Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is a writeup I did on another FJC forum:

Here is a great mod that costs less than $50.

When I converted my headlights to 55 watt 6,000K HID, I immediately disiked my PIAA 520 lights. They were yellow and dim. When running my HID headlights, I could not even tell if my PIAA auxiliary lights were on or off. Well, I finally decided that I was willing to butcher my PIAA 520 kit to put a HID kit in them. I chose a 55 watt 6,000K kit to match the color of my headlights.



First, we need some tools. Other than a center punch, hammer, philips screw driver, and something to cut wire, this is what I used: a drill, two drill bits, set of knockouts, and a crescent wrench to turn the knockouts. A hole saw could be used instead of the knockout kit, but I used what I have.

UPDATE: I also used a pair of wire stripper/crimpers, a knife, and a torch (to shrink some heat shrink over some butt splices) to finish up the installation.



First, disassemble the lights and find the center of the back housing piece, punch the center, and drill a small hole. I don't know why, but photobucket randomly rotates pictures.


Then drill a larger hole.


Now use the knockouts to make the hole bigger. My dad actually owns the knockouts and showed me how they work. Pretty simple.


Pretty, right? I had some help from my nephew here and there.


Now you can get the larger knockout center through the hole so you can make a bigger hole. It seems like a lot of steps, but this thing is really quick and easy to use.


The hole is big enough. It's a little over an inch in diameter. It took less than 10 minutes to get to this point, so it wasn't really all that involved.


Pop the bulb into the inner back housing and feed the wires through the outer housing. The kit comes with a grommet that will fit into the hole I cut.


Put on the outer back housing and you have this. I also sealed the original wiring holes with RTV.


The front of the bulb fits into the PIAA housing. Fortunately, there is nearly 1/4" of clearance between the bulb and the glass.


I plugged everything in and test fired the setup to make sure everything worked. It worked great and put out a ton of light. :clap:

I do not plan to put my ballasts out on my Metaltech bumper, so I am going to get some quality wire to splice and extend the leads. I'll put my ballasts in the engine compartment near my headlight ballasts. I also will paint the housing where I cut it to keep it from rusting before I put it all on the truck.

UPDATE: I touched up the parts with some black rattle can to keep the PIAA light housings from rusting where I cut them, let them dry overnight, then reassembled everything. I used some "Auto Duplex" 14 gauge wire between the ballasts and the lights. It seems well insulated and was easy to work with. In addition, I used 8 butt splices, about a foot of heat sink over the butt splices, and about a dozen cable ties (the kit comes with 4 cable ties).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Do you have any before/after pictures of the difference in light output? Also, I have the 540s. They are 2 1/2 inches thick while yours are 2 11/16. Do you think there would be enough room for the bulb without contacting the glass on the 540s? Thanks and nice job. :bigthumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Don:
Yes, DDM Tuning is the brand. They have two types... thin ballast and normal ballast. I have the thin ballast kit with my headlights and got the normal ballast kit with for this project. It costs $10 more for the thin ballast kits, but there is really no reason to get them over the normal kit since they save very little room. Both easily fit in the space we have.

Coldnapalm:
You know it!

tanner:
I might have some before pics, but the install isn't all the way complete, so I can't do after pics yet. I'll update in this thread when I get it all together.

I don't know where the difference in thickness is on those 540s. There is basically nothing in the back of the lights, so it would be really easy to make them thinner there. If that is the case, then they would fit with no problem. I'll take a measurement from the glass to the bulb seat so you can do the same and see if it would work...

It is 1 11/16" from the glass to where the bulb seats.


The bulb is 1 1/2" from the seat to the tip.


So, if you have 1.5" plus whatever tiny space that is enough to make you happy, then you could do it. If not, you might be able to cut a shim to move the bulb back just a hair.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,718 Posts
Great info, thanks. Do you have a link to a "how to" when you did your headlight conversion. I love light and plenty of it. I may go HID in all 8 of my lights:bigthumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Don:
So, if you have 1.5" plus whatever tiny space that is enough to make you happy, then you could do it. If not, you might be able to cut a shim to move the bulb back just a hair.
So, assuming that the size difference is just from squeezing in the back of the light to make it thinner...

Since your lights are 2 11/16 and you have 1 11/16 of room...
And my lights are 2 1/2, I should have 1 1/2 inches of room.

Would there be any issue with mounting the ballasts up on my roof, since that is where the lights are?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
So, assuming that the size difference is just from squeezing in the back of the light to make it thinner...

Since your lights are 2 11/16 and you have 1 11/16 of room...
And my lights are 2 1/2, I should have 1 1/2 inches of room.

Would there be any issue with mounting the ballasts up on my roof, since that is where the lights are?
if i were you id think of a clever way to seal them from the weather maybe a box with some sealing gasket or do like we used to on radio receivers on rc cars put them in a balloon and then tie it off and then put it in a box
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
394 Posts
Just out of curiosity, with your HID's for your headlights, did you need the harness and the cancelers also? I got a kit from HIDNation and I've been trying to get them to work for like 3 weeks. They've sent me a new relay and they still don't work. Sorry, I know this is off topic but I'm just wondering.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,051 Posts
if i were you id think of a clever way to seal them from the weather maybe a box with some sealing gasket or do like we used to on radio receivers on rc cars put them in a balloon and then tie it off and then put it in a box
I upgraded all 4 Hella 500's lights on my roof light bar with H3 5000K and 55 watt slim ballast.

The ballasts are enclosed using Radio Shacks project box. I drilled holes (with rubber plugs) in the front and back to provide airflow during an extended use of the lights.

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,729 Posts
DDM is the sheeit! I got the 5000k HiLo in mine and for 45 bucks with lifetime warranty they absolutely cant be beat. I do agree the slim ballasts are a waste of money, they just move the starter from the ballast to the harness to make a smaller box, but the FJ has plenty of room for the regular.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Here are some night shots after I got everything plugged in. I also put LED bulbs in my mirrors so they wouldn't look so yellow with my HID lights. The LED bulbs turned out a little more blue than I wanted them. I have a different set I may try out to see if they are whiter... or I might put some orange bulbs in there. No telling at this point. :rofl:





The other lights are on as well, but my auto light meter on my camera is cutting the light way down.


Great info, thanks. Do you have a link to a "how to" when you did your headlight conversion. I love light and plenty of it. I may go HID in all 8 of my lights:bigthumb:
Love your avatar... Hit Girl rocks! :rocker:

I posted some pics somewhere that showed the light output the best I could, but I didn't do an install thread since it was so simple. On the DDM Tuning website you can find detailed installation instructions with pictures. If you can install new headlights in your FJ, I believe you can install the HID kit. Seriously, it's that simple.

https://www.ddmtuning.com/support/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=viewdownload&downloaditemid=1&nav=0,1

On my headlight conversion kit, besides changing out the bulbs and plugging the ballast/wiring kit in line between the new bulbs and FJ headlight plugs, I just had to come up with one 12v hot wire and two ground wires. That was it, other than using cable ties to secure the ballasts and wiring.


So, assuming that the size difference is just from squeezing in the back of the light to make it thinner...

Since your lights are 2 11/16 and you have 1 11/16 of room...
And my lights are 2 1/2, I should have 1 1/2 inches of room.

Would there be any issue with mounting the ballasts up on my roof, since that is where the lights are?
It's hard to say if that is where the size difference is or not, but it sounds right to me.

I asked the DDM Tuning guys about ballast location and they said it was better to splice longer wires in between the ballasts and the bulbs. Making the longer wires on the high voltage side is better for voltage drop issues, though the roof is pretty close, so I couldn't imaging it being a problem if you put your ballasts up there. You definitely don't want the ballasts inside the cab since they make a weird hum that would get annoying if you had to listen to it. You also don't want your ballasts out in the rain, though they can handle the occasional splash under the hood. I got some "Auto Duplex" 14 gauge wire today and it worked great. I will take some pics some time when the sun is shining.

Just out of curiosity, with your HID's for your headlights, did you need the harness and the cancelers also? I got a kit from HIDNation and I've been trying to get them to work for like 3 weeks. They've sent me a new relay and they still don't work. Sorry, I know this is off topic but I'm just wondering.
I didn't buy the cancelers or the wiring kit and have not had any issues that make me think I needed either. My slim ballast headlight kit came with a hot wire that goes straight to the battery (or accessory fuse block :rocker:), so the factory headlight wiring only needs to carry a signal and not the load... just make sure your grounds are good. But the normal ballast kit I got for H3 bulbs relied on the PIAA wiring harness to carry the load. I don't know if the difference had to do with the type of bulb (H3 vs. H4 hi/lo bi-xenon), or the type of kit (normal ballast vs. slim ballast). Now that I think about it, the PIAA harness has thicker insulation, but the wire appears to be about the same size as the factory wiring.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top