HID Conversion on an 1150GSA (pictorial)

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Minnesota, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    Well, I finally got everything lined up, time allotted, parts ordered, for the big, scary HID conversion on my 1150 GSA. You may have seen some of the saga spelled out in JVB's 12GS HID conversion thread. I thought I'd create my own thread so that those who are searching for a pictorial version of how to install HID on an 1150GS will have one to look at.

    I also write this for those who are hesitant to undertake this farkle addition because of concerns over the difficulty of the installation. As you will see, it is nothing to fear. As a matter of fact, it is one of the easiest things I have done to the bike.

    So with no further ado, here is my first excursion into a how-to on ADVRider.
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  2. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    Well, the first thing you have to do is get the right parts. This proved to be the biggest pain in the ass for me. I read many of the HID conversion threads here on ADV and I decided to go with the VVME option. As you can see in the link they have a single beam option and a dual beam option. You will want the SINGLE BEAM kit. DAMHIK, I'll tell you. I initially ordered and received the dual beam kit. Upon opening the thing I was dumbfounded and befuddled as to how I was going to get this mess of wires to blend into the wiring of the bike and make it work well. The answer was that I wasn't going to. I contacted VVME and told them about my mistake. They replied that for an additional 30 dollars they would send me the single beam bulbs, shipped. I said okay and a few days went by.

    The bulbs arrived and I found that there was no wiring harness included. The kit pictured in the link above shows a wiring harness included. I therefor made the conclusion that I needed the wiring harness too. A quick email to VVME precipitated the shipment of the wiring harness, with an additional 15 dollars debited from my wallet. A few days went by and the harness arrived.

    Yippee! I thought, I can finally get these things installed. I am teaching a Hunters Safety class this week which means that I am riding home 40 miles in the dark 3 nights. I wanted those HIDs working, pronto! I left work early on Monday to start the project.
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  3. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    :lurk

    Jim :brow
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  4. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    [​IMG]

    Here is what I found: you don't need the blasted 15 dollar wiring harness. All you need is the H1 bulb and the ballast (same one as was included in the dual beam kit). Simple. In this pic the bulb is still in the neat little plastic housing that they ship it in. Save this. It comes in handy for saving your old halogen bulbs in case you have a burnout of the HID bulb someday.

    (pay no attention to the twist tie behind the rubber grommet)
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  5. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    Now you have to start taking stuff apart. The goal is to get the headlight assembly out on the table where you can easily work on making some minor modifications to accommodate the HID bulbs.

    [​IMG]

    Step 1: Remove the windshield by removing the 4 bolts that hold it on.

    [​IMG]

    Step 2. Remove the gray fairing, two small bolts this time.
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  6. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    [​IMG]

    Step 3: Remove the plastic shroud around the headlight assembly. The three screws that hold this on are circled in red. Please excuse the bug carcasses on the bike. I didn't clean it first.

    [​IMG]

    Step 4: Remove the 2 headlight assembly screws, circled here in red. 5mm hex, IIRC. Note the white plastic piece to the lower right hand corner of the headlight assembly, just above the oil cooler. This needs to come off too (see next pics).
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  7. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    [​IMG]

    Here is a closer shot of the headlight vertical adjuster. This is a ball-and-socket joint. I took a flat-bladed screwdriver and wedged it between the headlight assembly and the white adjuster. I gave the screwdriver a light twist and...

    [​IMG]

    Viola! the ball popped out of the socket. No problemo.

    [​IMG]

    One more look, since I bothered to take a picture. Nice closeup of bug detritus!
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  8. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    [​IMG]

    The headlight assembly can now be pulled out from under the instrument cluster. However, there are still those wires to remove.

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    Here are the two clips to remove. White for the high beam, black for the low beam. They are the typical BMW clips that you squeeze the two sides and pull, the clip should then come off.

    [​IMG]

    One last thing. If your bike has the daytime running lights option (not sure about the history of this, but it's there). Simply grasp the two wire connectors, give it a pull as you are twisting back and forth. It comes out easily.

    [​IMG]

    And there it is, one headlight assembly on the table, ready for some modification.
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  9. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    In case you have never had the pleasure of changing your headlight bulbs here is how the lamp covers come off. Give them a counterclockwise turn and then pull them off.

    You can see the positive (yellow) and ground (brown) wires clipped on to the bulb or bulb housing. Give them a good yank and they come off.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the lamp covers removed. You might notice that they are not the same. For later reference, the low beam one is F1, the high beam one is F2. You'll need to know this later.
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  10. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    You may have read in other HID thread that you have to do some filing on the metal area where the bulb goes in. This area is circled in red here. I found that the HID bulbs slid right into the holes without any filing required. It was a tight fit, and time will tell if I made a mistake, but I have about 400 miles on the HIDs so far and they both still work.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the bulbs in place.

    [​IMG]

    And here are the hot and ground wires attached to the stock wiring in the lamp covers. No cutting, splicing, soldering, or modification of any type is required. Just slide the spade connectors into their female friends and the connection is made.

    Update 11/2/2009: Some users have reported a short between the ground connection and the hot pin in the upper left area of the housing (yellow wire) Be sure to insulate the ground connection to prevent this from happening (See post #172). Best case scenario is your new lights don't work. Worst case is you fry your computer. That can be expensive. Insulate that ground connector.
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  11. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    I don't want to mislead anyone so here is some advice; I have pictures above that show the bulbs installed and wires connected. I did this because I was excited to see how things fit, and also because I wanted to check to see whether I would have to do some filing or not.

    You don't want to install and hook up the bulbs just yet because you need to do some modifications first.

    FYI.
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  12. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    [​IMG]

    Here are those lamp covers again. This is the only area where some injury to the stock bike is required for the HID installation. You will have to cut, file, or drill a hole in each cover to allow the HID bulb wires to pass through.

    [​IMG]

    Here is what will be going into that hole in the lamp covers. This is the rubber grommet that is a part of the bulb assembly. I am measuring it here to see how big I need to make the hole.

    [​IMG]

    I happened to have a Forstner bit laying around that was close to the right size for the job.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the result of my drilling. A 25.22 mm hole in the lamp cover. Two things to note here. Notice that my hole is not centered in the cover. This is on purpose. In some HID threads I read that you need to remove the wires from inside the cover before you drill the holes. I figured I could skip this step by just pulling the wires off to the side as much as possible, and by drilling the hole as far away from the wires as possible. It worked fine.

    The other thing you may notice is that you can't see the F1 or F2 markings on the covers anymore. Fear not! They are also marked "TOP L" and "TOP R". The high beam, or F2, is also marked "TOP R". The low beam cover, or F1, is also marked "TOP L".
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  13. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    [​IMG]

    Here is the bulb and wires in place, with the grommet inserted into the hole I made.

    [​IMG]

    And here is the high beam assembly in place.
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  14. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Some inmates on here have found the reflector on the 1150 not great for an HID conversion, let us know what you think. :lurk
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  15. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    With the high beam in place I then installed the low beam bulb. You have now done the bulk of the work required for the HID conversion.

    From the time I started removing the windscreen to the time I had both HID bulbs installed in the headlight assembly was the time it took to play all the way through Boston's Boston album. Not very long, and I wasn't hurrying.
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  16. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    I'm getting to that...
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  17. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    Perhaps the most thought-provoking item in the HID conversion is the question, "Where do I put the ballasts?" This is something you have to put some thought into since BMW didn't supply a ballast-mounting point. Two factors went into this decision for me:

    1. The wires going to the bulbs are short
    2. The ballasts reportedly generate some heat. They need to be in a somewhat well-ventilated area.
    With these factors in mind I went with the tried and true method of mounting the ballasts under the beak.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used the VVME-supplied mounting brackets. This are quite flimsy and need some back-up, which I supplied in the form of a couple zip-ties.

    You can see the screws I used to mount the brackets. These are just sheet metal screws, about 1/2 inch long. I drilled pilot holes in the piece of plastic underneath the oil cooler. The plastic piece is curved on the rear side, and the farther you get from the center, the lower your chances are of drilling into the oil cooler when you make you pilot holes. You also want to use screws that are short enough to not rub on the oil cooler. If I am not mistaken, the cooler is 99% plastic, so be careful here. Or better yet, make a bracket that keeps you away from the cooler. There are a few examples here on ADVRider.

    An interesting fact...the ballasts say Hella on them. Hmmm.
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  18. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    From the time I started mounting the ballasts to the time I had everything re-assembled, the Boston album had been played through one more time. Hey, it's the only CD I have in the shed and you can't go wrong with Boston. :lol3

    So here are the before and after pics.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There is no doubt that these things are waaaaaaaaay brighter than the halogen H1 bulbs. Once the sun went down I took the bike out for a spin. The low beam is actually worth something now. Before the HIDs I only used the low beam when there was a car approaching on a two lane road at night. Otherwise, the high beam was always on. Even on the interstate. That halogen low beam was just too scary. Now I feel comfortable running with just the low beam on at night. I rode home from the Hunter Safety class on Tuesday night in a heavy rain. The low beam was good.

    The high beam throws off a nice, pin-point beam of light. The only problem is that it is too low. I've turned the vertical adjuster as high as it will go, and the beam lands about 30 feet in front of the bike. Ideally it should be something like 100-150 feet in front (?). I would like to use the high beam to see down the road so that the deer (of which there are plenty around here) can be spotted in time to avoid a collision if they are standing on or around the road. It doesn't work like that. The high beam helps, but it could be so much better since it is a nice tight beam of light.

    Regarding Gadget Boy's comment, I am satisfied with what I now have. Before the HID conversion I found myself thinking of Stonewall Jackson quite a bit. He had a great deal of success fighting for the South during the Civil War. He seldom if ever took credit for his sometimes amazing victories over the Union forces. Instead he attributed it to Divine Providence. He did what he could do as a general, and Providence did the rest. This was how I felt with the halogen bulbs. I could look as far ahead as the bulbs would allow, and the rest I would have to trust to Providence to keep the deer and tires out of my way, since I had no way of seeing them in time. With the HID conversion, I don't have to trust in Providence quite as much.

    -Nick
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  19. Minnesota

    Minnesota Conform or be cast out

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    One more thing. Here are all the tools I used during the installation. Only the drill bit for the ballast pilot holes is missing.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. jpcopster

    jpcopster Adventurer

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    Outstanding post, I am waiting on a set of the same HID lights for my '02 GSA, this will make my stress level go down.....hahaha
    Thanks so much,
    J
    #20