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|
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!|
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|
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|
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|
|17mm spanner and socket used to remove top front wishbone mounting bolt|
|Headlight bracket removed from top front wishbone mount|
|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|
|Unclipping the cable pins|
|Both headlights removed|
|Caterham 5.75 inch headlight weighed in at 812g|
|Westermann Motorsport Carbon Headlight was 236g lighter at 576g a piece|
|Headlight glass front removed|
|Heat Shrink tubing removed from cables|
|Rubber cover removed from main light|
|Headlight bulb removed|
|Unscrew the earthing cables|
|Indicator and cables removed from headlight|
|Caterham headlamp with all wiring removed|
|These are the parts you need to keep from your existing lighting|
|Take the headlamp glass off by removing the three grub screws|
|Main bulb fitted|
|Connector bolt assembly removed from headlight bowl|
|Cut off these eyelet connectors|
|Feed the wiring loom down through the bolt|
- Feed the main headlight wiring loom through the bolt (already done above)
- Feed the headlight wire through the rounded washer and then put the washer onto the the bolt on the outside of the headlight
- Again feeding the headlight wiring through the indicator, then put the indicator onto the bolt
- 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)
- 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.|
|Indicator wiring fed up through centre hold of bolt into the headlight|
|Double back the green indicator wire down the bolt|
|Three earth wires twisted and lightly soldered to form a good connection|
|Earth wires crimped and fitted to back of bolt|
|Tape the wires together ready for inserting into heat shrink tubing|
|Thread headlight wiring through mounting bracket|
|Wiring fed through headlight mounting bracket|
|Connect lights and refit front of headlight|
|Completed carbon fibre headlight and indicator on mounting bracket|
|Apply a little Holts RL2R to the grommet in the upper wishbone mount|
|Feed headlight wiring through grommet|
|Top nut and bolt being refitted and torqued to 34nm|
|Wiring, connectors and plastic insert replaced into connection block|
|Connection blocks refitted and tie wrapped into place|
|Westermann Motorsport Carbon Fibre Headlights on Caterham R500|
|Carbon Fibre headlights fitted and working|
|Caterham R500 with Carbon Fibre Headlights|
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.