Complete Headlight Retrofits from TEQ Customs for 2nd Gen Tacoma – Full Review, Overview & Installation Guide
Let’s face it, the halogen headlights on the 2nd Gen Tacomas aren’t something to brag about. If I’m being honest, I’d even say they are pretty outdated – especially by now.
With modern technology, halogen lights are a thing of the past. Halogen output isn’t the best and they aren’t really aesthetically pleasing to look at either. They produce more heat than most modern bulbs on the market as well. However, they are easily accessible if one may need to change a bulb.
Ever since the first 2nd Gen was released in 2005, the headlights have stuck to the same general design, with a little more updated version that was implemented from 2012-2015. These updated headlights come standard with a halogen bulb and huge reflector made only for the halogen bulb.
Replacing 2nd Gen H4 Bulbs with LED or HID bulbs?
Nowadays, you can pretty much replace the halogen bulb with aftermarket LEDs or HIDs. Are those bulbs a direct fit? Sure, but this really isn’t the proper, or the best way, to increase your headlight output. This isn’t what you would call a true LED or HID retrofit as the reflector bowl is designed for a halogen – not an LED or HID. No matter how close manufactures get to the diode placement on the LEDs or the filament placement on HIDs, bulb swaps will never give you a true retrofit.
Replacing the halogen bulb that has a reflector built for a halogen bulb only will only throw the light all over the place. The factory reflector in the headlights was designed for halogen-type bulbs only. Meaning they properly reflect the light forward and down, and not to oncoming drivers’ eyes or into the trees.
Enter TEQ Customs Retrofits for the 2nd Gen Tacoma.
Find It Online
- Custom Retrofit Headlights for 2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma (12-15): Check Price
If you don’t follow @teqcustoms on Instagram yet, you probably should!
TEQ Customs specializes in building retrofit headlights for most Toyota off-road vehicles like the Tacoma, 4Runner, Tundra, and FJ Cruiser. They even offer other items like decals, grilles, and differential breather kits.
Each headlight is built with high-quality parts and their customer service is outstanding. During the build, TEQ Customs kept me updated and even provided me photos of the process. I had a bunch of questions about the build and TEQ was able to answer them without hesitation. Their website also has useful information that may help you answer any questions you have.
You can completely customize each build to how you want. My specific build consists of matte black housings, BxBuilt Bi-LED projectors, and turbine shrouds with rear halo only.
Here are some things you can add to your build:
- Housings/Shrouds: If you’re not a huge fan of chrome, then you can have it all painted if you’d like. You can even have it paint matched to whatever color your Tacoma is. The best thing about a retrofit is that the chrome reflector is no longer needed to reflect light, so that can also be painted to flow with your build ideas.
- Projector: When choosing your projector, you will have 3 choices: Acme H1, BxBuilt, and Morimoto D2S. All are Bi-Xenon, meaning the low beam and hi beam are built into the same bulb. But what makes this option different than these 3 is the BxBuilt is actually a LED projector while the other 2 are HIDs. So no need to pair the projectors with an HID kit since the LEDs are built into the projector.
- Shrouds: The shrouds surround the projector and give the headlight a custom look with a shroud of your choosing. The shrouds can also be equipped with a rear halo that lights up the shroud.
- Halos: LED halos, both front and rear, can be installed behind and in front of the shroud. The rear halo will light up the shroud while the front halo will be a circular LED halo in front of the shroud.
- Demon Eyes: This feature will definitely give your retrofit a nice touch. Demon eyes pretty much backlight the projector to the color of your choosing. These can also be RGB as well.
- RGBW (Color Changing) Halos: Red, Green, Blue & White. Adding this feature will allow you to change your halos to any color you want via an app on your phone. In my opinion, it is worth it!
Retrofit Light Output
If I had to describe the output in one word it would be AMAZING.
These BxBuilt Bi-LED projectors are definitely something to brag about. The output is bright and super wide, giving me great coverage on the ground. The color is nice and white, not a blueish color like most LEDs and HIDs.
The cutoff is sharp without any light leaking, giving you a nice line of light.
It has a blue/purple cutoff line that looks awesome from afar, so it’s almost as if the light is changing colors when your eyes are right on the line.
Why Should You Retrofit Your Headlights
We get it, halogen lights are just plain ugly.
There are a few ways to go about upgrading from the halogen bulbs, like installing an HID kit or LED replacement bulbs. Both giving you more intensity as well as potentially emit a white color.
But the thing about going this route is the majority of the light source will be unusable. Meaning the light output will just be thrown everywhere and not towards the ground in front of you.
This is due to the reflector bowl in the headlights. The reflector bowl is specifically designed to properly “throw” the light in front of the vehicle and down to the ground. So when a different type of bulb is installed, the HID or LED bulb doesn’t produce the same output as a halogen bulb and it doesn’t properly reflect off the bowl.
So when you retrofit your headlights, you are replacing the reflector bowl with a projector. This allows you to use an HID or LED bulb to give you a proper “throw” of useful light output. Having a projector will also give you an awesome cutoff line, making use of all the light to be on the road where it’s needed.
RGB Controller App
If you ended up adding the RGB feature to your build, then you will need to download the app called LED Hue.
This app is essentially your LED remote controller that’s powered via Bluetooth.
The app is pretty easy to use. Once your halos are on, you will need to search for the Bluetooth module name within the app and connect to it.
Once connected, your screen will look like the photo above. This is where you will control everything for the halos.
The app is pretty awesome in that you can change the halos to any color you can imagine.
You can also change the brightness and the speed of the output pattern as well. The app has over 100 different patterns with different colors, so things will never get boring!
Wiring Your New Retrofits
So now the fun part, wiring.
This kit is completely plug-and-play, however, if you have the RGB feature, you will need to power the module by hardwiring it to your already existing parking lights or via a switch. Either option works, but it’s all dependent on how you want to power up the halos. So let’s get started.
What you see above is the wire harness used to power the projectors. This is how the harness will be placed within the engine bay. Match up the side with their appropriate position. Now let’s take a closer look at each side.
The driver’s side part is what powers the harness. You have your basic power wire with fuse, ground wire and plugs that go into the headlight. We’ll start with the wires that need to be connected to the Tacoma first.
You will have your red power wire that attaches to the positive terminal on your battery. Then you have your ground wire that needs to be grounded to anywhere on the body/frame. I used an existing ground on the body since I know it has good contact with metal.
Next, you will attach the 3-prong plug into the factory 9003 plug which is the plug that you would normally use to plug into your halogen bulb on the headlight. The remaining 2 plugs (low/high beam) will be for the projector and these will go into the headlight itself.
The passenger side is pretty simple. You will, again, need to find a ground source for the ground wire.
Next, you are left with the 2 plugs that go into the headlight.
These will be the plugs that will be coming out of the headlight. Every plug is different so it’s not really hard to mess up.
Regardless, you’ll still want to attach each designated plug into their right counterpart. We’ll get to the halo/RGB wire next.
Note: This next step is for the RGB feature only.
The next thing you have is the module for the RGB halos. The black & white wires power the module. The white is positive and black is negative. This is where you will decide how you want to power the module. There will be multiple accessories plugs for adding additional features if you’d like. In this case, we will only be using 3 of them, one for each halo per headlight and the other for the Bluetooth module.
Last, you have the Bluetooth module. The module has a QR code on it, so you may scan this to download the app. It also provides the name that will pop up when you search for the unit via Bluetooth in the app. The Bluetooth module will have a female-sided plug and there is only one male-sided plug in the accessories bundle.
Remember the halo/RGB plugs coming out of the headlight? This is where you will need to plug them into. You can choose any accessory plug as they are all the same male-sided plug.
If you have issues with the plugs not reaching, then just contact TEQ and they will send over some extensions if needed.
If you’re really looking to modernize your 2nd Gen Tacoma, and drastically improve your light quality, then a retrofit can do just that.
It’s really the proper way you should do it if you’re wanting to add LED or HID bulbs to your headlights. With the ability to customize your headlights to how you want, you can really stand out.
The output is a big difference when compared to the stock halogens.
I’ve tried multiple LED and HID bulbs in the stock headlights and there’s nothing to compare with the output of this retrofit.
Just a few years back, there were very few options for retrofitting your headlights. Fast forward until now, we see awesome small businesses like TEQ Customs that are experts at the meticulous work required to put these retrofits together.
Do yourself a favor, save the hassle, and get yourself a proper setup like the one seen in the article. The new lights will drastically change the look of your front end. You won’t be disappointed!