Adding Hella Micro DE Halogen Projector Fog Lights to a Ram ProMaster

In my world, a proper fog light must:
1) have a sharp cutoff: lots of light below a line, very little above
2) be mounted as reasonably low as it can be
3) be able to be on without the normal headlights or running lights
4) have yellow light (yes, I know this is old think)

After wandering around southern Washington on a night of alternating fog and snow, I was quite frustrated at how useless the OEM fog lights of the Promaster were.

Some years ago, we put some Hella Micro DE Halogen Projector Fog Lights on our 1975 Super Beetle project. Details here and here.

I was impressed at the sharp cutoff that the Hella Micro DE lamps had. I was a bit surprised to find that the exact same fog lights were still available:

Unfortunately, the fantastic PIAA H3 Plasma Ion Yellow Halogen Bulbs are no longer available.

I made do with these yellow bulbs: PIAA 2500K Solar Yellow H3 Halogen Bulb HY103.

Comparing fog lights

So how bad is the OEM compared to the Hella Micro DE? I did a quick study using low power in the darkened shop:

You can see that OEM bulb has a lot of stray light above the cutoff. The unmodified Hella Micro DE fog light is much better but still has a little stray light. After looking at the way it was made, I extended the shade inside the lamp to block the last little bit of light that was leaking, and the modified light has very little stray light above the cutoff.

The Hella Micro DE also concentrates the light closer to the center of its beam, compared to the OEM light that has a very wide throw. What is beside me in the fog is close, so I can see it fairly well in the fog, what is ahead of me is where I want extra light. Maybe it is old skool, but I am much happier with the Hella light pattern.

Mounting the fog lights

So how to mount them? If you remove the OEM light, there are 3 screws that hold the light to the body. In an attempt to keep it simple, I sketched up a paper pattern and transferred it to some scrap metal I had handy:

After the requisite cutting, grinding, drilling, sanding, priming, and painting, I had a pair of brackets ready to go:

Wiring the fog lights

Next is to make a harness to bring power and ground from the ProMaster harness to the Hella light. A quick splice, soldered and heat shrinked:

Ready to be covered up by some split loom:

Mounting and fixing in place

Mounting the fog light into the bracket:

And then putting the entire assembly in place:

A shot of the driver side, powered on:

Before I installed the passenger side, I tried to compare the Hella Micro DE fog light to the OEM fog light:

You can see that above the cutoff on the Hella there is very little light. However, above the OEM light, there is a great bloom of light visible.

Now I installed the passenger side light, but kept the white halogen light in it:

Not much difference except that the light is yellow when using the 2500K bulb, pretty much as expected.

In summary

On many cars I have had, the fog lights can only be paired with the low beam headlights. If the high beams are on, the fog lights will be off, and you cannot get the fog lights to come on without the low beams. So I was prepared to use the relay and wiring kit that came with the Hella fog lights to make it so I could use the fog lights without also having the headlights on. This is something I only do on abandoned roads with no oncoming traffic since I am not sure it is legal to drive without the headlights on. That is not such a compromise, since if you can see another vehicle’s headlights oncoming or the tail lights of a car you are following then you have some sense of where the road is.

In our 2019 ProMaster, the light switch has only 2 positions, on or off. In the off position, the DRL (Daytime Running Lights) are on, and no marker or tail lights are on. In the on position, the headlights are on, as well as the marker and tail lights. If you turn on the fog lights, they come on as well as the low beams or are off with the high beams. To my surprise and pleasure, if the lights are off, and you click the fog lights on, the fog lights come on, as well as the marker and tail lights. Fantastic.

So if the weather is snowy or foggy, you can click the fog lights on, and pair them with the low beams. If it is very poor visibility, you can turn off the headlights, turn the fog lights on, and have only the fog lights and the marker & tail lights. Good on you FCA for not messing that up.

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