January 25, 2007

Back from the Bodyshop, but... (also, Alarm Installed)

Well, the bodyshop called yesterday letting me know the car is ready for pickup. Very fast turnaround. However, I didn't get the message until just before they closed when the owner called again. So I told him thanks and I'll pick it up first thing in the morning.

Anyways, it was a nice, sunny morning, and when I drove up to the lot, my car was parked there. It looked good. Colour-match was fantastic, and the crease in the rear bumper was absolutely smooth! They also painted my passenger side mirror to fix the scratch at no extra charge, and did a great job there too. But wait a minute, what's that on the passenger side door?

There's a ding right at the crease of the front passenger side door, looks like it was caused by a door being opened into it. In fact, this damage is worse than the slight rear bumper damage I took my car in to get repaired for. That really bites. I'm just can't have things perfect with this car for some reason. Within the first two weeks I had a puncture in my brand new tire, then the Christmas-Eve rear ender, now the ding in the door. It is very frustrating.

The body shop owner said he's try to get the pull-a-dent guys to try and fix it, but we both kind of doubt it would work since it's right in the crease of the bodyline. Plus the ding is bad enough the door would have to be repainted. So I'm going to wait on the bodyshop to see if they will take care of it. I know it's not exactly his fault, but it certainly wasn't mine, since the wasn't even in my possession. The fact that he offered to help was nice. We'll see what happens with this.

I also took advantage of the bodyshop's proximity to a car audio shop my friend works at and got an alarm installed at the same time. I had worked it out with both shops so that once the rear bumper was off, the car was taken to the car audio shop for the alarm installed, then once that's done and the rear bumper was fixed and painted, it went back to the bodyshop and got the rear bumper put back on. Less downtime for me this way. I like aftermarket alarm system for the fact that thieves don't automatically know where the go to disable it like a factory alarm. Plus now my LX has keyless entry!

January 22, 2007

Taillamp Combination Rewired

For reasons unknown to me, the North American spec Fit have their turn signal on the inside of the taillamp, and the reverse lamps on the outside. I don't know why this bugs me so much, but it does. So I finally got around to reversing the two lights around last night.

Let me just say that unless this really irritates you, don't bother with it. It's probably more hassle than it's worth. I had originally thought it would be a simple case of switching the bulb holders over. Unfortunately, that turns out not to be the case, as the tabs on the bulb holders, and the corresponding cutouts on the back of the taillamp, were different between the turn signal and reverse lamps.

So then just swap the bulbs between the clear and the amber and switch the connectors in the back right? Wrong. the connectors for the turn signal and reverse lamp bulb holders are different, and not compatible with each other. And also, the clear reverse bulb (7440) and the turn signal bulb (7440A) are actually slightly different with the glass tabs on the clear 7440 bulb being slightly bigger. This prevents the 7440 (reverse) bulb from going into the 7440A (turn signal) bulb holder.

Ok, now we're getting creative. What if I swapped the pins in the harnesses so that the turn signal wires are going to the reverse lamp bulb holder, and vice versa. Well, that didn't work either since the pins are actually different for each harness, and they won't seat properly in each other's harness (staying loose, able to move back and forth within the harness). Plus, even if that worked, the bulbs still can't swap easily as mentioned above.

So, what would work? Well, I see three ways of doing this.

Method 1. Go behind the driver side rear taillamp rear cover, and you should see a 10-pin harness. That's the floor wire harness from the car to the rest of the taillamps. Disconnect the harness, open it up, and swap a few wires around. Namely the left turn signal wire (green/red) with the left reverse lamp wire (green/black), and the right turn signal wire (green/yellow) with the right reverse lamp wire (green/black). Grounds don't matter since all of these bulbs go to ground themselves. Do this only on one side of the harness. Swapping pins here works because it's all from one connector harness, so the pins are the same. Now, take the turn signal (7440A) bulb holder, remove the connector pins inside, and file down the plastic ridge on both the top and bottom that is causing the 7440 bulb not to slide in. (you'll see which ridge is the problem when you try to put the bulb in).

This method is fairly clean, but the harness is rather difficult to work on unless you remove the entire interior trim panel and remove a few retaining clips. Even then, the removal of the pins might give many a lot of trouble if they're not used to working with such things. Also, the turn signals are a thicker gauge wire than the reverse lamps. They should both be drawing the same current, but because the turn signal turns on and off constantly, the thicker gauge is preferred. By swapping the pins at the 10-pin harness, the rest of the circuit for the turn signals wll be running at the thinner gauge wires. It shouldn't cause any problems, but it's just something to keep in mind.

Method 2. Cut the wires at the bulb holder harnesses and swap harnesses between the turn signal and reverse lamp wires. Then, you'll have to take the 7440A bulb holder, remove the metal connector pins inside, and file down the plastic ridges on the top and bottom that is preventing the 7440 bulb from going in all the way. This is the method I choose as it was easiest for me to work on. I didn't want to remove the entire inside panel in the back to loosen the 10-pin harness mentioned in method 1. And also of note is that with method 1, some wires may still need to be extended to reach their new location (namely the driver side reverse lamp)

Also note, if there is a remote possibility of you swapping out your taillamp for any other types; JDM LED, Altezza, 3D, anything, Do not do this mod with method 1 or method 2, or else you'll have to swap the connectors back again when you change taillamps.

Method 3. (recommended) This is the method I would recommend, provided all the wires will reach without extending (please double check, especially driver side reverse lamp). However, this method might cost you money. Go to Honda parts and order the bulb holders for the reverse bulb (p/n 33515-SJD-003 USD$5.47 retail) and the turn signal bulb (p/n 33514-SAA-003, USD$6.47 retail). These come in pairs. After you get them, use a file to reshape and/or remove tabs so they they will fit in their new locations. Try not to completely remove more than one tab or else the bulb holder may not sit in the taillamp securely. This is probably the cleanest and easiest method for those who would rather not work with the electrical system, and easily reversible (just replace modified bulb holders with stock ones), and keeps the connectors proper for future taillamp upgrades (JDM LED, etc).

Alternately, you can just file down your stock bulb holders to fit. Technically it will probably still be reversible since your tabs are now smaller if anything. But they might not be as secure as before.

As I mentioned before in my blog, patience is not one of my virtues. Since I had already started the project last night (Sunday), and even took the pins out of the bulb connectors, I decided to finish the job then instead of waiting 'til the next chance te dealers open and I can go buy some bulb holders. Well, that plus on my car it really looked like I'd have to extend wires on the driver side anyway. So I employed method #2. Everything is done cleanly, but hey, it's always better if you don't have to cut wires, and is totally reversible easily and without a trace, like in method #3. Oh well. It works. And now my turn signal and reverse lamps are in their "proper" places. So I'm happy.

January 18, 2007

Independent Fog Light Operation

There had been a thread on FitFreak.net regarding getting the fog lamps to work independently. I had followed it since I'm a bit of a light freak, but had not posted in the thread since I didn't have fog lights on my LX trim Fit.

From the factory, the Fog lamps will only work when the low beams are on. If they're not on, the fogs can't be turned on. And if you switch to high beam, the fogs will cut out. This is the mandatory way for fog lights to operate in some States for some silly reason. So Honda made it work this way for all North American spec Fit. This is however silly in my opinion. If there is indeed heavy fog, you don't want to have to run low beams. You want your light source as low as possible so you don't get the light shining too high and end up hitting the fog and glaring back at the driver. You're not suppose to drive fast in heavy fog anyway, so fogs and parking/taillamps will do. And when high beams are on, it leaves a bit of unlit space directly in front of the car, and fog lights would help fill that void nicely. This is why European spec cars are wired so fogs can be turn on with just parking/tail lamps, and do not cut out with high beams.

Well, after I got my Helm Service Manual, I tried to help out my fellow Fit owners by looking through the diagrams and trying to figure out a way to make the fogs work independently of the low beams. And fellow member Leonine took my suggestion and tested it on his vehicle with success, finally ending the 9 page saga on this issue on FitFreak. Anyways, here are the instructions:

1. Ground the fog light relay
Grounding the fog relay is easy. Go to the fog relay (bottom-right relay in the underdash relay/fuse panel), and cut the red/white wire. Then take the wire coming from the relay side, and connect that to ground. Finally, tape off the other end of the wire you cut.

2. Powering the fog light switch
Remove the top steering column cover and disconnect the 16-pin harness from the headlight switch. Look for the red/yellow wire and cut it. Then, connect a long piece of wire to the end coming from the harness, and run that wire down to the underdash fusebox. Once there, connect the wire to a spare fuse slot that is ignition switched. Then plug your 16-pin harness back into the headlight switch. And your fog light circuit is now completely independent from the rest of the lighting circuit, and should operate whenever you have your ignition on.

2a. Alternate location for powering the fog light switch
The above method will let you turn on your fog lights ANYTIME the ignition is on without having any other lights being on. If you want your fog lights to operate more light Euro-spec cars, with the fog being able to turn on only if the parking lights/taillights are on at least, then instead of using the #24 slot for power, tap into the #22 fuse, which is the one that powers the dash lights, front parking lights, gauge lights, license plate lights, and taillights. (Note: This method makes the circuit identical to the online manual for E-spec Fit, but no one on FitFreak has confirmed its operation)

And here's the link to the post I made in the FitFreak thread on this topic. Scroll down a few posts from my instructions and you'll find Leonine's pictured instructions on how to complete part #2 of my instructions (just don't forget to do part #1 as well), as well as pictures of the results; One of which I borrowed and posted here on my blog. Thanks Leonine for being my tester!

January 05, 2007

Got my Helm Service Manual

Today I went to UPS to pick up my Helm Service Manual my sister had ordered for me for Christmas. *thanks* It's just fantastic. It's the official service manual used by Honda to service all North American spec 2007 Honda Fit. I couldn't wait to get it open once I got home, and right away flipped to the lighting diagrams. I can't help it. I'm the resident lighting freak amounst my friends and a couple of previous car forums. I basically changed and/or rewired every single light on my previous project Audi, and helped a friend design the circuits for a custom bi-xenon projector lamp headlight for his Prelude complete with hidden LED turn signals and optic rods for parking lights.

So as I was looking through some of the diagrams, I remembered some of the lighting threads on FitFreak.net I had been looking at. So I went back to the threads and added some of my new insights from the manual, hoping to be of help to my fellow Fit enthusiasts. This manual is proving to be a big help already, as I already have ideas in mind for more lighting mods for my Fit. Stay tuned...

January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy new year everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday break. Aside from a small incident with my Fit, I had a great time. Tons of food, and a wonderful gift from my family and friends.

Alright, the Fit first. I was on my way to my sister's apartment for Christmas Eve dinner with my wife. While at a redlight, a mid 90's Jaguar hit me from behind. I wasn't sure if he couldn't quite stop intime, or was already stopped behind me, and just let go of the brake for a second. I'm inclined to believe the latter since the impact wasn't severe and I didn't hear any hard braking behind me. Anyways, once I showed him there was in fact damage on my bumper, we pulled over and exchanged information. Originally he said he'd pay for the repairs himself. At the time we both thought it was just paint damage. However, the next morning, when I got a better look at the rear bumper in the light and dry weather, I noticed the dent was more severe than I had expected, and there was actually a crease in the bumper.

After talking with my good friend Christmas night during dinner, he sugggested I report it to insurance anyway. He would still have the option of paying the insurance company on his own to avoid his rates from going up. So I reported it next morning. I felt it was better this way because then it will be a third-party assessing the damages. I don't want him to feel like I'm taking advantage of him by claiming extra damage we wouldn't see at the scene at night, in the rain. So I called him and let him know I had reported it. My appointment with the insurance adjuster is tomorrow morning. We'll see what they say.

And for Christmas, my family and friends pooled their money together to give me a pretty incredible gift... They're sending me to motorcycle riding school! I've wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle for a very long time. I'm the type of guy who chose to learn to drive on a manual transmission car, and want to know how to operate a motorcycle just so that whatever place or situation I'm in, I can always drive, or ride any vehicle that are available to me. Some places on vacation are better explored on two wheels, while other places won't be able to rent you an automatic vehicle at all. And since my family and friends know my desire, they figured it was safer for me to learn to ride properly, through a certified motorcycle riding school. I am so happy about this gift, and I know this wasn't cheap either. I'm getting ready to contact a couple of schools that are closer to my residence for their 2007 schedules, and to start studying for my class 6 learners license.