January 26, 2010

H4 Bi-Xenon HID Kit Installed

It is always during the winter rain season that I find myself wishing for HIDs. While the stock DOT spec headlights on the Honda Fit is actually pretty good, in fact, better than most car's I've owned. I still wished for more light, especially when it's raining and it becomes hard to see the lines in the road.

Well, this past Saturday, while I was at the Winter BBQ Meet, I picked up a 4300k H4 Bi-Xenon HID kit from Aaron (aka. Guinness). Now, I've been into cars for a long time, and is known as somewhat of a lighting guy amongst my friends. So I know all about the pros (not many) and cons (many) of an HID kit. Especially one that's going to be retrofitted to a halogen reflector housing, a dual-beam reflector housing at that! I'm not going to get into that debate here. Just know not to expect your HID kit to put down usable light like a properly designed factory HID system.

The kit from Aaron is very good. Probably as good as a standard HID can get. Bi-xenon bulbs with lower shields to reduce glare and movable bulbs for high/low beam switching. It also comes with a full plug-and-play harness for the H4 bulb system. If the GD chassis Honda Fit wasn't so cramp under the hood, the install would have taken under 10 minutes. If you have a GE Fit, you might not need to remove the front bumper and headlights to do the install. From what I saw at the BBQ meet, the GE has more room behind the headlights to work with.

Tools required:
- Flat head Screwdriver
- Phillips Screwdriver
- 10mm Socket/Wrench
- Cutter (for zip tie)

1. Remove the Front Bumper

Open the hood, and you'll see 4 black clips attaching the top of the bumper to the rad support beam. To remove them, stick a flat head screwdriver in from the side and pry the middle part up. Once it's up, the clips can be pulled off. Now, move to the bottom of the bumper. I don't have photos for these since it was hard to take a photo of the bottom. But basically, you've got two more of those black pop-up clips, and two phillips head screws nearby. Just take a look. you'll see which ones are actually holding the bottom of the bumper. Now for the sides. There's a phillips head screw just at the top corner of the front bumper on each side attaching the bumper to the front fender, and another black pop-up clip at the bottom corner attaching the bumper to the wheel well liner. Remove these on each side.

So basically, you'll have removed 12 screws/clips from the front bumper.

After that, start pulling the bumper away from the car from one corner to release the clips, then move to the other side and do the same. Then move to the middle and pull the bumper away from the car.

2. Remove the Headlights

Use the 10mm socket/wrench, and remove the 4 bolts attaching the headlight to the car. There are two on top, one in the front, and one on the side. On the driver side, you will need to remove a black plastic cover piece first. It's essentially the same idea as the black clips at the top of the bumper. But you don't need to remove the clips completely. Just pop them up (three in total), then pull the piece off. Keep in mind when you're putting the headlights back, that while the two bolts from the front and the side look similar, the side bolt has a longer spacer section behind the bolt head. Twist out the parking light and turn signal, and unplug the H4 plug at the headlight.

3. Find a Place to Mount the Ballasts

After removing the headlights, I found that the ballast fits well in the channel just behind the re-bar attachment points. There are also two holes on the wall there, and I used the top hole and zip-tied the ballast bracket to the car.

4. Run the Wiring Harness

Since the battery is on the driver side, I left most things there and ran the wires going to the passenger side ballast over just above the radiator and under the rad support. After plugging the harness into the ballasts. I grounded each side to the bolt near each top corner of the radiator, also a 10mm bolt. The only other wire you need to attach is the one with the fuse to the positive side of the battery. There's an attachment post next to the main positive post which is also held down by a 10mm nut. Attach the power wire there. Then, just plug the H4 plug from the harness into the car's stock H4 harness on the driver side.

5. Replace the Bulbs

Remove the rubber dust shield behind the H4 headlight bulb. Then unclip the retaining clip behind the bulb, and remove the stock H4 bulb from the headlight. Then replace with the new Bi-Xenon bulb and clip back in. You can try to replace the dust shield, which may or may not require you to cut out the middle of the shield slightly, or just leave the dust shield off as I did. Didn't seem very dirty considering I haven't cleaned the engine bay in the three years I've owned the car.

6. Test the Lights

Now, plug the new bulbs in. There should be three wires per side. Two for the + and -, and one to trigger the high beam switch. It only goes in one way, so should be easy to figure out. Then. Check to make sure everything is plugged in and attached properly. Slide the headlights back into position on the car, and attach just one of the top bolts so that they don't fall off. Now you can turn on your car's headlights and make sure everything works. Check the high-beam function as well.

7. Put the Car Back Together

If everything works, then you can put the car back together. Make sure to replace the turn signal and parking bulbs into the headlight housing, put the headlights back and replace all 4 bolts in its proper place. Line up the bumper from the center first, then tap from just under the inside of the headlight, and work your way to the corner of the bumper to clip it back in place. Then replace all the attachment clips and screws for the bumper and you're done.


This kit is not bad for what it is. The glare above the original cut-off line is fairly minimal as compared to some other HID kits I've seen. Probably due in part to the shield on the lower part of the HID bulbs in this kit. I don't find that you actually get MORE light coverage on the ground, but I do notice that the light I have on the ground is a bit brighter than a normal halogen bulb headlight. This is especially easy to see when you're one of the first cars at the intersection, and the car next to you has halogen headlights. But once a true OEM HID car pulls up along the other side, you'll quickly notice why HID kits are never going to be equal to a properly designed OEM HID headlight.

Also, while this Bi-xenon Kit offers a high-beam via a movable bulb, The actual high beam function is actually quite useless except as a flash warning for other motorists. When you switch to high beam, the light output moves up a bit, but at that point, as you can see in the photo, you get basically ZERO light going to the ground. Everything goes straight ahead. I was on a different road with minimal street lamps and no parked cars to reflect light off of. When I switch to high beam there, it was essentially like turning off the headlights.

January 23, 2010

FitFreak Winter BBQ Meet

Well, After I got my oil changed Saturday, I convinced my friend to swing by the Winter BBQ Meet hosted by Ground Zero Auto Solutions, where quite a number of local FitFreak.net members showed up on this somewhat warm and dry Vancouver winter afternoon.

As you can tell if you've been following my blog, I haven't attended a local Fit meet up since March 2008. Sure enough, almost everyone I saw there was a new face to me. I had just come from lunch, so I wasn't really hungry. I ended up chatting with a few members and asking some questions about some of their cars. Then I found Aaron and wanted to talk to him about the HID kit I had PM him about a couple of days earlier. Turns out he had a few sets with him that day, so I picked up a H4 Bi-xenon kit and had to leave. There were definitely more people I wanted to chat with, but I had promised my friend I'd go help him paint at his place, which is a good 50kms away, and it was already around 3 in the afternoon.

photo by Aaron (aka. Guinness)

Looks like everyone had fun at the meet, and apparently way too much food was prepared. Next time, I'll come hungry.

More photos can be found on the Fitfreak thread here.

Oil Change #10 (52025km)

Oops. Went over my own oil change interval a bit. I was preoccupied with the Holidays that I totally missed the fact that my 50,000km oil change was due. It was only because my friend told me he was bringing his car in for an oil change that I remembered. So I weaseled my way into his time slot and got my oil change done today right after his car was finished. He owes me that much. I was heading over to his new place to help him fix some touch-up painting that he somehow messed up (don't ask).

Other than going over a bit on the oil change (car's indicator still says 40% oil life remaining), everything is still very good with the car. Car is averaging around 500km per tank with the 175 tires, a bit more if I drive more highways. I'm sure my wife could get better mileage out of the Fit since she's got a much lighter foot than I do. But I'm happy with my fuel consumption. Especially since the car only needs regular grade fuel.

Oh yeah, noticed that the Stock Dunlop SP31's are S-rated for speed. Good for up to 180km/h (112mph). Most tires I've seen are rated at least T, but I guess for a stock Fit, this speed rating is good enough. (Again, don't ask. =P)

January 22, 2010

2010 Vancouver Motorcycle Show

This is the fourth year I've been to this show now. The first year was before I even got my license. I had just got my Christmas gift that my family and friends were helping me go to riding school. I knew nothing about motorcycles, and really didn't know what I was looking at that year.

The 2008 show comes along, and by now I'm a fully licensed rider. But that really means nothing since I've only been on the school bikes. I now know the basics, ad maybe a bit more. But without owning a motorcycle of my own, I still considered myself and "outsider" at the show.

When I went to the 2009 show, I had finally purchased my own bike. I have a proper answer now when people at the show ask what I ride. In reality however, I purchased the bike at the end of the 2008 riding season, and promptly put it into storage insurance. So I really haven't ridden since I graduated from riding school in August 2007. But I now know exactly what I'm looking at, what's new, and whatever info I can gather from reading up on line or in the magazines.

Finally this year, in 2010, I felt like I belonged at the show. I've had a full season of riding under my belt. Had ridden during the day, night, 2up, commuted on the bike. Now I'm a rider!! My wife and the same friend who came with me last year also came along this year. He looks ready to ride. I wouldn't be surprised if he enrolls at a school very soon.

I noticed I'm throwing my leg over bigger bikes this year than previous years; both in displacement, and height. I find that I like many different types of motorcycles, and find myself wanting a varied collection of bikes; I want the Triumph Bonneville T100 on days I want to cruise around town and feel "cool". I want Kawasaki's new Z1000 for those "fun" rides. Add a Yamaha WR250X to the stable for quick jaunts and in-town commuting, and maybe the Honda CBF1000A for those longer tours. How's that for variety. And you'll notice, no cruisers on that list. Trust me, I tried a few cruisers. I don't look like I belong on any of them. My friend on the other hand, perfect on a cruiser!

I also got to meet Jason Britton from Team No Limit, Host of SuperBikes on Speed. He is a very friendly guy, and took the time to talk with people about their own riding, his riding, or anything you wanted to chat about.

I can't wait 'til the riding season starts again.