June 14, 2008

Euro Switch

I like European cars... and I like them the way the Europeans intended them to be. Therefore, one of the first things I did to my new daily-driver 2000 Volkswagen Golf 1.8T was install a European market light switch and disable the daytime running lights. 
I purchased the 'euro-switch' on eBay for $30 shipped. Not a bad deal, though I'm pretty sure it's a Chinese knock-off. Either way, it looks and functions exactly like the genuine article. The North-American market switch originally in the car had two positions. On, and off. Since I intend to (eventually anyway) get fog-lights for the VW and also wire up the rear fog light, and since the Euro-switch accommodates these features, it was a natural choice. More importantly though, it allows me to 'legally' de-activate the daytime running lights. (allowing for parking lights which are necessary to pass inspection without DRLs) Say what you will about the safety benefits of DRLs, but I hate the notion of driving around on a warm sunny day with my low-beams blazing away constantly because VW feels it's a necessary feature to make their cars more appealing in North America. Not to mention also that since this car goes through about 2 sets of headlight bulbs a year, driving without them on all the time should save me a decent amount on lightbulb costs. (I figure the switch will pay for itself for that reason alone within about 6 months)
Installation is simple, just pop out the old switch by pushing in and turning, and pop the new switch in. However, the DRLs will remain on when the switch is in the "O" (off) position unless you make a slight modification (or go about pulling relays out of the dash and involving yourself in a chore of a wiring job). I chose to simply bend back the one contact pin on the switch that allows the DLRs to come on, and therefore, when plugged in, the contact never actually makes contact. And that's all there is to it!

With either parking lights or headlights on, one click out activates the front fog lights and changes the icon green. Two clicks out activates the rear fog light. 

Pictured above are the low-beams activated. The city-light (the small dim bulb) remains on along with the high beam bulb. Previously, when the DRLs were on, only the low-beams (not the city lights) were on, until the headlight switch was turned to the "on" position.

Below just the parking lights are activated. Rather than illuminating the amber turning signal as with Jettas equiped with a "Euro-switch", the low-power city-lights come on.


James said...

i installed an OEM Euroswitch on my MKV Jetta when i installed the european market LED rear taillights (the US versions get ugly red ones.) The cool thing about MKV's is that turning off DRL's is just a VAG-COM coding change. The euroswitch allows me to use city lights, regular headlights, AND run the rear foglight :)

love it

Is your Golf chipped yet?

I. R. Rothwell said...

Hm, not suprising that VAG-COM will do it... I use and Apple and therefore don't have the software, and furthermore I kind of hate electronics anyway so I'll take bending a pin over it. I would like to chip the car but at 166,000 miles i'm more concerned with just making it last a few more years. Aside from that switch it's essentially stock anyway. I feel an exhaust is in order next if anything though.

James said...

don't waste money on an exhaust. Just do a chip and a diverter valve that works! The K03 should be fine even at that mileage. You'll get real power out of an ECU reflash - just don't skip that DV, as the stock one fails quite easily.

I. R. Rothwell said...

Ha - already know about the valve - it's been replaced. The main reason for getting an exhaust though is just for the sound really - i'm not looking for any performance gain, i just think the car sounds too tame.