Custom HIGH PERFORMANCE Headlights

Nov 7, 2016
San Diego
Greetings SS,

Full disclaimer I do headlight retrofits so if anyone needs work done, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] mention you are from Spool Street and I can include a discount on your build. FB and IG @VisionAutoLab

I am sharing the recent headlight project on my personal E61. 90% of the BMW headlights "builds" I see include paint and LED halos which in my eyes is such a missed opportunity as the light output and performance isn't increased. It is like slapping an M badge and exterior pieces to your car, sure it looks cool and purposeful but performance is exactly the same.

I understand that some people are only concerned with aesthetics and that is fine, to each their own, but most others, even hardcore enthusiasts, are not familiar with the performance a proper headlight setup can offer, please use this thread as an example of what is possible with a proper headlight retrofit: improved Function and Form.

While my wagon was undergoing all the winter upgrades a fellow E61 owner asked to purchase my headlights, I was planning to rebuild my set anyway so I took him up on the offer.

This was my old headlight setup (Version 3):
With my current headlights gone I needed to re-retrofit my original set of lights (Version 1):

I guess you could consider this Version 4 my "dream build" for this point in time, it is comprised of HID components which I consider to be the best of the best and a clean/aggressive/unique headlights style with a full black out (eye brow included) and an angel eye delete.

Here are the specs.

- Lexus SC430 Low Beam Projectors
- E30 Clear Lens
- Bowl shift
- Shaved "J slope" shield
- Black demon eye
- Shroudless
- D2S 4.0 High Beam Projector
- Shield/solenoid delete
- Black demon eye
- Boosted Hella Gen 3 Ballasts 46w Low, 55w High
- Osram CBI HID Bulb (Low), Morimoto 5.5k D2H HID Bulb (High)
- Full Vader Black Trim "distressed" finish
- Frosted Fins and Eyebrow Strip

The "Dynamic" motorized gimbals were removed in order to fit the SC430 projectors. Many people scratch their head at deleting such a helpful feature, and it is great but the issue is the oem projectors are not great performers so even with them swiveling to aid light placement they simply can't compare to a high-end projector like the SC430. This projector is a low beam only projector which means it does not offer a high beam, consequently I had to add another HID projector for high beam duty which makes these headlights a "quad" setup with 4 projectors.

Dynamic motor and gimbal is OUT, SC430 is IN

After some trimming I got the 4.0 to sit flush in what was originally the reflector bowl for the oem angel eyes.

I was originally going to mount switchback Diode Dynamic strips in the eyebrows but it takes a surgeon's hand to remove the material without damaging the brow, I tried with my dremel and failed, it would likely be possible with an ultra sonic cutter and laser focus, I passed on the mod at this time but maybe in the future...

As I was keeping the oem LEDs my plan was to keep the side marker intense but kill off the light shining down the tube. In hopes of doing this I removed the reflector for the large LED, I couldn't desolder it as it would break the circuit.

I have a brushed aluminum theme on my wagon inside the cabin and in the engine bay so my plan to was to brush the SC430 and leave it raw so I sandewd everything by hand. Here the lens retrainer on the left is oem and the one on the right is brushed,

Everything brushed

Drilled out the mounts to allow mounting hardware

Shields were sanded to create a "J step" and allow a tad bit more light to pass through. My E61 is lowered and have no concerns about the added light blinding people.

Projectors are mounted rock-solid, no wiggle or wobble. The lower tab on the bowl sits nicely on the outer gimbal.

SC430 left, oem Hella Bi-X on the right.

Brow was originally silver which was "fine" and unoffensive but I wanted the brow to match the complete look of the headlight, I also wanted to test my skills on extracting and reinstalling the brow. It resides in it's own cavity above the main headlight area. So you could remove it with the headlight lens remaining sealed. It is VERY challenging to remove since it is so visible and when you use razor to cut it out any blemish form the process is easily visible.

Here is the look I was going for; tying the lights and the brushed look into the rest of the car, unfortunately the SC430s were so recessed behind the larger shroud they were not able to be "celebrated" as I had hoped and instead of them being showcased they were tucked away and the silver in the otherwise blackheadlight made it looked a bit unfinished. This was confirmed after I mocked up the headlight with the lenses off.

Nov 7, 2016
San Diego
D2S 4.0s with solenoid removed and black demon eye applied

SC430s after receiving the "Vader" treatment. Being high temp paint with ceramic I put it through a few heat cycles to help it cure and release any extra gasses.

My original wiring harness was in bad shape, luckily I had some extra parts from an eBay light I bought for components. It should be easy to tell which harness is which.

SC430 painted, tuned, and ready to go back in

Digital angle finder and a Bosch laser level FTW

Going back in

Love the raw projector look #CelebrateOemProjectors

You can see the D2S slightly aimed upward.

No JB here, just some precise dremeling and serviceable hardware. i wanted to run CBIs for the highs but Mori CBHs were called into duty for space constraints, happy I got the D2S 4.0 to fit in here, previously it was a MH1.

Grommets for the CBH

Excess butyl after the seal


All done, finished up just in time for Bimmerfest 2017
Nov 7, 2016
San Diego

That D2S lens is in a PRIME location for some projector burn, I have to be mindful of where I park.

Running light

Laser beams

Disclaimer: Acme 75w ballasts are powering the high beam in these pics, NOT the 55w Hellas, (still need to build the custom Hellas), The high beam will be strong but not as face-melting nuclear strong as shown in these pics. The output is INSANE.




BTW this is about 15' from the wall, love the SC430 width.

High beam champ: D2S 4.0 + Arsenal

Laser beams

Exposure locked for the following 2 photos


Choppin trees


Dec 21, 2016
Saw these on the facebook page last night, I just have to say they turned out really well, I'm definitely going to pursue building my own since I have that extra set of lights now. Your light output is just insane lol.
Nov 7, 2016
San Diego
Saw these on the facebook page last night, I just have to say they turned out really well, I'm definitely going to pursue building my own since I have that extra set of lights now. Your light output is just insane lol.
Nice, pre facelift E92s are easy to open. You will have to ditch the "dynamic" feature to stuff a real bad ass projector in there and it will be a bit of work to retrofit one but totally worth it. Especially since you don't have a time constraint.
Dec 21, 2016
Nice, pre facelift E92s are easy to open. You will have to ditch the "dynamic" feature to stuff a real bad ass projector in there and it will be a bit of work to retrofit one but totally worth it. Especially since you don't have a time constraint.
Thanks for the tid bits of information, I'm going to start looking into somethings and seeing how I can improve these suckers!

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