CH Lancer: Aftermarket Headlights

Any excuse will do.

There was this period of time in the mid 2000's where cars were being sculpted in wind tunnels, where physics was more important than aestetics. There is a perpetual war in me between engineering and art, but when it comes to look and style, the art side usually wins.

The front end of the CH Lancer is ugly, there I said it. But for the last of the CH Lancer limited edition models at least they put on a reasonable bumper and grille, but those headlights, euw, what were they thinking?

What the original CH Lancer front end looked like.
Factory headlights. Boo.

Without resorting to a whole aftermarket fancy front end, I decided that the headlights were something that would be enough to improve the look. I had a few options, there is the factory VRX headlights which are the same design but black surround rather than silver. After that there are aftermarket headlights, I had to rule out versions from the US because left hand drive means the lighting is set up to point differently. There was an Australian based mob doing "angel eyes projector headlights."

Aftermarket, non-complaint, fancy modern looking headlights. Yah.

I had to learn a few things first about headlight designs. The original type of headlight, called "sealed beam" is where the whole light is the "bulb". Think circular headlights on 70's four wheel drives. You bolt it in and when it blows you replace the whole unit. Next development was the "reflector", where you pop in a bulb, and the shape of the reflector beams the light out. Bulbs blow, take out just the bulb not the whole headlight, put new bulb in. The most recent development is the "projector" headlight, it uses a similar bulb to the reflector but it is behind a lens that projects the light. The advantage is that the spread of the light is better controlled - while reflectors kinda send outs in a wide cone of light, the projects sends a beam just where you need it.

Don't forget to adjust the beam angle. You don't just bolt them on!

BMW several years ago introduced a pretty "halo" circular compact flouro that goes around the projector lens. The high beam (generally a reflector, made to pour out massive amounts of light) got a halo too. The halos are park lights that look more fancy and cool than a low power globe in a reflector. Other cars commonly have a line of LEDs as part of the parklights, and even as daytime lights permanently on. Both these features had been worked into this headlight. (Only parklight/headlight though, no daytime lights, as the wiring is unchanged and the car doesn't have factory daytime lighting.

So is it approved as a factory replacement? Sadly, no. You put these on and you might get a defect notice. I emailed the manufacturers and they said "Nobody has ever got a defect from these before". Of course they said that. So my rationale was if you behave yourself, don't do anything silly, you'll be fine. Also - you can get those HID lights, which last longer than halogens, but they are brighter and generally bluer. I stuck with conventional halogens, again so they don't stand out.

Standard H7 55W Halogen globe behind the cover. Nice. You can use HID globes if you like.

Pricey, but they are very well made. They fit perfectly, they had put factory plugs on so that the old ones simply disconnect and the new ones connect in. Note that one of the connectors was further back the wiring harness, so look carefully for the right plugs - they are there. There are adjustment screws, the lights were aimed quite high to begin with, I dialed them back so they weren't beaming into the eyes of oncoming drivers. Yes, you need to adjust them after installing. It's not a big deal, grab your spanner/screwdriver, park it out in the street at night, adjust until both headlights aren't blinding people walking down the street and not pointing straight at the ground.

New headlights changed the whole look of the car, they have that "modern car" feel. A good upgrade - oh they also light your way much better - only time will tell they get me a defect notice! Not to self - don't sell the original ones, just in case.


All credit to the manufacturers of these headlights. They clearly have used them and refined the design - the fittings, the adjustments, everything so far is well thought out and built. Hopefully they last a long time too in the hot Australian sun. I don't like the thought of changing the halos although I'm sure they have that planned that nicely too. I would give them a shout out for building such great headlights, but when I asked them for a discount they said no ;-) I did buy them anyway however!