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-   -   ***Official E46 Bulb Guide*** (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=974771)

Solidjake 03-06-2013 06:30 PM

***Official E46 Bulb Guide***
4 Attachment(s)
Hello everyone, are you a bit confused by what bulb to get for your E46? Here is my guide to help you. Just in-case you are curious this is my lighting setup: OEM AL projectors with ZKW clear lenses, Osram CBI bulbs, Nokya 2500K fog light bulbs and Osram Super Bright off-road high beam bulbs.

I. I have organized the list as follows:

1. H7 - Used on all E46's for the high beam/DRL and for the low beam on models with no xenon lights



2. H11 - Used on E46 with the small ZKW fog lights (facelift sedan)

3. 9006 - Used on all other E46 fog lights including coupes and sedans, M3 and M-tech I/II bumpers


4. D2S - Xenon bulbs that I only recommend for your xenon lights. You want the best? Look no further. PHILIPS OR OSRAM ONLY!!!



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II. Understanding Kelvin temperatures:

- When the sun is shining everything shows and automotive lights are the same. Have you noticed how yellow halogen lights in your house are more easy on the eye and show more compared to those dull white energy saving bulbs? For regular halogen lights which emit a yellow output are the best. The reflect everything on the road and give you the best light output with no compromises.

- Yellow and blue tinted bulbs are rather not recommended for low beam. For fog lights I do recommend pure yellow because they contrast the ground/rain/snow better to give you a better field of depth in front of you. If you want white/blue lights then you will have to get the blue tinted ones, but be warned that the luminosity (the light output that is usable on the road) will decrease drastically. Not only that but bluer lights will make it a lot harder on your eyes at night and create more fatigue.


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III. Choosing the right halogen bulb:

- Looking at the chart below you will notice that most halogen bulbs have the same Kelvin temperatures, but the hidden secret behind bulbs is the amount of lumens created. The more lumens the more light you will have, but with that it means the lifetime of the bulb will be less due to more heat being generated.

More light = More energy = More heat = Less bulb life
Less light = Less energy = Less heat = More bulb life

Blue bulb = Less Light = More eye strain = Possibly illegal in your area
Regular halogen bulb = Most light output = Least eye strain
Pure yellow bulb = average light output, it should only be used for fogs to contrast what's in front of you = Possibly illegal for low beams

- It's rather one of the other but you can either go on the extreme ends as I just described or find a bulb in the middle that suits you.

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IV. Choosing the right Xenon bulb:

- Xenon lighting, you have the best. Congrats. Xenon bulbs are by far a lot brighter than halogen bulbs by over 2x the amount and they last for years. The temperature also affects how much light output you get but the bulbs I selected below for my list will not fail you and will fit your budget.

- THE best bulb you can get is arguably the Osram CBI bulb which costs $160 at www.theretrofitsource.com or now the CBH bulbs for $200. Second best is the Philips 85122+. The CBI bulbs are more white over the Philips and have a little better luminosity, but as always if you want the best you have to pony up more to get them. While on the other hand the Philips are $95 for the pair.


Here are some vids of Philips bulbs on my car. I will upload with the Osram CBI bulbs when I have time




- For budget bulbs I recommend the Morimoto. They have a nice variety in color to meet your needs. Yellow if you're not afraid of getting a ticket and want the yellow look, 4300k for the standard xenon look, 5000k for pure white and 6000k for white with a blue tinge. But keep in mind that each bulb has it's own pro and con (color vs the usable light output). Although these bulbs cost $45 keep in mind that OEM bulbs (Philips and Osram) are built much better, have better salts and overall the light output is superior compared to the Morimoto bulbs.

- As for any other xenon bulbs (which are aftermarket) I warn you not to get them. They are made in China where there is no quality control on them and they can result in an extremely heavy cost to fix your car. They run a lot hotter and can cause your ballast/ignitor to work harder and eventually fail. I have seen the sockets for the bulbs literally melt because of how cheap the bulbs are. You have been warned.

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V. Identifying Fakes/Counterfeits:

- One thing to avoid buying fake bulbs is to buy from known vendors. They will carry legit bulbs so you know you will get the right thing. Online sites such as theretrofitsource and lightwerkz sell real xenon bulbs that I have listed in my bulb guide. I have personally bought from them and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

- In regards to xenon bulbs the only REAL ones are either D1S, D2S, D2R, and D4S (mercury free). Any other type of xenon bulbs (9006, H7, H9, etc) is a rebased bulb that is aftermarket and not regulated. Those bulbs can cause fires, etc as previously stated. The ONLY way you can have a real xenon bulb put onto that base is to buy something like this: http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...ducts_id=12810

The link above is a real Philips capsule with the return wire but it is not attached to the D2S base. This will allow you (if you're handy enough) to put a real xenon bulb onto any base.

- See the images below to get an idea on what to look for with fake bulbs.



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VI: Using your lights correctly:

- Have you ever noticed passing cars with EXTREMELY bright lights that just blind the living hell out of you? Take note of a car with projector headlights with xenon/hid bulbs versus someone that just threw in a hid kit into their halogen headlights. Halogen headlights are NOT meant for hid use since the light pattern is all over the place and actually gives you worse light output. DON'T BE THAT PERSON. :)

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Please see the attachments for the bulb guide:

delmarco 03-06-2013 07:15 PM

Nice! Thanks SolidJake!

THECLEANERBEAMER 03-06-2013 08:03 PM

This will be a very helpful thread!

Solidjake 03-06-2013 08:56 PM

Bump, thread updated.

Solidjake 03-06-2013 09:14 PM

Updated again with text.

THECLEANERBEAMER 03-06-2013 09:26 PM


Solidjake 03-06-2013 09:28 PM

Yea... I made that file from scratch lol

THECLEANERBEAMER 03-06-2013 09:29 PM

Lonely night? Lol JK good job :thumbsup:

Solidjake 03-06-2013 09:32 PM

Rofl, pretty much. Thanks dude. Making myself a banner now

sillieidiot 03-06-2013 10:14 PM

good work, though you bash the other bulbs by saying they are made from China (along with various other reasons), when in fact all the Morimoto products are made in China as well.

Solidjake 03-07-2013 06:55 AM

Yea but Morimoto's lets say are the high end aftermarket bulbs that are built a lot better. Keep in mind FXR projectors are also made by Morimoto.

Mango 03-07-2013 10:14 AM

Good job man. maybe just make this a one stop lighting thread. tail lights, types, brands, sidemarkers, etc etc! sounds like a lot of work already

Solidjake 03-07-2013 10:16 AM

It sure is. I will merge both threads into one when I'm almost done

VALMONT 03-07-2013 12:50 PM

where'd the chart go :confused:

Solidjake 03-07-2013 12:51 PM

Standy red leader

sillieidiot 03-07-2013 02:29 PM


Originally Posted by Solidjake (Post 15227682)
Yea but Morimoto's lets say are the high end aftermarket bulbs that are built a lot better. Keep in mind FXR projectors are also made by Morimoto.

yea then i would just state that it's built to higher quality standards. than normal chinese bulbs lol yea the FXR are made by Morimotos, they are not the BEST. they are the most popular replica projectors to retrofit (the most popular OEM projector to retrofit is the TSX btw). the OEM FX projector is still better in terms of lights output. I think the best the projector is still the TL projector with the rx330bx coming in a very close second (this is excluding hybrid projectors of course).

Russian172 03-10-2013 08:58 PM

For a future reference to new fanatics i had to learn the hard way because i put 10k SUPER COEWL BLEU LIGHTS and burnt my Light Control Module. was seriously expensive at the dealer 800$ plus tax to replace and recode how ever thanks to Krystian (local Fanatic) i bought mine off him and because this was a used LCM now i have a Temper dot which is on because your LCM stores Mileage and and the Cluster and ECU and if they dont match you will get the DOT(personally doesn't bother me), so next time thinking about putting SUM KEWL SUPER BRIGHT LIGHTZ YO think twice or it will cost you allot more
Best option is to read the thread and follow OE specs and dont Fvck with the Lighting or even the electronics for that matter my mistake is your lesson take it or leave it but i wish i read the thread before

tehcbass 03-26-2013 09:41 PM

you should have the interior lights and what type they are and shiz... cuz my interior bulb burned and idk what it is lol

BringsMeWomen 04-17-2013 03:50 PM


Originally Posted by tehcbass (Post 15287527)
you should have the interior lights and what type they are and shiz... cuz my interior bulb burned and idk what it is lol

This is a great idea. Im looking to refresh my interior lighting as well once good weather rolls around

YOnpds 05-12-2013 05:06 AM

Great Info. Thank you!

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