|European Headlights - est. time to complete: 3:00 hrs
European headlights require modifications in order to fit the lights to North American spec cars.
1. Brackets are required. Easy to use kits are available from any reputable dealer (Evolution Sports, Tuning Zubehor, etc). Brackets can also be fabricated by bending small peices of sheet metal, or using bolts and nuts, but the recommended method is a pre-made bracket kit.
2. The upper outside mounting tab on radiator support must be bent up (flat). No bracket is required at this mounting location.
3. The brackets will need to be installed on the lower two mounting locations and the upper inside location.
4. A small portion of the radiator support on the passenger side will need to be notched out (more than what is shown on the photo). This is easiest to accomplish with a Dremel tool or grinder, however tin snips will work (albeit with a sloppier result).
5. Keep in mind; these lights are not designed for a North American car. Remember that even when a bracket kit is used, you may need to adjust the lights after installation to ensure they lign up with the hood and grill.
1. A wiring harness should be included with most installation kits. This is required as the European headlights use a different plug than the North American cars. The nice thing is that all European headlight assemblies have the same style of plug. For example, once you've modified the harness for MKIV style lights, you can swap in E-codes with no modifications to the wiring harness. It will be plug and play.
2. Wiring the new harness is simple. Simply match the colors. In these photos, the conversion was done on a GTI with dual bulb headlights. Combine the 2 stock brown/orange wires together (ground wires), and connect them to the ground wire on the plug.
3. Then connect the white wire to the white wire on the plug, and the yellow wire to the yellow wire on the plug.
4. The 4th wire on the harness plug is for the city light, standard on any e-code light for the MK3. Simply connect this wire to a switched positive wire.
5. Also, I suppose I shouldn't have to say this, but it's a good idea to use solder to connect the wires and heat shrink tubing to seal it, especially because these wires are in a weather prone area, and the wires are easily visible.
European Radiator Support - est. time to complete: 4:00 hrs
The European radiator support (AKA "rad" support) will allow a European bumper and European headlights to be used with no modifications. The plastic European rad support also weighs considerably less than the steal North American version, which is always a nice side effect. Also note that the European rad support is available in single and dual fan configurations, so make sure you get the one that fits you're needs.
**Special long term testing note - It would also be a good idea to check your auxilary cooling fans at this point. If yur fans or fan belt are original or appear worn, it is a good idea to replace this part now. Should the fan fail at a later time, it will require the bumper, lights, and grill to be removed, the A/C discharged, and the radiator and support to pulled to facilitate replacing the fan. Total est. labor/parts from a repair shop would be $500.00 plus. (I learned this the hard way during a 90 degree week in June 2005. )
1. Before installation, you will need to have the air conditioning system on your vehicle discharged, as the line runs through the rad support. I had this done at a chain oil change store called Jiffy Lube. Let them know that you need this done to service the car, and will have it re-charged when completed. Jiffy Lube discharged my AC, and recharged it again when the installation was complete. Because they put back in the same amount of coolant as they took out, I was only charged a hook-up fee ($30), and a very small labor fee ($15).
2. You will also need to drain the coolant from the radiator. I found the easiest way to do this on my 2.0L was to disconnect the lower coolant hose where it connected to the motor, however the clip was not easy to get back on after the installation.
3. Remove the grill and bumper.
4. Remove the cooling fans (please remember to disconnect the power first!)
5. Remove the radiator.
6. Remove the old radiator support and cross-member.
7 Re-install new radiator support and other items in reverse order of above.
If everything was done correctly, you should not have to trim any material off the European radiator support to get it to fit. However, you may need to make some minor adjustments to get everything to line up perfectly.
European bumpers – est. time to complete: 2:00-3:00 hrs (depending on how you choose to install rear rebar)
*Note – these instructions assume you have already installed the European radiator support.
European bumpers offer several improvements over the North American versions. First of all, they don’t protrude nearly as much as the NA bumpers do, making them fit the lines of the car much better IMO. They are also available in the ever popular textured top versions. Also, Euro bumpers will allow you to fit European accessories with no modifications (i.e. Votex fogs, European VR6 lower spoiler, Abt lower spoiler, etc).
Some other key differences are that the European versions have a plate sized recess in the front bumper, the side bumper lights are deleted on the front, and the rear has a slightly different lower valence. Also keep in mind that the NA fog lights, turn signals, and lower bumper grills will not bolt up to the Euro bumpers. In order to fit these items correctly, you will need the European versions.
1. Remove turn signals, side bumper lights, fogs, and lower bumper grills.
2. Remove your grill.
3. Remove the four (?) retaining bolts behing the grill and the two (?) retaining bolts under the car.
4. Remove bumper from car, along with impact foam behind it.
5. Remove the stock NA re-enforcement bar (AKA “rebar”)
6. Bolt on the new European rebar
7. Reinstall the European bumper directly over the rebar, sliding it over the retaining bracket at the sides. As stated above, the European bumpers are slimmer that the NA versions due to the removal of the impact foam.
8. Replace the bolts under the car and along the top ridge of the bumper that holds the bumper skin to the car.
9. Check for alignment. You may need to adjust the brackets below the fenders that the bumper slides over in order to get the bumper sides to sit flush with the fender.
10. Re-install the grill and install the European fogs, turn signals, and lower bumper grills. Also, remember to tie up and seal the connectors for the side bumper lights to avoid and damage caused by dragging them of getting them wet.
1. Open your hatch or trunk and pry off the caps covering the retaining bolts for your bumper. Remove the retaining bolts along the top edge and the 3 bolts under the car.
2. Remove the NA bumper skin and impact foam.
3. Remove the NA rebar.
4. Install the European rear rebar. The European rear rebar will not bold directly to the frame on North American cars. It requires some very simple brackets to be made. As a side note, you don’t necessarily HAVE to install the rear rebar (it will look perfect without one), however without a rear rebar, there is no protection if you get rear-ended. Another option is that you can modify the NA rebar to fit behind the Euro bumper by cutting off the 2 ribs on the face of the rebar with a grinder.
5. Install the Euro bumper cover.
6. Re-install the retaining bolts and reinstall the trim caps over the bolts along the top edge.
Stand back and enjoy your Euro-fied ride!
(if anyone sees any information I forgot to include, please IM me and I will update this. It's been quite a while since I did this, and I'm going off the top of my head, so the details aren't clear as day anymore. )
[Modified by EchoOfGecko, 3:00 PM 11-15-2002]
Modified by EchoOfGecko at 4:06 PM 8-2-2005