Using fog lights with a VRSF Intercooler

Using fog lights with a VRSF Intercooler

2016-03-05 09.48.25When of the best ways to improve safety in any car is to increase visibility in inclement weather by adding fog lights. As it happens, I’m putting together a great post on the installation of a knock off VRSF front mount intercooler, or FMIC, in the 2G Spyder. I’ve got a ton of video to go through before putting it all together for you, but while I was at it, I tackled a common complaint I’ve seen from people running this setup. Namely, that you can’t run fog lights with it. I was switching to my new 2GB style bumper with a big opening for the large FMIC and I’ve always loved the look of a 2GB bumper running a nice set of lights. Of course, living in the mid-west (a geographical beacon for weather conditions that create visibility issues) means I also have practical need for fog lights. I figured it was the perfect time to get a set. So, I picked up a used set of fogs and moldings for a 2GB bumper for a reasonable price and figured I’d give making them work a go.The problem:

I will say definitively that running the stock fog lights is a no go, or at least it was for me. I’ll be reselling those lights, but keeping the moldings. It’s not just that the mounting bracket for the FMIC is meant to use the bolt holes for the fog light brackets as some of the posts I’d seen on forums indicated. I actually ended up tapping my own M8 holes anyway since I needed to shift it around  in order for the pipes to clear the custom exhaust I inherited from the previous owner. I absolutely hate the one-piece downpipe and o2 housing the guy rigged up to make the little 13G he put in work. You’ll get to see plenty of me griping about it in the upcoming install video.  The real problem is that the exit pipe on the driver’s side of the intercooler runs straight across where the fog light would sit. So there’s no way to make it work. I’ve seen somebody say they mounted the FMIC an inch or two lower, but I didn’t see that working for me either. At the time of the video, I threw my hands up in the air at this point and moved forward. I was on a time constraint to get home for work, and didn’t have time to try anything else.

The Solution:

It wouldn’t be much of an article if that were the end of the story. I’m stubborn, and after 13 years of driving DSMs, I really felt it was time to finally have one with working fog lights. So, I took the plastic molding that the lights sit in over to Auto-zone and found a set of generic lights that would squeeze into them with a fairly tight fit. For $20, I figured I could make them work. This is a great workaround, and it’s how most people get around this issue, but I’ve never seen anyone document what they did to get it to work, and I always see people asking when someone posts a picture. So, with no more stalling, here’s what I did, pics and all.

 

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What you need:

  1. Round fog lights that fit snugly into the factory moldings. I got mine at AutoZone for about $20. I put the box in the slideshow.
  2. Flat stock aluminum – preferably something thin and easy to work with. The piece here is is much wider than what I used. Get this at your local hardware store.
  3. M8 bolts (2) – I went with a stainless socket capped one for looks
  4. M8 tap – Make sure it uses the same thread spacing as your bolt! I have two different M8 taps for this reason. You could also use a M8 nuts, but it will make mounting and un-mounting down the road a pain.
  5. Tap Wrench (assuming you went with the tap)
  6. Wire Crimp/stripper
  7. Allen Wrench
  8. Extra Ground wire (if you care about color matching)
  9. Zip ties
  10. Electrical connectors (male and female)
  11. Philips head screwdriver
  12. Drill and bit

Mounting:

Fastening the lights into the molding is pretty straight forward. The lights come with a square U bracket that bolts to either side of them. The position of the boltholes lines up nicely with the edge of the molding. I just pulled the brackets off, slid the lights into the molding, and put the screws into the mount holes without a bracket. Since it’s a tight fit, the screws are really just there to keep it from sliding out under hard braking or in an accident. If your lights aren’t as snug, you could also run a screw through the sidewalls of the molding into the side of the lights. For the driver’s side, I used the screw hole that’s used to mount the moldings into the bumper along with the mounting hole to secure the light. That’s because the same exit pipe that blocked the factory fog lights is too far forward on my setup to mount the aftermarket LED housing the same way I did the passenger side. This may not be an issue for you depending on how far forward you need to push your FMIC to clear your downpipe. Remember earlier when I said I hate my downpipe? I had to push mine pretty far forward to keep it from rubbing my intercooler piping.  Even with it as far forward as it is, I have to use a zip tie to pull the pipe away from the exhaust. In addition, I had to shave the little fins off the back of the light housing. These are just plastic, and no one can see them installed, so it doesn’t hurt anything, but it was annoying for me.

Since I had to shave the part of the bumper that actually holds the molding in to make it all fit with the FMIC, I had to get creative to keep the molding from falling off while driving. I still had my M8 Tap from the FMIC install, so I popped over to the hardware store and grabbed some stainless steel M8 socket cap bolts, similar to the M6 ones I use on my valve cover and spark plug cover. I also grabbed a strip of thin aluminum flat stock. I trimmed the flatstock down to a few inches, tapped it for the M8 bolt, and ran the bolt through the hole on the front of the mold. This way, the aluminum strip holds the molding in place using compression. If this doesn’t make sense, the pictures may make it clearer.

Electrical:

While the new lights came with all the electrical components needed to wire them in, it was unnecessary. 2G DSMs come pre-wired for fog lights, even if they weren’t included. So I just cut the factory harness off on the driver’s side, crimped on some generic connectors, and wired the lights together to plug into my new connectors. I had already put a button console with the fog light button into the car when I swapped to a black dash, so there was no need to hunt down a factory switch again. Since the amperage on these LED’s is significantly lower  (I think both lights combined pull about a amp and a half, if that), I also switched out the factory 15 AMP fuse for a 5 AMP fuse. You could also just wire in the inline fuse that’s included with the light kit, but I didn’t want to be crawling under the car the first time my lights stopped working.

When I say that I wired the lights in together, I mean that I wired connectors on each pair of the wires coming out of each stub, and  and connected them to 2 additional other wires merged into a single connector. That means I can replace either light at any time and only need to splice into the factory wiring in one spot (the factory fog harness on the driver’s side). It’s important that you connect each wire to the same colored wire, as the LED’s are directional. If wire the lights in backwards, they won’t work. For the white power wires, I used the included wiring. For the black ground wires, I used an extra spool of black wire I had laying around for another project. There is enough included wire to make it work with the kit’s wiring, but I wanted to maintain the color code for troubleshooting later.

When it was all done, I zip tied my wiring down using the mounting holes on the bottom of the bumper to keep them from dangling. The previous owner ditched the bracket that bolted into them anyway, as a lot of guys do the first time they pull their bumper. Eventually, I’ll wrap them in a nice nylon wrap too to clean them up a bit, but the bumper has to come off for real paint later anyway. I just plati-dipped it for now to keep road salt off until winter is over.

If you’re not using the factory wiring, or wiring these into a different car, just follow the instructions included with the kit. There are a ton of YouTube videos available that show how to wire in aftermarket lights if you’re as bad at following wiring diagrams as I am. I watched a few of them just to get an understanding of how to compare what came in the kit with what I already had before splicing it in.

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