ask - why Mini D2S and not Bosh AL version? I am really interested in your cutoff lines, pic of fully open shutter and generally your thoughts on Mini projctors. Heard a lot of good about those but I am wondering how those held up against AL version and what made you choose them? I can guess Morimoto's version will be better than any aftermarket cr*p we are getting here (ref Aharon brand that I got that Im pretty sure are the same that on Aliexpress from China) but I would consider Mini if those offer wider spread than AL projectors - mine are really narrow and thats something I dont really like. Example below - without foglamps (upper) it is clear how little of sideroad those light up....
narrow.jpg

So pics please, as much as possible, dont be shy :p
:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ill make the effort to get some road shots. however, the cut off will certainly be unimpressive. i shim all my bulbs to force more of the hotspot below the cutoff shield. it softens the cutoff but puts more light on the road. its the one downside to the rising popularity of retrofits, most people are concerned with the style points their projectors give them, and less about performance gains. the companies engineering the lights know that, and focus more of their time on that. the original FXR v1.0 projectors were way better than the current v3.0s, for example. but i digress!

i actually have the morimoto mini D2s projectors in another car of mine and like them. they are indeed wider than Bosch AL. the morimotos are good quality as well, I've had many sets and never had anything go wrong with them. another point to consider is that the morimotos can handle the heat of running 50w ballasts, which boost the light output even more.
 

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Not a fan of 50W ballasts tbh, 35 is plenty enough for me for dipped light usage so thats wouldnt be a selling point, but wider output definetely would. Is bulb shimming affecting your cutoff? I can imagine why you are moving the hotspot, but still interested if you have any wall-shots like that for example to compare.

5.jpg

I was toying with idea of retrofit v3.0 and am just gathering any possible information ;)
 

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Are you running factory ballasts or aftermarket? If you're running aftermarket, you wouldn't happen to have the LIN message it sends out to say it's on/LIN message it replies to also - save me some time once I get my car back up and running...

Also, I've sanded back my headlights, inside too - check yours for "crazing" on the inside, I found mine was just the coating/plastic layer over the polycarbonate - although on my right it had gone into the polycarbonate in a couple small spots
Maybe not, actually - might be a unique "Australia" thing
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Not a fan of 50W ballasts tbh, 35 is plenty enough for me for dipped light usage so thats wouldnt be a selling point, but wider output definetely would. Is bulb shimming affecting your cutoff? I can imagine why you are moving the hotspot, but still interested if you have any wall-shots like that for example to compare.

View attachment 55739
is that your output? the Mini DS2s have a more effective output pattern, but i still have to check the width. I made this diagram for you to show you what I accomplished by moving the hotspot. Please note the light output pattern is representation/exagerated for illustration purposes.

On the top diagram, ive shown how the middle hot spot and "horizon" hot spots(the narrow bands of brighter light along the cutoff) are centered on the cut-off by the manufacturer to get that super laser sharp cutoff line. there is some light above the cutoff that is wasted.

The bottom diagram shows that by shimming the bulb just slightly, we can get more of the hotspots usable below the cut-off. you can see, though, that the cut-off line falls on a darker part of the beam pattern, so it will appear less sharp.




Are you running factory ballasts or aftermarket? If you're running aftermarket, you wouldn't happen to have the LIN message it sends out to say it's on/LIN message it replies to also - save me some time once I get my car back up and running...

Also, I've sanded back my headlights, inside too - check yours for "crazing" on the inside, I found mine was just the coating/plastic layer over the polycarbonate - although on my right it had gone into the polycarbonate in a couple small spots
Maybe not, actually - might be a unique "Australia" thing
factory ballasts, sorry, so I can't help there. I did not remove the headlight lenses for any cleaning of the inside. I don't have the crazing you mention on the inside. The outside of the lights definitely had the coating you speak of, I wouldnt be surprised that in the manufacturing process the whole lens is dipped/sprayed so its probably on the inside too.
 

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is that your output? the Mini DS2s have a more effective output pattern, but i still have to check the width. I made this diagram for you to show you what I accomplished by moving the hotspot. Please note the light output pattern is representation/exagerated for illustration purposes.

...
yes, those are mine well 1st version of mod on H7) but it was just for illustrative purpose, but in general those projectors are not very good or effective - old design + aftermarket quality, original AL projectors from OEM cars are much bettter, but you get what you pay for (or what you can obtain).
below is actual show from few months ago of what I have (D2S now). I like hotspot as it is now, covering like 65% of visible output with closed shutter. I tried to move it a bit aswell, similar to you but I found it actually too bright (reflection from road) and resorted back to stock position.
On my projectors though I was able to compensate with shutter allingmnent so even with shimmed bulb I was able to have laser-sharp cutoff. Not sure if it works similary on Mini projectors.
(btw yes, I do have rotational issue on right projector but never got to properly fix it. Its the aftermarket quality I spoke of...:rolleyes:)

wall.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
well i went to get my lights adjusted and take photos from you but hit roadblocks.

both left-to-right adjusters worked
the auto-leveling doesnt seem to be doing anything and the postition the low beams were aimed was like 10 feet in front of the car
so, i went to turn the up-down adjusters and both snapped off.

i found the thread on how to turn the adjusters after they break, so no biggie there.
Howeve, I'm not paying to fix sensors in the auto-leveling system, its really not that useful of a system. the amount of times when the rear of the car is heavily loaded and its dark out is very limited.
so i think I'm going to try and run 12v through the adjustment motors in the headlights to set them at a higher level, then fine tune with the manual adjusters. we'll see how that goes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
it was not working in the first place. i just wasnt paying attention to it until i hooked everything back up. i believe there should be some whirring noises and actual movement of the lights when the key is turned to position II, and I've never heard that in all my start-ups. the system has very few components (2 sensors and the headlight leveling motor) and I found the wiring diagram, so I'm going to 'jump' the motors to make sure they work, then use them to set the headlights closer to the right height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
ok, learned some things and fixed some things, and got the lights all done.

first, I oiled the manual adjusters with PB blaster on the inside and outside of the adjusters, and it greatly reduced the effort to turn them, even with the broken adjusters.
I also ordered the 3D printed adjuster fix from ebay so i dont have to use a needlenose in the future.

second, i diagnosed my leveling motors. they are both dead. i found the wiring diagrams for the car and figured out the pin-outs on the back of the headlights.
see below for crappy diagram. pins 4, 5 and 10 are for the leveling motor. applying 12v to them should move the motor, but i got nothing.


new motors can be ordered relatively cheaply at ~$20 (part #0307853310) but i'm not going to bother. to swap the motors, the whole headlight has to be cracked open and disassembled.

so, i had to figure out if the manual adjusters would adjust enough to compensate for the dead motors, and they do. the leveling motor is part of the whole carriage inside of the housing that slides back and forth when you turn the manual adjusters.

onto the fun part! I got the headlights aimed. super easy process in this car due to the fact that the adjusters are quite easy to turn and popping the whole headlight assembly in and out of the car is a breeze.

I am very impressed with the light output of the mini d2s 5.0s. I have the 4.0s with 50w ballasts on another car and these seem as good even though they are only running with 35w ballasts. width is great and the light output is very even.

pointed at my garage for aiming:


low beams in a dark parking lot


quad high beams (stock high beams + bixenon highs)
 

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Thanks for above, judging from photos those projectors are far better than AL version, atleast my aftermarket ones. Seem like a worthy upgrade, if so.
do you happen to have pic of highbeam in front of the wall? Is it similar to mine "octagon" shape or more like "star" type?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks for above, judging from photos those projectors are far better than AL version, at least my aftermarket ones. Seem like a worthy upgrade, if so.
do you happen to have pic of highbeam in front of the wall? Is it similar to mine "octagon" shape or more like "star" type?
FYI theretrofitsource does a black friday sale every year (which usually equates to 20-25% off) so it puts the price-point of the mini d2s projectors more near the $100 mark, which may help with some of that extra over-seas shipping costs you incur. i should have waited, but was too excited.

the high beam is sort-of a hybrid between those two styles. you can see the 'octagon' but the light output is more focus in the star shape. going to be a hassle to unplug the inner high beams and get a shot, so i just dug up the product image of the highs for you.

 

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...

the high beam is sort-of a hybrid between those two styles. you can see the 'octagon' but the light output is more focus in the star shape. going to be a hassle to unplug the inner high beams and get a shot, so i just dug up the product image of the highs for you.

]
grand thanks, so its a "star" shape, as I call it. nice, seem more natural than clear-cut octagon. TRS prices for delivery to Europe are a bit steep but in the same time finding Morimoto units anywhere around here is impossible so I may just bite the bullet.
thanks for all info!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
grand thanks, so its a "star" shape, as I call it. nice, seem more natural than clear-cut octagon. TRS prices for delivery to Europe are a bit steep but in the same time finding Morimoto units anywhere around here is impossible so I may just bite the bullet.
thanks for all info!
if a middle man will help lower your shipping cost, i'm willing to help!
 

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Nice job! I think this is a great DIY and I'm very heartened to learn that I won't have to bake the headlamp to change the projector.

Does anyone know if the crappy halogen projectors use the same adapter bracket? I just got my S40 (my first Volvo!) and the output is weeeeeak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Nice job! I think this is a great DIY and I'm very heartened to learn that I won't have to bake the headlamp to change the projector.

Does anyone know if the crappy halogen projectors use the same adapter bracket? I just got my S40 (my first Volvo!) and the output is weeeeeak.
I'm a Volvo noob too, loving it so far.

The 3 mounting points of the halogen and bixenon projector are the same.

Since i'm posting I also want to add that I've been driving with these lights in the dark due to daylight savings for a few weeks now and am very happy with them. The 5.0s do not disappoint even when run by 35w ballasts. these would be stellar with 50w ballasts.

However, I am severely annoyed with this car's low beam DRL function. Whats the point of a headlight switch if there is no 'off' option? Plus, if I want to switch to the headlight position to use the high beams, the ballasts fire twice for every time I turn the car on. Gonna wear everything out twice as fast! I have to plan a trip to the dealership to get it disabled, despite my disdain for dealerships.
 

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Most people just leave it in "position II" since it's auto-off anyway. But if it bothers you no harm in the disable software.

In halogen cars in the US, there's a subtle difference between "0" and "II", regarding DRL PWM modulation. Not sure if it affects factory-xenon vehicles.

@mcbacon, yes, they all use the same bracket. But be careful with HIDs. See https://forums.swedespeed.com/showt...nts-a-Volvo-P1-specific-WMM-safe-HID-Retrofit and https://www.skbowe.com/a/issues/

At some point I will re-surface and build some more. Until then use a relay harness and load resistors.
 
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