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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > 2009 335, adaptive headlights, how to make them as bright as modern cars?



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      05-01-2019, 09:56 AM   #1
type-dRew
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2009 335, adaptive headlights, how to make them as bright as modern cars?

The headlights on my 09 LCI with adaptive function work, everything does what it should except throw decent light. My wifes base model mk6 jetta with halogens easily puts more light on the road. These things are dim to the point of being dangerous in the rain.

How can I perk them up? I'm halfway sure its just the age of the original bulbs, as I know HID bulbs wear out over time.

I'm tempted to put another stock set in, but dont want to fork out the cash and be disappointed with output still.

Anyone throw me some ideas on how to make these things perform even close to what modern cars can do? Had a mazda6 rental with HIDs that put these to absolute shame. Was next to a tesla this morning and then a new fusion right in front of him, didn't even look like my headlights were on compared to theirs.
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      05-01-2019, 02:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by type-dRew View Post
The headlights on my 09 LCI with adaptive function work, everything does what it should except throw decent light. My wifes base model mk6 jetta with halogens easily puts more light on the road. These things are dim to the point of being dangerous in the rain.

How can I perk them up? I'm halfway sure its just the age of the original bulbs, as I know HID bulbs wear out over time.

I'm tempted to put another stock set in, but dont want to fork out the cash and be disappointed with output still.

Anyone throw me some ideas on how to make these things perform even close to what modern cars can do? Had a mazda6 rental with HIDs that put these to absolute shame. Was next to a tesla this morning and then a new fusion right in front of him, didn't even look like my headlights were on compared to theirs.
It's the projector lens, you can put new bulbs in but it won't make the difference that you're looking for.
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      05-01-2019, 03:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amitt View Post
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Originally Posted by type-dRew View Post
The headlights on my 09 LCI with adaptive function work, everything does what it should except throw decent light. My wifes base model mk6 jetta with halogens easily puts more light on the road. These things are dim to the point of being dangerous in the rain.

How can I perk them up? I'm halfway sure its just the age of the original bulbs, as I know HID bulbs wear out over time.

I'm tempted to put another stock set in, but dont want to fork out the cash and be disappointed with output still.

Anyone throw me some ideas on how to make these things perform even close to what modern cars can do? Had a mazda6 rental with HIDs that put these to absolute shame. Was next to a tesla this morning and then a new fusion right in front of him, didn't even look like my headlights were on compared to theirs.
It's the projector lens, you can put new bulbs in but it won't make the difference that you're looking for.
Ok. So is there a solution to replacing the projector?

What's wrong with it? When there cars were new the lights were reportedly very bright.
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      05-02-2019, 11:47 AM   #4
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Ok. So is there a solution to replacing the projector?

What's wrong with it? When there cars were new the lights were reportedly very bright.
Oh, something I had experience with. Didn't DIY, but had headlights rebuilt on my 1 series.

Light output was poor, worse than halogens I had on it before the retrofit. When they've opened them up they've found that three things were wrong:

- reflective coating in the projector burns off from heat
- burned stuff from the reflector, dust and whatnot leaves residue on the projector lens
- HID bulbs do age and need to be replaced.

Open them up to check the condition of the reflective coating in projectors. Mine were okayish - slightly burned, but still functional, so I left them as they were with plans to change reflectors in two or three years. Changed the car instead, hehe.

Cleaning the lenses up improved focus but didn't affect output much.

Changing bulbs to Philips-something +150% made night and day difference. I believe cleaned lenses did play their part here, because simply changing bulbs on a X1 of a similar age and mileage didn't bring the same improvement.
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      05-03-2019, 01:08 PM   #5
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Unless you are willing to to put in a bunch of money and/or time a bulb upgrade is your only option. Osram Nightbreaker Laser or Philips Extreme Vision 2 if you want the most light output. Philips White Vision Gen 2 if you still want good output and a whiter color temp. Swapping out my original bulbs to Philips WHV2 made a significant difference. Make no mistake, it's not up to modern LED or HID headlight standards, but it's much better than it was.

E90 headlight housings are a PITA. They are perma-sealed so they are a bear to get in to. There are no known drop-in clear lens solutions that work and changing out the entire projector is a pain due to the AHL swivel mechanism.
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      05-06-2019, 06:32 AM   #6
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Thank you for the info guys, I think i'm just going to roll the dice on some White Vision Gen 2 bulbs and see what just only that does for me.

As long as they are working properly I probably wont tear them apart, just want more light on the road for myself is all.
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      05-08-2019, 02:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by type-dRew View Post
Thank you for the info guys, I think i'm just going to roll the dice on some White Vision Gen 2 bulbs and see what just only that does for me.

As long as they are working properly I probably wont tear them apart, just want more light on the road for myself is all.
I'm in the same spot... plus I am a bit of a light snob, since I work in the industry.

My plan right now is to give the headlights a good polish and upgrade the bulbs. If I still think the output is lacking, I might crack them open and see if I can fit a lexus RX350 projectors with a sti clear lens on the stock adaptive bracket, and then do something along the lines of a Profile HiLED projector in the inside FTP spot. Code to AE for DRL instead of the inside flash to pass. and then the Profile HiLED should work as just a flash to pass.
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      05-15-2019, 02:00 AM   #8
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Check my post at #62, the first picture you can tell how foggy the lens is (my car is 2011 E90, 8 years). This build up on all glasses with moisture
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      05-15-2019, 08:04 PM   #9
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Check my post at #62, the first picture you can tell how foggy the lens is (my car is 2011 E90, 8 years). This build up on all glasses with moisture
Interesting... I have Pre-lci Xenons, so I'm thinking I can make a bracket to retrofit a better projector into the gimbal from the get go. I actually like the adaptive function, I just want better/sharper/wider output and cutoff. The stock projector leaves much to be desired.
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