High (and Low) Tech: High and low fog lights

“High and low fog lightsHuh??

I think I am being incredibly witty here, follow along and let’s see if you agree.

I admit it: I am a light junkie. I like to see well at night as well as being seen. Washington state offers incredible summers for cruising but the winters can be soggy and dark especially on those two lane black tops.  Also, driving a classic car makes me a bit more paranoid when it comes to other drivers. Being seen early can be a matter of life and …well, not so much life.

I usually upgrade all the lights equipment on my vintage cars to halogen headlights and new reflectors but you can’t really add modern auxiliary lights to a vintage car as it would look out of place. Here is America it is legal to run fog lights with your low beams. I know that is not the case in some countries.

So what do we do to improve a vintage car? How about adding some vintage fog lights? Great idea but yesterdays fog lights are usually powered by a weak incandescent bulb.

How do we fix that?

Here is my solution:

1937 Ford Vintage Fog Light
This is fog light made by S&M Lamp Company in Los Angels. It is a Model 570.

1937 Ford Vintage Fog Light lens

The lens is easy to separate from the old reflector. As you can see, the old reflector is nothing to be proud of. Also, it hosts an weak incandescent bulb. Double Dim!

IMG_2363This is a 5 1/4 inch Hella eCode headlight. Unlike the horrible Sealed Beam lights it has a removable H4 halogen bulb and a very high quality reflector. The H4 bulb has two filaments, high and low beam.

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The plan is to remove the Hella lens from the nice reflector. The H4 bulb only goes in one way so we need to make sure the reflector is clocked correctly.

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The glass is attached with a strong adhesive sealer so in order to remove the glass I have to brake it. Other than fixing things we do like to smash a few things as well. It is also quick and cheeper than seeing a psychiatrist! I filled the light with clean paper towels to protect the reflector.

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Then I put the light in a plastic bag and then…

IMG_2367Ka-Boom!

Some Euro guys with an Alfa or Volvo would probably think this is blasphemy but these lights are from current production and not obsolete by any means. As you can see, the plastic bag prevents any glass chards from flying around.

NOTE: Gloves, protective clothing and safety glasses is a must when performing this part of the job. Safety First!
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I applied some heat to the seam with a heat gun and pried away the rest of the glass. Keep gloves and safety glass on! Clean up the area well afterwards.

IMG_2369With very light pressure I used a clean cloth towel to remove any remnants of the glass.
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A screwdriver or knife is helpful to remove the last of the sealer.
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Halfway there…here is a nice reflector ready to be married to a vintage lens.
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Luck has it that the Hella lens have a notch right at the top. Even though we have marked the top position this will help when installing the glass with precision.
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More luck. The old lens also had a notch marking the top position.

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The marriage. After cleaning the inside of the lens we are really to marry the two.

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Fits like it was made for it. Only 60-70 years between the two items!

 

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I have used latex or silicon sealer to install the glass on the reflector in the past. There is always a chance that it can get messy as the sealer can get pressed in to the reflector. In this case I used tightly applied electrical tape. It worked very well and it is easy to remove if I have to replace any part.

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This is when we say: “Ta-Da” or “Look at me!”…or “Damn I’m good!” Well, you get the idea. Vintage look with modern power.

Output

1937 Ford Fog Lights Low

Here is the cool part. In low beam mode (above) it functions as a regular fog light and you can run it together with your low beams. (As always, check your local laws and regulations of course)

1937 Ford Fog Lights High Beam

When you hit the high beam in the fog light will aid your car’s high beam by increasing the output while still looking vintage.