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High Performance 996 Headlights: Build Log

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Old 07-21-2017, 11:26 AM
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High Performance 996 Headlights: Build Log

Greetings,

Headlight enthusiast here working on a set of 996T headlights and wanted to share the build to give an in-depth look at what is possible with the 996 headlights and what those improvements translate to in real world performance (you know the important stuff).

A little about myself. I love to modify and improve things (Google "Evan's E61 to see my personal build). Aesthetics are important but not at the expense of function so striking the balance an maximizing both (ideally without compromise) is an art and a challenge which keeps me hungry for more.

I come from the BMW world and find it frustrating that so many headlight "retrofitters" add paint + LEDs and call it a build. To each their own but that is completely missing the point of headlights since they are so important for driving performance and safety. A proper headlight setup will offer better visibility and less stress for the driver and consequently better safety. Safety for the driver, his/her occupants, and improved safety for others on the road as the light output will be controlled and not blinding oncoming traffic. It's a win-win-win, if you are able to make the headlights look "cool" that is just icing on the cake.

So I was approached by a 996T owner about making some upgrades to his headlights, we have solidified the plan of attack and the build is in motion. The lights are the "litronic" which is Porsche's fancy way of saying HID or xenon so from the factory they have a bi-xenon projector up top, a halogen high beam assist just below, a turn signal below that, and towards the mid-line of the car a small halogen projector fog light.

Using the GT3 RSR as inspiriation the goal is a race-inspired look and improved output, here is what is on tap:

Bi-Xenon projector clear lens swap + tuning
Old HID bulbs replaced with new Philips 85122WHV2
Stock 35w Hella ballasts are "boosted" to 46w
Stock fog light is being replaced with Morimoto Matchbox HID projector + yellow 3,000k bulbs
Full Satin Black Bezel + High Beam Assist Delete
LED Turn signal upgrade
Custom Headlight washer delete
GT3 RSR racing spec headlight lenses


Headlights how they arrived. As it turns out the passenger side headlight was in an accident and had a lot of internal damage so we sourced another used headlight off eBay. The lenses were chipped during shipping but no worries there as we have a set of brand new RSR lenses from Germany.







Headlights were pried apart the the channels were thoroughly cleaned. Factory sealant was a one use "permaseal" that will be replaced with butyl which will offer a nice seal and is reusable if the headlights ever need to be opened again.





The headlights were showing their age with some of the wiring being deteriorated, this will be replaced.





The hole in the bezel for the now removed headlight washer, the external washer caps will be shaved and fabricated to plug the bezel.






Stock halogen fog light on the left and the Morimoto Matchbox on the right, it is a TINY HID projector. First output pic if stock fog light, second is the Morimoto with a regular HID bulb, these will have yellow bulbs once complete.










Since the owner rarely drives his 996 at night we decided against a full-on projector upgrade for the main Bi-Xenon unit but I did some research and test fitting and am happy to report that I can make the Lexus RX350 projectors fit in the 996 housing so I wanted to show what that upgrade would look like. The stock 996 projectors are "decent" all things considered but lack the WIDE beam pattern of the Lexus. Also the chrome bowls on the stock projectors are become compromised from years of use, notice the difference in texture








Here is the stock projector with some old HID bulbs vs the Lexus with a fresh Philips 85122WHV2, notice the difference in on-center intensity as well as the width.






The Lexus RX350 has these "streaks" or "wings" of intense light which spread outward and these are very useful in real world application. Here is a comparison showing the stock Tesla Model S HID projector (stock bulb and ballast too) vs a Lexus which I have tuned with a fresh HID bulb and 45w ballast, not exactly apples to apples but nonetheless shows the striking difference between the two and what the RX350 is capable of, also take note of those "streaks" and how they aid width illumination.



Anyway, we decided to pass on the upgrade so now the focus is the stock projector and maximizing it's potential. I am doing this my installing a clear lens and tuning the focal depth which helps focus the light output and sharpens the cutoff.











Up next is the HID ballasts. The stock Gen 3 Hella ballasts which came on the 996 may not look like much but are arguably the best ever made due to their strong output, very fast warm up time, and their excellent reliability. As a bonus they can be "boosted" by swapping MOSFETs to improve efficiency and adding resistors to increase the output. Think of this as turbo charging since both output and efficiency are increased, the ballasts are simply over driven so even in their uprated state the reliability is excellent. Truly phenomenal ballasts! I can boost these to 41.5, 43, 46, 59, or 55w. We decided to go right in the middle at 46w.



I snapped some pics and brought out the lux meter to quantify the improvement in output with the new bulb and boosted ballast.










More to come!!
Evan
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:40 AM
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Very impressive! Subscribed
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:46 PM
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Interested as well
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:49 PM
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Interesting ! I await your progress.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:03 PM
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Awesome, looking forward to the finished product!
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Old 07-22-2017, 05:54 AM
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Really interested in RSR headlights !
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:48 PM
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Very interested keep up the good work can't wait to see final product
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Old 07-23-2017, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by JH996tt View Post
Really interested in RSR headlights !
Unfortunately the RSR headlight lenses are NLA from Porsche. I got the very last set from FVD.
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Old 07-23-2017, 06:23 PM
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Looking forward to the results. Likely will be upgrading to mine after seeing the results of this. I am guessing Evan will have a bit of a wait time though with the influx of 996 lights. Can't wait to see the end result.
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Old 07-24-2017, 03:39 PM
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Looking forward to the results. Likely will be upgrading to mine after seeing the results of this. I am guessing Evan will have a bit of a wait time though with the influx of 996 lights. Can't wait to see the end result.
Contact him now to secure a build spot.
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Old 07-24-2017, 04:46 PM
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Great stuff! I'm a avid fan of upgraded lighting and love to see improvements on OEM headlights. Looking forward to the final result.
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Old 07-25-2017, 05:15 AM
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Awesome work! Thank you for sharing! Would be interested in getting some work done to my lights too. Had a Volvo C30 as a daily before, and went on to the retrofit source, and bought the parts to upgrade the HID system + new Lenses. Made an absolute transformation with my lighting.

However i dont think i would do the same work on the Turbo, hence i would really like to send it out for some improvements!

Looking fwd to the finish pics!
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:10 AM
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Very cool. Following.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:46 AM
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very cool upgrade. Good job
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:14 AM
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Very cool information! Can you confirm that we can swap the Philips 85122WHV2 into our otherwise stock headlights to replace the OE Xenon bulbs?
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