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2005 Forester Sti
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My daily drive to work and back consists of Englands finest dark bumpy B-roads and the headlamps of the Foz (2005 facefilt) really didn’t perform as well as I would like. From my research the only proper upgrade (tried uprated bulbs) was to retrofit a set of projectors, to cut a long story short I decided upon the Morimoto D2S. The 4.0’s were the current versions but they were just about to release the 5.0 version so that was my selection. As they were so new there was long delay (ended up being 6 weeks from order) but this did give me plenty of time to get on with the starting phases of lens polishing and side light LED strip fitting

I’ll start with a few links to show where I found some very helpful info for anyone wishing to take this project on themselves. Be warned it’s not for the novice and will take many hours of work, there is lots of measure thrice and cut/bond/paint once that goes on. It’s all basic skills but you will need patience.

Lightwerks in the US had fitted a version 3.0 set into a facelift so this tweaked my interest and also made me go for the Iris shroud as there was evidence it would fit.
https://www.lightwerkz.net/photo/ga...Tew28BhA0Z7P9fKi1u2uTpbij1lfAs4GDBFr7yrPLvy6Q

The link below is another good source of info that covered the bumper removal and other really good DIY build info
Morimoto Mini H1 7.0 HID Projector Headlight Retrofit on 2008 Subaru Forester Sports XT
www.nolantsuchiya.com/single-post/Morimoto-Mini-H1-HID-retrofit-Subaru-Forester

Big thanks for the write up from @The Tinman Rides Again, his guide was the one I used as a basis for the knowledge for my build.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f85/sg-projector-retrofit-new-approach-790945/

Dismantling:
There are a few guides available on this already so I wont go into too much detail. All you need to do is warm them in the over (50/60c) and carefully pry open the tabs to release the front lens/sidelight reflector and main lamps reflector shrouds. Once this is off you can unscrew everything else and it all comes apart.











Points to note-
I wasn’t happy with the force being applied to remove the ball joint from reflector bowls from the back of the headlamp housing so I drilled a couple of small holes to allow access to the screws that house the ball joint itself. It’s all covered up after so no worries there.




Also on the reflector bowls – there are two adjustment bolts that hold in the reflector bowl (as well as the ball joint), take a photo of how far these protrude from the reflector bowl mounts so you can get a rough idea of headlamp alignment when you rebuild it.
Lastly – don’t lose the plastic inserts that these adjustment bolts screw into on the reflector bowl – I didn’t realise they came out and almost lost one.. which would have been really annoying.


Side light LEDs:
I had various forms of 501 Led bulbs for the side lights but they all were a bit directional and never really looked that good I thought. I found a set of decent little 12V LED strips from China that would fit down the length of the side light section of the lenses.
With the lens cover removed I trailed a fitment and powered them up to check how they would look and decided to go for it. I needed to file down the reflector material near the original bulb holder to get a decent flat face to epoxy the units in and the wires used in the units is not great quality and had the insulation had already cracked open. No matter as the epoxy would secure it all. Couple of bits of packing to hold them central as the glue cured and in they went.
When trying to wipe off my fingerprints from the chrome I soon came to realize that it’s a chrome paint layer….. Which comes off very easily even with a soft damp cloth! It’s a clear plastic beneath so with chrome layer gone in places they looked rubbish and needed a touch of the brightest metallic silver I could find in my paint cupboard supplies. After a coat of lacquer on top they came up pretty well.










Lens prep:
The Forester headlamp covers suffer some UV degradation on the surface that causes what looks like misting on the plastic, if you are lucky its on the outside and is easy to polish out but it does also occur on the side which is more of a pain to remedy. The spare set of headlamp that I purchased were not in the best of condition so I performed a full rub down with 400/1000/2000 and finally 3000 grit wet and dry paper in stages before a final machine polish from aggressive to fine to get them up to the standard I wanted.





 

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2005 Forester Sti
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Main shroud spraying:
The Forester XT, which is where these lamps must have came from, has a chrome headlamp surround where as the STi has a gloss black (which looks loads better IMO) so these were treated to a light coating of matt black… which is all I had in my garage stock at the time. (I made these full gloss black later)






Early attempts:
My early attempts of fitting the lenses was working on the thought that I would simply install the new projectors down the current dipped beam holes, flatten off the back of the reflector bowl and screw up tight (as seen in the H1 upgrade link above) This didn’t work. The lenses were positioned to far forward so the new iris projector shrouds looked pants, the projectors were not secured properly and also they sat too low in the headlamp so I had to make my own reflector bowl.

Building a new reflector bowl:
Based on the Tinmans thread (linked at the top) I went down the route of cutting out the reflector bowl and making a new one from wire mesh and epoxy
Materials you will need –
  • Cling film to wrap your lovely new projectors in to stop epoxy getting on them!
  • 2 x A4 sheets of mesh (cut down to 18cm x 18cm squares)
  • Metal filler or your choice of epoxy based materials (https://www.toolstation.com/big-boy-metal-filler/p56231)
  • PVC pipe for the projector shaft to fit down
  • 2 part quick dry epoxy (Araldite Rapid)
  • Wood for the build fixture


The wire mesh I used was from an eBay seller called (surprisingly) Mesh-Company, they do a wide selections and I tried a couple of different wire thicknesses and matrix width before deciding on one that was flexible enough to move and mold to a basic bowl shape whilst thick enough to retain a decent bit of strength
Mesh Spec: #22, Mesh - 0.22mm Wire - 0.94mm
ApertureSheet Size-A4 Sheet - 210 x 300mm
Sheet Size: A4 Sheet - 210 x 300mm
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-Mesh...Wire-Range-Huge-Range-Top-Prices/151682102640

I chose the metal filler epoxy for the main bowl material as I already had some to hand, I did end up having to buy another tub but it worked well for me - You could use P40 just as easily

I did a couple of tests to make sure everything wasn’t going to get too hot around the reflector bowl. A quick bit of wiring, a thermocoupe and a Foz STi battery later showed that even at the hottest point I was going to be fine for my materials of choice. This was the absolute hottest point I could get, the metal body of the projector was about 15 degreesC less than this even after 10 mins of operation.



Grab the PVC pipe and ensure it fits over the threaded section of the projector, I started with a 7mm thick piece as pictured but this got reduced to 5mm later things built up – You must leave enough room for the bulb holder to screw down fully, ensure thread is visible between your lock nut and the bulb holder.


To start of the mesh molding I cut a square of mesh and using the base of the projector as a template, trim out and make the PVC pipe fit in the new hole. Add some Araldite rapid to secure in place




Once the Araldite has cured I used the metal epoxy to start making out a strong base to ensure mesh around the PVC would not move. From this I could insert into the reflector bowl holes and start shaping up the new reflector bowl.

Speaking of which…
Before cutting out the reflector bowls I needed to make up a fixture to ensure that the new projector was going to be mounted correctly as once it’s been removed you have no frame of reference to site the mesh build. For this I used a similar setup to the Tinmans but I used blocks of wood cut at set heights to align flat faces (check out the Tinman thread for more info on this)



One point to note here is that I got the depth of the new reflector bowl wrong, it was very slightly too deep (approx. 10mm) and I needed to modify the rear section of the headlamp casing to allow the HID connector to fit. If you follow this route, mount the main beam flat rear face no higher than 55mm off your fixture base… mine was approx. 65mm


Once your fixture is sorted you can start cutting out the original reflector bowl. I started conservatively and after a few trail fits it became obvious that I needed to cut out quite a bit to allow the new projectors to fit in. When I was happy it was going to squeeze in I cut myself another couple of short PVC sections that I glued in place on the base of the fixture to insert the projectors into when building up the metal filler over the mess, these would keep the mesh sections in the exact place required until they were secured in place




With everything in place, the next step was to pre-form the top of the mesh and tape down the top of the remaining reflector bowls and apply a small amount of metal filler around the mating points. With this cured I could then remove the projectors and continue to build up the reflector bowl walls with more metal epoxy. Build up in thin layers and build on the outer wall, not the inside where the projector will sit! A quick rough sand between layers helps lay a smooth layer next time.

A few layer later and pretty much taken shape, a quick sand down followed by fitment test inside the headlamp and bulb holder check






 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)












I was undecided what colour I wanted my new reflector bowls to be, silver would blend with the new chrome iris shrouds but black would blend with the headlamp casing… I did one in each colour to see what they looked like and decided on gloss black.

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The shrouds where the next job, with the projector mounted in place and with multiple refits of the head lamp assembly they were trimmed down to suit using a belt sander.







I wasn’t sure of on the full on chrome of the shroud now against the black background so tried one coated in plastidip to see which one I preferred, turns out black was the choice again… I did however mask the very front of the shroud so I have a chrome ring which is to my liking




Bulb holder/cover extension:
As I was trimming down the shrouds it became obvious that I had made the bowls slightly too deep, as mentioned earlier - I cut out a small segment of the cover to check the room and it was obvious it wasnt going to fit. A bit of head scratching later and the solution I came up with was to extend these covers out enough to allow the bulb connection to clear inside but not too much that it would foul on the battery that sits behind the passenger side headlamp (no clearance issue on the drivers side)

I had no 90mm pipe and the local plumbers or DIY stores were all the wrong size so made by own from a section of Screwfix No Nonsense filler. The perfect size was trimmed out from a pot that was near enough empty and made a good fit. I had no other sacrificial tubs of the right size so just popped down to Screwfix and bought another, decanted the contents into a take away pot and made another extension for the other side.
A dosing of Aralidite Rapid later, a light coat of paint and all was well. I was concerned it was going to be a bit flimsy but turned out really well and blends in great.











 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Wiring:
The new side lights were connected on a length of wire rather than bulb connections and I also needed a high beam feed to switch the projectors into their high beam setting so I had to get two pairs or wires into the headlamp casing and all this needed to be waterproofed.
My solution to this was to remove the wires and crimps from the old side light connector, chop down the connectors height (it fouled on the end of the LED side light casing) to allow clearance for the side light wiring to fit inside then feed a small two core cable out of one of the holes making use of the weather proof grommet.
The main beam was fed in the same way, I cut back the loom and attached another section of two core wire on to the main beam feed, this was then fed into the second hole from the side light connector.

To allow disconnection of the cables I used a few sets of Molex Microfit 3.0’s which were perfect for the size of wire and disconnection method, I was fortunate to borrow the crimp tool to make these up or I would have gone a different route.
The connectors were made up so they a small way up the loom on the inside the side light connector… you simply twist open, pull out slightly and unclip allowing future disassembly if required. Hopefully the pictures tell it better....





















Final tweaks:
Everything is now pretty much done but the final alignment of the projectors is still to be done. Even with the projector lock nuts done very tight I am concerned that they will rotate due to shock and vibration so I will need to dab a couple spots of Araldite between the projector body and the new headlamp bowls… to get this correct I need to find a level spot (my driveway is not) to sit the car with a wall to project on, rotate to get the cut offs flat then glue in place.

However I’ll need leave off the headlamp covers, remove the bumper, swap over headlamps from the standard ones, refit bumper, drive to local place with flat ground and wall to project on, rotate lens glue in place, wait for glue to cure, adjust direction of beams to meet MOT standards, drive home, remove bumper, remove lights, make final assembly with head lamp covers, refit new lights, refit bumper… all of which will take an evening I have got free at the moment! Needless to say I will update when this is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Final few pics of the final stages. I leveled up one projector the best I could and locked it in place with Araldite but decided to double check the alignment overall before I did the other one and sealed everything up










Rough beam pattern on dipped beam using just drivers side projector, it was midday so not the darkest of environments to test in..
 

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S**t hot pal...Looks great and I too await the final fit... I'd like to paint my surrounds black and would also consider this upgrade as the stock D2S bulbs are shocking. Mind you there's no room on the pre face lift.
 

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2008 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
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Wow - very exciting to see someone else trying out my method - glad to see somebody finding it useful! Loveley job and it looks to have worked out for you! That araldite looks a bit easier to work with than the JB Weld. I think you were much more thorough than I was in terms of measurements and such. Awesome job!!

I like your clever solution to extending the rear-access plug to the igniter so that you can still use the OEM plug - I wish I had thought of that!

Good job polishing those lenses too - they look spanking new.

Hopefully this setup serves you well illuminating those dark and twisty side roads!
 

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S**t hot pal...Looks great and I too await the final fit... I'd like to paint my surrounds black and would also consider this upgrade as the stock D2S bulbs are shocking. Mind you there's no room on the pre face lift.

Loads of room in the pre-facelift!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the comments guys, it was a massive scope creep on the initial plans and I think I'm over 25 hours of work for everything posted above. Surprising how it adds up when you do an hour here and there.

I trialed the first road test today on a flat car park within a mile of me with a non kerbed wall (to get accurate measurements from the floor) and enough room to setup the 10m beam patterns, no head lamp covers fitted but I needed to test/set the projector cut off angle. Turns out my 'best guess' on the drivers side was not the best as its about 5 degrees too far anticlockwise so angles up high on the right hand side, I need to cut off the Araldite locking spots and rotate it slightly, bugger. Ah well, least I didn't lock down the passengers side so that was easily rotated to a horizontal projection.

I'm still using my cheapy chinese D2R bulbs on this set at the mo, I need to change over to my Osram night breaker bulbs for the final fitment.

Will up load the beam pics shortly.
 

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S**t hot pal...Looks great and I too await the final fit... I'd like to paint my surrounds black and would also consider this upgrade as the stock D2S bulbs are shocking. Mind you there's no room on the pre face lift.


Loads of room in the pre-facelift!
They're sweet.... Where do you get those? Are they an easy bought mod from somewhere?

I didn't realise that the fish eye projectors could be used as a main/high beam light alone.

EDIT: Oh HID Retrofit » Subaru Forester SG9
 

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2005 Forester 2.5 STI Manual
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Itll be interesting to see in-car video footage as whenever you ask on the FB page and on here, nobody ever seems to be able to post anything and just jizz themselves over how they look externally.

One photo i have seen didnt really make me think, wow thats so much better than oem, just looked the same.
 

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Itll be interesting to see in-car video footage as whenever you ask on the FB page and on here, nobody ever seems to be able to post anything and just jizz themselves over how they look externally.

One photo i have seen didnt really make me think, wow thats so much better than oem, just looked the same.
^ This, and I actually like how the stock headlights look so I never understand how much people are gassing up the looks.

The difference in output I guess is down to what your used to of course. My other car has tiny round halogens from 1993 (miata) so the Foz is so much better in comparison, maybe compared a 2019 Forester they would be a bit lacking. I get that they are not "great" at night, but can't say I've thought it was dangerous to be pressing on.

Still I'd be interested to see a before and after comparison, you seem to be pretty thorough Mr Hoff so I'd expect nothing less :grin2:
 

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2008 GRB 20th anniversary 6 MT
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Wow, I haven't read this properly but you have clearly spent a huge amount of time on this project and have done awesome work!
Thanks for documenting it!
 
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Wow, I haven't read this properly but you have clearly spent a huge amount of time on this project and have done awesome work!
Thanks for documenting it!
+1 to that. Thanks for the pictures.

I fully get why you'd want to do this - the HID lights on the prefacelift particularly are terrible IMO - worse than the halogens on my 1994 Celica. I personally however don't like the look of aftermarket projectors in reflector housings. I may just look at brighter HID bulbs or maybe LED replacements.
 
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