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Old 01-24-2015, 06:15 PM   #1
soundman98
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How To: BRZ infinite 1-5 headlamp adjustment(no more notches!)

my biggest problem with the car since getting it has always been that the interior headlamp adjuster steps are too large to be of any use.. put a couple things in the trunk, and i need 0.5 of a step more, not a whole step..

so today, i finally managed to fix that.

the notchy-ness is from a ball bearing that is spring loaded in the back of the knob. the actual circuit board within the adjuster does allow for infinite 1-5 adjustment, so all that needs to be done is to remove the ball bearing and it's pressure spring from the back of the knob.

tools needed:
  • Dremel
  • very very small cut-off wheel remnant
  • 2- 'precision' flat blade screwdrivers
  • 1 #2 philips head screwdriver

parts needed:
  • m3 philips screw, about 7-8mm long( i used a 10mm screw and cut it down)
  • m3-size nylon locking nut


start off by pulling the adjuster from the dash-- this seems to be most easily done by removing the small side panel next to the steering wheel, undo the philips-head screw located behind it, and pop the lower panel off to access the rear of the adjuster.

the adjuster is held in with 2 small locking tabs, one on the top and one on the bottom. just insert the precision screwdrivers in between the insert and the adjuster housing and put some pressure on the screwdrivers and the front of the adjuster-- it should pop out pretty easily. it doesn't take much force..

after that, you just need to pop the adjuster apart. i used one of those precision screwdrivers to release 2 of the 4 tabs around the edge of the adjuster..

after that, you're in. the circuit board and the black connector both come out at the same time with a little bit of force on the other side of the connector.


at this point, you'll be left with a spinning knob attached to the other side of the housing.

the knob is held onto the housing with an aluminum shaft and a steel lock washer. you need to grind the aluminum down until the steel lock washer falls off. be very careful, and check the temperature of the back of the shaft often-- it's easy to heat up and could deform the housing.

after that, it should all fall apart, and you'll be left with this


you can just barely make out the ball bearing in the notches in the housing.


pull the ball bearing and it's spring out of the way, and re-assemble!

using the 10mm M3 screw and it's locknut, reassembling should look like this-- the 10mm screw will be just a couple threads too long, and will push the led up, preventing the rear of the housing from snapping on.



i pulled the circuit board out of the way and marked it with a marker to make sure i didn't grind too much off


and presto. the led clears the screw, the circuit board fits how it's supposed to, time to snap the back cover back on.

after that, it's just a matter of re-installing in the car-- everything snaps together, so i don't believe it's all that difficult..

test that everything still works, and now you should be able to adjust your headlights however you want from within the car!!
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:20 AM   #2
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Can you link to how to properly aim headlights. I feel like a lot of members could benefit from that, myself included. I forgot how and what is proper.
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:42 AM   #3
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i don't know if there is a proper link anywhere.. i believe the nhtsa/dot official standard is that the beam should drop about 1-2" for every 25' or so.. the problem is these cars are so low, i seem to end up aiming my headlights more so they are even with the ground overall--following the standard, it seems the beam hits the ground at 100' and i start over-driving the lights more...

overall, i make sure that it stays off the road signs, and stays well below most people's eyes the majority of the time..
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:39 AM   #4
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Great write-up THANKS! Definitely plan on doing this..
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:57 AM   #5
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The ball detent should also keep the switch from rotating on it's own. Have you noticed the headlights adjusting themselves due to road vibration at all?
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:28 PM   #6
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I'm not an electrical engineer, but looking at what I see there, I don't think that you can have "infinite" adjustment. You would need something like a potentiometer type switch in there with variable voltage/resistance for that to work how you planned it. The system that is in place looks like it just changes the electrical contacts based on one of the predetermined notched positions.
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:30 PM   #7
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OP left out pictures of the circuit board... it could allow near infinite adjustment but I'd have to see it to know. I'm not taking mine apart to do it though...
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunman View Post
The ball detent should also keep the switch from rotating on it's own. Have you noticed the headlights adjusting themselves due to road vibration at all?
nope. there's a small amount of friction from the knob rotating on the plastic nub of the housing, and there isn't much rotational force on the knob to get it to fall out of adjustment like that..

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfsnail View Post
I'm not an electrical engineer, but looking at what I see there, I don't think that you can have "infinite" adjustment. You would need something like a potentiometer type switch in there with variable voltage/resistance for that to work how you planned it. The system that is in place looks like it just changes the electrical contacts based on one of the predetermined notched positions.
all you need to do is ask

rule #1 of electronics modding -- NEVER mod your only housing unless you know 100% what you're doing!

here's pics of my original unit opened up.. the one i put in the car and first modded in this tutorial was off ebay-- but the mod was so simple turns out i didn't really need to do that anyways.. good/bad habit from my last car where i had to tweak and tune everything as i went to get it all to work.. so i always get a replacement 'whatever' that i mod, and keep the original for later when i want to revert back..



the control uses the same resistance material that the touch pads of any momentary soft-touch button has-- like in a calculator.. shorting between the material at different spots changes the resistance it outputs. the fact that they use this design makes this tutorial usable.


and fyi-- i also opened up the dimmer as well, and that is what this looks like.

this design can't be modified to work any better-- it has the notches you suspected were in the headlamp height adjuster



i was dissapointed, as having infinite adjustment on that as well would be really cool, but not really needed for me..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poodles View Post
OP left out pictures of the circuit board... it could allow near infinite adjustment but I'd have to see it to know. I'm not taking mine apart to do it though...
scardy cat

i wouldn't have taken the time to write the tutorial unless it works... that's part of the reason i'm lacking on the pictures-- i did it all myself on my own car, verified it worked, and then did the write-up..



everyone's scared to mod their cars outside of parts they can buy off ebay... stay tuned for my next thread-- i'm building a 13k+ lumen reverse light-- that will fit within the oem reverse light housing...
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