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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 03-19-2014, 10:17 PM   #1
peleke4
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$1000 to fix an intermittent xenon passenger side light?

Hello Everyone,

I have a 2003 BMW 330CI. The issue is an intermittent xenon passenger side headlight. For the most part, the xenon is dead, but does come on sometimes. This has been going on the past several years. Strangely, during warmer weather, the xenon light would work more consistently.

I brought it to my mechanic and he found that merely changing the bulb had no effect. Upon further inspection, he advised the following:

"There's an issue with the igniter and there's also a control unit. They are replaceable separately although having said that to replace either one of them or both of them requires removal and disassembly of that whole headlight unit. So from a labor standpoint it's certainly better to do them both at the same time. It appears that the control unit is working okay. Labor alone to whether I'm replacing the igniter or the control unit, the labor alone is 294.00. So basically if I was to replace the igniter only you'd be at about $ 497.00 for the igniter only. But like I say that does not replace the control unit as well which that could go bad as well. To replace them both at the same time which certainly is a labor savings because you're doing both parts at the same time, then you're looking at about $1005.00 parts and labor to do them both at the same time. The issue is that the headlight has to be taken apart to do either of them or both of them certainly."

I'd appreciate any feedback about this. Thank you

Last edited by peleke4; 03-19-2014 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:28 PM   #2
MercForHire
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The labour for this is half hour tops.
I installed a whole headlight for around 30 min.

Check here:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=470061
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:30 PM   #3
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You likely just need a new ballast. Swap ballasts from each side and see if it works on the non-working side. If it doesn't, swap the ignitors and see if it works, and there's your answer.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:43 PM   #4
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I would not pay anywhere near that much money for what they're proposing. It would be cheaper to replace the whole headlight unit with a good used one. A new ignitor should cost around $100, and while the headlight assembly does have to come out, you don't have to disassemble the whole thing to do the replacement.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:08 AM   #5
peleke4
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Originally Posted by Benny Minn View Post
I would not pay anywhere near that much money for what they're proposing. It would be cheaper to replace the whole headlight unit with a good used one. A new ignitor should cost around $100, and while the headlight assembly does have to come out, you don't have to disassemble the whole thing to do the replacement.
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Isn't this like if a DVD player breaks, might as well just buy an entirely new DVD player because the costs to fix it would be about the same price of a new?

I feel I'd be able to save quite a bit of $$ buying a used headlight and installing it myself. How much do used headlights usually go for?
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:27 AM   #6
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LOL.

I got a headgasket replaced/head machined for $700.
And your mechanic is asking $1005 for a fracking igniter/ballast replacement?

This can be a sub $100 job. Taking out the headlight is simple if you own hands and a fisher price toolkit.
Go to your local wrecker, or find a part out, and replace both for your peace of mind.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by peleke4 View Post
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Isn't this like if a DVD player breaks, might as well just buy an entirely new DVD player because the costs to fix it would be about the same price of a new?

I feel I'd be able to save quite a bit of $$ buying a used headlight and installing it myself. How much do used headlights usually go for?
Your headlight assembly is not the problem.
Just replace the ballast and be done with it. Everything that involves the function of the light is outside the assembly.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:20 AM   #8
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just buy some good used parts and do it yourself
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:38 AM   #9
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The headlights really are easy to pull off. I learned this when I decided to pull one off rather than struggle with the power steering connections anymore. Please do not pay $1000 for this job.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:12 PM   #10
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You were about to be reamed by a mechanic. The job is easy enough it is on par with paying someone to do your laundry and cook your dinner.

For future reference, an intermittent light can be diagnosed by swapping the bulbs left for right. If the problem changes to the other headlight it is the bulb (mine had this problem). If the problem stays in the same place it is the ballast.

You need an 8mm socket on an extension to remove the four screws that hold the headlight into the car. It slides straight out the front and you can reach the ballast on the bottom of the headlight assembly. You don't even have to disconnect the wires on the back of the headlight to slide it out (I just did my headlight washer last weekend so this job is still fresh in my mind).

As pointed out above: hands, fischer price tool kit and sub $100. Part of an afternoon if you're meticulous.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:57 PM   #11
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*spends time on internet complaining about mechanic charges instead of asking how to repair problem*
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:07 PM   #12
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*spends time on internet complaining about mechanic charges instead of asking how to repair problem*
I don't think OP has wrenching skills. I think he's just looking to not get robbed by a shop.
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