DRIVING LIGHT INSTALLATION
by Mark "Gunga"
After seeing all the great after market
install articles in each issue of Miata Magazine, I though I
would share my experience. I purchased a set of PIAA 1200 55W
Clear ION Driving Lights from MM Marketing for my Red 94. These
lights are round, very small, and fit just great into the grill
opening. They look better than the factory units. The
instructions from PIAA are printed on the back of the box, but
are very general. MM Marketing sent alone a one page addition
that helped somewhat, but could have been better. After reviewing
some letters in the magazine and on the Internet about light
installation, I decided to write down a detailed install
procedure. Installation will take between 4 and 5 hours if you do
it alone. A good helper could cut this time by about 1 hour. A
bad one could add an hour.
Please review all instruction prior to
Tools Needed: Wire cutter. Duck Tape.
Phillips Screwdriver. Ratchet Wrench with long and short
extensions.11mm & 14mm sockets. Open-end 14mm wrench. Heavy
coat hanger. Continuity Tester. One wire splice.
- For easy access place the front of
your Miata on jack stands or wheel ramps. You can do the
install with the car on the ground but its harder
on your back. Before starting, lay an old rug or a couple
of towels under the bumper. If you drop something you can
find it, and you may save the cost of a broken lens.
First, Remove the Tie Down hooks. These are not tow hooks
and have no value unless you are trailing you Miata. The
lights will look better, fit better, and be positioned
farther apart, with their removal. There are three 14mm
bolts used to attach the Tie Down Hooks. They are all
behind the body work. First remove the front bolt of the
three, this is not the one you see from the front of the
car, look behind. You will need an open-end 14mm wrench
for this one. Then remove the two back ones. They will
require the 14mm socket and extensions. After all three
bolts are out, pull the Tie Down brackets out from the
- Where the Tie Downs were positioned
you will see cutouts under the bumper for the Factory
lights. Clean the Black plastic with a non-wax cleaner.
Next, attach the enclosed adhesive pads to the driving
light mounting brackets, removing only one side of the
protective film. Position the light and mounting bracket
into the body cutout, but do not attach. The front edge
of the mounting bracket should be just under the edge of
the bumper. Now make sure that the enclosed Allen wrench,
used for adjusting the lights can be easily inserted and
removed from the outer side of the light. When you have
the placement correct take a piece of Duck tape and place
it on the inside edge of the mounting area as a
- Now using the Allen wrench, remove the
lights from the mounting brackets. The attached mounting
pads will hold the brackets together. Let the mounting
pad protective film on for now, you can remove this after
you do the final alignment. Position the mounting bracket
back into the selected area. Using a sharp nail or the
point of your continuity tester, start a hole in the
black plastic for the enclosed mounting screws. Position
the holes in the center of the mounting slots, leaving
room for adjustment. Attach both mounting brackets under
the bumper with the screws. Do not tighten.
- Re-attach both lights to the brackets.
Feed their connectors through the small holes right
behind the lights. Next, lay the enclosed wire harness
along the left side of the engine bay. Feed the two White
connectors through the small opening on the top end,
driver's side, just in front of the radiator. Attach the
connectors to the lights, and using one of the wire ties,
attach this portion of the wire harness to the power
steering tube in front of the radiator.
- Now go under the dash. For easy access
under the dash, remove the lower left screw from the
panel under the steering wheel. This panel will then
swing out of the way. My 94 has a pre-wired connector for
Factory/Dealer installed lights. I believe most Miatas
have this connector. I found it hanging loose under the
dash just behind the dimmer switch. It is a 6-point
connector. Using your continuity tester, check this
connector. I found that the solid small Red wire gave me
power when the headlights were on both in the High and
Low beam setting. . Strip back about two inches of the
tape warped around these wires. Now you know where you
have to get the other end of the wire harness to. NOW
REMOVE the positive wire from your battery.
- Back under the hood. Feed the harness
wires from the radiator back through the maze under the
hood so it looks neat. Now you will have to feed the end
of the wire harness, i.e., a Black ground wire, and the
connector with two White wires through the Fire wall. Do
this by taping them to the end of a heavy coat hanger
using some Duck tape. The wires have to be feed through
the inside or around the outside of the group of wires
that go through the firewall on the lower left side. They
go through a Gray grommet. Push them through from the
right side, not the fender side. Once through, pull most
of the wires through leaving about a 2 foot selection
before the large under hood connector block. This will
leave you with just the one White wire running through
the firewall. BE PATENT, IT TAKES A WHILE.
- Going back under the dash, attach the
Black wire you pushed through to a proper ground. Splice
the loose White wire (with the Black stripe) to the Red
wire on the factory installed connector. Attach the new
enclosed light switch to the connector you pushed
through. Just let the switch hang lose for now.
- Back under the hood, find the Blue
Tester Connector on the left side about 8 inches behind
the headlight cover. It has a Blue plug with a cap on it.
Strip back about 2 inches of the tape wrapped around the
group of wires inside. Find the large Blue positive lead
from the ignition. This wire will give you power to the
driving lights whenever the engine is running, but they
will go on/off with the ignition. On the wire harness,
find the White wire with the O-Ring connector coming out
of the fuse. Cut the O-Ring connector off and splice this
to the positive lead Blue wire. Connect the two Black
ground wires to a proper ground, one of the mounting
bolts in this area will work just fine.
- Re-attach your battery cable. Start
the engine. You dont want to drain the Mini battery
in your Miata while you test and adjust the lights. Check
all your switches, and connectors making sure that the
lights go out with the engine off. To attach the driving
light switch to the dash. I recommend using a piece of
two-face tape instead of the Velcro that is sent along.
You will not be moving it, or even using it much. Tidy up
the wires under your hood with the remaining tie-downs,
and re-attach the cover under the dash.
- Temporary align your you new driving
lights on a garage door or wall. Cover the headlights
with towels to get a better image on the wall. Be
carefully, the driving lights get HOT. Tighten up the
mounts and drive around for a few days and nights to make
sure you are have them in the right place and are not
blinding oncoming drivers. When you have them aligned
correct, make a mark on the garage door or wall showing
their location. You can now loosen up the mounting
brackets, remove the other adhesive pad protectors, and
reattach without the screws if you want. For extra
protection from theft, you may want to go to your local
fastener supplier and get some fastener that are not easy
to remove. THEN JUST ENJOY.
People always ask me why I bought my Miata.
My answer is simple. IT PUTS A SMILE ON MY FACE