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, 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 purchased a H4 “ceramic connector” into which I could tap the necessary feed. This could then be plugged into the standard headlight wiring setup between the H4 connector and the back of the bulb.
There are two options for OEM foglights on the early Jimnys and I chose the H3-based Cibie foglights – rather than the H11-based Valeo – as they included plastic surrounds to help tidy up the newly-made cut-outs in the front bumper. Unfortunately the Cibie lights also come with unique twist-close bulb holders which make fitting HID bulbs a lot more complicated than the arrangement on the Valeos. However, a bit of Google research revealed that these proprietary holders had a similar tab alignment to H10 bulbs and so with a bit of tab filing I was able to slot a set of H10 HID bulbs into position. An added squeeze of silicone sealant kept the bulbs extra-secure and ensured 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.