*Obligatory proceed at your own risk*
This should work for all trims of the Cherokee, but I did it on a Trailhawk. Even Limited’s with the HID package already can utilize the upgraded ZKW-R lenses in their HID projectors.
It is not an easy procedure, depending on your competency level with this sort of thing. It may seem easy reading through this as it’s a bit simplistic, but there will be teeth gnashing moments throughout. If you aren’t experienced it may be best to do it on spare housings and then install them in place your existing housings, that way you can have a working set, no matter if you screw something up or not. Once completed, you will then either have a spare set that you can always swap back in for the OEM halogen setup, or sell them (here to someone else wanting to perform the retrofit, ebay, etc).
I highly recommend reading up on HID Planet
prior to committing, there is a ton of knowledge there well beyond what I have and it will give you a much better idea of what this entails. There are pros there that can help you out with anything you can think of. Plenty of youtube videos as well from The Retrofit Source and others. If you are sure you want to go this route, but don’t want to do it yourself, there are people/shops that you can pay to do it for you.
Some background, I have experience with 4-5 plug and play kit installs (like many here are already using), as well as one previous retrofit (though it was easier than this one due to the sealant our Jeeps use). I am an electrical engineer, so tinkering with these types of projects is in my wheelhouse. I am by no means an expert on retrofitting, so I probably left out info here and may not have taken the best/easiest approach at times. Feel free to ask questions and I will try to answer them if I can, also post any suggestions you might have if you think it will make the retrofit easier for others. Some of this is generic enough that it isn’t vehicle specific, some of it is specific to our Cherokees.
Seems I lost some photos that I had taken when I accidentally destroyed my phone a while back, hopefully I have enough to give you a decent idea.
(All purchased from The Retrofit Source
•Harness: (1) HD Relay: 9006
•Resistors: (2) Morimoto HD Load Resistors
•Splitter: (1) 9005 Male > 9005/9006 Female
•Bulbs: (2) D2S Osram Xenarc 66240 CBI
(Expensive but are a very bright white at 5000K vs standard 4300K, cheaper options available)
•Ballasts: (2) D2S: Morimoto 3Five Long Cord
(long cord version allows for more ballast mounting locations)
•Projectors: (2) Audi S4 Bi-Xenon Projectors, they are sold out (These are E46 clones, other vehicles use the E46 as well. E46 is significant in that it is direct swap in regards to mounting brackets for our halogens) here are some E46 currently in stock
•Lenses: (2) ZKW-R Notched for E46
(Important to note the notched version, these are not required but are an upgrade for better color and clarity)
•D2S Bulb Retainer Rings
(The projectors I purchased were D3S, when the D3S lamp holder is removed you have a D2S projector, but need these lock rings to hold the lamp. If your projectors are D2S these may come with it)
•Sealant: OCI Butyl Rubber Glue
(There are also some packages that allow you combine portions of these things)
(probably leaving stuff out):
Dremel (or cutting iron, basically a soldering iron with a razor blade instead of soldering tip)
Sheet metal screws
Torx drivers (forget the exact sizes but I think the range I used was T10, T15, and T25)
Sockets: 8mm and 10mm (power drill/socket wrench)
1)First things first, you have to remove the front fascia. There are guides by Blue Ox
(these are TH instructions, I assume there are others out there for the non-TH fascia). I won’t go into detail since that is taken care of, but it really wasn’t very difficult.
2)Remove the wiring connector (green) from the housing. Once disconnected, remove the 4 bolts that attach the housing to the frame of the Cherokee with a 10mm socket. There are 3 plastic fasteners holding the trim to the clear lens of the housing, remove and set this aside. At this point, you can also open up the back and remove the HIR2 lamps, set them and the back cap aside.
3)Time to open the housings. These use permaseal, which is pretty hard stuff, in the past manufacturers used butyl and you could bake them and pull apart. I tried and tried (some permaseal can be baked open) but ended up have to cut. I used a dremel to cut the housing open, after I had finished I found a video of a guy using a cutting iron
(which looked way easier) and would be the way I’d do it if attempting it again. There is a U channel in the back (black) housing full of prermaseal the clear lens lip fits into. I trimmed off 2 of the sides of the U channel (maneuvering around the tabs as best as possible). Ising a razor blade and flat had, I separated the 2 pieces. This is a pain in the arse process, and the only way to really give a good idea of the process is to have video…and I didn’t have a third hand. Youtube. The video above should help give a visual. This is the hardest part of the process, take your time and don’t try to force the two piece apart (the clear portion can crack). Its ugly, but completely hidden behind the fascia.
4)Now to remove the halogen projectors which are mounted to a square bracket. There are 3 torx bolts in the back connecting the bracket to the housing that must be taken out first. Then you will see 2 connection points now on adjacent corners of the bracket to where the bolts were removed. One is a cylinder that fits in a hole (horizontal aiming adjustment point) and the other is a ball and channel connection (vertical aiming adjustment point). Pull on the ball and channel corner, it takes some force, but will eventually pop out. Now the bracket is basically free and you can slide the cylinder out at the third mounting point. Disconnect the solenoid wiring connection (for the high beam shield) from the projector. Once the projector is removed, take the 4 bolts out at each corner to separate it from the bracket. Also, remove the black shroud around the lens of the old projector and save for later.
5)The green connector at the housing has 4 wires coming out. You can snip off the green and black wires that feed the 9006 connector, they won’t be used. It’s best to pull the green wire’s terminal out of the green connector (I’ll get to why later), you will need to remove the purple piece inside the terminal and then spread the green clamps around the terminal. This is the hot (+) wire that normally serves the bulb. The black one (ground, -) can just be cut (there are 2 black wires, be sure to snip the correct one, as the other is need to reconnect the solenoid). For ease, the green connector can be twisted out of the housing, and then reinstalled once you have completed the above.
***See projector and wiring setups below***
6)Mount new HID projector to bracket, and reinstall reversing the steps in #4 (don’t forget to connect the solenoid, it’s easier before reinstalled).
7)Test your newly mounted projectors by fireing them up, to make sure everything is still working/adjusted correctly.
8)Use a 1.5” hole saw to put a hole in the back cap removed from the housing in step 2. There is a grommet on the cable serving the lamps that will fit into the hole to seal it off. (This is for the Morimoto ballasts I used, other options also exist).
9)Pop the shroud from step 4 on (I had to tack mine on with epoxy do to some dimensional variation between the old/new projectors). Be sure to clean the lens off to remove any finger prints, they can be seen when the headlights are on if you are up close looking at the projectors (I forgot to, and when fired up you can see a couple small smudges, plan to open them at some point to clean). Apply butyl around the edges, I was generous with it. I put a strip on the inside edge of the clear front of the housing and then once assembled, applied a second layer around the outer seam. I have seen some people use various other sealants as well. Press clear front of housing back in place, and bake for 7 minutes at around 270F (or whatever the instructions say for your sealant). Try to keep them tightly pressed back together as they cool.
10)Install trim pieces from step 2, connect the ballast to the lamps and seal the caps from step 8, reconnect the green connector for the solenoids, and bolt up the housing to the frame. Fire them up and see how they look. If horizontal adjustments need to be made, now is the time to do it as it can’t be accessed unless the housing are removed. Vertical can be done now, or later, as it can be accessed from the engine bay once everything is put back. If all is good, reinstall fascia, and you are done.
Some of this is optional depending on the projector chosen (D2S, D3S etc), or done for aesthetics. Here are the comparisons of the E46 HID (Left) and OEM halogen (Right) projectors. E46 still has stock lenses here, not the ZKW-R’s.
1)If you have a D3S projector, remove the lamp holders via the small screws. These will be replaced by D2S retainer rings.
2)If replacing the lenses, remove the 4 torx screws at the corners. The cage will come off, and then remove the retaining ring by flattening the tabs and popping it out. Replace the lens and retaining ring, making sure the lens is flush. If it is not squared up, it can affect the beam pattern later. Reattach cage. It’s a good idea to clean the reflector bowl and rear of the lens just before reattaching the cage.
a.While the cage is removed, and the lens is out, I removed the shield, then removed the RV shield to sharpen the cutoff. If you cut it like I did, no issues, but if you drill out the two spots where it mounts, cover them with foil tape to prevent light spots above your cutoff. Removed on the left below.
b.While the shield is off I painted it black with high temp paint. Painting the shield side that face out will black out the lens when looking at it on the car, vs the silver look it has OEM. Won’t affect light output. It is said that if the thin top edge of the shield is painted black as well, it will sharpen the cutoff. Other colors can be used also to match your color scheme (TH’s for instance might want to go red to match the tow hooks). It’s subtle but an easy mod. Lost the pic of the shield painted, but you can see how the lens blacks out here.
c.While the cage is removed, paint the cage black. This is a good idea if your cage is silver, so when reassembling it will blend into the housing and shroud.
3)Install the bulb and retainer ring, and fire them up to tune your beam pattern and check for irregularities that can stem from a variety of issues. To test the projectors, you can hook up the ballast to any 12V source with enough juice to run them. TRS supplies a 9006 test lead for this. You don’t have to have everything wired up electrically and use your car, though that is also an option. The common method is to do this from 25’ to a wall. As you get closer to the wall the beam pattern and cutoff will diminish, so it’s best to not do it up close. There is a set screw that adjusts the shield distance on the side, by moving the shield away from the bulb, you will get a sharper cutoff that tends to go to a thin violet line (in a perfect setup it should just be a cutoff line with no color, I couldn’t get there though, ymmv). As you let it in closer to the lamp you will start to get a blue and violet band at the cutoff. Its up to you to get it to where you like it best. I opted for a bit more color while trying to keep a moderately sharp cutoff. If you have issues getting a good ,,,,,,,,,,,/’’’’’’’’’’’’’’ pattern, check that
a.Your bulb is seated correctly
b.Your lens is seated correctly
c.Your retaining rings are snug (I had an issue with my rings, they wiggled when pressed on, so I added a thick layer of epoxy to build them up and hold the bulbs snug)
d.Possibly other issues I can’t think of, google will probably find it on hidplanet though
Good image I found on HIDplanet
4)If you have everything set like you want it, install into the housings at step 6 in the previous section.