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I am providing this post, instructions, and photos to help guide those interested in completing their own HID conversions on their Volt. I respectfully ask that this thread NOT be used to debate the merits of HID conversion in the Volt or any car for that matter. There are already threads going for that discussion. There are no implied “right way” or “wrong way” instructions here, just how I chose for the most part. Do at your own risk but feel free to ask questions if needed and I will do my best to reply in a timely manner. I am trying to provide adequate photos (thumbnails for most others at bottom of post) for reference and think I have all the bases covered. The pics may not be in the order of instructions and some of the photos have added notes.

I am providing the link to the kit I bought. I chose this kit due to the small ballasts, good quality, decent price, and previous experience with the product and the company’s customer service. I included a photo (bottom of post) of the HID capsule that comes in this kit alongside a stock Volt bulb for reference. It’s worth noting that the position of the light element in each is almost at the exact same position and orientation relative to the base. This is key to HID capsules performing well in the stock projectors. Older generation HID capsules did not line up nearly as well causing poor light patterns. Additionally some of the info I provide (IE wiring harness) may be specific to this product only. Other vendors harnesses may differ slightly. Kit and harness photo at bottom of this post.

CARHIDKITS

You will need to choose the output color of your bulbs. I strongly recommend not going above 6000k. 4300k is standard but to my eyes the 6000k are whiter and more defined. Below 4300k is very yellow. On this site they have an option for bulb type (high beam, low beam, fog lights) go with low beam.

Before you order consider whether you choose to use a wiring harness or not. It is additional product which must be ordered ($25-$35). The option to order it is provided on the website where you select bulb color. Some of the Pros and Cons are as follows…

Pro: No high electrical load on stock light power connectors when igniters fire up. Less likely to have flicker issues due to auto light circuitry. Extra dedicated fuse for HIDs. HID power isolated from Volt systems.
Con: More wiring work. May want to remove front shroud cover to route/hide wires (easy and pics included).

First thing you will need to do is provide access for some wires to enter/exit the light housing. My preferred method has been to cut a notch about the width of a pencil into the lower outboard side of the access port. To gain access to the light housing/bulb one needs to twist the approx 4” round cover counterclockwise (when looking from the engine bay forward) about a half inch and it will slide back out. Notice when in place a small V mark indicates to center. Some have cut right into the round cover for wire access but this seemed like more work to me and not as easy to hide if need be (lease car).Cut the notch deep enough so that the wires can pass while allowing the cover to go back in place. If the notch is cut just right, this enclosure will remain pretty well sealed. This area looks not to be susceptible to splashing so it should be safe enough. If you do end up with more gap than needed plug it with some foam or electrical tape. I have included a photo (bottom of post) showing my notch and the tool I used to make them. With my tool, I cut the bottom edge of my notch, then the top edge, then used a needle nose to tear out the chunk between like a loose tooth.

When preparing the parts from the kit you may find all of the wires including an adapter harness (not needed) are run through a large rubber grommet. In my case I gently cut all of the wiring out of this rubber and disposed of it. Be advised, though you may not have a choice in doing this it could prevent you from returning the whole kit for refund if you changed your mind…

Now time to twist out the stock bulb and twist in the HID capsule. Note the position of the tabs on the stock bulb when you pull it out as this will help align the new capsule without fussing it around. Both sides have a nice flat place to mount the min ballast with the double side tape included. The tape works good as long as you clean the mounting surface well ahead of time. You will find that with a little finesse the igniter itself will stuff up into the upper region inside the light housing slightly to one side. If you are NOT using the wire harness simply plug the “plug & play” connectors in, put the cover back on and you done.

NOTE! Sometimes the “plug & play” connectors are reversed polarity. Always test the lights before sealing it all back up. If you use the wire harness this guessing game can be avoided.

If you ARE using the wire harness you now need to route some wires for power and ground. I have provided photos with all the reference you should need. You’ll note on the harness picture the connector circled may not have the plug rather just bare wires. If that is the case just use one of the spare adapter plugs that came with the kit (extra wire left over from large grommet) and splice it on. Begin at the passenger side. You will want to open the air cleaner cover and move it and a coolant hose out of the way (see photo). The passenger side of the wire harness has a short wire to be run to ground. Though the shortest distance to ground is generally best, I chose to add a long good sized gauge wire back along the length of the whole harness and tied it in to the main ground since there was no good place close to ground on this side anyway. While not completely necessary, removing the front shroud cover (see pic) will give you a great place to route and hide the harness as it travels to the driver’s side. Once you reach the driver’s side, connect everything else up. The original wire connector to the driver’s side light powers the whole harness. When you turn on your lights their power plug simply triggers the relay and it sends power directly to the lights isolating the car’s stock headlight wiring circuitry. You will need to find small hex nuts that fit both the 12V feed and ground nub shown in the photo.

I think that’s about it.

You’ll find excellent light output without blinding oncoming traffic. One thing you will lose is the ability to quickly flash high beams if your lights are not already on. This is due to the fact that HIDs require a few seconds to warm up. If your lights are off, and you flash highs, the recipient may not see much.

If any of you have quicker or more effective approaches to any of this or prefer other kits, please provide the information and I will add to the first post if possible and/or appropriate!

Thanks, good luck and enjoy.




 

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Thank you for the excellent HID instructions and photos AZ-Volt! This is a great mod that benefits from your previous experience.
 

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Connecting the relay

Thanks for the write-up and pics, AZ-Volt. My Morimotos are due in the mail today (35w, 4300k, relay) and I'm eager to install the lights so the Volt provides the same light output and night driving safety as the OEM HIDs on my other cars. I'm clueless when it comes to electricity so I'm naturally a bit nervous about playing with the "always HOT" 12v power source. What is the order that should be taken when connecting the relay to the 12v power? I assume connect the ground first and then attached to the hot 12v power source but is there anything else to be concerned with?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Well, after reading all the installation posts it seemed most agreed that a direct 12v power source for the ballasts was best to avoid reported flickering problems and to also avoid undue stress on the OEM wiring harness. TRS recommended them as well. Maybe I'll try it without the relays first and if I encounter problems I can go with the relay. Just trying to it right the first time through.

Thanks for the reply.
 

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Thanks Steve. The Morimoto 35w kit with 4300k bulbs arrived today. From what I've read this is a quality kit so I'll take your advise and proceed without the relays. I watched your install video several times. You made the install seem so easy. I'll tackle this one tomorrow morning and report back with results.

Thanks!
 

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Just a couple of words of advice: Take your time. Do the driver side first-it's easier to get to. Pay attention to how the factory bulb tabs are oriented when you take them out. That will be how you orient the HID's when re-inserting them. When re-inserting the air cleaner intake, there are 2 rubber nubs that pop into 2 holes in the sheet metal-that's all that holds it in. You will be blown away how much more light the HID's provide, but to really maximize the effectiveness, adjust them as shown in the video. Just make sure to take it out on the road to road-test them and make sure you're not blinding anyone. Even taking your time, shouldn't take more than about 90 minutes. After you do this, you'll wonder why some people find this so difficult.

Steve
 

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Thanks again, Steve. If they're anything like the output of my cars with OEM HIDs I'll be very happy. As others have said it's hard to believe GM doesn't offer HIDs on a car at this price point. The stock halogens are just awful. Rod
 

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Well the installation went fairly smoothly but with one snag. I first tried it without the relay. The lights lit fine but when I sat in the car and powered it on as if I was going for a drive the lights began flickering, badly. I couldn't get them to light or stop flickering with the car powered on. The next step was to try the relay which was pretty simple to install. With the relay in place the bulbs no longer flickered. The one problem I still have is that occasionally when the bulbs are cold one of them won't light. This is solved by turning the lights off and back on again.

After my car takes a full charge at work the valet moves it down a couple floors so it would be nice to have both lights fire up on the first try. I guess I can leave the valet some instructions on what to do but it still a bit annoying to have to do that.

I have a 2013. Perhaps something was changed from 2011-2012 models? Any suggestions?
 

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Did you by chance leave your doors open the whole time? If your 12v battery got discharged a bit, this could be your issue. The fact that they lit OK before you installed the relay tells me that it's not an issue getting amperage to the bulbs. You might try giving it a full charge before getting too worried. Also, hate to say this, but you're one of several lately to complain of problems after installing Morimoto ballasts. Anyway, you'll get this straightened out, don't get discouraged.
 

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Thanks for the reply Steve. The doors were closed the whole time. Something really weird is going on now though. I took the car out for a drive and after a couple miles the right bulb started flickering badly. I turned off the headlights and back on again and all was ok for a few minutes. But then when I pulled into the garage the right light started flickering again, the relay started making all sorts of noise, and strangely the engine fired up even though it said 39 miles of battery power. Once the engine fired up and ran for about 30 seconds the right bulb stopped flickering. Really strange but something is obviously not right. Appreciate any ideas on what might be causing this. I wish I knew more about electrical systems because I'm at a total loss as to what might be wrong.
 

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Yes, I opened the hood with the power on but only after the flickering started and after the relay started making all the noise. Attached pics show how I have the relay connected. I'm certain the ground wires are secured properly. The passenger side ground is attached to one of two points below the air box while the drivers side is attached to the ground post.

For the life of me I can't figure out why you don't need a relay. What year is your Volt? With the power on the no relay setup wouldn't even light the bulbs for me.

Thanks so much!

Update: Just took it out for a drive. The left bulb still won't light on the first try but fires up on the second attempt. After about 5 minutes of driving the right bulb starts flickering. If I select the HOLD drive mode to run the engine the light stops flickering. I wonder if the CAN-BUS harness is the answer...... I don't know what to think right now :mad:.
 

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What I was getting at about the hood is you said the engine came on even though you had main battery power left-it will do that if you open the hood when powered on.

The reason I have never needed a relay on the HID's I've installed is that the stock wiring supply adequate amperage to power the initial startup on the ballast. After that split-second, the amperage drops back down and they actually draw less than the stock halogens.

It looks like you used wire taps-are you sure those made good contact with the wires? Sometimes they don't make a good contact-you might check that. Sometimes you have to pull on the insulation from either direction to get the prongs on the taps to make better contact with the wires.

Other than that, I'd call TRS.

Steve
 

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I just installed the driver's side 35W HID from this company:http://www.hidextra.com/9006-5000k-hid-kit/
Go to the options, 4 to choose from, and look at the top end kit. It claims "3600 lumens @35W" and built in Capacitors to deal with the supposed pulsed voltage that the Volt has. ( I still want to measure this).
I got them for $102 shipped but their low end kit is $42 today. ( Anybody? )

I installed it without a relay kit and it has started 100% in this cold weather for 2 days. No flickering.
I don't see a wire shadow. The lamp fits the headlight housing perfectly, no trimming. The ballast are bigger than the DDM's I returned. The light pattern is the same as the stock right hand light, yet way brighter. Aiming is not needed.
I may adjust both sides down just a little. The stock aiming is right at the upper edge, imho.
So far I give this product '2 thumbs up'.

People,
HID 35W. The stock lamps are 55W. Incandescents have an inrush of current also.
There is no reason to install relays.
You end up with a cobbled looking install and you now have many more places to fail that can make you see black.
 

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Thanks Steve and Norton. I'm going to remove the relay this morning and try once more without it. If the bulbs don't fire or begin flickering (pretty sure they will) I'll just remove the kit and call TRS Monday when they reopen. I did a lot of research before buying and the Morimoto kit seemed to be among the higher quality kits. I know each car can have slight idiosyncrasies and with my car the Morimoto kit does not work properly. I'm sure I'll likely return it for something else. Thanks for the link, Norton!
 

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The start up and flickering issues could be from the 'supposed' pulsed voltage going to the stock lamps.
Some have reported the relays buzzing from it.

They also sell inline capacitor kits that are supposed to help with that. The HIDs I bought have the caps built in.

Hybrids have rock solid 12V electrical systems. When powered up the voltage comes from the DC to DC converter and the 12V battery in the back is just floating online.
 

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I removed the relay and retested. Without the relay the bulbs rarely lit and if they did they just flickered. I double checked all connections. When this failed I removed the entire kit and just finished boxing everything up for return. At least I have headlights now with the stock bulbs installed. After all I read I'm disappointed the Morimoto kit didn't work but I know I'm not the first to have this very issue. Maybe I'll try the HID Extra kit Norton linked to but I really want 4300k for an OEM look and I'm really happy with the color on my other cars with OEM HIDs. The HIDExtra Volt kit is only $83 now with free shipping so probably a no brainer if they work and I can always buy 4300k bulbs later.

Thanks again to both of you for all the help.
 

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Question, did you open the connectors to reverse the two wires to correct the reverse polarity of the Volt? Without doing that, you are connecting in reverse polarity. The ballasts may be trying to operate that way and thus your strange issues.
 
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