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team321 03-27-2011 11:59 AM

Headlight Assembly Replacement
I am looking for a recommendation for purchase of new headlight assemblies for my 2001 530i. I see so many of them on eBay that it is difficult to decide. Please post any recommendations.
I have tried polishing them, but the haze is on the inside.

thank you in advance.

aioros 03-27-2011 12:03 PM

i would go OEM :). I know they are very expensive :cry:

team321 03-27-2011 12:06 PM

eBay $100
OEM $600

that's a pretty significant difference in price. What's the diff in looks, fit, use, etc?
i have searched BMW forums for awhile and have not found any pros / cons about what is available for sale... certainly I'm not the first to be looking for these.


edmonem 03-27-2011 02:09 PM

Are you looking for the whole headlight unit or parts and pieces to replace broken headlights? Either way, if you don't want to spend dealership prices and don't want the pos quality of eBay, go to Ecstuning, umnitza, ddmtuning, Eactuning ... You'll find their headlights range from 200-400 for pretty good quality stuff...

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Youngproexec 03-27-2011 05:39 PM

Wow..umm... did you open them and try to clean it with a dry rag, cloth, or paper towel. Because I have done that and regretted it. I would just buy an outer lense cover and save the other part of the assembly, unless there is a totally different look that you want.

team321 03-27-2011 05:51 PM

no, it's not about the "look"
I had a neighbor try to "restore" them... he has multiple franchises that do this work all over the southeast and after an hour or so he said - can't help you unless you open them up and we can try cleaning / polishing the inside.

I was under the impression that the assemblies were not able to be opened... and if they were, the humidity and rain in florida will likely continue to get in there... not sure if I could re-seal them as good as BMW did it 10 years ago.

What is bad about the eBay lights - are all eBay vendors equal in poor quality?
Is it a matter of fit? or will the eBay lights cloud up soon also?


team321 03-27-2011 05:52 PM

PS - I really appreciate the feedback... didn't mean to leave that out of the previous post.

edmonem 03-27-2011 06:02 PM

eBay oem are fine, but most either have broken adjusters, faded/ scuffed lenses, something cracked off or if they are in good condition, the price is pretty close to dealership in which case I would just buy from dealer for the peace of mind that come with brand new. eBay aftermarket are mostly junk, that will fail on you or fade in no time.if your just looking for lenses, then go to Ecstuning...also Eactuning

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bluebee 03-27-2011 09:03 PM

Most of us 'fix' the headlights ... either by replacing the adjusters for anywhere between $5 for both headlights to $160 for both headlights (depending on what option they choose):

- A list of your options when your headlight adjusters are broken (1)

If it's just the lenses, then most try polishing first:
- Headlight plastic polishing & refinishing DIY (1) (2) (3)

Keep us informed as to how you make out.

phrozen5100 03-27-2011 09:21 PM

I purchased some Hella Euro style headlights from DDM Tuning, and I've been very satisfied with my purchase thus far. I believe they can be had for around $250.

umnitza 03-30-2011 01:26 PM

We offer the Projector39 with FXR:

team321 03-30-2011 02:43 PM

I'll upload a photo of my headlights to give a better idea of what I'm trying to replace.

thanks again for all of the advice.

doru 03-30-2011 02:59 PM

I have a spare left (driver side) OEM Hella post 2001 headlight in good condition. Minor imperfections on the lense (and I mean minor scratches/pitted) no damage to the adjusters. Has also a protective film that is slightly smoked and has to be removed.
I will part it for 250 + shipping. You find the right light (passenger side) and you're set.

team321 04-02-2011 12:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I have attached an image of the driver's side headlight.
As you can see it is badly fogged. This is on the inside.

I was told that this was a sealed, replaceable unit - which is why I posted to this forum for some advice.... anyway, with the view of my lights (passenger's side is just as bad) what options do I have?

1. OEM replacement

2. Is it not really a sealed unit and therefore I can remove / clean / replace.

your feedback is welcome.
thank you

WagonTheDog 04-02-2011 01:15 PM

I've got a set on order from Ebay
See this thread:

Interestingly enough, the only reason I don't have them yet was because the original unit was actually made incorrectly. If you take a good look at the lenses pictured, the front lens of the side marker light is missing...

I should be receiving them on Monday, but am going to be tied up with work next week so I probably won't be able to post a full report until Friday...

Deep3D 04-02-2011 03:01 PM

You can buy just the aftermarket headlight housing units from ebay, with clear corners which look better in my opinion, for about $55, and just replace the insides with your original parts. So basically all you will be changing is the glass casing, and the inside will be OEM and reliable. And at $55, who cares if it fades/leaks in 2 years, just buy another one when it does. Heres one i found which looks good:

I recently purchased new lights for my 528i from Hong Kong (I'm upgrading to xenons and angel eyes) and it cost me $200 for both headlights which is amazing as a simple xenon upgrade goes for $200 in the states. I'm still waiting on the lights to arrive, but i will keep you posted when they do.

team321 04-02-2011 03:10 PM

thanks for the info.. that's exactly what I'm looking for.

bluebee 04-02-2011 03:46 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Deep3D (Post 5966353)
You can buy just the aftermarket headlight housing units from ebay

That's such a good idea I'm adding it to the 'options' thread so that people will have access to this information in the future without us being involved.

WagonTheDog 04-02-2011 05:38 PM


Originally Posted by bluebee (Post 5966463)
That's such a good idea I'm adding it to the 'options' thread so that people will have access to this information in the future without us being involved.


No one (initially, myself included) seems to be noticing there is no front lens cover on the side marker light. Yes, it has the clear corner, but take a good look... The front view of the side marker will reveal a bare bulb. There should be a lens cover on that bulb.

I e-mailed a person on Ebay who purchased them who confirmed the bare bulb issue. They only used them briefly before opting for a complete angel eye kit.

doru 04-02-2011 06:38 PM


Originally Posted by bluebee (Post 5966463)
That's such a good idea I'm adding it to the 'options' thread so that people will have access to this information in the future without us being involved.

These will NOT fit the 2001+ headlights.

bluebee 04-02-2011 08:37 PM


Originally Posted by WagonTheDog (Post 5966674)
The front view of the side marker will reveal a bare bulb. There should be a lens cover on that bulb

I don't get it.

Why on earth would anyone REMOVE the lens cover from its position over the yellow turn-signal bulb?

In other words, what good is a headlight "lens" that doesn't cover the entire headlight? Why would it even exist in the first place?

Maybe I should remove the reference in the best links.


Originally Posted by doru (Post 5966783)
These will NOT fit the 2001+ headlights.

OK. Now I 'will' remove the reference in the bestlinks!

bluebee 04-02-2011 08:42 PM

1 Attachment(s)
And what about these from this thread?
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Yikes, these are dirt cheap.

EuroTrash540i 04-03-2011 12:44 PM

I also find myself pondering the idea of buying some ebay headlights. Like you, I polished the outside of mine and its in the inside also :(


Originally Posted by bluebee (Post 5967042)

I looked at some likes these also, but I would rather have the smoked ones

champaign777 04-03-2011 12:53 PM

for facelift OEM is the way to go

Edgy36-39 04-03-2011 01:28 PM

I'm not an "OEM or nothing" kind of guy, and I love to save money. But at some point how cheap is too cheap? These are your headlights, not a cigarette lighter. If it was me, I'd be worried about quality, not just price.

Moisture getting into the assembly and fogging it up is a well known problem. BavAuto sells a repair kit, as do many others I'm sure.

If you have to replace, shop around for the best OEM price, don't just go by your local dealer. I got my M-tech bumper kit from Pacific BMW. (Tischer BMW) also sometimes has good prices.

Just my two cents.

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