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Quick Tutorial: 2011 Sportage HID Conversion Kit and Grounding Kit
This is going to be the first in a series of tutorials I will be making on our brand new 2011 Kia Sportage. Most of them will probably be electronics related. Hope you will find this information useful in the future.
A quick word about me, I am a full time custom car audio installer and I run Home, you can read my full bio there... I am also a senior contributing editor for Car Audio and Electronics Magazine, which was one of the three original paper rags about mobile electronics and the only surviving one; in webzine format. Car Audio and Electronics - Car stereo reviews, how-tos, and mobile electronics news is the URL. I will be documenting the build-up of this car over there as well.
We recently traded in the wife's daily driver, a 09 civic, for this 3G Sportage and my goal is to add a series of tasteful mods to it over time. The other idea is for this car to be built up as a Sound Quality competition vehicle in IASCA and MECA over the next several seasons. My current car, which I campaigned over the past few seasons, is getting a bit old, and I donít want to drive it around too much anymore. Here is a quick install log of my 05 LGT:
So as more parts become available for our cars, I will doing more and more stuff and document things on here.
Anyway, onto the first modification I have made on the car. About 3 days after we took her home.
IMO, the projectors in the new Sportage really SCREAMS for HIDs...after taking out the stock bulb, I quickly determined that they were, like many of the new Hyundai and Kias, the rather rare H11B bulb. They are similar to the common H11s in terms of the twist locking mechanism, but the main difference is that instead of having usually a right angle plug at the back of the bulb, they have two prongs that are attached to the main body of the bulb, so when you twist them into place, they slide and lock into two female receptacles on the light housing.
I wonít go into too much explanation of the difference between the H11 and the H11B, if you want to get a much better idea, simply unscrew the caps behind the low beam lights, grab the stock bulb, twist counter clock wise to unlock it, and take a look, you will see exactly what I mean.
No companies make real H11B HID conversion bulbs as far as I could find, those that advertise they do are really just H11 kits with a different plug to fit into the stock receptacle. By looking at the general area, I was fairly confident that a H11 kit can be made to work fairly easily with our arrangement.
So...I ordered a set of H11 6000k HID conversion kit from a local friend. I chose it because heís local so if something ever dies, I can get a replacement right away. You are free to choose from a wide variety of manufacturers and brands.
Here is this particular kit:
IMPORTANT: when picking the HID kit, make sure you get a H11 kit where the wires are simply lead out from the bottom of the HID bulb, and not one with the stock H11 right angle plug or any other kind of big protrusion at the back of the bulb. In other words, donít get one that has the bulb looking like this:
This kind of configuration will be virtually impossible to fit into the stock housing without modification or cutting. Just keep the back of the bulb as small as possible.
Note: you don't actually have to remove the light to peform this mod, as there are plenty of space to work, but this decision is totally yours. But ALWAYS remember to disconnect the battery ground before working on the car to prevent any accidental shorting.
1. The first step is to unscrew the cap at the back of the low beam housing, remember those are the ones at the outer ends of the car. Once you do that, simply grab the stock halogen, twist it anti-clockwise, and pop it out.
Looking into the now empty housing, you will see the stock plastic ring that has the locking shape for the bulb and the female receptacles for the power and ground with yellow cables attached to them. You will also see THREE silver screws that attach this ring to the housing.
Undo those three screws, and grab the ring and pull it so it sits outside of the housing like this:
2. Quickly plug the battery back in for a sec, take a test light or multimeter and determine which wire is positive and negative, as they are both yellow. Then, take the positive and negative leads of the HID bulb, and plug them into the stock female spades on the ring. Most HID kits come with long thin spades that will slide into the stock holder fine, and stay pretty tight, but you may wish to crimp on your own connectors as you see fit.
So here they are, plugged in, I also heatshrinked the connection so there are no bare metal:
3. Now, obviously, the bottoms of these stock female receptacles are open, so the stock bulb's on board spades can twist lock into them. This also means that there is a chance that the HID's leads can slide and pop out from the bottom. There are many ways to prevent this, but I wanted a solution that did no permanent damage to the stock pieces. So, I first laid a small bead of hi temp hot glue into the crevice of the female spade, once that’s dried, I took a razor and shaved the excess off, and next, used a tiny strip of 3m body mounting tape and attached it to the bottom of the receptacle. I chose this tape for its high resistance to heat and other atmospheric conditions, but there are plenty of other high temp tapes you can use to do this. Again, the idea here is NOT to hold the HID connections in place, as it’s plenty secure already by itself, but simply to add a little bit of reinforcement so that it won’t slide out from the bottom on bumpy roads.
4. Now, you can go ahead and reattach the stock ring back to the main light housing via those three screws. Here is the view of that procedure finished, just be careful to move any wires out of the way so you don't pinch them:
5. Once thatís complete, you can slide the new HID bulb in and twist lock it into place. Now itís time to turn the attention to modifying the stock plastic cap to allow the HID wires to pass through.
Most HID kits will come with a rubber grommet, so you just drill a hole in the stock cap, push in this grommet and be set to go. The issue with this particular kit and our car is the grommet is designed for a much thicker material than the thin plastic of our stock caps. Meaning if you just pushed the grommet through, the top and bottom lips wonít make contact with the material, thus not forming a seal.
So instead, what I did was to make a set of rings out of ABS plastic, to go with the already drilled out stock cap:
Using Epoxy, I then attached the rings to the inside of the stock caps, giving the material a bit more thickness:
So now, when the wires are passed through via the grommets, the top and bottom seal tightly against the material, but for good measure, I still applied plenty of silicone one the inside of the cap to ensure no water gets in:
So here is the view, with the stock caps screwed into place, and the wires lead out:
6. I tend to prefer to mount the ballast somewhere close and easily accessible. So for now, I simply HD velcroed them to the top of the washer fluid bottle, which has a nice flat surface for it to sit on. I may change it in the future, or I may not, this part is totally up to you. After securing the ballast, I neatly organized the wires with split loom and zipties.
So now, driver side is complete:
A quick check reveals the lighting difference:
The same procedure is then repeated on the passenger side:
And you are done!
The entire procedure took me about 2 hours since it was my first time doing it in a new Sportage, but overall, nothing is really all that difficult, and someone with good hands on skills and tools should be able to accomplish it in a similar amount of time.
The final result (sorry for the crappy pic, I will see if I can get better ones later)
While I was installing the HIDs, I also did a quick vehicle grounding upgrade. Basically, this involves attaching a series of additional cables that tie in various parts of the vehicle to the negative post of the battery. This improves the grounding throughout the car, and in some older cars, can actually lead to real performance and efficiency gains. I didnít expect too much for our brand new Kia, but I did it nonetheless since it was simple, and will always help when I get to the main stereo upgrade later down the road.
So here is the new 4 gauge cable that runs from the negative post of the battery to the driver side strut tower bolt, another cable then runs from that bolt over to the mirror point on the passenger side bolt. The cable that you see coming from the negative battery to the higher attachment point is the stock grounding cable.
Here you see the longer run of cable spanning the left and right strut towers:
And finally, another short run of 4 gauge goes from the passenger side strut bolt to the grounding spot on the engine block itself:
So thatís it for this part...more to come soon!
Drives: 2011 Kia Sportage EX FWD w/ Nav and Blue color Package | 2010 Honda Insight | 2006 Acura TL
Awesome write up! thanks!! As soon as I get my sportage this is the first Mod on the list. I believe most factory HID systems have a color temp in the 4300k to 5000k range, do you notice any reduced light output with the 6000k? Or does the beam not go out as far as the standard Halogen lights? The bulbs are 55w, correct? Also, I'm assuming that no leveling was required since it was just basically a bulb swap??
How does your kit compare to those sold on ebay? I know that a lot on ebay are cheaply made, especially the 30-40 dollars kits.
i have installed quite a few of HID kits for customers, and to me, 6k is a good bet, there is no real reduced light compared to the 4300, which as you said, is the temp that most stock HIDS are at. some of them have just a tinge of yellow in them.
i have always suggested 6k, they are just pure white, not blue like the higher ones.
the lights dont need to be leveled as far as i can see, since its just a bulb swap, and the lights to me at least, go out further than the halogens since they are much brighter. the light pattern overall is pretty good, nice wide spread.
i dont know about this kit compared to the ones on ebay since i dont sell any HIDs...like i said, i mainly got these becuase the seller is local.
i have installed everything from expensive kits to really dirt cheap $40 dollar ones from ebay.
my suggestion is, unless you are rich, stick with middle of the road units in the 75 to 125 dollar range. the really cheap ones, i have seen a few burn out with in a year or two, while virtually all the middle priced ones i have installed are going strong, even after 4 years. (though middle price back 4 years ago was more like 150-200 bucks) my own set in my legacy has been in there for almost five years now, $200 dollars and they are still going strong.
Thanks Pulsar, i will have more writeups coming as well
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