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Thread: FXR v.3 projector retrofit into Hella housings

  1. #1
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    FXR v.3 projector retrofit into Hella housings

    Haven't posted anything in a while so thought I would share my latest project.

    So I do a fair amount of roadtrips in ye ole 2001 525i (probably explains why I'm over 210k already :P ) and I like to drive at night when there's little to no traffic and although the facelifted E39's and their Hella projected HIDs are pretty good, there's still lots of room for improvement.

    I came across these http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...roducts_id=101 after seeing that some other E39 M5 owners had done retrofits.

    FXR on the left, Stock Hella on the right


    They are bi-xenon, so combined with the E39s already pretty good hi-beams, it's ridiculously bright.

    I also took this opportunity to replace the headlight lenses with some DJ auto replacements out of Germany, since my lenses were in VERY bad shape. I have already changed out the adjusters to the EAC aluminum ones a few years ago, but this would have been a good time as well.

    before/after


    First had to bake the headlights at 175 degrees for 5 minutes to loosen the adhesive, it pulls apart pretty easy after that.




    I ended up doing this twice, the first time I tried to use just epoxy (jbweld) to affix the projectors to the chrome bezel, but it broke in about a day on one side (Other side is still holding strong 2+ weeks later, haven't re-done it yet) But on the side that broke I used where the jbweld was to form a place for the projector to sit perfect and then used "plumbers tape" which is a flexible metal strapping with holes to create 4 brackets that I bolted into the chrome housing.






    After everything was said and done, it came out pretty good. SUPER sharp cutoff with a nice blue/purple color at the edge, and the bi-xenons + hi-beams = WHOA!! super bright!


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  2. #2
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    Haha that's sweet and the people that are gonna pass u will hate it lol . Any chance u can give more info on baking the headlights unit for example what u had to take off so that nothing melted. Also what did u use to reseal so that no moisture gets in. I havd the exact same lenses in my trunk but nervous cuz i cannot afford a whole new headlights unit if I mess this up .

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    That looks great!

  4. #4
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    Actually with that sharp of cutoff there is virtually no glare at all to oncoming drivers.

    I removed the HID ballast and any screws before baking since it cools fast. And 175 isn't really that hot, think of the heat in a normal engine bay idling in the heat we see in the desert (110+) and its fine.

    Resealing I just kinda pressed it together and baked it for 5min again and then pushed it all tight together and re-screwed it. Also the housings have air vents all along the back for dealing with moisture..
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    Nice work. Excellent post especially the pics of the brackets you made.

    You probably don't want to hear this, but EVOX-R bi-xenon projectors line right up with the OEM projectors. No fabbing of brackets required. But perhpas you knew that and chose FXRs for a different reason.
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    When I did my Bi-Xenon I used the Hella Mercedes E55 Projectors that I changed the lenses on. I changed the lenses to the ZKW. The Hella E55 Projectors were plug and play bolt right up. These are now called Hella EVO-X or something like that on the TRS website. A good mod that I would do again. Even wtih the fact that my lights were of the persuasion that dont bake apart. JT
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  7. #7
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    Hella EVO-X would have been good to know.. lol, but these ones weren't too bad. I've got no problems adapting things to work and it turned out pretty well
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  8. #8
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    FWIW, i just installed the EVOX-R projectors over the weekend (along with new lenses from Schmiedmann). I've been fairly unimpressed so far. Sure, it has a great cutoff, but the beam width leaves a lot to be desired. Haven't used the bi-xenon functionality yet because I received the wrong splitters, but I rarely use the hi-beams anyway... Maybe it's time for a 55W kit...? That, or some LS460 projectors....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johntee540 View Post
    When I did my Bi-Xenon I used the Hella Mercedes E55 Projectors that I changed the lenses on. I changed the lenses to the ZKW. The Hella E55 Projectors were plug and play bolt right up. These are now called Hella EVO-X or something like that on the TRS website. A good mod that I would do again. Even wtih the fact that my lights were of the persuasion that dont bake apart. JT
    Will the Hella EVO-X be bolt on for the pre facelift lights?

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    Great work OP, looks sweet!!!

    As for replacing the projectors, I, too, have retrofitted FX-Rs into my pre-facelift xenons and here are my $.02.


    Although the FX-R beam is wider with a sharper cutoff it doesnt mean the projector trumps the OEM Xenons and here's why - there's are only so many lumens available from a xenon and bulb and you can put that light in only so many places.


    With OEM xenons the light patch is narrower, but it throws further (long reflector bowl, the xenon bulb is further away from the lens)

    With FX-Rs the bowl is wide and short, which makes its beam the same - wide and short.



    Now the only reason I am saying this is because it is hilarious when people (not OP) swap FX-Rs and start putting down OEM proejctors because the low beam isnt wide enough to be on the opposite side of highway like FX-Rs are... What they are not telling you is no matter how high you adjust the lights, FX-Rs simply dont have enough light to put far ahead like OEMs do so in all actuality the STRAIGHT (not SIDE) visibility is far better on OEM xenons!

    But what about hi-beams you would ask? And thats true, where FX-Rs cant match OEM for depth in low beam setting, you can simply switch to high-beams IF opposite traffic permits, which is still not always the case.

    Cliff notes: OEM throws narrower but further than FX-R projectors, so FX-R>OEM isnt completely true. Great lights nonetheless OP, I sure love mine
    (oOO\(|||)(|||)/OOo) /00=[][]=00\

  11. #11
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    Yea, I did notice it's pretty wide, and not quite as far out as the OEM, but the light spread is much more consistent throughout it's beam, OEM's are more patchy. And since I do mostly city driving (In LA) and when I do go far I can use the hi-beams, but I love these projectors.

    I do plan on going to 55watt HID's eventually and am contemplating putting the stock hellas down in the fog lights with the 35watt factory HIDS
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Force View Post
    Will the Hella EVO-X be bolt on for the pre facelift lights?
    I think the OEM pre and post-facelift projectors are the same its just the rest of the pre and post facelift lights housing that are different. But I'm not 100% sure on that

    Don't get me wrong I am not knocking FX-Rs. Just if you prefer more of plug an play vs. having to create some brackets or only using two mounting holes vs four the EVO-Xs might be the way to go. Also it sounds like the beam patterns are not going to be the same so if you really prefer a certain beam type the EVO-Xs might not be the way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by MightyDuc View Post
    FWIW, i just installed the EVOX-R projectors over the weekend (along with new lenses from Schmiedmann). I've been fairly unimpressed so far. Sure, it has a great cutoff, but the beam width leaves a lot to be desired. Haven't used the bi-xenon functionality yet because I received the wrong splitters, but I rarely use the hi-beams anyway... Maybe it's time for a 55W kit...? That, or some LS460 projectors....
    So it sounds like you and Orxan4ik are saying the same thing the EVOX & OEM style throw more light down the road, but not necessarily as much out to the sides.


    Quote Originally Posted by Orxan4ik View Post
    Great work OP, looks sweet!!!

    As for replacing the projectors, I, too, have retrofitted FX-Rs into my pre-facelift xenons and here are my $.02.


    Although the FX-R beam is wider with a sharper cutoff it doesnt mean the projector trumps the OEM Xenons and here's why - there's are only so many lumens available from a xenon and bulb and you can put that light in only so many places.


    With OEM xenons the light patch is narrower, but it throws further (long reflector bowl, the xenon bulb is further away from the lens)

    With FX-Rs the bowl is wide and short, which makes its beam the same - wide and short.



    Now the only reason I am saying this is because it is hilarious when people (not OP) swap FX-Rs and start putting down OEM proejctors because the low beam isnt wide enough to be on the opposite side of highway like FX-Rs are... What they are not telling you is no matter how high you adjust the lights, FX-Rs simply dont have enough light to put far ahead like OEMs do so in all actuality the STRAIGHT (not SIDE) visibility is far better on OEM xenons!

    But what about hi-beams you would ask? And thats true, where FX-Rs cant match OEM for depth in low beam setting, you can simply switch to high-beams IF opposite traffic permits, which is still not always the case.

    Cliff notes: OEM throws narrower but further than FX-R projectors, so FX-R>OEM isnt completely true. Great lights nonetheless OP, I sure love mine
    Great explanation you need to create a separate thread stating that. I have never heard anyone explain it like that. All you ever hear about FX-Rs is they have great output and the cut off is amazing. But detailing it the way you did is much more helpful.

    What are you thoughts on FX-Rs and EVO-Xs having clear lens vs the factory lens?
    Last edited by Solo12; 07-12-2012 at 11:25 AM.
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  13. #13
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    I'm looking to upgrade my HID projectors on prefacelight lights. There seems to be few popular upgrades: FX-R 3.0, Hella EvoX-R and Audi A6 (Hella 9DR 151 333-027). So hella light pattern is pretty much like the OEM projector and the FX-R 3.0 is wider, but shorter.. What about the Audi A6 (Hella 9DR 151 333-027)? Are there any better projectors available or are the bulbs the limiting factor not the projectors?

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    Spirit, I'd say it depends on how much you want to spend. The projectors from the ls430 seem to be the best of both worlds but are considerably more expensive. Given the amount of time this project takes, its not really something you're going to want to do more than once, most likely, so I'd advise you to do plenty of research, make sure you get every single part you'll need beforehand, and do it right the first time. I'll probably end up replacing the evo projectors with the ls430s and I'm REALLY dreading tackling it again...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyDuc View Post
    Spirit, I'd say it depends on how much you want to spend. The projectors from the ls430 seem to be the best of both worlds but are considerably more expensive. Given the amount of time this project takes, its not really something you're going to want to do more than once, most likely, so I'd advise you to do plenty of research, make sure you get every single part you'll need beforehand, and do it right the first time. I'll probably end up replacing the evo projectors with the ls430s and I'm REALLY dreading tackling it again...

    Since you the did the EVOX-R swap, did you need to drill new holes or did the holes line-up? Since your saying it takes alot of time, what was the most time comsuming part? Taking apart the lights is easy (had to replace the plastic adjusters).

  16. #16
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    the evo projectors are a direct fit as far as the bolt holes go, but the grounding tab (i think that's what it is) is in a different spot. Between that and the different style bulb mount in the back of the projector, you'll have to modify the rubber dust covers a bit. for me, the most time consuming part of the job was the fact that i kept screwing up. i reassembled the first light only to realize i left out the chrome shround that sits between the projector and the angel eye. doh! took it apart, put the shroud in and resealed with new butyl tape (for the second time. let me tell you, the new stuff is STICKY!). then when i took the second light apart, i realized there were tabs for the angel eye on top AND bottom, so i had to take the first back apart again. knowing what i know now, i'm sure i could do the whole job in less than three hours (adjusters, projectors, and new lenses), but with all the mistakes i made, i think i spent more than seven hours on it the first time...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyDuc View Post
    the evo projectors are a direct fit as far as the bolt holes go, but the grounding tab (i think that's what it is) is in a different spot. Between that and the different style bulb mount in the back of the projector, you'll have to modify the rubber dust covers a bit. for me, the most time consuming part of the job was the fact that i kept screwing up. i reassembled the first light only to realize i left out the chrome shround that sits between the projector and the angel eye. doh! took it apart, put the shroud in and resealed with new butyl tape (for the second time. let me tell you, the new stuff is STICKY!). then when i took the second light apart, i realized there were tabs for the angel eye on top AND bottom, so i had to take the first back apart again. knowing what i know now, i'm sure i could do the whole job in less than three hours (adjusters, projectors, and new lenses), but with all the mistakes i made, i think i spent more than seven hours on it the first time...
    You got facelift or pre-facelift lights? I'm asking this because everyone seems to be doing this to facelift lights and the pre-facelift lights have smaller projectors so the holes might be spaced differently.. Anyways thank you for the great info!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Force View Post
    You got facelift or pre-facelift lights? I'm asking this because everyone seems to be doing this to facelift lights and the pre-facelift lights have smaller projectors so the holes might be spaced differently.. Anyways thank you for the great info!
    I would wait for confirmation from someone who has done this with pre-facelift lights, but I think its just an optical illusion. I don't think the projectors are smaller I think the reflectors are bigger on the pre-facelift lights. I could be wrong though.

    I think FX-Rs and FX-R V2s both have a 2.5" or 2.75" lens. The OEM Hella and Hella EVOX have a 3" lens.

    Check out this thread Orxan4ik posted on his pre-facelift FX-R retrofit. It does not give measurements, but it shows an FX-R projector and the OEM pre-facelift Hella projector.

    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ight=projector
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
    I would wait for confirmation from someone who has done this with pre-facelift lights, but I think its just an optical illusion. I don't think the projectors are smaller I think the reflectors are bigger on the pre-facelift lights. I could be wrong though.

    I think FX-Rs and FX-R V2s both have a 2.5" or 2.75" lens. The OEM Hella and Hella EVOX have a 3" lens.

    Check out this thread Orxan4ik posted on his pre-facelift FX-R retrofit. It does not give measurements, but it shows an FX-R projector and the OEM pre-facelift Hella projector.

    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ight=projector
    I've read that thread. Without measurements / someone doing it with EVOX-R on pre-facelift lights you can't be sure. I want to make sure before starting a project. I've done few projects that were supposed to be plug&play but ended being quite the opposite.. This time I don't want suprises.

  20. #20
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    I hear you. Let me know if you want any measurements from an EVO X I have not put mine in yet. As I have been occupied with selling my e28.
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    thing about these is that you can hardly screw up with a smaller replacement, now with different projectors (im not up to date, havent been on hidplanet forums for years) that are closer to OEM size you are taking a gamble, but at the end of the day you can swap anything into E39 lights without too much modifications - for one they already come with projectors!


    Best of luck, and TBH if I hadnt done retrofit I would do it just because of the ease, NOT because as an upgrade!

    It also makes the CCFL ring in the low beam VISIBLE at night since the FX-R is an enclosed unit and doesnt leak any light for the reflector bowl to pickoff and straight forward thru the WHOLE lens. So all I see in the dark is the ring and the projector light output in a form of a circle in the MIDDLE of it pretty cool kinda like facelift style only better, bc the ring is bigger and brighter
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
    I hear you. Let me know if you want any measurements from an EVO X I have not put mine in yet. As I have been occupied with selling my e28.
    Well I could use measurements of the EVO X projector mounting hole spacing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Force View Post
    You got facelift or pre-facelift lights? I'm asking this because everyone seems to be doing this to facelift lights and the pre-facelift lights have smaller projectors so the holes might be spaced differently.. Anyways thank you for the great info!
    sorry; i didn't bother to look at your car info. i did all the headlight work on a "facelift" car...

  24. #24
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    Okay so I labeled this pic of the EVOX-R projector I had. The two OEM mounting locations on the EVOX-R for my facelift lights are both 3 and 5/8 inches [9.2075 cm] (one at the top of the projector and one at the bottom). The mounting location at the bottom of the EVOX-R projector is currently occupied by 2 screws which I think hold the projector together, but when I mount it I will just remove those screws and the factory screw will occupy that spot and hold the projector together.

    There are some other spots where you could use existing holes on the EVOX-R projector I labeled those as well they are 3 inches [7.62 cm] and 2 inches [5.08 cm] at the top of the projector. And at the bottom of the projector there is a 3 inch [7.62 cm] spot (this spot is not actually drilled all the way through it only goes through half of the metal in the projector. It you be easy to drill it all the way through though).

    The lens is about 3 inches [7.62 cm] wide.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyDuc View Post
    sorry; i didn't bother to look at your car info. i did all the headlight work on a "facelift" car...
    No problem man.. Just wanted to make sure since you didn't specify which headlight you have.. Pre-facelift conversions seems to be the minorty.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
    Okay so I labeled this pic of the EVOX-R projector I had. The two OEM mounting locations on the EVOX-R for my facelift lights are both 3 and 5/8 inches [9.2075 cm] (one at the top of the projector and one at the bottom). The mounting location at the bottom of the EVOX-R projector is currently occupied by 2 screws which I think hold the projector together, but when I mount it I will just remove those screws and the factory screw will occupy that spot and hold the projector together.

    There are some other spots where you could use existing holes on the EVOX-R projector I labeled those as well they are 3 inches [7.62 cm] and 2 inches [5.08 cm] at the top of the projector. And at the bottom of the projector there is a 3 inch [7.62 cm] spot (this spot is not actually drilled all the way through it only goes through half of the metal in the projector. It you be easy to drill it all the way through though).

    The lens is about 3 inches [7.62 cm] wide.

    Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to measure and report back.
    Last edited by Spirit Force; 07-16-2012 at 07:24 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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