Dim Headlights. Time to replace? - E46Fanatics E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-14-2017, 03:35 PM   #1
eyeballbill
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Emporia, KS
Posts: 4
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i
Dim Headlights. Time to replace?

I've had my 2003 325i for a few weeks now, and have not driven it much at night, but when I took it out after dark recently I noticed the headlights were pretty dim. My newer cars, and even my scooter have brighter headlights. I'm thinking replacement bulbs are needed, or is it just as easy to replace the whole headlight assembly? The lenses are not super clear, but not glazed over as some 14 year old cars are. Suggestions welcomed!
eyeballbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 07-14-2017, 03:43 PM   #2
jfoj
OEM ///Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 23,189
My Ride: 330CiC, M5, X5, E93
All headlights shift in color and output as they age.

This being said there are some specific problems these cars have with headlights.

1. On standard Halogen headlights, the lens gray with age, they can easily be replaced.

2. If the car has HID headlights, the plastic reflector bowls in one type of projector assembly burn and degrade and the light output sux. There are options to get this repaired or updated.

3. Headlight adjustment is also an issue. If the headlights are HID, then the auto leveling may be a problem and the headlights may be pointing way too low.

4. You also need to determine of you car still has the original headlight assemblies, with cars this old, there is no telling what has happened over the years and what parts may have been replaced or swapped out.

5. Even just the bulb replacement will increase the color temperature and output of the light.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2017, 03:58 PM   #3
Mango
e46mango.com
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 26,620
My Ride: Lexus
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeballbill View Post
I've had my 2003 325i for a few weeks now, and have not driven it much at night, but when I took it out after dark recently I noticed the headlights were pretty dim. My newer cars, and even my scooter have brighter headlights. I'm thinking replacement bulbs are needed, or is it just as easy to replace the whole headlight assembly? The lenses are not super clear, but not glazed over as some 14 year old cars are. Suggestions welcomed!
To know what you need, we gotta know what you have. Post some pics.
__________________
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2017, 08:52 PM   #4
mjez
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: chicagoland
Posts: 35
My Ride: bmw
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeballbill View Post
I've had my 2003 325i for a few weeks now, and have not driven it much at night, but when I took it out after dark recently I noticed the headlights were pretty dim. My newer cars, and even my scooter have brighter headlights. I'm thinking replacement bulbs are needed, or is it just as easy to replace the whole headlight assembly? The lenses are not super clear, but not glazed over as some 14 year old cars are. Suggestions welcomed!
Try this. I did it to both my cars and the difference is unbelievable.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
mjez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2017, 09:51 PM   #5
jfoj
OEM ///Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 23,189
My Ride: 330CiC, M5, X5, E93
Looking at the picture of the OP car in the New Member Section, it appears his car has Projector headlights and possibly HID?

Need a close up picture of the headlight assembly and a close up of the projector low beam to see if there is wording/lettering on the projector bezel.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2017, 05:51 AM   #6
Solidjake
Zero. Leaks.
 
Solidjake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 31,104
My Ride: '02 330i 6MT
If the headlight lenses are worn out then get these:

http://www.khoalty.com/headlight-lens-replacement.html


For xenon bulbs get the CBI, they are at a GREAT price now

https://www.theretrofitsource.com/bu...66240-cbi.html
__________________
Solidjake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2017, 07:51 PM   #7
eyeballbill
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Emporia, KS
Posts: 4
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i
Here are pictures of the current setup.


Sent from my iPhone using E46Fanatics mobile app
eyeballbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2017, 08:45 PM   #8
Dogthebountyhunter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Philly
Posts: 261
My Ride: 02 325xi
Imo those lenses look fine no need for new ones. If halogen i personally like sylvania silverstar bulbs.
Dogthebountyhunter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2017, 08:59 PM   #9
jfoj
OEM ///Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 23,189
My Ride: 330CiC, M5, X5, E93
Your car has Projector low beam headlights. Likely they are HID. You need to get a VERY close up picture of the shroud around the projectors to see if there are any letters cast in the lip of the shroud. You also need to take a picture/inspect the rear of the headlight looking for a ballast.

You can also run a VIN Decoder to see what the original option on the car was.

Hopefully you do not have ZKW headlights - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=990507

But in any event if the car has HID headlights, you should see them dip and rise at night when you start the car, if they are HID the auto leveling may also be a problem.

You need to know 100% what headlights the car has before you can start to understand what all the possible problems are. You also need to make 100% sure the headlights are original and not aftermarket. You should see some letters and numbers cast in the outer edges of the lens as I recall.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2017, 09:35 PM   #10
HOODY007
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Boston, MA & Dunwoody, GA
Posts: 469
My Ride: '04 330ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Your car has Projector low beam headlights. Likely they are HID. You need to get a VERY close up picture of the shroud around the projectors to see if there are any letters cast in the lip of the shroud. You also need to take a picture/inspect the rear of the headlight looking for a ballast.

You can also run a VIN Decoder to see what the original option on the car was.

Hopefully you do not have ZKW headlights - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=990507

But in any event if the car has HID headlights, you should see them dip and rise at night when you start the car, if they are HID the auto leveling may also be a problem.

You need to know 100% what headlights the car has before you can start to understand what all the possible problems are. You also need to make 100% sure the headlights are original and not aftermarket. You should see some letters and numbers cast in the outer edges of the lens as I recall.
Those are xenons - no E46 sedan/touring got projector halogens.
HOODY007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2017, 12:02 AM   #11
Kpriest
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 267
My Ride: 2005 325i
Those are Xenon headlamps. You can see the word "xenon" on the kidney grille side, on the perimeter of the low beam. Most likely AL and not ZKW, you can verify by checking the manufacturer markings on the top of the headlight above the lens.

Your lenses do not appear to be oxidized in a way that would cause dim headlights. A set of new bulbs would be my first move and most likely the cheapest fix.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/hid...lb-flosser-d2s
Kpriest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2017, 03:48 AM   #12
TitaniumCranium
/// Limitless
 
TitaniumCranium's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle / Sequim
Posts: 3,439
My Ride: 2002 BMW 330Ci
Those are HID's and regardless of the manufacture whether Chinese or OE Phillips bulbs they only last so long and then the color shift and begin to dim.

You likely need new HID lamps, and the difference will be night and day. Two years ago I noticed that my fog lamps were actually aiding in my night vision down the road. My HID's were so dim that I literally could not drive without my fogs on.
__________________

/// MODS
/// Auto => 6-Spd Manual Conversion | Apex EC-7 | Koni/Ground Control Coilovers | Vorshlag Camber Plates | BMW Performance LCA | Mishimoto Intake Boots | GruppeM rep CAI | Shark Injector | 5000k Xenarc CBI 66240 HID | BMW European MTechII | BMW Performance Shifter | ACS Mirrors and Rear Spoiler ///
TitaniumCranium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2017, 04:53 AM   #13
Solidjake
Zero. Leaks.
 
Solidjake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 31,104
My Ride: '02 330i 6MT
The look like ZKW due to the logo on the inner part of the light in the second to last pic....... The only solution is the zkw repair kit from theretrofitsource
__________________
Solidjake is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.