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October 2012 Randy’s Electrical Corner

Posted in How To: Electrical on October 1, 2012
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I really like writing for this magazine, but sometimes I find I can’t really be me. I try to come off all smart with wiring diagrams and try to explain stuff… but that’s just a lot of work…that I don’t do too well. I also sometimes feel like the editors feel that they can call me up at all hours to fix problems that were caused by them being lazy. Sure, I like the peanuts they pay me, but sometimes enough is enough.

The lawyers made me say this: This modification is for off-road use only. The factory fog lights in Jeeps shut off when the high beams are activated. That’s good for fogs and not blinding oncoming traffic, but if you are in the middle of nowhere and have swapped fogs for driving lights it defeats the purpose of driving lights. I thought the answer would be in the switch—there must be a way that the high beams coming on tell the fog light circuit to shut off. I thought for sure the answer would be here. I probed and prodded, and found the answer wasn’t here.

Take the phone call from Trasborg: “Hey Randy, I’m leaving on a road trip to Wyoming with my ’98 Cherokee and I just swapped in some driving lights to better avoid moose. I wired them in using a fuse and relays in the stock wiring so I could use the factory switch and not run more wires through the firewall. But I can’t get them to work when my high beams are on. I’ve tried everything. There are frosty beverages of your choice in it for you if you can make it work.”

So, like the schlub I am, I say okay. I mean, who doesn’t like frosty beverages for free ’cause the guy with the money wasn’t smart enough to figure out the answer to the problem? Then he adds “By the way I’m leaving for the trip tomorrow, so if you could come over today, I’d really appreciate it.”

Of course. So I head over there, he gives me my choice of anything I want in his three fridges if I can figure it out. It took me a while. I thought I knew the answer because I’ve done it in TJs before… so I thought I was basically taking his beer for a no-brainer. Turns out I used a lot of no-brains. None of them helped. I finally found the answer by accidentally shorting the relay out with my fingers. Long story short, if you’ve got a late-model Cherokee, I think this will help you unlock your factory fog light switch from the high beam off, headlights on stupidity. It worked on Trasborg’s ’98 anyway. No, I don’t know why. Sorry I don’t have some high-falutin’ wiring diagram to explain it. Here’s what I did, I think safely, and how it worked.

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