Great upgrade, but it took me forever to follow through on wiring it up properly. The headlights bolt on in minutes and when the stock wiring makes everything work its easy to look at the parts yet to be installed and - just - call it a night. Go for a drive, appreciate 7" Hella's again and forget all about it. The extra parts and a 'proper install' would cross my mind every few months, for years.
There was also fog lights that needed to be wired in from scratch and the city lights wiring needs some special attention.
And doing this with Rod's 'headlight wiring upgrade/voltage drop' post ( tech/rods_pages/id6.html
) was on my mind as well and wanted to wire the fogs, low and high beams similarly.
Lastly, I wanted it to look OE for as much as practical. So a BMW fog switch for sure, and getting the bulbs operating in the cluster were on the list. The switch was easy, getting that small 'window' for the cluster that shows the front and rear fog, that took a while.
By the time I needed a good fog switch I had four. The pic above is whats in the car, so this euro fog below (with its two buttons) is a spare along with a number of the single button units.
The E23 units have the white lettering on them. Legible and in the mother tongue, gut gut.
To wire in the fog switch I was able to use some wiring from a spare loom. Did not get all the wiring colours correct, but who's gonna know right?
To finish the job above a plastic cover is needed like on the back of these. Not crucial, but its still on the list.
switched +12v was taken from the headlight switch. To trigger relays for the fogs front and rear.
At the same time as the lights I'm also trying to get +12v to the cluster bulbs. These are the positive traces, just need some wiring with the correct pins to get those connected. The ground circuit for the bulbs is already completed on the PCB.
Something for here
These wires were removed from a spare loom for the same connector. I couldn't pin-extract the wires from the connector for the life of me, so I had to cut the plug down the middle and slowly free them. If you see pride in these little wires, its because it took forever to free them up without destroying them or cutting my finger tips off
Won't be doing that again, (you can buy the connectors new online if your savvy enough) but now there's spare connectors and there's other bulb slots in the cluster too, perhaps someday I'll add a few more lights to the cluster for something fun like - rocket launchers? No to that, but I would add a light indicating the fricking seat heaters are on in the middle of summer
(Sidenote: the fog buttons fit perfectly in the slots on either side of the stereo providing more buttons if you like. And I like buttons. And a master switch for the heated seats is getting a button someday)
Back to the actual headlights, 12ga wiring was used and a friend and I did a bunch of the wiring on his bench to ensure good crimps and solders.
There's some wiring details to attend to in the fuse box to have the euro lows remain on with the high beams. I soldered the Wh/Rd to that ground there, but this is just one step IIRC.
Up front, the left side fog and low and high beams are grounded on the main post above the battery. Was also able to find used female connectors to match the stock fog connector. If you look close only the ground is on the fog connector, its +12v comes from the right side of the car, a little odd wiring wise but it works.
Similar setup on the right, theres a ground post in the engine compartment near the a/c compressor, and all remaining grounds were run there.
To get full functionality from the 7" lamps you need to add a 5/16" pin (thanks Rod) to this socket and epoxy it in place. No problem.
With the details sorted, this could be called the heart of the matter. A power distribution block on the inner fender using a stock mounting hole, fed by a heavier gauge wire run straight from the alternator, over the thermostat housing and to the power block.
Three relays in their sockets mounted to the headlight cover as Rod did. Its a good spot for them.
And two things that didn't work out 'the best'. One, was using just red for +12v, should have colour coded that better. What was I thinking?! My friend even called me on it at ten o'clock at night, at his benchtop, and oddly it seemed too late even before we started. So that's my excuse, lets not talk about it. It works.
The second challenge here was how the wiring comes and goes. Each relay has wiring that runs in multiple directions, its not neat. Next time I'd consider building a loom from the relays side first, so the wiring for each relay could be grouped better.
Some cloth wiring tape would be great too (no one stocks it in Canada, weird). That regular electrical tape is begging to be replaced. So... to whoever may come across this, the connections are solid, the relays run left to right as Low, High, Fog. And yes, it could be neater.
There's a wiring chase that runs across the nose of the car, just below the kidney grill and the majority of the wiring was run through it. And that's most of it.
The rear fog is just a +12v wire run to the left rear taillight, and not connected. Waiting for a need I guess. The last time I saw a car properly use rear fogs around here was a dozen years ago, a slow going older Volvo on a foggy mountain highway. His rear fogs were doing him good that day and was nice to see. With so few foggy days around here, there's no burning need to complete the rear fogs it seems and that's the way they sit. The tail lights are still 100% stock. Easy to complete when the time is right.
The bluish tint to the LED bulbs in the front turned out to come from the bluish coating on the PIAA Extreme White headlight bulbs. Got lucky with that, if the city lights were that harsh LED white they would have been out as fast as they went in.
Lastly, the way its wired, all four high beams come on while the two low beams also stay lit. With all six filaments burning it puts a lot of lumens down range, excellent.
To stress test it all I've run long stretches (15 mins plus continuously on multi-hour night drives) with everything on and its working flawlessly. I had wondered if the 7" lamps would overheat with both filaments burning, no problem there. And the loom, relays, dash lights, and so on - just fine.
Euro headlights with upgraded wiring. Good good.