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Ultimate guide for those considering Euro projector headlights - all the basics in one thread!

danbfree

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INTRO

So, if you are reading this then you. like many of us, have HAD IT with the garbage reflector headlights that come on our cars in North America. To me it boggles the mind that Ford offers a $2000 Recaro seat package but not even an optional package for better headlights that the entire rest of the world gets standard on the FiST, but I digress, that's Ford marketing deciding what they think North Americans care about and gave us what I feel are UNSAFE headlights!

Disclaimer: These headlights ARE illegal in the U.S. and probably Canada too, because they don't have the lit amber marker light on the corners. However, we do have blinkers in our mirrors unlike many cars, so to me that covers a lot of the actual safety issues. Using these are at your own risk in a legal and safety perspective. Being able to, you know, actually see at night I find to be more important than debating any legal minutia. I am also not a lighting "expert" just very well researched and I will intentionally be using simplified language and making some fairly broad claims that are not intended for hardcore lighting nerds to try to tear apart or mock, so please keep that in mind... Also, they do not have a DOT approved cutoff, they use ECE which you see here is quite a bit different. Keep in mind that only the UK, their former territories and Japan actually uses Right Hand Drive (Left Hand Traffic), so that is another reason we call them Euro projectors, all the rest of Europe uses Left Hand Drive (Right Hand Traffic) like us, but still have the Euro cutoff. Obviously, with the sharply angled cutoff of the ECE style, it's very important to get the right unit as to not directly blind other drivers. You CAN order ANY actually and replace the low beam projector with aftermarket and they will always have a regular DOT cutoff when ordered through standard US channels. Very long story short, aftermarket headlights (non-OEM), in general are MUCH easier to split to retrofit projectors into reflectors or upgrade the existing projector a ta cost of $25-$150+ just for the projector base pair themselves.

headlight-cutoff.png

WHY

So why convert to Euro projectors? They provide an actual projector beam instead of a reflected one for the main low beams. This provides that nice and clean cutoff without light glare and scatter from putting too bright and/or poorly designed LED's in the reflector housings. With a projector, you can use HID, LED or halogen in the H7 (compared to H11) socket safely, although to a wide range of effectiveness. Yes, there are now FINALLY *some* decent and fairly cheap LED's actually designed to work in the reflector housing but still, unless very carefully selected, we run into issues with glare and/or TOO bright of bulbs overwhelming our housings, definitely not the best choice. If you want to spend less than $50 and not have bulbs that glare but will improve your visibility, just order TechMax, or Katana. But if willing to spend more for the very cleanest (and blue tinted) output available, then the Hikari Ultra, in H11 for your reflectors and call it good. Hardcore lighting nerds will point out that no LED can be made JUST right for reflectors and they are mostly right, but these I listed are proven to be not too bright, have only the intended tiny bit of glare for reflectors and no more, and have good light spread. You will see some shadow imperfections the reflectors will show with any bulb, but they especially come out when using brighter than halogen bulbs and can be distracting to some. So, you still don't get the greatest output with the clean perfect cutoff a projector applies. Also, and this is a big factor, with the Euro projectors you also get the LED "brow" DRL's that many cars have these days, like what was even offered on the non-ST Focus before it was killed off. We will get into it below how to make these work, either in basic form or full low/high brightness as an actual DRL.

WHY NOT

- Not legal because of missing corner amber marker. But, this is VERY, VERY rarely noticed by police nor a major safety issue anyway.
- As noted above, also not legal due to ECE cutoff instead of DOT approved, but like many other things, Europe is correct as in the ECE cutoff is actually safer to see pedestrians and the sides of the road more and as long as you get the LHD models you are fine.
- All need an Add A Circuit with extra wire ran to each headlight, IF you want to have fully automatic bright and dim LED brow DRL brightness switching as they would from the factory.
- Since they actually have motorized leveling motors that our wiring doesn't support, the aftermarket brands, especially TYC, may arrive badly out of aim and the manual adjustment has kinks/issues due to rough shipping handling and have very limited range of adjustment. Then you would need to plug in a Euro headlight switch as a one time procedure to have the motor kick in and level them off. This switch can't be mounted and used permanently either as its a completely different housing size/style without cutting up your dash and you'd have to order one. I have a link at the bottom to discussions of these issues as well, there may be an exchange/loan thing happening for this.
- COST. Even with the cons already above you are looking at $650-800 for OEM quality and $325+ shipped if willing to go with a replica. So you must add in an additional $50+ for an LED or HID upgrade, at least a decent plug and play Katana LED set is only about $45-50, see Bulb Choices below for more.

CHOICES

I will discuss the 3 well-known suppliers of the actual Euro headlights: The Ford OEM/Hella and 2 aftermarket providers that are legitimate decent replacement quality in TYC and Depo, AKA "replicas". Replicas are often times used for collision repair where the owner is trying to lower the dollar amount of repair to avoid their beloved car from being totaled, as otherwise you are entitled to OEM parts by law anyway. There is no argument over quality, the Ford OEM ones at the very least are high quality and never have issues with aiming and adjustment from what has been gathered with the info that has been shared (other than one case of shipping damage), while the other 2 may have some issues with aiming and I'll get into why as well. The Ford OEM can be ordered through Whoosh or other sources, possibly UK or German Ford parts dealers. TYC and Depo can often be found on eBay, many other places will not ship these to the US because of legal paranoia. I found Cars245.com to have a good selection AND the best prices. These replicas usually ship from Latvia, no matter whether ordered off eBay or other sites. I'm not sure if it's one big company there that just found a niche market or what. I only found the Depo, and most choices overall after selecting the 182hp FiST instead of the 200hp one. Keep in mind for the North American market ALL '13-'19 Fiesta's including regular and ST accept the same headlight, period, just make sure not to choose the new '18+ world model generation. Hella (One of 2 Ford OEM providers) are around $300 each, TYC around $123 but I settled on the Depo units at $141 each base price/about $350 shipped for the pair and am very impressed with the quality. I will not be discussing non-OEM style housings in this thread. On eBay, AliExpress, etc, there ARE some $500-1000 ones with halos and all kinds of stuff that I won't get into, none of them are from any actually established brands like Spec D or similar.

Pro's of each brand:
- Ford OEM: Made by Hella, VERY high OEM quality/peace of mind.
- TYC: VERY cheap and very decent quality for the money. Apparently easier than OEM to split for upgrades. (Butyl vs. Permaseal)
- Depo: Only a bit more than TYC and higher quality as well, no aiming range issues like TYC. Also, like TYC, they are easier than OEM to split to upgrade.

Con's:
- Ford: COST. As an OEM product, perma-sealed so would have to be cut open for projector upgrades/quad projector retrofitting.
- TYC: Most likely of the three to arrive with the projector aim off and or mechanical operation of adjustment screws to be out of whack and have limited adjustment.
- Depo: Also has unknown factory aiming possible, mine ended up being awesome, tons of smooth range of aiming adjustment available.

WHERE TO BUY

Cars245.com - HERE is the page that has the TYC for about $124 each, Depo for about $140 each and Hella/OEM for $302 each in projectors, others are reflector replacement. They are a great deal and honestly not even many places to even get them at all due to import concerns most likely.

Black internal Depo's for about $580 on eBay, if you feel more comfortable buying off eBay than a random overseas web site, or available for around $470 shipped from Cars245 like the standard chrome ones linked above. Either source will take about 6-7 weeks for the black ones.


BULB CHOICES

So you've decided you want the projectors for either the low beam projector and/or LED so next is bulb selection/options. I believe OEM's come with halogen bulbs, my Depo did not and that's fine, I wanted to use a brighter bulb anyway. The blinker bulb for these is a 7507 also known as PY21W, I got generic incandescent ones for $2 a piece at Napa, $5 for a pair of Bosch on Amazon. If you use LED you will get hyper flash and would need resistors, not worth the hassle for just blinkers to me. The high beam, like our US low beam reflectors reflectors is an H1 reflector and cheap "mini" H1's do fit although you also do need a "Ford H1 bulb holder" from Amazon.. These projectors may have been originally designed for halogen but also work well with all the modern proper filament copied LED's. I tried HID originally and the glare was crazy. So, as some of you know, I recommend BulbFacts.com to see real independent bulb testing results, so feel free to check that out for your best choices. For those wanting something simple and cost effective for the main low mean, I highly recommend the Katana LED's in H7, we've had very knowledgeable lighting people confirm they work great and they are only $45. Testing shows they make almost or more light as $150+ premium products. I am using these and am VERY impressed with how well they work in projectors. If you find BulbFacts.com useful, simply use their links to buy to help support them. The owner refuses to take money from manufacturers and will only publish real results, so consider helping him out by buying through his affiliate links so he can keep independent testing alive.

Katana H7 on Amazon.
NEW: The new Cougar Motor X-Small put out even a tiny bit more light as a projector low beam and are a good $12 less than the Katana. They, unlike the Katana, have an internal driver so there is no external module to tuck away either, which is very nice.

Bottom-line: Only a handful of other sets works even marginally better than Katana H7 LED's for the low beam projector and they all cost double to triple the price. They are nice and heavy duty high quality construction too, I can't recommend them enough. New: And now the Cougar Motor X-Small are even a tiny bit brighter, have no external module to try to tuck away and are only $36 on Amazon, as noted and linked just above.

LINKS

How to change one pin on your cars wiring harness to each headlight to get basic LED DRL brow functionality as your marker light with parking or headlights on.
NEW - Move the pin to the "Low" position (the one below where he shows to "move to here"), then use an Add a Circuit with 5A fuse plugged into an ignition powered spot in the under hood fuse box and split that off to each headlight with 18 gauge wire and a "150 female terminal" pin on the end to the "High"/"Move to here" position as shown at the link above, on to of the one wire moved to Low. Then you'll have High DRL's when ignition is on, period, and Low automatically when the headlights or parking lights are on (manually switched or Auto). There is no need for a harness as previously thought!

BulbFacts.com - Chart for LED's in projectors HERE and for HID in projectors HERE

Best and inexpensive H1 LED's that fit in both US or Euro high beams and the bulb holder for them. You just remove the mounting ring from the bulb and use the bulb holder to mount ring into place in the housing and then re-insert the bulb into the mounted ring. Then jam the 2 loose power wires into the an area that matches positive and negative (you may have to look for the little "+" sign if you have both black wires) from the new bulb into the old clip-on power/bulb holder for original halogen H1 and set the connector into the cavity area of the housing, no special rear covers needed.
 
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danbfree

danbfree

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Thread Starter #2
My results with Depo headlights and Katana H7 LED low beam! I did the one wire pin move for LED brow on Low for use as a marker/parking light and on low with headlights as well.

IMG_20190429_220748.jpg
IMG_20190425_072618.jpg
 

Intuit

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You see turbos, engine covers, seats, wheels, tires, whole cars even come up for sale on this forum. But no one ever gets the projectors and says "eh, give me the stock ones back".
 
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danbfree

danbfree

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You see turbos, engine covers, seats, wheels, tires, whole cars even come up for sale on this forum. But no one ever gets the projectors and says "eh, give me the stock ones back".
LOL, that's for sure!
 
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So my depo euros came today.. Figured it'd be quick and easy to install the bulbs first. Haha! Nope. I can't get the h1 high beams to install.

Seems like a stupid easy thing to do right? I think the part on the new headlight is the issue. When I put the bulb into the plug then slide it on those 'rails', the whole plug gets hung up and won't slide. I was able to get my pass side to install by putting the bulb in first, then sliding the plug onto it but it was a lot of effort to get everything lined up. The drivers side is being a pain.

What am I doing wrong? I don't remember it ever being this hard..

Edit: the drivers side finally went in but the passenger side I had to put the bulb in first then the connector. I hope these high beams last forever...
 
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Couldnt believe that the hardest part would be installing H1 highbeam bulbs. Holy crap.. That took an hour almost just for that. I moved my LED lowbeams to my fogs and for now just have Philips 60% bulbs in the lowbeams. Ill get Katana LEDs eventually for those. I aimed them the best I could w/o waking the baby (and mom) up. Ill position the car towards a wall tomorrow before I leave work so I can make sure they are aimed good.

The LEDs work (for now) and the pass side adjusted just fine up/down. I think the passenger side is the only side that needs adjustment. We'll see tomorrow.
 
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Pics when you complete the install with Night time shots on the garage door/wall!
Ha-ha, ill take one/two when I get home tomorrow night after aiming at work. I can get one with the LED fogs on and one with them off. Ill have to make sure I only use those in fog, I really hope putting the LEDs there dont blind people.
 
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danbfree

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Ha-ha, ill take one/two when I get home tomorrow night after aiming at work. I can get one with the LED fogs on and one with them off. Ill have to make sure I only use those in fog, I really hope putting the LEDs there dont blind people.
I'm not a fan of the factory fog housings, they are crappy reflectors but I think you said you have TechMax LED's, so at least they are designed for reflectors... BUT, the fog housing itself is meant to throw just a halogen amount of light kind of all over, so it's not that they are LED's, per se, but simply because they put out far more light than the fog housing can handle... A product that could help if it existed would be mini eyebrow type top shields for the fogs, but they don't exist... Anyway, I'm using very cheap medium bright LED's in my fogs, supposed to be 4300k to go with my yellow Lamin-X, but the output is still a little green so that tells you the LED's aren't exactly 4300k, more like 5500k+ unfortunately... anyway, point of the story is definitely feel free to try the LED's in your fogs but try flipping them on and off from 20 feet out from a wall or garage door and see if they throw too much stray light up high... I know it's even more money, but you can get projector fog housings that have a perfect clean cutoff and take your own H11 bulb for $60 on AliExpress.
 
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#14
I'm not a fan of the factory fog housings, they are crappy reflectors but I think you said you have TechMax LED's, so at least they are designed for reflectors... BUT, the fog housing itself is meant to throw just a halogen amount of light kind of all over, so it's not that they are LED's, per se, but simply because they put out far more light than the fog housing can handle... A product that could help if it existed would be mini eyebrow type top shields for the fogs, but they don't exist... Anyway, I'm using very cheap medium bright LED's in my fogs, supposed to be 4300k to go with my yellow Lamin-X, but the output is still a little green so that tells you the LED's aren't exactly 4300k, more like 5500k+ unfortunately... anyway, point of the story is definitely feel free to try the LED's in your fogs but try flipping them on and off from 20 feet out from a wall or garage door and see if they throw too much stray light up high... I know it's even more money, but you can get projector fog housings that have a perfect clean cutoff and take your own H11 bulb for $60 on AliExpress.
Finally someone who at least understands that you overpower the standard designed-for-halogen reflectors and are throwing glare everywhere at the oncoming traffic. Like you said there is no good LED light source for a halogen reflector...you're just blinding everyone.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 
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I'm not a fan of the factory fog housings, they are crappy reflectors but I think you said you have TechMax LED's, so at least they are designed for reflectors... BUT, the fog housing itself is meant to throw just a halogen amount of light kind of all over, so it's not that they are LED's, per se, but simply because they put out far more light than the fog housing can handle... A product that could help if it existed would be mini eyebrow type top shields for the fogs, but they don't exist... Anyway, I'm using very cheap medium bright LED's in my fogs, supposed to be 4300k to go with my yellow Lamin-X, but the output is still a little green so that tells you the LED's aren't exactly 4300k, more like 5500k+ unfortunately... anyway, point of the story is definitely feel free to try the LED's in your fogs but try flipping them on and off from 20 feet out from a wall or garage door and see if they throw too much stray light up high... I know it's even more money, but you can get projector fog housings that have a perfect clean cutoff and take your own H11 bulb for $60 on AliExpress.
I do a lot of driving at night on unlit roads with no other traffic, so for now I wont worry about them. I rarely ever use them but if I see a semi ill turn them on hoping its CarGuy, lol /s.
 
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Finally someone who at least understands that you overpower the standard designed-for-halogen reflectors and are throwing glare everywhere at the oncoming traffic. Like you said there is no good LED light source for a halogen reflector...you're just blinding everyone.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
Techmax are really good for reflectors.
 
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danbfree

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Finally someone who at least understands that you overpower the standard designed-for-halogen reflectors and are throwing glare everywhere at the oncoming traffic. Like you said there is no good LED light source for a halogen reflector...you're just blinding everyone.
I never said that there is no good LED light source for a halogen reflector at all, only said the fog light housings are definitely easy to over power... There are absolutely some excellent designed LED's for headlights that have the chips in the exact same position as the halogen filament, but you also have to consider overpowering as well, so there are only a few models that have both proper design and brightness for use as as headlight and TechMax are definitely good there... But obviously I went with projectors anyway, wanted a the perfect clean cutoff that's hard to overpower and get to use the LED DRL's without any glare at all.
 
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danbfree

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I do a lot of driving at night on unlit roads with no other traffic, so for now I wont worry about them. I rarely ever use them but if I see a semi ill turn them on hoping its CarGuy, lol /s.
Oh, then definitely get the Aukee LED H1's for the high beams, or did you get those already? I forget...
 
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danbfree

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Nah I got Philips 60% halogens for now and probably forever seeing as how much of a PITA it was to install the H1 bulbs, lol.
Oh, you're talking about the regular press on clip for halogen H1's! Yes! I totally lost my mind on those too! WAY easier to install the LED H1 with different bulb holders clips you buy for $3 separately and no diarrhea looking brown output like with halogen. That's what I was talking about, but now I remember you saying those 60% halogen, do you mean 60w?
 


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