Installing Hella 500 Driving Lights
By: Bob_98SR5
Written: 3/17/05
Vehicle: 1998 4Runner



Parts

Hella 500 Driving Lights (Complete kit)
Toyota Fog Light switch (optional but highly recommended; part #00500-35976)

Tools & Supplies
Measuring Tape
Level
Sharpie pen
Socket set
Cordless/power drill with bits
Tapping oil
Center punch
Hammer
Wire stripper
Crimp tool
Heat shrink tubing or electrical tape
Female blade connectors
Ring connectors
Soldering Iron and solder
Dremel with sanding drum
Self-tapping stainless steel screws

Disclaimer

I am providing this write up for illustrative purposes only. Perform at your own risk. Any mods (including this one) you perform on your vehicle is your responsibility. Commercial use of this write up will result in legal action as well as the undying scorn from members of the online Toyota 4Runner community. You've been warned.

Summary
I belatedly decided to buy these Hella 500 driving lights after driving through some mountain roads which revealed that the stock headlights were lacking in long range lighting ability. Having read that other people really liked their Hellas, PIAAs, etc, I decided to bite the bullet and get a set. Fortunately, the Hella 500s are extremely affordable whose price is around $70 to $80 at the time of this writing. I got mine cheaper from eBay. :)



Step 1: Understanding the Wiring Options

The supplied Hella 500 instructions in the box are just pure crap. However on the Hella website, they do have a much better, clearer version. I took that version and colorized it for even more visual clarity. In fact, I made two versions :) For the Hella 500 light series, there are four wiring options that rely on where you wire up the green wire coming from the relay. Where you hook up that green wire will determine under what circumstances your lights will be able turn on. These options are:

1) Green wire to high beam wire: driving lights can only be used when the high beams are active
2) Green wire to parking lamp wire: driving lights can be used anytime the parking lamps are active
3) Green wire to low beam wire: fog lights can only be used when the low beams are active
4) Green wire to auxiliary fuse box: driving lights can be used at anytime

Diagram 1 applies to options 1 through 3 (above). Diagram 2 deals with option 4.

In my Hella 500 driving light installation, I chose option 4 and thus, this entire write up deals with wiring the lights and powering the relay up to my auxiliary fuse box. Option 4 may not be legal in your area, so please make sure you are in compliance with your city and state's ordinances. Also, please take note the following: I do NOT know what color your high beam, low beam or parking lamp wires are! They will depend on your vehicle year, make and model. So please do not email me any questions about that and if you do, I will respond to your question with a pic of a fat naked lady. You've been warned!


Step 2: Preparing the Lights
Begin by removing the supplied cover off and then removing the single philips head screw from the bottom of the black housing. Of note, this screw has a very soft head, so turn with gentle force. After removing the screws, remove the black housing, put the black housing aside, and then flip the light onto a towel.

Find the blue wire from your kit and plug it into the empty male connector. Thread the bare end through the 4 hole rubber grommet. You may need a nail to puncture the hole. Next, thread one of the bare ends of the double black wire through the grommet. Crimp on a female blade connector and connect it to the white wire with the male connector. Repeat for the other light assembly. After completing both, force each of the grommets into the back of the black housing until you have a good seal. Place the black housings onto the lights and then screw down and secure the lights.

  
Remove screw (S) and fold back black retainer piece   Connect white wire (B) to black wire and male connector (G) to blue ground wire. Screw (S) is shown


Step 3: Measuring the Light Positions

I took a measurement of part of the lower valence and divided by two to get the true center. I marked the position and then used the level's plumb to draw a straight line up the bumper. I then drew a line on the upper part of the bumper. Using the tape measurer, I measured about 2 inches forward and drew a "cross". This served as my midpoint on the top of my bumper.

  
Measure width of lower valence part (H) and divide by 2 to get center point. Draw vertical line (V) using a level. Extend line up onto top part of bumper   Follow instructions below to get an accurate distance from point to point.

For the lights themselves, I put them up on the bumper to visually get a rough idea where I wanted to mount them. After figuring out approxmately where I wanted to mount it, I took the bottom bracket, put it against the front edge of the grill and then marked a "dot" on the front edge of the bottom bracket. From there, I took the bracket, centered the bracket's hole on the dot and then drew a cross. I then measured the distance from my center point and to this new light position and then used the length to triangulate the exact position of the other light. For reference, my lights are centered 10.5 inches from center.

Sounds complicated, but it was very simple to readjust the position if you follow the process.


Step 4: Drilling and Mounting the Lights

It's definitely worth it to use or borrow a corded drill for this job. Begin by center punching your light's location. This will allow your drill bit not to wander when you first start drilling. Next, place some tapping oil on the drill bit itself as well as a little on the hole position. Drill at high speed until your first pilot hole goes through. Increase the drill bit sizes and keep drilling until you drill a 10mm hole (13/32") for each side. Clean the shavings off and if you live in a rust belt state, make sure you protect the exposed holes with some type of sealant or paint.

  
Gratuitous pic of my new toy. Makita power tools rock! :)   This is how large a 10mm (13/32") hole looks like

Next, assemble all the bolts, lock washers and nuts onto the lights and then tighten them down to the point werhe its sorta tight but not loose. Place the lights into the holes and then fasten them from the bottom with the supplied lock washers and nuts. Run the dual black wire under your grill and into the engine bay. Run the blue ground wires under your grill and leave them hanging for now.


Step 5: Connecting the Relay

The relay has 4 male plugs that you need to connect wires to. Each of the blade connectors has a tiny little number next to it. The supplied Hella wires with female connectors attach to these relay connectors. Follow the order below and wire up the other ends to their "final destinations":

Relay #
Connecting Wire
Other End Connects to:
30
Red 15 amp fused wire
Battery
85
Yellow wire
Switch (source)
86
Dual black light wires
To lights (white wire)
87
Ground wire
Chassis ground

Connect all the wires to the relay before mounting the relay itself to the firewall. Next, drill a pilot hole and screw the relay onto the firewall with a self-tapping metal screw. Run the wires neatly and cleanly as possible since you have 4 wires running to it. I bundled the wires with electrical tape in some places to keep it tidy.

Connect all wires to the relay and then screw the relay down. Do not overtighten the relay---it's plastic. Connect green wire (G) to auxiliary fuse box. Don't put in a 15amp fuse until you're ready to fire it up.


Step 6: Running the Wires
For the Red 15amp fused wire, run the bare end to the positive battery terminal. Crimp on a yellow ring connector to it and attach it to your positive battery post. Next, run both the the plugged yellow and green wires through the firewall rubber boot and into the driver's side kick panel area. Also, connect a female blade connector to the green wire and then connect it to your auxiliary fuse box. Finally, take the blue wire, crimp on a ring connector, and then ground it to the chassis.

  
Connect red, 15amp power wire (P) to the positive battery terminal post   Ground blue relay wire anywhere but make sure you ground it onto a paintless surface (G)

Of note, make sure you sand off any paint before you ground any wires. Of all the dozen or so threads about Hella 500 installation problems, the overwhelming majority of problems was due to poorly grounded wires. I suspect many people did not properly remove paint from their grounding spots. Thus, use a dremel tool with a sanding drum and remove the paint before securing your ground wires to the chassis!


Step 7: Grounding the Lights
Unlike other writeups, I decided to fuse both light's blue ground wires together and then connect only a single ground. Begin by fusing (preferably with solder) the wires to each other. Next, strip off the wire off the longest wire and then connect a ring connector to it. Following the tip above, sand down a little spot on the chassis and ground this combined ground wire.

  
I fused the light's blue ground wires (G) together with solder and electrical tape   I grounded the light's (now single) blue ground wire right in front of the battery


Step 8: Attaching the Switch

If you haven't already, buy and use Toyota's fog light switch. The Hella switch will require you to drill a oval track-shaped hole into your vehicle or a switch cut out.


First remove the lower panel, step plate and kick panel out of the way. You can find directions in Step 2 of this writeup. Next, retrieve the previously fed yellow and green wires from the firewall grommet to your switch. Run the yellow "source" wire to the middle prong. Run the green wire to the bottom prong. Finally, attach a female connector to your blue ground wire (I recycled some that I cut off from the blue ground relay wire) and a ring connector to the other end. Connect the female connector to the top prong and then ground the other end to your chassis.

  
Custom made Hella switch molded and painted into a factory cut out.   Hella switch wiring order from top to bottom: blue, yellow and green. The Toyota switch's order is blue, green and yellow

Of note, the Toyota fog light switch wire positions are slightly different. The connection order for the Toyota switch (from top to bottom) is blue, green and then yellow.


Step 9: Testing and Adjusting the Lights

If you followed these steps, your lights should light right up. Mine did the very first time and I was quite pleased. I kept switching them on and off like a little kid. When you switch the lights off, you hear a faint "click". That of course is the sound of the relay working. If your lights don't work the first time, I would troubleshoot all the grounds, then the order of the relay connections and finally, the order of the switch connections.

Also notes on adjusting your lights: make sure they are centered on all planes. According to the instructions, the top of the beam should be "4 inches below the lamp center at 25 feet." In addition, "the lamp should be centered lateral about a vertical line directly ahead of the lamp." Lastly it also says "A higher visual aim may be desired, but the top of the beam should not be higher than the lamp center level at 25 feet." About the only thing useful about the boxed Hella instructions was the picture on how to center and adjust the lights. See below:

  
And on the 5th day, Bob 98SR5 said "Let there be light!"   Hella's light adjustment instructions

Once your lights are adjusted, tighten down all the nuts on the lights and you're ready to go.

Questions or feedback? Email me and I'll try to get back to you. If this article helped you save time, money or just made things more convenient for you, please consider donating to keep this site alive.