Sleek light kits: RE Amemiya vs. C-West vs. East Bear (BIG PICS) - RX7Club.com - Mazda RX7 Forum

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Sleek light kits: RE Amemiya vs. C-West vs. East Bear (BIG PICS)

Sleek light kits: RE Amemiya vs. C-West vs. East Bear (BIG PICS)

 

 
 
 
Old 01-18-02, 06:26 PM
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Sleek light kits: RE Amemiya vs. C-West vs. East Bear (BIG PICS)

Figured I'd start a new thread on the different FD sleek light kits. Someone should sticky this post... hint, hint.

First up: RE Amemiya - $1,470 average price



Above is a close-up of the RE sleek light kit. This kit two pods, two covers, 4 lights mounted in pairs on brackets, and various fasteners and brackets for mounting the pods in the car. Also included is a transformer which plugs into one of the stock headlight plugs for turn-on, but requires wiring for power and ground for itself also.



As you can see in the second image, the pod clips the lower edge of the lights, and limits the amount of output. Looking at the lights from a level plane, the lower 1/4 or more of each light is eclipsed by the pod. In order to have a flush mounting cover, this was apparently necessary.

The lights take H3 bulbs, and come with 55w bulbs which can be replaced with higher wattage (100/110w) H3 bulbs. To the best of my knowledge, there is no H3 HID conversion kit, and the shallow depth of the lights makes them less than ideal for such a conversion anyway.



Above you can see the light bracket assembly. It bolts to the upper OEM headlight position with two 10mm bolts, and has a third screw and bolt (not shown in this picture) which attaches just beneath the wiring harness as it passes under the hood rod mount.

As you can also see, there are three large holes that need to be drilled to fasten the engine bay side bracket for the pods. The kit comes with rubber compression nuts that insert in these holes (not shown) which expand as the fasteners are tightened. The hardware is only partially stainless, so exposure to weather will affect the appearance of the washers, and may stain the brackets with oxidation.



In the picture above, we see the major downside to the RE Amemiya kit. It requires that a large section of the bracing around the light area be cut in order to mount the RE lighting. The roughly rectangular section that you can see (or can't see, rather) is the area that must be cut out. At the time that I installed my RE kit, it was the only sleek light kit available in the United States. If I had it to do over again, I would not have selected this kit for this reason.

The RE pod mounts with three brackets. The inner bracket, for which the three holes are drilled in the support is the largest. A small, narrow bracket at the back edge of the pod bolts under the foremost fender bolt (10mm) behind the pod. The final bracket is on the outside edge of each pod, and fastens using a very difficult system which passes through a pre-existing hole in the fender/bumper bracing. In order to reach this hole, the wheel well liner must be removed. In other words, if you ever have to replace a bulb, adjust the focus of the lights, or remove the pods to wipe out condensation, the fender liner must be removed. This is another reason why I would not recommend this kit.

The adjustment for each light is a bolt at each corner (4 total) which passes through a small spring. The problem is that at least with my kit, (and my car is absolutely straight) each of the bottom adjustment bolts had to be bottomed out in order for the glass lense of the light to clear the headlight pod. This left very little (if any) room for real adjustment of the lights.

Finally, the pods themselves are an issue. The Lexan cover must be secured to the pod using the supplied "gunk" from RE Amemiya, but I elected to use standard windshield urethane (black). Once on, it's not coming back off easily, even if you can find a replacement panel. I've seen others with their covers secured with screws, which, while it may give easier access to the lights, does not look good. In addition, the pods are prone to fogging in wetter climates.

General experience with this kit indicates that the light output with the kit as-delivered is poor. Upgrading to higher wattage bulbs is an option, but may tax the wiring and may cause the Lexan covers to discolor or warp from the heat generated. The Lexan covers are prone to scratching, something to keep in mind if you don't always wash your own car and can't pay special attention to keeping them in good condition.
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Old 01-18-02, 06:44 PM
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Next up: C-West - $1,150 average price



As you can see in the picture above, the appearance of the C-West sleek light kit is an improvement over the RE kit. The pod covers are in two parts, one made of carbon fiber and one of Lexan.



The pod itself is fiberglass, and bolts to the same two 10mm bolts which the RE Amemiya light brackets bolt to at the rear of the pod. In the front, there are two more fasteners. One uses one of the 10mm nuts which hold the front bumper on to fasten that corner of the pod, and the other uses a supplied 12mm (?) Allen bolt that attaches through the pod to an existing threaded nut on the inside edge of the support structure above the radiator. The pods are easy to install.

As you can see in the picture above, the C-West kit uses CATZ fog lights for its lighting. Wiring the lights is identical to wiring up a set of fog lights. A relay will be required for both "low" and "high" beams to switch power to the lights when the headlight switch is on. Wiring is a little more difficult than the RE kit because there are two sets of lights to wire, no plug-n-play adapter that plugs into the stock headlight plugs (splicing is required), and no relays included.



Above you can see the XLO and MSC CATZ fog lights in their boxes. These are fog lights, not DOT headlights, and they are not legal for use on public highways. If you are at all in doubt, you should check your local legislation because you can be ticketed for these lights.

Light output is superior to the RE kit, but that's not saying much. Output meaning quantity, of course, not quality in this case. The lights will be brighter, but because they're still not a true headlight, the do not have a proper low or high beam pattern. Oncoming drivers may be annoyed by your lighting array, so be prepared.

In addition, the lighting can appear purplish, and even the Lexan covers have a light smoke/purple appearance, so these lights may draw the attention of law enforcement. You have been warned.



Above you can see the carbon fiber pod cover, the nicest part of the kit. The fit is excellent, and the appearance speaks for itself. If the kit had better lighting, this would be my favorite kit.



In the picture above, you can see (or not) the Lexan cover which mounts over the carbon pod cover. The "clear" cover attaches using four screws, two at the rear and two at the side (shown) with Nylon washers between the screw heads and the Lexan. The upside of this mounting scheme is that you can easily remove the cover for replacement, to wipe them dry (haven't heard that fogging is as much of a problem, but it could be depending on conditions), or adjusting the lights. The carbon fiber pod pops right off and you can move the lights up or down, but not left to right.



And in the last picture above, you can see what the kit looks like from the front of the car.
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Old 01-18-02, 07:06 PM
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And finally: East Bear - Average cost $600

Unfortunately, I don't have my East Bear kit yet, so I'm going to have to "borrow" someone else's pictures for illustration purposes. (Thanks SARX7 and Phase2!)



Above you can see the East Bear pod. It is similar in appearance to the RE kit, but you'll notice that it does not have a Lexan cover, and that the bulges in the pod indicate that the lights sit higher in the pod. There are two benefits to this. First, the East Bear kit does not require cutting sheet metal, even though the lights are almost identical to the RE lights. Second, the lack of a cover can be a benefit, in that there is no chance of fogging or scratching.



As you can see above, the light pods protrude slightly above the level of the hood. Compare this to the C-West kit (below) in which the Lexan covers have a very noticeable bulge. This is more obvious from the side and not as easy to detect from the front, however.



As you can see in the next picture below, the East Bear kit bolts in the same spot as the RE kit, but does not require cutting sheet metal. The lights sit farther forward (which explains why the pod must bulge above the hood line) and as can be seen in this picture, the spring/bolt adjustment hardware is the same as on the RE kit. The lights themselves are the same, using H3 bulbs, which have all the same problems. The lights, however, are not eclipsed by the lower edge of the pod as is the case with the RE kit.



The mounting of the pod does not require the removal of the wheel well liner, but the two mounting slots on the front of the pod do require that you install fasteners on the bumper reinforcement bar beneath the light area. I have yet to experience this for myself, so I cannot comment on the difficulty involved with installing or removing the pod, should that be necessary.

The East Bear wiring is also vastly improved. It is truly plug-n-play and plugs into the stock wiring harness without cutting and splicing. The required relays are included, and wiring is straight forward.



But the best part about the East Bear kit is that it can be more easily adapted to using "proper" lighting. The Hella DOT lamps shown below have true low beam and high beam patterns and are legal for use on public roads, so no fear of tickets and a better dispersion of light. Both high and low beams use an H9 bulb.

Adjustment is from the rear, like a standard headlight, so it is possible that the pod won't have to be removed to adjust the focus of the lights.

Hella DOT low beams : Average cost - $60 ea.
Hella DOT high beams: Average cost - $60 ea.
H9 conversion plugs - $5.95 ea.





I've purchased two of each and the H9 plugs and will provide a write up when I have a chance to see how they work out.

Sorry, I don't have experience with any of the other sleek light kits available for the FD at this point, but given my track record for changing my mind, it's entirely possible that you'll see something other than the East Bear kit on my car before all is said and done.

Last edited by jimlab; 01-18-02 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 01-18-02, 07:11 PM
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ya know..i think the cwest headlights would look better if the carbon fiber part was painted body color. Kinda like the 360 modena look.
But then again..the lexan covers aren't clear right?
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Old 01-18-02, 07:20 PM
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Originally posted by Astro
ya know..i think the cwest headlights would look better if the carbon fiber part was painted body color. Kinda like the 360 modena look.
But then again..the lexan covers aren't clear right?
I agree, and if I had kept the C-West kit, I would have had the carbon (gasp!) painted, but I have yet to see anyone do this, mostly because people like to show off carbon fiber whenever possible.

The covers are very close to clear, but have a very light purplish/smoky tinge that doesn't show up in these pictures because of the bright flash. However, I think they'd look fine with the carbon fiber cover painted.

My main objection is the CATZ lights, which do not have headlight-style beam patterns, are not "professional" or OEM in appearance, (there's something very tacky about this kit which really bothers me) and are not legal for use as headlights.

My second objection is that the design of the pod does not make it easy to remedy this without a significant amount of modification, which would probably require creating a completely new cover. I wanted to start with something that could be more easily adapted to another light setup.
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Old 01-18-02, 07:59 PM
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Anyone got any info on the Mazdaspeed HID headlight kit?
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Old 01-18-02, 08:49 PM
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Wow, thanks for the write-up Jim...guess I won't be getting the Amemiya kit.

Wanna do one for coilovers now too?? Please???
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Old 01-18-02, 09:00 PM
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I was wondering does anyone have any info on the R-magic sleek light kits? I think R-magic kits look the best but u might have to modify the front bumper cover. Does anyone on this forum have these lights?
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Old 01-18-02, 09:10 PM
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Great post, but some of the pics don't work. NONE of the East Bear pics work for me!

edit: now the pics are working...weird.

Last edited by dannyB; 01-18-02 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 01-18-02, 10:08 PM
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bah, C-West is X 10

and WTF is up with the price on the RE? holy **** 1,400 for that?..........does anyone know who makes imitation ones? replicas.
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Old 01-18-02, 10:29 PM
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wiring harness?

I remember a few months back someone was selling a used C-West with a wiring harness that hooked up to the stock harness. Can you order one from the East Bear kit and use that? How hard would it be to make one? I ask because I like the C-West the most, but don't wan't to splice all the wires. Hmm since I'm asking questions, how do your use the C-West kit in the first place? You can't use your regular column light switch, right? So do you have to use a cheesy fog light switch to turn on your lights? What about highs (other light)? Thanks for the write up Jim, as always a great asset to the RX-7 community.
Oh when you decide that you don't want the East Bear kit anymore, I'll take it.
Did you say that N-Tech was going to start selling your bushings?
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Old 01-18-02, 11:56 PM
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Re: wiring harness?

Originally posted by the_glass_man
I remember a few months back someone was selling a used C-West with a wiring harness that hooked up to the stock harness. Can you order one from the East Bear kit and use that? How hard would it be to make one? I ask because I like the C-West the most, but don't wan't to splice all the wires. Hmm since I'm asking questions, how do your use the C-West kit in the first place? You can't use your regular column light switch, right? So do you have to use a cheesy fog light switch to turn on your lights? What about highs (other light)?
You can use your column light switch for both "highs" and "lows" just by taking the activation lead for the relays from the right wires on one of your stock headlight plugs. When the low beam wire (12V+) is powered, it turns on the relay for the low beam CATZ lights. Same with the high beam.

The only "problem" is that you have to cut your stock harness to achieve this. If you could find an adapter like the one included with the RE or East Bear kit, you wouldn't have to cut the OEM harness.

Did you say that N-Tech was going to start selling your bushings?
Looks that way...
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Old 01-19-02, 12:07 AM
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I personally like the re sleek light kit. It matches body color if painted, lights look like a better fit, no bulging cover.... the RE is very sleek. I really dont like any of the other ones.

any word on the mazdaspeed HID kit?

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Old 01-19-02, 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by 1FAST7
I personally like the re sleek light kit. It matches body color if painted, lights look like a better fit, no bulging cover.... the RE is very sleek. I really dont like any of the other ones.
True, but at a price. Hacking the car and poor lighting.

any word on the mazdaspeed HID kit?
Last I heard, discontinued development.

On another note, my Hella lights showed up tonight. They're even cooler in person, and they accept both H9 and D2S bulbs, so a Philips D2S HID kit will work with them. Cool.

Last edited by jimlab; 01-19-02 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 01-19-02, 12:18 AM
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Cant the RE kit have better lighting with higher wattage h3 bulbs? Whats the best one, without having to worry about blowing it out.

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Old 01-19-02, 12:23 AM
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jim..you need to develop a sleek like kit
haha
damn
how about some that look like the cwest (painted of course ) and no cheesy foglights!
HID damnit..
haha
i wonder why no companies have done this yet?
boggles the mind..
jim..use that innovative mind and make some customs ones
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Old 01-19-02, 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by 1FAST7
Cant the RE kit have better lighting with higher wattage h3 bulbs? Whats the best one, without having to worry about blowing it out.

1FAST7
Many people upgrade to the 100/110w H3 bulbs because the RE kit is so dismally dim (their words, not mine). This puts (of course) extra strain on the wiring and extra heat in the pod and light housings, but it will put more light out in front of the car.
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Old 01-19-02, 12:50 AM
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Originally posted by Project RX-7
bah, C-West is X 10
i personally think the C-West is the best sleek light kit out there. both in looks and light output. (ive seen them on, and i kinda like the color of light they emit.) i dont know about how they light the road up from a driving standpoint though. you gotta ask Jim for that.
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Old 01-19-02, 01:04 AM
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NIce post Jim!! Very helpfull. I like the Eastbear kit the best. Very nice and neat. When are you suppse to get yours Jim? I'll buy them from you if you want to sell them
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Old 01-19-02, 01:11 AM
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Originally posted by RedTT
NIce post Jim!! Very helpfull. I like the Eastbear kit the best. Very nice and neat. When are you suppse to get yours Jim? I'll buy them from you if you want to sell them
I was told the wait would be around 3-4 weeks from Japan.

I'll probably end up building my own pods, in which case I probably will end up selling the East Bear kit. I just wanted to try it out and see if it was something I could live with. I haven't liked the other two that I've bought.
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Old 01-19-02, 02:04 AM
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Originally posted by RedTT
NIce post Jim!! Very helpfull. I like the Eastbear kit the best. Very nice and neat. When are you suppse to get yours Jim? I'll buy them from you if you want to sell them
Hey, just back off man, I got dibs on all Jim's old crap!!!

Later, Jeff
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Old 01-19-02, 02:23 AM
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Hey Jim.. how much are those Philips HID your talking about? Where?
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Old 01-19-02, 03:31 AM
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excellent post jim thanks for the write up i know this topic has gotten a lot of attention lately. i noticed you wrote that the cwest kit (my fav. although i am not a huge fan of the bulge in the side profile) can be turned on with either the high beam or low beam switch. does this mean the car has no highbeams? thanks
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Old 01-19-02, 06:59 AM
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I heard that you can change the lights in the RE sleek kit with much better ones. is this true?

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Old 01-19-02, 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by JeffShoots
Hey, just back off man, I got dibs on all Jim's old crap!!!
Don't you mean all Jim's brand new or hardly used crap?
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