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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
As many of you who follow HID/lighting threads know, I've been in search of the holy grail of lighting for a very long time.
I've tried upgrading the stock wiring with relays and using 100W halogen bulbs, tried Sylvania Silverstars, tried using an aftermarket bi-xenon HID kit, tried Sylvania Xenarc HID fog lights (still installed) and finally decided the only way to go was to retrofit a true bi-xenon HID projector.
The options were to either buy an aftermarket set of headlights with the clear plastic lens, as some people have done or to grind/polish a 4" circle on the glass lens of the stock headlights (as someone from Azerbaijan did, thanks for the link Rik Johnson). I did plenty of research and could not find a single person/place of business that was willing to do the lens work so I did it myself. After 2 months (a lot of experimentation) an countless hours of hard and frustrating work (well over 100) I finally was able to accomplish what I wanted. The project is not by any means perfect and some people may have an issue as to how professional or not it looks but my main goal was not looks, only improved lighting.
I used E46 bi-xenon projectors from a BMW 3 series vehicle and Philips D2S bulbs.
Attached are some pictures. They were taken late in the afternoon (not total darkness). More pictures will follow at a later time.

Sergio
'95 E320 191K miles (would you spend this kind of time on any other vehicle of this age and mileage?)
 

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Great job......
Probably there were times when you questioned your sanity !!!

All worth it in the end if you are satisfied with the results !!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.
Not only did I question my sanity but it had marital consequences ("when are going to be done making all that noise (lens grinding). I'm sick of this project and I'm not even doing it!!"
I was one determined individual and would not stop/quit until done.
 

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- how much distance is there between headlight lens and projector lens?

- do you have beam spread photo showing depth and horizontal spread?

tnx - great job!
 

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raymond- said:
- how much distance is there between headlight lens and projector lens?

- do you have beam spread photo showing depth and horizontal spread?
Not yet.


tnx - great job!
About an inch on the left and about 2 inches on the right (right one was done better)
No more pictures yet.

Sergio
 

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The joys of being a car fanatic with strong DIY tendencies !!!!

Fortunately when I was married my wife's passion for cars was almost as strong as mine !!!
During that time in my life I was a "committed" Anglophile with numerous Jag MK II sedans strewn in my drive and an occasional Aston DB sitting on jackstands behind the garage !!!

Actually the insanity kept me sane.
Got away from cars for many years, jumped back in a few years ago and my latest way to get poor quickly is my current twin turbo install on my C124 M103-12V !!!

What Philadelphia suburb do you live in?
I was in Bryn Mawr for over twenty five years, until I moved to the beach in 2003.

Ed A.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Live in Flourtown, PA (near Chestnut Hill). Bryn Mawr is an awesome area.
 

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"Fortunately when I was married my wife's passion for cars was almost as strong as mine !!! "

Assuming you mean your passions are taking different turns, be aware that this extends well beyond just cars.
 

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Bigpete123 said:
Sergio, could you explain the technique you used for grinding down the lenses? I've always wondered how to do that.
ditto, looks good! im still going to experiment with aftermakrt headlights though.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Bigpete123 said:
Sergio, could you explain the technique you used for grinding down the lenses? I've always wondered how to do that.
Trade secret....
You need:
1)a drill press
2)patience
3)special glass sanding sandpaper of various grits
4)more patience
5)special polishing powder that I was able to obtain from work but can't find
any info on-line
6)patient wife/signifficant other
7)water
8)beer or stronger alcoholic beverage to ease the pain

I first experimented using an older W124 (pre '94-'95) lens. Due to it's much smaller size, it is much easier to do than the one piece '94-'95 lenses.

Sergio
 

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Sergio said:
Trade secret....
You need:

5)special polishing powder that I was able to obtain from work but can't find
any info on-line

Sergio
Sergio

Did you use cerium oxide which typically is used to polish glass?
If that's what you used, it is available on line.
Can be found in small amounts in windshield repair kits.

Link to a lapidary polishing site, the 90% optical is all you need for glass.

Polishes Cerium Oxide Aluminum Oxide Alumina Tin Oxide Diamond Powder Crystalite Diamond Spray Italdo Diamond Spray Crystalite Diamond Compound Diamond Slurry Crystalube Raytech Extender Fluid

Ed A.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I used a product called C-Rite 415. It's a powder that looks like cocoa (Nesquick) and you mix it with water. I have no idea if it's cerium oxide but it may be....

Sergio
 

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Discussion Starter #17
2phast said:
Congrats and good job!
Thanks. You the man Rik. Without your work and the link you provided I would have never thought of this.
Next is the LED tail lights. I'll be bugging you again (LOL).

Sergio
 

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Sergio said:
I used a product called C-Rite 415. It's a powder that looks like cocoa (Nesquick) and you mix it with water. I have no idea if it's cerium oxide but it may be....

Sergio
Sounds like it, a tan powder, mix with water to a loose paste....
 

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Fascinating. My inquisitive mind has more questions:

What kind of drill bit did you use?

How low high did you go with your grits, and how did you attach it to the bits? Can you detect a circular scratch pattern in the glass, or did you use a fine enough grit to make it appear smooth?

It sounds like you probably had to make a special jig to get it to lay flat on the drill press table (and to make sure every session of polishing was dead-center where you needed it).

I think this is the best-looking W124 HID/xenon conversion I've ever seen. It isn't a far departure from the original look, but it is very functional. How difficult was the wiring?
 

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LED's are simple, shouldn't take more than a hour, just need to swap out the drivers rear tail light plug to a 6 pin (like on the passenger side). Picked up mine from Ebay, very happy with them.

I like your HID beam pattern, better than mine!
 
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