Exterior & Lighting Heeltoe Explains

Differences in 2004-08 Acura TSX & Accord CL7-CL9 Headlamps

In an effort to The North American 2004-08 Acura TSX, known everywhere else in the world as a Honda Accord, has a few different headlight options we will clarify for you here.

2004-08 USDM Headlamp

The Acura TSX comes with this lamp, with DOT required amber turn signal reflectors and diffusers facing the front and side.

Note that the HID ballast (standard on all NA TSXs) mounts on the bottom of this lamp. There is a variance between the 2004-05 mount style and the 2006-08 mounting style. That is true for all global 2004-08 TSX/Accord lenses in both the mounting configuration as well as the year change.

2003-05 JDM Honda Accord Headlamp

The JDM Accord comes with the same basic housing and lens as the USDM vehicle with a couple of differences.

  • The side diffusers do not have a reflector in them and are a smoked-shade.
  • The projector lamps and cut-offs are set for a right-hand drive vehicle. Meaning, the light is higher on the left side than the right side.
  • If the lamps are from a EuroR model, the chrome inside the housings will be s smoked-shade.

2003-05 EDM Honda Accord Headlamp

These lamps are the same as the JDM 2003-05 Lamps, except they will be set to the left-hand drive configuration. Additionally, they have leveling motors inside, which is normal equipment on these cars.

2006-08 JDM Honda Accord Headlamp

The 2006 model year brought a facelift to global CL7-CL9 chassis Honda Accords and Acura TSXs. As mentioned above, the ballast mounting changed. We are unsure if any function or specification of the ballast changed, but the mounting location definitely did.

The newer style lamp also had some visual changes. The front-facing blinker lens is now clear instead of amber. Also, the side facing diffuser has a textured/mild pattern over an otherwise clear, blue lens.

Again, EuroR lamps are denoted by a smoked-chrome inner housing.

Retrofitting a JDM right-hand drive Accord Cl7-CL9 lamp to left-hand drive spec.

2006-08 EDM Honda Accord Headlamp

Like the earlier generation lamp, the only differences here are the left-hand drive configuration and the presence of a leveling motor (the JDM lamps may have the leveling motor as well…to be confirmed).

Aftermarket DEPO 2004-08 Options

DEPO is a Taiwanese manufacturer that produces very good quality aftermarket reproductions of factory lamps. Often used in collision repair, they offer lamps that are DOT approved, meaning they have the required diffusers and reflectors.

Recognizing an aftermarket opportunity to replication a clear-corner option, the first release DEPO lamps had clear side diffusers and front-facing blinkers. The side molds were the same as the USDM replacements with the reflectors in place. Also, the lamps in North America are configured to left-hand drive spec.

The housings themselves are modeled after 2004-05 lamps, with that ballast configuration.

Smoked and clear options were made, but the side reflectors did not connect well with aftermarket tastes. People preferred the look of the 2006-08 JDM/EDM side diffusers which were devoid of reflectors and had a blue color.

DEPO responded by changing the diffusers to the blue reflectors seen on the later model 2006-08 JDM cars.

However, DEPO did NOT change the ballast mounting location. Owners with 2006-08 TSXs found that while the DEPO lamps bolt in place well, the 2006-08 ballasts would not mount properly. Custom mounting of the ballast was needed, and detailed in this article.

Another concern with the DEPO lamps was the change in projector lamps. The Factory TSX/Accord lamps use very high quality, die cast projector housings and cut-offs, while the DEPOs are cheaper stamped metal. While the difference could be noticed by the most finicky users, the DEPO lamps have proven to have a still very good projection pattern and lens cut-off.

Exterior & Lighting Heeltoe Explains

2004-08 TL Lip Kits: A-Spec versus Type-S, and inter-changability

It is pretty normal for a Base TL owner to look longingly at a fully kitted Type-S TL and want that look for themselves. It prompts them to ask the question, “Will a Type-S lip kit fit my Base TL?”

To that, we have a couple of things to clarify. First, there are no Type-S lips; just A-Spec lips. Second, the fitment of an A-Spec lip from a Type-S to a Base is very possible.

TL-S vs A-Spec

Type-S is a trim level, determined by the VIN. The engine and other equipment on the car are specific Type-S specs as the car rolls off the assembly line.

A-Spec is an option group. There are different parts that are dealer-installed items that comprise an A-Spec kit. Acura offered suspension, brakes, wheels, and the aero package as A-Spec upgrades. A-Spec parts were available for all TL models…Base and Type-S. So a “Type-S” rear lip is really just an “A-Spec” lip for a Type-S TL.

Maybe this is the point is semantics but it makes a difference talking to people when you know what you are saying is accurate.

Model year splits

For 3rd generation TLs, there are 3 different bumper styles to consider.

  1. 2004-06 Models
  2. 2007-08 Base Models
  3. 2007-08 Type-S Models

Front lips (Front Under Spoiler)

Here is a 2004-06 front. Notice there are no fog lamps and the lip has a low profile against the side of the bumper.

Here is a 2007-08 Base front. This lip differs since it accommodates the standard front fog lamps on the newer TL bumper. Also, this lip does have a low profile, similar to the 2004-06 lip.

Here is a 2007-08 Type-S front lip. It is larger as it surrounds the entire lower grille areas. It comes higher up the sides of the bumpers, and more dramatically changes the styling of the front end.

As far as interchanging goes, with slight modification we know the 2007-08 Base and Type-S A-Spec lips will be able to be used interchangeably, but neither 2007-08 lip can go on a 2004-06 bumper very well, if at all.

Side skirts (Side Under Spoilers)

This one is easy. They are all the same. No matter what year or trim 3rd generation TL you have, the A-Spec side under spoiler option is the same part for all. The only thing they change over the years and models is the colors, as the color options did change.

Rear lips (Rear Under Spoiler)

All the Base model TL rear under spoilers are the same. Like the Side Skirts, the only thing they changed over the years was the color choice.

The Type-S did have a different looking rear lip. The tip cut-outs are larger to accommodate the quad exhaust tips, and there was a honeycomb center section that resembles a diffuser.

Installing the A-Spec lip on a TL-S involves cutting out the stock tip surrounds. By doing so, one can actually install the TL-S spec lip on a Base TL of any year as well. It fits perfectly well. Many people will convert their Base TLs to a Quad system by installing said lip. So the compatibility is there.

Other mentionables:

  • All the front and rear lips involve modification of the factory bumpers to install, making them all permanent installations.
  • While all colors were available new, as sales volume slows the supply of the different colors is fading. Acura has discontinued all colors as of this writing.