Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights

Technical info on the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix including do-it-yourself info
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tribalman
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Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights

Postby tribalman » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:24 pm

This is a write-up on how to do the DRL/Automatic light modification on the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix years 2003-2008. The goal of this modification(henceforth “mod”) is to disable the Daytime Running Lights(henceforth called “DRL”) while keeping the function of the Automatic Sensing lights that react to low light conditions. In other words, the front lights will no longer be on during the day but if nighttime occurs the headlamps and tail lights will illuminate and the dashboard will dim automatically. The modification has been successfully performed by myself under factory default lighting. HIDs have also been proven to work. There is also an optional step which will allow for the Fog lights to become the DRL but with a manual control, you can choose to have them on or not.

If done correctly this is an easy mod. If something gets mixed up it can get very complicated very fast. From my personal experience with this mod, TAKE YOUR TIME. I cannot stress enough the importance of checking and double checking your work. And then before you actually do anything; check the plans to see if your prep work follows the plan. I recommend that you look over the schematics and at least have an idea of happens under normal operating conditions, what the modification requires to work, and what the expected outcome will be and how it will look. By doing this if an error occurs you have a greater knowledge to help with any troubleshooting.

Firstly we will go over how the DRL module and the car work under normal operating conditions. This is a little simplified because I don’t fully know every aspect of the IC chips and components of the DRL module, and there are many features that are not needed to be understood for this mod to work.
With the system at factory settings if the driver during day time were to have the car turned off with the parking brake applied and start the car, the head and tail lights would be off and the dash lights would be fully on. If the driver were then to disengage the parking brake a switch in the parking brake assembly would be depressed turning off the dashboard light for the parking brake and the head lamps would turn on at lower brightness. While not a big issue for the standard driver, it annoys some and also would ruin HID lamps. If the driver desires they can use the knob on the steering column to turn on the lights manually. Or, if the driver were then to drive around until dusk, the light sensor in the dashboard would sense the lowering light conditions and at low enough levels would automatically switch on the head lamps to full and also turn on the tail lights. It would also dim the dashboard lights. Unless a different mod was done, the fog lights were only on when the head lights were fully on,high beams off, and fog light control switch turned to "on". For the drivers who have HID lamps they were forced to either use the manual control switch and have the lamps on at all times shortening their life, or disable the DRL completely and lose automatic light control.

The theory was then posed by Calata on how to remove the DRL and keep the automatic lights. By accessing the diagram below he theorized that by cutting a wire and attaching one of the leads to another wire, this could be achieved. Following the flow of electricity it was discovered that a separate signal is used to control the head lamps and the tail lamps.
If you sever the connection at pin 6 and follow the red line from pin 14 to pin 2 of the "Head" relay you effectively remove the DRL and then wire the head lamps to turn on whenever the tail lights are illuminated, non braking. If you want to keep the DRL feature but instead of using the head lamps want to make the fog lights the DRL follow the blue line from pin 6 to pin 4. You will have control of the fog lights via the standard fog light control switch, which is not shown in the slightly simplified diagram below.
Since you are not going to cut pin 4 other than to add a new wire connecting pin 6, you can control the fogs with the switch. If you decide you don't want lights on at all during the day, turn the fog switch to "off". You also will have the normal control of the fogs when the head lamps are turned on also

Now on to the part I am sure you actually care about, the instructions. In order to perform this mod you will need a few things:
10mm socket
Phillips screwdriver
Soldering iron
Knife
Solder
Wire
Wire cutter/stripper.
Flashlight that attaches to the head or other hands free method is best.
Shop approved glasses.

I really recommend using shop approved glasses during this modification. To access the DRL module you will need to get into a cramped space and if you drop your tool, the bolt, or the module it is more than likely to hit you in the face. Lets try and keep everyone safe and on the road.
I also recommend those not familiar with the process of stripping wire or soldering to practice before you do this mod.

Once you feel you are thoroughly prepared and ready it’s time to start. Firstly make sure the car is off, doors unlocked, and the negative terminal is removed from the battery using the 10mm socket and safely stored away or covered so it cannot accidentally get reconnected. It is better safe than sorry. Open the driver’s door and put the seat all the way back. You will need the flashlight and the screw driver. You will need to lay on top of the carpet. It is cramped and it is uncomfortable. Try and fit so you can get both your hands over your head and still be able to see up into the dashboard. Depending on conditions you will need to use the flashlight to see. As you look upward you will see the steering column, and running perpendicular is a pipe with a black box held in place by a bracket as pictured here.

Unplug the wires from the module, might take a bit of effort. Phillips screwdriver remove the bolt. you should now have this

The black box needs to opened. The box can easily be opened. It is opened on the plug end. Insert the knife carefully into the space between the lid and the box. The plug is connected to the PCB and it just slides out of the box. If you look down the front of the plug you can see some numbers . If you have the module orientated the same way I do in the picture the numbers are like this :
11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 (pins 1 and 2 are the big ones separate from the others) 2 1
20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12

Pin 6 is the one that normally connects to the Head light relay which controls the head lamps. We need to remove this connection. In this image
I am showing which lead is 6. Make sure you know exactly which one you want to cut before you actually cut it. When you cut the lead be careful. Leave yourself some room on both sides of the cut. Connect and solder a wire from the plug side of pin 6 to pin 14. There is enough room to route the wire around the plug and solder it to the underside of the PCB. . Pin 14 is hard to get to from the top, that is why I recommend soldering on the bottom.

If you would like the fog lights as DRLs it is a simple procedure, just connect pin 4 and pin 6. I did it like this with the red wire :

Now just carefully put the PCB back into the box and close it up. Put the module back into the car. Reconnect the plug into the module and make sure you hear a click. May take a bit of effort but
it will click. Reconnect the negative terminal of the battery carefully. Now that the car has power again test out what you did. I like to try and make sure everything works, brake lights, parking lights, fogs, head lamps.


For the DRL cut/automatic turn on the car, put your foot on the brake, lower the hand brake and then raise it back up. Go to the front and make sure nothing is on. try manually turning on the lights via the switch and by covering the sensor with a thick dark piece of cloth. The lights should come on and the dashboard dim. Congratulations, you are successful!

For the DRL reroute and automatic turn the car on, fog switch to on, lower the parking brake and then raise it again. If you go to the front of the car the Fogs should be on. Try both methods of turning on the head lights just to make sure they work too. If everything seems in order, congratulations!


Issues I have had: instead of cutting the lead of pin 6, i used a flathead screwdriver to bend the wire. I instead cut the lead and also removed the lead from the plug. I then needed to remove the dashboard upper to cut wires and solder them that way. Much harder and longer to do. Cut the lead with proper tools. This is why I say to read, re-read, understand, and double check what you are going to do before you do it.

i also when doing the Fog light section had a little solder connecting things I didn't want to. When the DRL was plugged in, power was being supplied to the car, and the driver's door opened the " light reminder buzzer" was beeping and the parking lights were illuminated. This is why I say to practice. While I am in no way amazing at soldering, I know this and try and take my time. At the same time I didn't plug the DRL module in all the way. This may have been why the lights were on and the buzzer. Make sure all connections are solid.

In closing I hope I have been helpful and haven't scared you away from doing this mod. I am just trying to give you as much information as I can to make this quick and painless for you. Once again, you do not need to do anything with the fog lights, I had bluecrush contact me about it and it intrigued me and I had to do it for myself and for him too. Thank you for reading. Please feel free to contact me with questions either in this thread or by PM.

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bull77
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Postby bull77 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:17 pm

very nice writeup

to bad I suck at soldering...


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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights (tribalman)

Postby BadBrew » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:52 am

Thanks for the writeup!!

I guess that instead of soldering people could use Wiretaps and (removed) splices to connect each wires externally?

Like I've done already:
Wiretap the R-Y wire from Head Relay pin 2 to G-B out of DRL relay 14.
Next for fogs:
Lengthen R-Y wire from DRL relay 6 with a buttsplice and some standard 18 gauge multi strand wire then wiretap this wire to G-G wire from DRL relay 4.

The thing is... I switched to HID fogs and I guess this will damage the ballasts as it would do for the headlights...
I'll probably give it a shot anyways, it's a cheap HID kit I got for about 40$ and I'm already having some problems with one ballast
And maybe switch back to my halogens after that!!


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Re: Remove DRL (BadBrew)

Postby tribalman » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:05 pm

Quote, originally posted by BadBrew »
Thanks for the writeup!!

I guess that instead of soldering people could use Wiretaps and (removed) splices to connect each wires externally?

you could, but i don't really trust wiretaps like that. also, if you do that you either have to remove the dashboard upper to get to the wires or work while laying on your back reaching up into the area. this way you just pull the box and do the work easily on a table or such.

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Re: Remove DRL (tribalman)

Postby BadBrew » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:34 pm

Quote, originally posted by tribalman »

you could, but i don't really trust wiretaps like that. also, if you do that you either have to remove the dashboard upper to get to the wires or work while laying on your back reaching up into the area. this way you just pull the box and do the work easily on a table or such.

True, true... Had a hard time getting there doing my work :D


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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights (tribalman)

Postby BlueCrush » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:19 pm

Excellent Write-up, Josh!! THANK YOU!!! Once question though, do you have a pic of where the other end of the black wire connects to as well as showing your cut #6 pin wire?
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Re: Remove DRL (BlueCrush)

Postby tribalman » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:05 pm

sadly, no. when i cut the lead i accidentally pulled out the lead in the plug. i couldn't get it back in, as you can see here http://i489.photobucket.com/al...t.jpg. i had to cut the wire outside of the module and then run the added wire to the wire cut.

it should like this
the added wire that connects to pin 14 will attach to the plug end of the cut you did at pin 6

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Re: Remove DRL (tribalman)

Postby BlueCrush » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:14 am

That's what I needed, Thank you!
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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights (tribalman)

Postby Calata » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:51 pm

Nicely done !!!

And thank you for the mention. Now that my vibe is out of warranty, I'm going to do it myself.............But with HIDs in the headlights, and LEDs in the fogs. To me fogs were always useless for illuminating the road, and with LED fogs there would be enough lights for DRL visibility.


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Postby lovemyraffe » Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:23 am

I have now successfully completed this! Thank you for the awesome write-up!

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Postby lovemyraffe » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:08 am

I did notice something interesting...when you do this mod, you lose the ability to flash your lights when the headlights are off. When the headlights are on, no problem.

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Re: (lovemyraffe)

Postby tribalman » Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:33 pm

Quote, originally posted by lovemyraffe »
I did notice something interesting...when you do this mod, you lose the ability to flash your lights when the headlights are off. When the headlights are on, no problem.

really? i have to check this out again.

*edit* i went over the schematics, the head lights for low and high beam use the same fuse and they also share the same "HEAD Relay". this is the one that is bypassed to disable the DRL, so you lose high beams if the headlamps aren't on at all.

crap, i had an idea but as i was thinking it out if you pulled the high beam switch all lights would be on. *sigh* i spent quite a while trying to post idea and some pics but i was having connection issues and couldn't post it. i'll try again later.

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Postby lovemyraffe » Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:51 pm

Quote, originally posted by tribalman »

really? i have to check this out again.

*edit* i went over the schematics, the head lights for low and high beam use the same fuse and they also share the same "HEAD Relay". this is the one that is bypassed to disable the DRL, so you lose high beams if the headlamps aren't on at all.

crap, i had an idea but as i was thinking it out if you pulled the high beam switch all lights would be on. *sigh* i spent quite a while trying to post idea and some pics but i was having connection issues and couldn't post it. i'll try again later.

Let me know, because I'm really interested in figuring this out.

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tribalman
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Re: (lovemyraffe)

Postby tribalman » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:12 am


the only other idea i have is to by pass the HEAD relay from the DIMMER relay. sadly the relays are in the engine bay and there aren't any wires to be seen when you open the hood. i'll have to try and find another place to do the bypass or a way to do it.
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Postby Calata » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:03 am

Your schematic would work, my only concern is that with the headlight switch left in high beams position accidently, the lights may stay on with the ignition switch off. May not be a big deal, but if someone where to accidently leave the switch in HIGH, park the car in day light, and walk away towards the back of the car, they may end up with a dead battery by the time they come back.


To test, before making any connections / cuts, take a paperclip and jump out pins 3 and 5 on the HEAD relay. ( THIS IS TEMPORARY FOR TESTING, NOT A PERMANENT CONNECTION ).

Just did the mod myself, finally. The LED fog bulbs are nothing special nor do they light up the road any, but they are sufficient to function as DRLs with visibility approx 1/2 block - 1 block. HIDs next.


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Re: (tribalman)

Postby BadBrew » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:38 am

I finally had some time to do this for the DRL HID fogs and it works great!

The only issue I had my mistake... I've spent over 45 minutes trying to figure out why the fogs won't light up when I was starting the engine... After going through the install at least 4 times I realized that I had to disengage the parking brake to make the DRLs work

So everything is working great so far except for the hi-beams, but I can now flash my fogs instead of the hi-beams lol


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Re: (BadBrew)

Postby keithvibe » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:47 am

you really shouldn't be flashing your highbeams from the off position it damages the ballast if your running HID's with the short burst. Now if you already had your lowbeams on and then flash your highbeams that's not an issue.


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Re: (keithvibe)

Postby BadBrew » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:23 pm

Quote, originally posted by keithvibe »
you really shouldn't be flashing your highbeams from the off position it damages the ballast if your running HID's with the short burst. Now if you already had your lowbeams on and then flash your highbeams that's not an issue.

That's what I thougth about the HID so it's a good thing for us lol
Anyway I'm not really a light flashing kind of guy...


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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights (tribalman)

Postby atro2020 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:32 am

so i feel like complicating things..... im honestly not that good with trying to figure out where all the wires are (no do i have the schematic or the patients to read them).

what if i just wanted to divert power from the DRL's to just another bulb (one that does not exist already in the head light display)

would you be able to supply me with a tutorial to do such?

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tribalman
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Re: Remove DRL (atro2020)

Postby tribalman » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:03 pm

you would pretty much do everything in the write-up with an extra step.

i think it's easy enough to do, anybody else think differently?

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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights (tribalman)

Postby atro2020 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:05 pm

so i feel like complicating things..... im honestly not that good with trying to figure out where all the wires are (no do i have the schematic or the patients to read them).

what if i just wanted to divert power from the DRL's to just another bulb (one that does not exist already in the head light display)

would you be able to supply me with a tutorial to do such?

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Re: Remove DRL (atro2020)

Postby tribalman » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:53 pm

um.....

in order to "divert power to another bulb" you'd still have to find the DRL box, cut the proper wire, and re-wire it to the new wire. the same wire does the daytime lights and the full illumination. it's not 2 wires supplying power. if you cut the wire and add the new bulb you now have unfunctioning headlamps as they are not connected to the DRL box, which doesn't just deal with the DRL's, it deals with all the lights: parking, hi-beams, brake, flashers, reverse lights, dashboard back light, some dashboard icons. in order to have functioning head lamps you have to reconnect them to something else, which is what i show you how to do in the write up.

"im honestly not that good with trying to figure out where all the wires are (no do i have the schematic or the patients to read them)."
the schematics you need are listed in the 1st post in pictures, also are pictures showing you where the DRL box is located and how to get to it.

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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights (tribalman)

Postby atro2020 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:15 pm

so i feel like complicating things..... im honestly not that good with trying to figure out where all the wires are (no do i have the schematic or the patients to read them).

what if i just wanted to divert power from the DRL's to just another bulb (one that does not exist already in the head light display)

would you be able to supply me with a tutorial to do such?

AMC EAGLE SX-4______ DATSUN 280Z



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Re: Remove DRL (atro2020)

Postby keithvibe » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:32 am

Quote, originally posted by atro2020 »
so i feel like complicating things..... im honestly not that good with trying to figure out where all the wires are (no do i have the schematic or the patients to read them).

what if i just wanted to divert power from the DRL's to just another bulb (one that does not exist already in the head light display)

would you be able to supply me with a tutorial to do such?


asked three times and got no answers that you like so you will have to figure it out and look at the schematic yourself.
"you can do it" "we just can't help you this time" lol


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Re: Remove DRL (keithvibe)

Postby lovemyraffe » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:30 pm

In case anybody is curious, it is easily reversed. All you need to do is to cut the wire and solder the pin back together.

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Postby shortbuskristn » Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:03 am

Sorry but im a newb on this kinda stuff. You say to clip the lead on pin 6 where do u clip pin 6 at?

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Re: (shortbuskristn)

Postby tribalman » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:25 am

about the middle between the PCB and the plug. this will lead you enough lead to connect the wire from pin 14 and if you are putting your fogs as the DRL room to put a wire from the board to pin 4.
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Re: (tribalman)

Postby oolunchbox » Fri May 07, 2010 7:25 am

Thanks for the write-up. Besides my shaky hands from drinking a Monster before attempting this, it was a pretty quick and easy mod and looks great with my LED fogs.
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Re: Why ? ? ? (bwflorida)

Postby MotoAce51 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:45 am

I don't think I mentioned this. I did this mod, externally just doing the spliced wire technique. I also threw a switch in line so I can kick off the sensor lights at night when I need to. I then hooked my angel eyes up to be on any time the ignition is on... Looks sweet.
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Re: Why ? ? ? (MotoAce51)

Postby tribalman » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:04 pm

awesome! glad people are liking the writeup.
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Kamikaze
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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor

Postby Kamikaze » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:53 pm

Thank you Tribalman for the beautiful write up.

Worked like a charm!

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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor

Postby orion134 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:27 am

Am I correct in thinking that I can power halo's instead of the fogs (or with the fogs) by either taking that red wire on the PCB and splicing in another wire to it and running it to the halo circuit? That way I'll have all other functionality as desired, but I'll have halo's and fogs as DRL? Or if I wanted no fogs as DRL then I wouldn't connect pin 6 to pin 4 via that red wire on the PCB and I would just run that straight to the halo circuit?

Makes sense in my head...

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petervivian
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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights

Postby petervivian » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:52 am

The pictures are all gone. Anyone have saved a pdf or a copy? Thank you.
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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights

Postby 302LVR » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:47 pm

petervivian wrote:The pictures are all gone. Anyone have saved a pdf or a copy? Thank you.

Try this link. viewtopic.php?t=9844 This was shared to me when i did the fog light mod on mine. You literally have to clip just 1 wire i believe.

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Re: Remove DRL (or change to Fogs) and keep Automatic Sensor lights

Postby petervivian » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:02 pm

302LVR wrote:
petervivian wrote:The pictures are all gone. Anyone have saved a pdf or a copy? Thank you.

Try this link. viewtopic.php?t=9844 This was shared to me when i did the fog light mod on mine. You literally have to clip just 1 wire i believe.


Thank you. Yes, I cut the wire to disable the DRL. Though I lost the automatic headlight, I enjoy being able to turn off the light completely.
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