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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 01-06-2013, 07:55 PM   #1
seattle330
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HID Headlight Flicker

Hi all,

I'm new here, so apologies if this has been discussed in the past. I've seen similar threads but have not conclusively found the answer.

I recently (October) bought an '05 330i sedan that was completely stock and then replaced the stock fogs with a 35W 6000K HID Canbus kit from Umnitza in November. I did some research into harnesses and current load issues, and Tim from Umnitza assured me that the Canbus ballasts would not cause any issues. After installing them, I noticed that the fogs are sometimes slightly brighter when first turned on (first half second) and then return to their normal brightness. Yesterday, my left side headlight went out. When I turn on the headlights, the left one briefly flashes on, then goes out. Sometimes it flickers one or two times, but it's always out within two seconds of being switched on. After about 10 seconds, the red headlight error lamp lights up on the dash. Could somebody tell me if the fogs are in any way connected to the headlights that would cause a contagious failure due to aftermarket fogs, or is it something with the bulb/ballast in the headlight only?

Last edited by seattle330; 01-06-2013 at 07:57 PM. Reason: grammar/spelling
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:15 PM   #2
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I have HID fogs and my headlight flickered until I got a new ballast. Not sure if HID fogs are the problem here but I've definitely heard that our computer systems don't like them..

Upon first startup of the HID fog, it's supposed to be real bright. After that it's just warming up. HID bulbs have to warm up unlike halogen or LED
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:20 PM   #3
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I have HID fogs and my headlight flickered until I got a new ballast. Not sure if HID fogs are the problem here but I've definitely heard that our computer systems don't like them..
I assume then that the fog/computer thing wouldn't interfere with the normal headlights then, right? Did yours start flickering and go out, or did it do it intermittently for a while? I'm trying to figure out if it's the ballast or if the bulb is shot too....
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:25 AM   #4
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It sounds more like a bad connection than a failing ballast. Check to make sure that your connections don't have any moisture in them and that the plugs are fully seated.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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Headlamps have been known to have issues due to grounding fault in the rear taillights.

You can have this fixed at the dealer - a recall has been issued. Call your dealer and see if they will address it for you - they may renege as you've done some electrical mods with the fogs.

If they do renege, it is an easy DIY to fix yourself.

I'd check on this first and see if it fixes your headlamp issue.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:12 PM   #6
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I switched my old ballast back from the ZKW one I rigged up, and then fixed my other tail light ground that wasn't done previously.. and it still does it. Albeit not as much, but it does.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:43 PM   #7
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Ditch the HID fogs, they will give you a lot of problems.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:32 PM   #8
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Ditch the HID fogs, they will give you a lot of problems.
I agree. Eliminate the fogs to isolate the problem. Also you could always swap headlight components to see if the issue follows. BTW, you know HID fogs can burn your car down right?
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:33 AM   #9
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Headlamps have been known to have issues due to grounding fault in the rear taillights.

You can have this fixed at the dealer - a recall has been issued. Call your dealer and see if they will address it for you - they may renege as you've done some electrical mods with the fogs.

If they do renege, it is an easy DIY to fix yourself.

I'd check on this first and see if it fixes your headlamp issue.
That sounds like a good idea, I'll look into the taillight connectors first, then the headlight ones.

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I agree. Eliminate the fogs to isolate the problem. Also you could always swap headlight components to see if the issue follows. BTW, you know HID fogs can burn your car down right?
How does that work? Is it something to do with the bulb temperature?

Last edited by seattle330; 01-08-2013 at 01:35 AM. Reason: added quote
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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The LCM is not meant to take the load of HIDs for fog lights with a wire harness or without. I personally had my onboard computer button fry because of them, others had their entire cluster/mileage reset.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:02 AM   #11
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How does that work? Is it something to do with the bulb temperature?
The fog light housing is not designed for an HID setup, lets just put it that way.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:13 PM   #12
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Looks like someone else has pretty much the same issue as I do, which was fixed by changing the bulbs. Does the following plan of attack for the left headlight make sense from a time involvement standpoint?
1. Check front connectors
2. Check rear connectors
3a. Swap bulbs
3b. If it's the bulb, replace with Philips 85122 (are these available in 6000K, or is that a different part number?)
4. Swap ballasts
5. Repost if none of the above work

As far as the xenon fogs, does the bulb housing melt due to the bulb temperature? Also, are the computer issues caused by peak loads or constant ones? IIRC, the set I got has the same rating as the stock halogens do (35W), so unless they draw more amps (igniting, perhaps?), I don't get why they're bad, could someone explain how they increase load? They are almost as bright as a second pair of headlights and saved me on the drive home today, so I really don't want to ditch them if at all possible.

Last edited by seattle330; 01-08-2013 at 10:15 PM. Reason: adding details
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:46 AM   #13
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The bulb cannot melt a factory fog housing, this is a horrible myth that has now been taken as fact. It's false. All factory fog housings are glass and metal, they do not melt with an HID bulb. They don't cause problems with the computer, they do not cause issues with the wiring.

EDIT: Fog housing - not headlights, as ZKW Facelifted sedans have burnt reflector bowl issues on all models.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:59 AM   #14
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The bulb cannot melt a factory housing, this is a horrible myth that has now been taken as fact. It's false. All factory housings are glass and metal, they do not melt with an HID bulb. They don't cause problems with the computer, they do not cause issues with the wiring.
SERIOUSLY? ROTFLMAO

Take that BS elsewhere!
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:39 PM   #15
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Hi all, thanks for all the help. I replaced the bulbs with a set of Osram Xenarc 66240CBI and they both work now. I highly recommend these bulbs to anybody who needs to replace their set.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:34 PM   #16
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Congrats! Take a picture and post it for reference.

Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Bimmer App
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:40 PM   #17
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Congrats! Take a picture and post it for reference.
Ok, that will have to be a project for the weekend. I'll have to wash the car first, she's pretty dirty right now. Fortunately, the titanium silver color is remarkably dirty-car-look resistant....
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umnitza View Post
The bulb cannot melt a factory fog housing, this is a horrible myth that has now been taken as fact. It's false. All factory fog housings are glass and metal, they do not melt with an HID bulb. They don't cause problems with the computer, they do not cause issues with the wiring.

EDIT: Fog housing - not headlights, as ZKW Facelifted sedans have burnt reflector bowl issues on all models.
you forgot plastic, the part that holds the reflector and the glass together. on some cars like the facelift coupe (with stock bumper) actually have a plastic lens as well.

it is highly unlikely a 35w HID bulb would melt the fog light though. but all the issues you wrote off have been documented here. so yes it does happen.
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