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Front Headlamp Upgrades for the Holden VE II Commodore

  • The following document describes the tools required, and proceedures used to remove and replace the front headlamps. This includes the steps required to remove the front wheel inner guards, removal of the bumper mounting bolts, as well as unclipping the front bar, and disconnecting the front bar wiring loom. This document also outlines what front headlamps are available for replacement, as well as what is required when upgrading / changing headlamps.
  • To completely remove the front bar, as wellas remove and replace the headlamp assemblies, you will require the following tools
    12mm Socket
    8mm Socket
    Small Ratchet Wrench
    Phillips head screwdriver
    Flat bladed screwdriver
    Long nose pliers
    Jack and car stands
  • To gain access to the front bumper bar mounting bolts, you will need to remove the inner plastic guards inside the front wheel wells.

    The easiest way to complete this task is to jack the front side of the car you are working on, up in the air,
    so as you can obtain access to the 9 plastic clips, and 2 phillips head screws used to affix the ineer guard in place.

    1) Jack up one side of the front of the vehicle. That will allow easy access to the wheel well plastic shroud.
    2) Remove the 2 Phillips head screws and the 9 plastic clips holding the wheel well plastic guard in place, located in the image shown below.
    Note: this is probably the hardest step in the whole process. These plastic clips/plugs will be very mailable and will take some effort to remove.
    4) Remove the plastic shroud by pulling it downwards, and pulling the top part of the shroud outwards.
    5) Complete steps 1 through to 4 for the other side of the vehicle.
    6) You should now have access to the back of the bumper bar on both sides of the vehicle.
  • With the inner guards now out of the way, removing the front bar is now a relatively painless task.

    1) Locate the 2 x 12mm Bolts used to hold the bumper to the fender assembly, as seen in the image below.
    2) Remove the 2 x 12mm Bolts, and ensure that you remove the 2 hex nuts used to hold these bolts in place.
    Keep these hex nuts in a safe place.
    3) Remove the other 2 Bots and nuts from the other side of the bumper.
    4) Using the 8mm Socket, remove the 4 Self tapping screws used to hold the bumper to the bottom air deflector assembly.
    These bolts are located under the car, and can be found using the image below.
    5) Remove the two 12mm bolts holding the bumper in place at the top of the radiator assembly, as shown in the image below,
    6) Remove the 2 Plastic clips/plugs holding the grill assembly in place, as shown in the above image.
    7) The bumper clips on to two plastic bracket located directly under the headlights.
    To remove the bumper, carefully pull the bumper away from these clips, first on one side, then on the other side.
    See the following picture for information on the bumper clips
    8) Once the bumper is unclipped, it should be easily removed from the vehicle.
    9) Place the bumper gently on the ground, and unplug the bumper wiring harness by pushing the wiring connector tab in firmly, and removing the wiring harness plug.
    The front bumper wiring harness plug is located on the right hand side of the radiator, as shown in the image below,
    10) The front bumper can now be completely removed from the vehicle.
  • Once the front bar has been removed, removing the headlights is rather simple.
    1) Remove the plastic bumper clips, located beneath the headlights and secured to the vehicle using 2x12mm bolts, as shown in the image below.
    2) Remove the 2x12mm bolts securing the headlight assembly to the vehicle, located below the headlight.
    3) Remove the 2x12mm bolts securing the headlight assembly to the vehicle, located above the headlight.
    4) Partially remove the headlight, to obtain access to the headlight wiring plug.
    5) Using a flatheaded screwdriver, prise the yellow clip upwards on the headlight wiring connector
    6) Once the Red clip has been pulled upwards, remove the headlight connector from the headlight.
    7) Remove the headlight assembly from the vehicle.
  • There are currently 6 Different factory headlamp options for the VE Series I and Series II.
    These can be catagorised in the following manner,
    Short Wheel Base, Series I Standard Headlamps.
    These headlamps were fitted to the VE Commodore Omega, Berlina, SV6, SS and Calais models.
    Series I Short Wheel Base Headlamps can be fitted to a newer Series II Model if an older series I front bar has also been fitted.

    Short Wheel Base, Series I Projector Headlamps.
    These headlamps were fitted to the VE Commodore SS-V, Calais V, HSV, Pontiac G8, and Vauxhall VXR8 models.
    Series I Short Wheel Base Headlamps can be fitted to a newer Series II Model if an older series I front bar has also been fitted.
    Series I Projector headlamps are a direct swap for series I Non Projector Headlamps.

    Short Wheel Base, Series II Standard Headlamps.
    These headlamps were fitted to the VE Commodore Omega, Berlina, SV6, SS and Calais models.
    Series II Short Wheel Base Headlamps can be fitted to an older Series I Model if a newer series II front bar has also been fitted.

    Short Wheel Base, Series II Projector Headlamps.
    These headlamps were fitted to the VE Commodore SS-V, Calais V, HSV E3, and the Vauxhall VXR8 Series II models.
    Series II Headlamps can be fitted to an older Series I Model if a newer series II front bar has also been fitted.
    Series II Projector headlamps are a direct swap for series II Non Projector Headlamps.

    Long Wheel Base Non HID Projector Lamps (Series I and Series II)
    These headlamps are fitted to the Holden Statesman, Chevrolet Caprice Police Vehicle, and Series II Carpice models.
    Long Wheel Base Headlamps cannot be fitted a short wheel base model without changing the bonnet, guards, and bumper assembly to LWB units.


    Long Wheel Base Projector HID Lamps (Series I and Series II)
    These headlamps are fitted to the Holden Caprice (Series I), Holden Caprice V (Series II), Daewoo Veritas, as well as long wheelbase HSV models.
    Long Wheel Base Headlamps cannot be fitted a short wheel base model without changing the bonnet, guards, and bumper assembly to LWB units.
    LWB Projector HID Headlamps also feature a self leveling motor, that automatically adjusts the headlight beam position, based on the angle of the vehicle.
    For the Self Leveling function to work on non HID equiped vehicles, further modules are required.

  • HID stands for high-intensity discharge, a term referring to the electric arc that produces the light. The high intensity of the arc comes from metallic salts that are vapourised within the arc chamber. These lamps are formally known as gas-discharge burners, and produce more light for a given level of power consumption than ordinary tungsten and tungsten-halogen bulbs.

    After market HID kits come in a variety of sizes (Bases that can be used to directly replace a standard bulb, as well as different colour temperatures.
    The light from HID headlamps exhibits a distinct bluish tint when compared with standard tungsten-filament headlamps. The amount of bluish tinge in the lamps colour is often called the lamps colour temperature.
    The higher the lamps colour temperature, the more distinct the bluish tinge becomes.
    Most factory HID systems use 4300K colour temperature bulbs, as they produce the most usable visible light range, and are closest colour composition to natural sunlight (For a HID bulb).
  • To properly fit an aftermarket HID lighting system to this vehicle, you will need to remove the headlamp assemblies (to obtain good access to the headlamp wiring harness), as well as the front bar (To remove th headlamp assembles, as well as properly mount the inverter / igniter modules.

    When fitting an aftermarket HID system for use n this vehicle, it is recommended that the headlamps be of the projector design, as fitted to SS V, Calais V, and Statesman models.
    The projector style headlamps are very similar to the factory HID versions fitted to the Caprice, and Caprice V Series, an as such, the beam pattern produced by these projector headlamps optimally reduces oncoming vehicle glare, whilst best utilizing the light output of the HID bulbs.
  • the following bulb types are used for both the Projector and non projector style headlamps.
    Low Beam: H7
    High Beam : H9
    Spot Lamps : H11

    When choosing a HID Conversion kit, you will need to obtain the mounting type HID bulb for the original bulbs you will be replacing, as well as choosing a suitable wattage, and colour temperature.
    It is also highly recommended that you choose a modern, Digital Slimline kit.
    The slimline Inverter / Igniter modules are much easier to mount to the vehicle because of their reduced size, and digital systems are far superior to older analogue systems due to their fine inverted voltage control during startup.

    For Low Beam Bulbs, it is highly recommended that you use only a 35Watt HID System.
    Because HID lamps are already much brighter than the standard Halogen bulbs, using a 55Watt HID conversion kit for low beams will produce far too much glare for oncoming traffic, and will result in most drivers flashing their high beams at you for failing to dip your headlights.

    For the spot lamp bulbs, both 35 Watt, and 50Watt systems are suitable, however it is recommended that these lamps are only used when there is no oncoming traffic, or foggy / extreme conditions exist.
    Spot lamps, much like high beam lamps are considered an uncontrolled light beam (I.E. they do not contain a deflector, and cannot be adjusted in both the horizontal and vertical plains. It is therefore illegal to NOT DIP (Turn Off) these lamps for oncoming traffic, and when bad wether conditions do not exist. If you are one of these drivers that likes to leave their spot lamps on permanently (For reasons that are unfathomable), then it is recommended that you limit the wattage of the bulbs used for these lamps.

    For High Beam Bulbs, both 35 Watt and 50 Watt kits are suitable, as glare for oncoming vehicles should not be a problem. (High Beam lights MUST be dipped for oncoming vehicles).
  • Where you mount the Inverter / Igniter assembly is a matter of personal choice.
    The Inverter should be placed in a position away from direct heat (I.E. t should not be mounted on the radiator, and it should be secured properly to the vehicle so as it will not come loose.

    For my HID conversion, I decided to mount the inverters on the aluminum front crash bar.
    The aluminum will help dissipate the produced by the inverter, as well as provide a secure, easy to access mounting point for the inverter.
    Also, drilling screw holes in the aluminum will not provide new point in which rust can creep into the vehicle.

    To secure the inverters to the bar, I used some self tapping screws, first aligning the inverters so as they would not restrict the mounting of the plastic bumper bar mounts, as well as not protruding too far outward of the aluminum bar.
    Once the inverter was aligned, I pre drilled some holes for the self tapping screws, using a 3mm metal drill bit.
    The inverters were then secured to the bar using the self tapping screws.
  • The HID Inverters wiring harness was spliced in to the standard vehicles wiring.
    The following factory wiring colours are used to power up the required HID Bulbs.

    Right Hand Side Headlamps
    RHS Low Beam +12V : Brown / Black Stripe
    RHS Low Beam Ground : Black
    RHS High Beam +12V : Light Green / Black Stripe
    RHS High Beam Ground : Black
    RHS Spot Lamp +12V : Purple
    RHS Sport Lamp Ground : Black

    Left Hand Side Headlamps
    LHS Low Beam +12V : Yellow
    LHS Low Beam Ground : Black
    LHS High Beam +12V : Green / White Stripe
    LHS High Beam Ground : Black
    LHS Spot Lamp +12V : Purple
    LHS Sport Lamp Ground : Black

    The following image shows the LHS Headlamp wiring connector, as well as the Yellow Low Beam wires
    Next, carefully strip off some of the insulation on the required wire (around 5mm).
    Once the required wire has been stripped connect the required HID wire to the stripped vehicle wire, and solder.
    Finally, using good quality tape (Such as 3m Electrical tape), tap up the connection so as water cannot penetrate the electrical join.

    Complete the above steps for all the necessary electrical connections.
    When completed, wrap a further piece of electrical tape around the factory wiring, right up to nd including the factory wiring plastic tube.
  • Finally, you can begin to mount the aftermarket bulbs to the headlamp assemblies.
    Te new bulb should be a direct replacement for the existing bulbs, however they will need to be connected directly to the inverter, and not the factory wiring bulb connector in the headlamp.

    To ensure that the headlamp assembly remains water resistant, you will need to drill a 30mm diameter hole in the plastic bulb cover, to allow the supplied rubber grommet to be fitted to the plastic covers, as shown in the image below. Once this has been completed, you can fit the headlamps, and connect the HID bulbs to the inverter, and test.
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