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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Lighting Forum

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 12-28-2013, 08:27 AM   #37
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 815
My Ride: 328Ci, 325i, M3 ZCP
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I have been spoiled by HID lights, which came on my 328Ci and my M3 ZCP has them standard as well. My daily driver 325i (European), however, is almost as basic as you could get, with the only option being the Sports Package (Pleather, 5MT, no sunroof, etc).

For the longest time, I didn't touch my lighting because it was such a massive improvement over the halogens I had become used to that I figured I'd only make it worse. (note that I got my 328Ci in Jan 06, 325i Mar 08, '06 M3 ZCP/6MT in 2010)

Once I'd, quite literally, done everything possible to the suspension, brakes, had all maintenance beyond complete, had gotten the interior (Recaro's, AVIC Double-DIN 7" w CC relocation, console mounted gauges, CF CSL console) and exterior (VS dual-side dry CF hood/trunk/mirrors/skirts/roof/etc, MT2 w CF splitters and rear CF Diffuser, cut and pulled fenders) to where I wanted, and had the drivetrain as upgraded as much as I expected to push it (Dinan CF CAI, SS V1 headers, Eisenmann dual pipes to DMS rear, M54B30 mani, BBTB, VAC Superlight pulleys, UUC LTW FW/Clutch, UUC EVO3+DSSR, Schrick 262/254 cams, custom dyno tune; around 220rwhp/225rwtq) before realizing that it wasn't enough and went and got crazy and did a ground up build up and TS SC install.... I had been mmore than happy with the OEM Projectors, in fact I was still running the OEM bulbs at that point!
I finally got around to switching to LED tails, and moved from "2006-style" indicators/corners to LED clear indicators/plate light/etc, and all the interior lights switched to LED w puddle lamps.

I was never happy w any of the angel eye setups I had, tho, they all looked way too aftermarket. I was also getting frustrated with having to constantly replace the fog light bulbs!
So, looking everything over, I started to do some researc.

I ordered new Angel Eyes (110+LED rings), and went for a complete fog light HID projector upgrade along with projector retrofits for the high beams, and got a third pair of bulbs to make sure my mains matched. 4800K all around, D2S for everything.
I also replaced the headlight covers and foglight covers (Euro Spec for headlights, clear for fogs).

The AE's are set as DRL's, with the headlights thankfully retaining their auto-leveling feature.

When installing everything, I had read a lot about the issues with burning up wires, and figured it was due to running too thin of wires (one of my big hobbies is audio equipment, so I understand the importance of properly sizing wires). I traced all the lighting wires back to their source (PITA) and replaced with 2-steps-thicker gauge wire, and sleeved it all w TechFlex ultra-high-heat EMI/RFI resistant wire sleeving.

It was a lot of work, way more than I expected, and it ran me a lot more money than I would have expected. But, I figured if I could spend the money to retrofit an M-Sport steering wheel, or have 3 sets of wheels (DPE RO7-S 19x9/10, Kinesis 19x9.5/10.5, J-Line 5LR2 18x9/10), or dump perfectly fine 330i-upgraded brakes for M3 hubs w M3 spec PFC BBK, then it would be stupid not to spend the money on what is a safety item.
Using OEM, or the best quality parts I could find, I believe it totaled around $1400 doing the work myself.

But good lord! I thought my lights were awesome before, but I went out to one of the long, straight, country roads I drove pretty regularly (3mi wo a single curve), and turned on the highs and fogs, which I have able to run simultaneously. The light output was insane, with no dark zones due to the slight overlapping of the different lights.
The HID fogs were probably my favorite upgrade of the bunch, along with the Euro lenses, as the brightness and width if light in front of the car was almost enough to drive with solely, and seeing as how kamikaze deer run rampant around here, the extra dozens of feet off to the side of visible light provides more than ample time to dodge their attacks.

I later did the same thing to my M3, regarding the Angel Eyes (used a newer still version), and the fogs, plus new lenses, as the car came w Bi-Xenons.

Just recently, I bought some OEM HID assemblies from a member here for my 01 325i. I have also picked up new lenses, and some angel eyes, as well as a full LED interior, LED exterior (indicators, tails, and clear corners), and the conversion kit for MT2 fog HID projectors (MT2 front bumper not yet put on).

As for bulb color temperature, if you want the best actually visible light, stick with OEM 4500K/4600K bulbs, although going w 55W setup can be quite beneficial (all mine are running 55W).
If you want to have slightly better aesthetics with almost no compromise in output, 5000K would be the best choice. I have not really ever noticed any "cons", and they do look a little better.

Anything higher and you are losing light, in fact go high enough and you will end up with less light than halogens. Plus, the higher color temp bulbs are infinitely more rage inducing to other drivers; whenever someone, usually in an Escalade or *****, pulls behind me with their 8-12000K bulbs blaring, I get rage face. I have been so tempted to install some kind of selectable taillight mounted 4500K HID 's to blind these ignorant, ridiculous jackasses.

I know it's not verymmature, but whenever I see a kid/"adult" coming at me with Xenon bulbs installed in halogen assemblies or $10 "projectors", usually in a Civic or the like, I can't help but turn on my high beams and fogs, just to show them what they are doing to everyone else. Apparently, I had done this to one kid a few times, when he turned around and flashed me to pull over. I expected a prepubescent rageface, but I got out of my car (M3) and he was actually really admiring my car, and while he was asking some clearly uninformed questions, I realize that I didn't know shiit as a 16yo either. He was admiring the exhaust ("is that titanium tips?", "no, it's full titanium"..."what's under the hood, can I see?", open hood, "is that a carbon fiber cold air intake?" referring to theCSL plenum; "kinda". I asked if hhe'd like a ride, and he was quite ecstatic. Told him to follow me to my favorite "testing suspension setups" road, and pull over behind me. He got in, I told him to buckle up and hold on; I pushed it maybe 5/10ths because even though the road is deserted and a cop buddy has said that I'm never going to see other cars or get a ticket, it was night and w a passenger. I looked over at him as I gave a bit extra throttle coming out of a 2-3 corner and he was just grinning. He mentioned that he loved my headlights, and that he wanted to have nice lights but that they are so expensive. I drove the road back, and told him to go turn his lights on, and come back. I turned around, and then about 500ft away turned around again, driving straight towards his car, and he was just like "oh, man, I feel like a douche, I don't blame you for flashing your lights at me". We actually ended up becoming "friends", and I have spent a lot of time helping him do work on the cars he's gone through, let him use my garage/lift/tools whenever, and helped him find buyers as well as new cars. He's been hoping to get into an M3, but since I took him to his first HPDE, me in my M3 and him in a late model Miata that came with Flyin' Miata engine mods and which we did the suspension, brakes, and wheels on, he's decided that he "needs to learn to be a better driver before he will be able to use even 1/10th an M3 's ability, after letting him borrow a 98 M3/2/5 I owned at the time for an event. He's 20 now, and I just helped him get into a crazy clean S2K w Hardtop, and finally, OEM HID' s.).

Oh, and in regards to OEM HID's being "bad" or whatever... They're designed for a very different driving speed and style than what yyou typically see in the US, providing greater distance to allow safer high speed driving. The key is to use your fogs properly, as they fill in the area closer to the vehicle, and provide a widened light path. Just one more reason HID fogs are so nice.
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