The Retrofit Project – Part 1

With Sunday School approaching, people are busily working on their cars to get them ready in time for the big day. The Focus is no different with a couple of new upgrades in progress, hopefully to be completed in time.

First on the list is a ‘new’ set of headlights. I say ‘new’ because I’ll actually be re-installing the car’s original chrome headlights, but they’ll be modified a bit first – and they won’t be chrome any more.

Retrofit parts 1

They’re getting retrofitted! The Focus will finally be fitted with HIDs and the headlights will be appropriately modified with a set of projectors so that there won’t be any glare. The project is currently underway but there’s still a fair bit of work left to be done. August 17th will be here before we know it, so there isn’t much time to waste!

I’m sure some are wondering, why not just grab a set of OEM ST3* headlights and call it a day? There’s one very good reason; they would have set me back about $3000 USD. This retrofit will come in at a fraction of the cost and since I had my original lights lying around anyway, why not put them to use? They were never going to go back in the car unless I needed a temporary set so why not modify them and make use of them? Also, until very recently no one had been able to get a pair of OEM ST3 headlights to work on a lower-model Focus.

[*In the USA only the top trim level, the ST3, came with projectors. In Canada, all STs have these lights fitted from the factory.]

Am I saying that I wouldn’t like to get some OEM lights someday to carry on the ST conversion? I would, absolutely. Until they can be sourced for less money though, I’d much rather retrofit standard headlights and have the extra cash left over. Plus, retrofitting opens up a huge amount of possibilities for custom touches…

Retrofit parts 2

Anyway, more details and photos will be shared as the work continues, but for now I wanted to share some of the parts that I bought. First up are the bulbs; I opted for 5000K for a nice pure light – I don’t want pale yellow or pale blue, I want white lighting.

Retrofit parts 3

The CAN-BUS harnesses. These shouldn’t be too hard to fit in the engine bay with how small they are.

Retrofit parts 4

Because glare isn’t fun – the aforementioned projectors.

Retrofit parts 5

Chrome shrouds will cover the projectors and tie in with the chrome that will remain in the headlights.

Retrofit parts 6

We also grabbed a few small TRS and BIXENON logos – I’m currently unsure of where they’ll be placed, or if they’ll be used at all. If they get used however, the BIXENON logos will be modified to only read XENON as I’m keeping the standard high beams and will only use the HIDs as low beams.

The plan is to wind up with a set of headlights that could be mistaken for OEM equipment by most but possibly with a couple of subtle custom touches that only certain people would notice. A retrofit is something I have never done before but I think it’s going well so far. Thanks goes to Dave for his help with this, as he has experience with retrofits and has been a huge help so far on this project. Along with the Focus his RSX is also getting projectors and HIDs.

Hopefully they’ll be done in time for the show! We have a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks with all that we have to prepare, but it’ll be worth it.

-Bill

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