2013 Scion TC Headlights
Demon Eyes, Lens Etching, Paintwork, Projector Retrofit, Projector Swap, Switchback Halos
I build a lot of headlights. Oftentimes they are shipped out and I never see them again. Since I’m trying to develop a local clientele base in order to offer installation services to pair with my fabrication services, I figured I should build a comparison set of headlights for the showroom. This will allow people to easily see a factory headlight and a heavily modified one side by side. A before and after, if you will. Project FRS-Build was born when an OEM set of Scion FR-S headlights found themselves in my capable hands. Sweet. Let’s get to work!
Fun story. As expected, being oem headlights from a 2013 vehicle (uhhh, 4 years old?), they were pretty beat up. There was significant hazing along the top that was very noticeable so the the first step was to do a lens restoration. Thank goodness that’s something I know how to do, right?
Cloudy vs Shiny:
Okay so now I can begin work. First step was disassembly and gameplan. These headlights utilize an OEM halogen projector lens. Better technology than most, but certainly not impressive. I decided to do a quad retrofit, replacing the factory projector with the higher performing Morimoto Mini H1 and adding a secondary projector — the Morimoto Matchbox — into the turn signal location for super mega output. Because this was to be a demo model, I wanted to show off the lens etching services available as well so I got the projectors etched: the MH1 with my logo and the Matchbox with a pattern design. Just for funsies.
I started the typical trimming and test fitting to get the Matchbox into place. It went quite smoothly, honestly. The main projector is even easier with the usage of Morimoto’s RetroQuick Brackets which allow somewhat direct fitment. I’ll admit, I expected it to be easier and found it to be a bit inaccurate but it gave me a great starting point so no complaints there.
Time to install the demon eyes. I had the pleasure of being in the middle of TRS’s rebranding of their Morimoto XBT LED demon eyes into Profile Prism demon eyes…. Exact same product and same performance, but different name and logo, basically. I generally prefer Diode Dynamics for their RGBW demon eyes but, for a display model, I was going for economy and just for the ability to sales pitch the technology.
Next came paint. Since this was never going to be installed on a car, I could do whatever I wanted. OEM body color paint and gloss black paint are the two most popular options so I decided to make my own fancy custom paint using materials I had laying around. Black base coat with green pearl and silver flake. The result was absolutely stunning. I’ll admit: I need to learn some moderation here though. I had put so much flake into the mix that, even after clear coat, it still was bumpy and looked almost sandy. I sanded it down lightly to remove all the bumps and then re-cleared it for a perfectly smooth and glittery as-all-get-out finish. Indoors, it looks like a very dark emerald color, but in direct sunlight it totally sparkles.
Time to install some halo rings! As cool as RGB halos are, I really needed to have a turn signal in this housing since the OEM turn signal bulb got replaced with another projector assembly. Switchback halos to the rescue! They are white running lights and then blink amber with the turn signal. Here you’ll see my top secret extremely technical mounting technique revealed.
Reassembly time. That sure was quick and easy wasn’t it? 😀 The Matchbox-in-turn-signal-bowl assembly gets installed and the primary MH1 projector lens follows. The painted trim cover gets put in place temporarily to confirm fitment.
And now it’s time for the (lens-off) photoshoot of features!
Cool, everything looks spiffy. Let’s wrap up the headlight set, put the front lens back on, and try everything out again with a before/after comparison. Ooh lah lahhhh
SUPERIOR MOBILE BY 13 IS GROWING BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS, WHOOOOOOOO
love love, 13