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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
One of the biggest weak spots in the MkV xenon lighting is due to Bosch using semi-clear lenses with (what I call) a distortion bar right smack in the middle of the lense.

I don't know why they decided to do this, but it really softens (and cuts down) the light output.




You can see how much the light output would be affected.

So I took the lenses out and replaced them with some "water clear" ZKW-R lenses. This should sharpen the cutoff and allow more light to be put on the road.

This is what it looks like now.




Ok, the last pic is still a little blurry, but it is hard to get a camera phone to focus properly. But the lens is absolutely clear.



This is the kind of difference I expect to see. This is from a BMW, but they use the same E46 projectors we get in our OEM xenons.

Modified on the left, stock on the right (identical bulbs in both projectors)

 

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It definitely looks better. I agree that the soft light is a weak point of the OEM projectors. I always get oncoming traffic flashing at me thinking that my high beams are on, even after lowering the height of the beam pattern. Is there anything else that can be done in addition to changing the lenses?
 

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It definitely looks better. I agree that the soft light is a weak point of the OEM projectors. I always get oncoming traffic flashing at me thinking that my high beams are on, even after lowering the height of the beam pattern. Is there anything else that can be done in addition to changing the lenses?
You can modify the cutoff shield itself.

OP, did you have to take apart the headlight to change out the lens or was it all accessible through the back of the housing?
 

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Not take it apart like taking the lens off the head lamp etc... You will have to dismount the head lamp from the car, the projector is hold in place by 3 screws that are accesible fro the back, you take them off the projector will come out.
Nice. good to know. i hadn't really taken a look... but i may have to buy some ultra clear lenses as well if that's the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
You can modify the cutoff shield itself.

OP, did you have to take apart the headlight to change out the lens or was it all accessible through the back of the housing?
Well, as was mentioned above, you do not have to remove the lense from the housing. Once you get the headlight out of the car, you will access the projector from the back side. There are actually 4 screws holding the projector into the headlight (one is kind of hidden by the auto levelling motor). Once you get them out, you will tilt the projector a little bit and pull it out through the low beam access hole. It is actually fairly simple.

Nice. good to know. i hadn't really taken a look... but i may have to buy some ultra clear lenses as well if that's the case.
Water clear lenses are almost always an improvement.

Do you have a link to where you got the clear ones?
I bought my lenses from www.theretrofitsource.com

The ones I got are the ZKW-R lenses. They did require a little bit of modification with a dremel, so maybe I chose the wrong ones. I would send them an email to see what they suggest.
 

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To the OP... are you sure about FX-R? The stock OEM lenses are 3". I did the same thing with my lights but I bought the ZKW-R. I also swapped my cutoff shields with ECE ones from Germany but I'm not sure I like the pronounced step. I'll probably go back to the DOT shields.

And I have to agree, VW projectors are prolly the easiest to work with...I've taken mine apart so many times I can get the whole swap done in 30 mins start to finish lol (bumper removal included lol)!

To those curious, the biggest difference you will notice with the light output is in the way it looks from inside the car, full light below the cutoff and complete darkness above (that's the best way I can describe it). It does take some getting used to initially. I believe the line in the stock lenses is there to allow some light to 'bleed' above the cutoff line, which may be easier on the eyes of the driver.
 

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To the OP... are you sure about FX-R? The stock OEM lenses are 3". I did the same thing with my lights but I bought the ZKW-R. I also swapped my cutoff shields with ECE ones from Germany but I'm not sure I like the pronounced step. I'll probably go back to the DOT shields.

And I have to agree, VW projectors are prolly the easiest to work with...I've taken mine apart so many times I can get the whole swap done in 30 mins start to finish lol (bumper removal included lol)!

To those curious, the biggest difference you will notice with the light output is in the way it looks from inside the car, full light below the cutoff and complete darkness above (that's the best way I can describe it). It does take some getting used to initially. I believe the line in the stock lenses is there to allow some light to 'bleed' above the cutoff line, which may be easier on the eyes of the driver.
did yours require any modification to get them to fit?
 

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did yours require any modification to get them to fit?
The ZKW-R are a slightly bigger in diameter (maybe 1mm?) so they don’t sit flush in the bulb holder like the stock ones do. I’ve read some people grind the zkw’s to fit but I’m to chicken to do that so I just pounded the inside of the lens holder and got the lens in as best as I could. Since they aren’t flush, I added an additional washer to each mounting screw to compensate. I’m still messing around with them to find a good balance between sharpness and color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Muicha,

I'm sorry, you are right. Too many initials. The correct ones are the ZKW-R 3" lenses.

And I also started grinding down the edge to get them to fit but the glass started chipping so I stopped that post-haste. I will wind up spacing the whole lense out a little bit to get the best cutoff I can.
 

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whats the difference between the premium option and the value one on order them? anyone know... also when you guys tried sanding them. was it with a dremel?or a sand clothe. i may try a stationary belt sander.with a fine grit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
whats the difference between the premium option and the value one on order them? anyone know... also when you guys tried sanding them. was it with a dremel?or a sand clothe. i may try a stationary belt sander.with a fine grit.
The premium lenses are going to be a lense in perfect absolutely flawless condition. The value lenses are going to have some flaw somewhere, but they say the flaw will not be in the light output area. On the value lenses I got, I saw absolutely no flaw at all.

Okay so they aren't 2.5", they're slightly under 3"? Lol how annoying. Have to grind a bit off to make them fit?

And yeah I was thinking sanding might be safer. Lol
I tried grinding them with a fine grit dremel bit.
 

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I always get oncoming traffic flashing at me thinking that my high beams are on, even after lowering the height of the beam pattern. Is there anything else that can be done in addition to changing the lenses?
Have you checked the aim of the headlights? At 25' distance, the horizontal cut-off should be down 3" from center-of-lens level -- you should be able to tell well enough even with the "fuzzy" stock cut-off.

Something may have gotten out of whack... and a HID that''s aimed too high can really be a problem.

I have never gotten flashed in two years with the stock bi-xenons.
 
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