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      02-27-2011, 12:53 AM   #1
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Headlight wasn't leveling - Fixed!

- Sorry this is such a long post; just want to make sure it was detailed! -

The night I bought my car I got on the freeway and realized the driver headlight was lighting up the sky, I manually adjusted it down but it would shake on every bump and during initial startup it wouldn't adjust up/down [self check]. Left to right movement is fine on turns, but again, no height adjustment.

Car went to the dealer on Wednesday for a few things including the headlight, when I picked it up they said everything was fine. I explained the situation but they assured me they saw no fault codes, so it was operating as it should. I explained again that it isn't leveling itself, however adaptive movement is fine, and the tech told me they don't do that - only left to right movement.

I said fine and took the car back, I know people on here mentioned some arm/bracket connected to the lower control arm that attached to the headlight.. FYI there isn't one.

There is a small arm on the left and right front suspension that connects to a servo/data input kinda box.. this is what sends the info to the headlight servo, there's no physical connection to the headlight. There should also be two in the back that monitor load weight to adjust headlights so they aren't blinding anyone.

I decided to try and figure out what the hell was wrong with my light, I didn't want the dealer to spend hours looking at things and say they couldn't find anything.

So here's what I found:

1) The adjustment screws are independent of the Left-Right and Up-Down movement. Use those to aim properly, it shouldn't affect the automatic movement.

2) I took the bumper off and then took the headlight out, there are two servos in the headlight that control movement. The servo attached to the Up-Down movement was popped out of place.

This explains why it wouldn't level, and why the dealer says everything was fine -- because as far as the electronics go it's all fine.. That's also what irritates me, I explained to the tech if something was physically disconnected but the electronics were fine, the computer wouldn't know.. but again, they just assured me it was working as intended.


Hopefully this helps anyone who may be having an issue!

Picture 1: You can see the ball is close but not in the socket


Picture 2: This is end that should be in the socket


Picture 3: This is the socket side of the headlight



To fix it I unplugged the servo motor, it comes out just like a bulb, small turn counter clock wise to remove it. I adjusted the height manually until it was at the end of the screw [visible from inside], figured that might move it further out a little and help with getting it popped back in.

To pop the ball back in you'll want to kinda put the servo in at an angle so the ball end is sitting on the top of socket, then use a flathead to pop it back into the socket all the way. Push the servo back in the rest of way, tighten and reconnect all wires, then fire the lights up to make sure it works. If so, put your baby back together and you're all set!
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      02-27-2011, 08:03 AM   #2
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I wonder how that thingy got disconnected?
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      02-27-2011, 10:33 AM   #3
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Hmm, I'll have to try this since my driver side isn't leveling and is pointing to far down. There are no error icons and the adaptive mode works (turns left and right while driving around turns) Ive been reading about the sensors on the control arms which I've checked yesterday and all look fine. Now i'll have to give this procedure a shot and see what i can find.

Timmah: Were your inner DRL not leveling also? Because mine are'nt along with my xenons? does this Servo control both the DRL and xenon?

They possibly got disconnected because of hitting potholes, which most likey why auto leveling isn't working.
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      02-27-2011, 06:13 PM   #4
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OK so I went ahead today since it was a warm sunny day here in NY to pull my headlight out (removed bumper, headlight washers etc.) to see what was up.

Well I found exactly what the OP found with the servo arm out of the socket as i tried to put the arm back into the socket it just wouldn't reach. Upon further observation i found that the manual adjustment screw/control arm was broken (circled in red in picture). Don't think its fixable other than buying a whole new assembly. So i lifted by the xenon bulb area to pull the whole inner guts uip so i could try and get the servo back into the socket which i was successful but when i put everything back together still no good with the auto level (it does a little more now but not what it used to do. I will possibly replace the housing at a later date now that i know what the problem is and what i gotta do.

Thanks for the info timmahh, I would have brought it to the dealer in a few days to have them probably tell me exactly what they told you that everything is fine.
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      02-27-2011, 06:24 PM   #5
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Are the cornering/turning/auto-leveling headlights standards on the e92 or are they part of the premium package or something?
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      02-27-2011, 07:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKV122 View Post
OK so I went ahead today since it was a warm sunny day here in NY to pull my headlight out (removed bumper, headlight washers etc.) to see what was up.

Well I found exactly what the OP found with the servo arm out of the socket as i tried to put the arm back into the socket it just wouldn't reach. Upon further observation i found that the manual adjustment screw/control arm was broken (circled in red in picture). Don't think its fixable other than buying a whole new assembly. So i lifted by the xenon bulb area to pull the whole inner guts uip so i could try and get the servo back into the socket which i was successful but when i put everything back together still no good with the auto level (it does a little more now but not what it used to do. I will possibly replace the housing at a later date now that i know what the problem is and what i gotta do.

Thanks for the info timmahh, I would have brought it to the dealer in a few days to have them probably tell me exactly what they told you that everything is fine.
Are you under warranty still?
Where exactly are you seeing that broken part? The adjustment screws start at the back and have a long thread to the front which I believe connects to two little arms (u/d, l/r) that then snap around a plastic white "+" like your picture.

My DRL/Hi-Flash was also messed up and out of whack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JUSTIN335 View Post
Are the cornering/turning/auto-leveling headlights standards on the e92 or are they part of the premium package or something?
Should be std. on 335, comes w/ premium package on 328 I think..
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      02-27-2011, 10:01 PM   #7
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Out of warranty...

That broken part is that white "+" its a clear break when you see it in person. I believe that "+" is suppose to be connected or part of the white thing above the gray threaded rod which slides that white thing in the upper left corner of the red box back and forth.

Anyway to add more problems I was just out before and whacked a pothole from hell and now my passenger xenon is pointing to the right and have the adaptive error icon showing now. Ugh! Now I got both headlights fudged up
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      02-27-2011, 10:15 PM   #8
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This is good information! There should be a copy in the DIY forum.
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      02-27-2011, 10:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKV122 View Post
Out of warranty...

That broken part is that white "+" its a clear break when you see it in person. I believe that "+" is suppose to be connected or part of the white thing above the gray threaded rod which slides that white thing in the upper left corner of the red box back and forth.

Anyway to add more problems I was just out before and whacked a pothole from hell and now my passenger xenon is pointing to the right and have the adaptive error icon showing now. Ugh! Now I got both headlights fudged up
That sucks!

When you were playing with it did you notice if that clipy-metal thing moved with manual adjustment? I recall seeing a plastic + thingy on mine and everything worked fine. I think the adjustment screws are both gray, don't think the end of them would be white..
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      03-13-2011, 12:37 AM   #10
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Ok Timmahh, this was a $1500 saver for me! I crunched a pothole at the end of December and the next thing I know, my drivers side light is pointed to the sky and would not level. AHL still worked fine but vertical leveling was a no go. The local dealer looked at it, "tested it" and said the motor was bad and wanted $1500 to fix it. Despite NO EROR CODES, the dealer said it tested bad....

I pulled the bumper off, pulled the light out, and had it fixed and back together in an hour thanks to this write up. This definitely needs to be a DIY!!!!
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      03-13-2011, 12:50 AM   #11
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Awesome to hear that!
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      03-25-2011, 10:58 AM   #12
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this only works if there is no error code on ur dash correct??
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      04-18-2011, 09:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eazye View Post
This definitely needs to be a DIY!!!!
Lol, you should have made one since you nailed the fix action
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      04-18-2011, 09:15 AM   #14
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so i see most of this is dedicated to the vertical problem. Is it the same principle, control action for the horizontal motion? I.e identical plastic "+" piece that controls the movement.
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      04-18-2011, 10:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumere90 View Post
I wonder how that thingy got disconnected?
I've heard all it takes is a hard bump/impact

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neutrino45 View Post
This is good information! There should be a copy in the DIY forum.
+ 10000
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      04-18-2011, 10:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxp0loxx View Post
so i see most of this is dedicated to the vertical problem. Is it the same principle, control action for the horizontal motion? I.e identical plastic "+" piece that controls the movement.
Should be similiar but on the outer portion of the housing, the input control device for steering response is attached front left suspension components, there's a small arm connected to it which can break and cause issues as well. Check that first before proceeding to remove bumper/headlight(s).
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      04-18-2011, 01:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmahh View Post
Should be similiar but on the outer portion of the housing, the input control device for steering response is attached front left suspension components, there's a small arm connected to it which can break and cause issues as well. Check that first before proceeding to remove bumper/headlight(s).
just remove the plastic wheel well inside and it should be between the headlight and fender reflector? or more towards the engine?
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      04-18-2011, 01:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxp0loxx View Post
just remove the plastic wheel well inside and it should be between the headlight and fender reflector? or more towards the engine?
The only adjustment screw that I have been able to access is the left-right on the top of the headlight. Up/down is covered by a support bar. I think you have to remove the headlight to adjust horiztonal, and you definately have to remove it fix the servos/adjustment arms within the headlight.

It makes zero sense that you cannot adjust the up-down of the light when it's installed, someone said remove the rubber stopped for the hood, but there's no access from there.
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      04-18-2011, 02:13 PM   #19
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Where do you stay at in NORCAL?! Mine are only auto leveling up and down, but they dont seem to be moving left or right. Maybe you could help me out? And yes theres a adaptive headlights icon showing.
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      04-18-2011, 02:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmahh View Post
- Sorry this is such a long post; just want to make sure it was detailed! -

The night I bought my car I got on the freeway and realized the driver headlight was lighting up the sky, I manually adjusted it down but it would shake on every bump and during initial startup it wouldn't adjust up/down [self check]. Left to right movement is fine on turns, but again, no height adjustment.

Car went to the dealer on Wednesday for a few things including the headlight, when I picked it up they said everything was fine. I explained the situation but they assured me they saw no fault codes, so it was operating as it should. I explained again that it isn't leveling itself, however adaptive movement is fine, and the tech told me they don't do that - only left to right movement.

I said fine and took the car back, I know people on here mentioned some arm/bracket connected to the lower control arm that attached to the headlight.. FYI there isn't one.

There is a small arm on the left and right front suspension that connects to a servo/data input kinda box.. this is what sends the info to the headlight servo, there's no physical connection to the headlight. There should also be two in the back that monitor load weight to adjust headlights so they aren't blinding anyone.

I decided to try and figure out what the hell was wrong with my light, I didn't want the dealer to spend hours looking at things and say they couldn't find anything.

So here's what I found:

1) The adjustment screws are independent of the Left-Right and Up-Down movement. Use those to aim properly, it shouldn't affect the automatic movement.

2) I took the bumper off and then took the headlight out, there are two servos in the headlight that control movement. The servo attached to the Up-Down movement was popped out of place.

This explains why it wouldn't level, and why the dealer says everything was fine -- because as far as the electronics go it's all fine.. That's also what irritates me, I explained to the tech if something was physically disconnected but the electronics were fine, the computer wouldn't know.. but again, they just assured me it was working as intended.


Hopefully this helps anyone who may be having an issue!

Picture 1: You can see the ball is close but not in the socket


Picture 2: This is end that should be in the socket


Picture 3: This is the socket side of the headlight



To fix it I unplugged the servo motor, it comes out just like a bulb, small turn counter clock wise to remove it. I adjusted the height manually until it was at the end of the screw [visible from inside], figured that might move it further out a little and help with getting it popped back in.

To pop the ball back in you'll want to kinda put the servo in at an angle so the ball end is sitting on the top of socket, then use a flathead to pop it back into the socket all the way. Push the servo back in the rest of way, tighten and reconnect all wires, then fire the lights up to make sure it works. If so, put your baby back together and you're all set!

Just to let you all know you can fix this issue without taking front bumper off and take headlight assy out. Just take front portion of wheel wall cover off, take off xenon bulb assy cover in the back off headlight assy and move whole xenon bulb assy bracket up or down depending if your light is pointing up or down. Put xenon bulb and wheel wall cover back on and you are done. It shouldn’t take more then an hour.
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      04-18-2011, 02:50 PM   #21
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Who has 2 thumbs and is going to try this fix? THIS GUY.
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      04-22-2011, 03:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monster900 View Post
Just to let you all know you can fix this issue without taking front bumper off and take headlight assy out. Just take front portion of wheel wall cover off, take off xenon bulb assy cover in the back off headlight assy and move whole xenon bulb assy bracket up or down depending if your light is pointing up or down. Put xenon bulb and wheel wall cover back on and you are done. It shouldn’t take more then an hour.
I tried this today and it's not that simple. You can't see f-all. Better off removing the bumper IMHO.
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