A few threads have dealt with options for adding driving lights to the R51 Pathfinder, and I recently replaced my stock fog lights with Hella 90mm low beam projector modules. Much of my typical driving is on dark roads with no street lighting, but with substantial oncoming traffic. Kids walking along the road’s edge to the bus stop have occasionally come out of nowhere, increasing the need for lights that reach further. At the same time, I don’t want to have to constantly toggle high beams or driving lights with oncoming traffic.
My SE came with factory fog lights, but the factory switching makes no practical sense in that the low beams must be on to use fogs. Further, in South Florida I have very limited need for a fog beam anyway. The Hella 90mm halogen modules seemed like the perfect solution – projector beams with good cutoff to allow for higher aim but minimal oncoming glare, they fit into the fog light holes for a stock appearance, and could use existing wiring, fuses, & switches for the fog lights. Total cost of the 90mm Hella modules (part #008193027) and sheet metal mounting brackets was $140 (from YellowandBlueLighting.com). Add about 3 hours on a Saturday morning, and it is a well worthwhile upgrade.
Stock appearance, after Hella retrofit
ConstantNRG had done a similar modification previously, but I believe that his was on a base model setup without fog lights. The attached pictures might be of more use to those with mounting & wiring for factory fog lights. With a little modification, the stock fog light brackets are a perfect mount for the Hella 90mm modules. Using a Dremel tool and drill, I removed the locator boss for the old fogs, cut away material where needed to make room, and attached the sheet metal mounting plate to the plastic fog bracket with machine screws. FYI, snapping the adjuster screws into the ball sockets takes quite a bit of force.
To avoid changing the wiring connectors to work with the H9 bulb, I simply ground down one of the locating nubs on the bulb with the Dremel, at the suggestion of others. I could always change the wiring connectors later, but this works just fine. The new bulbs are 65 watts, compared with 55 for the fog lamps, but I’m sure that this is in the design margin of the vehicle wiring.
As I understand from Daniel Stern lighting, the 9007 low beam stock bulbs put out somewhere between 1000-1350 lumens, whereas the H9 bulbs put out 2100 lumens. My perceptions of the amount of light seem to be consistent with this: low beams + driving lights appears to be about 2-3x the amount for my low beams alone (Silverstar Ultras). My digital camera does not allow manual override of the exposure, so the pictures really do not show the difference in quantity of light. The photos do show the increased range and better side illumination though. On their own, the beam pattern of the Hellas might be too defined and edgy (you see the beam’s edges, rather than a uniform dispersion), but they really work well when coupled with the stock low beams.
Low beams only (Sylvania Silverstar Ultra 9007 bulbs)
Low beams + Hella 90mm
This is fairly easy and straightforward, but I’ll stay tuned for any follow up questions.