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2004 Chevrolet Astro Cargo
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey gang,

I just installed some fog lights on my Astro to help for the winter and I thought I'd share my process in case anyone else is looking to do a similar project. This was my first time doing an electrical install on a vehicle and I am happy to report that the van did not light on fire.

Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Vehicle Tire Wheel


Installation Parts:

- Hella 550 Fog Light kit - HELLA 550 Amber Fog - My Hella Lights

- Connector Assortment - https://www.amazon.ca/Nilight-Connector-Waterproof-Automotive-Assortment/dp/B08BC337TT?th=1

- Extra wire - 14awg, 16awg.

- Electrical tape

- 1/2" Wire Loom - https://www.princessauto.com/en/1-2-in-x-25-ft-split-flex-wire-loom/product/PA0008209264

- Zip ties

- Clear coat or dielectric grease to coat your ground connections

I think that's it, I'll add to this if I remember anything else.

Tools:

- Drill

- Step Drill Bit

- Wire stripper/Crimper

Heat Gun

Wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.

Some tunes -



Steps:

DISCONNECT THE BATTERY!

Draw or map out your wiring diagram somehow so you understand where the power is coming from, where it's going and where it's grounding.

1. Mount the relay:
Drill a small hole just beside the fuse box under the hood and screw in the relay.
Tire Vehicle Vehicle registration plate Wheel Grille


2. Mount the fog lights:
a. I decided to use the holes on the bottom of the bumper where the bumper cover retainer plugs normally go and the mounts fit perfectly. I may end up installing them on the top of the bumper after I do some more real world testing.
b. Remove the bumper cover and the bumper to make it easier. Attach the mounting brackets and then attach the lights once the bumper is back in place.

3. Run the wires from the relay: Decide how you're going to run your wires. Encasing them in the protective loom is much easier to do before you heat gun all your connections. ask me how I know!
a. Take power from the upfitter stud to the relay
Rectangle Schematic Font Parallel Plan


b. Blue ground to the body ground beside the fuse box. It's 10mm I think.
c. Black wire down behind the battery and around to the lights (make sure you're not near anything that gets hot).
d. I ran the blue ground wire from the lights back up to the same ground for the relay through the loom.

4. Run the switch wires:
a. I drilled a small hole beside the parking brake cable and used some rust paint and a rubber grommet to finish it.
Automotive lighting Electrical wiring Cable Gas Electrical supply


b. Ground behind the hood latch under a panel. 10mm I think.
Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive design



c. I didn't want to tap into the factory wiring so I ran power back to the same accessory stud on the under-hood fuse box. This means that the lights are always live and I have to remember to turn them off.

Once you've got everything wired up, reconnect the battery and inspect everything to make sure you're not melting your van. If all looks good, flip that switch!

Remember to aim your fog lights, there's guides online that describe how to do this.

Some notes:
Since I had never done electrical before, I had to buy a lot of tools and accessories to get this project done. It probably would have been cheaper to have someone install the kit for me and would have been less time consuming. On the other hand, I'm happy to know that it was installed with care, and I learned a lot.

Video references that helped a lot:

Shoutout to OldSchoolNoe for this video he made showing all the ground locations on the Astro! Legendary:

I pretty much followed this MeanMark87's installation. Super helpful:

If you veteran guys see anything crazy in here, please let me know!

Happy to try and answer any questions anyone has.

Automotive parking light Tire Wheel Sky Vehicle
 

· Registered
1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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1,502 Posts
My only comments are:
* Nice looking installation on the front, but watch for high curbs. Some places have very high curbs.
* Most automotive ground wires are black, just for future reference, but certainly not critical.
  • The next 'improvement' would be to wire the lights ( ideally through a relay), so the fog light will turn off with the ignition key. It may save you a dead battery incident one day.
  • The money you spent on tools and the experience you gained by doing it yourself, will reap dividends later.

Rod J
 

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2004 Chevrolet Astro Cargo
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My only comments are:
* Nice looking installation on the front, but watch for high curbs. Some places have very high curbs.
* Most automotive ground wires are black, just for future reference, but certainly not critical.
  • The next 'improvement' would be to wire the lights ( ideally through a relay), so the fog light will turn off with the ignition key. It may save you a dead battery incident one day.
  • The money you spent on tools and the experience you gained by doing it yourself, will reap dividends later.

Rod J
Thanks for the feedback! I'll have to figure out the ignition power upgrade because I am definitely the kind of person who will forget to turn them off one day.

For some reason this kit had all blue ground wires and black wires for the power. I was wondering if it was a Hella thing? I was also confused and unsure about this part.

And for clearance, I was thinking I could replace my front body mounts to give me a bit more height. Do you know if I need to replace all 6 at the same time or can I get away with just the front 2?
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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6,250 Posts
Wow.. that's a really LONG post for fog-lights...lol. I guess you're pretty excited about your first wiring job. There's not really that much to them.. been wiring fog lights up since the 70's. You give them power and they light up. It's an old-school thing, they look nice, and they add lighting down the road.

The Hella's are good quality lights.. and they look great.

I didn't want to tap into the factory wiring so I ran power back to the same accessory stud on the under-hood fuse box. This means that the lights are always live and I have to remember to turn them off.
BIG MISTAKE (wiring them hot) in my opinion! You WILL forget to turn them off one day, and your dead battery may just leave you stranded. Not to mention completely killing a battery reduces it's capacity and life too.

I have ALWAYS wired mine thru a relay. The signal (trigger) wire can be wired to any ignition or accy tap at the fuse box. There is NO chance of forgetting to turn them off (or on).. they simply come on with the key. You can wire a bypass micro-switch if you feel you would ever have a need to turn them off. I can't think of any reason.

On my 2000.. I wired my fog light "relay signal" to the head lights circuit.. since the DRL's run constantly when in gear. I like the look of them running day or night.. looks cool and extra safety too. I never have to think about them.. they just come on and turn off automatically.

I dug up a 40 year old set of "vintage" fog lights (from the early 80's) that I had been storing forever. I had them on my full-size custom hotrod 70's van back in the day. They have great focus, throw, and aim with high-quality lenses. In my case (with my high lift) I was able to tuck them under and behind the bumper for a more custom stealth fit look, without sticking out. They are mounted solid to the subframe...
Wheel Tire Vehicle Land vehicle Grille


Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Car Land vehicle


My 92 sits way too low (always fixing broken lights) so they are now located higher up behind the grill. I've NEVER had a van that didn't have fog lights.

Enjoy!
 

· Registered
2004 Chevrolet Astro Cargo
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow.. that's a really LONG post for fog-lights...lol. I guess you're pretty excited about your first wiring job. There's not really that much to them.. been wiring fog lights up since the 70's. You give them power and they light up. It's an old-school thing, they look nice, and they add lighting down the road.

The Hella's are good quality lights.. and they look great.


BIG MISTAKE (wiring them hot) in my opinion! You WILL forget to turn them off one day, and your dead battery may just leave you stranded. Not to mention completely killing a battery reduces it's capacity and life too.

I have ALWAYS wired mine thru a relay. The signal (trigger) wire can be wired to any ignition or accy tap at the fuse box. There is NO chance of forgetting to turn them off (or on).. they simply come on with the key. You can wire a bypass micro-switch if you feel you would ever have a need to turn them off. I can't think of any reason.

On my 2000.. I wired my fog light "relay signal" to the head lights circuit.. since the DRL's run constantly when in gear. I like the look of them running day or night.. looks cool and extra safety too. I never have to think about them.. they just come on and turn off automatically.

I dug up a 40 year old set of "vintage" fog lights (from the early 80's) that I had been storing forever. I had them on my full-size custom hotrod 70's van back in the day. They have great focus, throw, and aim with high-quality lenses. In my case (with my high lift) I was able to tuck them under and behind the bumper for a more custom stealth fit look, without sticking out. They are mounted solid to the subframe...
View attachment 287593

View attachment 287592

My 92 sits way too low (always fixing broken lights) so they are now located higher up behind the grill. I've NEVER had a van that didn't have fog lights.

Enjoy!
Man thanks for taking the time to read through, I know it got pretty lengthy for a simple job hah.

Your van looks badass with those vintage hot rod lights tucked under the bumper and I remember reading a post you made about your install somewhere along the way. Very cool.

If I'm following the instructions on the right side of this image to include a switch, I'd run the 12v positive (GREEN) from the switch to an ignition accessory? And to do that would I use a fuse tap or something else?

Font Parallel Engineering Diagram Machine


Thanks!
 

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Yep, fuse tap to the switch for the relay signal. You can use a lower amp fuse and circuit for that. I just put a pair of 100 w halogen on my wife's subaru, the lamps on a 20 amp circuit and the switch for the relay on a 7.5 amp ignition switched cause I know she'll leave them on.
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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1,502 Posts
Great looking lights
IggyThe Stooge... said:
"For some reason this kit had all blue ground wires and black wires for the power. I was wondering if it was a Hella thing? I was also confused and unsure about this part."

I is not just Hella... I forgot about the European industrial color scheme ( blue, brown, black = Hot lead, ground return, and output) for so many industrial sensors).
Good work, now that you've mastered the basic circuit, on to the relay upgrade.;)

One thing I did not see on the tool list, and should be considered a 'must have item'; is a simple 12V test lamp. It will tell you 'Is there power here, ...or not'?
An inexpensive volt meter (DVM or analog meter) will be helpful if you plan on getting into very much diagnostic 'fun'..:eek:
Learning to use the basic functions of the DVM ( basic voltage measurements and continuity testing) will probably save you a lot of head scratching. Then pretty soon you will be ferreting out poor heater resistor pack connectors and bad fuel pump wiring problems. :sneaky:
Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Oh and hopefully your hot-wired toggle switch is a "lighted" switch.. so you can see when it's on
 

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2003 Safari AWD
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related...
My switched power solution


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