DISCLAIMER: This modification requires practical knowledge of wiring methods which may include the use of electrical connectors and/or soldering, and also the understanding of the basics of electrical current in an automobile. Done improperly, this type of modification can and may cause damage to your vehicle. This post is not a HOW-TO guide, it is simply an explanation of the method I myself used to modify my own vehicle. USE THE INFORMATION PROVIDED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
When I first bought my car, one of the main gripes I had was the lack of a better headlight option in US-spec Honda HR-V’s. I got by with LED H4 bulb upgrades, first a set from OPT7 that did not meet my standards for proper beam pattern (although OPT7 did have amazing customer service), and then a Japan-spec set from Philips that I purchased from xenondepot.com that is excellent, and which I would otherwise recommend to anyone who is looking for an upgrade from Halogen.
There was some talk on the forum about the swap being nearly impossible to do, and a very expensive endeavor at that even if so. I resigned myself to accepting that the H4 LED’s would have to do.
A few months ago, fellow forum member “g0zigen” posted that he had successfully completed the swap, and posted pictures and answered questions about how he had accomplished the feat. After taking a look at what the wiring required, I understood that the modification could be done with relative ease, and I credit g0zigen with some of the info I used to complete my project. I marked this as a must-do project and tabled this for later. In the meantime, I sourced a set of new Vezel Hybrid LED tube tail lights from a company called “JDM Yamato” which specializes in export of J-spec auto parts, both new and used. g0zigen had also gotten his headlights from them and had only good things to say about them… my purchase of tail lights from JDM Yamato was an equally pleasurable experience.
Having completed the tail light installation, the front of the car looked sorely in need of an upgrade. Unfortunately for my pocketbook, JDM Yamato recently added a plethora of newly released accessories for the Honda Vezel/HRV… which included the LED fog lights (http://tinyurl.com/jnlf4fs
) I will be installing in this review. After talking back and forth with them for a bit to get more info and pictures of these lights, I decided to jump the gun and order both a set of LED headlights and the new fog lights!
My second experience purchasing through JDM Yamato has been just as awesome as the first. They are EXTREMELY professional and eager to answer any questions I had about the products themselves, about how the wiring worked, and what type of connectors I would need. They went out of their way to provide to me, in addition to the lights, any additional wire pigtails and connectors that I could not get myself, at no extra charge as part of their service. Their responses are quick, and they have additional photos and wiring diagrams that they are able to provide to make sure that you have everything you need to get the swap done. Packages are shipped from Japan via EMS, which took roughly 4 days to get here in Honolulu. JDM Yamato takes pride in their product and my headlights, although used, were spotless and in perfect condition. They did an overwhelmingly good job of packaging and protecting both my fog lights and headlights, so that no damage would incur in transit from Japan to my door. I have total confidence in making purchases from them. They are extremely efficient and professional.
Large boxes packed very well. Everything is opened and bubble wrapped prior to packing, including new items.
They sent this cute note and origami chopstick holder with my last order, and they sent them again this time. They include this as a nice gesture… very neat!
JDM Vezel LED fog lights:
JDM Vezel LED head lights:
Prior to taking on this project, I made sure to research everything I’d need to do the installation as factory-like as possible. I wanted clean organized wiring, and factory connections. I also didn't want to alter the stock wiring. Of course, being that US-spec HR-V’s only come wired for H4 headlights, where the H4 connector controls high beam, low beam, and DRL, this presented a slight challenge. I mapped a plan to make my own custom wiring harness utilizing the following (which can all be sourced from eBay):
2x H4/9003 male pigtail wire harness connectors (to adapt to the stock wiring harness)
2x HB3 9006/9005 female connector adapters w/pigtails (for the high beam bulb connection)
2x 7440 T20 male adapter harness connectors (for the turn signal beam connection)
JDM Yamato was kind enough to provide me with the LED low/DRL connector and pigtails, and the female connector for the turn signals (and pigtails):
Our stock H4 wiring harness enables our DRL function by turning on the high beam at a lower voltage. This cannot be incorporated to power the LED DRL function on the JDM headlights. To power these, I faced two options:
1) Power the DRL using the side marker T10 connector. With the JDM headlights, these will be unused anyway (there’s no parking light bulb on the JDM headlights) and it’s easy enough to do, but this means that the DRL will not function automatically. They will ONLY turn on once the parking light or head light is activated. If I wired them this way I’d have to turn the parking lights on manually every time and forgo the auto-headlight option. Also, g0zigen stated that he noticed that the DRL was not at full brightness with just the parking lights on using this method.
2) Use an external control unit to operate the DRL. The control unit is hooked up to the battery or AC power and turns the DRL on when the car is started, and powers off when the car is turned off. The benefit of this is that the DRL functions as it would have from the factory, without having to be manually turned on. The downside is that it’s one more thing that needs to be installed.
I happened to have a set of Philips Daylight 8 DRL LED lights sitting around from another car. I decided to use the harness from that kit to power the DRL LED on the new headlights. There are universal DRL control units sold cheaply on eBay that will serve the same function.
The main headlight connector on the Vezel lights consists of a multi-wire plug that connects to 5 wires. 4 of these wires are used for low beam 12v, low beam negative, DRL 12v, DRL negative, and a 5th wire that connects to a control unit on the J-spec Vezel that US-spec cars don't have. I connected just the 4 necessary pigtails to the connector and left the last one empty. JDM Yamato provided a wiring guide for this connector that was easy to follow (credit to JDM Yamato for the following diagrams):
With all of this in hand, I soldered up a custom wiring harness that connects low beam 12v and ground from the headlight connector and high beam 12v and ground from the HB3 9006/9005 connector to the H4 male adapter. On the H4 male adapter I purchased, blue = high beam, red = low beam, black = ground. Refer to the picture I posted further back. Low beam and high beam share a common ground on the H4 connector, so they must be combined and soldered together and joined with the ground on the adapter.
For the DRL, I cut off the LED bars from the Philips Daylight 8 kit, and soldered on the wire harness I salvaged from them while matching DRL 12v and ground from the headlight connector. These will be plugged into the Philips Daylight 8 DRL control unit that I installed separately in the car. For the turn signal, two pigtails plug into the provided connector from JDM Yamato and connect to the plug socket for the 7440 bulb. These were soldered to the wires from the T20 7440 male adapter. Polarity doesn’t matter. The 7440 connector has only the input for the turn signal 12v, so the parking light always on function of the stock turn signal will not be retained when using the adapter.
One of my wire harnesses, before installation and looming up:
Once I had the harnesses made, I went about the process of taking off the bumper and physically swapping the headlights. I’ve taken off the bumper once before with a friend to install my front lower bumper trim, and it’s much easier to have a buddy there to help hold one side of the bumper when taking it off and putting it on. I did it this time by myself (I was doing the install at 1 am, yes I’m crazy), and it’s was a little bit harder trying not to damage anything. It’s doable with one, but I recommend having a buddy around. I won’t bother doing a play by play on how I took the bumper off. College Hills Honda is gracious enough to provide instructions in pdf form on their website: http://www.collegehillshonda.com/ins.../foglights.pdf
This also includes instructions on how to install the fog lights, which I will refer to later.
Once the bumper is off, the headlights are bolted on at 4 points. I forgot to photo document pictures of them (it was late and I was tired!), but the connections are plainly obvious. Once they are unbolted, the headlights will take a little effort to remove because of the retaining tabs on the top and side that you will have to wiggle free… a couple on the top where the light housing meets the fender, one on the top mounting tab, and one on the side mounting tab that is slightly tricky. I had to resist the urge to Godzilla the stock headlights off at this point, but a little give and go and they were removed without much further hassle.
Prior to mounting I did a plug-in test to make sure all was working as intended, and everything worked perfectly. Time to bolt these suckers in:
With the headlights bolted on, I went about finishing the install of my Philips Daylight 8 DRL control unit. The control unit itself is simple to install… a red wire that goes to the positive terminal on the battery, a black to the negative terminal, and an orange wire that enables the dimming function. The orange wire can be tapped into the 12v for the low beams optionally, to dim the DRL when the low beams turn on. I tried this out, but didn’t like the effect. As of this moment I have left the orange wire unconnected and tucked away, and the DRL runs full brightness as long as the ignition is on. I used 3M 2-way molding tape to mount the control unit to one of the fuse boxes.