As some of you will know, I’ve got a set of JDM STi projector headlights installed on my GDA WRX. I’ve been running the lights for the last 6 years and they’ve been a thorn in my side ever since.
It’s not that I never bothered to learn about electrical and wiring, I just never understood it. See I’m a visual person and my brain thinks in terms of pictures, not numbers. That could probably explain why I took Intermediate Algebra 3 times in high school and failed Statistics in college. Anything to do with math and science has forever been a struggle for me and since electronics relates so much to these areas, I end up frustrated and confused.
I bought my headlights used in 2006. At the time they had already been modified with an HID conversion kit. I didn’t ask any questions because I knew I wouldn’t understand the answers. The lights worked, I bought them and they were installed. Shortly after the purchase I started experiencing problems with the HIDs, so I contacted Caesar at Lightwerkz and ordered a new HID kit and one of his Subaru STi wiring harnesses. When the time came to install them, I was completely lost, but did my best to get the job done. I never understood why if the bulbs were powered by ballasts, did they also need to be relayed to the car’s battery, as the harness had me do. This meant that my HIDs were always shining as long as the handbrake was released. I never bothered to look into the issue. Call it laziness or just a downright lack of understanding, but here we are and the lights are still giving me problems. In the past few weeks, they’ve gone from flickering on and off to not working at all. I know the bulbs are fine because if I jiggle the wires behind the headlight housings, they flicker on and off. I was sure it was due to a bad connection.
Bare with me.
Today I decided to take the headlights off the car and try to understand how HID kits work and what exactly the problem with mine is. Based on first impressions the initial HID conversion was a hack job with wire tabs and quick connectors all over the place. I’m going to use the corresponding numbers in the photo above to attempt to explain how everything fits together.
1. I’ve always connected these tabs with “5”. Once connected they are housed inside the HID bulb cover (upper right).
2. These connect with corresponding plugs from the kit’s ballasts.
3. This plugs directly into the ballast.
4. I never understood this setup at all. These wires are tapped into the wiring harness provided by Lightwerkz. You’ll notice the left wire stripped and frayed. That is because the clip melted and shattered when I tried to take it off. I’m assuming it was getting way too much power? I have no idea why this wire needs to be tapped.
5. These tabs plug into “1” and are housed in the HID bulb cover. I don’t understand where these actually go. The wiring leads directly back into the headlight housing. If you’re still with me people, none of this makes any sense!
A close up of the wire tabs housed within the HID bulb cover.
The connectors for “1”. These feed directly into the back of the headlight housing.
A close up of the frayed wire. This wire previously had a blue clamp on it (like the one to the right), but that melted and shattered when I tried to remove it this afternoon.
It may be difficult to see some of the smaller connections, but this is how I’ve always connected my HID setup. The components missing are obviously the OEM inputs which is where the Lightwerkz wiring harness comes into play. The harness also connects to the tabs in “4”.
I’m at a loss right now and I’m calling on fellow Subaru owners, car enthusiasts and headlight specialists for help. Thousands of you visit A Class each day, so I would ask that if you’re familiar with HID kits, you would take a few minutes out of your busy days to give me some help. What I hope to accomplish is to understand why the installation of my HID kit, specifically why those wires are tapped. I’d also like some advice for how to fix that frayed wire and whether or not I should eliminate those tabs that connect the bulb to the ballast? I have no idea how to solder, but it’s never too late to learn. Any advice and help or links and referrals would be greatly appreciated. I don’t typically like to use my blog as a Q&A forum, but in this case I’m truly stumped.
Thanks again guys!