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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > UK > UK Technical Forum > Converting RHD Bixenon to LHD with levers on E91 2006 preLCI



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      04-22-2011, 01:05 PM   #1
///ajd
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Converting RHD Bixenon to LHD with levers on E91 2006 preLCI

I had a bleak start to the day after a fraught visit to my local BMW dealer. First I tried to book it in for an oil change - which was continually refused as the service rep (at Desk A) insisted it needed air & fuel filters too (this was done last time and only needs to be done every 3rd service).

The rep was insistent the key said it needed doing (I'm not convinced the key really says this as iDrive is right). Plus the cost would be EUR650 - not good when Dick Lovett did the same service for under 200 (I supplied the Castrol then - but still the Frence price was x2 - not good). After a long conversation (almost an argument really where the rep point blank refused to change the service), I politely managed to pursuade the rep to book it in for oil only for EUR280

Things got worse when it turned out a French Certificate of Conformity might cost me EUR250 . I'm working on doing this another way now...fingers crossed.

The icing on the cake was when I asked the rep whether I needed new LHD xenon lamps for a CT (the French MoT). After a long conversation where I had to persuade the rep that it would really would be good if they could find out the answer to this question before I bought them - they confirmed they would be required - I then asked for a price. "You need to goto Desk B for that". OK, off to desk B.

[I'd done some interweb research and knew I could get some Hella OEM bixenons for EUR420 each side. Not good, but not a complete disaster.]

The price at the main dealer - over 800EUR.

For 2 I queried optimistically?
"No, thats each" .
"Crikey - and how much to fit them?"
"You need to go to Desk A for that".

Of course predictably Desk A had gone for a gallic 2 hour lunch break by this point - but it was looking like the BMW bill could easily sail past EUR2000.

By now I'd had enough and could not face trying to get a price out of this shambolic dealer for some minor paint work.


I left.


On the way home I was thinking about whether my car did after all have a lever to swap the light direction. I know that from threads on here, the general opinion seems to be they don't - and Dick Lovett told me the same - though at the back of my mind I recall Gizze thought there might be - he's not often wrong so this gave me some hope.

Not believing that I definately needed FR lamps, I went to my local CT/MoT station (they are sort of separate to garages in Fr) and a top bloke there confirmed that if I could make the xenon beam flat - this would be OK to pass the CT/MoT - but stickers were a definate no-no.

So, I set about having a poke around - to both see if I had levers, and whether I had the skills to swap the lamps myself if I could get the EUR400 internet jobs.

Work in progress...



...what have I done, where is this going, when does the wife need the car ...



A tip - when removing the bumper screws that go into the wing - remove the access flap in the wheel arch - you can then bend the wheel arch liner out of the way to get easier access to the bolts - plus jacking the car up (I did) or even removing the wheel (I didn't) will make access easier.

...bumpers off altogether now.....



...I was having real trouble getting the lamp out of the car. First I could not locate the last (6th) bolt holding the lamp to the lower plastic lamp carrier.

...now a bit of iphone boroscope action and here is the bolt underneath the light (this photo looking from the under centre of the car grill to the driver side lamp - the screw is transverse) - a tricky little blighter to find, but once you know where it is, its actually quite easy to remove. You can see the round object in this photo from the front which helps situate it - feel for it down the side of the lamp near the grill from above.



The other tricky but was getting the lamp out even with all the bolts removed. This is because the clearance is not big enough - I ended up removing the washer jets and moving all the piping and using some force to make a gap big enough to remove the lamp. There must be an easier way.

...but it was all worth it:

Xenon is out, rear cover removed....



...and there is the switch!!! Hooray!!!

In the RHD position:



...and in the LHD/(flat I think, not checked the effect yet)



The lever moves easily if a little clunkily - it shifts a good cm - it is connected to the complicated looking metal bars.

Note that I've shown "UP" on this photo - showing which way is up when it is fitted in the car. As I had the bumper off I just removed both lights. I found that the access flap in the wheel arch is not much help in getting access - this is really for changing the indicator bulb only. You might be able to access the rear lamp flap (4 clips) & lever without removing the lamp from the car (but I think it would be rather tricky).

It seems daft that Hella or whoever makes these goes to all the trouble of making this mechanism and dealers in the UK are not even aware it can be changed (Dick Lovett swore blind there was no lever in the E90/1).

Hope this helps.

PS I'm cancelling the oil service and may do it myself. Can't see the point of paying so much for an outfit that is such a pain to deal with, and doesn't understand their product anyway....
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Last edited by ///ajd; 04-22-2011 at 04:03 PM.
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      04-22-2011, 01:20 PM   #2
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Good result!
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      04-22-2011, 01:30 PM   #3
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Brave exploration, dismantling just to have a look... But top marks!
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      04-22-2011, 03:42 PM   #4
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On my old X5 there was a readily accesible lever behind the lights to switch from LHD to RHD. I wonder why they now make it so difficult? That was one of my attractions to Xenons, not having to use the blanking tape for RHD countries. Although the Xenon price put me off on my new E91 so I have the standard lamps.
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      04-22-2011, 03:47 PM   #5
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Result - nice flat beam.



I sometimes wonder whether the extra light from R/LHD beam shapes (which just illuminate bushes at the side of the road) is actually worth the hassle these days with xenons....
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      04-22-2011, 04:21 PM   #6
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The idea is that it illuminates pavements/areas where people may be walking etc...

Either way, good result. Is this the same process that you'd have to go through to replace the bulbs on these units?
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      04-23-2011, 02:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toxicnerve View Post
The idea is that it illuminates pavements/areas where people may be walking etc...

Either way, good result. Is this the same process that you'd have to go through to replace the bulbs on these units?
Its a good question - the indicator can be done via the flap in the wheel arch. In the picture below, the green rectangle is the access flap in the wheel arch - this aligns with the individual round grey access plate for the indicator in the back of the headlamp (shown in yellow).



The main access on the back of the headlamp unit to the mainbeam/projector is shown in red (not quite to scale here - probably a bit bigger and extends more to the right). This does show that it is not aligned to the green flap. Of course xenon bulbs don't normally need changing (or at least as often potentially as halogens), but it seems you would need to remove the unit as per above to replace the normal (pull to flash/back up?) Halogen main beam bulbs (H7?).

As the main units are bixenon, the xenon also gives a main beam anyway if the halogen fails (and the bixenon main beam is much better in any case). I must confess I did not look too carefully inside the headlamp - I was just so pleased it had levers and was thinking about what to spend the EUR2000 I'd saved on*





* Mentioned to wife in error - now its EUR1000 for her, EUR1000 for me.......
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      07-13-2011, 12:18 PM   #8
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Passed its French MoT today with flying colours - xenons passed without comment.
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      07-13-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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I've got some new brighter LEDs to fit to my E91 angel eyes.

Can you fit these via the wheelarch flap or is this bumper off too?

Any thoughts?
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      07-13-2011, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tipper View Post
I've got some new brighter LEDs to fit to my E91 angel eyes.

Can you fit these via the wheelarch flap or is this bumper off too?

Any thoughts?
Access via the flap is minimal. What exactly are you fitting?

If you need to get the lamps out it is bumper off - but not that difficult as above.
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      07-13-2011, 01:31 PM   #11
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interesting that dealers deny knowledge I think its more case that its a PITA to do. On the old E46 xenons it was 5 min job to open the cover and flick the swtich. Basically poor design of headlight cluster by BMW so they cover up the feature as dont want to mess about with it instead try to sell you stickers which then melt into the lense and requrie new headlights

Glad you got it sorted
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      07-13-2011, 04:54 PM   #12
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Im more impressed by what must be an excellent standard of spoken French!

We just got back from Vendoire, Nr Cognac.

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      07-14-2011, 12:02 AM   #13
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Great write-up and pics......thanks!
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      07-14-2011, 04:24 AM   #14
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Why didn't you sell the car and buy a LHD one? It's quite annoying and less safe driving a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side.
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      07-14-2011, 08:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaishang View Post
Why didn't you sell the car and buy a LHD one?
Because they cost a fortune over here, there is little choice as every one drives French tin, the country is massive so the right car could be miles away, and at the end of the day there is nothing wrong with my car (the spec includes idrive, so its not like its missing something vital ). Plus RHD is much less likely to be stolen (unlike a LHD X5 in our village the other day).

Quote:
It's quite annoying and less safe driving a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side.
Not really, I've never had a problem. I find it more distracting when driving LHD hire cars to be honest.

Do you struggle when abroad then?
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      07-14-2011, 12:39 PM   #16
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Not enough traffic in France to worry about the LHD vis aspect!
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