Backup Light Bulbs

This mod was suggested by Ramy in this thread at Element Owners Club. A 38-watt 894 fog light bulb takes the place of the stock 18-watt 921 bulb. The problem is that the 894 has to be removed from its case, and its contacts modified, to fit in the Element backup bulb socket. Here's a pictorial on the swap.

Figure 1: 894 bulb in package
Figure 2: 894 bulb before removing from base
Figure 3: Base cut with saw
Figure 4: Breaking off the tangs

First, cut or grind off the back side of the plastic base (Figure 3) and bend the tangs away from the base at the 90-degree angle (Figure 4; bottom of base is ground off for illustration purposes). Be careful not to put pressure on the glass where the wire enters—it will chip easily! Bend the tangs until they break off (Figure 5).

Now carefully bend the tangs at the midpoint and fold them nearly flat in a vise (Figure 6) or with pliers. Because the contacts in the Element backup bulb socket are quite wide, it's best not to flatten the tangs completely. A pretty good bend is shown in Figure 7.

Finally, make sure the bulb is free of all grease and dirt, and plug into socket (Figure 8). Verify that the connection is electrically and mechanically secure.

Figure 5: Bulb freed from base
Figure 6: Folding back the tangs in a vise. The first time around, I squished them a little too much.
Figure 7: Tangs folded back nicely
Figure 8: Bulb installed

The new lights are much brighter, and the bulb should stand off far enough from the socket and lens so as not to cause a problem with heat buildup. The slightly higher wattage shouldn't make a difference to the fuse/wiring, and since the OEM socket is unmodified, you can always switch back to stock bulbs.

Update 1/17/06: Model 893 bulbs also work. Only the plastic base is different. (Credit: Genom)

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