Here at MERCENARY we believe that if a thing is worth doing, it's worth overdoing and with that in mind, the Mercenary van has just undergone a lighting upgrade.
It all started when the original meagre 50/55 Watt H4 headlight bulbs were replaced with 90/130 Watt bulbs and a new heavy duty wiring harness run through relays and a new dedicated fuse-box.
All of a sudden, the headlights outperformed the auxiliary lights. A simple solution would have been to remove the auxiliary lights and call it good, but if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing... Right?
So the 5" 50 Watt lamps on the A-pillars (that lived under smiley-face covers and were almost never used) were replaced with 9" fog (wide angle) lamps running 100 Watt bulbs, angled outwards at 30 degrees. These are controlled individually by switches on a panel in the ceiling.
The outboard lights on the front bumper are similar 9" fog beams angled out at 10 degrees to provide additional illumination at the side of the road. They are controlled as a pair, by a switch on the ceiling and can come on only when the parking lights are on. In other words, they'll come on if needed with the parking lights, dipped headlights or high beams. They replace the rectangular fog lights that used to live a life of danger under the bumper.
The inboard lights are 9"driving beams running 100 Watt bulbs. They are mounted facing forward and and fill in the middle distance, slightly further out than the headlights. They are controlled as a pair from a single switch on the ceiling panel and can only come on with the high beams. They replace the old 9" 100 Watt lamps that have been on the van since shortly after it was bought.
The top lights are 9" pencil beams also running 100 Watt bulbs. The reason they're tinted blue is because pencil beams are difficult to get (Brexit? Covid? Obsolete? I dunno), and they were the only pair I could find. I would prefer clear lenses but whatchagonnadoo?
The pencil beams are really focused and are designed to illuminate far ahead. They are mounted horizontal and parallel to each other. They are controlled as a pair and can only come on with the high beams.
In addition to these lights, the van still has its LED lights over the B-pillars. These are controlled individually and are invaluable for moving around in dark car parks. They also work well for seeing what you are about to step down into as you exit the van.
The rear LED auxiliary reverse lights come on automatically when reverse gear is selected and can also be operated individually by switches in the cockpit.
So, we're all set for more nefarious nocturnal shenanigans...
Images Mercenary Garage
Some Technical Stuff
Can the van actually cope with all that extra power consumption? Yeah, just about...
The van is a diesel, with a mechanical fuel pump. So when the motor is running there is no electrical demand - No ECU, no injector pump, no HT coils etc.
VW saw fit to equip the thing with a 90 Amp alternator which at 14 volts equates to 1260 Watts. That's quite a lot of power.
About 1.21 Jiggawatts!! About1.7 Horsepower!
8 No. Auxiliary Lamps @ 100 Watts = 800 Watts
2 No. High Beams @ 130 Watts = 260 Watts
Total = 1060 Watts
This leaves about 200 Watts to spare for other bits and pieces, which is plenty 'cos almost all the rest of the lights in the vehicle are LEDs.
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