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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 12-06-2005, 12:23 PM   #1
yukondiver
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Xenon Illumination Improved

I just completed a modification to my ZHP xenon low beam lights that I'm very happy with - nearly full illumination 180 degrees in front of the car - no more ridiculous darkness left of center.

From previous posts it seems others weren't bothered by the fact that the adaptive xenons failed to fully illuminate mroe than about 50 feet ahead of the car and to the area left of center of the direction of travel, but I was.

The field of view of illumination used to look like this sloppy sketch: ______/--------; great illumination right of center but lousy and dangerous illumination on the left. No amount of manual adjustment by me or the dealer could correct it, at least not without blinding on-coming traffic; the alignment couldn't even be brought within BMW's published specs, and the dealer didn't care...

My sollution was to dissaemble the xenon light assembly on the bench to get at the shutter that was preventing full, linear illumination. Less than an hour labor per side was all that was required to dissamble/assemble and grind level the shutter, and now I have awesome illumination from left to right, with no apparant detriment to oncoming traffic.
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:26 PM   #2
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If you lived by me i would so pay you to do this... i like my xenons don't get me wrong, but i wish that it put out more light
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:37 PM   #3
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arent u gonna blind the f##K out of the oncoming traffic w/ the shutter disabled????
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Old 12-06-2005, 02:09 PM   #4
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The shutter is still fully enabled and auto-leveling still works as normal. The only change is that the same distance that is illuminated to the right of center is now also illuminated to the left of center. No more dark area to the left of center, which was especially bad when making left turns. Glare to oncoming traffic appears to be no worse than other xenon equiped cars. These great xenons are now actually great.
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Old 12-06-2005, 03:33 PM   #5
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Can you host some pics for us to see?
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Old 12-06-2005, 04:20 PM   #6
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hrmmm hey you live near me


sounds interesting. and i sorta know what our talking about. im more cautions with left turns than right, didnt think it was because of the xenons though. thought it was just the viewing angle.
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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I'll work on posting some pics shortly. The ones I took are of the shutter showing the crazy OEM bevel halfway across the shutter (limiting the left projection); this bevel is what I ground level to match the right side, to give a linear projection.

Shine a flashlight into the low beam lens and look around inside to see exactly what I mean by this notch. It will appear inverted so that when the light is reflected back through the lens (like a reflecting telescope) the area of illumination is flipped.

Turning left also used to make me aprehensive because of the very poor left-side distance that was previously illuminated by the xenons. This was not a function of viewing angle but of the notch on the shutter. No more worries now. It's real nice looking safely ahead because of the now-prefect linear (straight horizontal line) of illumation ahead of the vehicle.
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Old 12-07-2005, 05:15 PM   #8
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I wonder if this is possible w/ projector46's. There isn't an auto-leveling motor, but there appears to be a similar "shutter" in the housing.
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:44 AM   #9
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I expect the modification will work on xenons not equiped with the self-leveling feature. Can you see the shutter (or in this case perhaps more appropriately called 'shield', or the like) by shining a flashlight and looking into the xenon lens? If so then the mod should work. In fact, the mod would be slightly easier without the self-leveler system because you will have two less electrical connectors to unclip and won't have to carefuly unsnap the shutter from the little electrical motor at the back of the light lens.
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Old 12-08-2005, 12:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukondiver
I expect the modification will work on xenons not equiped with the self-leveling feature. Can you see the shutter (or in this case perhaps more appropriately called 'shield', or the like) by shining a flashlight and looking into the xenon lens? If so then the mod should work. In fact, the mod would be slightly easier without the self-leveler system because you will have two less electrical connectors to unclip and won't have to carefuly unsnap the shutter from the little electrical motor at the back of the light lens.
Yes, I remember there's a metal plate/shield in there. I'll take a closer look when my new bulbs come in.

So you basically grinded down that shield in the driver's side projector? Would definitely like a DIY on this. I'm not liking the left side illumination (err... lack of it) either.
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Old 12-08-2005, 12:47 PM   #11
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Take a look in both the left and right lens and you will see the shield/plate has the same notch, so you'll have to remove and grind flat the plate in both the left and right light. I'll work on DIY this weekend.
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukondiver
Take a look in both the left and right lens and you will see the shield/plate has the same notch, so you'll have to remove and grind flat the plate in both the left and right light. I'll work on DIY this weekend.
Cool Did you use a Dremel to do the grinding?
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Old 12-09-2005, 12:19 PM   #13
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ok so are you gonna write a diy or no??? cuz i would like to do this mod to my car.
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:53 PM   #14
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:47 PM   #15
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why not twist the verticle adjustment up a bit?

now it sounds like your right side is "too low"
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:06 PM   #16
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If it was that simple, why would we be interested in a DIY?
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:14 AM   #17
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pics plz
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:59 AM   #18
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sounds like a good idea. I've realized those spots of poor illumination with headlights. My headlight pattern looks similar to the one you quickly sketched up. Can you or someone post a pic of what the shutter looks like?
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Old 12-12-2005, 02:15 PM   #19
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The modification was fairly easy, but there were a few steps invovled, plus you'll want to excerise care so as not to scratch anything or get dust or dirt inside the lens. I'll work on the DIY today, but I only took a couple of pictures (not thinking anyone would request a DIY).

In the meantime, here's a picture of what the shutter looks like. As you can see there is an obvious notch, or step, and that is what I ground down level using a bench grinder.

I used a bench grinder because sanding by hand using emory cloth was way too slow and a dremel would be too woobly. Using a bench grinder allowed me to hold the shutter (once removed from the reflecter that it's attached, as shown in the picture) steady and straight.
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Old 12-12-2005, 04:49 PM   #20
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I guess I'm off to Sears for a bench grinder. What size grinder do you have?
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