The Garage - Fog Lights
The KC HiLites Amber Fog Lights!
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Last Updated: 12/3/2013
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Fog Lights

KC HiLiTES, Inc.
Address:
PO Box 155
Williams, AZ 86046
Phone: (928) 635-2607
Business Hours:
Monday to Friday
8:00AM - 5:00PM (MST)
Email: info@kchilites.com
Click here to visit their website.

Summit Racing Equipment
Address: P.O. Box 909
Akron, OH 44398-6177
Phone: 800-230-3030
Click here to visit their website.

Amazon.com, Inc.
1516 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (800) 201-7575
Click here to visit their website.

Disclaimer
The fabrication, modifications and designs you see on this web site are completed by myself. If you duplicate these modifications you do so at your own risk. I do not endorse or make any claims to their safety, performance, On-road or off-road worthiness. Any "Product Reviews" are my sole and personal opinion. These reviews are on items purchased from or provided by reputable aftermarket suppliers. All registered trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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Fog lights (also known in rally circles as "cornering lamps" because of their extremely wide horizontal beam spread) add broad "fill" lighting to illuminate the sides of the road or street rather than the front of it.

They are simply auxiliary lamps with a very wide beam spread in the horizontal axis and a very shallow beam spread in the vertical axis.It's primarily the shallow vertical beam spread that allows visual penetration of fog, by controlling the angle of incidence so that the reflected light comes from lower down, and thus less direct reflection reaches the level of the drivers eyes.

Every winter and including a month or two before and afterwards, I have been driving through snow, sleet, intense rains, and deep set fogs. Fog lights are designed to assist in preventing accidents caused by visibility problems like these.

Fog, Snow, poor vision in the
Michigan UP are not a rare occasion!
Generally, headlights will reflect off dense fog, creating more of a visibility problem than it already has been. Fog lights emit a specialized beam to cut through the fog, penetrating harsh weather, and enabling a much better and safer field of vision. It is not just my safety that's on the line because if I am able to see the road divisions, the road signs and the coming vehicles I can adjust my driving and prevent any critical danger to me, the other passengers in my truck, and to you, the other motorists. By using and installing fog lights I will be seen better by other cars and I can see them too.

Fog lights don't come standard on some trucks, but my Durango did have them because this SUV was purchased with the optional SLT+ trim package. The Durango OEM in-bumper fog lights have served me well in the occasional encountered heavy lake fog which we do have here in the Michigan UP.

With the custom heavy duty winch box bumper now in place, I was unable to reuse the fog lights from my Durango because these are factory fitted with a clamping system which is proprietary to the OEM bumper. Thus, to retain an edge on safety and visibility, a fog light is definitely a good investment I have to make asap.

Choosing a good set of fog lights
I was surprised on how many different front fog lights are available in the market these days, but I quickly found out that the most common are the clear fog lights and not the ones with the amber colored lenses. I prefer the amber colored lenses over the clear type when it comes to rain and/or fog. It just feels a lot less straining to my eyes due to the fogs reflective nature which seems especially more disturbing to me when using white light (clear lenses).

I also needed to purchase fog lights which do not exceed 5" in diameter and offer some sort of universal mounts to fit into my bumper.

The single red square or rectangular shaped rear fog light is often installed as a standard in Europe by many OEM's but are rare on vehicles here in the US.
Because the rear fog light helps me to be seen by cars behind me, I intend to install one as well but there may be certain regulations on the intensity of their brightness since they may cause blindness to the following vehicle, this is because such a rear fog light may be 30 times brighter than the regular rear lights.

After some research on the web and in various online forums I decided on fog lights from KC Hilites. These fog lights are manufactured from highly durable materials, feature a black chrome finish, and have the amber lens color.

They didn't come cheap as I had to spend about 125 bucks at Amazon.com, but they do offer a great manufacturer warranty, seem to be very rugged in their construction, and are shipped as a complete electrical set These KC 35 Watt fog lights are more powerful than the factory installed 27 Watts which they will "replace", and the diameter is perfect for the installation in my bumper. The relatively low power of 35 Watts compared to others I have seen allowed me to use the existing wireing on the Durango and it will work nicely with the factory installed fog light switch without any modification. I can always purchase more powerful ones if I feel it becomes neccessary.

KC Hilites 487 Product Description
KC Hilites 50 Series 5" Black Amber Fog Light Systems are designed to provide clear and brilliant lighting. These 35-Watt lights are manufactured from highly durable materials and feature a chrome finish. Because of their low vertical cut-off below the eye level of oncoming drivers, these low wattage fog lamps will not cause more glare for opposing drivers, assuming that they're aimed and/or installed correctly. They are easy to install and are backed by a 23 year warranty.

Features:
* Fog lights are AMECA approved for use in all 50 states and Canada
* Tough Black Chrome plated steel 5'' round housing
* Optical quality glass lens
* Precision polished and focused reflector
* Two Axis Mounting adapts to most vehicle surfaces and air dams
* System includes 2 lights, Electrical Installation Kit incl.relay style wiring harness

KC HiLites 5 IN ROUND BLACK AMBER FOG - KC-487

Installation
The basic procedure of this project was to install the fog lights into my bumper which has already the proper mounting points welded on. I still needed to drill the correct hole for each light's mounting stud. I then cut off the cable with the OEM connector and spliced the wires of the new fog lights to it. Fog lights should only light up when the low beams are on and they may also be operated as a supplement to the headlamps.

I don't have to worry about that because my Durango had factory installed fog lights and thus the install kit went into the parts bin. After the installation of the fog lights was completed I adjusted them and went out for a test drive. Everything worked as it should.The entire project took approx. an hour to start to finish.


Before
After
The fog lights in action!

Verdict:
The KC Hilites 487 lights seem to work well and I am postive have aided to my visibility in several bad road and driving conditions, such as fog, heavy rain, or snow which we have plenty of here in the UP.

This project was completed on 03-29-2008



Update - February 2010
The fog lights have performed flawless in terms of reliability and electrical function. One gripe, though. Although rust was somewhat expected after a few years, but were only two winters in and they already show a fair amount of rust and corrosion on the mounting studs. There is a somewhat negligible amount of rust on the housing too. Not cool KC!

Update - December 2013
5 Years have gone by and the amount of rust and corrosion on the mounting studs are now really bad, in fact I believe that I would need to cut or torch them off if they should fail. The rust on the housing has intesified and they don't look to great anymore. I think that I will replace them soon with a different brand which offers a plastic housing and nickel coded studs.The fog lights still perform in terms of reliability and electrical function, though. What a shame, I really like how they look and I am a fan of yellow lenses on fogs. I have updated my approval stamp to FAIL!




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