LED Light Bar Install on GR WRX - Subaru WRX Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-07-2014, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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LED Light Bar Install on GR WRX

2013 Subaru WRX Hatch, Satin Pearl White
Cobb Tuning SF Intake + SF Intake Box Black Stage 1+ OTS
Whitelines Anti-Sway Bars, Kartboys Endlinks, Back to black bushings.
Roof Rack,Bike Rack, Cobb Knob
91 Octane Shell fuel

PHOTOS OF INSTALL ON THE BOTTOM

Disclaimer : Aftermarket Lighting is almost NEVER DOT approved and should not be used on public roads. Incorrectly aimed lamps or very bright lamps can cause road hazards for other drivers and the safety of others should be considered when installing.

So I have been spending a bit of time driving on unlit, unmaintained road recently with a few buddies. Noting stupid just taking the cars out to the middle of nowhere to hang out. Recently one of my buddies decided to replace His fog lamps with Rigid quad LED units. We built a custom bracket for his ranger and had them wired and running in an evening. They are insanely bright and as a supplement for his headlamps in the middle of nowhere they are king.

Side note; I am a Huge fan of flashlights, I have some very expensive lights and some very cheap ones, LEDs, Arc lamps and halogens. I daily carry brands like Surefire, G&P, Streamlight and Quantum DD. I love bright lights so I decided I need to add some bright LED lights to my GR WRX.

So I started looking for LED lights of my own.I settled on a bar instead of 2 fog lamps. I found one pretty cheap on ebay (chinese LED) which I am ok with. I have had very good luck with chinese made LED flashlights like G&P in the past and with a removable lens on front and isolated LED boards I feel pretty confident in my own understanding of LEDs and so long as the pictured light is what i get in the mail I will be throughly happy with the purchase. I ordered it a few days ago and started the wiring process today.

So I don’t currently have fog lamps installed, That actually makes this process easier because I will be tapping into the fog lamp tail of the wiring harness near the front corner of the car. Because I do not have OEM fog lamps I do not have the control tree for the fog lamp or the factory relay. Thats Ok I plan on running my own relay closer to the light bar and I will be using the relay harness to trigger the relay near the light bar.

Starting in the cabin, I looked up the install directions for the fog lamp and found that the relay for the fog lamps sits to the right of the 3 installed relays, I found a replacement relay and grabbed the data sheet online to learn that the pinouts for the Subaru fog light relay are (from left to right) 12V+, Accessory, Ground and Trigger. I will be using only the 2 leftmost connections to connect the 12V+ to the accessory through a toggle switch effectively powering the fog lamp tail on the harness. I built a quick harness with 2 male spade connectors on the end and inserted them into the left 2 connectors for the Fog lamp relay harness (bypassing the relay and directly connecting the output pin to 12V+ when the switch is toggled) I removed the OEM heated seats switch plates and cut a rectangle in one of them large enough to fit a LED lit Blue toggle switch. Its a pretty low profle switch so I am not worried at all about my elbow getting below the edge of the armrest and accidentially toggling the LED. I ran the 3 wires for the toggle switch through the center console and used the 12V+ accessory line, Output(to fog lamp 12V+)and Ground to the relay via spade connectors.

Moving on to the front of the car I installed a 12V 40A relay in the driver side fog lamp well. I ran the ground to the battery, 12V+ ( fused at 20A ) to the 12V+ on the battery, trigger to the fog lamp positive connector ( which is now simply a 12V+ line running from the accessory power in the cabin through a toggle switch and out to the front of the car ) and accessory output to a spade connector for the new LED light bar. That configuration allowed me to assemble the system using only the factory wiring( without having to punch through the firewall ) It also keeps the appearance of wires in the engine bay to a minimum. Only the hot and ground line is visible under the hood and I am thinking about wrapping it with corrugated plastic tubing to hide the new wire.

With the system wired I am ready to install the light-bar as soon as it arrives, I am expecting it on Tuesday the 12th. I plan on mounting the LED Light bar under the front license plate as far forward as I can. I will be using the radiator mounting tabs as my bracket and I plan on removing the Black plastic riser on the bottom of the bumper to allow the full potential of the lights to shine through. As soon as it gets in I will complete the Install write up and add a few additional photos showing the final results

LED LIGHT BAR SWITCH LOCATION
[IMG] photo IMG_20140806_185420.jpg[/IMG]

SWITCH INSTALLED IN OEM HEATED SEATS PANEL
[IMG] photo IMG_20140806_191546.jpg[/IMG]

SPADE CONNECTORS IN OEM FOG LAMP RELAY HOLDER
[IMG] photo IMG_20140806_192916.jpg[/IMG]

POWER LINES RUN FROM BATTERY TO RELAY IN FRONT RIGHT FOG LAMP BAY
[IMG] photo IMG_20140806_205743.jpg[/IMG]

RELAY WIRED TO POSATIVE LINE FROM FOG LAMP TAIL
[IMG] photo IMG_20140806_205836.jpg[/IMG]
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-11-2014, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Update

Quick Revision, I was playing with the switch last night and realized that the relay ground and 12V+ were toggled by the Low beams. Effectively the switch would power off when the headlights were on, that just wont do. So I rewired the Cabin portion and uploaded a quick diagram of the proper wiring.

Still waiting on the LED bar itself but at least now it is 100% ready to be installed.

[IMG] photo LEDBarWiringDiagram2.jpg[/IMG]

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post #3 of 13 Old 08-12-2014, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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**Installed this afternoon**

Used the existing holes on the front bumper, tapped them for SAE 1/2 13 and used 2x1/2 rough cut bolts to attach the hangers, Also installed a Universal Licence plate adapter allowing me to move the plate up enough that it does not obstruct the light while still conforming to CA law.

Its about 6:30 in CA right now si still another few hours before dark, When the sun finally disappears I will post updates with Beam patterns and light output notes.


Light bar and 1/2 inch bolts cut through mounting hardware
[IMG] photo IMG_20140812_141406.jpg[/IMG]

Cut out larger squares in bumper plastic to allow for mounting hardware and installed hangers for LED bar
[IMG] photo IMG_20140812_143248.jpg[/IMG]

Finally installed pretty clean, I only wish the plasti bumper was 2 peices instead of one, The cuts all came out clean but I like the idea of parts being removable/swapable in case I want to make a change later
[IMG] photo IMG_20140812_155151.jpg[/IMG]

Sitting in the driveway waiting for it to get dark
[IMG] photo IMG_20140812_155419.jpg[/IMG]

Finally dark enough to start testing
[IMG] photo 20140812_205835.jpg[/IMG]

OEM Halogen Low beams, Philips 4300k 9005/9006 bulbs
[IMG] photo lowbeams.jpg[/IMG]

NEW LED Light Bar
[IMG] photo lightbar.jpg[/IMG]
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Last edited by arcticscythe; 08-13-2014 at 11:03 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-13-2014, 12:28 PM
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Now that's badass! I'd like to do something more stock looking and in yellow. Should cut the hell out of fog I'd think.
Great job man. And great write up.

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post #5 of 13 Old 08-13-2014, 12:29 PM
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If I could give you rep for this I would. But the rules for giving out rep to those that deserve it, are gae.

Randy-
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2004 Wrx-sold
2011 Wrx limited
99 Fozz- sold
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-13-2014, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks blaze,

I am pretty tickled with the outcome. I still cant believe how much light it throws for so little money. Total installed price was around $120. It took 2 evenings to prep and install and 3 trips to the hardware store for odds and ends but I am very pleased with the way it looks.

Some of the more expensive brands make yellow covers for them if you like yellow, That said I wouldn't use these as fog lights. Fog is internally refractive, that means that light bounces off the water droplets that make fog and the light bounces back to you. Too much light causes the fog to illuminate rather than cutting under the fog and making reflectors on the road more visible. That's why normal headlights aren't good in the fog.

I'm also borrowing a buddys SLR this evening to take pictures with a set ISO and F stop. That should make for better comparison shots than my cell phone. Ill post them when Im done.

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post #7 of 13 Old 08-13-2014, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the great write up!!! im deff going to set up something like this!! love the extra light!
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-13-2014, 08:53 PM
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That's awesome!
Nice write up for it as well.
You wouldn't expect it to throw off that much light just by seeing it in the day time.
I dont see to many off road LED setups for a wrx that look hidden like that.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-13-2014, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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@AllExtinct thanks for the kudos, I was really trying to keep it low profile.
@Epictofer , I cant recommend it enough, the light output per dollar if off the charts. Its only a few hours of real work, and a few hours of drinking beers with the guys to get one installed, If you have the pocket cash you wont be disappointed : )
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-14-2014, 09:16 AM
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Exactly why I'd want yellow, maybe along side my existing fogs.

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post #11 of 13 Old 10-31-2014, 08:54 AM
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Thats a super clean install arctic! Most of my driving is on road, but Im toying with the idea of putting in super bright fog lights on a separate circuit so I can easily toggle them on/off without interfering with the headlights. My one concern would be that its blocking you rad. Does this or would this cause any issues with airflow over the rad? I would hate to see it overheat due to a light.

how sturdy is the cover over the LEDs? you said you were driving on unpaved roads i would imagine being that low would make it more susceptible to rocks and dirt. Just a thought.

Shane
2010 WRX
2003 Jetta 2.5
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post #12 of 13 Old 10-31-2014, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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I monitor coolant temps with a V3 accessport and I haven't seen abnormally high temps. low 200s is about as high as I have ever seen it and thats sitting in LA traffic on a hot summer day. In the evening when Im driving with the LED bar it hovers around 160.

As for restricting airflow to the radiator the front bumper where the plate is mounted takes up more airspace than the LED bar. that duct is also at the bottom of the radiator and It has about 2 inches up top and 1 inch on the bottom with the current mounting hardware. I was worried about the heat from the radiator not letting the lamps cool correctly but when the car is moving at night the lamps are just as cool to the touch as the outside of the car.

The LED cover still looks brand new and I have had the light on for almost 3 months. Its a replaceable crush resistant Lexan plastic, sheets of the plastic are available at the hardware store for cheap. If you are worried about protecting them you could always throw a 3m film over it. I figure for the $100 I can replace the whole lamp if it ever gets damaged.

If you want to do a pair of LED lamps you can get some really high powered LED emitters pre loaded into enclosures from the retrofit source. They are more expensive but then come with mounting hardware and wiring. all you would need to do is tie into the stock fogs harness like I did. XB is the product line 2400 lumens on the ground which is pretty bright for fog lamps but should be safe and "Almost" road legal.

Hope that helps

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post #13 of 13 Old 10-31-2014, 04:45 PM
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Awesome! I will have to look into them.

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