I had initially bought a tube of Permatex Form a Gasket 2 to reseal the lights. There was no mention of it working or not working on plastic, but it was advertised as a non hardening sealant that stays tacky and softens when heated. I'm not too sure what it's made out of either, but there are warning on it stating that it should not touch your skin. It didn't sound like fun.
After reading more online about what most people are using, I came to some conclusions:
-I did not find a single person that used the Form a Gasket 2. I decided I did not want to be a guinea pig.
-A large number of people use an RTV silicone sealant. Some have issues with the lenses fogging from gasses released and others report having no issues. I don't want to take that risk.
-The more experienced retrofitters say to do it right, you should use a butyl rubber sealant, which is the same stuff as OEM. It's non-hardening, not permanent, and is relatively easy to remove when heated, but is expensive. Nissan dealers sell it as part number B6553-89915. It's $20 online +shipping or $27 when ordered from a dealership.
I searched online for butyl rubber sealants without too much luck. I found a butyl rubber caulk used to seal cracks in asphalt. It's only a few dollars for a tube of it, but I don't know if there is anything else in it that makes it suitable for asphalt and not suitable for headlights. If it worked, I probably would have seen some people using it.
I stopped at a Nissan dealer today to order the sealant. It's cheaper online, but after shipping the prices are a wash and it will arrive more quickly at the dealer. It was an awful experience. When I arrived there was no one at the parts counter, so I waited a minute and rang the bell. Three minutes later no one had come to the counter, so I rang the bell again and waited another 3-4 minutes before someone to finally came the the counter. In those 7-8 minutes, no less than three salesmen approached me and asked if I was interested in looking at an new Nissan, then walked away when I said no, I love my Volkswagen. When the parts guy finally came to the counter, I gave him the exact part number, explained what it was, and he told me the number was no good and the sealant didn't exist. I asked the guy to find someone else that could help me. The second person used the same part number I provided, found it immediately, and told me it would be at the dealership in two days.
The experience really made me appreciate the staff and service at my local VW dealer parts department. They don't always know everything, but they're very friendly, courteous, and always eager to help or find someone that can help.
Modified by JettaGetUpandGo at 12:16 AM 3-24-2010
I took a break from working on the headlights Tuesday and Wednesday to put in a new subwoofer.
I had a Polk 10" subwoofer in an enclosure designed by Polk specifically for it. It was mounted to a board with wing nuts for quick removal. I've been making a lot of larger deliveries for work recently and have been taking it out frequently enough to get annoyed.
I've been looking for a used JL Stealthbox for a while now and finally found one. It goes in the spare tire well and either raises the floor 2" with the spare tire (according to JL), or keeps the floor level without the spare tire and if you cut a bolt off the top of it. I chose to keep the spare, but since I bought the box from someone with a Golf, I didn't get the floor raising kit.
$20 for a sheet of 2"x4'x8' rigid insulation, some time measuring and cutting with a jigsaw and hacksaw blade, some wide matte black tape to cover the pink edges, and I have a new raised floor. Keeping the spare really raises the floor 2 1/2", but it's close enough that I'm not too worried about it. I think it's because the GLI had a 16" spare with presumably a wider tire than the standard 15" spare. If you could find a place that sells rigid insulation in 4'x4' sheets, that would work too. I have enough to make another floor if the need ever arose.
It was too dark to take pictures of the new floor last night, but I'll take some and get them up soon.
Modified by JettaGetUpandGo at 12:17 PM 3-25-2010
After mulling over for a couple of different ideas for the dual clear turn signal lenses, I've made a decision with what I want to do with them. The bottom lens will be a white LED that acts as a city / parking light only. The top lens will be an amber light (either chrome coated incandescent, or LED) that only turns on with the turn signals. I had found some LEDs that were white with the parking lights and turned to amber with the signals that I wanted to put in both the top and the bottom, but they were too expensive to justify. I also played around with some flashlights last night and don't like both of the lenses illuminated all the time. Just the bottom one illuminated all the time looked the best.
You could always do what I plan to do: Leave them without bulbs! I have my DE's, so I have no need for fogs inside of the housing, but I like the look of the headlights with the fog projectors, just not while they're on. Dude, I need a serious kick in the butt to get me working on my lights. Its been a week since I've worked on them!
Haha, I was talking to my brother last night and told him I liked the look of the fogs better than the second clear lens (with all of the lights off), but didn't need them because of the Micro DE's.
I actually really liked the bottom light as a city light when we were playing around with the lights last night. One of my LED flashlights has a color almost identical to a 5000K bulb, which I hope I can match. I also liked the look with just the projector on, but there needs to be something else on.
yea look at leds. I have a clear lens that has been smoked for my turns but if you look at my pics it still looks yellow/orange because of the standard bulb having that orange coating. Unfortunately you have to have a light that lights orange in your blinkers. Let me know what you find cause I'm sick of the orange color.
I have some chrome coated amber bulbs in the tail lights and the side turn signals, but they're not very bright. LED bulbs have gotten a lot better in the last year or so. When I first tried them out, they were awful and didn't illuminate very evenly. Some newer ones have smaller, brighter LEDs and there's more of them pointing in more directions. They're worth looking into again.
well how much do you know about electronics? It's not so much the led wattage, amperage, voltage, etc, so much as it is the angle of the led. Like look at 42dd site for example how they have wedge and regular leds etc. A wider angle just like a camera disperses the same light over a greater field, and a small angle with be brighter as it focus the same light in to a smaller area but won't illuminate as well. The key is finding the right balance between the two with the proper wattage, amperage and voltage. I'm not saying I'm an expert by any means as I have no idea what would work best for this application. It may be a bit of trial and error unfortunately. Good luck though man
Yeah, I know the LED "beam pattern" is very narrow, but having 40 or so of them on a bulb allows them to point in just about every direction.
I have some updates. Enjoy.
This is the raised trunk floor, it's hardly noticeable:
With the foam floor underneath my dad and both of my brothers couldn't find the subwoofer. The black tape is to hide the pink edges and also keep the cut edges from crumbling / shedding:
Easily removable section for access to jumper cables, jack, etc:
The new radar detector mute button / display in the car:
I originally had one on the left side, but made a new one for the right side so it can be seen by glancing down through the steering wheel:
Headlight projector illuminated. I wasn't expecting the halo effect from the shroud, but I really like it:
On the car:
8mm front / 15mm rear spacers with the RC's for reference since it gets asked a lot:
Modified by JettaGetUpandGo at 7:19 AM 4-2-2010
I forgot to mention, I broke a f**king adjuster. Luckily I have a spare set of housings to pull an adjuster from, but it's a huge pain in the ass.
Also, the back of the first headlight is completed. I have a 3" rubber PVC end cap to go over the end once the bulb connector is on. I got really lucky that everything lined up and I was able to reuse the outer clip. I just used a 3" hole saw bit, 3" diameter PVC, some trimming, epoxy to hold it in place, then a silicone sealant around the outside edge to keep moisture out.
Modified by JettaGetUpandGo at 5:56 PM 4-1-2010
Updated the first post with a lot of stuff.
Quote, originally posted by McBee » If see you're a man of perfection. Everything looks great
I won't lie, I'm a little anal (no homo).
Quote, originally posted by M3NTAL » Brian you truely are an artist
Thanks! I took an art class in high school, but they wouldn't let me use a Dremel, just pencils, paint, and a paintbrush.
I test fit the headlights on the car last night to make sure the OEM adjusters had enough adjustment to align the projectors correctly before I put the lenses back on and sealed them up. With them aimed all the way up the cutoff is just a little bit low. I can add a couple of washers under the lower mounts to raise the headlights up that little bit. Overall I'm very pleased with the output and can tell that they are going to blow the OEM HID reps away.
The old OEM HID reps have a Lucid 5000K HID kit. The Morimoto 5000K bulbs in the new projectors make the Lucid bulbs look like 6000K side by side. I have the 4300K Phillips bulbs too. I'm undecided which set I will use, but I am leaning more towards the 5000K (better match to the white LEDs) then giving the Phillips bulbs to my brother.
I ordered LEDs and resistors last night for the turn signals and city lights from Autolumination. I went with LEDs with three wide angle, forward firing 1-watt LEDs. The way the housings are set up, they didn't need to project any light to the side and these should light up the lens fully and be plenty bright. I went with amber LEDs for the turn signals and white LEDs for the lower lenses to go on with the parking lights. I couldn't find any places that specified the exact color, but most white LEDs are in the 5500K color range which should be close enough.
Tonight I should get the lenses back on, I have one more back cover to make later this week (maybe tomorrow), and I am waiting for some pigtails for the bi-xenon solenoids to arrive from The Retrofit Source, then I can run the wiring and get these on the car!
These are the LEDs for reference:
Modified by JettaGetUpandGo at 12:27 PM 4-5-2010
just a head's up adjust the projectors while the lights are still apart. You DO NOT want to have to put washers under the bottom mounts. Take it from me, it's a ****ing PITA! It also raises the lights creating a little more gap between the bumper and the headlights. In my case when I have a boser as well it also reduced the clearance between the hood and lights and they rub a bit now so I have careful shutting the hood and I believe this lead to the crack forming in the hood.
So you found the proper led's for the turn signals? mind pointing me to a link?
I have a ton of washers under my current lights because the fitment was so poor and nothing lined up. One of the tabs, no joke, has 3/4" worth of washers under it. With these I think they will be ok where they are aimed now, but I think I could do three washers under each tab and get away with it.
Unless they were way out of whack. adjusting the projector now is out of the question because the shroud is in place and I can't get to the heads of the bolts. I tried pulling the shrouds off already with no luck.
The LEDs came from here: http://autolumination.com/3157_3156.htm
They're the Super Star 3 watt bulbs with metal heatsinks for $15.99 each about halfway down the page. They're expensive, but should be exactly what I'm looking for. The ones without the metal heatsinks would probably be fine, but with the hot glue around the bottom lens I didn't want to risk it melting. I'll let you know how they look in the housings.
Make sure you get a heat-sink (or some way to dissipate heat) from those high-powered LEDs. And I would also recommend a V-regulator. You might of already had this in mind, but it will make them last.
EDIT: Never mind on the heat sinks...I see they already come attached
Quote, originally posted by McBee » Make sure you get a heat-sink (or some way to dissipate heat) from those high-powered LEDs. And I would also recommend a V-regulator. You might of already had this in mind, but it will make them last.
The ones with the heatsinks were more than twice the price, but it's not worth the risk to cheap out. What do you mean by a v-regulator? I have the 6-ohm resistors for the turn signals.
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thanks for the info bud. I'll be honest and probably wait to see how they look in your setup but i'm sure you've done your research and they will look great.
No problem. I'll be honest too. I never found any pictures or reviews of them. But from all the LEDs that I saw these seemed like they would illuminate the lenses best. They should actually be here today, so I can take some pictures.
Quote, originally posted by JettaGetUpandGo »
The ones with the heatsinks were more than twice the price, but it's not worth the risk to cheap out. What do you mean by a v-regulator? I have the 6-ohm resistors for the turn signals.
Voltage regulator. I've never tried to deal with turn signal LEDs, but keeping any sort of LED from seeing voltage spikes will help the lifespan.
Oh, and LEDs with a wavelength of 585-595nm match the natural amber color - might need it for future use. I can't tell you how many LEDs I went through in order to find one that matched the amber turn signals.
The LEDs are here! At fits glance they look like three of the 42DraftDesigns high-intensity LEDs clustered together. I have a short class at 4:30, but I will test them in the car after I get home and take pictures.
If the color doesn't match or it doesn't light the lens up evenly, then I have a couple of ideas to fix it. I did theatre lighting in high school and we used gels (sheets of colored film) to change the color of the lights. When I did the trunk floor a couple of weeks ago I stopped at a theatre supply store to pickup gaffer's tape (essentially matte black duct tape that doesn't leave residue). While I was there, I picked up two different 1" x 3" sample books with hundreds of different colors. One of them or two different ones together will work and 20" x 24" sheets are available for $7.50. There are also films that will diffuse / defocus the light to light up the lens more evenly if need be.
Lighting gel sample book for reference:
Quote, originally posted by McBee » Oh, and LEDs with a wavelength of 585-595nm match the natural amber color - might need it for future use. I can't tell you how many LEDs I went through in order to find one that matched the amber turn signals.
Thanks! My side and rear turn signals are chrome coated amber bulbs that are a really dark, almost red color. As long as they don't look awful, I'll probably keep them since none of the turn signals can be seen together at the same time.
I'm still waiting for connectors for the bi-xenon solenoids from TRS that supposedly shipped last Tuesday but aren't here yet. Other than completing the other back, it's the only think that's keeping me from finishing.
Modified by JettaGetUpandGo at 4:06 PM 4-7-2010
Last night I was playing around with the LEDs.
I believe they are powerful enough to not need resistors, but after I brought everything back inside I realized they might have blinked fine because the ignition wasn't on (I used the hazard light switch to test them). The color is a deep amber color and lights up the lens pretty well, however when looking at the light hitting the garage door, the stock amber bulbs are brighter.
The white ones had a pretty bad blue tint to them, but I was able to find a gel to put over the LEDs to change the color. I pulled 12 different colors out of the book and picked the one that looked the closest. It's not absolutely perfect, but much much better than the blueish white. Because contact cement is relatively heat resistant and sets more quickly than epoxy, I used a little bit of that to hold the film in place.
No pictures, it was cold and raining.
This morning I wasn't feeling well, so I skipped class. I got bored pretty quickly and decided to do some more work. The back of the second light is done, and I also waterproofed the ballasts with a liberal amount of silicone (one of the connectors on the ballast I chose is typically mounted inside the headlight and sealed from the elements by a rubber o-ring. Unfortunately, there was no room on the housing to mount it in a similar way).
After adjusting the headlights the other day, the back of the bulb moved down far enough that the bulb connector from the ballast no longer fits within the PVC back. It's close, but will need a little bit of trimming. I will trim both backs once the epoxy and silicone have set up on the second back and ballasts. I hope to get to that tonight.
If the connectors for the bi-xenon solenoids don't come in the mail today I will use quick disconnect crimp connectors and electrical tape the snot out of them. I'm going out of town Saturday morning and would like to have the lights in and bumper back on.
Alright, I hit the point where I stopped thinking clearly and decided I had to stop for the night.
The driver's side light required a metric **** ton of trimming because of the battery and the stock intake tubing (a lot of which i cut out). It involved a lot of test fitting, bringing into the basement to trim, then back up to the garage, etc. I found out after finishing the wiring and getting the light on the car that the turn signal did need the resistor... The reason it didn't before is because I was using the hazard lights to test and the load from the other front bulb must have been enough to suppress the hyper blinking.
After school is out in another month or so I will trim the battery box cover and the cover behind the driver's side light so they can go back on. I want everything to look OEM once finished.
So... the driver's side light is done, washers under the mounting tabs to align the housing with the grill and fender, the cutoff is aligned where it needs to be, everything works as it should.
I set my alarm for 8:00 to get up and finish the other light, which involves trimming the PVC back to allow the bulb connector to fit, cutting a notch for the wiring, placing it on the car to verify that everything works, and align the cutoff beam, and throw the bumper back on. I am supposed to go out of town for a dyno day and my goal is to be on the road by 11:00. Pictures may have to wait if necessary.