- You have the MDM hitch for non-rear fog models with no clearance for a rear fog light (the reason for this how-to)
- You really wanted a rear fog from the factory, but don't want to spend $300 and don't mind installing an auxiliary switch somewhere
- You want some cool LED lighting and/or are an Audi R8 wannabe (hopefully not!)
Solution: Make a low profile LED rear fog using the OE hole plug! Works on R50/53 as well as R56/7 onward (if you figure out where you want the lighting)
Cost: $20 in LEDs, a switch, some wire, some time
Wiring: Up to you, I wired into the trailer's rear taillamp wiring which is isolated from the Mini wiring, and allows the rear fog on only when taillights are on. Splice power from taillight wire to switch, back to LED fog, ground fog. The LEDs draw very little current, so it's possible to tap into a parking light for the power. As always, use good wiring practice, fuse the power lead, and make sure wiring is protected from abrasion and the elements.
How-to, in pictures (pretty self-explanatory):
Drill holes to very snug fit on LEDs, clean off shavings. It's IMPORTANT to drill the holes so the LEDs face back and slightly upwards, which is quite an up angle since this piece sits facing a little down.:
Insert LEDs from rear of the plug, taking care not to break wires:
Show plug to dog because wife wasn't home. Dog takes wife's role of being completely unimpressed:
Attach all + wires together, all - wires together, wire to polarized plug:
Wrap all wiring in Scotch 33+ electrical tape (the best, period), and smear black hi-temp silicone on back of plug to water proof, get so excited to be near completion that you forget to take pictures. Several thinner layers works well. Allow to dry while wiring the other end of plug to car, and continue to forget to take pictures. Allow silicone (or RTV) to thoroughly dry. (The better the silicone or RTV, the better the seal! Clean the back of the plug THOROUGHLY, and rough it up with some 60 grit paper to give the sealant something to grab onto.)
I wired the R Fog to this armored switch that I used to plug the nonfunctional switch plate in my center e-brake console. The LEDs use so little current a relay isn't needed, but fusing the power lead is always smart:
Night: It's as bright or brighter than brake lights, and VERY focused toward the rear. Reminder (because it's worth saying this twice): It's IMPORTANT to drill the holes so the LEDs face back and slightly upwards, which is quite an up angle since this piece sits facing a little down.
And that's it! Like the OE rear fog, it's OBNOXIOUS AS ANYTHING from the rear, and should only be used in really bad weather, or to ward off tailgaters. Never use a rear fog in a Mini convoy or in good weather, as it really distracts the drivers behind you, and is not "good form."
This will actually work on any vehicle that you're willing to drill holes in, I guess, the only issue is being willing to drill, and where to put the holes. For the R53 and Cabrios it's easy - there's a convenient center plastic plug. I know the R56 Cooper has a center foglight plug that'd work the same way, but I don't know the MDM hitch clearance dimensions on that model. It's also possible to put the foglight LEDs into the black trim on either side of the tailpipe, or in the black lower trim pieces on the Clubman and newer Cabrios and Aero kits.
Also, I didn't check the amperage draw of the LEDs compared to the draw of a parking light - in my case I wired a jumper to the trailer taillight wiring, which is isolated from my Mini's wiring.
This same technique can be used for other LEDs in other areas of the car. The 12V LEDs are the easiest since they just wire right in, no resistors - but they're $10 for 4 of them at Autozone...other (cheaper) 12V LEDs may be able to be sourced.