Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-17-2008, 12:11 PM
Balance1m Balance1m is offline
Registered User
Location: Northern Virginia
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 15
Mein Auto: 530i
2003 530i Sport Headlight Adjustment - How

I did a search and read the owner's manual. I have the halogen bulbs. The low beams shine too low. Thanks
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 07-17-2008, 01:04 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,160
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
There are two plastic allen screws on the top of each headlight (L & R). One (outside?) moves the low beam left or right. The other (inside) moves the lowbeam up and down. I can't remember which screw worked which direction.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-17-2008, 01:41 PM
PJB. PJB. is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ca
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,161
Mein Auto: 2000 528i (01/2000 mfg.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
There are two plastic allen screws on the top of each headlight (L & R). One (outside?) moves the low beam left or right. The other (inside) moves the lowbeam up and down. I can't remember which screw worked which direction.
The "plate" that holds the high and low beams is held on the bottom by one off-center support, and at the top corners by the adjusters. One needs to turn both screws the same amount in order to produce a purely up-and-down motion. Twisting just one side will move the lights left-and-right in additon to up-and-down.
__________________
Things for sale:
-E39 Trunk Trim Panel
-E39 Dove Gray Floor Mats
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-17-2008, 02:01 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,160
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
The "plate" that holds the high and low beams is held on the bottom by one off-center support, and at the top corners by the adjusters. One needs to turn both screws the same amount in order to produce a purely up-and-down motion. Twisting just one side will move the lights left-and-right in additon to up-and-down.
Not per Bentley (630-5) and my experience. Bentley says the 6mm outboard adjuster is for lateral movement and the inboard adjuster is for vertical movement. My experience is that the adjusters work for the low beam only. BTW, Bentley says there are horizontal knobs that will also adjust the beam but I don't recall them being there and always used the 6mm allen wrench.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-17-2008, 05:54 PM
PJB. PJB. is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ca
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,161
Mein Auto: 2000 528i (01/2000 mfg.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Not per Bentley (630-5) and my experience. Bentley says the 6mm outboard adjuster is for lateral movement and the inboard adjuster is for vertical movement. My experience is that the adjusters work for the low beam only. BTW, Bentley says there are horizontal knobs that will also adjust the beam but I don't recall them being there and always used the 6mm allen wrench.
I'm not knocking you, but the Bentley isn't always right! Here's one example of a Bentley error (8th picture):

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=835680

Now back on topic...

A while back I gutted both 1996-2000 xenons and 2001-2003 xenons and got a really good idea of how they work, found all the adjusting documents I could find, yada yada yada. There's some conflicting information and yes, the outer adjuster is MOSTLY for lateral aim and the inner is MOSTLY for vertical aim, but take a look at how I described the configuration of the adjusters and you'll see that the degrees of freedom are not purely up/down and left/right, but rather in a diagonal fashion. The light looks like the following diagram:



We're looking at the passenger's side light from the front of the vehicle. I mentioned that two adjusters are on top and there is a ball and socket joint on the bottom. However, if you look at the lights carefully you'll notice that the socket is not positioned directly under the midpoint of the line between the two adjusters; the socket is oriented closer to the inner adjuster. This is what gives the outer adjuster the ability to swivel the "plate" that holds the lights to the left or right. Being a triangular setup, any left or right adjustment via the outer adjuster will additionally move the light down or up, and by the same mechanics, any up or down adjustment of the inner adjuster will also result in some left and right movement. Both adjusters need to be turned an equal number of times to eliminate the possibility of turning the light right or left.

Within my searches I've never found a definitive document concerning left/right adjustment of the lights - only vertical and only to achieve the negative 1% slope required. The following is a technical memorandum from BMW. The wording highlighted in red should be of interest in this thread, and information put out by BMW should supercede the Bentley manual:

__________________
Things for sale:
-E39 Trunk Trim Panel
-E39 Dove Gray Floor Mats
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-17-2008, 06:50 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,160
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
PJB:
I stand corrected. Nice info. Appreciate you digging that up. Thanx!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:50 PM
PJB. PJB. is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ca
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,161
Mein Auto: 2000 528i (01/2000 mfg.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
PJB:
I stand corrected. Nice info. Appreciate you digging that up. Thanx!
Hey glad it helped. I'm going to have to double check the info in my Bentley manual. I don't think a little left/right adjustment is going to kill anybody; if you we know how the system works and we understand what's happening when turning the dials (as opposed to just reading some instructions, whether from a third party or BMW itself), then we can adjust our systems with a reasonable amount of tolerance.
__________________
Things for sale:
-E39 Trunk Trim Panel
-E39 Dove Gray Floor Mats
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-18-2008, 01:09 AM
Vadim540i's Avatar
Vadim540i Vadim540i is offline
Coole Russen
Location: Moscow, Russia
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,304
Send a message via MSN to Vadim540i
Mein Auto: e39 540i/6, Lexus GS430
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJB. View Post
I'm not knocking you, but the Bentley isn't always right! Here's one example of a Bentley error (8th picture):

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=835680

Now back on topic...

A while back I gutted both 1996-2000 xenons and 2001-2003 xenons and got a really good idea of how they work, found all the adjusting documents I could find, yada yada yada. There's some conflicting information and yes, the outer adjuster is MOSTLY for lateral aim and the inner is MOSTLY for vertical aim, but take a look at how I described the configuration of the adjusters and you'll see that the degrees of freedom are not purely up/down and left/right, but rather in a diagonal fashion. The light looks like the following diagram:



We're looking at the passenger's side light from the front of the vehicle. I mentioned that two adjusters are on top and there is a ball and socket joint on the bottom. However, if you look at the lights carefully you'll notice that the socket is not positioned directly under the midpoint of the line between the two adjusters; the socket is oriented closer to the inner adjuster. This is what gives the outer adjuster the ability to swivel the "plate" that holds the lights to the left or right. Being a triangular setup, any left or right adjustment via the outer adjuster will additionally move the light down or up, and by the same mechanics, any up or down adjustment of the inner adjuster will also result in some left and right movement. Both adjusters need to be turned an equal number of times to eliminate the possibility of turning the light right or left.

Within my searches I've never found a definitive document concerning left/right adjustment of the lights - only vertical and only to achieve the negative 1% slope required. The following is a technical memorandum from BMW. The wording highlighted in red should be of interest in this thread, and information put out by BMW should supercede the Bentley manual:

Nice info here
__________________

Jet black 1999 BMW 540i 6 MT
Black SC'd Lexus GS430
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-18-2008, 11:49 AM
Edgy36-39's Avatar
Edgy36-39 Edgy36-39 is offline
Constantly Learning
Location: Northern Virginia
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,220
Mein Auto: 1999 M3, 2002 M5
Nice info pull.

I can say first hand I raised the height of my driver side low beam by working only the innermost adjuster -- I have Xenons and the driver side was set way too low IMHO by BMW.

I'll need to find flat wall and play with the outer to make sure I didn't turn the bulb.
__________________
I LIKE OLDER BMWS, PLEASE HELP ME:
Fern Green 99 M3, Conforti Shark Software, Conforti CAI, Dinan Exhaust. Stamped LTWs, 235x40 square, OEM Hella heads, ///M Pedal Kit, Clear Corners, OEM Rear Spoiler, CD43 stereo. MRegistry listing here.
Le Mans 2002 M5, Black/Titanium, Rogue SSK, Dinan exhaust, PSS9 coilovers, Euro rotors, iPod integration. MRegistry listing here.


Last edited by Edgy36-39; 07-18-2008 at 11:54 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-08-2012, 03:35 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,480
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Out of this long set of related links from the bestlinks ...
- Headlight aiming DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & how to physically remove the BMW E39 Hella headlights (1) & how to twist out the headlight bulbs (1) (2) (3) including HIDs (1) & which stock H7 'halogen' bulbs to buy (1) (2) (3) & how to physically remove the front turn signal bulb (1) (2) (3) (4) & what front turn signal bulb to replace it with (1) & how to remove the angel eye bulb (1) (2) (3) & which stock angel-eye bulbs to buy (1) (2) (3) & how to retrofit halogen angeleye bulbs to LEDs (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to modify pre-facelift headlights to angel eyes (1) (2) (3) (4) & headlight plastic polishing & refinishing DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & replacing just the headlight lens (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & how to cross reference all light bulbs for any BMW E39 including for the headlights, stoplights, backup, blinkers, dome, vanity, side markers, licplate, parking, fog, trunk/boot, glovebox, etc. (1) & more information if you really want to know everything about broken headlight adjusters (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) & how to make your own headlight adjusters (0) (1) (2) (3) and a summary list of all your options when your headlight adjusters are broken (1) & headlight autopsy photos (1) (2) (3) & an explanation of the weird flat spot on the USA spec headlights (1) (2) & an explanation of HID versus conventional headlights and why the high beam is always a halogen H7 bulb (1) (2) (3) & the age-old argument of whether to buy aftermarket DJ Auto or Depo headlights (1) or OEM Hellas (1).

I'd think we should have all the adjustment information already detailed here:
- Headlight aiming DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

And here:
- Headlight autopsy photos (1) (2) (3)

For just one example of what's in there, here's one post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Pending results to the answer to this question ... if the answer is "diagonal", then here is my modified 12-step proposed headlight alignment procedure (please fix as needed!).

(1) Inflate tires properly, tank 1/2 full, typical driver in seat.
(2) Find a wall at least 4' high abutting about 35' of level drivable ground
(3) Obtain two 6mm allen wrenches (each headlight's two adjusters must be turned simultaneously an equal number of turns in the same direction)
(4) Find a small self-standing or clipping light to see under the hood.
(5) On a dark night, park just close enough to the wall to fit your body in between as you string the tape along the wall.
(6) Mark a 10' horizontal line with tape on the wall at the headlight midpoint; the result should look something like this:
----------------------------------------
(7) At each headlight centerpoint, mark a vertical line with tape on the wall to make a plus sign (one for each headlight center point); the result should now look something like this:
--+---------------------------------+--
(8) Back the vehicle until the headlights are 25 feet from the wall and perpendicular to the wall.
(9) Switch the low beam on (both high & low adjust together for each headlight).
(10) Wait about 1 minute as the Xenons do a calibration run which takes about 30 seconds to complete.
(11) Cover one headlight with an opaque blanket or towel so that only one light is being aimed.
(12) Chant "Lateral:lateral, Medial:vertical", three or four times (or until at least the lateral:lateral part sinks in). This is because the lateral (outside) adjuster MOSTLY moves the headlight laterally (i.e., side to side); in actuality, it moves the headlight aim diagonally, but mostly horizontally. Likewise, the medial (inside) adjuster MOSTLY moves the headlight vertically (i.e., up and down); in actuality, it moves the headlight aim diagonally, but mostly vertically.
(13) Using both 6mm allen wrenches in place on one headlight, twist both adjusters an equal number of turns in the same direction such that the brightest area moves diagonally to about 2" below the horizontal reference tape and to 2" to the right of the vertical reference tape (i.e., the plus sign) for each side respectively (the spec is 2.1 inches/52mm +/- 1.3 inches/33mm).
(14) As a doublecheck, switch on the high beams (the respective alignment should remain the same).

The result should look something like this:
--+----------------------------------+--
-----*----------------------------------*

PS: It's confusing to me how BOTH adjusters work in tandem diagonally; but that's what the BMW E39 headlight aiming instructions seem to indicate.
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms