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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 12-10-2013, 09:33 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Headlight Reflector Bowl Burnout DIY

Heat output from Xenon bulbs in 2001-2005 3 Series causes the reflector bowl in the Xenon Headlight Assembly to discolor (usually a burnt brown) that diminishes the light output, thus causing the entire headlight assembly to look very dark.

Apparently this is a rather common problem, and several have written other DIY articles for it. As the reflector bowls are not sold individually, a common resolution is to cover the burnt bowl in aluminum foil. I tried this myself and it worked to some degree, but had MUCH more success using an alternate method.

I found a spray paint made by VHT that is built for painting engine blocks, thus it is rated to withstand high temperatures. I purchased a can of their Chrome Plate paint, and simply repainted the reflector bowls. I put on a couple coats one evening on a single headlight, and the difference between the treated and untreated headlight was like night and day. Only tools necessary were those needed to remove the headlight assembly. A philips head screw driver, a T15 and T25 torx screw and a little patience while the paint dried.

Super easy solution, and much more evenly distributed than the aluminum foil route.

*** I also found a greasy residue on the inside of the lens. I simply wiped this off with a paper towel.

I will update in a few weeks to see if the reflective paint maintains its sheen over time.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:30 PM   #2
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Definitely let us know how it works out. I ended up replacing the bowls with the ones from TRS and glad I did. My oem bowls where so burnt they were cracked.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:48 PM   #3
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This sounds like a great and affordable solution to the problem. I know mine have dropped off drastically in brightness.

Thanks for the post!
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:24 PM   #4
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Any update on how they're holding up?
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:45 AM   #5
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:21 AM   #6
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Any updates on this? I am considering taking this route.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:22 PM   #7
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May I suggest this? 100% better than just "painting" the bowl.

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burn out, burned projectors, dim lights, headlights, xenon headlights

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