Current recommends for compact driving and fog lights?

N8N

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Good afternoon everyone

I just bought another jeep, this one is an XJ Cherokee with a JCR front bumper. It has 6" KC driving lights hanging under the brush bar and they need to go, just not good nor are they even correctly aimable as mounted unless I add spacers from the light tabs. I would like to run both driving and fog lights if I could, but I don't think I have enough space. I can't put the driving lights above the brush guard even though that looks like what they intended as I'd be at the limit of light height for MD (they have a silly law, driving lights can only be 42" off the ground? But headlights can be 54"? Makes no sense). If you could recommend quality, legal lights smaller than 6" however - rectangular would look OK on an XJ as well - that would be great. Prefer LED and modern, don't really care about maintaining an old school look. Thanks for ideas.

Edit: I think I could fit two pair of Hella 450s and have it look good... Is there anything like that available in LED that is legit? Or am I looking at using a relay harness to drive both pairs?
 
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N8N

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Now that I think about it once I get through inspection I'm thinking of flipping the KCs upside down and either converting to LED or installing high watt bulbs and just leaving the covers on unless I'm off road or doing a long road trip at night. Hopefully no po po will measure height off pavement. Then using whatever fog lights I want. Does that change anyone's recommendations?
 

N8N

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I reached out to someone whose opinion on such things I respect and he suggested some vintage Koito rectangular fogs. I am a little surprised, but it does seem that Koito is well respected. So...

Koitos? (I'd feel a little guilty running these as they have chromed housings and the vehicle would be sitting outside)
Hella 450 or 550 fog lights? They're a lot cheaper and they're plastic, but I also bought a pair in maybe 1999 (but then again the Koitos are likely an older design yet)
JW Speaker 6050? (which seem to be completely unavailable though - out of stock everywhere which is disappointing as there is a 4WP right near me and my understanding is they are an "official retailer") My thought was if I could find good LED based lights I could use the factory wiring and not add yet another relay harness.

Anything else?

I think I'm shelving the idea of adding driving lights now, fogs would be more useful to me. Likely going to put my old Truck-Lite (SAE/DOT LED) headlights in for the time being and then think about if I'm happy with them or if I want an upgrade.
 

John_Galt

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Any idea on budget?

Starting on page 39 of this thread on tacomaworld


There are several posts with direct comparisons between the hella 500's both standard and FF, and a 700 FF, with the 55w they ship with and a couple other better 55w and 100w bulbs.

That entire thread is also full of just various LED and halogen driving lamps. Beamshots from both posters and the thread author, and the thread author does beamshot comparisons in his garage (so close to apples: apples comparisons between beam patterns, although I don't think he locks the focus of his camera settings) so you can see differences in beam heights and widths.

For compact and legal lamps, if going LED, I would suggest either trying to find a set of the Valeo/Cibie/PIAA "cube" lamps tested on the first page (iirc it's the widest beam pattern of any lamp he's tested) or get a set of diode dynamics SS3 Pro lamps in selective yellow, and a clear driving light lens. Selective yellow isn't a legal color for driving lamps, but the selective yellow lensed lamps come with 4,000k color temp LEDs, whereas if you select a clear lensed lamp, they come with 55/6,000k LEDs.

There is also a beamshot in the first 10 or so pages of the diode dynamics SS12 12" lightbar with the driving light lens. The SS3 pods have a better beam pattern, imo, but the lightbars are certainly useable.
 

F89

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I like my Hella FF75 driving lights (also come in fog pattern) with Osram Nightbreaker 200 H7.
Whatever you go for, definitely install the appropriate wiring and use a relay (I recommend a relay with a diode).
 
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N8N

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Any idea on budget?

I'm willing to pay for whatever's good, I'm still undecided on whether I'm going to reuse headlights that I have (Cibié E-code halogens, which means I'd need to do a relay harness and probably add a relay to allow the fog lights to work; I had to do that on my '99, alternately Truck-Lite SAE/DOT LEDs) or maybe try some JW Speakers instead. Obviously I don't want to go crazy, but I'm willing to pay for quality.

I think priorities now are headlights (I think I'm going to put the Truck-Lites in for now, and then assess if I'm truly happy with them) then fog lights, then finally driving lights which I may or may not decide I need with good headlights.

Starting on page 39 of this thread on tacomaworld


There are several posts with direct comparisons between the hella 500's both standard and FF, and a 700 FF, with the 55w they ship with and a couple other better 55w and 100w bulbs.

That entire thread is also full of just various LED and halogen driving lamps. Beamshots from both posters and the thread author, and the thread author does beamshot comparisons in his garage (so close to apples: apples comparisons between beam patterns, although I don't think he locks the focus of his camera settings) so you can see differences in beam heights and widths.

For compact and legal lamps, if going LED, I would suggest either trying to find a set of the Valeo/Cibie/PIAA "cube" lamps tested on the first page (iirc it's the widest beam pattern of any lamp he's tested) or get a set of diode dynamics SS3 Pro lamps in selective yellow, and a clear driving light lens. Selective yellow isn't a legal color for driving lamps, but the selective yellow lensed lamps come with 4,000k color temp LEDs, whereas if you select a clear lensed lamp, they come with 55/6,000k LEDs.

There is also a beamshot in the first 10 or so pages of the diode dynamics SS12 12" lightbar with the driving light lens. The SS3 pods have a better beam pattern, imo, but the lightbars are certainly useable.

I'll have to go back and read that very large thread in more detail but as I said above I guess my first actual purchase will be fog lights and there seem to be fewer LED fog lights on the market, at least from what I'd consider top tier manufacturers. Recommendations? One notable exception appears to be JW Speaker, but their pedestal mount LED fog lights seem to be out of stock everywhere I've looked. Or should I just stick with halogens and if so what?
 

John_Galt

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There is also an SAE J583 fog lamp test thread. However, it's almost 350 pages long, and I don't have a catalog for each test.

If you want to stick with halogen fogs, the hella 500's tested very respectably. He even tested an older, euro market lamp with a selective yellow lens, comparing it to a newer version with the same lens coloration. Just interesting to see the differences.

The diode dynamics ss3 is also a solid fog lamp option. As are the SS2's. The Max version is the best performing lamp, especially in selective yellow (note, the max uses osram white flat 2 LEDs, and uses a specific/different yellow lens than either the sport or Pro models). It has a very sharp, effective cut off, and runs very hot, which is helpful for keeing the lens clear in slushy conditions. The Pro uses an LED with a larger die, the xpl-hi, and while much higher performing than the Sport model, it has a much softer cutoff, making it harder to aim effectively. The Sport has a very good cutoff. Similar to the Max in beam width and height, but about half the intensity. Of the three models, its the only one that runs cool enough that slush/snow buildup is quite possible. I don't use my fogs much, but I did mount a pair of selective yellow sports on my civic to act as a low beam aid, and they've been quite useful. I'll be putting them on my tacoma soon. DD also has their "elite" series, which use a retroreflector design. They have a wide beam, and sharp cutoff, but they also do not heat the lens.

Baja Designs used to offer their squadron lineup with an "SAE Fog compliant" lens. However, it was absolutely not a fog lamp, just a fluted lens. Crash's thread,, and public callout, forced them issue a "redesigned" optic with an insert that resulted in a very low intensity beam. They have recentlt reintroduced an actual fog lamp, with a 4 emitter aspheric lens design. It appears to be a much higher performing, purpose-designed lamp, but I don't think Crash has tested one yet

Morimoto has a line of "4bangers" which are "fog" lamps. They have a narrower beam pattern in total width than the SS3/SS2's, but they have a center intensity weighted pattern, that is also higher intensity fading to lower intensity from top to bottom. More of an attempt to make an auxiliary low beam, imo. They come in two outputs, with three LED options. The HXB models use the same osram LEDs as DD's max model, and are highest performing. They also offer two models with nichia LEDs, one with a white LED that can use either a yellow or clear lens, and one with a yellow nichia led, which can also be purchased with either a white or yellow lens (yellow lens on yellow emitter results in a slightly darker yellow coloration than either of the other two models).
 

N8N

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I was thinking LED just so I didn't have to add another relay harness (I have the stock fog light wiring still intact)

will have to obsessive-compulsively research the options you put out there of course :)

Edit: what would be cool is if something were available that offered both driving and fog lights in the same package just so the two pairs of lights would match (other than color of course). Even better would be if they were small enough that I could have fogs on top of bumper and driving lights hanging down without interfering with each other, although I'm not opposed to putting the driving lights on top of the brush bar, I don't know how the local authorities would view that (the top of the brush bar right now is about 6" below the legal limit for height of driving lights with no suspension mods)

Pic so you can see what I'm talking about.

IMG_20240701_195734434.jpg
 

John_Galt

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Clean jeep.

As far as appearance matching, lots of options. DD SS3's are available in both, but so are hella 500's, and morimoto "4bangers." Now, driving and fog wouldn't really work in the same housing, as their aim is drastically different, but there are... chinese products of various flavors that claim to offer this... none are worth pursuing that I've looked at. But they'll certainly claim they are.
 

N8N

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So I'm still researching (and letting my credit card cool off; I just finally got the thing through inspection Monday morning so I'll be 100% legal for two years as soon as my stickers come in the mail, and I've also fixed the AC and the power windows which is very important with the weather we've been having here... (and also fixed the power locks/RKE, and have ordered a replacement fob and key blank for the second one the PO lost)

Anyway, I'm kind of leaning towards doing the DD3 fogs now and then some sort of light bar for driving lights, the Osram FX500-CB was recommended to me, anything else I should look at? I'm leaning toward the DD3 because my thought process is I can just use the stock wiring with LEDs and not have to add a relay harness. Is that a good assumption or no?

Questions:

1) I see that Diode Dynamics sells the same lights that I'm looking at (DD3, SAE fog pattern, yellow lens) in Sport, Pro, and Max. That is in order of increasing price, so presumably the more expensive ones are "better", but I couldn't find an explanation of what the differences are. Any help?

2) I'll ask this in a Jeep specific group but in case anyone knows, I cannot find anything that 100% states that it'll plug into the fog light connectors on an XJ, and I didn't ever think to keep any old busted fog lights from my previous XJs (and this one does not have them at all, the connectors are just dangling.) I did find these https://www.quadratec.com/products/97109_09X6_PG.htm/97-04-tj but don't know if they are the same. I saw mention that similar year ZJ fogs used the same connector but can't find anything for those. I know I could just cut and solder but I like to do things neatly. Any ideas? Will the TJ ones work?
 

John_Galt

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As above, the Sport/pro/max all use the same housing, and optics (exception being the selective yellow lens max uses a darker amber tint, as the osram white flat 2 LED it uses is not available in a 4000k color temp) but use different LED and driver arrangement. The sport uses luxeon LEDs, iirc. The Pro's use a cree Xpl-HI, and the max's use an osram whiteflat 2 LED. The emitter in the sport is smallest. But also lowest drive current. the xpl-Hi has the largest die size of the three, which causes it to have the least ability to be collimated by the optic. The white flat has a die slightly smaller than the xpl-hi, but it offers similsr "focusability" to the small emitter in the sport. This basically translates to a combination of highest surface intensity and schmediumish die size that focuses well with the optics.

The beam width is similar between the three models, but the beam height is different. The Pro models suffer from a very "soft," fuzzy cutoff along all its edges. This makes it the hardest to aim properly. The sport and Max models have a very sharp cutoff. The max has about twice the intensity of the sport, about 40-50% iirc higher than the Pro model.

Given that the use case for fogs is slow speed driving, any of the three will be fine in inclement weather. However, the sport model is the lowest output and lowest power draw, and runs the coolest. Both the Pro and max in selective yellow run hot enough on the lens to melt snow and ice buildup while on. The sport gets warm, but not hot enough to keep the lens clear.

Sorry, can't help you on any jeep specific connnectors.
 
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