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Old 04-17-2018, 08:43 PM   #1
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Headlight Projector Upgrade

On first night trip with the new to me 2002 MA, the headlights were terrible. Then it started raining and it got dangerous. So, back from the trip and upgrading the headlights is high priority.

Lots of research where I evaluated 1) Simply replacing the yellow headlights with new stock lights 2) Completely customizing the front end with custom fiberglass and new projector lights 3) Adding projector lights to the existing housings.

So, found out the stock headlights are no longer available. I took the old headlight assy's out and removed the lamp housings. Took the old housings apart: Take off all hardware including the clips that hold the lens to the housing. Put the housing into an oven at 175 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently pry the lens away from the housing. Remove all major butyl glue around the perimeter of both the lens and the housing.

Clean the lens: First just washed them out. There was a lot of crud on the inside of the lens. I bathed the insides in Lime A Way to get the insides really clean. I then sanded the outside with 150 grit, then 220 dry, then switched to 400 wet and then 600 wet paper. I then took a body polisher and used some compound to get the outside perfectly smooth. Cleaned the inside / outside really well. Major difference. One lens is still a little yellowed, but can't get it any better.

Cleaned the housing: thankfully I had a spare passenger light as the reflector chrome on one was water spoiled. The spare was in good shape. Just a good standard cleaning and I knew all parts were reusable so I decided to upgrade to projectors in the standard housing / lens. Much less work than a full custom nose job.

Ordered the parts from theretrofitsource.com They were very helpful and highly recommended! Their price was good and their support has been excellent.
Here is the list:

Bi-Xenon: Morimoto Mini H1 Stage III CRK-H1 1 $321.00
Bi-Xenon Projectors
2 x Bi-Xenon: Morimoto Mini H1 LHD (7.0) $119.00 PR10
Optional Precision Bulb Holders
2 x Mini H1 MotoHo1ders $15.00 SP122
Shroud Preference
2 x Iris $25.00 S220
HID Ballasts
2 x 35w / AMP: Morimoto XB Ballast $100.00 BL11
H1 HID Bulbs
2 x H1: XB 5500K $25.00 B221
Wire Harness
1 x HD Relay: 9005/9006/9012/H10 $25.00 H10
Optional Housing Sealant
1 x Black: RetroRubber $12.00 A330
High Beam: Profile Hi-Lens LED HiLENS-B 1 $105.00
LED High Beam Projectors
2 x Profile Hi-Lens LED Projector $80.00 LED342
Optional Projector Shrouds
2 x Iris $25.00 S220
High Beam Splitters A-SPLTR 2 $5.00
Version
1 x Splitter: 9005M > 9005F / 9006F $2.50 H390
Shroud Centric Rings A-CENTRIC 1 $10.00
Rings
2 x Mini H1 Centric Rings $10.00 S60
Subtotal $441.00

So, this list is essentially one projector high / low beam and a LED high beam replacement with all cosmetic parts and all wiring adapter parts.

Adapting the housing for the projector:
1) Removed with a Dremel cut off wheel the stock low beam diffuser mount to make room for the projector
2) Ground down the back side of the housing so the new projector bulb has a smooth, level, thin mounting location for the retaining nut. I used a belt sander to ensure the "nut pad" was level and smooth.
3) Drilled a small hole to allow the high / low beam solenoid wires to exit the back (I reused one of the old bulb retainer holes, just drilled it all the way through and larger diameter for the wire ends to pass). This connects to the original high beam wiring. With a projector, the one bulb is always "ON" high beam...and then solenoid moves a shutter in the way to block the top section of the beam from glaring oncoming traffic.
4) Modified the projector shrouds to fit into the housing. You can see from the pic how wide they were. Once they were cut down, and the headlights installed, you can't see the cut area.
5) Dry fit everything several times to ensure all would fit under the lens, and was aimed straight ahead and ensured the projector beam was also level to the housing. There is pretty much zero room for the projector leftover. So, we got lucky with the parts that were ordered for this job. The High beam has lots of room. I didn't install the shrouds over the high beam as they look fine without.
6) Installed the projector and the high beam and tightened their back nuts.
7) Test connect the projector shutter solenoid to a battery and cycle 30 times to ensure all is working smoothly.

Cleaned all parts really well. No dust, no finger prints, no butyl tape smudges.

Added the new Butyl tape around the perimeter of the housing where the lens sits. Ensured the two stainless water diffusers were installed properly in the housing seal that allows the lens to breathe without getting water in.

Installed lens:
1) Put the lens lightly on the housing and put back in the 175 degree oven for 11 minutes.
2) Removed assy and used work clamps to squeeze the lens to the housing. 3) Used hands to further press it together and ensure the lens fits all around the housing slot.
4) Reinstalled the factory stainless clips.
5) Let cool for 15 minutes before touching it.
6) Put silicone on the low beam solenoid wire hole exit to keep out water.

Install projector bulb:
1) Ensure all is clean.
2) Insert the projector bulb being very careful NOT to touch the bulb or damage it on insertion.
3) Tightened the optional bulb retainer nylon lock nut on back side of bulb. This also seals the backside of the bulb and wiring from water ingestion.

Wiring:
1) Mount relay so wires are pointing down to minimize water intrusion.
2) Mount projector HID computer and ignitor also wire ends down
3) Plug in components together as per the wiring diagram
4) Connect a clean ground to the ground wire
5) Connect the +12v to a good battery supply
6) Connect the OE high and low beams to their respective connections.
7) There is a Daytime Light on the new LED high beam. I will have to find where to wire that into the stock wiring harness.
8) Electrically fire it up and test High / Low beam performance.

Remount:
Put em back in the way they came out
Aim the headlight housings

Across several days, this probably has taken 8 hours total.

Wait for it to get dark and go for a test drive (my next step)
This should upgrade the light performance beyond what you can buy on a new RV and without blinding oncoming traffic.

You could install just the high beam with much less trouble. But I find the real safety improvement is the low beam that gets used most.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:21 PM   #2
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Wow...just wow!
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:52 PM   #3
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We have a 02 MA 4370 as well. yes those yellowed out headlights are a joke. found out the hard way on our first big trip back from Glacier. bought some on ebay which made a big difference, but replacing the fog/driving lights made the biggest improvement for us.
Nice work! im sure it will be night and day difference
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Old 04-18-2018, 07:41 AM   #4
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Hi DirtyDodge, what fog / driving lights did you replace them with?
One of mine has a rock hit to the glass. Functional, but if I found a nice upgrade, done.
I was running the fog lights so I could see...heck, I even put on the spot light a few times when the visibility got real bad. Hopefully that is now resolved.

eBay / Amazon / elsewhere are all out of stock on the passenger side. Amazon says 4-6 weeks for the drivers side, but I am not sure that's accurate (still available). So, I cleaned up what I had. If I find a drivers side, I could remove the headlights and remove the lens and use the new lens. The lens has no modifications to it.

Good to see you too have an 02 MA!
Mine is new to me so still learning about it.
Do you have any history of this model?
I think someone said this was a limited production run as a test for the Essex?
Somewhere else I read there were only 50 built? Not sure what the volumes are for similar models within Newmar's portfolio.

Thanx firedoc! yet another fun upgrade project. Many more coming.

BTW, in the first picture, the blob is not bird droppings, but some of the butyl tape that was removed. And the four straight pieces are the water deflectors.
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Old 04-18-2018, 09:29 AM   #5
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Hey Dav! i went with these lights from Hella. our fog lights were cracked as well. didnt work worth a darn anyway.
i had to order the headlights from two different vendors as they were back ordered for the pass side too. mine were pretty yellowed out as well. in your case it would be nice just to find the lenses.
We really like ours. found it at a dealership in Billings. I've heard they were limited production as well and looking at the early Essex line, you definitely see the resemblance. were still learning with ours too... all good experiences so far.
next project: plan on replacing the rear air bags once the weather warms up around here. then slowly start on the interior.
Congrats on the purchase! let us know how the headlight mod works
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:27 PM   #6
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Ordered your Hella's. Good price. Prime shipping. done!
Thanx for the lead.

Just installing the new headlights now.

I just finished doing a lot of restoration on the interior. Long story that might end up in several posts...


https://www.autobidmaster.com/en/car...AMPA_SOUTH_FL/

Another 2002 MA bites the dust. Dang, I could have used some of the baggage doors on that one...
Looks like the headlights are yellow too
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:12 PM   #7
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Good deal! Im sure you'll like them. Yeah post some pics of your interior restoration when you get time. i would like some ideas!
Ouch!! 49 and counting... i thought the same thing about the storage doors. that and those yellow headlights are all thats left
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:46 PM   #8
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A little installation update:
The wiring kit I received wants the Low beam to always be on to power up the projector bulb, even when the High beam is on. Most autos work this way.
The RV swaps Low to High. So, the projector bulb would not work when on High beam.

Found a 2004 wiring diagram and mine was similar for the headlight circuit. There is a power feed from the Spartan controller that goes to the High / Low beam switch. Those feeds then go to the headlights.

I added a wire (the white one my thumb is on in the pic) to the power feed, and added that to the Low beam (+).

This will send 12 volts to the Low beam, even when the High beam is on. The Low beam is what powers on the Projector bulb.

Testing shows this solution works fine. I'll do the final installation tomorrow. The Hella driving lights should be here tomorrow as well.
Excited to test drive...these lights are bright!
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Old 04-21-2018, 07:19 AM   #9
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Decided while the lights were out to do the bumper body work first, before putting in the nice, clean lights.

In this pic, the major body damage has already been repaired. The crunched bumper end was removed, the subframe has been pulled out with a porta-power and mig welded, the used fiberglass part (from CoLaw RV) was repaired (fiberglassed) and reinstalled...

Then came the fun of removing the "durashield" crap...that took as much time as redoing the fiberglass (and a whole lot less satisfying). Used a heat gun and a razor blade metal scraper as I knew it all had to be repainted anyway, so I wasn't worried about damaging the paint (that all had to be removed). I can't imagine doing this with plastic razor blades without damaging the paint...I won't be putting that stuff back on...

In this pic, the whole panel has been DA sanded and it's ready for body plastic which is today's project.
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Old 04-21-2018, 07:59 AM   #10
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Making progress! looks good! i had to do a little grinding the those driving lights to make them fit just right.
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Old 04-22-2018, 06:11 AM   #11
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Well, that bumper end body work project and the nice weather (finally!) has led me into doing ALL the body work on the whole RV...
Something that I knew I needed to do, and now's the opportunity.

So, all of the major body work is mostly complete and now need to get rid of sand scratches and get ready for paint. Today's project...
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:10 AM   #12
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Wow man!!! TONS OF WORK!!

Posting to be subbed and to see the future outcome of everything!!
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:55 AM   #13
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Hi cgkindler,
Yes, been a lot of work...much more than what the pics I have posted so far...
Getting close to paint. About 60% of the sq ft will be painted. Really looking forward to paint / body work phase to close.
Lots of sanding!!!
Found a buddy who has a large shop that I can spray inside. Maybe friday.
$1000 of paint materials so far...hope I have enough!

Darn lights have gotten more expensive

I did receive all of the lights, front and back (except taillights). Freshen everything up. Some arriving today from Newmar with some trim / decal pieces. I gotta say Newmar's parts department is spot on. Every order has been handled well and expeditiously. Not sure how they can send yesterday and arrive today.
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:22 AM   #14
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So after doing this project yourself, would you tackle it again or pay someone else to do it?

I need my coach repainted!
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