December 28, 2006

Fit Taillamp Options

As most Fit enthusiasts already know from various forums, North American Fits have a longer front end due to stricter crash test requirements, therefore no aftermarket or even OEM headlights from other markets will swap in without a full front end conversion. However, although the rear bumper of the North American spec Fit is also longer, taillamps are, for the most part, a direct swap; with the exception of some wire extending. I've compiled a list of all of the Fit taillights I've found so far:

OEM European Standard Bulb Taillamps:

This style is the standard taillights that are on almost all other countries for the Honda Fit/Jazz. Note that the turn signal bulb and the reverse bulb are reversed so that the turn signals are on the outside of the taillamps (see my other post about reversing the signal and reverse light.) Also, the taillamp and brakelamp functions are both on the top section of the taillamp, while the bottom red section is used for rear fog light, mandatory in many European countries. Usually the rear fog will be only on the driver's side, whichever side that may be in that country. On North American spec taillamps, both the top and bottom red sections will light up for taillight function, while the bottom red section also serves as brake lights with a dual filment bulb.

OEM JDM LED Taillamps:

They are available mainly on JDM vehicles because they do not have the rear foglamp feature required in many European countries. These were available after the facelift, and are the most popular replacement taillamps for Fit owners. There are three versions of these OEM LED taillamps. There is a Red/Clear version that's standard on the 1.3S, a Red/Smoked version that's available on the 1.5A, and a full clear version that's standard on the 1.5S. Replica versions of these taillamps are also available, but they do not have an accessible LED panel and therefore you can not change out individual LEDs if they burn out. There is also a replica of the clear/red version that keeps the lower reverse lamp section clear instead of trying to blend it in with a pink hue.

OEM Style Clear/Smoked Taillamps:

I have not seen these too often for sale. But once in a while they will pop up, and for a decent price. These are basically clear/smoked lense versions of E-code factory taillamps. E-code meaning they're made to European specs, which means they are meant to be direct swap with European taillamp arrangement described earlier. These often only have a bulb holder for the lower section on the Left taillamp, meant for European rear fog lamps. These will not be street legal in North America unless you add red reflectors somewhere else in the rear and side of your Fit.

OEM Bulb style LED taillamps:

These are designed to replicate the standard bulb style taillamps, but the top and bottom sections have been replaced with red LEDs. I have seen two versions of these taillamps; One that looks like the normal taillamp with red lenses over the top and bottom sections, and a smoked clear one.

Altezza Style Taillamps:

These are "Altezza" style taillamps for the Fit/Jazz. From what I've seen so far, these are actually quite popular as well overseas, especially SouthEast Asia. There are three versions available. The Red/Clear version are the taillamp of choice on VIP themed Fits. There is also a Black/Clear version available as well as a full clear version. All three versions are also available with an LED section in the main taillamp.

3D Style Taillamps:

3D, or as some people call them, "bug-eyed" taillamps are also available for the Honda Fit and Jazz. Two versions are available; Black, and Chrome. I'm not too sure about these taillamps as the holes for the two bug-eyed sections seem to be off-center in relationship to the reflector housing inside. I don't know how much that may affect light output. From what I remember, one of the bonuses of these 3D style taillamps is that you can paint the black version's housing to match (or not to match) the colour of your car, to give it another look.

You can also do some customizing on your taillamps to make them unique. Look at this post for some examples of customized Fit/Jazz taillamps.

December 19, 2006

All I Want for Christmas...

Or should it be, I want all for Christmas! *hehe*

I was told my by brother-in-law to make a list in exchange for his list he's given to me and my wife. I really don't know what I want this year, and the first things that come to mind are related to the near two-month new Fit. So I filled the list with things I'd like to add to my car. It's pretty much an addition to what I had already posted previously in my birthday Wishlist post back in November when I just got my Fit. New items I've found and want include overseas accessories items such as a bootlip protector, JDM footwell lights, JDM clear lense LED third brake lights, JDM hazard switch, and JDM power folding mirrors (which would have come in handy last night when I scratched my passsenger side mirror.)

So check out my GiftList. There's pretty good descriptions of what each item is, and links to more information and/or where you can buy them from. Keep in mind the prices I listed are in Canadian dollars.

December 18, 2006

My First Oops With The Fit

So, I had my first oops with the Fit tonight. It's really my own fault that I wasn't patient enough (not one of my virtues, maybe that should be one of my new year resolutions).

Anyways, I was going to the bank machine at the CIBC at the corner of Westminster Hwy and No. 3 Rd. in Richmond. For people who do not know, you go in through the back of the building, where there is a left hand turn that leads to a two lane, well, lane. There's not suppose to be ANY parking there as it is a firelane. However, there are quite often large trucks parked in there doing quick deliveries, leaving only the left lane open. Unfortunately, this leaves the angled parking spots on the left very difficult to get in and out of.

So such was the case tonight. A large delivery truck was parked on the right lane, and a late model Toyota Sienna was trying to get out of its parking spot on the left. The van was backed into the left lane a bit already while the driver had his door open trying to assess his position and see if he can get out with the truck in the other lane. I only had to wait a bit and I'm sure the driver of the Sienna would have drove back into his spot for a sec to let me through. But of course, I was impatient and decided that there was enough room for my tiny little Fit to get through. Well, I was almost correct in my assumption. And almost in this case meant I knicked a metal bar under the parked delivery truck with my passenger side mirror.

My heart sank when I heard the sound. I drove into a parking stall and came out to see how bad the damage is. Well, it's not horrible, but it's not just a surface scratch either. To fix this the mirror would need to be painted as it got just under the paint. Just then my Wife whom I was meeting called and I explained I had just scratched the new car. It didn't feel good at all.

Of course, zero damage to the truck since it was a black metal suppport bar hitting my plastic mirror. So no info was exchanged and I continued on with the rest of the night's activities, but kept thinking about how I scratched the mirror. Before I parked the car for the night, I took a picture of the damage with my cell phone camera.

December 08, 2006

My Fit Reaches 1000km

Finally, over a month since I first picked up the car, my Fit reaches the 1000km mark.

I've never had any of my other cars take this long for me to drive the first 1000km. I suppose the big snow storm didn't help since I kept my Fit parked for most of those days while driving the old Mazda with the snow tires. I also made a trip down to Sea/Tac airport and back, but drove my sister's car instead she was tagging along to go to the outlet mall. The main factor though, is that these days almost all of my driving is very in-town. Many times I don't even leave my local municipality of Richmond. And really, from Richmond to downtown Vancouver only takes 20 minutes without traffic. I can see this being a very low mileage vehicle when it finally comes time to sell.

Because of all of the really short trips, I've tried to take it very easy on the engine unless I'm certain it's been warmed up. While I did try to vary the engine speed to promote proper seating of the piston rings, I've kept the engine rpms under 4000rpm. Today, after hitting the 1000km mark, I have started to vary the engine speed higher to near redline. No, I'm not driving at redline. I'm just continuing the break-in procedure, up to a higher rpm.

December 04, 2006

My Complaints About The Fit

You know, it's kind of strange. The things I thought I would miss, or bother me the most about the Fit, are not the ones I now complain about after owning it.

Before I purchased the car, I thought that the lack of an armrest would really bother me, since I was noticing how often I used it to rest my elbow on the old car. I also thought the colour-coded headlamps would drive me crazy, and that the lack of a standard cargo cover was just silly for a hatchback.

The latter still bothers me. I still can't understand why this would not be a standard feature on a hatchback. Whenever I'm out with the car and have to leave items in the back, I always worry a bit. Leaving nothing in sight just makes the car less tempting for break-ins. I would have still bought the Fit if Honda had included this item, but added $100 to the price of the car, wouldn't you?

As for the colour-coded headlights, it's not bothering me anymore. Well, at least on my Alabaster Silver Metallic. Cars like the Infiniti G35 Coupe, the Volvo R series cars, etc, all have silver painted headlights. So it's actually not soo bad. I still don't think they look good on red, white, blue, etc cars though.

And although I'd still like to have the JDM center console with the armrest, it's only because of the extra storage space, since I'm so used to putting certain items in that space from all of my previous cars (tire gauge, cell phone charger, pen). But I don't find myself missing the actual armrest at all.

What I did find really annoying is the lack of light in the interior of the Fit. No map light, no footwell lighting, and especially annoying, no glovebox light! It's a cave! Even during the day, you don't always get enough light in there to see. A contact switched light would cost near nothing for Honda to add at the factory.

I also found that my left foot keeps rolling over the tiny clutch pedal that does not pivot and my left foot will keep moving up on the pedal. Eventually, the top of my shoes gets caught under the dash, and I can not release the clutch without first wiggling my foot loose. This is made worse by the fact that the steering column does not telescope. I like the sit with my elbows comfortably bent, learned that from performance driving events. However, without a telescoping steering column, this means I'm sitting more forward than my legs would be totally comfortable.

As for the drive-by-wire setup on the Fit, for the most part I find it ok. However, I do find it a bit "laggy". It seems to be half a second behind on what I'm actually doing. Whether suddenly pushing down to accelerate to change lane or merge, or lifting to change gears. It seems to always linger just a bit, causing the engine to rev up in neutral a bit as I press the clutch down to shift for example. Maybe Honda can upgrade their ECM programming to fix this, like Nissan did for the Versa, so we can just get our cars reprogrammed for better throttle response.

Last thing here is the lack of a passenger side vanity mirror. I've already caught my wife flipping the visor down a few times when she needed to check her make-up and not finding a mirror. I say if cost was the issue, then forget the mirror on the driver side, and just put one on the passenger side. No drivers should be using the vanity when the vehicle's in motion anyway! and when the car's stopped, it's easy enough just to use the rear-view mirror since it should be angled towards you anyway.

Anyways, I've got some plans to at least ractify the interior lighting issues on my car, and I'll probably order the JDM Driver-side visor (passenger side for us) with the vanity mirror for my wife. As for the throttle delay, I guess that's up to Honda.