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Budget HID Headlamp Retrofit
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Budget HID Headlamp Retrofit

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Headlamp removal tool

Applicable Models:

Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-04)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-04)
Porsche 987 Boxster (2005-08)
Porsche 987 Boxster S (2005-08)

Parts Required:

HID upgrade kit

Hot Tip:

Polish your cloudy lenses during the upgrade

Performance Gain:

Brighter headlamps

Complementary Modification:

New headlamp assemblies / clear corners
101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

One of the more exciting upgrades you can perform on your Boxster is the installation and upgrade of your lamps to a High Intensity Discharge (HID) system. This type of lighting system is sometimes also referred to as xenon lighting, or under the Bosch brand name of Litronic. The lamps use electric current that runs through a xenon gas mixture to create light: not unlike the operation of an ordinary fluorescent light bulb. In order to get the lamps working, the gas mixture must be subjected to an initial voltage of about 28,000 volts. Two small ballast units create this high voltage when starting the lamps, and then taper it down to about 40 volts to keep the light on.

There are two paths that you can take to perform this upgrade. The most expensive xenon upgrade is the installation of the factory Bosch Litronic kit (see Pelican Technical Article: Litronic Headlamp Kit Upgrade). The "poor mans" solution is to use a retrofit kit that simply replaces the stock H7 bulbs used in the standard Boxster lamp housing.

I prefer to use genuine Hella units as they have a built-in safety circuit to prevent the 28,000 volts from being discharged if there is any disruption or anomalies in the circuit.

Replacement bulbs tend to be very expensive, at about $100 each. I expect this cost to decrease though in the near future as more and more cars come equipped with this technology as stock equipment. The good news is that unlike traditional halogen bulbs, the HID bulbs do not often burn out: they have no internal mechanical components, and actually run very cool (like a normal fluorescent light bulb).

The lamp kits typically use 35 watt bulbs, which means that they draw about 2-3 amps of current after the initial startup. It's not uncommon for the ballast units to draw about 15 amps for less than a second as they are starting up the bulbs. The actual startup phase is typically less than a second: barely a noticeable difference from the stock configuration. With a conventional halogen lamp system, a large portion of the energy spent in the system goes towards excess heat given off by the bulb. The HID systems are much more efficient: a typical HID 35 watt bulb is about three times as bright as a 100 watt halogen bulb.

The installation is not difficult: it simply requires that you mount the ballast, integrate the bulbs into your housing, and wire up the system. The headlamps have large plastic covers on the rear that need to be slightly modified. Most of the HID kits available have a wire harness that has a large grommet on it. You need to take a small hole saw or Dremmel tool, and cut a hole in the rear of your plastic housing for the grommet to fit (see Figure 1). Two wires are connected to the HID bulb, the other two tap into the connections for the old halogen bulb. The harness that is included with the kit powers the HID lamps off of the power that formerly powered the original bulb inside the headlamp housing.

Mounting of the ballast is pretty easy. Component locations changed quite a bit over the years: find a safe, secure spot near your headlamps and use the double-sided sticky tape or mounting brackets that come with the HID kits (see Figure 3). On my 1999 Boxster, I mounted it on a flat surface just to the outside of the headlamp retainer.

You can install an HID kit for your low beams, high beams, and even the fog lamps. I have seen cars with three kits installed, and their fog lamp switch modified so that all three are on at the same time. When you're finished with the installation, be sure to align your headlamps so that you're not pointing the beam into oncoming traffic. In most states, the use of non-factory HID kits are designated for "off-road use only." Keep in mind that if you don't have a street-legal headlamp system, then you may invite tickets from law enforcement.

The only downside I found from installing this type of system was that it created a lot of static on my AM radio. However, the fix for this is rather simple: just install a 12V RF car noise filter on the power lines going to the ballasts and the problem should go away.

This photo shows the basic HID upgrade kit for the standard USA sealed-beam headlamps.
Figure 1

This photo shows the basic HID upgrade kit for the standard USA sealed-beam headlamps. A- Modified rear cover for the sealed headlamps. B- Bulb assembly and wire harness. C- HID ballast/controller for the HID bulbs.

Here you can see the various steps of assembly into the rear of the headlamp.
Figure 2

Here you can see the various steps of assembly into the rear of the headlamp. A- The lower bulb is the standard low-beam headlamp that is on most of the time. Remove the existing bulb and insert the newer HID bulb. You may have to remove the wire retaining ring completely in order to fit the new bulb. B- Connect the HID wires to the existing bulb connector. Brown is the ground and typically connects to the black wire on the harness. C- Wrap the connectors carefully with electrical tape to prevent a short from within the headlamp in case the connector bounces around. D- Thread the wires through the hold in the rear cover of the headlamp.

I found that a good mounting place for the ballast was on the side, right next to the headlamp tray.
Figure 3

I found that a good mounting place for the ballast was on the side, right next to the headlamp tray. There is a flat spot there that is perfect for mounting the HID ballast unit. Clean the area carefully using isopropyl alcohol or glass cleaner, and use double-sided sticky tape to secure the unit to the sheet metal. Reinforce the assembly by drilling a hole in the sheet metal and securing the bracket with a sheet metal screw (green arrow).

The finished product looks great and is very cost-effective when you compare the lamps to the stock Litronic ones available as a new or upgrade option on the Boxster (see <a style=color:000080 href=http://www.
Figure 4

The finished product looks great and is very cost-effective when you compare the lamps to the stock Litronic ones available as a new or upgrade option on the Boxster (see Pelican Technical Article: Litronic Headlamp Kit Upgrade).

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Comments and Suggestions:
frank Comments: I have the xenon headlight upgrade in my 2002 booster. One of the daylight running bulbs has burnt out. How do you access the lamp unit as there are no visible screws on the outside?
October 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: With the bulb cover off, look for the small socket. See fig 2 panel A. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ekaryadi Comments: I am a bit puzzled on how to attach the H7 replacement HID bulb to the headlight housing for 996 mark 2 the projector headlight type since there is no clips to attach the original H7 halogen light bulb unlike the pictures shown on the mark 1 headlight housing
February 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may need an adapter. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
zehutiman Comments: Based on a previous comment, am I to understand that if one of these HID bulbs fails, there is no replacement bulb? I own a '98 Boxster.
January 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would imagine a replacement is available. Would be silly if not. To be sure, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-310-626-8765
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Hank Kim Comments: I need to buy light parts original, refurbish or stealth solution for Mercedes S500L;

- 1 ea Zenon low beam Front Left bulb Part# N9101 3900 0001
- 1 ea Zenon light controller box? housing that hosts the bulb Part# 220 820 7085

Which solution options do I have? and price?
Which link at your part DB to refer to?

Hank from Seoul, Korea
August 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mickey Comments: I have a 2001 that has this upgrade but now has a burned out or otherwise defunct bulb. I have worked with Bruce at your tech desk to get a new bulb/harness but it seems one is not available.
My question is "are there replacement bulbs available?" and if not then "how do i switch the system back to stock?"
Thank you in advance.
July 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If our parts specialists can't find them, I would say no. Your next option is to find a used unit to source the parts from. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mel Comments: I had recently replaced my 1985 porsche H7 lights with Stealth Auto HID. 8000k . There were 2 slots to connect the low & high beam wiring so I decided to connect to only the low beam. Of course, I only have excellent low beam lights but NO high beam! Is it possible to connect the high beam without some short?!
February 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not familiar with this upgrade. May not be possible. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jeff Comments: I just installed the HID kit in my 2000 Carrera without an issue. However, I went to start the car the next day and found the one year old battery completely dead. Did I do something wrong?
May 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have a parasitic draw. You'll want to monitor the draw on the battery when the vehicle is asleep. It could be the new HID module.

Once you confirm there is a draw. You will have to isolate the circuit with the draw. Then determine which components on that circuit is causing the draw You can isolate by removing fuses. be sure to have all the latches on the doors and hood closed (pin switches) so the vehicle will sleep during testing. If it wakes up, you will have to wait until it goes to sleep again.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bartok Comments: What brand of clear headlight corners for a 2001 Boxster S do you carry/recommend that are compatible with this project?
November 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You find our headlights here:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/ksearch/PEL_search.cgi ?command=show_part_page&please_wait=N&make=POR&model=986M§ion=ELlite&page=3&bookmark=13&part_number=986-631-131-14-M422

If you cannot find what you need, give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BJ Comments: I have an 07 Cayman I would like to convert although I have heard that cold weather inter-fears with the ballast causing the headlights to not work.
Is this true ?
June 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have not heard this, and I am in New England which has cold winters. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
98601 Comments: What is the difference between H7, H8, and H9 kits? I've got a 2001 Boxster S and don't know what to buy?
December 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The style of bulb is different. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right bulb. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
gman Comments: To create the hole in the back cover I used a step drill, 7/8", and a drill press. Fast and easy.
December 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Batt Comments: A- Modified rear cover for the sealed headlamps.

Is this included the kit? I don't see it anywhere listed in the item Part #:   ST-HID-H7-4300
July 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to modify the rear cover from your headlight. Creating a hole for the wires to pass through. Then sealing it to prevent moisture from entering. Give our customer service reps a call at 1-888-280-7799, they will help you find the correct upgrade kit. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jp Comments: Could you use 55w HIDs? I have a new set of h7 55w HIDs in my garage
June 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the wattage on the HIDs shouldn't matter too much. Higher / lower, as these HID bulbs are very cool to the touch, and are like mini florescent lamps. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
hucqym Comments: so if I want HID for both low and high beams, do I need two kits? or is a smarter configuration possible on a 2001 boxster? bi-xenon?
March 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you can wire up your high beams and low beams both with HIDs, but you will indeed need two kits then. If you're looking for the best setup, then I would probably recommend the factory Litronic setup from BOSCH. Although it also only has traditional high beams, the low beam performance is stellar. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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