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      09-24-2008, 08:10 PM   #1
Purgatory
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Let's install european headlights

It would be my preference if we could keep the conversation on the parts & installation of this DIY rather than on amber vs clear or whatever. That is what the general forum is for. Thanks in advance!

Before reading any further, this install would be rated about a 4 out of 5 for difficulty for the average "Joe car-guy."

This write-up is dedicated to AndyM, because he is committed to providing useful content to the community, hence the title "Let's install ..." Also, to a specific 1Addicts member from Sweden who is an honorable guy, he knows who he is.

Alright, I am prepared for the criticism that is almost sure to come after spending >$2,000 on headlights that get rid of the amber reflectors. There are several questions that will need to be answered, and I have tried to answer a couple below:

Q: Where did you get them?
A: Don't ask where or how I got them, because I won't tell you, but I got them from Sweden.

Q: How much did they cost?
A: Way to much... However, I am completely addicted to my ride (like most of you) and I just couldn't stomach looking at it with those ugly amber reflectors. I think of it as removing a birth mark or something.

Q: Are these legal?
A: Canada? Yes, America, No!, please read the following forum for a discussion. http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16345.

Q: How do you know that they will work?
A: Technically, I don't, but I spoke with a trusted BMW source who told me that they fit and wire up to my chassis. I'll let you know? Edit: They totally work now, please read entire post for details.

Q: How did you know what to order?
A: I did as much research on the topic as physically possible, both here and through discussions with our European 1Addicts. I looked for specific part numbers on www.realoem.com

Q: Will this void my warranty?
A: Highly unlikely especially since the parts are authentic BMW parts, like any other warranty claim denial, they would have to show that it is the cause of the malfunction. No guarantees, but I'd think this would be tough to demonstrate.

Story

As far as I know I am the first & only person in North America with European headlights, fill free to correct me.

I found out that left-hand drive cars have different light patterns than right-hand drive cars, which of course makes sense because they need to light up different parts of the road without blinding other drivers. Therefore, I had to source my headlights from a country with right-hand drive cars and preferably one that speaks English... Not easy! Especially as I don't speak any other language except French, and dealing with the french (France) was brutal. I can't believe that I am saying this but I wish that they were more like French found in Quebec at least they will return your phone calls.

Finally, I met a beauty 1Addict member... He knows who he is... I am talking an absolute B-E-A-U-T-Y... The guy was unbelievable and worked so hard to try and get these for me. Plus, I literally had to chance sending him the money without knowing whether anything would come in return. I will be forever thankful for his hard work and dedication to my goal.

Here are the step by step instructions (if you know a better way, please pm me and I'll edit the post):

Tools Needed:

Torx (star) screwdrivers (T30 & T40) - Make sure you have one with a long shaft
Flathead screwdriver - Used to open wheel fender access panel
8mm Socket
11mm Socket
Various extenders (nothing fancy though).
Piece of coated wire - 2-3ft in length
Pliers - gripping, use cloth to cover.
Spreader - I used a plastic spatula.

1. For some reason, BMW thought that it would be best to make headlight removal as difficult as possible... which I assume is to maximize the amount of labour (yes, this is the correct spelling... Canadians rule!) that they can charge a customer. Also, to make it less likely that customers will tinker and mess around with their cars... We don't like that here at 1addicts.com do we?

The hardest part of the installation is the fact that you have to take off the full bumper front fascia in order to remove the headlights. In order to remove the front bumper:

a. Park your car on a flat surface, use handbrake and then use the recommended instructions for jacking up the front of your car. Note, use the factory jack points as this will enable you some room to maneuver underneath your car.

b. Open the hood, remove the six torx bolts holding the top of the fascia to the radiator support bracket using the T-30 Torx screwdriver (#1). Lift the front fasica over the alignment tab (#3). Slowly pull up the weather stripping which will be re-installed later (#4). Place the screws in a bowl or something so that you don't lose them, and so you can re-install them later.



c. Remove the three screws in each wheel well (See above) which hold the fascia to the fender well using the 8mm socket.

d. Remove the seven screws from the bottom of the front fascia using the 8mm socket.



e. Now spread apart the front fascia from the front quarter panel using your "spreading tool" (see above and keep your minds out of the gutter folks), this takes some massaging to get it to pop out. There are two catches that we are trying to release here so don't be afraid to be a bit rough with it. Once they pop out we're on to step #2

2. Removal of the headlight washer covers (See below, Warning, risk of damage). In order to remove the front fascia we need to remove the covers of the headlight washers which are holding it to the bumper. Grasp the cover (#2, i used my spreader to lift it to obtain a good grip.) and pull it out slowly and use your pliers to grab hold of the nozzle (#1). Make sure to use a cloth or something so that you don't damage the nozzle. While holding the Nozzle with your pliers pop off the cover and SLOWLY let the nozzle retreat back down. Once you do this to both washer covers you should be able to pull off the front fascia and set it aside.



3. Headlight removal, in order to do this you'll need to remove the four bolts holding it in place (middle picture below). Use the 11mm socket to remove the top bolt (#2). Using the T-30 remove the 3 screws holding the headlight in place (#1 & #4). Using the T-40 screwdriver loosen the silver Torx screw (underneath #2) so that the tab can move freely, this will help ease headlight removal in later steps.

b. The fourth bolt is hidden behind the wheel well and really easy to get to once the cover in the wheel well is removed. Slide your Torx screwdriver through the hole on top of the hood to reach the screw below. This is why you need the long shaft of the torx screwdriver.



4. Loosen bumper support bracket (Top picture above, lower headlight bracket) - This is required so that you can finally wiggle the headlight free of the automobile.

a. There are two Torx screws (above, top picture #1) that you'll need to remove in order to loosen this bracket, note the bottom screw is a mother-f'er to remove and I had to Macgyver one of my screwdrivers in order to slip it between the screw and the bumper bar.

b. Unplug the headlight from the car (only one plug) by pushing in the two tabs and wiggling out the connector. You don't need to push that hard to release the tabs but you need to pull harder to pull the headlight connector free from the headlight.



c. Once the screws are removed you should be able to wiggle the headlight free from the car... don't be afraid to take out your aggression here as the headlight is extremely fussy about leaving its mother.

5. Xenon Bulb/Ballast Installation - Most headlights do not come with either ballasts or Xenon bulbs as these are expensive and are usually purchased separately. Before installing your new headlights you'll need to install bulbs and ballasts this can be accomplished easily when the headlight is out of the car. It is possible to install the bulbs while the headlight is in the car but not the ballast. So do yourself a big favour (yes, again with the correct spelling) and install them with the headlight out of the car.



a. Remove the rear headlight cover (the piece with the two metal clips), un-clip the two metal clips hold the cover in place. Insert the bulb into the headlight, press the bulb in place being careful not to bend any of the metal prongs inward and rotate the black locking mechanism to secure the bulb in place. Connect the ballast connector to bulb (this will install in part b.)



b. Slide the computer chip like module into the bottom of the headlight assembly and secure it with the 4 torx screws that come with the package. I beliebe that you'll need a small T-25 torx screwdriver for this.



6. Reinstall the headlight - The headlight can take some fanagaling in order to get it to go back in place but make sure it is lined up with all of its mounting points.









Enjoy. All questions are welcome.

I have included full resolution pictures of the installation on my mobile me page http://gallery.me.com/jkballer/
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      09-24-2008, 08:21 PM   #2
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All I can say is WOW and congrats!!!

Cannot wait to see them on the car and working.

Edit: I think no one else has posted yet because they are beyond jealous... lol
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      09-24-2008, 08:58 PM   #3
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I am definitely jealous as well, I would love to do this mod but the price is killer, not to mention the hoops it sounds like you had to jump through to get them... Great find and congrats!
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      09-24-2008, 11:16 PM   #4
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That's awesome!!!

I was so close to doing the same, but there are just too many hoops to jump through. Perhaps there will be an aftermarket solution soon.

Maybe you can be the first to try to bake the headlights? :wink:
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      09-25-2008, 12:23 AM   #5
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Very nice. Of course, the next time you decide to drive down to the USA, you risk getting your car seized by the NHTSA patrol. They have squads of black Hummers driving around looking for violaters, and well, they will put your car into jail.
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      09-25-2008, 12:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktdw View Post
That's awesome!!!

I was so close to doing the same, but there are just too many hoops to jump through. Perhaps there will be an aftermarket solution soon.

Maybe you can be the first to try to bake the headlights? :wink:
Honestly, if I find that I can't sell my other headlights then maybe I'll take a heat gun to them, but I'd never bake them with the adaptive headlight motors and such inside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lester View Post
Very nice. Of course, the next time you decide to drive down to the USA, you risk getting your car seized by the NHTSA patrol. They have squads of black Hummers driving around looking for violaters, and well, they will put your car into jail.
No chance... For one, I'll have Alberta plates on it, and although they may be illegal in the USA, most cops aren't going to pull you over for them. People have been "clearing" their headlights for years. Anyways, this is a topic for another thread... start one, and I'd be happy to chime in with my experience.

Honestly, I just have to figure out how to install them... This will be my weekend project, thanks to everyone who Pm'd me as well as the interest in this thread. I'll keep you posted... with lots of Pics!!

Last edited by Purgatory; 03-04-2009 at 04:29 PM.
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      09-25-2008, 02:33 AM   #7
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Are they the dynamic lights? I have euros but the other non main beam doesnt have the pattern on the glass like that one does. Apparently the dynamic headlights have it..
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      09-26-2008, 06:54 AM   #8
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Very nice, I am going the same route as you. I love my car to death and have been looking into this for quite some time. In the US it is going to be harder as these are illegal, but in NY the cops are pretty cool about little things until the end of the month or if you have done something worse and they can just tack this on top of it. Since I only drive my car on the weekends I was willing to take the chance.

So my only question is what are the part #'s? I have a few contacts overseas that I deal with regularly. They tell me they can get me anything as long as I have the part #. So could you help me out and just post up the PN?

Thank you for all of your hard work. I am sure that you are the 1st over here to do this.

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      09-26-2008, 08:21 AM   #9
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:iono: No...I'm not jealous

I wouldn't worry about legal issues with clear corners in US. I had it for three years and never had any trouble.

keep us posted, I considered doing the same...some relatives in Holland. Price though...ugh
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      09-28-2008, 07:24 PM   #10
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BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
so jealous you have NO IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
congrats!
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      09-28-2008, 10:01 PM   #11
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I hear the retail is $2k+, and BMW wholesale is low $1k...
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      09-30-2008, 12:21 PM   #12
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I must get these...
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      09-30-2008, 08:24 PM   #13
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Go to the Active Autoworks site and look at the instructions for installing the intercooler, which involves removing the front bumper cover, they tell you how to to it there.
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      10-01-2008, 08:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purgatory View Post
Alright all, I had a pretty sincere go at installing these headlights this weekend, and it appears as though it is much more difficult than anticipated. Will this stop me from reaching my goal? Hell no!

However, I am looking for some additional information regarding front bumper removal (front fascia) and/or upper bumper brace removal. There is only so much information that can be obtained from www.realoem.com.

So, if anyone has successfully removed the front bumper please pm me as I have a couple issues.

Thanks.
You can get a membership (1 day, 1 month or 1 year) to www.BMWTIS.com that will have everything you need.
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      10-01-2008, 06:28 PM   #15
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OMFG what a.....I hope they were made in China.
j.k lol I'm just jealous lol congrat!
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      10-02-2008, 11:17 AM   #16
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You can get a membership (1 day, 1 month or 1 year) to www.BMWTIS.com that will have everything you need.
Sweet, that is good advice, oh and props to you for all of the amazing write-ups. I have also added a shout out below to you for the title of the thread. I'll let you know how it goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TT1351 View Post
Go to the Active Autoworks site and look at the instructions for installing the intercooler, which involves removing the front bumper cover, they tell you how to to it there.
Fran
Thanks, good source... much appreciated.

Quote:
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OMFG what a.....I hope they were made in China.
j.k lol I'm just jealous lol congrat!
Hmm... not so much... they say "Made in EU" right on the back.
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      10-09-2008, 03:40 PM   #17
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hehe, i got something you guys surely would like. I got in contact with a spanish guy. He can get the HID headlights, inc. ballast and bulps, brand new from Valeo.

He can also fit a cabel in the headlights, so if you dont have HID lamps original, they can be afterfitted. It works great, and I did it yesterday. The only fault is that the car complains when you start the engine, that a bulb have gone, but it works just fine.

500 euro for the headlights, 100 for the halogen to xenon cable. + shipping.
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      10-09-2008, 03:45 PM   #18
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Looks great! Be sure to post pictures when you're done with them.
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      10-09-2008, 04:59 PM   #19
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Agreed. Want to see the finished car!

-Ben
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      10-10-2008, 12:39 AM   #20
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Are they set up to drive with the fog-line on the other side of the road. I hope they can be adjusted enough to make up for the difference. They should look great once installed. Congrats!
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      10-10-2008, 12:59 AM   #21
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      10-10-2008, 01:10 AM   #22
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Are they set up to drive with the fog-line on the other side of the road. I hope they can be adjusted enough to make up for the difference. They should look great once installed. Congrats!
Just so you know we drive on the same side of the road as you. Its only the british wich for some reason have to use the other side..:wink:
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