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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 12-12-2005, 11:20 PM   #21
yukondiver
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I have a 6" grinder, with a stone on one side (that I used to grind the shutter), and a buffing wheel on the other; of course, the wheels are all interchangable.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:20 PM   #22
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i may be crazy, but i think what im about to say is correct. For all US cars, the lights are supposed to look like this:

d ) ) ) ) )

p ) ) ) ) ) ) )
(birds eye view, d = driver side, p= passenger side). This is because you are actually sitting on the left side of the vehicle, and I think it's assumed that you can see more with your naked eye of what's right in front of you than what's off to the other side of the vehicle. If you had gone into your dealer and asked them to change your light setting to Euro-spec, (which I think is done on the computer, it would have been:

d ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

p ) ) ) ) )


(again, bird's eye view, d = driver side, p = passenger side).


It seems like you've created a happy medium and gotten equal out of both through physical means... technically i think that if a dealer were to put your car in one of their aiming/light boxes and try to aim your lights, they'd have a hard time now because your beam pattern has been destroyed, permanently.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2001BMW330xi
i may be crazy, but i think what im about to say is correct. For all US cars, the lights are supposed to look like this:

d ) ) ) ) )

p ) ) ) ) ) ) )
(birds eye view, d = driver side, p= passenger side). This is because you are actually sitting on the left side of the vehicle, and I think it's assumed that you can see more with your naked eye of what's right in front of you than what's off to the other side of the vehicle. If you had gone into your dealer and asked them to change your light setting to Euro-spec, (which I think is done on the computer, it would have been:

d ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

p ) ) ) ) )


(again, bird's eye view, d = driver side, p = passenger side).


It seems like you've created a happy medium and gotten equal out of both through physical means... technically i think that if a dealer were to put your car in one of their aiming/light boxes and try to aim your lights, they'd have a hard time now because your beam pattern has been destroyed, permanently.
Well, if the current beam pattern is what we want, why would we need to have them re-aimed at the dealer? I guess if one was going to sell his car, buyers could ask him to take a hit for modifying the beam pattern. The shutter/shield can be replaced, though. So it's by no means a permanent mod.
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Old 12-15-2005, 12:28 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leej323
Well, if the current beam pattern is what we want, why would we need to have them re-aimed at the dealer? I guess if one was going to sell his car, buyers could ask him to take a hit for modifying the beam pattern. The shutter/shield can be replaced, though. So it's by no means a permanent mod.
i guess you're right. Kudos if this helps you guys see at night and doesnt' blind everyone else
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Old 12-15-2005, 08:46 PM   #25
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:22 PM   #26
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Isn't the reason for the notched pattern so you donít blind oncoming traffic? I am all for more light and even hooked up my high beams to my bi-xenons so when I want light and no one is around I can have it like day light, but this seems to impeded other drivers and in general give everyone with Xenons a bad image. I get flashed often enough and my lights are angled down a little.


To each his own...
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:24 PM   #27
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I re-read your first thread and you mentioned adaptive headlights, if they do not cover the area to the left and it is a noticeable safety problems shouldnt the dealer do something about it?
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:21 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nEVERCLEAR
Isn't the reason for the notched pattern so you donít blind oncoming traffic? I am all for more light and even hooked up my high beams to my bi-xenons so when I want light and no one is around I can have it like day light, but this seems to impeded other drivers and in general give everyone with Xenons a bad image. I get flashed often enough and my lights are angled down a little.


To each his own...
I think the reason of the notches is indeed to minimize blinding of oncoming traffic. The leveling knobs/auto-leveling still function like normal, though.

Since I have the projector46's, I just readjusted the knobs so that the beam is pointed a certain height. I actually just finished the retrofit and am about to go for a test drive. Even before testing them out, judging from the very small modification to the shutter/shield, the retrofit won't make that big of a difference in terms of blinding people.

I'll try posting some pics later of the beam before and after.
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:38 PM   #29
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I would love to see the difference in beam pattern.
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:57 PM   #30
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I like 2001BMW330xi's graphic of how the illumination differs on the 'd' and 'p' side. It would make sense that the dealer could do something to flip the 'd' and 'p' side illumination for Europe, however, after taking the lights apart it seems physically impossible that this could be done. So, since only Great Britain that drives on the left side (in Europe, I believe), a flip in the 'd' and 'p' side illumination would only be required there, which would necessitate different parts; not to mention the other vehicle changes to accomodate right hand drive.

As for having the dealer adjust the lights that was a complete waste of time. After three attempts at Cunningham BMW all they could do actually misaling the lights worse. Even after these steps they couldn't do a thing: 1) I showing them pictures of the poor nighttime illumination, 2) allowing the service manager to borrow my car overnight (he agreed they didn't illuminate as desired), and 3) they produced a BMW technical graphic showing that the Xenon lights are intended to illuminate a distance of 50 meteres on the left side and 100 meters on the right.

Sure, the reduced illumination on the left side is meant to reduce glare to oncoming traffic. Problem was that BMW had the transition from the 'p' to 'd' side at the center of the shutter., making for a 'black hole right where you need to look. Duh. Other high end car makes don't have this trouble.

Anything other than a minor tweak on the adjuster knobs to get better left side illumination would result in excessive glare to oncoming or followed vehicles - I know because I got highbeams blasted at me a few times after adjustment attempts, even by the dealer.

In my DIY I guess I could have just shifted the transition point by partially grinding the shutter, but instead of messing around I decided to grind it level all the way across the shutter - no more darkness on the left and no complaints from other drivers.

Let me know if you want the DIY emailed directly to you, as I don't think it's been posted on the website yet.

Sorry for babbling...
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:11 AM   #31
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I must be tired as that babble made sense...
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:11 AM   #32
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Just returned from my test-drive. Haven't received any high beams yet. Illumination is more even than before. However, I believe my 6000K bulbs need to be replaced w/ a lower color temp to achieve even better illumination (sorry 6000K fans, I just don't think it's enough light).

I'll post pics probably tomorrow.
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:26 AM   #33
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so wait, if you guys grinded the shutter - how do your bi-xenon high beams still work? Isn't it the shutter that moves out of place to allow the full light to shine through? This being the case, you are probably blinding somebody, somewhere, you just don't know it. I mean, I know you didn't get rid of the shutter completely, but you're letting out more light than you should be.
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:27 AM   #34
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you know there's one simple screw that adjusts the vertical angle of each headlight. You could have just turned that unstead of changing any parts

how do you think they adjust your headlights at a shop
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:30 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukondiver
after taking the lights apart it seems physically impossible that this could be done.
quite the contrary. I may be getting my mercedes & bmw dealerships confused, but I think it's something they do on the computer. It is related to the autoleveling fxn I believe and that's how they control it - which means had you retrofitted your lights, there'd definetely be no way for them to do it.
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:31 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by jeff330i
you know there's one simple screw that adjusts the vertical angle of each headlight. You could have just turned that unstead of changing any parts

how do you think they adjust your headlights at a shop
ha, im sure they thought of it - but didn't want to 'misalign' them so oncoming drivers were being blinded by the already controversial lights.
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:35 AM   #37
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In repsonse to Jeff330i, yes there is that knob atop and behind each headlight assembly that the dealer and I tweaked in and out. The problem is that in order to get decent forward illumination on the left side the right side illumination HAS to go up as well, which results in the illumination of freeway overhead signs and, needless to say, the retinas of oncoming/ or followed drivers.

The headlight assembly and design is not at all like less 'sophisticated' cars. There is a shutter/shield in the left and right side low/high beams that is identical in shape and orientation from left to right. They are fully interchangable. So, you can not just turn up adjustment on the leftside without also adversely affecting the right-side illumnation from the left light. the pattern of illumination from each light is completely identical.

In response to 2001BMW330xi, the shutter/shield connects to only one motor at the back, and the sole purpose of this motor is lower/open the shutter for autoleveling and high beam activation, as shown in the attached pic. Non charged with voltage, the motor is at rest as is the shutter in the low beam position. When charged with voltage the motor 'rod' pushes out causing the shutter to flex/bend at its anchor points at the back of the reflector, resulting in the lowering of the shutter at the front of the reflector, and voila, the lights are leveled or high beams are 'on', depending upon the amount of voltage delivered to the motor. So, with my mod, the autoleveling, highbeam operation are still OEM.

I agree with leej323, brighter/whiter bulbs are needed. I was beside a newer Lexus lastnight and the scoundrel had a nicer (whiter/brighter) lights that also gave great lateral illumination. This Lexus also had respectible forward illumnation left to right.

I'll try to post before and after pics tonight.
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Old 12-16-2005, 11:54 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2001BMW330xi
so wait, if you guys grinded the shutter - how do your bi-xenon high beams still work? Isn't it the shutter that moves out of place to allow the full light to shine through? This being the case, you are probably blinding somebody, somewhere, you just don't know it. I mean, I know you didn't get rid of the shutter completely, but you're letting out more light than you should be.
It's possible, but I get the feeling that ANY xenon lighting system will blind somebody, somewhere, at some place in time. I was driving in front of a buddy of mine who has a 325Ci w/ bixenon capability and auto-leveling. Even with my auto-dimming mirror, I was being blinded from behind. And no, his auto-leveling function wasn't/isn't broken.

I'm also easily blinded by the countless Lexus SUV's and Land Rovers (the latter seems to have no shutter/shield at all). Also, even before I modified the shield with my beam calibrated correctly, I would be flashed by people w/ halogens JUST BECAUSE I have xenons. I know a lot of people hold the view "If you have xenons, your lights are too bright; I don't care if they're aimed correctly."

I'm sure you've experienced times when you're driving and as a xenon-equipped car comes your way, you're suddenly exposed to a burst of light as the reflection of the beam within the housing shines directly in your eyes. I bet nearly everyone has had this experience before. It's obvious that xenons are very bright, but taming that light while staying on budget is difficult, even for OEM manufacturers.
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:57 PM   #39
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I agree completely with leej323. Thanks.
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Old 12-17-2005, 07:12 AM   #40
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Has the DIY been posted yet?
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