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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #51  
Old 12-23-2011, 03:54 PM
TerraPhantm TerraPhantm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roverT View Post
Probably because no other vehicle has had a headlight issue like this? haha. And anyone who does have a defective ZKW unit may not even know as gradual change is hard to see unless compared against something that hasn't changed.
I think it depends on where you live too. I live in the middle of nowhere pretty much, and we have very little street lighting. Other areas have enough street lighting that you can often get away without headlights at all.

IMO the fact that BMW updated the projectors from plastic to metal in the E90 is pretty strong evidence that BMW knows there was a problem.
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  #52  
Old 12-24-2011, 07:00 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
IMO the fact that BMW updated the projectors from plastic to metal in the E90 is pretty strong evidence that BMW knows there was a problem.
Also, ETK used to (and may still) state that certain replacement D2S bulbs are "not for ZKW."
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  #53  
Old 07-02-2012, 05:19 PM
450ac 450ac is offline
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will a non zkw work as a replacement?
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  #54  
Old 07-04-2012, 02:06 PM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Originally Posted by 450ac View Post
will a non zkw work as a replacement?
OE headlights manufactured by AL are practically plug and play. Search here to find a wealth of information.
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  #55  
Old 07-16-2012, 08:08 AM
rbaisa rbaisa is offline
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I just sent in my complaint. My headlights are just getting terrible. I live in the middle of nowhere and I almost get better lighting from my fog-lights that my headlights.
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  #56  
Old 07-16-2012, 04:18 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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I'm seeing some of the ZKW complaints show up in NHTSA's complaint database. It's perhaps worthwhile to note that NHTSA's original investigation of the E46 tail light issue was initiated by a private citizen E46 owner...he submitted a petition to NHTSA and they accepted it:

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011...ty-tail-lamps/

Here's a rundown on current recall activity on the car:

http://www.faqs.org/car/bmw-e46-2005/

Submitting a petition to NHTSA:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/...ampaigns.print
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Last edited by pointandgo; 07-16-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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  #57  
Old 11-27-2012, 07:55 PM
briangl92 briangl92 is offline
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Infield a complaint several months ago and was never contacted in response. It would seem like this issue is a cut and dry case of a design flaw that creates a safety hazard and would therefore warrant a recall. My driver's side headlight has gotten so bad that you can see a brown haze in the projector lens when the light is on. The output is terrible.
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  #58  
Old 11-30-2012, 04:40 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Originally Posted by briangl92 View Post
Infield a complaint several months ago and was never contacted in response. It would seem like this issue is a cut and dry case of a design flaw that creates a safety hazard and would therefore warrant a recall. My driver's side headlight has gotten so bad that you can see a brown haze in the projector lens when the light is on. The output is terrible.
NHTSA won't respond to a complaint, but they should respond to a "petition." There should be sufficient details in a petition to give NHTSA something to "bite" on. Such details may include (name redacted) comments from this web sit, other web sites regarding the light problem and references to complaints already filed. NHTSA's main concern would be the safety hazards associated with the defect.

From NHTSA's web site on "petitions":

Any person may submit a petition requesting NHTSA to open an investigation into an alleged safety defect. After conducting a technical analysis of such a petition, ODI informs the petitioner whether it has been granted or denied. If the petition is granted, a defect investigation is opened. If the petition is denied, the reasons for the denial are published in the Federal Register. Similarly, a person may submit a petition requesting NHTSA to hold a hearing on whether a manufacturer has reasonably met its obligation to notify and/or remedy a safety defect or noncompliance with a Federal motor vehicle safety standard. If the petition is granted, a hearing is held to assess the matter and decide what corrective action should be taken. If the petition is denied, the reasons for the denial are published in the Federal Register.

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Aren't there any lawyers in here willing to do a little pro bono work? ;-)
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Last edited by pointandgo; 11-30-2012 at 04:43 PM.
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  #59  
Old 02-09-2013, 05:48 AM
eborgelin eborgelin is offline
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Thumbs down ZKW Reflector

Greetings from Sweden!

I can confirm that the ZKW issue exists also for European assemblies of E46 - 2003-2005 (ours was produced may 2003, first owner). In Sweden we have mandatory headlight usage (Daylight Running Lights) 24 h a day, so our ZKWs run out slightly faster. Also, replacing them is as costly as in the US, I got a quote for USD 3000 for booth sides. As we also have mandatory annual vehicle inspections (emissions and security), the headlights needs to be replaced every time you get your car fails the inspection.

Notes:
The AL assembly can be installed instead of the ZKW, one of the connectors is slightly differently placed, which means you have to stretch the cabling slightly, but you should not need to replace the cabling.. To my knowledge, only ZKW assemblies has reported the issue. My car is currently running with one headlight from each producer, no issues with the AL assembly.

A visible ZKW mark is located on the headlight glass, you do not need to lift the hood to validate assembly type. AL lights are not marked in the same way, so if you can't see the mark it is probably an AL assembly.

No recall has been announced for the Swedish market and BMW does not accept this as a warranty issue. Funny you should pay for extras to get really bad quality headlights!
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  #60  
Old 02-11-2013, 06:53 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eborgelin View Post
A visible ZKW mark is located on the headlight glass, you do not need to lift the hood to validate assembly type. AL lights are not marked in the same way, so if you can't see the mark it is probably an AL assembly.
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for letting us know that this problem is not confined to cars sold in the U.S.

One comment on the above: there has been discussion on this and other forums regarding interchangeability between AL, ZKW and possibly other brands of headlight covers. Consequently, reading the markings on the covers should not be considered a reliable method of identifying the headlight manufacturer.

We have found two ways to identify, definitively, the headlight manufacturer. One way is to look for the manufacturer's label on the top side of the assembly. The label is often hidden by the metal headlight support. The second way is to look at the projector lens; if it has a frosted appearance and a horizontal line milled across it, it's an AL projector. If the lens is crystal clear and has no line, then it's a ZKW projector.

Note: I have only worked with U.S.-spec bi-xenon headlights, so I have not been able to confirm that the Euro-spec projector lenses have the same identifying features described above. Eborgelin, since you are running one ZKW headlight and one AL headlight on your car, please let us know if the projector lenses look different.
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  #61  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:55 AM
TerraPhantm TerraPhantm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for letting us know that this problem is not confined to cars sold in the U.S.

One comment on the above: there has been discussion on this and other forums regarding interchangeability between AL, ZKW and possibly other brands of headlight covers. Consequently, reading the markings on the covers should not be considered a reliable method of identifying the headlight manufacturer.

We have found two ways to identify, definitively, the headlight manufacturer. One way is to look for the manufacturer's label on the top side of the assembly. The label is often hidden by the metal headlight support. The second way is to look at the projector lens; if it has a frosted appearance and a horizontal line milled across it, it's an AL projector. If the lens is crystal clear and has no line, then it's a ZKW projector.

Note: I have only worked with U.S.-spec bi-xenon headlights, so I have not been able to confirm that the Euro-spec projector lenses have the same identifying features described above. Eborgelin, since you are running one ZKW headlight and one AL headlight on your car, please let us know if the projector lenses look different.
I believe all Euro headlights have clear lenses w/ no line.

On the ZKW headlights, all the plugs go right into the back of the headlight; the male connectors are molded right into the plastic housing. On the ALs, the low beam and bixenon connectors go directly to the ballast, and the high beam connector connects to a bulb holder behind the highbeam bulb.

I am surprised that there still isn't a recall to date. As I mentioned above, the fact that the E90 ZKW bowls are pretty much the same design, except made of metal, should indicate that ZKW became aware of the flaw and fixed it for newer models.
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Last edited by TerraPhantm; 02-20-2013 at 10:58 AM.
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  #62  
Old 03-24-2013, 08:02 AM
Stevenluczynski Stevenluczynski is offline
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Same problem here, I submitted my complaint
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  #63  
Old 05-18-2013, 10:58 PM
Fried Chicken Fried Chicken is offline
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I just bought some OEM ZKW's and the projector bowls are completely messed up.
What are my options? Would a recall benefit me?
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  #64  
Old 05-19-2013, 07:03 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fried Chicken View Post
I just bought some OEM ZKW's and the projector bowls are completely messed up.
What are my options? Would a recall benefit me?
Recalls are usually tied to a vehicle, so unless you have the car on which the ZKWs were originally installed, you may not be eligible for a recall if one should ever be issued.
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  #65  
Old 07-16-2013, 09:15 PM
takeichi takeichi is offline
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Hi
I need the wire harness that connects the ballast to the bi xenon light bulb, it has about 4 connector
for a 2004 325i zkw.
i tried to retrofit my projector, but the wires were to brittle and started to peel off
please send me a pm if you can help me
thank you
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  #66  
Old 07-18-2013, 01:07 PM
briangl92 briangl92 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takeichi View Post
Hi
I need the wire harness that connects the ballast to the bi xenon light bulb, it has about 4 connector
for a 2004 325i zkw.
i tried to retrofit my projector, but the wires were to brittle and started to peel off
please send me a pm if you can help me
thank you
Send this guy a message, he might be able to help you out:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/member.php?u=174880
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  #67  
Old 07-18-2013, 06:50 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Some in here are surprised that there hasn't been a (NHTSA) recall, but how many have actually submitted a complaint to NHTSA's complaint database? This is necessary to capture NHTSA's attention...particularly if the lighting issue reduces "luminosity" or the intended brightness of the lights (Ref: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard - FMVSS 108).

FMVSS 108 is a complex fmvss, but includes min. "luminosity" standards as well. If this "issue" puts the lights "outside" of federal luminosity standards? You may have a case.

No lawyers in this group? A "petition" to NHTSA for this issue does not involve rocket science, and with some effort to report the facts, will put NHTSA's back to the wall as it will become a public record, and NHTSA will have to investigate and respond. Nobody's up to writing a petition? You have nothing to lose.
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  #68  
Old 07-18-2013, 07:41 PM
tachi1247 tachi1247 is online now
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Re: E46 ZKW Reflector Recall-Open NHTSA Investigation

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Originally Posted by pointandgo View Post
Some in here are surprised that there hasn't been a (NHTSA) recall, but how many have actually submitted a complaint to NHTSA's complaint database? This is necessary to capture NHTSA's attention...particularly if the lighting issue reduces "luminosity" or the intended brightness of the lights (Ref: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard - FMVSS 108).

FMVSS 108 is a complex fmvss, but includes min. "luminosity" standards as well. If this "issue" puts the lights "outside" of federal luminosity standards? You may have a case.

No lawyers in this group? A "petition" to NHTSA for this issue does not involve rocket science, and with some effort to report the facts, will put NHTSA's back to the wall as it will become a public record, and NHTSA will have to investigate and respond. Nobody's up to writing a petition? You have nothing to lose.
Shocked by this as well. I don't understand why nhtsa hasn't investigated though. Autoblog reported this week the nhtsa is investigating 2008-2009 c class sedans for tail lights that melted or smoldered and may not fully illuminate properly after 21 complaints. There are about 100 complaints on the nhtsa site for 2004 models alone and we still haven't gotten an investigation.

Obviously a petition is the only way we will get this issue resolved.

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  #69  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:04 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Originally Posted by tachi1247 View Post
Shocked by this as well. I don't understand why nhtsa hasn't investigated though. Autoblog reported this week the nhtsa is investigating 2008-2009 c class sedans for tail lights that melted or smoldered and may not fully illuminate properly after 21 complaints. There are about 100 complaints on the nhtsa site for 2004 models alone and we still haven't gotten an investigation.

Obviously a petition is the only way we will get this issue resolved.

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Sometimes it takes a little "nudge" to get things going. I've seen more than one petition from a well informed citizen, vehicle owner who provided well documented facts, that resulted in an initial investigation by NHTSA...and ultimately ended up in a recall. Such a petition will prompt NHTSA to look at the complaint database more closely. If complaints are "sufficient" they may then ask the manufacturer (BMW) to provide their own 'internal' complaints (which typically are 40X more than the online complaint datbase complaints). It can "roll" from there.
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  #70  
Old 07-19-2013, 09:59 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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You guys would be better off retro-fitting no ZKW bowls than waiting for a recall that will never come. I put Bosch projectors into my ZKW housings and swapped the ZKW lenses for the bosch lenses. It has been awesome for 1.5 years now. I did a thread on here somewhere.
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  #71  
Old 07-19-2013, 10:29 PM
tachi1247 tachi1247 is online now
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Re: E46 ZKW Reflector Recall-Open NHTSA Investigation

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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
You guys would be better off retro-fitting no ZKW bowls than waiting for a recall that will never come. I put Bosch projectors into my ZKW housings and swapped the ZKW lenses for the bosch lenses. It has been awesome for 1.5 years now. I did a thread on here somewhere.
mine haven't burned yet so I'd rather wait. Plus if it becomes a recall you can usually get reimbursed for a repair of that item so our could benefit a lot of people

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  #72  
Old 08-05-2013, 09:07 PM
Speeds5 Speeds5 is offline
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Typical BMW BS. Never do right by their customers.
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  #73  
Old 08-05-2013, 09:16 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Typical BMW BS. Never do right by their customers.
Did you register a complaint with NHTSA on their web site? No? This is the only way (except for a brave individual who'll submit a petition) that ANYTHING will get moving.
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E90 328i
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MBz W140 S320
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(unmentionables in between)
'71 AMC Javelin (4-Spd Stick on the floor)
'67 Pontiac Firebird 'cabrio' (1st car - "the leaker")
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  #74  
Old 08-06-2013, 05:15 AM
tachi1247 tachi1247 is online now
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Re: E46 ZKW Reflector Recall-Open NHTSA Investigation

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Originally Posted by pointandgo View Post
Did you register a complaint with NHTSA on their web site? No? This is the only way (except for a brave individual who'll submit a petition) that ANYTHING will get moving.
I don't think a complaint is going to do much at this point (although people should still make them). They opened an investigation into the 2009 c class for burnt taillights after 21 complaints. We're well over 100 for MY 2004 alone and it hasn't happened yet. A petition is the only thing that will get the ball moving at this point.

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