So awhile ago I replaced my Series 3’s single back-up standard bulb with an LED bulb
(S25 or 1157 size), and while this DID result in a slightly brighter light (or so I thought), given
the blacked out rear windows and reliance on my back up camera, parking in a
dark space, or at night, could still not be done with confidence.
Then I heard about HID bulbs being used for back up lamps. A quick Google search shows that in fact many people have installed HIDs for their car's back up lamps. So perhaps not a big deal, definitely
not a “world’s first,” but a nice mod for me nonetheless. And hopefully, it would make backing up at night in my car a bit less nerve wracking.
So here is what the kit looks like:
|2 bulbs and ballasts, along with adapters for 3 different types of bulbs|
Since my car only has one back up lamp (the other is a rear fog lamp),
I installed only one of these of the pair. This
of course was as easy as pulling out the current LED bulb, and installing the
HID. The instructions that came with the kit were extremely poor (they were for
HID headlights!?) but it was extremely easy to do the install. Took me about 10 minutes in total – no soldering and no splicing – all I had to do was to plug
in the harness with the S25 adapter, as well as the lead with the bulb, into
|Just plug in the S25 bulb adapter|
|All hooked up, ready to be installed|
So the biggest issue was, where to mount/store the ballast. When exposed, my car's rear tail light assembly looks like this (the red tap btw is to activate the rear view camera)...
|Grey plug on left with red and grey wiring is the back up bulb|
While I initially thought I could install the ballast right underneath this cluster of bulbs, I eventually mounted it behind the trunk lining in the rear corner area, onto one of the two
bolts that affixes the tail lamp assembly to the body.
Once the ballast was mounted, then it was a simple matter of plugging the hole where the standard bulb would go, with the provided rubber grommet, into which the HID bulb would go in, for an airtight fit!
And the result? Well, I decided to stick in all three bulbs
to provide a comparison.
|Regular halogen bulb|
|Super bright LED bulb|
So you can see that, with the HID, even in daylight it
appears (only) slightly brighter than the LED.
But just a second! I figured, heck if I have the LED bulb
out, why not put it into the rear fog lamp, to see how bright it would get –
but I was in for a big surprise!
|The same superbright LED bulb!|
WAIT!! The regular bulb is actually BRIGHTER!! So while
under a clear lens, the LED appears brighter – I think maybe it’s only more
blue, NOT brighter lumens-wise. So maybe this was my problem in finding it dark when
backing up – the LED may be easier for other drivers to see, but is not
actually brighter (Lumens) than the regular halogen bulb! In any case, I think
the HID solves the problem, if not I will be back to trying something else.
Another matter of concern is - given the nature of back up
lamp use – that is, on for only a short time, and in some situations, on/off
on/off in sequence as I jockey (forwards and backwards) to park the car in some
very tight locations – will that result in premature burn out? Interestingly, my other concern that the HID
would get too hot did not seem to be an issue at all. I left the bulb on for
about 15 minutes to see if would get hot, and while the plastic lens did get slightly warmer to the touch, it wasn’t enough to cause concern.
Finally – I know what some of you are thinking. If I have a spare burner and HID bulb unit,
why not use it in place of the rear fog lamp bulb? Well, in addition to premature burn out of the back up bulb, I am still a bit concerned about the
heat – with a fog lamp, it would be left on a lot longer than the reverse
lamp. The other concern, of course, is
given how bright this lamp is – would I call extra unwanted (i.e. police)
attention were I to install this? So
something to think about (and a potential future blog post, of course).
Meanwhile – I will have to put this new HID back up bulb through
its paces, and hopefully it is bright enough that I can see better on the back
up camera! I will report back when I get
the chance, in the comment section.
PS: I got tired of having to look up, from various sources, the various lightbulbs
for the R33 GT-R, so I’ve added the entire list to the Technical Specs section of this blog
. I hope it serves as a useful reference. One thing to note is that bulbs go by
different model numbers in different countries – so please use the cross reference link provided if you seem to not be able to find a listed bulb in your country.
Interesting as usual.
And thanks for the different bulbs references.
As i'm looking to convert one of my backup lamp to rear fog lamp, i think that will be very useful.
Oh the irony, I have been wiring HID bulbs today, seriously! What I do know is that they suggest that after turning off you wait five seconds for them to be ready to turn back on. The other thing is that they generate less heat than a standard headlight bulb. It's a good idea to stick one in the reverse light and I may give it some thought (as I have two!) although probably a super bright LED would do the trick for me. The job I did today was to fit front HID's as my dipped beam is worse than useless (even with crystal clear lenses!
Hmm... 5 seconds huh? Well then this isn't going to last too long as a back up lamp then....
On the other hand, if they DO generate less heat than a standard bulb, then no reason not to use as a rear fog, huh?
I have a r33 gtr v-spec series 3, but on my centre console the switch is there for the rear foglight but there is no connector anywhere for it, How can this be?
Could somebody have tried to retrofit it or maybe it was never there from Factory?
I'm sure it must be as I believe all R33 GTR V-Spec had it?
Where does the harness come from for that plug, as i want to trace it.
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