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Re: Fog lights

On Thu, 7 Sep 1995, wallace david wrote:

> I would like to install fog lights on my 88 5000q. It looks like drilling 
> into the bumper is the only way for installation. Any suggestions on 
> placement and the brand (or Type) of lights would be appreciated. Would 
> Amber lens be better then clear?

IMHO, amber fog lights are dumb.  A good fog light, properly aimed and 
mounted low enough on the vehicle, does not need to be yellow to work.  
White light is more efficient, as you are not wasting electricity just to 
have half the spectrum turn to heat in the yellow lens.  The whole idea 
is to prevent the light from bouncing off the fog and back into your 
eyes.  There are two important factors:

1. Mounting as low as possible on the vehicle.  You may get lucky and 
have the beam pass under a fog that is hovering just above the ground.  I 
have seen this happen, but don't count on it.  The real reason for low 
mounting is to have as much angle between your eyes and the light as seen 
from the fog droplets, as the droplets tend to reflect straight back, 
with the scatter somewhat less.  All around, low mounting is a win.

2.  A good light has a sharp cutoff on top, and will not have scattered 
light in the fog at the level you are looking through.  Making the lens 
yellow is a cheap way to try to make up for lousy focusing.  You will 
notice that the low-buck fog lights tend to be amber.

Note that you defeat the whole purpose of fog lights if you have your 
headlights on.  Headlights are mounted too high to work right in fog, 
rain and snow.  Thanks to our brain-dead politicians that specified a 
MINIMUM height for headlights.  This also screwed up the design of my 
favorite car, the Lotus Europa, but don't get me started on that.  Many 
cars have the fog lights interlocked to require the headlights be on.  
Foolishness, IMHO.

Detroit made a bad design decision with vertically-stacked quad 
headlights.  They elected to put the low beam light on the top.  On my 
Dad's Suburban in a snowstorm, the light comes right back in your face.  
I have swapped the lights, putting the low beam on the bottom, and now 
see much better in snow or fog (don't have fog lights on it).  It is 
interesting how many of my buddies have noticed something odd about the 
truck, but they can't figure what it is...

Better lights are more carefully made and have more defined patterns.  I 
liked Cibie and Hella in the old days, but I really don't have any idea 
who makes the best ones now.  You want ease of mounting under the bumper, 
ease of aiming, a good flat-top beam, clear lens, lots of power.  Mount 
'em low, aim them carefully, and you will see well and not blind oncoming 
cars on a flat road (breaking over hills is a problem with oncoming cars 
no matter how high lights are mounted.).

Phil Ethier <ethier@freenet.msp.mn.us>
1997 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro  and  1970 Lotus Europa Series 2