Project AWD: Silvia-too-six headlights - Mazda MX-6 Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-8-12, 19:29 Thread Starter
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Project AWD: Silvia-too-six headlights

(Apologies, this post should have photos but they turned out all wonky. I'll add them when I get good photos)

What and why
I bought a set of Silvia 3-projector headlights to upgrade the 626 light output. Common for the designs of the late eighties, the GD never received praise for it's headlights, and now HID projectors setting the bar their shortcomings are more obvious than ever. Given that in winter time we get light for far less than a third of the 24h day, good headlights are very important for visibility and fighting driver fatigue.

Silvia projectors are of course old and halogen based; they won't turn into modern headlights by tossing in HID conversion bulbs. Optics quality and light distrubution differences in the bulbs would make sure the light output would stay far below modern standards. However, the enclosure offers a good platform for HID projector retrofit. A modern enclosure would look out of place in an eighties car; Silvia headlights instead have common design language with Mazda.

Legal schmegal
One great problem with the mod is the legislation. Since fixed headlight Silvias were never made for Europe (or anywhere else for that matter), there are no E-marked headlights, and also the light pattern is wrong. Earlier it would've meant automatic disqualification at vehicle inspection, but since then the rules have slightly laxed, with projectors it's usually enough if the projectors are ECE-approved and the glass is approved wherever.

First impressions
The shape of a Silvia headlight is familiar; slim and long trapezoid with rearward slope and lower corners pointing inwards. At a passing glance the lights appear almost identical, but the looks are deceiving; upon closer inspection, differences become obvious. Even though the plastic housing is about the same size in both, the glass in Silvia headlight tapers considerably. On side-by-side comparison, the silvia headligh is slimmer and narrower (and much more so with the wide euro headlight). Also the glass is much steeper, almost vertical. Mazda glass on the other hand is flatter, Silvia is more convex. The steeper headlight angle adds an interesting feature on the fascia; it gives a similar stepped grille appearance as certain Hondas and early Lancer Evos. Carefully planned chamfers and fillets to fill the gaps between the bumper and headlights could actually subtly modernize the look, without deviating from the original style too much.

Differences mounting
Mazda headlight is attached to the car by four axial fasteners and two extra braces. The silvia unit has two axial bolt holes in the inner and two radial on the outer edge. This means unlike the euro headlight, the Silvia one is probably impossible to line up with hood edges, and given how much narrower the S13 light is, it's not even desirable. Fabricating mounting adapters is, all things considered, a pretty trivial task.

Cutting Corners
With the Silvia headlight geometry and mounting envelope differences known, it's obvious there is no way the Mazda corners are going to fit the Silvia headlights. There is a slim chance the US style corner light wraps far enough front to cover the side mounting studs without too much of a gap, but it's impossible with the euro corners which mount flush on the headlight chamber wall. However, deciding to go Silvia corners is jumping to conclusions. There is a third option, more of it next.

...nope!

Headlight layout
The original light setup is, from center outwards, an H3C fog light, a single H3 high beam and a single H1 low beam. Regular driving lights will be replaced by ECE approved HID units for performance and legal issues with bi-xenon projector providing low beam and dual high beam, but fogs will be gone for good. For best performance, fogs should be placed low and wide apart. It also makes certain feature much more useful; connecting fogs independently to the direction indicator switch they become nice cornering lights. Some cars, like most new Peugeots, offer such functionality as a factory feature. I originally planned to use LED DRL's in their place, but I found out there weren't small enough DRL's to fit. Upon realization the corners were going to cause a lot of grief and remembering Mazda6 headlight layout I had a smalltime epiphany; I'm going to use the vacant spot for a Hella 55mm front turn indicator. Corner lights are thus no longer required, and they can be made purely decorative without approval requirements. It allows nicer finish without the legal and technical hassles involved in modifying live units.

Putting it all together
I bought the headlights to better know how I should proceed once I get to building the front end. Right now my #1 priority is to get the body rolling; I've set myself the goal of having the car on it's wheels by the end of the year. I'm not hurrying with the updates on this part of the project, until it's actually time to start building the front end.

I did a sketch of how the front end might look like after the modification; the style is based on KWe bodykit which I like very much.


It's a very rough sketch, but at least for me it's a guideline on how to plan ahead with the modifications. I'm not absolutely convinced I'm doing a favor to the looks of the car, but as long as it doesn't look like a hack job and gives 3000 lumens at 4300K, I'm happy.

1988 626 Wagon GT 2.0 DOHC Turbo | 1988 626 Hatch GT 2.0 DOHC | 1992 Toyota Carina e GLi | 1991 626 GLX Hatch AWD 2.2 l 1998 Volvo 940 STW Turbo Classic | 1988 626 Coupe GT 2.0 DOHC

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Last edited by STW; 11-9-12 at 13:18. Reason: added photos
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-8-12, 20:59
 
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wow i like the idea!! Can't wait to see the pics!
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-8-12, 23:15

 
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Short reply...unless you're good at body work...it will most likely turn out looking like ass. I tried this with the dual projectors, and I immediately didn't like it.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-9-12, 3:49 Thread Starter
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Well, here's a pair of photos of the bumper repair I did some time ago:
-->

The bumper will need a few more finishing passes, but I'll manage, I hope. That's the very one I'm going to base the silvia front end mod on. It has the bumper contours filleted to join smoothly the headlight already, which makes further filleting into smaller Silvia headlight much less conspicuous. I don't know how it could be done on a stock bumper without looking like ass, that's for sure.

1988 626 Wagon GT 2.0 DOHC Turbo | 1988 626 Hatch GT 2.0 DOHC | 1992 Toyota Carina e GLi | 1991 626 GLX Hatch AWD 2.2 l 1998 Volvo 940 STW Turbo Classic | 1988 626 Coupe GT 2.0 DOHC

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-9-12, 11:33

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STW View Post
Well, here's a pair of photos of the bumper repair I did some time ago:
-->

The bumper will need a few more finishing passes, but I'll manage, I hope. That's the very one I'm going to base the silvia front end mod on. It has the bumper contours filleted to join smoothly the headlight already, which makes further filleting into smaller Silvia headlight much less conspicuous. I don't know how it could be done on a stock bumper without looking like ass, that's for sure.
If you can fill the gaps nicely, then yes it would look good. The problem we have to overcome are the angular bodylines to that of the perpendicular-ness of the silvia headlights. Doesn't seem that drastic when you compare side by side. But then you get them on the body, oof.

Btw, I much prefer the dual projectors over the triples I have a thread where I posted pics of my headlight conversion

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-9-12, 13:48 Thread Starter
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Well... I did mention the glass was practically vertical, and filleting it will require quite a bit of effort to make it look nice.

I refined a bit the idea I had how to proceed with the bumper. I'm going to finish up the existing bumper into stock form and pull molds off it; that was the original idea from the beginning. But instead of making a glass copy which then is modified to fit, I'll make an urethane foam copy which can then be carved with much greater freedom and ease, and then make the molds for a final bumper. Takes much longer but the results should be absolutely superior.

Post a link to the dual projector post, please! There were only triple projectors available from where I got mine, so there wasn't any choice really. The third spot does give a bit more options to work with too.

New photos added.

1988 626 Wagon GT 2.0 DOHC Turbo | 1988 626 Hatch GT 2.0 DOHC | 1992 Toyota Carina e GLi | 1991 626 GLX Hatch AWD 2.2 l 1998 Volvo 940 STW Turbo Classic | 1988 626 Coupe GT 2.0 DOHC

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-9-12, 18:42 Thread Starter
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The MX-6 bumper works surprisingly with S13 headlights well I must say! 626 has a chrome trim between the headlight and bumper, it would look off as hell. The KWe bumper mimics the MX-6 design, so it was a good starting point for the project.

Did you cut off the side mounts on the headlights, or does the corner light wrap far enough to cover the gap? That's one thing that's definitely stopping me from using the 626 corners (I was thinking about trying to find US style corners but dropped the idea for integrated turn indicators)

Another thing to figure out; eyebrows or a hood extension? Decisions, decisions...

1988 626 Wagon GT 2.0 DOHC Turbo | 1988 626 Hatch GT 2.0 DOHC | 1992 Toyota Carina e GLi | 1991 626 GLX Hatch AWD 2.2 l 1998 Volvo 940 STW Turbo Classic | 1988 626 Coupe GT 2.0 DOHC

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I chopped down the headlight case and modified the stock headlight bracket. used some strapping and screws. it was pretty solid in there. The fogs were awesome and so were the brights.

88 626 4WS Turbo Noble White
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-12, 12:56 Thread Starter
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I was thinking about replacing the OEM projectors with these:

Aliexpress.com : Buy HID Bi Xenon Projector Lens Type D2S(LHD),2.5inches from Reliable HID Bi-Xenon Projector Lens suppliers on AES Car Parts Co., Ltd.
Aliexpress.com : Buy AES Independent high beam hid projector lens from Reliable hid projector suppliers on AES Car Parts Co., Ltd.

I don't know that to think of them, really. The price is not about the cost but value... I wonder if there is any quality issues with these vs. Hella or Bosch headlights costing 20 times as much. Wouldn't be surprised if the tools used to make the components are the same as for brand name units.

One thing is obvious though: Mazda headlights would be much better for projectors if they were available clear. The Silvia lense suit only the 2.5" lense properly, while the premium headlights are 3" universally.

1988 626 Wagon GT 2.0 DOHC Turbo | 1988 626 Hatch GT 2.0 DOHC | 1992 Toyota Carina e GLi | 1991 626 GLX Hatch AWD 2.2 l 1998 Volvo 940 STW Turbo Classic | 1988 626 Coupe GT 2.0 DOHC

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-12, 13:06

 
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the lenses of the silvia projectors are actually very very nice. Only way I would modify them is put in a better cutoff. As the cutoff in this is just a curved and notched piece of pot metal.

I have pics around here somewhere of them pulled apart.


Here we go:

http://www.mx6.com/forums/1360737-post1.html (S13/Silvia Projectors outside the "box")

Quote:
In the box ready for shipping


This is one of the high beam projectors:


This is the RHD cutoff; 2 pics (1st one is dark, and interesting that the cutoff is actually upside down before the projector. bending light sure is interesting stuff:

Curved piece behind the glass is the "cutoff"


full length high beam (it's ~0.5" longer than the low beam)



Interesting note, as I did not realize this before about projectors. They are solid glass hemispheres. Very nice quality. They are IKI Brand Projectors, and there is the "ION" stamped into the frame. You can also slide the cutoff closer or farther away from the lens/reflector housing.

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Last edited by Zach; 11-21-12 at 13:12.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-12, 13:38 Thread Starter
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Silvia projectors are indeed most likely fine, but they're halogen projectors and I'd prefer true HID performance.

Despite being in Appearance section, the project is about putting as much light on the road as possible; no silly 8k blue xenons, but 4300k daylight white. They have the highest output and most natural color temp, so they actually reduce driver fatigue at night and improve visibility considerably.

Good visibility is not a moot point around here; moose and elk are afoot in large numbers here during spring migration and fall mating seasons, when it's quite dark for most of the day. Around New Year we have almost 20 hours of darkness per day at worst, so it's a considerable safety issue. My home town shares the latitude with Anchorage...

1988 626 Wagon GT 2.0 DOHC Turbo | 1988 626 Hatch GT 2.0 DOHC | 1992 Toyota Carina e GLi | 1991 626 GLX Hatch AWD 2.2 l 1998 Volvo 940 STW Turbo Classic | 1988 626 Coupe GT 2.0 DOHC

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-12, 18:25

 
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I have somewhat of a solution for you...

cheap shipping 2.5 inch Morimoto chrome projector lens,mini HID projector headlight , bulb type H1,COME with shrouds-in Light Source from Automobiles & Motorcycles on Aliexpress.com

then go to theretrofitsource.com and call them and ask for a set of 9006 adapters for the morimoto H1 projectors. This will allow you to secure the projector to the mazda headlight bowl with ease and you won't have to worry about aligning it at all.

Then, get yourself some lexan, heat it up in the oven until it sags and make a positive mold of the GD headlight glass, or you can just use the stock glass and find a grinder and smooth out the flutes.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-21-12, 23:52
 
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^
one of the best sources for quality projectors out there. and at great prices.

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-22-12, 4:21 Thread Starter
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Didn't spot those Morimotos in the aliexpress listing! Great find! And if you say they're good... well, I'm going to see if it's true

My original idea was to create molds of both sides of the Mazda glass, then work the inner mold, remove flutes and engrave the necessary markings on it, and cast with clear polyester or urethane. Unfortunately the process has been quite complicated and with trial-and-error method, time consuming. Lexan would be easier for sure, and I don't think I'm actually going to need the inside markings. We'll see, but for this project it's the Silvias.

1988 626 Wagon GT 2.0 DOHC Turbo | 1988 626 Hatch GT 2.0 DOHC | 1992 Toyota Carina e GLi | 1991 626 GLX Hatch AWD 2.2 l 1998 Volvo 940 STW Turbo Classic | 1988 626 Coupe GT 2.0 DOHC

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