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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 convertible and E86 Z4 coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 04-25-2013, 12:08 AM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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How to Tell What headlights you have

I have a 2007 Z4 Roadster 3.0si. Many BMWs I see have fancy HID type lights (or perhaps they are the bi-xenon?) Anyway, how do I tell what I have? Mine don't seem to have the blue-ish tint that most cars seem to have. I do a lot of night driving on back country roads, and want as much light as I can get on the road without blinding oncoming drivers.

Can I just upgrade my bulbs? Or should I consider a complete headlight upgrade? Lots of kits out there--any I should consider?

You guys have been great so far with all my questions. Thanks for the patience.
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  #2  
Old 04-25-2013, 05:37 PM
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SD Z4MR SD Z4MR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triaker View Post
I have a 2007 Z4 Roadster 3.0si. Many BMWs I see have fancy HID type lights (or perhaps they are the bi-xenon?) Anyway, how do I tell what I have? Mine don't seem to have the blue-ish tint that most cars seem to have. I do a lot of night driving on back country roads, and want as much light as I can get on the road without blinding oncoming drivers.

Can I just upgrade my bulbs? Or should I consider a complete headlight upgrade? Lots of kits out there--any I should consider?

You guys have been great so far with all my questions. Thanks for the patience.
My first thought when reading the title was that you were going to tell us how to determine what headlights we had (if we didn't already know). Now I realize that you are asking us what kind of headlights that you have.
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2013, 06:15 PM
sinbad4 sinbad4 is offline
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Xeon's have self leveling feature. When you turn them on; you will here a buzz and light will oscillate up and down for a second.
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2013, 10:06 PM
Psygnosis Psygnosis is offline
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If this doesn't look familiar, you don't have Xenon lights

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  #5  
Old 04-26-2013, 09:45 AM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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Mine aren't that blue-white color. I noticed when I bought the car that the Carfax said it had been in a minor accident. So perhaps they didn't put bi-xenon lights back in? Or maybe it just came with halogens. So I guess I need to buy the bi-xenon lights and a ballast for each? Or is this even possible?
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  #6  
Old 04-26-2013, 11:57 AM
keeton keeton is offline
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To see if your Z4 was equipped with xenon's, type the last 7 letters/digits of your VIN into this VIN decoder: http://www.rubmw.ru/vincode/eng/

Retrofitting xenon's with factory parts will be hella-spensive.
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2013, 02:25 PM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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OK, so I went to the VIN decoder, but it didn't mention headlight type in the listing. So...if I want to upgrade my headlights to xenon or HID, what's the best route???? I want something that looks factory, not like some high school kid putting bright bulbs in headlights that blind everyone....
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2013, 12:42 PM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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Spoke to a BMW dealer today. He confirmed my Z4 shipped with halogen lights. Sigh. So now looking at a Phillips conversion kit and an MTEC conversion kit. Difference in price is about $30. So for less than $300, I can have HID lights, but not the fancy schmancy lights that come from the factory (that option is still available, but will set me back $3,000 so it's definitely out of the running). Anyone have the MTECs on your Z4? If so, do you like them? If you don't have them, what kit did you go with instead? Wanting to get on this project ASAP! Thanks.
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  #9  
Old 04-29-2013, 03:44 PM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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Found another BMW owner who made the switch from halogen to MTEC xenons and they loved them. So I bit the bullet and spent $265 and should have them by the weekend. As soon as I do, I'll post pics showing before and after and maybe a few installation shots for those wanting to do the same thing! My first Z4 project!
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  #10  
Old 04-30-2013, 12:05 AM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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So I now know I have separate high beams and low beams on my Z4. But every listing I search for bulbs lists the low beam as an H7, and the high beam as an H7 as well. Are they the same output just different housings? Or are they different wattages? What do people suggest for the high beam bulb (the low beams of course will be HIDs)
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2013, 01:42 PM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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Headlight conversion kit finally arrived after being re-routed to Kansas City for 4 days (you know that the direct route from California to Seattle is by going LA to Seattle, then Seattle to Kansas City, then back to Seattle, right?). Will do the install tomorrow if all goes well. Will take a bunch of pictures and hope to provide a step by step process so others can follow my lead (isn't that a scary thought!)
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2013, 05:41 PM
wilem wilem is offline
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Cool deal. Photo them side by side. Sounds like you got a good eal on the new ones. Are they sled leveling.....under acceleration or braking they stay pointed at the same spot on the road. Really cool.
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  #13  
Old 09-17-2013, 06:58 PM
wakejunky wakejunky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triaker View Post
Headlight conversion kit finally arrived after being re-routed to Kansas City for 4 days (you know that the direct route from California to Seattle is by going LA to Seattle, then Seattle to Kansas City, then back to Seattle, right?). Will do the install tomorrow if all goes well. Will take a bunch of pictures and hope to provide a step by step process so others can follow my lead (isn't that a scary thought!)
Forgive me for Bumping into few month old thread, but how did your kit work out? Have the same dilemma. The headlight on my Z4 are nothing like my previous E46 M3 xenons...
Feedback appreciated!!
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2013, 09:16 PM
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wildag wildag is offline
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Tracker to answer your questions...

1) E85 Z4s were manufactured with HID headlights as an upgrade option from Halogens.

2) HIDs have extra components - like a ballast. Those components are not present on halogen cars. So the HIDs are not just different bulbs.

3) In the Z4, like many other modern cars, the high and low beam bulbs on halogen cars are the same. They simply have different reflective sheilding around them. In the Z4, the low beam lamp has a cap over the top. This eliminates the possibility of putting a high beam bulb in a low beam lamp - reference all the cars running around with one really bright light on one side.

4) In the Z4 with HID headlights, only the outer lamp is active. The inner lamp has no bulb - it's just for aesthetics. The high/low beam is controlled by switching a LCD panel cover over the single HID light source.

5) HID "bulbs" are generally very expense. A true HID upgrade would cost somewhere around $3k for the bulbs, ballasts, wiring, etc.

6)The blue light from HIDs is actually a undesired side effect from the light generating source - manufactures have been trying to remove the blue light from HIDs. But some aftermarket bulb manufacturers have been providing blue tinted halogen bulbs as a "look like the expensive cars" upgrade. In reality, blue light is much less effective than yellow or near white. I would recommend staying away from blue tinted bulbs of any sort.
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  #15  
Old 09-17-2013, 11:02 PM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildag View Post
Tracker to answer your questions...

1) E85 Z4s were manufactured with HID headlights as an upgrade option from Halogens.

2) HIDs have extra components - like a ballast. Those components are not present on halogen cars. So the HIDs are not just different bulbs.

3) In the Z4, like many other modern cars, the high and low beam bulbs on halogen cars are the same. They simply have different reflective sheilding around them. In the Z4, the low beam lamp has a cap over the top. This eliminates the possibility of putting a high beam bulb in a low beam lamp - reference all the cars running around with one really bright light on one side.

4) In the Z4 with HID headlights, only the outer lamp is active. The inner lamp has no bulb - it's just for aesthetics. The high/low beam is controlled by switching a LCD panel cover over the single HID light source.

5) HID "bulbs" are generally very expense. A true HID upgrade would cost somewhere around $3k for the bulbs, ballasts, wiring, etc.

6)The blue light from HIDs is actually a undesired side effect from the light generating source - manufactures have been trying to remove the blue light from HIDs. But some aftermarket bulb manufacturers have been providing blue tinted halogen bulbs as a "look like the expensive cars" upgrade. In reality, blue light is much less effective than yellow or near white. I would recommend staying away from blue tinted bulbs of any sort.
In principle, a simple "halogen to HID" comversion should cost around USD 100 (two ballasts, 2 sockets and two bulbs). The HID bulbs used to cost around USD 250 each some years ago but nowadays they are sold by the kilogram. The problem with such a simple conversion is that the HID bulb (usually D2S) is geometrically different than any halogen bulb so it is not at all in the focal point of the halogen headlight's optics. This has, in most cases, quite bad consequenses - blinding everybody around is one of them. Even if one changes the reflector so the optical part of the excercise is settled, the electrical problems remain - the electronics of the car is "confused" by the presence of a ballast instead of the ohmic halogen lamp and activates the "faulty bulb" light on the dashboard. There are many HID conversion kits on the market that mimic the ohmic characteristics of the halogen lamps so they don't trigger this alarm so they are the better option.
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  #16  
Old 09-17-2013, 11:20 PM
Triaker Triaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wakejunky View Post
Forgive me for Bumping into few month old thread, but how did your kit work out? Have the same dilemma. The headlight on my Z4 are nothing like my previous E46 M3 xenons...
Feedback appreciated!!
While my HID adaptation is not like the true xenons found in some Z4s, I have to say I am very pleased with my retrofit MTECH HID headlights. They are fantastically white, focused, and very bright. To date, once I properly aligned them, I have not had anyone flash their lights at me. The only downside is they make my "white" halogen high beams and fog lights look yellow in comparison. I am very happy with these lights. I wish they made them for my Z71 Avalanche!
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  #17  
Old 06-29-2014, 11:28 PM
y2k_o__o y2k_o__o is offline
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When I look at the transparent glass of the headlight
DRL says H7
low beam says D2S

Does that mean I have HID for low-beam?
I have a 03 Z4 2.5i
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  #18  
Old 06-30-2014, 03:18 AM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y2k_o__o View Post
When I look at the transparent glass of the headlight
DRL says H7
low beam says D2S

Does that mean I have HID for low-beam?
I have a 03 Z4 2.5i
Yes, it does. D2S is a HID bulb for spherical lens lights (hence the "S" in the end) and D2R is a HID bulb for reflector lighs (hence the "R" in the end). Both are the same but D2R has a small metallic foil attached to part of the bulb in order to block undesired beams.
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