DIY: Honda OEM side marker lights install guide (video included) on your Acura RSX
Most folks install side marker lights by cutting off the 2-pin female plug from the OEM side marker lights and splicing the two wires from the lights to the corresponding wires of the front signal lights. You can do this if you want, but the guide will show you how to execute an OEM-style install without the need to modify anything from the OEM side markers. To do this, you need a few parts from Honda.
2x Honda OEM side marker lights (part #: 32118-S6M-900; amber for ’02-’04 Acura RSX, clear for ’05-’06 Acura RSX)
2x 194/168 amber wedge bulbs
2x 2-pin male connectors, part #: 04321-ST5-305 (OPTIONAL)
4x Honda pigtails (male; part #: 04320-SP0-G00) (OPTIONAL)
2x 18 awg T-Taps
2x 18 awg spade (aka fork) terminal connects
2x 18 awg male quick disconnects
1x roll of 18 awg wire
1x roll black vinyl electrical tape
1x roll of painter’s masking tape
1x roll wire loom
1x safety goggle
1x fine point Sharpie or ball point pen
1x rotary tool with metal cut-off discs (used Dremel EZ-409 1.5″ cut-off wheel but any fiberglass reinforced disc will do)
1x touch-up paint
1x Philips screw driver
1x Lombard0’s side marker template, download it HERE
1x 3′ of string (OPTIONAL)
Preparing the template
Lombard0’s template contains the template for both the driver side and passenger side fender. Simply cut the template in half, at the center and use them accordingly.
1. Clean the surface of the fender thoroughly. Then mask off the fender you’ll be working on with painter’s masking tape. For this guide, we’ll start with the passenger side. Note that I only used one layer of tape on each fender. If you are paranoid, you may want to consider 2-3 overlapping layers of masking tape.
2. Print out Lombard0’s template and carefully cut out the side marker template.
3. OPTIONAL: Take a 3′ of string and align it so that it’s parallel with the accent mark on the door, then tape up the string in place. This will be your guide to aligning Lombard0’s template correctly. If you are in a well lit area and are confident, you can simply use just your eyes to align the template with the accent line.
4. Take Lombard0’s template and align it with the fender line and accent line:
5. Carefully trace the side marker cut-out from the template onto the masked surface of your fender:
6. Double check to make sure the tracing is clear and precise, then remove the string and template from the fender.
7. Chances are, your side marker lights did not include bulbs. Twist the connector off the side marker light and insert a 194/168 amber wedge bulb into the socket. Set the connector and harness aside.
8. Install a metal cut-off disc on your rotary tool, put on your safety goggles and proceed to the next step.
9. Partially remove the inner fender lining by removing these two self-tapping screws:
Cutting the fender
1. Begin cutting the inner rectangle from the side marker cut-out as illustrated with your rotary tool set at medium to high speed, depending on your confidence level (I set mine at high):
Take your time to ensure that the cut is precise. When cutting, you want to cut just a bit INSIDE of the traced line. If you are paranoid, you can begin the cut more towards the center of the template. If the hole you’ve cut is too small, you can always widen it up later. If you cut the hole too wide from the start, it can lead to mounting problems.
2. Next, cut out the left and right notches at medium speed.
Right notch cut:
Left notch cut:
3. Carefully grind out the rounded corners by slowly using the cut-off wheel set at medium speed in a stroking motion.
4. The untuned side marker mounting hole:
If you want, you can attach a sanding bit to your rotary tool and sand off the edges of the hole. If not, test fit the side marker light to make sure that it fits snug into the hole. Do not mount the side marker light just yet, simply place it into the hole.
Make sure to insert the side marker light in the correct orientation. You may have to make several widening and smoothing attempts before you can mount the side marker lights securely. Generally, the entire cutting process, including widening and smoothing the hole takes approximately 25 minutes per fender.
5. If the mounting hole is too small, widen it up before continuing. Once you’ve confirmed the hole you’ve just cut compliments the side marker, apply a coat of touch up paint along the exposed metal edge.
Then wait an hour for the paint to dry. At this point, you can start on the opposite fender.
Here’s a video of the cutting process:
6. Once the touch-up paint dries completely, partially remove your inner fender liner if you haven’t already done so.
7. Snap the side marker light (with wiring harness disconnected) in place into the mounting hole, then reach your hand behind the fender and squeeze the pinch tab on the side marker light while pulling it in from the inside and using your other hand to push it in from the outside. You can use a small flathead screwdriver to push in the pinch tab instead.The side marker light should snap into place:
(if you still have masking tape on your fender, now is the time to peel them off)
8. Reach behind the fender and plug the light socket from the wiring harness into the side marker light.
If you have a 2002-2004 RSX:
- Route the 2-pin plug end of the wire through the large hole on the vehicle’s chassis, then plug rubber grommet into the large hole on the chassis frame. Plug the translucent wire tie clip onto into the smaller hole on the chassis that’s about 6″ apart and adjacent from the larger grommet hole.
If you have a 2005-2006 RSX:
- The holes described in the preceding steps for the 2002-2004 models are occupied by a similar harness:
Simply pull the wiring harness’ 2-pin plug outside of the fender through the openings near the hood hinge.
And the 2-pin plug should extend into the engine bay as follow:
(shown with OPTIONAL 2-pin male connector w/pigtails)
Making the connections
You can cut off the 2-pin plugs from the side marker and directly splice the wires onto your signal light wires. But to retain an OEM-style installation within the scope of this guide, I kept the plugs and created complimenting 2-pin male connectors with pigtails.
1. Take two 18-awg T-Taps and attach one onto the GRN/YEL wire of the signal light on your passenger side. Attach the other T-Tap to the GRN/RED wire of the signal light on the driver side:
2. Cut two pieces of 18 awg wires at 2′ a piece and crimp on an 18 awg male quick disconnect at the end of each of the wires.
3. Plug these wires into the T-taps you’ve just attached in step #1.
4. Connect the wires you’ve tapped onto your turn signal wires with the GRN/YEL wire on the side marker wiring harness. For the BLK wire on the side marker light wiring harness, you can simply ground it onto any bolt on the chassis. For this project, I grounded the wire to the fender bolt within the engine bay located closest to the hood hinge secured through a fork terminal connect.
5. Wrap the entire 2′ wire with wire loom, then tape both ends securely with black vinyl electrical tape.
Testing the connections
Once all the connections is verified and tucked away neatly, insert your key and turn the ignition to the II position, then flip on the left and right signals. The side marker lights should blink in synch with either the left or right signal.
Next, press the emergency indicator button. Both side marker lights should blink in synch with your signal lights. Remove your key from the ignition and press the emergency indicator button. Again, the signal lights, including your side marker lights, should all blink in synch.
Once you’ve verified that your installation passes the test, you can wrap up the install and call it a day.
Side marker lights as parking lights
If you want to wire your side marker lights so that they stay on with your parking lights instead of blinking with your turn signal, simply splice the power wire onto your parking light wire instead of the blinker wire. This is the RED/YEL wire coming out of your parking light sockets. If you prefer to wire it this way, be sure to pick up a set of amber LED 168 or 194 wedge bulbs. The OEM setup was not designed to have the side marker lights wired to operate as parking lights. By operating the side marker lights as parking lights with ordinary filament bulb, you will risk overheating the side marker housings and sockets, potentially melting plastic parts and create an inadvertent short. LED bulbs stay cool all the time so it’s more safe and efficient.
Side marker lights that stays on and blinks
Another option is to wire your side marker lights so that they stay on with your parking lights and also blink with your turn signal. To do this, connect the GRN/YEL wire from the side marker light to the RED/YEL wire of your parking light, then connect the BLK wire from the side marker light to the GRN/YEL, GRN/RED wire of the turn signal lights. Remember to use amber LED 168/194 bulb to avoid overheating the side marker housing. A thing to note when wiring this way: your side markers will stay on with your parking lights, but when you signal, it will alternate with your front and rear turn signals instead of blinking in synchronization. That is when your front and rear signals are lit, your side markers will remain off. When your front and rear turn signals are off, your side markers will turn on.