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FK / DDM Tuning HID Upgrade

Upgrading the lights on my car was for not only for looks, but also for safety. Over the years, it had become increasingly difficult for me to see the road at night because of misaligned bulbs and foggy lenses. As a result, I decided to replace both headlights with aftermarket ones and install HID bulbs and ballasts for improved visibility.

While I've certainly seen headlights in worse shape, my stock headlights were starting to show a pronounced haze. Additionally, the alignment mechanism for the projector bulbs was not working and made nighttime driving hazardous.

In order to remove the headlights, the entire front bumper of the car had to be removed. Thankfully, I was able to find fantastic guides on (here) and (here).

Following the guides, the first step was removing the hood safety latch. A pair of pliers was pretty helpful for this procedure.

The grill comes off next by removing the Torx screws near the hood.

Another four Torx screws hold the bumper in place.

There's another screw for the bumper hidden underneath the car, in front of the skid plate. It's an easy one to miss, so don't forget it!

There are also screws inside of both wheel wells that attach to the bumper.

A right-angle Torx wrench was really helpful inside the wheel wells since it prevented me from having to jack up the car and remove the wheels.

Bumper off! Just pull straight forward, but be aware that there are short electrical wires going to the left and right side markers. They don't need to be detached if you don't mind leaving the bumper close to the car.

Just a few more Torx screws hold the last bumper brace in place.

With the bumper removed, we now have access to the headlight screws. For each light, there are two on top, one behind, and one beneath the rubber hood pad.

Lights out! Time to prep the replacements.

After an exhaustive search for B5.5 headlights, I settled for FK Auto's "smoked" angel eye variant. These are higher quality than the eBay variety of aftermarket replacements, and they don't look out-of-place on the car. I ordered them from here.

Compared to the old headlights, the new FK's maintain the same two-bulb arrangement as the OEM Hella's. However, the FK's add BMW-like angel eyes around the low-beams and brights. I'm also a fan of the all-black housing.

The FK's make use of the turn signal bulb holders from the OEM lights, so these had to be removed from the old set.

The back of the FK's with the turn signal bulbs installed.

For the low beams, I ordered a set of 4500k HID bulbs & solid-state 35W ballasts from DDM Tuning (here). The 35W Raptor kit (which is only available in 55W now) won't blind other drivers, and it's non-digital circuitry won't cause interference with the ECU or radio. The bulbs are standard H7 size.

For the high beams, I ordered a set of MTEC 4,750k halogen bulbs. These are more blue than standard H7 halogens, and blend in a bit better with the HIDs. I elected not to order a set of HIDs for brights because I flash my high-beams to alert oncoming traffic, and this behavior is bad for the ballasts.

The rear of the FK's again, this time with the low and high beams installed. The HID bulbs have a wire harness that needs to be plugged into the ballasts.

To keep water out of the headlights, the FK's make use of the OEM bulb cover. I cut a small cross in it using an Exacto knife to allow the HID wire harness through.

After passing the harness through the rubber cover, the respective wires are attached.

Everything is connected and ready for instillation.

There is just enough space underneath the headlights to fit the ballasts and shield them from water. This is also the location for the OEM HID ballasts in the W8.

Next comes interfacing the new headlights with the rest of the Passat's electrical system. The FK's include two harnesses that connect between the headlights and the OEM harnesses. There is also a relay cable for connecting the angel eyes to the car battery and a control source (typically the low beam power wires).

It turns out the brilliant minds that built my wire harnesses mixed up the plastic connectors on the red wires leading to and from the angel eyes. These had to be swapped.

The plastic connectors were removable using a small screwdriver (very similar to Molex connectors). The metal pins were swapped with a soldering iron.

One last imperfection of the FK headlights is their turn signal wiring. Apparently, the electrical connection between the turn signal bulbs and the OEM wiring has more resistance than the stock circuit. This causes the turn signals to blink at 2x speed because the car thinks the bulbs are burnt out. Fortunately, a smart individual on PassatWorld (here) wrote up a nice explanation for tricking the turn signal circuit with a resistive load in parallel with the turn signal bulbs.

I used two 50 ohm resistor in parallel to put a 25 ohm load across each turn signal bulb. I also bought vampire connectors so they quick-connect to the appropriate turn signal wires. After crimping the tails onto the resistors, I wrapped the whole circuit in blue electrical tape.

With the soldering iron out, I decided to extend the wire running from the battery to the angel eye fuse. I wanted to install this fuse in the car's interior, next to the other fuses, but the wire that FK supplied was not long enough.

Here's a photo of the new power cable with one of the ends swapped.

Similar to the power cable, I also needed to extend the wire that attaches to control pin of the relay (the end with the plastic connector). This wire is going to connect from the relay to the soon-to-be installed Euroswitch.

The angel eye relay is installed in the engine bay near the driver-side headlight. Next comes attaching the wires to the appropriate places.

First, the harnesses are installed in-between the headlights and the OEM harnesses. Vampire connectors are attached to the turn signal power and ground wires to install the load resistor.

The load resistor is installed into the vampire connectors on each headlight. It is held in place with a zip-tie.

The power wire is attached to the battery. It needs to be routed into the engine compartment and passed around through the firewall.

To get into the engine compartment, I decided to go through one of the rubber grommets.

An Exacto knife was used to cut a hole in the center of the grommet.

The power wire comes out through the grommet and around the passenger side of the car. It is covered by the cable guard from the FK wiring kit and secured in place using zip ties.

The wires from the passenger side headlight meet up with the power wire and continue their route around the radiator and towards the driver side headlight.

At the driver side headlight, the passenger angel eye wire is attached to the relay. The power wire and three wires from the relay (control, power return, & ground) continue on towards the firewall.

The installation hits a snag at the firewall; there's no way in! However, the ECU wire harness (located inside the waterproof box), does go through.

A small notch is cut into the ECU box using a metal file. It's just big enough for the wires to pass through without exposing the ECU to water.

The wires will appear behind the dashboard underneath the steering column. A few Torx screws underneath and to the side of the lower dash get it off.

With the lower dashboard removed, we now have access to the relay panel. In order to disable the daytime running lights (I have a North American Passat), remove relay #173. This will ensure the HID lights only turn on when the Euroswitch is in the "low-beam" position.

The wires from the FK relay appear at the bottom of the dashboard. The power and power return wires plug into a fuse, and the fuse can be secured in this location.

The ground wire is attached to a metal post on the chassis.

The last wire from the harness is for controlling the relay; whenever it is energized, the relay switches "on" to connect the angel eyes with the battery. This will connect to the Euroswitch so that the angel eyes turn on whenever it is in the "parking light" or "low-beam" positions.

The old North American lightswitch is removed and the wire harness is examined.

After scouring the web for an explanation of the Euroswitch, I finally came across this diagram. In the "P1" position, all the lights will be off since the daytime running light relay was removed. "P2" is designed to turn on the parking lights/interior nighlights (58R). In order to have just the angel eyes turn on in position "P2", you need to switch the wires at pin 14 and pin 11.

Removing the wires from the lightswitch connector is a bit tricky; you have to press in two metal tabs simultaneously on both sides of the pin. A bent paperclip can serve as a makeshift tool to help get the wires out.

While swapping the wires, the last step is to attach the relay control wire to the wire in pin position 14. Having another vampire connector was handy here.

With the re-wiring finished, the new Euroswitch is ready to be installed. I opted for a non-VW switch; it's offers the same functionality and quality as the OEM switch, but is several dollars cheaper.

The Euroswitch is secured in the lower dashboard, and the entire dash is reattached.

Time to test the new switch! In position "P1", the lights remain completely off. In position "P2" (shown here), only the angel eyes turn on, and the parking lights/interior nighlights stay off.

In position "P3", the HID lights fire up, and the parking lights/interior nightlights turn on as well.

Thankfully, the brights and blinkers work, too! The new brights are relatively the same temperature as the HIDs, and the turn signals blink at their normal rate.

The final step of any light modification involves a bulb alignment. I was able to find a fantastic guide on the subject here. Since these new headlights are Euro-spec, they have a noticeable bend in the light pattern that makes aligning the bulbs easy.

One issue I noticed with the new lights was that the angel eyes would not shut off when my car is turned off. This was because the Passat cigarette electrical outlets (which are on the same circuit as the angel eyes) do not power down when the car is turned off. As a result, I decided to yank the 15A outlet fuse and re-wire the electrical circuit so the outlets (and angel eyes) turn off with the car.

I was able to find a 15A fuse that worked with an inline fuse holder in my electrical toolbox. This will be replacing the 15A automotive fuse that was in the car before.

In order to patch the inline fuse holder into the stock fuse box, I broke the automotive fuse for the blade-style prongs that are designed to slide into the fuse holders.

A photo of the completed inline fuse, with blade connectors soldered on the ends.

In the fuse box, the rightmost pin of each fuse is connected to the electrical load (which in turn is connected somehow to the battery). The leftmost pin is connected to ground either directly or through some relay. Since I knew the electrical load pin for the electrical outlet circuit (it is at the center of the picture), I used a multimeter to find a nearby ground pin that is connected only when the cars is on. Now the angel eyes and electrical outlets switch off when the car is off!

Finally, the turn signal bulbs were casting a noticeable orange hue in the headlights, so I decided to swap them with frosted bulbs instead.

Sylvania make a low-cost 3357A/3457A frosted bulb that is a direct replacement for the OEM blinker bulbs. It's just a matter of swapping out the old lights for the new ones.

The new frosted bulbs actually cast a blue hue which blends a lot better with the HID bulbs.

Overall, the headlight and HID upgrade has been a spectacular success. Not only can I see the road better at night, but the car looks quite a bit nicer when compared to the subdued stock look.


FK headlights (black) $389.00
DDM Tuning HID lights $44.00
MTEC H7 bulbs $19.95
4x 50 ohm resistors $6.00
5x Vampire connectors $8.00
Euroswitch $35.00
Inline fuse and holder FREE
Sylvania frosted bulbs $17.90

Total $519.85