Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Anh-Tuan's LS with an identity crisis.

A small accident left Anh-Tuan's LS needing some body work and paint to the rear end. Seemed like the best time to actually get a long overdue conversion and overhaul. After creating the front bumper to encompass the styles of the LS430 the only logical change to the rear end was the addition of the integrated LS460 exhaust tips. The LS was also in dire need of a complete paint job and Exotics came through to take on the task at hand and WOW is all we can say. 

The LS got a fresh new coat of pure VIP blackness and looks absolutely fresh. Car still needs to be taken back for a buff and polish after the clear cures completely but results are speechless. Deep black, silky smooth and the exhaust tips were mounted without any issues. The only concern we had was when cutting into the Wald Rear lip to integrate the LS460 tips, but Exotics did a seamless job in executing this. Brackets were made to hold the tips in place and well pics speak for itself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

GS with LS460 Bumper & Exhaust Tips.

After the last custom bumper build with Anh-Tuan for his LS I thought I'd never do another one. Well almost two years later and another one had to be done. I've always disliked the rear bumper of the GS, it just didn't seem to flow with the car. I always thought the angle for the slope from the wheel well to the ends of the exhaust was too steep. The lines of the LS460 and the embedded tips were something I thought would flow really well with the body of the GS. Chris Ty's car was the first that I've seen with embedded LS460 tips on his Junction Produce Bumper and has been a great inspiration. I've been meaning to do this for months now and finally got a break to work on it for a bit. After measuring the LS460 bumper I was surprised to find that the width to be very close to the width of the GS bumper and so the LS460 bumper was ordered and it began. I tried to document this process as best I can. Feel free to leave any comments or queries they are greatly appreciated.

The GS and LS460 bumper side by side.

LS460 bumper cut and overlaying the GS bumper

After more measurement for how tall I wanted the bumper to be I zip tied them in place the sides needed to be extended about an inch. After getting donor piece from the old bumper the LS bumper was extended and zipped tied in place and everything was ready to be fused together. I wanted to try plastic welding everything together but I was being impatient at this point and couldn't wait for everything to come in so I used  the Lord Fusor 100EZ  instead.

After fusing everything together 3M filler was used to smooth everything out.

After sanding and sanding and sanding some more I realized I sand way too much off. Which inevitably means I have to refill and re-sand. I'm getting the hang of it though. This process took me the longest, to smooth everything out and get the lines, dips and dents as close to factory looking as possible. 

Ready to be primed for the first time.


Priming the bumper showed a lot of faults in the bumper which needed to be addressed, this just means more sanding. I had left the tow hook covers on the bumper to give it more of a factory look but after putting them in I realized it didn't sit flush so I ended up just fusing and filling that in. This meant more sanding. At this point I really hate the smell of fusor and filler.

Here it is primed again after filling in the tow hook spots

Guide coat put on for final blocking and then paint.

Had cracked my front lip so decided to fix that and have the bumper painted as well. 


While the paint was going on I wanted to paint the inside of the LS460 tips as well. I wanted to just accent the outside trim of the tips more and painting the insides black seemed like the best way to go about this.


And all put together

Test fit. 

This has taken me about a month to do working primarily on the weekends. I'm sure there are other ways to go about this but this is not what I do. I'm primarily an IT person. There is no way I could have done this without the help of my friends at The Body Shop in Garner, NC. Chet Massey for being patient with me, teaching me and fine tuning the body lines for me. Jeremy Clack for painting my bumpers and doing an awesome job on it. I would like to thank both of them for letting me use the shop and especially for their guidance and knowledge through this build.  

Will post more pictures once its all cleaned up and chrome stripping etc put back on.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

IS 250/350 Ballast retrofit.

Recently the ballast on my IS 350 went out. The only fix is a) get a used ballast or b) get the whole headlight assembly from Lexus. Last I checked Lexus did not sell just the ballast themselves, Lexus's fix is to change the whole assembly. I didn't really want to pay the exuberant cost of getting a whole new headlight just for the ballast so went ahead and tried changing the HID’s from a D4 to a D2 bulb and retrofit an aftermarket ballast. Excuse the quality of the pics, camera phone pics. 

First step take headlight out:

This image shows the wiring on the stock headlight. Getting the ballast off is pretty self explanatory. Get the brackets on top of the ballast off and remove the 4 screws for the ballast.

The ballast shows two sets of wires the blue and dark grey wires are power for the ballast and under the mesh braid looking protector are red and white wires which power the bulb.

I used 9006 style connectors male and female to complete my connections. You can use whatever I just had these. 

You will see the rubber grommet where the blue and dark grey wire goes to power the ballast. Cut these and I connected these to a 9006 male connector blue to red and dark grey to black.

Reroute the red and white wire that power the bulb out of the housing by drilling two holes enough for the wires to slide out from inside the housing. I connected those to a female end of a 9006 style connector. Red to red and white to black.

On the after market ballast I cut the ends of the wire that is used to power the bulb and replaced the connectors with a male 9006 style connector. Red to red and black to black.

Now reassemble the headlight. I put the stock ballast in its original position to seal it back up properly, I used some RTV around the holes that were made to reroute wires out of the housing. Everything was soldered and heat shrink was used on all the joints and just for added security used electric tape to go over all the joints. 

Don’t have any pics of the complete assembly with the ballast but I just zip tied the ballast to the bottom of the headlight housing enough to where it was pretty secure there.

Of course change the bulb out, D4 to D2. Put your headlight back, connect your wiring harness and you are good to go.