My #LED #FailWhales — 123 Photo Showcase of Later-Junked DIY Headlights — Quad Projectors, LED Blades, LED Eagle Eyes… and 10 Other Icky Iterations

Many of you may wonder about some of the eye-catching elements in my headlights over the years. The LED passion obsession started in 2009 for me, and took three years and six pairs of headlamps for me to realize: stop wasting time and money.

But I was convinced!  The tech to build DIY LED headlights was out there, I would say to myself over and over. For context, this was after I had already spent much time in 2007-2008 upgrading to HID low-beams and stripping the middle element of the headlights (the chrome shroud) out completely.


But what style to pursue? Here are some of the 10-plus iterations of my custom headlights. Do I recommend it for anyone else? No!!! Save yourself the time, burned hands, fogged lamps and wasted money. DIY LEDs are fun, but only for a few weeks. Then the inevitable burn-outs come.

And when you hard-plant the LEDs into the headlamp, there is no bulb switch possible. That means another full removal, dis-assembly, baking process, re-build, re-bake, re-install. Nightmare.


Electrical faults and gremlins start appearing all over the car’s system, and the silicone sealant needed to stick them back together is — I am quite sure of this — the nastiest, stickiest and hardest-to-remove element on the periodic table.

I do not recommend any of these. Most of them never made it onto the car. But for info’s sake:

— Custom quad projectors used a few donor Infiniti J30 lighting elements.

— Light boards used super-bright interior light boards as the headlight accent.

Looks terrible, like a bad n*SYNC music video set.

You’re All I ever wanted…. Baby

You’re All I ever needed… Yea-ahhh

So tell me what to do, now — cause

I. Want. A….


— All terrible. Do not bake your headlights and start attempting a glamorous DIY soolution. It is a constant battle then to keep them even functional — let alone stylish. You will be scoffed-at my Saturn Ion drivers, and receive more tickets than a Caprice Classic on Donk’s.

In this case, both aftermarket and DIY lighting attempts will almost never make us think that clattering old F-150 or Ram is a BMW 335i or a Cayenne Turbo.

The quad-points of 3W LEDs making a box around projector are still my favorite, but are a major PITA to wire and keep functional.

Once one of the quad points on each side had blown, the car looks ridiculous and power to all had to be snipped.


Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)

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