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Lighting Forum
Angel Eyes, DDEs, lighted rings, Clear Turn Signals, LEDs, Xenon, HID, or Bi-Xenon. If it lights up and you want to discuss it, post here!

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Old 10-16-2011, 10:39 PM   #1
stoneweed1
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My Ride: '01 330xi 200K miles
Lights flickering

330XI 195k MILES, replaced alternator under a yr ago

I start the car and immediately notice that while in park the headlights (including the side lights) flicker every second. So for one second its normal lights, then it dims down for a second and then goes to normal lights, and so on. With the dimming in and out, the lights coincides with the idle which goes from approx 500RPM (dim) to 600RPM (normal) and repeat. So its a constant phase every second.

Now when I put the car in drive with my foot on the brake, same thing, except maybe 1.5 seconds phase.

When I am driving the car at night, I notice the lights dimming in and out as well, especially on straight aways.

Coincidentally my right headlight just went out a few days ago and I replaced it and today my driver front headlight went out as well. I use sylvania silverstar and they generally don't last long, however I'm wondering if this dimming problem has something to do with it.

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:44 PM   #2
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i would make sure your battery and alt are working/charging properly for starters
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:54 PM   #3
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If they are xenon maybe the ballasts are trying to retire.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:53 AM   #4
stoneweed1
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Headlights are H7
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:50 AM   #5
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Did you check the alt. and bat. likr Captain Oversteer suggested? Results?
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:23 AM   #6
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Check your taillight wires. They overheat and short out and will cause your headlights to flicker. Its a common fail point...do a search on it and you will find the fix.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:24 AM   #7
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OH, and stop using Silverstars - they have a short lifespan. I kept replacing mine every 3-6 months before I went back to stock bulbs.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by edsmax View Post
Check your taillight wires. They overheat and short out and will cause your headlights to flicker. Its a common fail point...do a search on it and you will find the fix.
Rise from your Grave!

I am having the exact same problem as the OP with my 2001 330XI with 91K miles and the Alt and Voltage reg were replaced less than 6 months ago.

Is the tail light short related to pre-facelift? The recall i found was for 2002-2006 models.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by edsmax View Post
Check your taillight wires. They overheat and short out and will cause your headlights to flicker. Its a common fail point...do a search on it and you will find the fix.
Bingo!

check the brown wire where it enters the connector.
this is the grond wire. chances are its wearing out and making a poor connection.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:10 PM   #10
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Bingo!

check the brown wire where it enters the connector.
this is the grond wire. chances are its wearing out and making a poor connection.
Whats the explanation for the 500 to 600 rpm bounce though?

...ironically i just went out to do the OBC battery test and when i turned on my headlights, one of them blew out....
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:14 PM   #11
BeMyWhip
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Whats the explanation for the 500 to 600 rpm bounce though?

...ironically i just went out to do the OBC battery test and when i turned on my headlights, one of them blew out....
if the idle is jumping... that's a separate issue.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:24 PM   #12
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if the idle is jumping... that's a separate issue.
It doesnt happen all the time, and seems to happen as the car warms up...Vacuum leak im guessing....idk... i just got this thing I keep running into new issues. PITA. lol
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:29 PM   #13
BeMyWhip
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It doesnt happen all the time, and seems to happen as the car warms up...Vacuum leak im guessing....idk... i just got this thing I keep running into new issues. PITA. lol
could be a vacuum leak. You know this thread will be moved to lighting as soon as a mod sees it lol.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:38 PM   #14
sk8ersublime
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Lights flickering

Oh well. I used the search and found the exact problem I'm having. I PMd the OP. Hopefully he's still around and fixed it.

Thanks for the input on the tail fix


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Old 12-14-2013, 10:58 AM   #15
sk8ersublime
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Lights flickering

Ok so I want to update this for anyone who might have the same issue.

I took my car into the shop who replaced the alternator a few months ago and they said the alternator is fine and won't replace it...so I'll just replace it myself I guess and see if it fixes it since I contacted the OP and he said a new alt fixed this issue.

Here is something I noticed and I'm going to ask the OP as well. I haven't been able to reproduce the headlights dimming and it's just been random until last night.

My wife and I had the seat heaters on and I noticed that the lights were dimming and the idle was floating around 500-600rpm at stop. Until I turned off driverside seat heater. It stopped. Seems like too much power being drawn and the shop didn't check that...however I googled and found a BMW tsb number related to the same issue from 2001.


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