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Upgrades (non TDI Engine related) The place of handling, lighting and other upgrades that do not relate to the performance or economy of the TDI engine. In other words upgrades to your TDI that don't fit into TDI Fuel Economy & TDI Engine Enhancements.Please note the Performance Disclaimer

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Old November 29th, 2012, 21:11   #1
Fix_Until_Broke
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Default MkIV LED (Off Road) Driving Light

The chinese E-Codes were a great improvement over my milk jug looking OEM headlights, but still lacking in the rural driving conditions where there isn't another light for miles around.

I saw this thread recently on driving lights and did a little research on the bar style LED lights.

I settled on a Rigid Industries 20" E-Series model with combination spot/flood pattern from Amazon.com - Expensive, but it appears to be a very welll built unit.

The next question was where to put it...? I liked the roof location, but without a roof rack it's really difficult to mount and run wires to, etc.

The light fits very well inside the valance opening just below the license plate, but is pretty low and ends up being the most forward thing on the car so very likely to get damaged by road debris and snow drifts, etc

Inside on the dash over top of the defrost vents is a very nice place, but covers the defrost vents and I would need to build a cowl so the reflection from the inside of the windshield does not blind me. Blocking the defrost was a deal breaker for that location.

Just outside the windshield on the back edge of the hood was another option, however it's a bit obnoxious there and would require drilling holes in the hood or some kind of clamp system to mount it.

I decided on the grille right between the two headlights. The spacing of the brackets was perfect (see pictures below), there was a good mounting location, it's a little less obnoxious and a bit protected, should project light right in line with the OEM headlights, etc.

I have not wired it up yet, but intend to wire it so that it comes on with the high beams and an enable switch - so both the enable switch and the high beams have to be on before the light turns on so I don't accidently turn it on while on the road and blind oncoming traffic.







It's VERY close to the hood, but still pivots more than enough for aiming. I'd like it to be about 1" lower so it's centered vertically in the opening, but I'd have to make new mounting brackets that the lights pivot on and this was just too easy.




The width is perfect for the location with the supplied mounting feet turned so they point to the inside


I cut a ~2" long piece of 1" x 3/16" flat steel and gave it a little bend to follow the contour of the bumper cover. Then I drilled/tapped a hole (1/4-20) for the bolt to hold the foot of the light so I wouldn't need a nut under it. Since the bolt is under the light, it needs to be bolted to the steel "adapter" tab first, then the mounting foot can be assembled to the light itself, then the whole assembly can be screwed to the car.

I drilled a hole in the back of the adapter tab and used the outer two T30 shoulder bolts that hold the bumper cover to the radiator support to hold the tabs down. I had to drill the hole to 7/16" so the shoulder would sit down through the steel tab. There's still full thread engagement into the radiator support piece.

This picture shows the mounting tab a little better


The wiring ran perfectly through the passage in the air inlet duct into the engine compartment right in front of the battery. No cutting required


I made a ghetto hood release for the time being - it's just welding wire - I'll do something nicer later when I finish the wiring.


More pictures later when I finish the wiring an can actually fire it up.
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Old November 30th, 2012, 10:54   #2
flee
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God help those deer now!
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Old December 1st, 2012, 14:16   #3
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Buy the Rigid Industries cover - you spent a lot of cash, protect the light.

I have two Dually D2's which replaced the fog lamps - infinitely better. I thought
about their 8", but on a Bug - where would you mount it.

SO - how 'bout some night time shots?

I predict a lot of "blind" deer in your area....
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Old December 1st, 2012, 17:31   #4
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It's not wired up yet - hopefully over my Christmas break I'll be able to finish it up.

The cover is a double edge sword - I like the idea of protecting the light, but am not going to stop when it gets dark and take it off because I might use it, then put it back on later, etc. It just won't happen.

You could put it in the lower valance, but it's not a great spot for the reasons I mentioned above. Back of the hood would still work - may as well go 20" then
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Old December 1st, 2012, 20:31   #5
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I was gonna say to cut a "scoop" in the hood and put it there
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Old December 1st, 2012, 20:32   #6
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Sorry _ I was referring to Rigid's clear cover
http://www.rigidindustries.com/product-p/cover10.htm

I agree with your comments about the opaque covers.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 11:46   #7
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How far ahead does these light up the road?
I couldn't find any uselful info on this.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 18:40   #8
Fix_Until_Broke
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A long way...and this is the combo spot/flood - they make a spot that goes a lot farther and a flood that goes a lot wider.

Here's some specs from their website (it's a little hard to find)


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Old December 4th, 2012, 11:39   #9
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Wow, didn't expect that!
In all spot light tests I've seen over here they use 1 lux (or lumen?) as a point where they draw the line on range/distance of the beam.

That is 443m for these LEDs, I thought they would be around 200m

My SIMs light up at least a hundred meters beyond the LED bar but at that distance it doesn't really matter.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 12:11   #10
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I think 1 lux is 1 lumen/sq meter which is what the units are in the red plot. X and Y axis are in meters
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Old December 4th, 2012, 12:23   #11
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These things are wildly popular on some of the powerstroke boards I'm on, the light output is simply amazing. Turns the night into day time.

The rigid bars are very nice and top quality.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 18:13   #12
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They have a single row series that isn't too far off of the double row one all things considered. I wish they would take two of the single row ones and make one kick butt double row one.

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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:29   #13
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Very cool, can't wait to see pictures of the output. But that is a ton of money for lights, you could have retrofitted 2 sets of headlights for that much!
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Old December 27th, 2012, 22:03   #14
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I didn't really like the mounting location of the light - it was too close to the hood, stuck out farther from the car than I liked and was too high in the opening. I ordered the weld on mounting tabs from Rigid along with the clear light covers. If I had to do it again, I probably would just use a couple pieces of flat steel that I have laying around instead of paying $10 for these laser cut pieces.
For reference, these tabs and the die-cast feet from a month ago are dimensionally the same so you can see how much lower the light is from the earlier pictures. I also moved the light back as far as I could and still be able to aim it. It will tilt up/down at least 10 degrees which is more than enough.
I wired it up to my "Funk" switch using the included wiring harness - only wire I had to run was one from the dimmer so the switch backlight dimmed with the others. Otherwise red wire to power, black to ground and that's it - pretty simple actually.
The clear covers were a great recommendation - I ended up driving through a good portion of the snow storm before Christmas and the cover was packed full of road salt, grime, etc. I wish they had a full 20" cover instead of 2 separate 10" ones though.

Once I run this for a while and am happy with it, I'll remove the tabs, sandblast and paint them.





I'm not a photography expert, but I tried to take some pictures of the lighting. I just set my camera on the steering wheel, let it auto focus and select the exposure and push the button. I think the pictures are representative.
E-Code Low Beams only - the door is ~35 feet from the front of the car

E-Code High Beams only

Rigid 20" E-Series with the E-Code High Beams

These pictures are down a ~400 foot long driveway.
E-Code Low Beams only

E-Code High Beams only

Rigid 20" E-Series with the E-Code High Beams

It's aimed a bit low so I tilted it up after these pictures which helped light things up farther away instead of right in front of the car. In some ways it's not as bright as I had hoped, but when you turn it off you wonder how it got so dark.
Overall I like it, I think it looks OK and performs well.
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03 Jetta, Cat 2u, DG Steel SP w/MOGolf Mod, 3"DP, 4"EXH, EaBP100 Bypass, Euroswitch, ECodes, Driving Light, PD Lift Pump, R520's, RC5,RC6, TDTuning, Malone, ScanGaugeII, 3" TIP, 2" TOP, HE221W Compounded with GTC1444VZ, 6 Bar MAP, VR6 MAF, Vented Fender Liner, Battery Cover Mod, 11mm, Monster Mats, 215/55/17 (27.9/53.0/75) Monthly MPG Links, Euro Trunk Latch, IDParts RSB, SDI or ALH Intake, ARL Ceramic Pistons, Rosten Rods, DRW, Wavetrac, SBC, FSD's, Beef Springs, Rebuilt Head, Recaro's, Colt II, DG Sigma 6, RMT200
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Old December 29th, 2012, 00:43   #15
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Does your camera have a RAW file format you can take a photo in? If you could send me a sample of all three pics against your garage door, I can give some relatively close approximations as to the relative brightness of the light bar.

I've been toying with this idea for a while now myself too. Just have had higher priority list of items to deal with though.

PS - I'm actually interested in this piece of hardware now...
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