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Lighting Forum
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:09 PM   #1
Essing
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Factory HID setup flicker - tried everything

Yet another HID flickering thread. I have a 2003 325i with factory HID setup (Bosch AL). The car came delivered with this option. I bought the car used last winter. From my day one there was some flickering from the passenger side headlight. The situation has gotten worse.

The headlight will always start up. Within 5 to 15 minutes of driving, I'll get a bulb warning on the dash and the light will no longer illuminate. Turning headlights off and on will usually restart the light.

Swapped bulbs, right side still malfunctioning,
Swapped ballasts, right side still malfunctioning,
Swapped igniters, right side still malfunctioning,
Tail light grounds look ok and someone already did the ground repair to both sides.

I'm running out of ideas. Looking for some help, thanks in advance.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:50 AM   #2
infinite012
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Have you check the LCM? Maybe something is wonky with it. If that doesn't fix it, maybe buy new bulbs. Old bulbs with old ballasts can be finicky.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:53 AM   #3
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try unplugging your battery for over 5 minutes, i had an different issue with my AL's (low beam wouldnt turn on without some trickery) and that somehow cleared it up.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:51 AM   #4
Essing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinite012 View Post
Have you check the LCM? Maybe something is wonky with it. If that doesn't fix it, maybe buy new bulbs. Old bulbs with old ballasts can be finicky.
I have tried a new bulb, no impact.

LCM is the end of the road. From what I can tell, buying a new LCM at the dealer and having it reprogrammed is the single option from here. (Although I did find some outfits in the UK that will repair them.)
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2004 330xi 6spd
2003 325i 5 spd
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:52 AM   #5
Essing
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try unplugging your battery for over 5 minutes, i had an different issue with my AL's (low beam wouldnt turn on without some trickery) and that somehow cleared it up.
Believe it or not I have tried this, to no avail. Thanks

-Bill
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2004 330xi 6spd
2003 325i 5 spd
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1985 635 Euro csi 5 spd
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:35 AM   #6
Essing
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I'm currently checking with Tischer to see if they send already programmed LCM units. Those are $309.

I also found this outfit BBA-Reman. They repair the units for $325 plus shipping. They have facilities all around the world, US facility is in MA.

http://www.bba-reman.com/images/repair-request.pdf
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2004 330xi 6spd
2003 325i 5 spd
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1985 635 Euro csi 5 spd
1986 535i 5 spd
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Old 11-29-2011, 05:24 PM   #7
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sounds like it may be the car's wiring itself. check the connections, possibly put in a new ground wire or something.
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Old 11-29-2011, 05:47 PM   #8
Essing
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I think I will try a jump to ground close to the headlight connections.
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2003 325i 5 spd
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1985 635 Euro csi 5 spd
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Old 12-24-2011, 05:05 PM   #9
Essing
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Solution $20

I wanted to post how this finally was solved. I've research a lot reports of flickering from the OEM setup. Here are the initial steps I tried.

Swapped bulbs (from left to right) then,
Swapped Ballasts then,
Swapped ignitors.

None of these steps impacted the right side flickering and failing within 5 minutes. I even ran a jump to ground from the harness at the jack.

While the headlight unit was apart, I checked all the internal connections for corrosion, looseness etc. I applied dielectric grease at the connections.

Along the way I thought I'd need a lighting control module. Not cheap. I took the car to the dealer to have them diagnose. They came back with "replace right side xenon countrol module" (ballast and mount) for $1,000. F that.

Finally I bought a set of 3Five ballast units from retrofit source. This worked great. No flickering or bulb out warnings. Problem with this setup was modifying the headlamp to be waterproof with the aftermarket ballast setup. Rather than tackle that, I tried one more fix with the OEM setup.

The issue ended up being with the ballast mounting plate (the wiring etc). I did not try a right-side to left side swap as these parts are unique to right and left. I bought a used right side mount on ebay for $20 shipped.

That did it. Thanks to all who chimed in on my post! I now have a set of Morimoto 3Five ballast if anyone is interested.
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2004 330xi 6spd
2003 325i 5 spd
2003 325i 5 spd
2007 335i 6 spd
1985 635 Euro csi 5 spd
1986 535i 5 spd
1984 320i Baur 5 spd
1981 323i Euro 5 spd
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:43 AM   #10
TotheMountains!
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Essing -- Thanks for walking back through your steps once you got to the resolution. I'm tired of getting pulled over -- and I like lights at night!

I've done the taillight ground, and I've replaced the rear deck lid to put on new license plate lights. Now I've eliminated all of the other faults (at the back, anyway), and there's no more warning lights on the screen showing ghost faults at the back. Time to start looking at the headlight systems themselves, I guess.

Thanks again!
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