De-tangoing front lights – MX-5 / Eunos / Miata

6 04 2010

Been meaning to do this for a while – so thought I’d post a guide with pics.

Basic idea is to

1) Make the front lights look clear

2) Swap the indicator and sidelights so that the larger 21W bulb is the sidelight where the indicator used to be, and the old sidelight becomes the 5W indicator.

Tools needed:  wirecutters, chocblock connectors, electrical tape, screwdriver, oven, orange 5W 501 bulb from Halfrauds.

OK, first off, remove the sidelight/indicator cluster – 2 screws, twist to remove the two bulb fittings, and it’s out.

Looks like this:

If you look inside, you’ll see the orange filter for the indicator, which we’re going to remove.

If you look here, you’ll see the sticky mastic-like glue that holds the housing together:

Next step, make sure the missus is out, and fire up your oven to 100-120 degrees.  Place the whole fitting inside, and set the timer for 10 mins.  Wine optional.

When it’s done, take it out and stick it on your workbench, or chopping board in my case.

Using a broad flat head screwdriver, carefully lever apart the lens from the grey plastic back.  The glue should be a chewing-gum consistency: don’t get it on the inside of the lens or you’ll have to clean it off with isoprop or meths.  Or in my case, alcohol-based handwash gel.  Don’t knock it, I was contemplating using gin.

This should happen:

Inside, you can see the curved orange reflector, which has two screws to remove:

– the bit you’re removing looks like this:

When done, stick it all back together.  If you’ve taken it slowly you might want to warm it up again first.


Much better.

For the wiring, you want to swap the positive connection to sidelight and indicator, so that the old indicator lights up as the sidelight, and the old sidelight flashes as the indicator.  You’ll need to swap the old sidelight bulb for an orange one so that your indicator flashes orange – you’re after a 5W 501 orange bulb, which cost me about £4 from Halfrauds.

Alternately, if you want to retain the original light positions, swap the old indicator 21W bulb for an orange one, or for extra bonus points a chromed orange one which looks silver, but lights up orange.

What does the result look like at night?  Surprisingly bright.  Indicators clearly visible, sidelights actually useful:

Make sure you wrap your wiring up in electrical tape once done.

Hope this is useful, it’s about an hour’s work and I think the result looks great.





6 responses

3 05 2010

Since I did this, I’ve since swapped the sidelights for LED ones. The 21W original bulbs are *bright* as sidelights. Possibly a bit too bright. The LED “tower” replacements off eBay aren’t as bright, but are much better than stock and give your car a very clean look front and back.

31 08 2010

Thanks, Ric. Worth mentioning that you need to replace the screws after removing the orange filters as they hold the reflectors in place in the former indicator housing. The reflectors will work loose and rattle around otherwise. Ask me how I found this out.

17 10 2010

Fantastic point, I did the dame first time around!

31 08 2010

If you do the wiring swap and you are a cheapskate like me you can use “207” 5W or “245” 10W bulbs for the now-larger sidelights. £1/pair from your local Wilko store.

29 03 2011

What you did not mention is that after the swap the indicators will flash too fast due to reduced wattage. My Mk1 has just faile MOT on this and it took me a week and several attempts to replace the flasher unit before I noticed the swap over in the wiring! I now have to find a small higher watt bulb or some way to revert and replace the now missing orange lens!

4 04 2011

They didn’t hyperblink on mine, but I have front side reflectors wired as indicators too. You can either out a resistor in series, fit a higher wattage capless bulb or search for the hyperblink mod where you modify the flasher relay though

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