INSTALLING FOG LIGHTS ON A 1988 VW RABBIT CABRIOLET CONVERTIBLE
Apparently there are no OEM fog lights available for this car. At least I could not find any. Therefore I searched through the internet and several local automobile supply stores, and finally found an appropriate pair at an Andersons General Store in Columbus, Ohio.
These lights are made by Optronics, Inc. of Muskogee, Oklahoma (www.optronicinc.com). The one I chose is the High Performance Halogen Light Kit, Chromium Burner Series, model QH-64RK. The pair of lights (including wiring harness and black metal mounting brackets) was priced at about $28. The automotive-grade wiring harness includes an inline 15 amp fuse and fuse holder, an inline 30 amp relay for the reduced voltage on/off switch, and an inline LED illuminated On/Off switch. The mounting brackets were not needed and were discarded.
The lights fit perfectly in the 4 inch wide empty slots of the front bumper (the slots next to the slots containing the tow eyes). When I say “fits perfectly”, I mean that they fit, but you must give them a push because it is a tight fit.
The following is a step-by-step set of instructions on how to mounts these fog lights. I have written down these instructions as best as I could from memory, since I did not take the time to record everything I did during the process. So use the instructions only as a guideline, not as a Bible.
Part I. FOG LIGHT MOUNTING INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preparation for mounting these 2 lights require some drilling in the bumper structure (NOT the front surface of the bumper). These drilled holes are not visible after the fog lights are installed. The lights were attached inside the empty slots with 10-32 threaded fasteners into the forward 10-32 threaded holes of the fog lights (NOT the threaded holes that held the brackets).
2. There is a double wall in the bumper at the end of the empty slot next to the tow eye slot. One wall is the wall forming one end of the tow eye slot. It needs to have a 5/8 inch diameter hole drilled in it (centered in the vertical and forward/aft direction). The purpose of this hole is to provide access for an Allen wrench. See Figures 1, 2 and 3 and Front View photographs A, B, and C for details.
3. Then the wall forming the adjacent end of the empty slot needs to have a 1/4 inch slotted hole cut horizontally, aligned with the centerline of the 5/8 inch hole and extending clear through the rear of this portion of the bumper. The purpose of this slot is to allow a ¾ inch long stainless steel 10-32 Allen screw with washer. The ¼ inch slot (rather than a drilled hole) on that end makes for a much easier installation because it allows for some adjustment. See Figures 1, 2 and 3 and Front View photographs A, B, and C for details.
4. The wall at the opposite end of the empty slot needs to have a 1/8 inch diameter hole drilled in it (centered in the vertical and forward/aft direction). The purpose of this hole is to allow a ½ inch long stainless steel 10-32 Phillips head screw. See figures 1, 2 and 3 and Front View photographs A, B, and C for details.
5. Now insert one of the fog lights into one of the empty slots, install the screws and tighten them firmly to the fog light. Adjust the up/down angle of the light as needed. You may want to insert a rubber grommet on the top and/or bottom of the light to help maintain that angle. I found that they were not needed. Repeat for the other fog light.
Part II. WIRING HARNESS INSTALLATION:
The wiring harness supplied with the Optronics Model QH-64RK fog lights has more than enough length for the Cabbie, but I found it necessary in several instances to cut the harness in order to be able to fish the cable through small holes such as the firewall (fuse holder, connectors, relay, etc. are just too large). Then of course after fishing the cable through a hole I soldered them back and used heat shrink insulation. Before beginning, disconnect the battery.
1. I began the installation at the front passenger side fog light, fishing the end of the harness with the connector for that fog light through the same hole that was used by VW to run the parking light harness (See Wire Harness photograph A).
2. Then I ran the harness between the radiator and the A/C condenser (see Wire Harness photograph B) and connected the driver side fog light (See Wire Harness photograph B).
3. Next I routed the harness near the top of the left fender (See Wire Harness photograph C), using existing cable holders that also holds an existing harness.
4. After that I had to look for a convenient hole in the firewall. I found an unused one behind the coolant reservoir, but had to temporarily remove the reservoir from its mounting bracket in order to gain access to the hole – which is about one inch below the hole in the firewall for the throttle linkage (See Wire Harness photograph D).
5. Inside the passenger compartment I removed the radio, switch trim rings, the heat and vent controls, and the 6 screws holding the instrument panel trim plate (see the Bentley Service manual for this car, page 12-5). This allowed me to pull back the instrument panel trim plate and provide access to the headlight on/off switch wiring. There are 3 heavy gage wires connected to this switch. One of them is red, and is a direct connection to the battery. There are 2 other heavy gage wires that (to the best of my memory) are white/black and blue/black. One of them (sorry, I don’t remember which one, but try each one) supplies power only when the ignition switch is on. That is the wire I spliced the plus side of the fog light harness to. I connected the ground to the fuse box case. After that, I reconnected the battery, tried pushing the LED On/Off switch, and (as hoped) nothing happened. Then I switched on the ignition and tried again. This time it worked! The LED shines red when the fog lights are off, green when the fog lights are on, and does not illuminate the switch or supply power to the fog lights if the ignition switch is off.
6. Finally I used cable ties to neatly bundle the wire harness together under the dash, and used double-backed tape to mount the On/Off switch to the lower part of the knee panel (See the LED Illuminated On/Off Switch photograph). After reinstalling the radio and trim, the job was complete.
I was pleased with the installation. The fog lights are low key and simple, yet they give an extra boost to the car’s appearance.
I intentionally kept the lights aimed low for my installation because I was only interested in the look of fog lights. So I cannot comment on how effective they might be as highway lights.