Although the Jimny’s headlights were now the perfect shade of yellow, fiddling around with various bulbs had highlighted another light-related niggle that I’d forgotten about during the lighter summer evenings – to me the switch from dipped to main beam is very pronounced in the Jimny, with the mains having a decent throw but leaving very little light closer the vehicle. Not wanting far-reaching spotlights but close, wide-angle floodlights I decided to use OEM foglights switched via the main beam, with HID rather than halogen bulbs to give more light and to simplify the wiring involved.
Having bought a Jimny with no front foglights specced the first task was to cut out the blanking discs from the front bumper and fit a second-hand set of foglights (second hand because they would come with the all-important mounting brackets). Fitting the brackets involved taking the front bumper off the car which turned out to be quite a pleasant task – no mass of hidden trim clips, bar the 2 sneaky screws behind the registration plate! – and also helped free up some working room to fit the HID ballasts.
With brackets, foglights and ballasts all fitted – the latter hidden from view and tucked high up away from water and so that the power sockets poked into the engine bay – I popped the bumper back on the car and set to work on the engine bay wiring. Part of the reasoning behind using HIDs was to take advantage of the HID wiring harnesses which are cheap and readily available on eBay, but as the Jimny is “earth switched” I did have to make some modifications – shown in the diagram below – to get them to work.
The modified HID harness only required one feed from the car’s wiring – the negative “switching” feed for the relay – but I’ve always tried to avoid permanent modifications to the standard wiring (including using the evil Scotchlok) and so I tapped into a H4 “ceramic connector” which could then be plugged into the headlight wiring, bridging the headlight socket and the back of the bulb.
I’d purchased a set of H3-based Cibie foglights (rather than the H11-based Valeo) as they included plastic surrounds to tidy up the bumper cut-outs – unfortunately they also came with unique twist-close bulb holders which made the fitting of HID bulbs a lot more complicated than the simple bulb switchover needed on the Valeos.
Luckily a bit of Google research revealed that these holders had a similar construction to H10 bulbs, and with a bit of tab filing a set of H10 HID bulbs twisted into place nicely, though with a difference in the location of the rubber seals I thought a squeeze of silicone sealant was necessary to ensure the housings remained absolutely waterproof.
Whilst I was obviously hoping for a noticeable increase in light levels on main beam – especially as HIDs push out a lot of light once fully warmed up – I was still pretty amazed at how well the “spotfogs” worked as short-to-medium range floodlights. That this sort of extra light was achieved with an OEM lighting setup and with the bulk of the HID hardware & wiring tucked away from view made it even more satisfying.