Installing driving/fog lights in a 91 Miata

February 10, 2016

I finally decided to install these lights on the Miata. Now to start, these are your typical cheap 55 W bulb lights. The reason I like these it's because they are cheap so they won't light up the road a whole lot, but I have found them to be helpful with the small cars. They just let people see me a little better. The other reason cheap is fine is that when my other car got hit, the lights were the first to go and since they were cheap, I knew I didn't lose much there. Not that better ones are bad, but I just want a little extra lighting at night. From using the other ones I had on the other car I found them to help people see me more than when I only had the two regular lights. The cars are old too so the lights are not the brightest, but when you add two more, it sure made a noticeable difference. People would actually wait a bit more than just moving right into my lane. So do I recommend them if you can get them. Do you need to have the most expensive, no. In fact the set I got this time didn't even have any wires or connectors, just the lights and brackets. Well only the power wire had plugs but the wires are a bit short and very thin, so you also get what you pay. I already knew the car had some wiring in it which is the other reason I didn't care if they didn't came with any wiring. I just went for the smallest ones I thought would fit better in this car. I had not even looked under there until I started fitting them. It's a very tight space, but I got them fitted without much trouble. I'll explain that in the pictures as I will be posting those in a second. You can find this light set specs here...

 These are the two lights I bought a while back.

 These are your typical 55w bulbs.

 Here's the bracket I decided to use to hold them from one side. I was able to use a stock screw that's under there. I didn't really want to make holes under there and even if I did, most of the area is plastic and I found the light to not sit right. So that plastic actually got in the way. I really wanted to get these on the pretty solid metal part. My old set from the other car was on an aluminum skirt which moved too much and the mounting was a single bolt which made them shake quite a bit. So I wanted to make sure this time around they would sit in a nice solid place to keep them from bouncing around.

 I had some small 5 mm stainless steel screws and nuts which is what I decided to use on the bracket. The original screws where to big and long for the holes on this metal piece. This is just a regular door lock piece that comes with those. I had three of these lying around so I ended up using this one since it had the smaller holes. My screws fit just right, so no drilling was needed here.

 The wires these lights come with are fairly thin. They work, but they suck when you crimp them. I had to use the old style crimper in order to get a nice solid crimp.

 Now here's the fog light diagram for the miata. This is from my hanes repair manual and sure enough, the Miata has the same wiring color. That's the one thing I actually like about this car. The wiring for lights is already there. I just needed to add a wire for the positive side from the lights to the plug that's right in the engine bay near the fire wall. It's the Green and yellow wire with a female bullet connector. Can't get any easier than that.

I bought these small switches a while back and since I had use a small one in this car before, the second one here was just what I needed. I bought some of these switches from I like how you can order just what you need from them. The small square switches don't have LED's but since I know what each one does and where it is, I have no problem with that. The round larger ones do.

 Having a few sheet metal screws helps. I thought I would be using a few but it turns out I will only need two, maybe. I also bought these screws from a while back to keep on hand.

 I had this old wire laying around and it had a male bullet connector with a cover on it. These old speaker wire is much thicker than what came with the lights and worked just great. It was also very long and I was able to make the second wire for the other light from the same wire. I didn't have any red wire and just wanted to use what I had on hand. I finally got used out of this.

 Here's the new tube of silicon I got today. My old tube was hardened so I couldn't use it. I looked for the cheapest one and oreilly auto had it online, but when I got there this was the cheapest one I could find. After my old tube harden and was useless to me I really didn't want to spend much on this thing.

 Here I covered the edges to keep the water and any condensation out as much as possible. I did this because I wanted to set them and forget about them. It was no fun cleaning the water out of my other set on the other car when I first got them.

I took that wire rubber cover off and also gave it a go around the edge here. This was open quite a bit. Things should stay pretty dry now. I like how I can rotate the lights about 180 degrees in the bracket. That came in handy when I mounted them since I was able to put the bracket behind the light. Making the installation ever more clean since you can't really see any bracket.

 Here's a good picture of what the bottom here looks like. You can see the bolt I already took off. This is an original bolt from the car so I decided to just use this here to mount one side of the light and use this for my ground too. It is tight in here so it took a while to get that bolt out. Not impossible but trust me, it takes a bit of time since it's not completely uncovered. But it's the only one that works in order to keep the light away from the hook and from behind the license plate.Unless you like making random holes, than I'm sure it could be attached anywhere else, but the plastic kind of gets in the way and most of those other parts are plastic. Anyway, this is what I went with and kept the install clean.

 The original bolt fit just right too.

 Here's how this got mounted. The curve side up, straight bracket edge down. This allows for the most movement of the light. Except that this was the wrong light. If you look at the wires they are facing the left side and the wires need to be on the inside for easier routing. Yes, I had to really look at this close. So I changed the light since I was able to catch this too.

 On the bench. I'm not sure how that light installed got there before the bench here. The reason is that before I even mounted the lights, I bought a new tube of rtv or silicone. I also put it all around the edges of the light as you can see in this picture. I also did it around the light inside the rubber boot. I did this because on my previous set, I didn't do this and water condensed in there and also got in there when I washed the car. These lights are not completely sealed. I wasn't trying to sealed them, just making sure water didn't get in through the edges as before. The experience from my previous set came in handy now, so you live and learn. Also, making the connections on the bench as much as possible can save you time and well you can actually measure the correct connector. Unfortunately I didn't have small rings with large holes, so I used the larger one, but had to really get that crimped since the wires are small. I could have use the spade, but I didn't want these coming off.

 Here's the right side installed.

 A little closeup.

The left side. Here you can also see that the right side of the bracket is not mounted. I wanted to see how long of a bracket I needed before making any holes. It turned out better than I thought. I was thinking of using a sheet metal screw up top under the bumper, but it's not flat up there. It has a slight curve, but it turns out I just need a small right angle bracket I can screw to the plastic here. This stays in place with just the single screw, but having the bracket to hold the other side should keep it held there without any problem.

 A front shot.

 The driver side.

 A closer look at the inner bracket.

 This side is pretty close so just s small bracket will do.

Here are the brackets I made out of that one piece. I found this one to be a bit on the brittle side. After bending it twice it would just break, but that was from the end I needed so it made bending and cutting them easier. One bend and I had my small bracket. I have two other and thicker door lock brackets if these ever break. So it's an easy piece to make.

 Here's the bracket installed on the inner side. Notice I haven't screwed this down yet. I want to drive at night and check the lights before I do this. They look fine, but it's better to make sure you get them right before making the hole. The bracket keeps it in place and will let me know if I should leave it here or inside the plastic piece. I'll know for sure once I get it out in the dark. So that should make things simple.

 Here's the other side. Same thing.

 The 91 has the plug here for the switch, but since I don't have the original switches I am making my own plug to the small switch. Just follow the schematic up to and you will find it.

 I turned the plug here so you can see the colors. Green and yellow from the engine bay and red and black from the dimmer. There are two other smaller red and black, but I don't know what those are. Just use the thick ones.
 Here's my insert. I decided to move the LED to the right side so I could keep the switch on the lower side just like the other switch you see in the background there.

Here's the light on after I got it all plugged in and tested it.

 My switch and wires set up for testing.

 Notice the two switches are the smaller size which you can get to fit in these blanks. Take note of the difference icons though. The one in the back is a momentary for the door locks and the one for the lights is an on and off switch. Same size though. I got them because they were small enough to fit in these and they seem to work just fine. I will be adding some electrical tape to make sure nothing is exposed later. See the metal inside there. You better do this. I also like to add a cable tie to the tape since that tends to come off over time, but the cable tie usually keeps that cover on. It's just a good safety tip unless you like sparks while you're driving.

 Here's where I added the silicone around this piece. It was exposed so the first sign of water would have gone in there. These type of lights get hot, but if you're driving that usually cools them and I didn't have any problems with my other set.

 Here's what these lights look like complete and ready to be mounted. See how I also wrapped the positive wire in electrical tape. The reason is that it goes over that edge so you really don't want that thin wire rubbing there.

 Unfortunately I found out that the driver side just wasn't working. It took a little while since I had to recheck my connections just to be sure. I also had to take it apart and test the wires with my meter. Everything was fine and I found this was the problem. One side of the bulb just wasn't making contact. The second problem of this set is that this is not a plug so that you can easily change the bulb. It's soldered and the other lead is supposed to be crimped but mine was not on this light. I just left it alone for now until I can figure out what to do since all the wires are working fine. If I don't get a replacement I can surely just change the set now that everything is there. That's for another time.

 Once I routed the cable for the lights. I cut the long wire here and attached the driver side light to it, then crimped both to one side and the other side to the other end coming from the wall side. Kind of like making a small Y cable. It's what the schematic showed so I just used that. It only works when you have the regular beams on which is totally fine with me. You  would normally not use the high beams with fog anyway unless you enjoy driving blind since you can't see a thing with those on in the fog. Not we have much if at all where I live, but I have driven in fog before and that's how that works. The lower your lights, the more road you can actually see.

Here's a closeup of the button.

 I had only taken out enough to fit the LED before, but this time I just went ahead and took all that out to make space for both the LED and the switch in the same housing.

 Drilling the new LED hole on the right side.

And here's what you end up  with after using the dremel to make a nice square. Now I just need to put some connectors on the LED and get this back in the car and I'm ready to test out the lights and get that last screw put in if I can remember which way they are pointing. The LED keeps getting shorter and since I have a feeling I may need to take that out again, I am going with spades instead of the other connectors for that since it will make life easier.

In short...
The pros:
-Cheap lights

-Small and just happen to work in the Miata

The cons:
-No wiring which you may need in other cars. At least one for the positive wiring.

-The bulb is soldered in and crimped. I would prefer a socket so that I can change the bulb if it dies for whatever reason. Since you can't do this, you either have to get a replacement light or a whole new set. Not the best option. I didn't realize these didn't have a removable bulb. My other cheap set did and was easier in this respect.

-The wires where just a bit short and thin.

-No ring or other connectors included for the negative wire. It would be nice if they included any to make the install a bit easier.

-The separate wiring kits costs more than the set of lights. So you may want to find a set that includes everything. I know there are many others out there.

-Not completely sealed around the bulb and glass. At least the glass adhesive seems to be holding.

Update, March 8, 2016.
I finally got my second set of these lights. Banggood was pretty good about sending me a new replacement set since I had problems with my first set. Unfortunately I just got these in the mail yesterday and one of the lights came all broken up already. I don't know if it was like that from the get go or during shipping since the plastic is barely broken. Either way, I can't use it as you can see. I'll let them know but I wanted to add this on here in case you are looking into getting anything from far away like this. I guess they could have used a box with better packaging but instead it came in a plastic bag with a bit of foam around. The first set made it through, but this one didn't so that's something to think about. I didn't even think about this until now.

Update, January 19, 2018.
I want to update this so that others don't have to go through the problems I had with these. My bulbs burned up and I drove the car for a long time without the lights. I finally went ahead and ordered some bulbs on online and swapped them into the lights. They worked great, but one day when I was driving down the highway I decided to turn them off and back on to make sure they worked. That's when I found out that the switch was getting pretty hot, so I left them off until I could get some new parts to add to this set up.
I decided to add a power line from the rear of the battery to the front of the car since the only line I could find was the blue line up front which is also connected to the heater I think.  I added the line so that I could add an inline circuit breaker near the batter and a small fuse block up front for a relay that I wanted to add to the lights so the switch wouldn't have any problems. So without getting into too much here I'll just add the pictures and write down the information here.

Here's the circuit breaker I bought. I bought two but one is not working correctly. I went ahead and use double sided tape to mount mine. The self tapping screws I have are a bit too big on the head and I also could not find an open spot to easily screw this too. I ran this 10 gauge wire to the front since I just happen to have this laying around. I also just needed power for the new lights and nothing else. I'm glad I didn't try to put a thicker wire since the front rubber grommet I used is a bit on the smaller side and the firewall is a bit tight were this one goes through. It's lose so not tight, but anything larger just would have been pretty tough to get through. I wanted a circuit breaker but all I have seen locally were inline fuses so this is why I went with this one. As long as you get one that works, it seems to work fin.

Here's is the fuse block I got and found this spot to work perfectly. I just removed the clip that holds those cables. It was already off and since it's a flat metal bracket, it worked perfectly. I didn't have to drill either. I just used a wire tie to tie this down and it works fine. I just left the other connectors on so that the spades are not exposed. Nothing will happen if something touches those since there is no fuse, but the nut on the top is live since that's the wire coming from the battery. I also put this above that other screw on the bottom since that's a ground and the other one is positive. You do have to be very careful with this since you can make a short very fast and this is the reason I also put the breaker near the battery. This whole part is 40 amp rated, but I'm only using it for the two lights I added. Nothing else is connected to it.
After checking things with my ohm's law calculator, I found that both my 55 watt lights would only take about 9 amps, so I went ahead and just used a 10 amp fuse because the smaller fuse is smaller than what I need. So far, it works.

I just cut the previous line I was using coming from the switch and connected my relay here, hence the short wires.
Here's a closer look at the relay. This one only has four legs. I should note that I was still testing here and later added electrical tape and a wire tie to hold the relay. Basically the switch goes to 85, 86 to ground, 30 to the fuse block for power and 87 to the lights. So far it works great. I just need to find some rubber caps for those spares since I think they look ugly sticking out like that.

And here is the light that stopped working on me and I found that the ground wire had broken off.

It turns out that they basically give you any wire, not to mention it's very thin. I think this came with a 20 gauge wire and I should have changed it at the beginning. Keep in mind that almost all the Chinese lights I have seen come with very thin wires, so just change them for something thicker. The light wire seems okay. So I decided to just change them since I had to fix them anyway.

 While taking off the second one, the darn light fell off because the ground wire on this other side also broke and of course when it hit the ground it broke the lens. Not cool.

The good thing is that I had a spare from the second set I had bought, that came with a broken one and they didn't want to send me a replacement. So I just went ahead and updated the wire on this one and got it set up.

Here's the length you get on this, which is not only too short, but way too thin of  a wire.

I had some 18 gauge wire on hand, but I would suggest some 16 gauge if you have it. This is just what I had so I used it. The lights worked with the thinner wire so I figured this will work.

Here's my new ring terminal as well.

For some reason these were all fogged up even though they are inside, so I used my special tool to clean the inside of the lens. That cleared it right up.

Here's what the new wire looks like.

I added the yellow connector before I put the boot back up, so don't forget to do that. I just went ahead and cut the boot, it makes it easier to put it back since these rubber covers are getting pretty hard too. So these are not the best, but with a little rtv, I got them back in place.

Since this is a new light, I also put some rtv around the mating surface where I know water gets in them.
This helps seal them from the elements a bit more.  If not water will get into them on the first wash or rain. Ask me how I know.

After putting back the boot, I went ahead and added a bit more silicone and all is good again.

Here's the final result. The trash on the right. The spare parts leftover above and my finish light ready to be put back on the car. I also redid the terminals on the wires coming to the lights. For some reason the small red connectors were just coming off. I also have a new wire crimper to help so that made it easier to do this.

Here's  a picture of the box once again.

And the part number for these.

So just remember, no matter what lights you buy, if the wire is too thin, just change it for something thicker or you will be doing this again later. Also, add some silicone around any of the parts that come apart and the light should last longer.

Here's the final assembly. Of course I also feel like a knuckle head for not doing this before. Live and learn. The good thing is that I know what to do next time I have to put on another set of lights on anything.

No comments: