Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mechunik Tow Hook Plate Holder from Bimmian.com

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So I would love to run a euro-plate on the front of our project car, but don’t need to get a pile of tickets doing so… So I need a quick way of putting on the plate for street use then quickly removing it.

So lets install the Mechunik Tow Hook Plate Holder from http://www.bimmian.com/TPH

This product is those of you who get new BMWs and don’t want to DRILL a plate holder into your front bumper (yes, this is actually how BMW recommends doing it at the dealer!).

BTW: Ignore the red grilles in this post…. this is something we were testing…. Love them? Hate them? Let us know!

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Start by using a flat-head screwdriver to remove the tow hook cover on your front bumper.

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Unpackage your Mechunik Tow Hook Plate Holder

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Screw this adapter into the tow hook hole in the bumper.  If you are doing a permanent installation, use the loc-tite that we provided for you in the package.  If you are going to remove it at shows, don’t use the loc-tite here. This doesn’t need to be super-tight, we will tighten it more later.

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Next: you need to find one of the two threaded headless bolts that will protrude enough to attach the holder to.   For illustration purposes, I screwed the (wrong) short bolt into the holder.  Obviously, it doesn’t clear the bumper, so put it aside, and install the longer one.

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The longer bolt is long enough to clear the bumper.  Use the included thread locker to put a few drops of material onto the bolt before screwing in (use the slot on the end to tighten with a screwdriver).

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Next, slide some of the washers onto the screw.  In the case of the E92 M3, all of the washers are needed as the hole sits the farthest back behind the bumper of any BMW.   You want to use enough washers so that the last washer sits just barely in front of the part of the bumper that sticks out the most.

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Slide the bracket on, install lock washer, and install the nut.  Tighten.

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Now we must select the height of our plate.  This will be your personal preference.  Line up the holes on the two brackets provided so that one of their six holes line up with the holes on the bracket already installed on the vehicle.  These two brackets are the same height as a standard North American license plate, so visualization is easy.

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Once you have selected the appropriate height, attach with bolts and lock nuts provided.

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Attach the plate to the bracket by using the included bolts and lock nuts.

If you ordered a painted plate frame, that can be installed at the same time.

 

Custom European (German) License Plate from Bimmian.com

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BMW cars are designed to look great with with european license plates. Putting the taller, narrower American style plates on just looks so awkward.

A euro plate is great for states that do not require the use of a front license plate as well as a great showpiece for quick installation at shows.

Bimmian.com offers you the ability to order an authentic, custom made German license plate, and have it shipped to you direct from the plate office in Berlin Germany! These are the exact government issued license plates as are found on German cars. On top of having custom text on your plate, you can also make some fun changes to the coloring. You can opt for different color writing, (available: black, blue, green, red, silver, white), you can choose different color plate backgrounds (available: white, yellow, or black) and you can choose to either have or not have the blue EEC “D” flag on the left side of the plate or not.

In this case, we will be installing a matte black plate, with red text and blue EEC “D” flag.

A list of all the color options, and ordering detail is available at http://www.bimmian.com/ELP

The plates also come with a plate holder (frame) for free. Should you wish, you could upgrade this free holder to a chrome or authentic BMW dealership frame from a real dealership directly in Munich.

There are two ways of mounting a European license plate. You can either buy the plastic BASE which is vehicle specific and fits directly to your bumper. To that you then mount a HOLDER and then insert the plate into the holder. These euro plate holders are not available to be ordered in the USA, but Bimmian can get them for you! They are available at http://www.bimmian.com/EPH

In this blog post, I will show you an alternate way of installing a euro plate to your vehicle. We can do this without the need for a BASE. This makes installation and removal a bit quicker, and does not require any extra drilling of extra holes into your bumper.

Enough talk, lets do this installation!

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Before installing the euro plate (You may be thinking: “Whats with those red grilles?” The day we did this installation, we were experimenting with different accent colors for use in various areas on the car. Check out the blog post HERE and give us your feedback)

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Using a screwdriver, remove your original license plate, and OEM plate holder (if you have one installed).

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Since we are not using an OEM base, we need to carefully bend our plate so that it contours to the curve of the bumper. We need to actually curve it a bit MORE than the curvature of the bumper as it will tend to straighten out when we put it in the frame.

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It doesnt need to be exact, but should be close. Hold it up to the bumper to see if you got a good curve in your plate. It will be a bit wavy undoubtedly, but thats OK.

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I didn’t want to put any new screw holes into my bumper. I assume you don’t either.

Although there are seemingly hundreds of holes on the plate frame, unfortunately, in my case, none of them lined up to the holes that were already drilled in my bumper. No big deal, I simply used the self-tapping screws to make new holes in the soft plastic frame. This secured the frame to the car perfectly, and no new holes in the bumper!

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As the plate frame is straight and flat, it will stick out at the ends. When we put our bent plate into the frame, the gap you see between the bumper and the frame will be reduced.

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Insert the plate into the frame. To do this, slide the plate up from the bottom and below the 5 tabs along the top area of the frame. Then push the bottom of the plate in and it will be caught by 3 small clips along the bottom (not visible in this picture).

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Finally: snap in the lower strip into the bottom of the frame. Do this by bending the strip so that the tabs on the back near the ends fit into the grooves in the base. As the strip returns to a straightened state, these clips will lock themselves into the base. Then press firmly all along the strip to lock the clips into place.

FYI: for later, to remove the plate, pull from the CENTER of the strip to release the clips, once this is done, bend the strip and the ends will release and the plate can then be removed.

 

AutoCarbon Carbon Fiber Pedals from Bimmian.com

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Seeing as we already have the DecalWerks Carbo-noc dash trim, door sills, and a few other accents around the vehicle, I thought bringing some carbon into the footwell may be a cool idea with a set of AutoCarbon Carbon Fiber Pedals ( http://www.bimmian.com/CFP )

Having a grey interior is also pretty cool because the inserts for our black carbon pedals are a very close shade of grey.

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Before………

(instead of showing you the installation step-by-step, Ill include an installation guide we already made)

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After……. We didn’t replace the footrest (yet) since the M footrest is already metal.  I think we should replace it… perhaps in a future post.

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Here is a step-back picture of the pedals, and the seats.  I think its a good match.  We will get photos later with a better quality camera so you can see the difference. We can also see the carbon dash trim we wrapped earlier.

The red stripe on the dash trim is just something we were playing with. Not sure if we are going to keep it or not….

What do you think about that red stripe?

What do you think about the pedals?

Do you think we should have used silver carbon? http://www.bimmian.com/CFP

Do you think we should have gotten Racing Pedals? http://www.bimmian.com/RPE

Do you think we should have used one of these 3 other styles aluminum pedals? http://www.bimmian.com/PED

Give us your feedback!!!

Teaser: Matte Carbon Overlay Door Sils Using DecalWerks Carbo-noc

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Loving the look of the DecalWerks Carbo-noc overlay film on the dash ( http://www.bimmian.com/CFF ) applied in a previous blog post, we got wondering where else we could use this fantastic material.

We noticed the door sills were looking a little dull, so …. why not….

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Meh…. could look better.

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So, after some mocking-up and careful application, here it is: Matte Carbon Overlay Door Sils Using DecalWerks Carbo-noc

I think it looks fantastic!!

What do you think?

Should we carry this on the site?

Would you buy one?

What cars should we make this for?

Share your ideas!

Teaser: Carbon Engine Bay Accents

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Hey everyone, we got experimental the other day with our new DecalWerks Carbo-noc product.  We were able to hand-fabricate these engine component overlays.  What do you think?

If we made these how do you think they would sell?

Would you buy a set?  For which car?

Thanks for your feedback guys!!!

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Carbon Overlaid Interior Trim with DecalWerks Carbo-Noc (3M Di-Noc)

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When going out to buy this project car, I really wanted the carbon leather dash trim.   It looks awesome, with its matte carbon look.

Unfortunately, this car didn’t have it, but I knew I could wrap the trim myself for the same look.  I also knew that by using this trim, I could  match the trim on other interior components and it will all look consistent.

I wrapped the trim using a new product from bimmian.com by DecalWerks called Carbo-Noc.  It is nearly identical in every way to the 3M Di-Noc Carbon film that is so popular, except that the Carbo-Noc is available in 5 foot widths instead of just 4 feet with the 3M Di-Noc product.  This makes it ideal for wrapping hoods or roofs where 4 feet of width just isn’t enough.  This product comes in sheets cut to your speicifications before shipping. It is an easy to apply, easy to stretch material that you can use to wrap just about any item.

The material is also thick so it is highly stretchable with heat.  It will also melt just a bit with the right amount of heat so that it can form itself to the shape of the surface you are wrapping.

With some time and patience, even novices can use this forgiving material to wrap just about anything.  When installing, remember that we only need to make sure that the parts we see look perfect, the edges are often covered by the dash after re-installation so this makes the installation even easier.

Check the product out and get more information at http://www.bimmian.com/CFF

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A few “before” pictures.  I think this trim looks really out of place in this interior given that the center console is black.

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We start with a (gravity defying?) screwdriver, carefully putting it under the trim, and prying outwards to release the trim pins from the clips behind the dash.

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Once the trim is released, this piece is unique in that we have to unplug the wiring from the start/stop button….

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And the 4 way flasher/door locks near the central vent.

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We do the same for the outside dash trim….

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And for the doors.

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Once we have this piece started, we can use our fingers to pull it off the rest of the way.

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And the rears….

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We must take the vents off the trim which is done using a wrench or socket set.

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Then unclip the clips which further secure the vents to the trim.  These run along the top and bottom.

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And pinch the sides and push forward to remove the start/stop button.

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We have our material laid out, ready to wrap our dash trim.

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Pieces ready for wrapping.

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Begin by cutting out a piece of DecalWerks Carbo-Noc so that it is about one inch larger on all sides than the trim piece itself.  Note that on the ends, where the piece bends and the silver surface wraps around the side, we must leave extra material to cover that.

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Peel the backing off the film, and line up the piece so it is centered, and lightly set the piece onto the material.

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Flip the piece over and if there are no major wrinkles, press your finger lengthwise along the middle of the material so the center part sticks, then use your fingers to press outwards towards the top and bottom from this point so that the material is stuck across the entire surface.  We are trying to get all the air bubbles out at this time.  If you find you cannot get all the air bubbles or wrinkles out, peel the material back off and try again.  The material can be removed and reapplied many times due to is special adhesives.

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Flip the piece over and fold the material around the edges on the top and bottom sides so that it covers part of the back side.  We will leave this on the piece as much as possible as it helps the piece to hold.

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Slice the material around any protruding plastic bits that don’t let the material sit flat on the trim.

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Trim away any material that is blocking any holes or clips that will be required for re-installation (vent clip holes shown here).

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Trim away any excess material that would cover the back side of any holes in the trim.

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Now for the corners….. when applying a 2d (material) surface over a 3d (trim) surface, we get problems whenever there are corners.   The material wants to bunch up on the corners.  This is simple to work through with the following directions and patience.

First, as best as you can, fold the material around the bent edge so that the majority of this face is covered.  The corners will get really bunched up at this point.

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Cut the material so that you can finish folding down the top/bottom edges of the material.  This cut will be at the place where it bunches up the most, and it will leave flaps of material hanging over the top and bottom of the bent piece of trim. (see next pic for visual)

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After trimming.

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Cut out a triangle(ish) piece of material from the corner.  Cut the material so that you leave enough such that you can fold over the remaining material to both cover the silver surface on the front side, as well have enough material left over so it can adhere to the back side.

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Another example from another piece of trim.    Once this is done, fold the material over, and trim around any obstructions as noted above.

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Sometimes its impossible to get rid of wrinkles no matter how many times you try to remove and reapply the material. This happens especially when the material is either convex or concave.  The more convex/concave it is, the worse the wrinkles will be.

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In this case use a heat gun (or hairdryer) to slighlty melt the material and then press the air pocket or crease out with your finger.  I recommend experimenting with a scrap piece of material so you can understand how much heat the material takes to melt, and what it will do when it does melt.    This material can sustain high heat, and I have never melted it, however, heat it too much and it becomes uselessly flimsy, or can sometimes stretch the carbon pattern.

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Once we have the ends wrapped, we need to cut holes in the material for the vents and start/stop button.

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Start by cutting an “X” pattern from corner to corner in the material.  Dont cut all the way into the corners, leave about 1/3 of an inch from the corner.

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Use the heat gun to melt the material left uncut in the corners a little bit and then use your finger to push it tightly into the corners.

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While the material is still warm + flexible, wrap it around to the back of the trim and adhere it to the back side.  Reheat as necessary.

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Trim as we did before so that it doesn’t interfere with clip holes or bunch up too much.  One other thing that I recommend but is not shown, is to use the heat gun to significantly warm all the material along the back side and edges of the trim.  This will cause all the tension in the material to release, then when the material cools, it will form to the shape of the object for a better fit.  This takes the stress of the adhesive as well for a better bond.

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Repeat for the other vents and start/stop button.

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Reinstall the vents.

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Here is another example of how I cut the corners (in this case since there isnt such a dramatic bend in the trim piece, I was able to cut out the corners (the parts that would bunch up) before even wrapping the material around the back of the part.

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Another view of the material trimming.

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After wrapping around edges is complete.

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Repeat this process until all the pieces in your set are done.    What in improvement!

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The door after installation (for better pics of installed parts see http://www.bimmian.com/CFF)

 

 

Now…. before you look any further…..

 

 

Since we are always looking for new and unique ways to modify vehicles, I thought I would play around with some red vinyl as well.  I stuck some vinyl along the bottom of the dash trim pieces (in such a way that it can be really easily removed) sort of like what they are doing in the F30 3 series, coming out soon.

 

What do you think?   Post your comments!!! Keep it?  Remove it?

 

 

 

 

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Smoked Lens Film for Taillights from Bimmian.com

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BMW has improved the look of their taillights a lot over recent years. Not necessarily disliking the lights, but wanting something different (we didnt do anything to the LED Taillights of our E46 M3 Project car…. ) I decided to install the Bimmian smoked lens film onto the cars taillights.

This product is available in 3 different colors, light (hardly visible on taillights), medium (a tint that still shows some red) and dark (blacks out the lights almost completely). In this example I will be using the DARK smoke film as I want this change to be dramatic.

FYI, this product is available for just about every BMW vehicle. Check out availability and more photos at http://www.bimmian.com/SOF

These are generally pretty easy to install. Takes about 1/2 hour in total for most cars.

Lets see how its done… On the e92, there are actually 4 lights on the back of the car. 2 on the trunk and 2 on the rear fenders.

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Here is what it looked like before we got started.

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Here is the 4 piece kit. It was precision cut by machine to ensure a great fit every time.

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Of the four pieces, i needed to find the one that was the same shape as my first light. I recommend starting on the flattest possible light to get a feel for the material, how it stretches and how it works.

First, clean your lens thoroughly making sure there is no residue of dirt, soap or wax.

There are two handles on each piece; these are the two squareish parts coming off the sides of the film. We recommend holding the material only by these tabs for maximum adhesion once installed.

Flat pieces are easy to do, you essentially just stick it on then use a blade to trim the handles off the side, so I skipped the installation for this one, see below.

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Curved surfaces add some complexity to the installation process. Also, lenses which have a hard ridge through them, like this e92, are also more difficult to do. Its very do-able though. This material is really high quality material, and is quite forgiving. It can be applied, removed, applied and removed several times without losing its stickiness. It can also be stretched and shrunk a little bit.

The way I started out with this application was to take my heat gun (you can use a hair dryer as well … just don’t let your girlfriend or wife catch you in the garage with her hairdryer). Use it to warm up the material while still on the backing, It will start to smell a bit, once it does, you can stop heating it. As it warms, you will see the tension in the material relax. Peel the material off the backing, and quickly (within, say, 20 seconds – while its still warm) adhere it to the light. Start in one corner, and look where it lies along the top edge of the light. Make sure you dont have too much overhang or gap. If you took too long, warm the material again. On some lights, you may need to stretch the material a bit. Since the material is warm, you can easily stretch it, just grab it with a firm grip and pull. Doing this will also help to eliminate rippled edges around the outside of the lens, which will make your life easier in the future steps.

Once you feel the edges are lined up properly. run your finger horizontally along the middle of the film to firmly stick the middle of the film to the lens.

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Thats what I’ve done in the two pictures above, it looks pretty nasty and wrinkled. Its not nicely laid, but thats OK.

Use the heat gun to warm the material again, this time, work from the horizontal middle outwards and push your finger upwards, squeezing out the air from under the lens film. Move your head around, look for bubbles that aren’t visible due to reflections or shadows. if you see a little bubbles, and you cannot push them out with your thumbs because the material around them is secured too tightly, we need to make a call. If the diameter of a pencil or less, leave them, they will work themselves out over time, it will take a bit of time depending on the size, but they will go, if its bigger than this, or if there are many in one area, and ESPECIALLY if you see a little piece of dirt or debris under the material, peel the material back from the closest edge until you can push the air out, and secure it down again.

When we come to any hard bends, or close to the edges, you may find there are big, air bubbles that keep forming, or it gets wavy/rippled at the sides. The mode convex the lens is, the more it will happen. This is why its important to stretch it along the horizontal middle part when doing the first application of the film.

To get rid of any of these things, warm the film. You will see the film go limp and the ripples shrink, remove heat and immediately use a credit card or moist rag to push the material down to the lens. Wait a moment while holding it, it needs to cool into this new shape. Do this for each affected area.

Its possible these areas may keep coming back, so check a few hours later. Keep following the step above until its gone. And don’t drive the car until you get these problems worked out. If dirt gets behind the film, it will ruin the film.

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Here is a look of the left side. Its pretty bright in the room so you can still see a bit of red. This material is great because its translucent enough to let light through, but dark enough so that it looks pure black under non-direct lighting situations.

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Now theres a difference!

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All done!

DecalWerks Kidney Grille M Stripes For BMW Vehicles

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This is a clever product, so simple and subtle, yet visually striking.

Its a set of 3 colored stripes, precision cut to fit the exact width of the BMW grille slats. Apply them to your grille to give your car the extra look of ///M from the front.

These are also available in German flag stripes (red black and yellow) for an alternative look.

These DecalWerks Vinyl M Grille Stripes can be ordered from Bimmian at http://www.bimmian.com/GST

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The before picture……

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The product… Note that each set actually comes with 5 different widths of stripes for a perfect fit for any BMW vehicle.

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(Due to the lighting this stripe looks orange… its red… sorry about that).

Peel one of the stripes off one of the strips and check for width. Keep trying various widths until you find the perfect width for your vehicle.

On this E92 project car, the second smallest was the correct width.

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Then, start at the top, and slowly apply the striping to the front of the grille slat.

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Use a blade to cut any excess off of the stripe. Repeat for the other two colors.

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Installation complete. A great looking subtle to increase the M-ness of your vehicle.

Matte Black Kidney Grilles from Bimmian.com

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I can just picture the conversation now, a bunch of German BMW executives sitting in a boardroom in Munich (BMW headquarters)…. “Das neu M3 ist uber cool… how do we make it less awesome?” “Hans! I know! Chrome grilles!!!” — unfortunately, this decision stuck…. BMW has also admitted that black grilles are cooler than chrome, by offering it as an (expensive) option when ordering the M3.

But… you’re stuck with a cool car with lame chrome grilles …. what can we do?

Matte black grilles from bimmian.com are a perfect solution. They are exact OEM style replicas, made to the same specifications out of the same high quality plastic as the originals. These are available for every BMW model at http://www.bimmian.com/GRL

For an added splash of cool-factor, consider getting our gloss black grilles, color matched grilles (ie. avus blue grilles on your avis blue car.) or try a contrasting color (dark silver on black or red on white…. )

So lets get started with the install. Its really easy.

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The original.

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Unboxing the solution (those orange tabs are our seal of quality assurance)

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Showing a painted grille as well…. (what will we do with this later?)

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Lets start the install by holding the new grille up to the old grille. Notice where the tabs are and how you would release them. The tabs are the same style and in the same place on the original grilles. This will guide you on where to look on the backside of the original grille during installation.

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In this E92 (also for e90, e63, and others) the grille is attached to the bumper, this gives us an extra step during the installation — that is, removing the 4 (number may vary based on model) torx screws holding the top of the bumper cover to the car. This will allow us to flex the plastic bumper to reach behind it and compress the tabs on the clips to loosen and remove the grille

On cars like E46, E53, etc. the grilles are part of the hood. This means you can already access the back side of the grilles, and release the clips without touching the bumper.

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Here is a close-up of the clip, you need to press downwards on the central tab to release.

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I’ve reached behind and unclipped the first few tabs on the top. all the time, i am holding the grille and keeping it pulled outwards so the tension from the other clips doesnt pull it back in towards the car, re-engaging the grille clips.

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Repeat for top and bottom and both sides. Once removed line the clips of the new grille up with the holes where the original grille clips were inserted, and push evenly forward. Reinstall the screws if necessary and you’re done!

After doing this installation I got creative and played around with the grilles a bit… subscribe to our blog or follow us on facebook. We will be posting a couple articles in the near future that you may be interested in.

Finally: since this is an m3, we have another set of grilles on the sides…. we will install those in an upcoming blog post.

WeissLicht LED Halo Upgrades (Angel Eyes Upgrade)

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Hey all!  Time for another mod on the Bimmian e92 M3 project car!

This time we are going to install a set of LED halo upgrades from WeissLicht.

WeissLicht LED Halo Upgrades are compatible for any vehicle with OEM halogen halo rings.  They convert the boring halogen yellowish color light from your rings into an crisp, cool xenon white color (or red … or blue…).  This mod will also update the look of the car, so that it looks like the newer BMWs that have this color light from the factory.

These are easily installed in just a few steps that Ill be showing you below.  These instructions are for an E92 M3, and are very similar for most other BMW vehicles.

If you want more information, want to check pricing or availability for your vehicle please check out our website at http://www.bimmian.com/LHU.  If you have an E46 and want to ADD halos to your car: check out this page: http://www.bimmian.com/PRO.

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Halos before replacement (camera has white balanced the rings to look white instead of their actual yellowish color.

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Start by inserting a screwdriver to release the clips holding the panel on the top of the headlight.

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Im pointing to the light bulb that we need to remove.  Twist then pull backwards to remove.

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Its out.   Unclip the connector from the base of the bulb.

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Assemble the wiring clips on your WeissLicht LED Halo Upgrade and ballast.

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Depedning on your vehicle, you may have to adjust the rotation of the LED assembly before installation.  If this is the case, refer to the included directions for doing this.   if these directions are not included, then rotation is not necessary. (most vehicles)

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Connect the ballast socket + LED bulb to the socket that came out of the bulb you just removed.

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Use the provided tool to press the two arms together.  There are two round circles on the arms for this purpose.

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Use the tool to guide the arms into the hole that you removed the original bulb from.  Once the tip of the arm is in you may release the arms from the grip of the tool.

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Rotate the base of the LED bulb until you feel it become flush then lock securely into place.    You can look in the front of the light, its hard to see, but you can see the fiber optic pickup, and you can see the tip of the WeissLicht bulb.  In this example, the bulb is NOT aligned properly.   If your bulb is like this, make sure that it is screwed in properly.  If it is screwed in properly then the bulb alignment may not be correct (refer to the step above that shows the instruction guide.)

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And we’re done!   Looks great!  Nice and bright!