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      03-10-2017, 11:21 PM   #1
Gray_Panther
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I have finally come up with a simple method to retrofit the LCI xenon headlights into a halogen equipped 128i without coding or the FRM3 module. I mean it's only taken 9 years!
The downside is that the adaptive and auto-leveling feature won't be enabled.

Theory:
Rewire the housing connector to make it compatible with the halogen harness.

Equipment:
2 LCI Headlight housings
2 D1S bulbs
2 D1S Ballasts with igniters
2 Can-bus cancelers
Soldering iron
Wire strippers
Multimeter
Small paperclips
Exacto knife
Electrical Tape
Torx (T-20)
12VDC Supply (not necessary)

Step 1 (Disassembly):
Take off back cover and unscrew the bottom torx (T-20) screws that would normally hold the ballast connector and slowly pull it off the bottom of the housing. There you will see a pair of isolated black wires leading to the ballast connector. Carefully strip the wire with your exacto knife so you can place a probe on the bare wires of each black cable.
You want to determine which cable is positive and which is negative.



Step 2 (Probing):
Refer to the following diagram of the pins for our housing. We are only interested in the defined pins and don't care for the extras since our harness won't have anything to connect them to.


Take your multimeter and verify the pins on the connector go to the designated points. Be sure to remove all bulbs as they are resistors which will trick you into thinking their is continuity at a false point. It's not really necessary to verify since I have already done it, but if you want peace of mind then by all means go for it.

Step 3 (High beam solenoid):
The projectors in these housings are bi-xenon, meaning when a voltage signal is applied the shield inside the projector lowers to flood the road with light. Here you can take your supply and apply 12VDC to the bottom pin and -12VDC to the top pin on the connector shown here:

Don't worry about polarity, because if you have it reversed the solenoid won't move. Just reverse the polarity and will hear the click and see the shutter lower itself.

Step 4 (Soldering):
At this point, you will want to make the following connections with your soldering iron.
1. Pin 5 to pin 7. Grab the positive of pin 5 (purple wire) and use the wire strippers to expose a small segment. Solder one of your jumper wire to the exposed wire. Find the positive of the LED eyebrow, pin 7, and perform the same operation to solder the other end of the jumper. The wire of Pin 7 can be found near the LED circuitry near the border of the housing cap nearest to the turn signal. It will be a small PCB with a 2-wire connector plugging into it. Find the positive of that wire.



2. Remember the pair of black wires from before? Take the negative and solder it to the negative of the ballast. The low-beam positive (pin 3) will be soldered to one end of the can-bus canceler and the other end of the canceler to the positive of the ballast.




3. Discovered that pin 4 of the 135i headlight is actually the common for the angel eyes, LED and high beams. So you have to connect pin 4 to pin 2. This can be done by cutting and stripping the following white wire:


And then jumpering it to the negative of the low beams:


4. The positive of the high beam is found on top of the headlight, a small square cap. Take a flat head to pry it off and find that blue wire. Jumper the positive of the projector solenoid to the positive of the high beam (pin 6). And jumper the negative of the solenoid to the negative of the headlight (pin 2).
Positive high beam (blue wire connecting to white wire):

Negative wire of the solenoid:

Cut and strip and solder to the negative common (pin 2):



Once everything is soldered and protected with an adhesive tape of some sort, tuck all the wires back into the housing and lock it up!

Step 5 (Testing):
Once all the soldering and wiring is complete. It may be wise to install your HID D1S bulb, Can-Bus canceler and ballast and power the headlights to make sure all of the functions work. You may connect the headlights up to your car or rig up a desktop PC power supply and use the 12VDC from there to test all of the functions.
I personally use a PC power supply to power the low beams, and a handy 12VDC lithium battery for the other functions.
To rig up a PC power supply, please follow the YouTube link, there are many others too.

I used alligator clips to easily tap onto the headlight pins, just be careful not to short anything to common!!! Once again, just be careful not to short anything to common! Better to be safe than sorry. If you are worried the alligator pins are too fat, then use a paperclip to tap onto the pins that way...genius, I know.

Step 6 (Sealing):
At this point, if you followed my guide thus far, you should only have your ballast and Can-Bus canceler cables hanging out of that hole where the original 135i ballast connector would have been.
Take a sheet of plastic, can be anything from a cream cheese container or an old phone case. In my case, I had a sheet of black plastic laying around, I think 1/4" thick and cut a rectangle that would cover the gaping hole. And then I cut another small cutout for the above mentioned cables to hang out from. From there I used isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface and applied a generous amount of 100% silicone (Black preferably to match the housing).
I let it set overnight and it provides a very strong bond while keeping all water and moisture out.



Last edited by Gray_Panther; 04-21-2017 at 07:24 PM.
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      03-10-2017, 11:22 PM   #2
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Step 7 (Final touches):
Open up the headlight housing cap and with your hand, try to horizontally position the projectors so that they are not cocked to one side, make them be in the middle of the corona ring. Reinstall the headlight housing cap.
Install the headlights on your car and turn your car on. Take a hex screwdriver and find the alignment slots on the headlights. Align your beam pattern horizontally and vertically as needed.
Reinstall the headlights and bumper after everything is ready and take your 1er out for a ride.




I'll post better pictures when I am able to. Besides we all know what these look like.




~20 day update:
The 1er has been out in two rainstorms, and about 5 foggy mornings with no condensation or moisture build up inside the housings. Every time I start the car and turn the headlights on they work flawlessly.
I took my 1er to Watkins Glen Raceway and took some very hard turns and the projector has not moved from its position. I have also purposely hit some bumps and pot holes to try and whack the projector out of place but it still remains the same. Sacrifice people, sacrifice. See what I do for you! Those moments were hard to endure for me.
So far, all of the bulbs and functions are performing to spec and I have been enjoying my new headlights every chance I get.

Feel free to pm me with questions or more information. I hope this guide helps others in their quest to convert to 135i headlights.
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Last edited by Gray_Panther; 04-21-2017 at 07:34 PM.
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      03-11-2017, 05:28 PM   #3
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That's awesome for those with the ugly halogen lights, thanks for doing the DIY.

But it's less awesome for those where self-levelling is mandatory. It's illegal around here. But I'm guessing that manual adjustment will work, as I've been told previously.
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      03-11-2017, 06:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
That's awesome for those with the ugly halogen lights, thanks for doing the DIY.

But it's less awesome for those where self-levelling is mandatory. It's illegal around here. But I'm guessing that manual adjustment will work, as I've been told previously.
Thanks! I am in the process of soldering the first headlight and it's going smoothly.
Where are you that has a law which requires self leveling xenons?
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      03-11-2017, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
Thanks! I am in the process of soldering the first headlight and it's going smoothly.
Where are you that has a law which requires self leveling xenons?
In Germany xenons must be self leveling(so not to blind other drivers!) and must have washers - for the headlights. I think DOT also has a law which require self leveling headlights - but not washers.
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      03-12-2017, 06:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
In Germany xenons must be self leveling(so not to blind other drivers!) and must have washers - for the headlights. I think DOT also has a law which require self leveling headlights - but not washers.
Yes, exactly. Bi-xenon and LED lights must have self-levelling sensors.

As for the headlight washers, there are instances where bi-xenon headlights are not required to have washers in Europe, e.g. a number of VW AG vehicles that have bi-xenons as standard. Those are "low-output" xenon lamps and for some reason, they do not need to be equipped with washers. They are useless anyway, as even BMW adaptive LEDs do not have washers.
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      03-13-2017, 08:27 AM   #7
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DOT in America doesn't require headlight leveling.
Case in point the new Toyota Corollas (LED) and Chevy pickup trucks that are HID equipped.

Can't believe that's a law in other parts of the world!
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      03-13-2017, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
DOT in America doesn't require headlight leveling.
Case in point the new Toyota Corollas (LED) and Chevy pickup trucks that are HID equipped.

Can't believe that's a law in other parts of the world!
Can't believe it's not mandatory in the US lol
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      03-13-2017, 05:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swagon View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
DOT in America doesn't require headlight leveling.
Case in point the new Toyota Corollas (LED) and Chevy pickup trucks that are HID equipped.

Can't believe that's a law in other parts of the world!
Can't believe it's not mandatory in the US lol
Yeah, my grandfather and my girlfriend's sister each have a new corolla (2016 and 2017 respectively) and they don't auto level or swivel.
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      03-13-2017, 05:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
DOT in America doesn't require headlight leveling.
Case in point the new Toyota Corollas (LED) and Chevy pickup trucks that are HID equipped.

Can't believe that's a law in other parts of the world!
DOT law also limits the high beam output to be not much brighter than your low beam out put.

I had my US spec 135i coded to the AHL2 settings and also to EU specs... so my highbeams are about twice as bright now.
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      03-13-2017, 06:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
DOT in America doesn't require headlight leveling.
Case in point the new Toyota Corollas (LED) and Chevy pickup trucks that are HID equipped.

Can't believe that's a law in other parts of the world!
DOT law also limits the high beam output to be not much brighter than your low beam out put.

I had my US spec 135i coded to the AHL2 settings and also to EU specs... so my highbeams are about twice as bright now.
Quad high beams are the best!!!
In the grand scheme of things, in America the mechanic's garage won't fail your inspection because your headlights won't auto level even if it were a law. And a cop won't recognize it either.

I'm honestly not sure about the rest of the world, but it doesn't seem like a build deal to me.

Back on topic, I finished the wiring in both headlights and I just need to update my post. Taking my time on this because my car won't be out of hibernation for another week or so. I am very excited to get these installed and see if no codes are thrown! That would be a nice win for the halogen crowd.
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      03-27-2017, 09:41 PM   #12
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Found and issue with my common wiring. All the wiring is revised and I will update my original post with more pictures and steps.

Now just to wait for a day where I can install the headlights into the car!
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      04-04-2017, 06:36 PM   #13
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One headlight done!
This will be a busy week for me so I don't expect to finish the guide till this Sunday.
Good news is that the headlight is fully functional (READ: No auto-level or swiveling) and no codes have been thrown. Can't wait to finish this project!

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      04-04-2017, 09:12 PM   #14
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Looking good. Now if I only had the know-how as much as you did then I'd probably tackle this myself! I appreciate the guide you're making though. Would be nice to have someone teach me this in person.
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      04-21-2017, 07:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $iriu$black View Post
Looking good. Now if I only had the know-how as much as you did then I'd probably tackle this myself! I appreciate the guide you're making though. Would be nice to have someone teach me this in person.
When you come back to the NE (Rochester?) we can meet up and I can show you.

Guide done.
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      04-22-2017, 12:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
When you come back to the NE (Rochester?) we can meet up and I can show you.

Guide done.
I will be moving back to Massachusetts but willing to meet! I'm always up for a long drive with the 1. I'm just not inclined at all in doing this, not comfortable too as I might most likely break it (self taught DIYer here)

Maybe when I finally gather parts to do this, you can help me do it on my own car. Drinks on me!
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      04-22-2017, 07:07 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by $iriu$black View Post
I will be moving back to Massachusetts but willing to meet! I'm always up for a long drive with the 1. I'm just not inclined at all in doing this, not comfortable too as I might most likely break it (self taught DIYer here)

Maybe when I finally gather parts to do this, you can help me do it on my own car. Drinks on me!
Deal!
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      04-22-2017, 10:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
Deal!
Awesome! Good job on this one, a big win for us w Halogens!Now if we can only make the Blacklines work properly as well...

Where did you source your headlights btw? These are the most cost-prohibitive part of this mod.
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      05-08-2017, 08:35 AM   #19
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Hello to everyone, this is my first post on the forum .

I have on my E81 a pair of AHL Xenon working with this method. But I bought the headlights with the conversion already done, which anyway I would like to improve a little bit following this thread.

My car came with halogens from factory, so no FRM replaced.

To do list:
- High beams on cornering lights (plus low beam shutter when Lights=ON. Currently when Light=OFF and you push HighBeam (for flashing) nothing happens).
- No errors on dash. Everything works, but I have one error, which I don't know.
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      05-08-2017, 12:16 PM   #20
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Wow Barcelona

Just visited your city for 2 days before catching a cruise. Beautiful clean city with lots to see.
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      05-08-2017, 08:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supercati View Post
Hello to everyone, this is my first post on the forum .

I have on my E81 a pair of AHL Xenon working with this method. But I bought the headlights with the conversion already done, which anyway I would like to improve a little bit following this thread.

My car came with halogens from factory, so no FRM replaced.

To do list:
- High beams on cornering lights (plus low beam shutter when Lights=ON. Currently when Light=OFF and you push HighBeam (for flashing) nothing happens).
- No errors on dash. Everything works, but I have one error, which I don't know.
I still don't have any errors on my dash. Carly app picks up random errors that I get even before doing this, mostly diagnostic stuff that I can clear.

High beams are connected to cornering lights so this is what I observe:
-Low beam when Lights=On
-Constant high beams turn on cornering lights and shutter is lowered to engage bi-xenons
-Flashing high beams when low beams=On/Off turns on cornering lights and lowers shutter for as long as you physically hold the stalk to flash the high beams.
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      05-09-2017, 04:36 AM   #22
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Thanks Gray_Panther

I don’t know from where comes the error on my dash (which light), because I don't have Carly or any BT adapter (bought the normal cable but didn't have time to install it).
I guess, it doesn't come from Low Beam, because my Canbus cancellers are brand new, and Low Beams work perfect (if the error was from LowBeams, they wouldn't work... right?).
But, on the other hand, my HighBeam doesn’t exist, there’s no bulb. Instead they have on the projector solenoid a “heat sink power resistor” doing “bride” (trying to avoid error I guess). Solenoid works well.
EDIT: Problem solved! No more errors. I forgot to plug in fog lamp connectors... .

Now:
Lights=ON
+ HighBeam=ON --> solenoid projector works

Lights=OFF
+ HighBeam=ON --> solenoid projector works (but no light anywhere)
What I want to achieve:
Lights=ON
+ HighBeam=ON --> solenoid projector works + cornering works

Lights=OFF
+ HighBeam=ON --> solenoid projector works (lowbeam=OFF) + cornering works

If I understood it right from your DIY, to do so, as you did, should be:
High Beam Positive --> Positive projector solenoid
High Beam Negative --> Negative projector solenoid --> Pin 2 (Negative headlight)


Plus on my case, I should delete/replace the "heat sink power resistor" for the new Cornering Lamp... I guess!

I will try later on to post some pictures I took
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Last edited by supercati; 05-09-2017 at 02:06 PM.
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