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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:19 PM
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cj.surr cj.surr is online now
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DIY: E36 $10 City Lights

I finally got around to making the city lights that I've been waiting to do. There's another DIY on bimmerforums, but it's not very complete at all in the procedure, so I was never too motivated to try it myself. Well, I got bored and frustrated with the other projects on my car, so this DIY is the result.

It turned out to be really easy once I figured out the parts I needed.


-2x 194 bulb sockets - I found them at Autozone, they were labeled as "license plate bulb sockets", $4 each


-2x 194 bulbs - I ordered amber ones from Amazon and they were $4 for a pack of ten. Any 194 bulb will work, and they're pretty common


-large drill bits

-RTV

-butt splices


1. Assemble the bulb and socket
Put them together and you get this:


2. Drill the hole for the socket
I started off thinking that I would make a hole in the highbeam that was the size of the widest part of the socket, but I didn't have any drill bits that big, so I used the biggest one that I had. It was perfectly sized, just about the same diameter as the bulb. This was good because the top of the socket would fit hella flush, without too much space to wiggle around.



3. Install and seal the socket
The bit wasn't quite big enough, so I had to bore it out a little by rotating the bit about the hole until it got big enough so that the bulb just barely fits in. Then, I put some RTV around the edge of the hole to seal the socket. I later found that it was easier and less messy to just put the RTV on the part of the socket that will sit on the hole. That way you don't get any RTV on the bulb while inserting.



Push the bulb in, and it should fit pretty snug. I used some tape on the socket to hold it down while the RTV dried.



4. Wire the light
Once you're done with that, you need to decide how you want to wire them up.

If you want them to come on instead of the parking lights - Cut the wire going to the cornerlight that is for the parking light (not sure which one it is, may require trial and error. It's not the brown one though, obviously). Connect that wire to one of the wires on the city light socket, and ground the other wire from the city light socket.

If you want both parking lights and city lights - You might be able to do a three way splice on the parking light wire, but I'm not sure. You would need to do the same as above, but with a three-way splice instead of just re-routing the wire.

If you don't have foglights, then you can use the foglight wiring. This is what I did, since I don't plan on installing fogs. This is a little easier and you can control the city lights with the fog light button, which is pretty cool.



That's all there is to it. I have some pictures, but my car is stuck in the garage so they aren't that good (Damn ECS ). I love the way they look in person. I might buy some different color bulbs and see how they look for you guys. I'll probably try white and yellow.






Updated pictures:







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Last edited by cj.surr; 10-31-2011 at 06:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:22 PM
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Good stuff, looks good
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:34 PM
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Wait just $10?

Oh fcuk yeah...I'm definately doing this...I'm sick of angel eyes...
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaptinKP View Post
I'm sick of angel eyes that don't work...
Fixed. Me too.
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaptinKP View Post
Wait just $10?

Oh fcuk yeah...I'm definately doing this...I'm sick of angel eyes...
I can help you do them, just come up here and we can do it in an hour or two...

Did you see mine when I was down there?
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  #6  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:37 PM
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Exactly how I did mine....


However, I can't remember if I mounted my bulbs in the top or bottom of the headlight. Whichever I did, it matched the true euro ones....
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2011, 11:41 PM
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good DIY.. very Tempting.
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  #8  
Old 10-31-2011, 01:06 AM
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Nice job, although I believe even the French have largely abandoned yellow headlights.

What light pattern do you get out of the added 194 bulbs?

Would higher wattage bulbs be the ticket to turn your high-beam position lights into agreeable DRLs? You could dim them down with pulse width modulation when they should serve as position lights.

Last edited by johnf; 10-31-2011 at 03:01 AM.
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  #9  
Old 10-31-2011, 04:17 AM
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i dig.

however, changing the bubs to a different color or when they burn out will require more rtv and cleaning of the old stuff...

i think i would be looking for donor lights from a junkyard just to cut out the bulb fitting and see about attatching it (either by epoxy or melting the plastics together with a soldering iron).

still,

i still like angel eyes though...unfortunately i am not able to do what i thought i would as i do not have the euro style lights. (unless anyone knows of a way to cleanly seperate the lens without destroying it)

cj, have you tried using leds for the lights??



df
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  #10  
Old 10-31-2011, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
i dig.

however, changing the bubs to a different color or when they burn out will require more rtv and cleaning of the old stuff...

i think i would be looking for donor lights from a junkyard just to cut out the bulb fitting and see about attatching it (either by epoxy or melting the plastics together with a soldering iron).

still,

i still like angel eyes though...unfortunately i am not able to do what i thought i would as i do not have the euro style lights. (unless anyone knows of a way to cleanly seperate the lens without destroying it)

cj, have you tried using leds for the lights??



df


Put the headlights in your oven at 200* for ten minutes, then separate the lens from the body
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1995 BG M3 2000 TiAg 4.4l X5

-I do the things today that others won't do, so I will have the things tomorrow that other won't have....
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  #11  
Old 10-31-2011, 06:59 AM
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Nice work. If I find myself bored (unlikely) I might run my angel eyes to an independent switch like I used to have in my E46, and wire these up to the parking lights.
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  #12  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Fixed. Me too.
My angel eyes work just fine...lol

I just got bored of them...
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
I can help you do them, just come up here and we can do it in an hour or two...

Did you see mine when I was down there?
Idk i dont like the idea of driving to Reno in the winter... =/

And i dont remember lol....if i did see them i forgot...
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  #14  
Old 10-31-2011, 12:36 PM
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I could just plug the 194 bulbs into the socket where the angel eyes would have connected, but I don't want to heat and remove my lenses and then heat and replace them after the bulbs are in.

And just like Amber's DDM lights, I can't drive with them until I get my new adjusters. The PO had removed the lower ones altogether, and the new lights are "coon hunting" REAL bad without them tilting the housing down. With the adjusters as low as they will go I'm still shooting way too high.
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guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13

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1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #15  
Old 10-31-2011, 05:45 PM
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@ ken...thought you needed a pooch to do that...


you mean the plastic lenses don;t warp?? i read about the heating in the oven trick, but then discovered (according to teh interwebz) that this trick will work on the euro lenses but not so much on the domestic.

if so, then i'm in!! i have acrylic rod (3 different diameters) and want to 'play' with some angel eye designs, i have some leds that are beggin to be hooked up.

the only thing is i thought that i'd hafta buy euro lights to separate them, but now i'm just a little concerned about warpage....hmmm...maybe some ebay aftermarket units...


df
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
@ ken...thought you needed a pooch to do that...


you mean the plastic lenses don;t warp?? i read about the heating in the oven trick, but then discovered (according to teh interwebz) that this trick will work on the euro lenses but not so much on the domestic.

if so, then i'm in!! i have acrylic rod (3 different diameters) and want to 'play' with some angel eye designs, i have some leds that are beggin to be hooked up.

the only thing is i thought that i'd hafta buy euro lights to separate them, but now i'm just a little concerned about warpage....hmmm...maybe some ebay aftermarket units...


df
My Miniature Pinscher goes crazy when I drive around the place at night. He thinks he's supposed to follow the lights. When they're pointed into the trees he gets pretty weirded- out

I hadn't thought about the heat warping the lenses (or back!) Scratch that!
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guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
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Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?


Last edited by hornhospital; 10-31-2011 at 05:53 PM.
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  #17  
Old 10-31-2011, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaptinKP View Post
Idk i dont like the idea of driving to Reno in the winter... =/

And i dont remember lol....if i did see them i forgot...
Ok fine, maybe before bimmerfest 12 in the spring we can get together again

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
@ ken...thought you needed a pooch to do that...


you mean the plastic lenses don;t warp?? i read about the heating in the oven trick, but then discovered (according to teh interwebz) that this trick will work on the euro lenses but not so much on the domestic.

if so, then i'm in!! i have acrylic rod (3 different diameters) and want to 'play' with some angel eye designs, i have some leds that are beggin to be hooked up.

the only thing is i thought that i'd hafta buy euro lights to separate them, but now i'm just a little concerned about warpage....hmmm...maybe some ebay aftermarket units...


df
I did it on my old plastic ones and it worked out great! No warps and no hazing at all...

I really want to pick up a used set of Euro bosch units on ebay too....
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1995 BG M3 2000 TiAg 4.4l X5

-I do the things today that others won't do, so I will have the things tomorrow that other won't have....
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:37 PM
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Better pictures... Still look brighter in the pictures than they actually are.







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Old 10-31-2011, 06:39 PM
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df
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:12 PM
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I can't get mine to photograph well either.....

Needz bumper mesh dude
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  #21  
Old 10-31-2011, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
I can't get mine to photograph well either.....

Needz bumper mesh dude
Yeah, I've got the mesh, but I can't find a way to mount it easily. I've been using duct tape, but that obviously is not a very good idea. I will eventually weld them on.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:27 PM
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RTV may work, but I used a soldering iron to melt the piece to the bumper. I also tried JB weld for a while before I melted them together...
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Member #2 of the Boston Green Mafia BMW-CCA #457574

1995 BG M3 2000 TiAg 4.4l X5

-I do the things today that others won't do, so I will have the things tomorrow that other won't have....
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  #23  
Old 10-31-2011, 09:34 PM
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cj.surr cj.surr is online now
some kid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
RTV may work, but I used a soldering iron to melt the piece to the bumper. I also tried JB weld for a while before I melted them together...
Yeah, I'll be using a soldering iron to weld it.

I just read something on bfc about people wiring angel eyes up to the windshield washer pump harness... Seems weird to me. Apparently that is a way to make them run all the time. I think I'm gonna try that sometime soon for the city lights.
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  #24  
Old 11-01-2011, 05:23 AM
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Search for Chad's DIY for angel eyes on this forum, there is a hot wire in the fusebox that will run AE's or city lights anytime the key is on. That is how I wired my old angel eyes in the 325i
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Member #2 of the Boston Green Mafia BMW-CCA #457574

1995 BG M3 2000 TiAg 4.4l X5

-I do the things today that others won't do, so I will have the things tomorrow that other won't have....
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  #25  
Old 11-01-2011, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
Search for Chad's DIY for angel eyes on this forum, there is a hot wire in the fusebox that will run AE's or city lights anytime the key is on. That is how I wired my old angel eyes in the 325i
Or just buy a switch from germany, and wire the rear fog button to turn the city lights on and off...

I like being able to turn mine off, since i have blue lights, orange corners, and yellow fogs, its a bit of a color rainbow with the city lights on

looks good CJ, now when you get DEPO's you'll already have 194 bulbs lol
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