Brainstorm Low Profile Headlights

(Also see Morningstar Glare Guard Review)

Brainstorm Low Profile Headlights

[7/22/2002] Reviewed by: Michael Thomas -

Applicable to: '90 - '97

Replaces larger headlamp housing and single large bulb with smaller headlamp housing and two smaller bulbs (outer bulb for low beam, both bulbs for high beam). Also purchased the high beam upgrade 135w (upgrade) vs. 55w (original).

I had these installed at Dealer Alternative last week and I'm pleased with them so far. I never liked the look of the 'barndoors'. These definitely give the M1 Miata a more aggressive look. Seth at Dealer Alt set them pretty roughly, which roughly meant they were pointed straight into oncoming traffic's eyes. I got flashed many times on the first night ride. Adjustments are made possible by three spring loaded screws and can be easily adjusted using a phillips head screwdriver. After about 15 minutes of trying to lower the beam, I think they're pretty well aimed. I kept the high beams pointed a little high in order to light up my path better. Besides, I rarely use them anyway.

Brainstorm has gotten a bad reputation among the Miata community. I've heard many owner claim that they will never buy a Brainstorm product. So far, I have ordered their style bar with padding, a Buck Design Grill, and this lighting kit and I am pleased with all of the products. Next on my Brainstorm list will be front and rear subframe braces, wood interior kit, chrome rings and needle buttons. Let's hope my satisfaction continues with future products.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[10/20/2001] Reviewed by: Corey -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Unassembled low profile headlight kit.

Overall very well. Instructions need to be updated to remove the removal of copper bushings as it comes with replacements.

Product could have been partly put together for the price that they run, but with a few hours and a few extra hands (thanks Kelly) they are a very nice upgrade!

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[2/28/2001] Reviewed by: Terry Miller -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Replaces "Barndoor" headlights with sweet low profile dual beams.

Easy to install, barely used directions. (except for wiring) Look incredible and function very well. But looks aren't everything. Was disappointed in the company when the diode that jumps two terminals on the relay that comes in the kit (allows both lights to be on for high beams) burnt up, on BOTH sides. Triple checked all wiring, no problems. Company said I would have to "purchase" the relay and "jumper" for $15 plus shipping for each. Very disappointed for $400 set of headlights. I removed jumper and left it that the high beams are the inner lights only. Pathetic support for $400 product.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[3/5/2001] Reviewed by: Klay E. Kunkel -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Low profile headlight kit, replacing 'barn-door' stock lights

Reading the previous reviews was a great help but it still took 3+ hours to complete the install and alignment. The removal and installation is straightforward but I do have some pointers. Remove the paint from all screws prior to removal and do not waste your time using the three assembly mounting bolts for alignment, not worth the effort. Also don't feel bad if you need to really torque or as the instructions say, "manhandle" one side to get it to line up. As for Brainstorm, supply shorter screws instead of the spacers to save costs and improves the look of the kit. Speaking of cost, as great looking as the kit is, it is over-priced. You would think for that price you would get new bushings and a finished bezel/cowl. Does one exist? Without the bezel it looks like something is missing. Overall I am happy with the kit, completely changes the look of the car and I can deal with the cost. If anyone is aware of a bezel for the Lo-Pro kit please contact me by email.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[2/27/2001] Reviewed by: Dave Lynch -

Applicable to: '90 - '97

A great lighting aid.

Works well; distinctive look. The reason for the review is the fantastic service I received.

We bought our car with these lamps installed. After a year of ownership (and who knows how long on the lamps) one headlight burned out. BSP kits were backordered. When I phoned them they pulled all stops and put together an upgrade kit. This kit was sent to me and I received it one day after I phoned! Truly remarkable service. Living in Canada makes this service even more remarkable. It often takes several days for letters to cross town... Thank you Brainstorm for a good product and great service!

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[2/5/2001] Reviewed by: Austin -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Light kit that halves the height of pop-ups, using 2 H3 bulbs instead of the single large unit.

Good Product, made of painted metal, manual is lacking.

I put these in myself back in '97. That leaves about 4 years of use on these lights. The installation took about 4 hours, most of which was spent trying to figure out what the drawings meant. The first chore was assembling the light housing itself, the big scare being placing the bulb in the mounting ring (don't break it!) The second big step was the pounding of the bearings. Then came on the new lights, which were pretty easy, except the lids don't match up quite right, so 4-6 extra washers came in to give the nuts more "grip." After that was done the lights needed to be adjusted which was a pretty easy job. 4 years later (Year 2001) one of the screws has fallen out, water has entered the bulbs, the area under the lights has accumulated LOTS of debris, and most importantly, the lights bounce up and down like crazy (between 2-3 mm) mostly because the brass bearings have become loose.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[7/31/2000] Reviewed by Tom Shoemaker -

I am associated with a company that sells or manufactures this product.

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Low profile headlight upgrade kit

My experience was favorable overall. BSP filled my order quickly. I used about 4.5 hours installing the kit.

I read several of the comments from other installers on this site prior to attempting this myself. Your comments were very helpful, and it's clear that BSP reads them as well.

Areas still requiring improvement The instructions need more diagrams and some photos. The kit should have the brass bushings included. The headlight cover mounting screw that is too long should be a kit-provided item. The headlight cover alignment and headlight adjustment need improvement.

I love the way the headlights look now. Great idea BSP!

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[8/9/2000] Reviewed by Steve Lewis -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Brainstorm Low profile Headlights

Have Been on the car about three weeks.

I am very impressed in the lights install was vary easy and I am only slightly mechanical.

The only complaint is the adjustment process is quite a pain. The adjustment screws are hard to move, and I think their should be one on each corner not just the three. Overall great improvement and worth the money. Living in Georgia with a very large Deer population I feel safer to drive at night with much improved visibility.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

[3/2/2000] Reviewed by Robert Silano -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Brainstorms Low Profile Headlight kit

I purchased this product after reading all the reviews about how hard it was to install. I actually found it very straight foward. Some pics in the instructions would of been helpful. I do feel however that for the price some of the assembly should be done by the manufacturer to make it a more plug and play type upgrade.The whole install did take about 2 hours, its more tedious than difficult.

This is one product that makes the Miata look so much better. you will find yourself driving with the headlight dooors open during the day just to show them off.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

[12/5/99] Reviewed by Eric S. Mashburn -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Brainstorm Products famous low-profile headlight kit.

I found the installation to be fairly difficult, certainly not easy. There are several glaring deficiencies in the design and parts. For instance, why aren't there flat spots on the pivot bolt so it can be held by an end wrench while tightening the nylon lock nut on to it? Instead, you're told to wrap the pivot ball with tape and grip it with pliers. There is no way to avoid damaging the surface of the pivot ball. Next, why aren't replacement brass bearings supplied instead of requiring the making of a makeshift "tool" to tap out the old bearings? Finally, it is a total mystery to me why BSP doesn't supply a shorter screw to replace the factory screw instead of the three rubber washers. As for aligning the lid, I discovered a better way. Using a rotary tool, I grinded the front side of each of the lid's four U-shaped mounting brackets to make the space between the two legs wider. That allowed me to adjust the lid on the bucket instead of the light bucket itself.

After a frustrating install, I was quite pleased with the end result, just like everybody else. The lights, however, are much brighter than stock and the low beams require considerable adjustment beyond what is recommeded by BSP to avoid blinding on-coming drivers. My final opinion It was an effort, but a worthwhile effort.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[9/27/99] Reviewed by Judtin Doria -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Half pop up height dual H3 lenses in each headlight bucket.

Installation took 2 hours. The quality of the product is near 100%. Alignment is the key to the installation. BSP responded to all of my E-Mail questions immediately. Total head turners, Miata owners ask if my car came grey market from Japan (Eunos). The lower profile on the headlights seriously helps visibility. The lenses reflect down the road at 2x the range of regular hadlights.

Worth buying. If you want an inexpensive, easy, and safe upgrade look for these. WOW.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Bryan Shumaker -

Like many others, I sure hated the standard "air brake" lights in my '95 Miata. After lusting and pining for them, I finally rewarded myself and bought the Brainstorm low profile headlights. They had been on back order for several weeks, so I was delighted that they finally arrived. It appears that someone had purchased the same kit and apparently sent it back, for one whole light assembly (tray, floater plate, wiring, etc.) was completed. It made assembly of the other one very easy. I reccommend you read the instructins very carefully several times; it's also important to read all the most helpful hints other reviewers have given, too. The whole shebang took closer to about 6 hrs, iclud. alignment. I think I'm rrasonably mechanical, but the instructions aren't optimal and it often took me some time to figure out exactly what the instructions referred to.

Although expensive, the kit does go together well. It would have been better if all the parts were included, rather than trying to scavenge stuff form the original light buckets. The looks and performance are great and I certainly reccomm. this light system.

Reviewed by: Joseph Vittorioso -

Low profile headlights consisting of 4 small round bulbs. This kit replaces both headlight buckets and gives an overall better appearance to those HUGE round headlights that Mazda unfortunatley put on this car. The new headlights are brighter which is nice.

Not very good experience with the fit of the kit. Very difficult to align headlight lids. I also stripped out the factory lid screws trying to get them screwed into the new buckets. Aligning the lids is a nightmare.

BSP should include screws to mount the headlight lids to the new buckets as well as tap the holes. You will undoutbably strip the factory screws! For $319.00 this kit could use improvement. Unfortunatly they are the only co. to make one.

Reviewed by: Bryan Sprinkle -

Brain Storm Products Low-Profile Headlights

After drooling over the look of the Low profiles for about 2 years, I finally recieved them as a Christmas gift. First off I was kinda depressed that $325 dollars was spent and it came in a box slightly larger that a shoe box. Other than that, I was thrilled. Total installation was about 3 hours + 1 for adjustments. I only found one problem. On both housings, I had to dremel out one of the hole where the lid attaches to the housing. I couldn't get the stock screw to go back in.

Another thing, I fully agree with the other reviews. The instructions need to have more diigrams and pictures of what needs to be done.

Overall look of the Low profiles are outstanding. The entire attitude of the car is changed. If you are looking for a mod that is effective and looks great, BSP Low-Profiles are the way to go.

Reviewed by: Pascal Young -

Low profile light kit that gets rid of those obnoxious barndoor headlights and replaces them with 2 small round lights on each side.

Old headlight removal was simple. Installations were rather well illustrated, though a copy of the original would have been nice than a copy of a copy of a copy... The biggest problem was putting the old headlight covers back on, they came no-where near lining up and I ended up having to bend the metal braces from the covers to match the new headlight assembly. For $300+ you would think things like this wouldn't happen. The headlight covers lined up without having to adjust the bolts (since I bent the brackets earlier on). after a little touch up paint it was good to go. end result, lights look really sharp, though the installation would have been a lot easier if things had lined up. If you are willing to spend a day sitting in fromt of your car I highly recomend these lights! They light the road up better than before and look a lot better also. As far as legalities I have had no problems, even had an officer compliment the lights at a road block :)

If you have lots of time and an extra $325 or so go for it!

Difficult to remove without leaving damage

Reviewed by: Jeff Massengale -

A really killer appearance modification, the BSP low-profile kit gives the miata that squinty eyed Clint Eastwood "I'm gonna kick yer butt" look that the factory bug-eyes just could not accomplish. Plus, after passing by a Ferrari in Atlanta with factory low-pro twin beam headlights, when I saw the add for the kit in an iss. of MCA's magazine, I knew I had to get 'em. This kit only allows the head lights to pop half as high as OE, so foward visibility is greatly improved.

Overall, the asthetics improvement to me are worth the money spent on the kit. I have had the kit on for several months now, and have had no problems except those by my own hand, aggrevated by what I think is the only flaw in the design of the kit. The whole install went smoothly, and I can see a two hour estimate as pretty accurate, but it took me around 4 hours, cause I never have put something in that I couldn't "improve".

First, I think that the wiring harness is a lttle too long, and seems kinda bunched up in such a tight area, especially around such hot bulb housings. I cleaned this up quite a bit with butt-connectors and a pair of wire crimpers. I had some 1/4" black wire loom laying around from an old stereo install that made things look factory, plus it made me feel better about not having any burnt wires on hot housings. I also used some shrink-sleeve I got from Home-Depot, everything looks like it cost $300 now. The only real problem I ran into was using the factory lid screws in the new light housing. The black housings wrinkle finish covered the threads in the housing. I had no acetone or high strenght solvent to clean them with, but I do have an extensive metric and standard tap and die kit, I thought I would clean threads on screws and housings. DO NOT! There is very little material there to play with. I am a bright light freak and have changed bulb wattages several times. Frequent removal of the headlight lids will strip the threads in the housings, which is not impressive on the two front inboard screws which require about four supplied flat washers as spacers because thay are too long anyway. Other than that, I love my headlights, and I wouldn't go back to the bug-eyes for anything. They are definitly worth it.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Tak Yamamoto -

The revised version of Brainstorm's headlight kit.

I have no experience with the older kit, nor care. As far as the latest kit goes, it's great.

Installation was a burden (4 hours). The directions were good, but could have used more diagrams. The execution of the kit was very sloppy. The holes to bolt the headlights to their mounts would not line up. I had to do some grinding with a Dremel to widen the holes. Beyond this modification, some idiot included an American threaded nut instead of a 9mm. I had to make my own nut because its hard to find a 9mm nut. I wasted over an hour modifying the kit.

Overall, my experience installing the kit was horrible. If one pays $300 for a kit, you don't expect to assemble it. Then when you have to modify and fabricate your own parts, that just gets annoying.

Enough with the negativity. Now that I have installed the headlights, I am extremely happy. The kit is a wonderful design, I assume I just got a bad batch of parts. The headlights are bright and very easy to adjust.

The car looks great with these lights. I feel good everytime I turn on the lights. Even though assembly is a big pain, I highly recommend this product.   With the end result looking so good, I wonder why no one else is making a kit like this.

Reviewed by: Brian Floyd -

Replaces stock headlights with smaller round head lights, giving the Miata a very agresive look.

Bought my kit in October of 96. Installation was very simple, ececpt for realigning the headlight doors to the body. I really enjoy the unique look these lights give to the car. I have had no trouble what so ever with the law.

If you'd like a different look for your Miata then this is the way to go.

Reviewed by: Vince Parro -

They are great as per everyone here says. I made another change. I upgraded my high beams to 70 watt bulbs. Talk about HIGH beams! Once you take off the covers acouple of times it's a snap. You don't have to remove the entire assembly or lens to change the bulb. If you have a magnetic screwdriver that might be a help so you don't loose the screw that holds in the bulb. Want to see the results? Check out the Windy City Miata Photo Gallery or go directly to

BSP Low Profile Headlight Kit - New version

Reviewed by: James Kerrigan -

The new version of the BSP low profile headlights seems to have corrected any deficiencies in the original design. Most notably, the light output is superior. The lights are using 55w H3 halogens which provide a very bright WHITE light. Both the low and high beams use the same lenses so the difference is mostly in the adjustment and aiming. With the low beams aimed slightly down, probably still too high, the light pattern is a long oval for each light. The low beams also provide light to each side giving a full 180 degrees of coverage. I have the high beams aimed straight and level, since the low beams stay on. This will light road signs a mile away. As for the glare from the high beams, I just don't see it. It may only be a factor in the earlier kits. The lower light covers are very disturbing at first but it quickly wears off. The additional visibility is suprising and the wind resistance seems to be reduced. Enough about the function, the lights work and are very bright.

The real reason to get the lights is how they look. If all you wanted were bright lights, get some Hellas. The car no longer has that suprised bug-eyed look when the lights are up. In fact, most Miata owners would not recognize the car as a Miata. It looks very serious and slightly aggressive. While the appearance has been changed, it doesn't alter the overall style of the car. The round lights still give the classic feel with maybe a little more Italian flavor. It's different but I still haven't placed it yet. Bottom line : It doesn't look like anything else.

The install was performed by Pete at Performance Buyers Club with the help of several people who just happened to drop by. Thanks to everyone for the help.

Reviewed by: Mike Bolton -

Received the kit and with all the patience of a 7 year old at Christmas I started installation just after getting home from work tonight. Those of you that put these in in 2 hours are a better man than I Gunga Din. Took me about 4.5 hours. Disassembly of stock components was simple enough. Assembly of new parts went well, I agree with other reviewer, simple does not mean easy! Suggestion for Brainstorm; Some of the steps are lengthy in nature and would be better understood if they were broken down into sub-tasks. For me the hardest thing was getting the headlight door to align with the nose, fender and hood. Took about 30 minutes to get this right and finally had to use Brainstorm's suggestion of strong-arming the bucket against the passenger side fender to get correct gaping of the doors with other panels. This wasn't a bad thing, but trying to get to the adjusting nuts for the buckets is all but impossible regardless of what the instructions say. I would suggest that anyone installing mark the bolts and washers that hold the doors on with a "Sharpie" pen when finished. To replace one a headlight requires the removal of the door. Marking them should assist on reinstallation when it comes time to align the door again. All parts and pieces with the kit were there, nothing missing.

The look is terrific. Really changes the front of the car. Performance is as good or better than stock units. Anyone installing is really installing to change the appearance, actual lighting is secondary anyway (Go ahead, admit it). Besides, who really drives that fast a night! Brainstorm has a winner here even though it is a little pricey. But, they won me over regardless of price for a well made accessory. Too bad Mazda didn't think of this when the designed the Miata.

Reviewed by: Ken Okin -

Replace the standard Miata "Bug" Headlights with 2 pairs of lights.

It took me about 4 hours to install because I was going very slowly and carefully (and had to go buy a metric crescent wrench.) The instructions are magnificent: clear, well written, and full of hints, tips, illustrations, and cautions. A socket wrench can be used for all but 1(!) bolt. Take care to wrap the crank rod pivot bulbs really carefully when tightening them on the new pivot arms. I scored the surface of one but was able to use a file to smooth things out. The wiring harness behind each pair of lights really fits well only one way, while the instructions say to connect the wires to either terminal of the lights, so figure it out before you mount the assembly in place. I pulled the + cable off the battery for safety because I don't like to work on motorized assemblies which might develop a mind of their own as these will do if you move them out of position. This caused occasional trips to the rear of the car during the installation process but made me feel more secure when my hands were in potentially dangerous places. I had trouble getting the high beams high enough when the lows were pointed where I wanted. I ended up taking the light assembly off and twisting it slightly to get the high beams up where I wanted. My only disappointment was the last line of the instructions I received which says that the lights are legal for off road or racing use only.

This is a nice (if pricey) modification. The covers no longer protrude into your vision like the bug lights do, and your car now has a distinctive look with the lights up.

Reviewed by: John Balog -

A vast improvement over the stock "air brake" lights from both the drivers seat view and front end appeal. They pop 4" instead of 9"! Brain-Storm claims 2hr. install time however, it took me about 4.5hrs., even so, they are well worth the trouble and price.

Reviewed by: Errol Keali'i Llantos -

As advertised, the kit was relatively simple to install. It took me a little more than a couple of hours though to finish the project. I attribute this more to my less than honed mechanical abilities than anything else.

The instructions are very good. It includes a parts list and figures. One should pay attention to every minute instructions though, including those in the figures, to assure a successful installation.

At any rate, the car with this facelift looks absolutely terrific! The car looks sleeker and more aggressive. Its aesthetics are vastly improved over the stock "air brakes" look. Oh yeah, the lights work too...

A couple of quick tips during installation:

  1. when installing the lamp wires, connect the black wires to the outside terminals of the low and high beam lamps. The black wires are slightly longer than the "hot" wires which make extending to the stock lamp harness a lot easier.
  2. the instructions indicate that if upon installation the body colored headlight cover does not line up with the surrounding body panels, there are two bolts on the headlight/motor mount than can be loosened to make the alignment possible. Well, I found that there is a third bolt behind the motor assembly and that once loosened makes the alignment even easier.

I should mention that I realized after the fact that this kit is not street legal. So, I'm not sure whether it will pass safety inspection or not. You may want to keep this in mind. Forewarned is fore-armed.

Finally, I have not replaced the lamps yet but I don't relish the idea of having to remove the headlight cover to access the hardware to replace the burnout lamp. I say this because during the kit install, it took me the longest time to align the lamp cover with the body panels. I'm not looking forward to that struggle again. Note that I said earlier that the install is "simple". Simple doesn't necessarily mean "easy". Well, hopefully the lamps last a long time.

Overall, I'm pleased with the product. It is well made and simple enough to install even for those not mechanically inclined like myself.

I love the new look of the car. Most of the time, I drive with the headlights up to show off its new face. I would recommend this to anyone who is frustrated over the bug-eye light design.

Update from Errol Keali'i Llantos

I just recently had my car inspected and I'm glad to say that it passed safety inspection with flying colors. The inspector didn't even "blink" when he inspected them. He turned on the lows, then the highs and that was it!! 

Still very happy with the product, but thinking now of upgrading the lights to the higher output BSP lights.

More info at:  

Reviewed by: David Peeples -

It has been great. The instructions were a little confusing at first. Now I can see the road ahead, without those barn doors sticking up. My experience with Brainstorm has been excellent, as well. They are very willing to help in any reasonable way possible.

Back to Product Reviews 18 August, 2002