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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:18 PM
mrobleto mrobleto is offline
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Location: Los Angeles, Ca
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2001 525i Sport
Lightbulb E39 HID Conversion?

I am looking to do a little upgrading to my kinda stock E39. I have noticed that the OE headlights are quite dim compared to modern lighting systems.

Can anyone suggest and HID or LED/HID conversion? I am mechanically inclined so I can go with either a kit of a make shift mod from other OEM parts.

This is for my 2001 E39.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:26 PM
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Nline6 Nline6 is offline
Slip slidin around town
Location: Portland, OR
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,359
Mein Auto: E36 M3
Have you searched ebay, google, forums at all??? lots of choices... Many companys make a plug and play kit to replace factory halogen bulbs in most factory lighting systems.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:31 PM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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Location: Mooresville, North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 953
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
I recently upgraded lowbeam halogen setup to HID. Here is thread with pictures:


I got white angel eyes from bmwled.com $40. DDM HID kit with error eliminators was $62 shipped.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:49 AM
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tmvE39/E53/Z32 tmvE39/E53/Z32 is offline
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Location: Seattle --> Atlanta
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Mein Auto: Dinan //M5, Dinan 4.8iS,
Sound like you have Halogen Hella. Make sure the adjusters aren't broken that make the headlights point down.
If you want to upgrade to HID, get H7 HID kit, H7 bulb adapters, error eliminator (for slim ballast, I don't have error when switching to regular ballast)

2000 Dinan S1 //M5 (my DD), 06 DINAN E53 4.8iS (wife's DD), 90 Straman Z32TT (my pride & joy ride)
Gone, but not forgotten: 01 E53 3.0i, 01 525i Sport, 03 DINAN 540i MSport, 01 //M5 and 91 Z32TT
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:50 PM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Mein Auto: e39 530i e28 535is(Sold)
Originally Posted by tmvE39/E53/Z32 View Post
Make sure the adjusters aren't broken that make the headlights point down.

Also inspect your lens' to make sure they are crystal clear. Chances are unless you have been using headlight film (xpel or lamin-x) your lens's are probably at least somewhat scratched/pitted if not a bit hazy. Restoring your lens will maximize the light of your current lights. And will of course help the output if you upgrade your lights.

For restoration I recommend any of the 3m drill based kits (39008, 39014, 39045). There are a bunch of threads out there on various other kits too. You can usually get the 3m kits for a good price at amazon, your local walmart or autogeek.net vs. your local autoparts store where it will usually be more expensive..

Here is a great lens restoration step by step DIY. The author created his own kit with and you can follow his guide if you already have a porter cable type polisher, cutting compounds and pads. Otherwise it might get expensive, but the diy is helpful regardless.

Other Upgrades
Depending on what you are looking for, how much you want to spend and how much you want to tinker you may also want to research some projector retrofits. The EVOX-R Bi-Xenon and FXR-R Bi-Xenons are pretty popular as far as projector retrofits are concerned. The EVOX-R is a direct drop in replacement (its bolts right in screw for screw where your OEM projectors were). There are 3 versions of FX-Rs. Only two screw holes line up with the first 2 versions but a lot of people just use them that way or create some mounting brackets with plumbers tape. The FX-R version 3s are physically smaller than the two earlier versions, I am not sure how the mounting holes line up.

There are also a bunch of other projectors out there, Honda S2000, Acura TL, Morimotos lexus etc. But some of them are large and may not fit well into the e39 housing. The http://www.theretrofitsource.com/index.php is a good place to find a wide variety of projectors, their staff is also pretty helpful. Umnitza also sells several different projectors. HID planet is also be a good forum to find out more information on lighting. But if you are just learning http://www.hidretrofits.com/ would be a good place to start.

As far as performance goes I am not trying to say light output is going to be much better/noticeable with a projector retrofit vs. H7 HID adapters. I would think the advantage of a projector retrofit is the ability to use genuine Philips D2S bulbs, plus a clear lens. But the costs are probably higher and there is more work involved so it may not be worth it. You have to decide.
E39 2003 530i: SP, CWP, PP, Manual, Sunshades, Split folding rear seats, 17" Style 42s
E28 1987 535is: Manual, Bilstein HDs, 16" Style 5v2 (from e38)[Sold]
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:30 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
These may be of use:
- Headlight plastic polishing & refinishing DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:06 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
I have one set like in new condition
PM me


Last edited by champaign777; 01-04-2013 at 09:09 PM.
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