E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Lighting Forum

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-07-2013, 07:48 AM   #1
IAKOM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Sweden
Posts: 1
My Ride: E46 328Ci, Coupe
E46 self leveling headlights.

I am the owner of a 2000 328Ci and when i turn the ignition to key to the start position and and wait until all of the lights are lit on the display I can see and hear that the Xenon lights are self leveling, but if I turn the key to start the car immediately without a pause then the headlights seem to stop half way or very low. I have been given a non conforming comment on my last MOT visit. Can this be something as simple as a problem with the relevant relay?
IAKOM is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 10-07-2013, 08:26 AM   #2
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 10,111
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
I have seen a lot of reports where the Xenon headlight level check can sometimes be backwards and cause the headlights to be pointing low.

Also not sure if you have a manual headlight adjustment as many European cars have headlight height adjustment from the drivers compartment.

Assuming your headlights work like what where have here in North America, upon starting the car, the headlight leveling self tests. The headlights should dip low, then raise back to their default level.

There should also be 2 separate level sensors on the car for the headlight system, usually front and rear on the passenger side. Make sure the sensor and links are all in place, not bent or damaged and wiring is connected.

One thing to try, not sure it will work, it so disconnect the batter for 2+ hours or over night to see if this issue gets corrected. If this does not work, you might try unplugging the headlight motor when it is in the upright most position, then turning the car off and then reconnecting the headlight motor.

I have seen about a dozen or more of these cases and I do not know 100% sure what was done to resolve the issue, but I think a combination of making sure the leveling links and sensors were in good shape and disconnecting the battery/headlights things were finally resolved?

Good luck.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 03:51 PM   #3
Sedan Hussein
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southeast
Posts: 937
My Ride: e46
Can you point me in the right direction in finding all the sensor locations?

My lights are terrible. More than likely burnt bowls, but going to go over the whole lighting system.
__________________


Last edited by Sedan Hussein; 10-07-2013 at 03:52 PM.
Sedan Hussein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,954
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
In my experience, the self leveling system is BS on this car.

Doesn't do much of anything useful.
Now that my front sensor is disconnected, I don't even notice a difference.
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
blkonblk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Herb Caen's Baghdad
Posts: 767
My Ride: 06/2000 330i ZSP/ZPP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sedan Hussein View Post
Can you point me in the right direction in finding all the sensor locations?
Check out the pic attachments from this thread. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...564&highlight=

The front is easy to identify and IIRC, rear sensor is located in right rear passenger side under the car. I only had to replace the front sensor due to the broken plastic rotating lever to fix my original problem. I crazy glued the lever and it fixed the levelling sensor but replaced it when the new sensor arrived.

Part #s are here: http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...09&hg=31&fg=05
__________________


Life is a journey not a destination, so enjoy the ride!

Last edited by blkonblk; 10-07-2013 at 04:43 PM.
blkonblk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 04:46 PM   #6
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 10,111
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
The self leveling is pretty slick when it is working. It is also a requirement for HID headlights along with the washer system to reduce glare for on coming drivers.

The bowls are a problem, as the bulbs age the light output gets reduced and the color temperature drops and the lens UV coating turn gray as the lenses age.

This along with a self leveling system that does not work really kills the light output.

On the E39, the adjuster ALL break, the lenses cloud and the bulbs dim and drop in color temperature. Once the adjusters are replaced, the lenses are sanded and polished and new bulbs are installed you can actually see in the dark again!
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 04:53 PM   #7
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,954
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
How do I test if those stupid little level sensors are working?

And won't my car being lowered effect the system?
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 04:58 PM   #8
Mango
A full five stars, son
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,687
My Ride: M54B30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
In my experience, the self leveling system is BS on this car.

Doesn't do much of anything useful.

Now that my front sensor is disconnected, I don't even notice a difference.
that's gotta be the dumbest thing i ever read. lol

gonna lock this post down and favorite it.
__________________
A lifetime free of problems if you follow my guides
Cooling | Maintenance | Suspension | Vacuum | Supreme Reliability | Details

OVER A MILLION VIEWS
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 04:59 PM   #9
Mango
A full five stars, son
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,687
My Ride: M54B30
i'll sum up the technology in two words: german patriots

rest assured i can write several pages on this topic alone
__________________
A lifetime free of problems if you follow my guides
Cooling | Maintenance | Suspension | Vacuum | Supreme Reliability | Details

OVER A MILLION VIEWS
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 05:02 PM   #10
Mango
A full five stars, son
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,687
My Ride: M54B30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
How do I test if those stupid little level sensors are working?

And won't my car being lowered effect the system?
no it will not. it will, however, require you to re-adjust your headlights manually
__________________
A lifetime free of problems if you follow my guides
Cooling | Maintenance | Suspension | Vacuum | Supreme Reliability | Details

OVER A MILLION VIEWS
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 05:10 PM   #11
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,954
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
that's gotta be the dumbest thing i ever read. lol

gonna lock this post down and favorite it.
The system is too subtle and slow to respond, compared to ones on other vehicles.
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 05:11 PM   #12
blkonblk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Herb Caen's Baghdad
Posts: 767
My Ride: 06/2000 330i ZSP/ZPP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
How do I test if those stupid little level sensors are working?

And won't my car being lowered effect the system?
Did you read jfoj post #2?
__________________


Life is a journey not a destination, so enjoy the ride!
blkonblk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 05:19 PM   #13
Mango
A full five stars, son
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,687
My Ride: M54B30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
The system is too subtle and slow to respond, compared to ones on other vehicles.
It's extremely responsive and performs as it needs to. It's not meant to be an "active" leveling system responding to every rut and bump. It's meant to respond to averaged load changes and measures ride height between front and rear. The kinds of situations it is meant to respond to is passenger/cargo/luggage loading or brake/acceleration dip/rise. It's intelligent and performs appropriately. Consider this a well-put-together professional mango top information bonanza.
__________________
A lifetime free of problems if you follow my guides
Cooling | Maintenance | Suspension | Vacuum | Supreme Reliability | Details

OVER A MILLION VIEWS
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 06:06 PM   #14
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 10,111
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
My 2006 E46 Convertible has Active Bi-Xenon's. My wife said she will never have a car again that does not have active Xenon headlights.

They turn with the steering wheel and do help cover the road much better with lighting.

The headlight auto leveling actual reacts faster than you think. What happens is when a level sensor is broken, damaged or disconnected, then the lights do not function as designed. And they will likely be slow or non reactive to any change in vehicle ride height on the axle where the sensor is not connected.

I have Xenon's on my E39 and Active Bi-Xenon on my E46 Vert and a HID conversion in my GMC truck with OE projector lights and automatic rear leveling suspension and have nobody flashing lights at my truck. The projectors have a nice sharp cut off and the rear leveling suspension keeps the lights from pointing up to high, not as good as self leveling headlights, but the next best thing.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2013, 11:02 PM   #15
Sedan Hussein
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southeast
Posts: 937
My Ride: e46
Quote:
Originally Posted by blkonblk View Post
Check out the pic attachments from this thread. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...564&highlight=

The front is easy to identify and IIRC, rear sensor is located in right rear passenger side under the car. I only had to replace the front sensor due to the broken plastic rotating lever to fix my original problem. I crazy glued the lever and it fixed the levelling sensor but replaced it when the new sensor arrived.

Part #s are here: http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...09&hg=31&fg=05

Good info, thanks for posting
__________________

Sedan Hussein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 08:05 AM   #16
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,954
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
Re: E46 self leveling headlights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blkonblk View Post
Did you read jfoj post #2?
I have a half dozen of these sensors lying around, with new connecting rods. I'm trying to test if the sensors themselves work.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
It's extremely responsive and performs as it needs to. It's not meant to be an "active" leveling system responding to every rut and bump. It's meant to respond to averaged load changes and measures ride height between front and rear. The kinds of situations it is meant to respond to is passenger/cargo/luggage loading or brake/acceleration dip/rise. It's intelligent and performs appropriately. Consider this a well-put-together professional mango top information bonanza.
Just stop.
__________________
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 12:37 PM   #17
blkonblk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Herb Caen's Baghdad
Posts: 767
My Ride: 06/2000 330i ZSP/ZPP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
I have a half dozen of these sensors lying around, with new connecting rods. I'm trying to test if the sensors themselves work.
After you install a different sensor and upon starting the car, the headlight leveling should self test. The headlights should dip low, then raise back to their default level. If they don't move the sensor is bad.
__________________


Life is a journey not a destination, so enjoy the ride!
blkonblk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 12:56 PM   #18
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,954
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by blkonblk View Post
After you install a different sensor and upon starting the car, the headlight leveling should self test. The headlights should dip low, then raise back to their default level. If they don't move the sensor is bad.
My headlights self test every single time I turn them on, and only the rear sensor is currently installed.

ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 07:51 PM   #19
jfoj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 10,111
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
I think regardless of the sensor link or sensor the headlights dip then raise back up, but with a bad/missing sensor, bent or missing link the amount the headlights dip during testing may differ quite a bit?

You should be able to disconnect a sensor link and move the sensor arm and watch the headlights move. If the front of the car raises or the rear drops, the headlights should drop down to compensate. Should also work the other way around as well.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
jfoj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 10:48 PM   #20
ac_2007
Registered User
 
ac_2007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,954
My Ride: 2004 M3, 2001 325i
The headlights move ever so slightly when I plug in the sensor and move the front lever. My theory is that both leveling sensors need to move together for the self-leveling to be properly noticeable.
ac_2007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use