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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 01-29-2014, 11:39 PM   #1
EmDeeAr
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What kind of lights do I have?

Car: 2004 330i ZHP



I've heard the terms halogen, HID, xenon, bi-xenon, HID, ZKW, and "adaptive" thrown around when referencing E46 headlights. I'm confused between all of these, and I'm trying to figure out which ones my car is outfitted with.

My lights have projectors, and the light output is a white, bluish color. If the lights are set to turn on when the car starts, the projectors seem to tilt upward or something, seemingly to level out.

The chrome (I think it's chrome...) projector bowls of both the left and right headlights are burnt out. Apparently, this is a pretty common problem, the best remedy of which (I think) is to replace the headlight units entirely (retrofits can be done, but I am set on new lights for the whole package).

There are a ton of different headlight part numbers, so I'm pretty lost as to which ones I need.

RealOEM: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...29&hg=63&fg=05

Please help meh! Thanks --

Last edited by EmDeeAr; 01-30-2014 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:17 AM   #2
cityjohn
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E46 basically had halogen or xenon/HID. In 2001 (as you can see via realoem), there was a switchover in the xenon cars to bi-xenon.

- Halogen is a basic halogen bulb that you can see when you look into the light assembly.

- Xenon has a projector lens. Inner bulbs are halogen and used for high beam

-Bi-xenon uses the outer/xenon bulb for both low and high beam; a mechanical hinged cover creates both beams.



...so it sounds like your car has the bi-xenons
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:27 AM   #3
EmDeeAr
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Great response, thanks. Turns out one of the diagrams I provided is for pre-face lift cars, so that's cleared up now. (Original post has been edited.)

So, now I just need to figure out which part numbers I need from the bi-xenons listed for the facelift lights.

The options are:
-AL
-AL/ TITAN
-ZKW

^^What does all this mean?

Additionally, since the bi-xenons are pretty pricey, could I just buy the halogens? Plug and play? Will the auto-light function and the LCM be compatible?

Last edited by EmDeeAr; 01-30-2014 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:31 AM   #4
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Read here...

http://www.theretrofitsource.com/
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmDeeAr View Post
Great response, thanks. Turns out one of the diagrams I provided is for pre-face lift cars, so that's cleared up now. (Original post has been edited.)

So, now I just need to figure out which part numbers I need from the bi-xenons listed for the facelift lights.

The options are:
-AL
-AL/ TITAN
-ZKW

^^What does all this mean?

Additionally, since the bi-xenons are pretty pricey, could I just buy the halogens? Plug and play? Will the auto-light function and the LCM be compatible?
The TITAN means Titanium, I think that means that you have a Titanium colored headlight insert.
Like this, but silver, not carbon.


You can put facelift halogens into your car, but some wires will not be connected. The "Auto-Level" will not function on halogen lights, and the overall light quality will be diminished. I'd personally recommend a retrofit, that's what I did and I have Quad Xenons. The OEM parts are going to be extremely expensive, last I checked they were ~$1,250 for each set (~$2,500). Naturally, for maybe ~$600 a quad retrofit was the way to go.

Hopefully this helps clears some stuff up, if not I can try to describe what you're not understanding. If you have other questions, maybe I could get you some answers.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:22 AM   #6
EmDeeAr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJin2552 View Post
The TITAN means Titanium, I think that means that you have a Titanium colored headlight insert.
Like this, but silver, not carbon.


You can put facelift halogens into your car, but some wires will not be connected. The "Auto-Level" will not function on halogen lights, and the overall light quality will be diminished. I'd personally recommend a retrofit, that's what I did and I have Quad Xenons. The OEM parts are going to be extremely expensive, last I checked they were ~$1,250 for each set (~$2,500). Naturally, for maybe ~$600 a quad retrofit was the way to go.

Hopefully this helps clears some stuff up, if not I can try to describe what you're not understanding. If you have other questions, maybe I could get you some answers.
Thanks for all the info.

I'm cool with "downgrading" to halogens. Currently, my light output is crap, so anything is better. I'd rather buy new halogens with confidence than try to find a used/bargain set of xenons, pay the exorbitant price for new xenons, or go through the retrofit process. On my car, the headlight assemblies themselves are beat up (broken clips and mounting points, crummy lenses, etc.)..... It all just needs to be replaced. This is just my preference...

I don't even understand the point of "auto leveling." Shouldn't the lights be aligned straight horizontally... always?

If I go with new halogens, will the auto-light feature still work? That is, will the lights still automatically turn on when it's dark enough if the switch is set to the "auto" position (the knob turned left one notch from the neutral 0 position)?

I want to confirm: If I got brand new halogens, would the LCM (light control module) need to be reprogrammed?

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Old 01-30-2014, 01:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by EmDeeAr View Post
I don't even understand the point of "auto leveling." Shouldn't the lights be aligned straight horizontally... always?
I think stricter euro regulations may have something to do with it. Anyway, HID systems are brighter and have a distinct cutoff line to keep the light out of oncoming traffic. Maintaining this line is critical, so the xenon systems use level sensors in the suspension to ensure the aim is correct.

The down-up cycle you hear when you switch on your lights is a self-test and a means of keeping the motors from freezing up.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:38 AM   #8
EmDeeAr
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Originally Posted by cityjohn View Post
I think stricter euro regulations may have something to do with it. Anyway, HID systems are brighter and have a distinct cutoff line to keep the light out of oncoming traffic. Maintaining this line is critical, so the xenon systems use level sensors in the suspension to ensure the aim is correct.

The down-up cycle you hear when you switch on your lights is a self-test and a means of keeping the motors from freezing up.
Oh, see that's interesting. So that leveling feature is built into the headlight unit itself, not the programming of the car?

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Old 01-30-2014, 09:48 AM   #9
WDE46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmDeeAr View Post
Car: 2004 330i ZHP



I've heard the terms halogen, HID, xenon, bi-xenon, HID, ZKW, and "adaptive" thrown around when referencing E46 headlights. I'm confused between all of these, and I'm trying to figure out which ones my car is outfitted with.

My lights have projectors, and the light output is a white, bluish color. If the lights are set to turn on when the car starts, the projectors seem to tilt upward or something, seemingly to level out.

The chrome (I think it's chrome...) projector bowls of both the left and right headlights are burnt out. Apparently, this is a pretty common problem, the best remedy of which (I think) is to replace the headlight units entirely (retrofits can be done, but I am set on new lights for the whole package).

There are a ton of different headlight part numbers, so I'm pretty lost as to which ones I need.

RealOEM: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...29&hg=63&fg=05

Please help meh! Thanks --
The burned bowls are only a problem on the ZKW bixenon headlights.

I WOULD NOT go back to halogens. You will not be happy with them.

Are you good with a dremel?
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:04 AM   #10
EmDeeAr
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Hm, yeah, plus halogens won't match the VIN... it's kind of silly to go backwards.

Why are the burnt bowls only a problem with ZKWs? What does ZKW signify?

Last edited by EmDeeAr; 01-30-2014 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:13 AM   #11
WDE46
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You do need to figure out what headlights you have. What's the last 7 digits of your VIN (serial number)?

Most cars don't have adaptive, so I think these part numbers will do it for you:

ZKW:
Left 63127165833
Right 63127165834

AL (Bosch):
Left 63127165779
Right 63127165780

I wouldn't buy used ZKW, b/c they'll likely be burned out too. Try to find some AL on eBay. Actually, I just checked and they're more expensive than I remember for used. I'd say retrofit something. All you have to do is buy a projector that can fit in there and secure it. You can keep the stock ballast and all that.

Here's a premade solution for you (that's how big of a problem the ZKW lights are):

It won't let me post a youtube link normally so copy paste this:

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Old 01-30-2014, 10:18 AM   #12
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What the **** is going on in my posts. Quote my post and see how stupid this forum is being right now. Won't even show everything.

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Old 01-30-2014, 10:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by EmDeeAr View Post
Hm, yeah, plus halogens won't match the VIN... it's kind of silly to go backwards.

Why are the burnt bowls only a problem with ZKWs? What does ZKW signify?
I hope I don't have zkw. Would like to know how to tell difference as well. Hope I did not end up with the crappy ones! Second to good windshield wipers, lights are very important to me! I like to see where I am going.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:24 AM   #14
WDE46
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You can just look to see if they're burned out. Check out that video I posted. It's obvious when they're burned.

Figured out the link thing. The forums don't like the https prefix.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:33 AM   #15
EmDeeAr
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Figured it out:

-ZKW is a brand, AL is a brand. AL is also known as Bosch.
-The ZKW brand is simply of inferior quality in terms of the bowls, which is why they burn out.

I still need to decide if I need the AL or AL/TITAN, though.

Any opinion on this?

Also, I found bi-xenons for $800 per side brand new. That's at least reasonable compared to the original $1200ish.
http://www.thebmwpartstore.com/oempa...127165791.html

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Old 01-30-2014, 11:22 AM   #16
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Then align them right

http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/aim/aim.html
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:24 AM   #17
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Auto leveling compensates for load change whether its passengers or brake/acceleration-induced load change. Actual pointing of the headlights must be maintained manually. (like if you lower your car or change a headlight or something)

As for your lights, $800 a side is good. See if you can find used Bosch units though.
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Old 01-30-2014, 05:51 PM   #18
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As for your lights, $800 a side is good. See if you can find used Bosch units though.
^This. And if you want to go with used, you should be able to find them for ~$500/side.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:33 PM   #19
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All ZHP sedans unfortunately came with ZKWs from the factory... The most cost effective solution is to do a EvoX-R RetroQuick solution from TRS.

Mine:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...1&postcount=75

Another forum member:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=990931

The kit:
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/com...ghts-only.html
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:11 PM   #20
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I have those projectors in my car now. Extremely bright and clear. Crazy cutoff. It turns speed limit signs purple. I like to think its due to color shift from the Doppler effect in the light waves. I'm approaching light speed.


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