What does a 25 year old Mazda and a new JEEP Renegade or Wrangler have in common? Let’s just say, it’s remarkable how engineering standards and convention has held up over time, cultures and continents.
A while ago I saw on YouTube how one fellow enthusiast fitted the round 7`` LED headlights from new JEEP models to his Miata. There are a few different designs to choose from, and the aftermarket has even more options. I particularly liked the round halo design, so I took the plunge and ordered a set for my car. That video explains very well the process and the few pitfalls to look out for when fitting it.
I ordered my kit from e-bay, and yes, I had to dremel some of the cover away, and tie back all of the heavy wiring quite tightly too (twice!). But it is plug-and-play for the most part, unless you also want the indicator lights to function. And that’s the thing here. Two and a bit decades and an entire ocean apart, and the three notches on the new American LED lights fits exactly into the offset non-symmetrical pattern on the Japanese Miata’s fixtures. The three-way low and hi-beam plug is the same too, and literally just plugs in. The only real work I did here was to splice into my indicator wires to get a line for the halo’s amber circuit.
The only negative side effect of this install is that these units are rather heavy and bulky with solid aluminium housings. It adds a fair amount of weight over the standard bulbs, and it rattles the headlights on the hinges quite a bit on bumpy roads when they're up. Whether this will cause any long-term damage remains to be seen.
And as I understand, it also fits on the old Mark 1 (Rabbit in the US) and Citi Golfs here in SA too, since it’s the same size and presumably follows the same standard. In fact, the Germans probably set the standard with the Beetle?
We always like to talk and blog about upgrading the brakes or suspension or engine. Sometimes however you have to deal with the boring stuff too.
My handbrake light started staying on. I figured the switch went bad and thought nothing further of it. But then on my way to work in late Feb I hit the brake pedal. Nothing. Straight to the floor. It was the most out of control I have ever felt, and I include the moments like my pirouette, when I ripped the power steering belt trying to powerslide a 96kw car, and my time on the skid-pan at Killarney during an advanced driving course. That day I learnt that if the handbrake light stays on, check your fluid levels!