Sunday, 22 March 2015

Westermann Motorsport Carbon Fibre Headlights and Fitting Guide

Around April to May time last year (2014) when my car was off with Caterham waiting for the fuel pump to arrive I found myself desperately NEEDING some Carbon Headlights which I discovered on the net.  I ordered them from Westermann Motorsport in Germany who make them to order.

They arrived a couple of weeks later, but unfortunately I was initially disappointed with the finish of the headlight.  The weave was very good, but they had a poor sheen, so I complained and Jutta (my contact at Westermann) she said they'd collect them (take them back to Germany), finish them off better and return them free of charge. I agreed, they were collect and a week or so later, they came back a bit better, but still not how I wanted and I couldn't be bothered to complain again.

So I found a local bodyshop http://www.daytonacoachworx.co.uk and Dave there who was very accommodating with my requirements.  He was also keen to do the job, as he quite likes the challenge of doing something a little out of the ordinary.  He sprayed on three coats of lacquer, then sanded the coats back using 1500 wet n dry, then sprayed another three coats of lacquer until a total of eighteen coats of lacquer were applied.  Well he done a superb job and he achieved the super sheen finish I was looking for.  
Standard vs Carbon Fibre 5.75 inch Caterham Headlamp Bowls
Standard vs Carbon Fibre 5.75 inch Caterham Headlamp Bowls
I collected the headlights and was super excited to get them fitted but after investigating it turned out that fitting was a fairly lengthy job.  So they've sat in this carrier bag, on a shelf in my garage for the last nine months.
The Carbon Headlights were 'housed' in this secure area for nine months prior to fitting!
The Carbon Headlights were 'housed' in this secure area for nine months prior to fitting!
With my girlfriend at her mum's this weekend, I decided to take advantage of my 'window of opportunity' by having a build weekend and tackling this headlight upgrade.

So here is my detailed headlight replacement guide (for R500 Duratec variant):-
I started by jacking up the front a little to remove any sag on the anti roll bar and wishbones, as the headlight bracket is behind the anti roll bar I thought this was a good idea.

The nosecone was then removed.
Nosecone removed and car jacked up
Nosecone removed and car jacked up
One of the main difficulties with this job I found was getting access to the anti roll bar nuts.  The R500 is pretty tight in the engine bay, and I had to remove the oil breather catch tank, the top aero hose into the dry sump, loosen the radiator and try to manoeuvre the plastic 'cats tongue' out of the way to get access.  
Accessing the two anti roll bar mounts is tricky on the R500
Accessing the two anti roll bar mounts is tricky on the R500
Plenty of scraped knuckles, cuts, swearing and general fiddling later the bolts for the anti roll bar were loosened (but not removed) to allow the anti roll bar bushes to be pushed into the centre to avoid scraping any paintwork and to allow access to the front upper wishbone mount.
Anti roll bar bush moved to centre to avoid scraping paintwork and give access to top wishbone mount
Anti roll bar bush moved to centre to avoid scraping paintwork and give access to top wishbone mount
Using a 17mm spanner and socket whilst gently lifting the anti roll bar, you'll find access to the top front wishbone mount fairly good.
17mm spanner and socket used to remove top front wishbone mounting bolt
17mm spanner and socket used to remove top front wishbone mounting bolt
Simply undo the bolt and pull it through the wishbone mount.  The headlight will stay in place as the mount clips onto the top of the wishbone mount, but when you remove the light it will only be supported by the cabling, so be ready to unclip the lighting cables and to support the light.
Headlight bracket removed from top front wishbone mount
Headlight bracket removed from top front wishbone mount
Unclip the headlight connector and it's worth taking a picture of the cable location for when you put it back together!  In this instance the top row of cables was red, green and black and the bottom row of cables was blue/red, blue/white and black (described as left to right)
Headlight cable connector block
Headlight cable connector block
The cables in the connector block need to be removed - this is a little fiddly, but once you know how to do it, it becomes easier.  Removed the yellow insert by pushing a flat head screwdriver into the top where the two black lines are, then using long nosed pliers just pull the plastic insert out.
Yellow plastic insert
Yellow plastic insert
Removing the clips that are holding the pins in place is very fiddly.  You need a very small flat head screwdriver.  Push it in and under the black plastic clip and pull the cable from the rear of the connector block - it should pull out with no effort.
Unclipping the cable pins
Unclipping the cable pins
Pull the wires gently through the grommet (if it's still there) then you've removed the whole unit.
Both headlights removed
Both headlights removed
Onto the weight test... With Westermann Motorsport quoting a 'noticeable lighter headlight' I wanted to see what the difference was.
Caterham 5.75 inch headlight weighed in at 812g
So the Caterham standard headlight weighed in at 812g and the Westermann Motorsport Carbon Fibre headlights were 576 gram.  A combined saving of 472g which is nearly half a kilo and more than I thought it'd be.
Westermann Motorsport Carbon Headlight was 236g lighter at 576g a piece
Westermann Motorsport Carbon Headlight was 236g lighter at 576g a piece
Now the headlights are removed it is time to take them apart.  First unscrew the large nut underneath the indicator, then unscrew the grub screw on the top of the headlight and the glass front should pull away with a little force.
Headlight glass front removed
Headlight glass front removed
Now if you followed my guide to fit the headlights, you'll need to undo some of your hard work by removing the heat shrink tubing covering the main cables.
Heat Shrink tubing removed from cables
Heat Shrink tubing removed from cables
By pulling and slightly twisting the sidelight will come out quite easily.
Sidelight removed
Sidelight removed
Now take the black rubber cover off the main light
Rubber cover removed from main light
Rubber cover removed from main light
The bulb is fitted with a circular clip which you need to press down and twist anti clockwise.  Once the clip is removed the bulb will just lift out.
Headlight bulb removed
Headlight bulb removed
Undo the nut that holds the earthing cables in place.
Unscrew the earthing cables
Unscrew the earthing cables
You can now pull the indicator cables out from the headlight.
Indicator and cables removed from headlight
Indicator and cables removed from headlight
Now pull the cables through the main section of the headlamp bowl, as the connector and sidelight won't fit through otherwise.
Caterham headlamp with all wiring removed
Caterham headlamp with all wiring removed
These are the parts you need to keep from your existing lighting.  The indicator, washer, main bulb and wiring loom.
These are the parts you need to keep from your existing lighting
These are the parts you need to keep from your existing lighting
Onto the rebuild.  Take the headlamp glass off by removing the three grub screws.  You can also remove and discard the sidelight fixture provided, as the one on the loom fits.
Take the headlamp glass off by removing the three grub screws
Remove the black rubber and fit the main bulb.  There should be three cut outs which the headlight will fit directly in, then place the circular clip on top, push down and twist clockwise until it clicks in place.  Then refit the rubber cover.
Main bulb fitted
Main bulb fitted
I removed the connector bolt assembly from the headlight to just show the parts involved.  The bolt has a centre hole for the wires to go through, there is a crimp holder welded onto the nut for the grounding wires, and the plastic bowl has a hexagon female fitting for the bolt to sit in.  The lower metal rounded washer fits to the outside of the headlight bowl and then the nut is fitted last after indicator mount is slid into place.
Connector bolt assembly removed from headlight bowl
Connector bolt assembly removed from headlight bowl
As there is a crimp holder, the eyelet connectors will not fit, so these need to be cut off.
Cut off these eyelet connectors
Thread the wiring loom down through the bolt, and push most of the wiring through not leaving much slack.
Feed the wiring loom down through the bolt
Feed the wiring loom down through the bolt
This is the part you need to get right, otherwise you'll be doing it over and over again.  It sounds simple whilst typing this, but it's easy to make a mistake.

  1. Feed the main headlight wiring loom through the bolt (already done above)
  2. Feed the headlight wire through the rounded washer and then put the washer onto the the bolt on the outside of the headlight
  3. Again feeding the headlight wiring through the indicator, then put the indicator onto the bolt
  4. Feed the headlight wiring through the hole in the mounting bracket and then place the bracket onto the bolt (these and the indicators are handed, so make sure you have the correct one for each side)
  5. Feed the headlight wiring through the crimp washer and nut, then screw the nut loosely into place to hold everything together.

Headlight wiring fed through bolt, washer, indicator, bracket, crimp washer and nut.
Feed the indicator wiring back up the centre hole of the bolt into the headlight.
Indicator wiring fed up through centre hold of bolt into the headlight
Indicator wiring fed up through centre hold of bolt into the headlight
With the indicator wiring inside the headlight bowl, double back the green down the bolt, ensuring you keep the black wire in the main headlight bowl.
Double back the green indicator wire down the bolt
Double back the green indicator wire down the bolt
Remove some of the protective plastic covering the three earth wires, twist them into a fine point, and  place a bit of solder on the inner end to ensure a good connection.  Do not put solder on the front end of the copper wire as this will make it very difficult to put into the crimp.
Three earth wires twisted and lightly soldered to form a good connection
Three earth wires twisted and lightly soldered to form a good connection
Push the soldered earth wires into a blue flat blade crimp, and squeeze the crimp using a crimp tool to keep the wires from coming out.  Put the crimp onto the mount on the back of the bolt.
Earth wires crimped and fitted to back of bolt
Earth wires crimped and fitted to back of bolt
Using some electricians tape, place the connectors into a row one after another and tape then quite tightly as you'll need to push them through 10mm heat shrink tubing.  Note that the indicator green wire will be much shorter than the four wires for the main lights.  Cut a piece of 10mm heat shrink tubing and gently thread the cables through.
Tape the wires together ready for inserting into heat shrink tubing
Tape the wires together ready for inserting into heat shrink tubing
With the wires threaded through the heat shrink, apply heat and shrink wrap the cables.  Push some of the cabling up into the bolt.  Then thread the cable gently through the mounting bracket (if this was for IVA you'd need a grommet in this part, but no need on this occasion).
Thread headlight wiring through mounting bracket
Thread headlight wiring through mounting bracket
You should have something that looks like this, but don't remove the electricians tape just yet, that's still needed.
Wiring fed through headlight mounting bracket
Wiring fed through headlight mounting bracket
Now fit the headlight connector block to the bulb connectors and push in.  Also push in the side light and fit the front of the headlight into place and tighten (gently) the three grub screws so as not to damage the carbon.
Connect lights and refit front of headlight
Connect lights and refit front of headlight
That should be the headlight rebuild stage over, and you should have something that looks like this.
Completed carbon fibre headlight and indicator on mounting bracket
Completed carbon fibre headlight and indicator on mounting bracket
Using some Holts RL2R Rubber and Nylon lubricant, spray a little onto the grommet on the top of the wishbone mount.  Even though not a requirement I like to still use this grommet as it's not fiddly to fit and adds a little protection in an area that could have some movement that may damage the cables.
Apply a little Holts RL2R to the grommet in the upper wishbone mount
Apply a little Holts RL2R to the grommet in the upper wishbone mount
The rubber lubricant should help the headlight wiring feed through easily.
Feed headlight wiring through grommet
Feed headlight wiring through grommet
Ensuring that all the cabling has been fed through into the chassis, the headlight mount should clip into place and not trap any wiring.  Then refit the top nut and bolt and torque to 34nm.  Push the anti roll bar bushes back into place and torque these to 20nm.
Top nut and bolt being refitted and torqued to 34nm
Top nut and bolt being refitted and torqued to 34nm
Remember the location of each wire (from the picture you took) push each wire into place and they should lock in.  Then once all five wires have been fitted you should be able to gently push the yellow  plastic insert back in taking care not to bend any of the connectors.
Wiring, connectors and plastic insert replaced into connection block
Wiring, connectors and plastic insert replaced into connection block
Clip the connection blocks together and tie wrap into place.
Connection blocks refitted and tie wrapped into place
Connection blocks refitted and tie wrapped into place
I then had to put the aeroquip hose back onto the dry sump, refit the oil breather catch tank and then put the nose back on.  The lights were aligned, the nut was tightened, but not too tight as otherwise the carbon may crack and the job was done.
Westermann Motorsport Carbon Fibre Headlights on Caterham R500
Westermann Motorsport Carbon Fibre Headlights on Caterham R500
A picture with the lights on.
Carbon Fibre headlights fitted and working
Carbon Fibre headlights fitted and working
Another picture in the daylight.  The headlights really look good, as though they're made by Caterham and should be part of every 'Superlight' model.
Caterham R500 with Carbon Fibre Headlights
Caterham R500 with Carbon Fibre Headlights
Rather than taking a number of different camera angles I decided to make a quick video, so you can see how they look on the car.

My main aim for the upgrade was to finish off the look of the front of the car.  It seemed that the old matte black finished headlights just didn't do all the carbon on the front of the car justice.  But now with the addition of the carbon headlights it really sets the front of the car off.

Even though they were a pain and frustrating at times to fit, I'm very happy with the upgrade.  They were quite expensive at about £600 delivered, then another £100 for the lacquering the total cost was £700 which works out to a pretty hefty £1.36 per gramme saved!  However, with the new lightweight battery I also fitted this weekend I've shaved off nearly 3.3kg of weight off the car.

7 comments:

  1. Nice work Dan! Looks great..see you out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will do mate. Looking forward to Folembray, but... Enjoy Wales this weekend!

      Delete
  2. You must be understeering most of the time with that lighter front end...
    Another great description. You should write manuals for a living!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks a lot for putting this up, you just saved my day !!
    Big thanks for the detailed explanation on how to take the connectors apart.

    Greetings from Switzerland !

    ReplyDelete
  4. I saw your 500 at Gurston last weekend and noticed the headlamps straight away, along with rear light mounts and fog/reverse fittings ...carbon envy!! ..Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Gary - you forgot to mention, the wings, seats, dash, interior panels, bonnet etc etc etc :-)

      Delete

Thanks for your comments, I'll check out what you've written and add it provided it's useful informative and not spam.