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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Revert from Xenon to Halogen OR Xenon troubleshooting



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      12-19-2011, 01:43 PM   #1
fullofquestions
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Revert from Xenon to Halogen OR Xenon troubleshooting

-----Here is the short version of my post:
I recently bought a used 2007 328i that besides the Xenons giving me problems is in great running shape. The car has aftermarket Xenons that are diming and in some cases turning off. While it would be great to keep the Xenons, I really donít care to waste any more time or money on this issue. So, I would like to know if you know of a good process to follow in order to 1. troubleshoot the Xenons or 2. revert back to Halogen. I realize this is a broad question but Iíd like to pick the easiest route and be done. To that end, Iíve searched the forum and found the following links that are all tailored toward upgrading from Halogen to Xenon. In addition to the actual hardware there may be some software updates when you go from Halogen to Xenon so I see this can get quite complicated. Not to sound like a broken record, but Iíd like to find the path of least resistance and simply have low beams that work. If you have any pointers please let me know.


INDEX
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1721

HOW TO GET HEADLIGHTS OUT
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28035
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16842

DAYTIME RUNNING XENONS
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34772

CODES
-halogen to xenon
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=500068


-----Here is the long version of my post:
I recently bought a 2007 328i and the headlights (Xenon) had water damage (there was considerable condensation inside the headlights). The seller took the lights to the mechanic who cleaned and dried them off. A few days ago, when it rained fairly hard while I was driving on the freeway, the headlights held up pretty well water-wise; no leaks that I could see. I am fairly certain the lights are aftermarket; there is a Ďmoduleí on the left hand side toward the front of the engine compartment (from the perspective of someone standing in front of the car looking into the engine compartment).

I am not having any issues with any other electrical system so I do not think that it is battery related. Also, all of the other lights work well; it is only the Xenons that give me problems. I get the feeling that if I turn on the car and drive for a few minutes without the Xenons on, and after say 5 minutes turn them on, they work fine as long as I am driving on the highway. If I slow down and get stuck in traffic Iíve experienced that the lights flicker (very hard to tell when in the highway) and, at times but not always, one of the lights either goes out or outputs considerably less light. The behavior is not consistent so Iím going to have to troubleshoot this from the very beginning. Yesterday I had to drive the car for just a few minutes (in order to move it due to street parking) and when I gunned it uphill, both Xenons turned right off and I got the low beam warning indicator in the instrument cluster.

In any event, I would like to know if you guys have any good resources on troubleshooting the headlights (what kinds of pics I need to take for you to tell what is going on, etc). Note that I really donít care about the Xenons (even though they are cool and nice). I just want to fix this as easily as possible and not have any issues. If it is easier to go back to stock headlights, etc., I would be totally happy doing so.

Thanks
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      12-19-2011, 01:47 PM   #2
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I'm replacing my halogens with some
Xenons. If decide to go with halogens I may be willing to sell my to you
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      12-19-2011, 01:50 PM   #3
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Post pictures of the module you're talking about and the headlights.
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      12-19-2011, 03:51 PM   #4
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Attached are some pics that I took a little while back. If these are not helpful, let me know (with details on how to improve) and I'll take better ones next time. Much appreciated.











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      12-19-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
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So I found the vendor and website instructions for the Xenons that my car is retrofitted with (http://www.goldeneyehid.com/install.html). Do any of you know if the stock headlights have dust caps? I ask because, as you can see from the instructions, you have to drill a hole through the dust caps to fit the Xenons during installation. In case that the dust cap is not present, or an important piece to remain intact, I may be able to reverse the installation back to Halogens. However, if the dust cap is present and/or a vital component to remain intact (and a piece that I certainly don't have), then I really cannot go with the reversal of the install and need to figure out a way to troubleshoot the Xenons (or take to the mechanic).

Any/all suggestions are very welcome.

Thanks!
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      12-19-2011, 06:04 PM   #6
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Your problem is coding. The previous owner installed an HID kit in the halogen housings. First off, you should go back to OEM bulbs. Or an aftermarket bulb if you want a whiter color output.

HIDs are not meant to be used in halogen fixtures. It is illegal and the light is not properly focused, giving you decreased visibility.

You can go about this 2 ways. Either swap the OEM bulbs back in. Or have your car coded for xenon lights. This will allow you to run the HID kit but please consider the cons I mentioned above.

Also the side that is not working, the ballast will need to be replaced.

So cheapest would be to take the HID kit out, and buy some OEM (or aftermarket in the color of your choice) bulbs and install those.
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      12-19-2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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Thank you very much for the brief and resoundingly confident response. Let me get this straight. If I undo the current installation (as per the install instructions in the link I provided earlier), removing the ballast, wiring harness and bulb, and simply replace it with the OEM bulbs, as per the DYI http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90267, I should be back in business? Any codes to reset?
The only thing I am unsure of is that I didn't see in my setup a plug that looks like the one on the fifth picture from the top, see here:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90267

I just want to make sure that I have all the parts I need so I don't have to take things apart just to put them back together.

One more question. The left headlight is the one that usually goes dim or out although the right one has gone out as well. Would you still say that the left ballast is shot? It sounds like this setup was kind of crappy. Do these kinds of things work for a little bit and then konk out?

Thanks a ton.

p.s. Now that we are on the subject, where do you get the best deal on oem headlights? The dealer quoted me $47.25 per bulb...
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      12-19-2011, 08:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullofquestions View Post
Thank you very much for the brief and resoundingly confident response. Let me get this straight. If I undo the current installation (as per the install instructions in the link I provided earlier), removing the ballast, wiring harness and bulb, and simply replace it with the OEM bulbs, as per the DYI http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90267, I should be back in business? Any codes to reset?
The only thing I am unsure of is that I didn't see in my setup a plug that looks like the one on the fifth picture from the top, see here:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90267

I just want to make sure that I have all the parts I need so I don't have to take things apart just to put them back together.

One more question. The left headlight is the one that usually goes dim or out although the right one has gone out as well. Would you still say that the left ballast is shot? It sounds like this setup was kind of crappy. Do these kinds of things work for a little bit and then konk out?

Thanks a ton.

p.s. Now that we are on the subject, where do you get the best deal on oem headlights? The dealer quoted me $47.25 per bulb...
Yes. That's assuming the previous owner didn't do any coding to the car, which I'm pretty sure of since your ballast is failing. But from the sound of it, the previous owner hacked up the wiring. He may have cut the plug out to install the HID kit.

The reason why the ballast are intermittently working in your car is because the oem halogen bulbs are manipulated with a PWM, Pulse Width Modulation, signal. This signal will kill HID ballasts because a PWM signal outputs a square wave.....basically, it turns the light on and off very rapidly. So fast you cannot see it. But the ballast will and the components are seeing constant fluctuations in voltage. That's why they may flicker or go out.....because there isn't a constant voltage. If you code your car to xenon, it will remove this PWM signal and allow you to run the HID kit.

Check getbmwparts.com You can also try highperformancebulbs.com for aftermarket stuff. Like say if you want a pure white color instead of a yellowish color. You would get 5000k bulbs in whatever size your OEM socket is....if you call them, they will assist you in choosing the right size. or you can search on here for the correct size....I'm not sure of it.
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      12-19-2011, 09:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullofquestions View Post
Thank you very much for the brief and resoundingly confident response. Let me get this straight. If I undo the current installation (as per the install instructions in the link I provided earlier), removing the ballast, wiring harness and bulb, and simply replace it with the OEM bulbs, as per the DYI http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90267, I should be back in business? Any codes to reset?
The only thing I am unsure of is that I didn't see in my setup a plug that looks like the one on the fifth picture from the top, see here:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90267

I just want to make sure that I have all the parts I need so I don't have to take things apart just to put them back together.

One more question. The left headlight is the one that usually goes dim or out although the right one has gone out as well. Would you still say that the left ballast is shot? It sounds like this setup was kind of crappy. Do these kinds of things work for a little bit and then konk out?

Thanks a ton.

p.s. Now that we are on the subject, where do you get the best deal on oem headlights? The dealer quoted me $47.25 per bulb...
I did a full conversion from halogen to xenons including swapping out the headlight switch, light control module, and dealer re-programming. I have the original light switch, light control module, and OEM halogen headlights if you are interested.
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      12-20-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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IMPORTANT UPDATE:

While taking lunch today I decided to look at the setup in order to 'map out' the uninstall. In doing so, I noticed that part of the wiring for the right headlight, in particular part of the wiring from the negative terminal, suffered some sort of damage. In the accompanying images you can see that part of the wiring either got frayed and then burned a bit or something. It had some electrical tape around it but it was coming off... In the background you can see that to the right is the ballast and the frayed cable goes through this bronze looking block at the bottom and center of the picture (what is that by the way?).

I might as well try to patch this up as best as possible and see how it goes. Do you guys have any suggestions? I'm also curious to know if I should unplug the negative terminal of the battery; I'm not clear when I should be careful to unplug the battery...

Thanks in advance for all of your help.



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      12-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #11
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That gold block is a resistor and it generates a lot of heat, hence melted the insulation on the red wire. If you patch up the red wire, you will also need to reroute it so that it doesn't make contact with the resistor. Otherwise you will end up with the same problem in a couple days.

We can't tell what that red wire is, but most likely it made contact with the resistor and shorted out something.
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      12-21-2011, 03:12 PM   #12
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My buddy and I had a look at the setup after I repaired the frayed cable for the right low beam. I turned on the car and immediately turned on the low beams. The left low beam is working just fine although the right one is not. Furthermore, the resistor is getting pretty hot after just a minute. I have a fairly high threshold for heat pain and I can tell you that I could not touch the resistor for longer than 2-3 seconds before it started to hurt.

When I get home tonight my plan is to test the current from the harness red and black connections and also at both ends of the resistor. My take is that, since this is running off the 20 amp fuse, I would expect there to be about a 10 amp current running through each low beam. Can anyone comment on what the expectation should be (current, voltage, etc)?
Just how hot should the resistors get? I think I now understand why these types of setups are illegal.

thanks
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      12-21-2011, 07:45 PM   #13
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Switch to OEM LCI Xenon headlights from ProjectM. I don't personally own them, but they're the real deal.

What everyone has said so far is right! HIDs are not meant for reflector housings, only projector housings due to glare, improper focus, etc.

Those resistors get so hot sometimes that they have caused fires. Get rid of those immediately, because they're obviously not helping your car resist errors like they should.

Coding is the only essential way at removing errors, and it's a fairly simple process. Are you looking to spend money on any new headlights?
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      01-18-2012, 08:10 PM   #14
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I got rid of that bushleague setup right after I posted my previous reply. It was very simple and the halogens work beautifully.

Thank you all for your help.

p.s. Do not install these crappy setups in your cars. 1. they are crappy and 2. they are dangerous!
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      01-19-2012, 09:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullofquestions View Post
I got rid of that bushleague setup right after I posted my previous reply. It was very simple and the halogens work beautifully.

Thank you all for your help.

p.s. Do not install these crappy setups in your cars. 1. they are crappy and 2. they are dangerous!
Honestly have never seen someone use the halogen housings with xenon bulbs before... This might be the first

In the future, you should know that 2006/2007 are very finicky about headlights. If you plan to revisit xenon's in the future you should consider Umnitza or OEM solution, in conjunction with the correct coding. You can check the BMW coding section for more info.
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