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Old 12-28-2003, 10:34 AM
Scott ZHP's Avatar
Scott ZHP Scott ZHP is offline
We want the Lion!
Location: PA, USA
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 7,769
Mein Auto: 03 ZHP, 01 X5, 73 MGB
Models: Facelifted E46 with halogen lights fitted as OEM.


BMW OEM parts: (qty 2) bixenon shutter socket $0.96 (qty 2) contact bushing for socket $1.68 (qty 1) relay $7.92 (qty 1) contact bushing for LCM $1.00 (qty 2) warning label xenon lights $2.59

The next three part numbers were sourced from Radio Shack:
2701079 (qty 1) 5 amp blade fuse $1.39
2701213 (qty 1) blade fuse holder $2.29
6403039 (qty 2) female disconnect lugs $1.69

The remaining bits were found laying around my garage:
¼ ring terminal for 16 gauge wire, found in toolbox.
Copper crimping lug, see above.
Misc lengths of 16gauge stranded wire (about 20 feet).
Misc diams of heat shring tubing, 2 ft of corrugated wire wrap.
Expoy, Electrical tape, solder, wire ties, double sided tape.
¼-28 chrome plated acorn nut, ¼ star lock washer.

Tools: Various hand tools, (see photo #1). Install time is about 4 hours, depending on your skill level. I’m a novice, you may be able to do it in less time.

First, a legal disclaimer: This DIY assumes you have a *reasonable* level of mechanical aptitude/skill/patience/tools as well as a basic understanding of your vehicles 12 volt electrical system. Please read and understand this text before ordering any parts or dissasembling your vehicle.

The author cannot be held accountable for omissions/inaccuracies in the following text. Proceed at your own risk. If in doubt, seek help (i.e. email/PM me) or have a qualified professional carry out the install. Damage may be caused by improper installation and may void portions of the manufacturer's original warranty. By proceeding, you hereby agree to absolve the author of any and all damages, financial or otherwise. This is an entertainment guide only as a courtesy to the BMW community. If you screw up your car you are on your own. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Sorry, but in the litigious world in which we live I have to cover my a$$. Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s play…


1. I was after a stealth looking install – I wanted an OEM appearance. Take your time and the dealer will never notice the additional wiring.

2. Remove drivers side under-dash panel (3 Phillips-head screws, 1 twist nut near the pedals , 1 weird push pin at right knee, 2 slide clips under the steering wheel).

3. Remove the trim piece surrounding headlight switch (gently pry it off from the drivers side using a rag around a thin blade screwdriver).

4. Remove the fusebox/relay rack cover under the hood on the drivers side using a ? mm hex key, 5mm maybe? (see photo #2).


The relay leads are as follows:

87 – power output to shutter solenoid.
87 – power output to shutter solenoid. (relay has two pins labeled 87)
30 – power input for the relay
85 – ground lug for relay coil; stud near airbox.
86 - bixenon activation for the relay coil; lead from pin 2 on the LCM

1. Carefully insert the contact bushings into the shutter socket plugs – they only go in one way. (see photo #3). Use a magnifying glass if need be. Cover the leads with heat-shrinkable tubing, leaving about 6 in exposed. Shink the tubing, but don’t melt the wire. Set aside.

2.Solder a 2 ft long 16 gauge lead onto the LCM contact bushing end. This eventually connects to pin 86 on the relay. Cover the solder joint with heat shrink tube and shrink it. The shutters are controlled separately at the LCM, however we’re only using a single relay for both shutters, so for our purposes we only need one lead.

3. Cut the cap off the fuseholder. Insert a 5 amp blade fuse. Epoxy the fuse-holder to the side of the relay with the part number on it (see photo #4). Cut one of the fuseholder leads to length of 4in. Slide heat shrink tube over the lead. Solder a female lug onto the lead. Slide the tube over the solder joint and shrink it. Plug this lug into pin #30 on the relay. Leave the other lead for later.

4. Prepare the remaining relay leads as follows: solder a female lug onto two 8ft lengths of 16 gauge wire. Don’t forget the shrink tube. Connect both of these to pins #87 (the relay has two 87 pins). Solder another female lug onto a 4ft long 16 gauge wire. Connect this to pin 85. You should now have a harness that looks something like photo #4.

5. Set the harness aside. Have a beer.


1. With the dash trim removed, unscrew the Phillips head screw securing the LCM and pull out the light switch module. Wiggle/pull as necessary, it will eventually come out.

2. Release the white clip holding the multi-pin connector to the LCM. Unplug it from the LCM.

3. Set the LCM aside.

4. Gently pry the sides of the LCM multi-pin connecter apart.

5. Slide the blue/brown plugs out of the plastic retainer (see photo #5). NOTE WHICH SIDE GOES WHERE in the connector.

6. Set the retainer aside.

7. CAREFULLY insert the LCM contact bushing into PIN #2 on the blue plug – (see photo #6) – insert ONLY as shown. Double check that it goes to pin #2.

8. Route and wire-tie the contact bushing wire lead into the LCM harness and fish it back into the footwell.

9. Reassemble the blue/brown plugs into the retainer. THEY ONLY GO IN ONE WAY, make sure to match the pin/plugs to the retainer. See photo #5.

10. Plug the retainer into the LCM and snap the white collar over the connector.

11. Install the LCM; waste 10 minutes searching for the screw.

12.Fish the contact lead down into the drivers footwell and out the firewall adjacent to the harness, to the left (see photo #7, little red wire, right side halfway up). Be patient, it will eventually reappear in the relay rack under the hood.

13. Open the hood and remove the fuse box cover on the driver’s side (if you have not done so already).

14. Gently wiggle the plastic tray upward in the relay rack. (see photo #8).

15. Loudly curse the insane Bavarian engineer who designed this !@#$% tray.

16. Locate the lead you just fished from the LCM and tape it to the side of the plastic tray near the front of the car.

17. Retrieve the relay from wherever you have stored it. Tape the 87 and 85 leads leads the entire length to make a cool looking harness.

18. Fish the two 87 leads and the 85 lead under the tray and out the corrugated rubber boot toward the headlights. See photo #9 . I used the nipple underneath the rubber boot, as it was unused on my car.. First cut an X with an exacto knife. Tape the leads to MIG welding wire (or a coathanager), and push them out the nipple. Pull remaning harness through leaving about 6 in to work with. (see photo #10).

19. Plug the sockets into the bixenon shutters on the ballast.

20. Cut the drivers side bixenon lead to length and solder it to one of the 87 leads. (see photo #11). Seal the solder joint with heat shrink tube (you did put the tube on, right?).

21. Remove the air snorkel and set is aside (pry the 3 pins upward and remove the pushpins and the retainers).

22. Insert the other lead 87 into a 2ft section of wire-wrap tubing. (see photo #12).

23. Fish the wire wrap tubing ABOVE the radiator, but underneath the radiator support brace (see photo #13).

24. Secure the wire-wrap tubewith 3 wire-ties into the cutouts on the brace.

25. Reassemble the air snorkel.

26. Cut the passenger side bixenon lead to length and solder it to the other 87 lead; seal the solder joint with shrink tube. (see photo 14).

27. Locate the body jig stud adjacent to the airbox – this will be the ground for the relay. Cut the 85 lead to length and solder a ¼ in round lug; seal the solder joint with heat shrink tube (see photo #15). Secure the lug with a ¼-28 nut and a star washer. Double nut it with a chrome plated acorn nut if you are a detail freak like me.

28. Have another beer and congratulate yourself; as you are nearly done.

29.Untape the LCM lead from the relay rack, trim to length and solder a female lug onto it. Connect this to pin 86 on the relay. This is the +ve lead to the relay coil.

30. Locate the 4 red/white wires crimped together in the fusebox/relay rack. Crimp the lead from the fuseholder (remember that lead?) to these (see photo #16#). I used a copper crimping connector because I had one laying around, but you may be able to just solder them together. Tape the connections (see photo 17).


31. Get out your multimeter. ( a cheap meter is $10 from Harbor Freight, buy one, it is extremely handy).

32. Set the scale to 20vDC. Connect the ground lead of the meter to the lug near the airbox. DISCONNECT PIN 86 ON THE RELAY and connect it to the +ve lead on the meter.

33. Turn on the meter; it should read 0 volts.
34. Start the car and turn on the headlights.
35. Switch on the highbeams.
36. The meter should read 12 volts.
37. If so, shut off the car. If not, you have a wiring issue. Retrace your connections, especially the ground.
38. Reconnect the LCM lead to pin 86.
39. Repeat steps 33 and 34.
40. Watch in awe as the bixenons operate.
41. Tidy up the leads in the fuse box/relay rack and reinstall cover (see photo #16).
42. Have another beer and admire the install (see photo #18)

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Last edited by Scott ZHP; 12-28-2003 at 10:42 AM.