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Old 04-25-2003, 01:00 AM   #1
wrxinfx
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Default My new Hella FF200 Driving Lights and mounts

Hi folks, just wanted to share my success in adding driving lights to my WRX. Hopefully, this will help others with similiar needs.

The Problem
Most MY02+ Impreza owners will probably agree that the stock headlights don't offer a whole lot of light. I'm in agreement on this and have been looking for ways to improve the lighting on my car. My first solution was to replace the OEM fogs with Hella 500 fogs - this was great and very affordable ($110 w/mounts). Next I wanted even more light, even if it meant I could only run them off-road. As I have a few off-road TSD nighttime rally's on my calendar they would definatly prove handy in the near future. Full blown HID lamps were out of consideration from a cost basis so that left me exploring standard halogen alternatives.

Design Parameters
1. Cost: It must cost less than $300
2. Proper driving light height - at or near the grill.
3. Can't extend past the bumper
4. Can't block impede airflow (drastically) to the grill
5. Compact design so as not to block my vision of the road.
3. Easily removable

The Solution
For lights I explored the range of PIAA's, Hella's and Cibie's. I settled on a new halogen lamp from Hella - the FF200. FF stands for "free form" and this is a new computer designed lamp. A full kit from www.rallylights.com was $125. They are only 55w, but reduced cost led me to take a risk on them and give them a try. I can always upgrade to the HID FF200's ($700) or settle on a PIAA or Cibie solution for $250-$350.

Next I needed a mounting solution. With the help of a machinist friend, we settled on a simple aluminum piece that would mount on the top of the radiator, and bend down and through the grill. Removal was easy - just unscrew the one bolt, and unsnap the grill and out it comes. The Hella's have plugs that can be disconected at the lights. An hour later my buddy had the mounts made up and installed. We tapped the aluminum and screwed on the lamps. I ran the wiring harnes (which is complete with everything you need) to the battery, and ran the switch through a rubber plug in the firewall behind the clutch/brake peddles. Simple. Self-adhesive tape on the back of the switch allows you to put it anywhere. The harness includes the ability to tap into a hot circuit - like the hi-beams, so the can be turned off quickly when you dim your high's.

UPDATE: See my newest post below - I finally figured out how to wire them switchable with the high-beams!

(see pics below)
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Last edited by wrxinfx; 08-08-2003 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 04-25-2003, 01:02 AM   #2
wrxinfx
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Look! a six-eyed frog!





I do get some funny looks from pedestrians...


Last edited by wrxinfx; 04-25-2003 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 04-25-2003, 01:34 AM   #3
wrxinfx
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Conclusion

I've only tested them at night on paved roads, and so far I'm very happy. The lights extend the range of the headlights at least double the distance, and make reflective surfaces you couldn't normally see with the stock lights glow bright. The lights allow for complete adjustment of the angle of the lights on all planes. If you want them down and bright up close or pointed way down the road, the choice is yours. I do have one concern that remains and that is the amount of vibration I will get on gravel at speed. Rally drivers say that the vibration on the beam will make the pattern very annoying. The lights are pretty firm, but not "solid". More testing will be needed!!

Please note - Driving beams like these are not intended for on-road use!!! The light will blind oncomming traffic - use with caution!!!

Last edited by wrxinfx; 04-26-2003 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 04-25-2003, 12:02 PM   #4
Crashton
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Very nice install. I like those mounts. I think that you may need to run a brace from the top of the light to the mount. Hella sells a nice stainless steel kit for that purpose. You could probably get them from RallyLights. The one thing that I don't understand is why you didn't put Hella 500 driving lights in instead of those fogs. IMHO fogs aren't worth the electricity to run them. If you haven't done so you should have all your axillary lights to go on & off with your high beam switch.
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Old 04-25-2003, 12:16 PM   #5
wrxinfx
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Quote:
Very nice install. I like those mounts. I think that you may need to run a brace from the top of the light to the mount. Hella sells a nice stainless steel kit for that purpose. You could probably get them from RallyLights. The one thing that I don't understand is why you didn't put Hella 500 driving lights in instead of those fogs. IMHO fogs aren't worth the electricity to run them. If you haven't done so you should have all your axillary lights to go on & off with your high beam switch.
I'm pretty happy with the Hella Fogs. My thought was Fog position = Fog beam. They do throw a lot of light to the sides which I like for the tight twisties, but I can't say the help in foggy conditions. So I do tend to agree with you. It's like "ya, they are 2x better than the OEM, but they still suck for their intended purpose"
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Old 04-25-2003, 06:05 PM   #6
Crashton
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It seems as though the fogs that the manufacturer put on cars are more of a styling thing than a function thing.

You are right about driving lights in the fog position. Really too low for best effect.
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Old 04-25-2003, 08:10 PM   #7
tdxflex
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how much would the brackets cost if your friend made another set? i don't need the holes drilled or tapped, i can do that on my own but i don't have a machine shop nearby that can fab the bracket. do your lights get dislodged when you go over bumps and stuff?

Last edited by tdxflex; 04-25-2003 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 04-25-2003, 08:49 PM   #8
wrxinfx
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Quote:
how much would the brackets cost if your friend made another set? i don't need the holes drilled or tapped, i can do that on my own but i don't have a machine shop nearby that can fab the bracket. do your lights get dislodged when you go over bumps and stuff?
Dunno about cost, they were inteded as a one-off. My buddy is gone commercial fishing for the summer anyway. It's a pretty simple design. We used what we had, the thinkness of the Alumninum is probably more than necessary, but you do not want any flex. B/C of the thinkness we counter drilled the whole on the top to accept the original bolt that goes in the radiator mount. The bends are pretty easy, if you guys have access to a simple press, we bent it twice, and then "twisted" the end a bit to fit throught the hole in grill. This made each one asymetrical and they only work on the side they are designed for. It took my guy less than 2 hours, maybe only 1.5 if he was cranking to make it.

Do they vibrate? Well, that's the big question, they are only supported in one way, so the possiblity is there. How anoying it will be, remains to be seen - I need some good nightime gravel driving to test it! For pavement it's been fine when I've need them - and they do help a lot. I can run with the FF200's only and no headlights just fine.
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Old 04-26-2003, 09:14 AM   #9
wrxinfx
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Question high-beam circuit?

Anybody know what color the wire is that goes to the highbeams? I need to tap into this so I can dim these suckers with my highbeam switch. Any help appreciated - and ya, I'll do a search, thanks.

Casey
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Old 04-26-2003, 11:55 AM   #10
tdxflex
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it's the solid red wire, just remember it's switched ground. the yellow/red one is low beam switched ground, blue is common power

i might just try to make a fiberglass mount, it's starting to get warm again.
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Old 04-26-2003, 12:51 PM   #11
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tdxflex - thanks a lot that's what I need to know!
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Old 08-08-2003, 02:33 AM   #12
wrxinfx
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Default Wiring update

Okay so I wired it like tdxflex mentioned, and as some of you know, the red wire going to the high-beam is switched ground. There's a lot of chatter on this board about what to do with that, and how to work around it. The two methods I've seen mentioned include adding a second relay to "invert" the signal comming from the highbeam to then trigger the main relay. The other is to tap instead to the red-yellow wire, which is the low beam. This will pull power when the high beams are on - but through the filaments of the low beams!

With some help, I've come to a cleaner more elegent solution I'd like to share. For starters, I am using the included harness that came with the FF200's. However I modified it and this proceedure will work on most regardless.

Here goes:

The relay has two sides, the coil side and the switched side. I wired my coil side like this:

Battery positive - aux switch (in cabin) - relay coil - switched ground on the headlight (red wire). I soldered a diode across the coil poles on the relay, with the band-side towards the dash (away from the head lights).

The switched side is pretty simple: Battery positive - switched side of relay - aux lights - ground.

The end result is this:
Ignition on: Aux switch turns on Aux lights
Ignition on + Headlights: No Aux lights available
Ignition on + High Beams: Aux lights available

The end effect is that I can turn off and on my Aux lights with my highbeams, quickly and safely with out taking my hands off the wheel. Bonus: I can run Aux lights only if I leave my headlights off (switchable only at the Aux light switch).

So far this works great. This weekend I'm running in the Road Not Taken TSD gravel night rally in Oregon. I'll have a report when I return.

Casey
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:32 AM   #13
nhluhr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxinfx
Battery positive - aux switch (in cabin) - relay coil - switched ground on the headlight (red wire). I soldered a diode across the coil poles on the relay, with the band-side towards the dash (away from the head lights).

The switched side is pretty simple: Battery positive - switched side of relay - aux lights - ground.

The end result is this:
Ignition on: Aux switch turns on Aux lights
Ignition on + Headlights: No Aux lights available
Ignition on + High Beams: Aux lights available
Just thought I'd bump this because after hooking up my Hella FF1000's in the above manner, I found that they would turn on even with the car off, meaning that I could potentially forget to turn off my driving lights and return to a dead battery... so to remedy this, I replaced the "battery positive" connection with "illumination" so it looks like this:

+12v illumination ---> switch ---> 85terminal-coil-86terminal ---> switched ground wire on hibeam plug

Since the +12v illumination only works when you have the combination switch on, it won't allow the lights to run when the car is off.

The switched ground wire on my 2005 STI was the white/black wire on the 9005 plug.
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Old 04-15-2005, 07:36 PM   #14
BLACKLAX32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxinfx
I'm pretty happy with the Hella Fogs. My thought was Fog position = Fog beam. They do throw a lot of light to the sides which I like for the tight twisties, but I can't say the help in foggy conditions. So I do tend to agree with you. It's like "ya, they are 2x better than the OEM, but they still suck for their intended purpose"
is your friend who made the mounts making anymore?
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:24 PM   #15
rebbeach611
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if your friend will make mount bracket...for surely ill take it....how about GB??
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