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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 02-22-2015, 02:57 PM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Hot Springs, AR
Posts: 7
My Ride: 2003 330Ci Convert
Xenon Headlight Failure and Fix By Novice

Left xenon headlight failed about 9 months ago...replaced bulb and got erratic performance...would not come on with Auto. Reading this forum told me that I probably needed a new ballast and/or ignitor. I found some new OEM parts on eBay, and had everything ready, including a new Philips bulb.

Read up on replacing the ballast (and viewed the videos many times), and finally did the deed yesterday. This is a short post about the experience from a novice mechanic. Before starting, I taped a piece of kraft paper under the assembly to prevent scratching the bumper. Also, I made sure the headlight switch was OFF.

First, loosened screw to take out left turn signal...no one mentioned how hard it would be to get the socket disconnected...finally used screwdriver and popped it off, after breaking a small piece of the connection.
Second, removed four screws holding headlight assembly. Used magnetic pointer to remove bottom left...so far, so good.
Third, had to disconnect three electrical sockets. Nobody mentioned that you would have to use a screwdriver upside down to lift the tab! Being careful, I finally got this done.
Fourth, I carefully unhooked the trim piece without ruining the paint by using a piece of cardboard.
Fifth, I slowly pulled the entire assembly out...wow...what an exhilarating feeling...me, working on a BMW.
Sixth, carefully placed assembly upside down, and there was the ballast. I carefully removed the three screws, took off the old, and installed the new ballast. The part numbers matched for the first 2 or 3 sets, but that was the best I could do.
Seventh, I was mortified to see that the ignitor was no where to be seen...it was buried inside the headlight assembly. I quickly decided that was a no go, so I decided to hope for the best and assume the ballast would fix it.
So far I am about an hour into the project, and so far, so good.
Eighth, I carefully attempted to put the headlight assembly back in; but first I hooked up the three electrical connectors. Much to my horror, it would not line up with the holes, nor would the trim piece fit. I pushed, pulled, lifted, all to no avail. After working up a nervous sweat, I decided to take the assembly out...and that meant disconnecting those three connection...OMG. Sweat is now running down my brow (and it is 50 degrees in the garage), but I did it. I carefully placed the assembly down, and stopped for lunch.
Ninth, I returned to the task. I carefully placed the assembly in the space, and saw that something was keeping it too high from fitting. Just by accident, I finally figured out that the low left screw lsupport had a channel on the bottom of the assembly (they never mentioned that in the video), and had to slide on the screw support. Viola', it all lined up...you have got to be kidding me!!
Tenth, I carefully put all four screws back in, taking care to tuck in the trim piece which now magically fit. I also hooked up the three connectors for the second time.
Eleventh, I reattached the connector to the parking light, and screwed it down. I am not satisfied that it is a water tight fit, but I will work on that later.
Twelfth, carefully removed the ignitor socket from the old bulb, and replaced the bulb with the new Philips bulb. Put the ignitor socket back on and stood back!!! Carefully checked all connections one more time, and closed the hood!!!!
Thirteenth, I started the car in order to "charge" the ballast, and let it run for a few minutes. Good news was that the DRL came on. Next, I turned the lights to Parking, and the turn signal came on, and worked. Finally, I got up the nerve to turn the lights to ON, and the xenon bulb came on!!! I cannot print the happy words I said, but needless to say, little ol' me was amazed that I had repaired my BMW!!!!

Sorry this turned out so long, but if one person decides they can do this based on my experience, it will be worth it!
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ballast xenon, ignitor, xenon bulbs

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