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Old 11-18-2017, 05:17 PM   #1
SylenThunder
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2003 VUE 2.2L
2004 VUE 2.2L
Default '04 Projector Upgrade

Ok, so we've got the old '04 vue. It's mostly been sitting for 10 years now getting driven once a month or so to haul the little trailer with garbage.
Now it's starting to get a lot more use, and I've been having to dump some money into fixing it up. (Seems like every time I get one thing fixed, another breaks.)

Now I'm looking at the headlamp output in the dark, and comparing it to the last three other cars I've had, and it's just kind of pathetic. Maybe it's just me getting old, but I don't see how anyone can drive safely at night over about 50mph with these headlamps. (Note: I do live out in the sticks, so it's much darker outside than folks near cities are used to.)
Admittedly, my Dart and the Smart that came before it have projector headlamps. Visibility with the projectors is just awesome.
On top of this, the existing headlamps are pretty scratched up, and the braket for the bulb on the passenger side snapped a few years ago. It's held on with a makeshift bracket and luck right now, so I will be looking at new housings at a minimum.

So I'm on a new mission to upgrade the Vue headlights. I did a lot of looking around, and no one sells aftermarket housings with them already. I wasn't that surprised about this though. I finally found this forum thread, but all of the pictures are MIA, and the OP hasn't been around in a few years.

So here's my current plan.
New housings.
Projectors.

According to the guys at TRS, these should fit inside the housing just fine. Since they slide right into the existing bulb holes, I'm not expecting much of an issue with having to adjust the direction of the projector housing.

Has anyone else tried this, or have any tips?

...
2004 FWD, Vti, 2.2L
Custom CAI

Last edited by SylenThunder; 11-18-2017 at 05:22 PM..

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Old 11-19-2017, 01:43 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: '04 Projector Upgrade

I was going to comment until I looked at your signature that states yours is a VTI? CVTs aren't very reliable in Vues with the 2.2L engine. Did you read all the threads about CVTs failing? If yours is a CVT xmission, you may have a time bomb on your hands and may not want to invest too much in any upgrades until you decide on what to do with the CVT issue.

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Old 11-19-2017, 06:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: '04 Projector Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
I was going to comment until I looked at your signature that states yours is a VTI? CVTs aren't very reliable in Vues with the 2.2L engine. Did you read all the threads about CVTs failing? If yours is a CVT xmission, you may have a time bomb on your hands and may not want to invest too much in any upgrades until you decide on what to do with the CVT issue.
Mine appears to be the exception to the rule. We had a couple of issues early on that had to get fixed, but it's been a champ ever since then.

If it does ever happen to fail, I know a couple of guys that can help with doing a swap for pretty cheap.

...
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:39 PM   #4
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2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: '04 Projector Upgrade

I thought the same thing when I got my 05. I drive 100 miles a day for work, much of it at night. I got some generic ebay projectors and got them to work with minimal cutting. They are amazing at night. 100x better than the stock headlights. No one flashes me, I aimed them low enough to keep them out of other drivers' eyes, but high enough they shoot a long way in front of me. I wired some relays a well so the power comes right off the battery, and the dims stay on with the brights ( a requirement with HIDs as they take time to warm up)

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Old 11-20-2017, 03:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: '04 Projector Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by SylenThunder View Post
Mine appears to be the exception to the rule. We had a couple of issues early on that had to get fixed, but it's been a champ ever since then.

If it does ever happen to fail, I know a couple of guys that can help with doing a swap for pretty cheap.
Having a long range plan if your cvt fails is great. With that in mind and Finkles's reply of great performance from converting to projectors to have best performance from HIDs, this is the best upgrade. My L300 low beams are also DRLs and projectors but GM went cheap and wired them for halogens. After extensive research and time examining the wiring diagrams, I made the plunge to HIDs. Due to my desire to retain DRL function, my HIDS are on full time and with the expected life of HID lamps lasting longer than halogens, I won't mind. I decided on a plug n' play set that basically went in with a few issues related to DRL use but once they were addressed (no mods done), I'm more than pleased. My OEM projectors are already HID compatible so they do not blind anyone (the key to projectors are the cutoff plate inside to eliminate the upper beam from blinding opposing traffic). I was on my second set of halogen lamps when I decided to try HIDs so this was a good investment. No blinding light when I stand at various distances in front at night and retain original beam adjustments. All the signs are illuminated better at night.

Your situation requires modification to the aftermarket lights to insert projector housings and have the initial aiming point in the ballpark with final adjustments made after mounting on the car. Hopefully you won't have any surprises. The cutoff plate inside projectors for low beam use is there otherwise without them in place turns them into high beams. The cutoff plate is the key to understanding why HIDs work in a smaller diameter light yet still output more light down the road. The best examples of HIDs in projectors is the distinct horizontal cutoff line when these lights are aimed at a wall. I presume you see this in your Dart and Smart car? My car exhibited this the first time I parked at night with headlights shining at a wall. With HID lamps, the same pattern is seen so I'm assured glare isn't blinding opposing drivers.

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Old 11-22-2017, 06:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: '04 Projector Upgrade

Bit the bullet. TRS's Black Friday sale meant I was able to get all $400 worth of equipment for the job down to just under $300. Plus I got free shipping on everything.

I'll post pics of the process plus a before and after of the light output when I get it done. Then there will be a fresh set on the forum.

DRL feature hasn't worked in ages, so no worries about the ballasts there. Probably just the relay for them is gone. It's been doing the blinking dash light then nothing for the past 3 or 4 years. I've never bothered to fix it.

...
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