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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 02-20-2009, 11:09 AM   #1
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OEM Xenon Retrofit truths...

I recently purchased a pair of used Bi-Xenon headlamps for a 2003> facelift Touring which was like finding a needle in a haystack - (200! the whole set) which is a great deal. After much research about what you do and don't need, I thought I'd put down my findings here and also document the process.

So, upon inquiring with BMW, they wouldn't even sell me the Xenon retrofit kit unless I also took the retrofit headlamp wash system and an updated light switch (this part being on your dash, and includes BMW's electronic tweak to stop the warning check coming on). They seem to thinik that the system will not work or be complete without everything.

Here they are - that ghastly angel eye tweak on the halogen lamp will be reverting back to normal ASAP.

More pics to follow once I unpack them.

So Xenons are plug and play, being that you install them and simply plug the original headlamp loom into the Xenon Ballast/Control Unit. No other wiring necessary or obscure looms but there is this to bear in mind:

Dash Warning Light
Basically it comes down to the Xenons using 35w insetad of 50w and so when you power them up the LKM thinks a bulb has blown because it's drawing less power. There are many tweaks to do this:
1) One fix is to buy a new headlight switch from BMW that is for Xenons and includes the capacitor to rectify the current issue - but it's $3-400!
2) Get your LKM reflashed/updated to ignore this low-current draw.
3) Buy some adapters. This stops strobing and dash warnings and is placed between the main headlamp feed and the Ballast unit. I've seen some home-made stuff and weird soldering etc to save cash but I'd rather just spend the money and get a proper made version with well insulated and waterproof plugs - many on eBay. I like this one as it's looks OEM and low-key:

HID/Xenon Warning Cancellation

Then there is the auto-leveling issue. Again, you can retrofit this, it's a part (37 14 6 752 797) that links to the anti-roll bar or something and tells the headlamp to compensate. However, if you have your Xenons set up correctly with your manual adjuster set to 'o' (by your headlight switch) then you have a lot of room to adjust them if your car is heavily loaded up. So that point didn't bug me so much.

Install pix coming soon.

Last edited by royalratch; 02-26-2009 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:08 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: London
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My Ride: 03 320d SE Touring
So I unpacked my Xenons ready to fit. So stoked about this score as Sedan/Touring Xenons are fairly rare used and these look to be in great condition.

One side actually looks brand new!

These nasty things went straight in the bin.

Last edited by royalratch; 02-26-2009 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 02-27-2009, 03:31 PM   #3
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looks sweet, i'm gonna look for some for my prefacelift!! just seem really overpriced!
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:26 PM   #4
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They are I guess but stock E46 headlamps seem kind of weak. For me, it's half better lighting and half cos they just look cool and update the front end a lot, especially when switched on. Also, with the Titanium colored inserts they look even more modern.
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headlamp, retrofit, xenon

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