Even for Japan, the Sambar is on the quirky side. When we found out about this factory option, we had to have one. Well, two.
The Sambar, like other kei trucks, has very little between the passenger and the outside world. If you think too much about it, you could get a little worried…
Well one practical upshot of this is that you actually access the headlights right under the dash. Seriously, the access is right there. Another quirk of the build of the Sambar is that there is a space between the external panel and an internal panel on the front. In between these two panels are several things including the intake for the ventilation system. This means air moves pretty freely through that space, and intentionally so. Any penetrations through that wall must be sealed or there will be both air movement and noise created.
Well, some genius/nut job engineer at Subaru saw this and thought, “hey, why don’t we put an adjustable vent on the back of the headlight cover, and there will be some free ambient ventilation?”. And from this train of thought we got part number 71001TA000. It will cost anywhere from around $15 to $25, but the shipping will be nearly double that alone, so make sure to order with other items.
One other thing to consider is that if you have the optional lower shelf on the passenger side, it complicates installing and using the vent there. It can be done, but just be aware you will want to think it through.
Here is the standard headlight cover next to the ventilated version:
The right one is the standard cover, the left is the ventilated cover.
Changing this out is quite simple.
Note that there is one of these covers on each side, just slightly behind the dash. To remove it takes a 10mm socket. Remove the two bolts at the bottom.
Here is what the access to the headlight bulb looks like with the cover removed. The blue and black clip to the side are not utilized on our truck. As we understand it, the blue one is connected to the throttle and Air Conditioning if it is installed, so that if you stomp on the gas, it temporarily disconnects the AC.
To install the vent is fairly simple. There are two things to keep in mind. There is a channel on the top of the panels to accommodate the wires that need to go in the space. there are also two tabs at the top of the covers on the inside that secure the top in the opening. Some people have had issues with those going in properly, and a gap there will be unpleasant. Place the new panel in slightly lower than expected and slide it up into place. The holes for the bolts should line right up if you got this right.
Install the bolts on the bottom.
Do they work?
Sort of. They move a surprising amount of air once you are over about 20km/hr, but remember that this is ambient air temperature. That means that if it is 100 degrees out, it is blowing 100 degree air. They probably will be best in the autumn and spring where the ventilation is nice to have, but you may not want to open your windows. It is far quieter than the ventilation system, and so that is really nice.
Are they necessary? No.
But once you know they exist, are available new, and are reasonably affordable, can you NOT have a set? We didn’t think so.