Last Updated
15 September, 2004

Hella H4 Headlight Conversion

I converted my standard sealed beam headlights to European Hella H4 lenses with Philips VisionPlus lamps. These are not DOT approved, so they are for "off-road use" only.

Thanks to Silo for getting me these from Germany.

This job really is simple, so it doesn't really need a "how-to" guide, but what the hell.

Remember that this is only a guide -- not gospel. What you do to YOUR vehicle is YOUR responsibility. I do not endorse, approve, authorize, or otherwise encourage you to make alterations to your vehicle. Be careful, and recognize the dangers associated with modifications to your vehicle's critical systems, like electrical, engine, brakes, etc.

Please contact me if you have comments or suggestions about the article or the project, or if you find errors on these pages.

Tools Needed

  • Phillips Screwdriver (it's THAT easy!)

Doing It

Here's a photo of the components:
Hella-001.jpg (115346 bytes)
Hella-002.jpg (94801 bytes)
The brass terminals on the side of the lens body connect to the integral "city lights", as they are called in Europe. This is a small secondary lamp which is usually illuminated in place of (or in addition to) the parking (running) lights.

A great idea, but I didn't wire mine up because they are of limited usefulness with retracting headlights. The headlights would need to be up to work.

With the lens face down, unclip the retaining spring and swing it open:
Hella-010.jpg (140389 bytes)
It's important not to touch the surface of the lamp. If you do touch it, clean it thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, otherwise you will shorten its life.

Place the lamp element into the opening. It's keyed with three metal tabs, and will only fit one way:
Hella-011.jpg (137039 bytes)
Swing the retaining spring back into place and lock it into position. 

Now take the rubber boot and push it down over the terminals. Press down firmly on the center of the boot. It will "pop" on to make a secure seal, and the terminals will be extended through the opening:
Hella-012.jpg (103173 bytes)
Repeat the process with the other headlight unit.
Set your headlights in the upright position, which on the '93 is accomplished by turning the switch all the way on, then turning the switch back two clicks. Everything stays in the "up" position, but no lights are turned on:
Hella-003.jpg (123624 bytes)
The plastic trim is held on with four screws, two on each side:

Hella-004.jpg (65229 bytes)
Hella-005.jpg (76762 bytes)
Remove all four screws and the trim can be rotated forward and out of the way. Put it aside.
The retaining ring that holds the the headlight assembly in place is mounted with four Phillips screws -- two on top and two on the bottom:
Hella-006.jpg (156031 bytes)
Hella-007.jpg (95035 bytes)
DO NOT remove the center screw on the bottom -- that is an aiming screw, not a mounting screw.

Take care not to drop the bottom screws into the space below the headlight as it will probably not make its way to the ground and you'll need to remove the entire headlight retraction assembly to retrieve it. Not too difficult, but a lot of extra work.

Once you've removed the retaining ring, the headlamp can be pulled forward enough to reach the socket on the rear:
Hella-009.jpg (100491 bytes)
Pull off the socket, and inspect it for corrosion, dirt, etc. I like to clean it as best I can and then apply a little dialetric grease.
Now simply replace the old unit with the new unit and reassemble. Voila! Genuine Euro-style lighting.
Dave Martin
1993 MR2 Turbo