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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 10-29-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
infinite012
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DIY: ZKW-R lens into Bosch/AL Bi-xenon projector

I just traded cars with my older sister, so her 2002 BMW 330xi has now become mine (to mod, heh...). The headlights really bother me because of the lack of color and absolutely fuzzy cutoff. So I placed an order on TheRetrofitSource.com (HIDplanet.com) for the ZKW-R lenses.

This thread will chronicle (not really, this should be quick and simple) the lens swap, from taking the headlights off of the car, to pulling the headlights apart, to putting everything back together.

Pictures!

The cutoff:


Closer:


Distance between car and wall:


Everybody knows the reason for the horrible cutoff is because of these lenses:


New stuff from TRS!


ZKW-R lenses:


Stay tuned for updates
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:01 PM   #2
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VERY interested in this. The reflector halogens in my suv look better than my e46 hid's.
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:37 PM   #3
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Got the headlights off of the car now. Going to eat dinner first then tackle the rest of the project. Hoping to finish this up by tomorrow evening.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:17 PM   #4
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Progress! Most of the DIYs I've been reading said the headlights are bolted to the car with 4 10mm hex bolts each. My car must be a frankenstein, then, because my headlights were held in with 4 8mm hex bolts each.

Headlights on car -> off car:





Little 8mm bolt hidden beneath the headlight


The other one


Halfway there


All done


Next part: disassembling the lights
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:36 PM   #5
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Disassembly. Man, this is such a PITA. The headlights aren't too hard to get into, but they're really dirty, so I'm wiping them down first and then cracking them open. I also found out that one of the headlight clear plastic covers has a crack in it, so I'll want to replace the pair down the road. They kind of needed to be replaced anyways, what with 120k miles on them and all...

So, here are the headlights in my apartment:


Wiped down (left), untouched (right)


The crack


The front end was resprayed, definitely


Naked headlight


Using another thread on e46fanatics, I was able to easily (hah, not really) separate the reflector/projector from the housing




Looking at the backside of the projector, we notice that there is something I will have to deal with


Remove the bezel. Stick a small flat head screwdriver behind the projector frame and push the two tabs out (one on either side of the projector). The bezel will pop off.


Security Torx! Damn you! I don't have any security torx bits


Not a problem!


Not sure what these two rubber things do, but push them down to release the projector.


All done
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:19 PM   #6
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I've run into a snag. The ZKW-R lens is slightly larger in diameter than the stock Bosch lens, so it's not seating correctly in the lens cradle.

What to do...
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:27 PM   #7
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Would the 2.5" be too small?
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:37 PM   #8
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Bosch and ZKW lenses are 3" in diameter. 2.5" will not work

I think I've figured out how to get the spacing correct - washers! I have to go pick up washers now...
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:22 PM   #9
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Lowes is closed! Damn. I'll have to keep going tomorrow.
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:31 PM   #10
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it fits, i've already done it. also when you took out the headlight, your not supposed to take out the bolts under the headlight lol, diy in my sig if you wanna have a look. but i guess it worked for you.

the torx screws used to mount the projector, there are 2 different ones. one that looks like yours, and the other with a dome head.

the red thing is just a spacer to keep the projector aligned with the other 2 holes.
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:37 PM   #11
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here's a close up of the picture that i could find:
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:12 PM   #12
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it fits, i've already done it. also when you took out the headlight, your not supposed to take out the bolts under the headlight lol, diy in my sig if you wanna have a look. but i guess it worked for you.

the torx screws used to mount the projector, there are 2 different ones. one that looks like yours, and the other with a dome head.

the red thing is just a spacer to keep the projector aligned with the other 2 holes.
I know it (the ZKW-R lens) fits, but there is a difference in diameter of maybe 1mm that stops the lens from sitting perfectly in the lens cradle. I'll get a picture up later, too tired to go through pics.

And what are you referring to about the 2 bolts under the headlight? My headlights wouldn't come off of the car unless I pulled those bolts out, right?
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:28 PM   #13
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It's done. I'm fairly satisfied, although I feel it could use a *bit* more tweaking. However, as it is now, I'm satisfied.

The lights also might need to be re-aimed, but that's easy. Pictures later. My desktop PC broke (the one with the card reader built in), so I have to connect my camera direct to my laptop (slooowwww).
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:00 PM   #14
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There's the output comparison between stock projector and ZKW-R lens projector.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:19 PM   #15
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Starting from where I left off, let's take the projector apart now that it is separated from the projector frame. Get out that torx bit set and find the right size bit for the 4 torx bolts. I think they're T20 or T15.




Here we can see the RV shield and shield adjustment screw


Bend or cut the RV shield


Adjustment screw


Back it out so you get a sharper cutoff. One of my projectors was already set with the adjustment screw backed out all the way, giving me a weird cutoff. So I screwed it in a little bit to get a bluer cutoff.


Now let's take out the lens from the lens cradle. When you look at the inside of the cradle, you'll see a metal ring and 5 tabs holding the lens. Bend back the 5 tabs then pull out the metal ring. Your lens should slide out. If not, give it a push from the front.




Here is where I had an issue. The ZKW-R lens is slightly larger in diameter than the stock Bosch/AL lens. This isn't the best picture, but you can see that the ZKW-R lens goes higher than the Bosch lens (the one with a line through it).


This meant that the lens wouldn't sit as far away from the bowl of the projector. The lens still fits inside the cradle, but there is a ledge that disallows a perfect fit. I tested the projector and found that no perfect fit = ugly cutoff color. I probably could have hammered the ledge out, but that requires too much patience/skill that I don't possess. Instead, I used washers to space the lens cradle away from the projector bowl. Two #6 washers per torx bolt (8 washers per projector).


I tested the projector with washer mod


Nice.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:28 PM   #16
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Now it's time to put everything back together! I hope I didn't misplace anything...

Headlight frame:


Flip the frame over to access these two grey tabs in the middle. Pinch and push them out to release the grey plastic bezel


We're doing this so that we can remove the white clip that holds the auto leveling arm


Take out the grey plastic bezel inbetween the high/low beam:


Get some pliers and pinch/push the white clip out




Slide the white clip onto the auto leveling arm on the headlight bucket


Place your tightened projector back onto the frame. Stupid security torx bolts... Tighten the bolts hand tight.


Clip the "XENON" bezel back onto the projector. Here is a look at one of the clips


Clip the headlight frame onto the auto leveling white clip, making sure to align the two headlight alignment arms as well. Everything should snap into place. Oh, also admire your clear lens. I was able to take a picture of the RV shield through the lens.


Now you can put your headlight bezel and clear plastic cover back on.


Rinse and repeat for the other headlight


Put headlights back on car.

Test the lights before tightening any bolts!

AIM YOUR LIGHTS!

Admire
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:01 PM   #17
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nice work
was it worth it?
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:04 PM   #18
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^ yes for such an easy and pretty cheap mod. it gets ride of some of the hotspots created by the fogged lenses.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:46 PM   #19
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nice work
was it worth it?
Totally worth it. $40 plus some extra odds and ends from Lowes. My first retrofit was on my 2001 Civic and since then, I've been hooked. I was going to retrofit FX-R bixenons into my WRX headlights once I had the time, but since I got rid of it and got the e46, I have been highly disappointed in this OEM application. That is, until I swapped the lenses.

Of course, if you have the ZKW projectors already in your car, you would probably want to look into doing a full projector retrofit/swap instead of the lens swap as that would be pointless.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:04 PM   #20
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it's only because of the SAE guidelines being changed. older e46s had clear lenses, albeit it was only single xenons, but still.
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