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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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  #1  
Old 09-24-2014, 03:50 AM
E39Freak's Avatar
E39Freak E39Freak is offline
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Location: Sunland, CA
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Mein Auto: 1998 Alpine White 528i
Need Help Identifying The Culprit

I have a '98 528i that has been converted from halogen to non angel eye xenons. The xenons have been in for a little over 4 years, and the ballasts (original BMW) have been on there the same length of time, however they were purchased used, not new.

Trying to figure out if the problem is the ballasts,the igniter unit, bulbs or LKM/LCM (lighting control module)

Here is what happened:

About a month and a half ago, I got into my car & got ready to drive to work. I work nights.

I turned on my headlights, and while the driver side one turned on right away, the passenger side flickered and went out. I turn off the lights and turn them back on, and it does the same thing. On the third try they both come on and stay on. Never happened again.....until last night.

But this time it was the driver side one that flickered off. After trying numerous times, it would not come on. I was on my "lunch break" an hour ago so I went down to my car to take a closer look since the parking lot is well lit. I sat in the car, turned it on and turned on my headlights. Now they BOTH flicker on for a sec and then go out. The only lights that stay on are my corners.

I unhooked the cover that connects to the xenon headlights and cleaned them in case there was a bad connection and put them back on, and I checked the connections to see if they were loose (they weren't) but still no change.
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Last edited by E39Freak; 09-24-2014 at 04:26 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2014, 10:42 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Sounds like bad ballasts, but search the E39 best links Stickies at the top of the home page for more info.

BTW, the ballast IS the ignitor.
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Last edited by edjack; 09-24-2014 at 10:44 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2014, 11:50 AM
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Dking078 Dking078 is offline
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,342
Mein Auto: 2003 BMW 540i
I kinda want to say ballast. When mine went out it was a flicker...flicker...dead.

I would try and find a used ballast (maybe borrow a known working one) and see if the problem persists.
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Last edited by Dking078; 09-29-2014 at 05:19 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2014, 03:50 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
theres really only 2 things... ballast or bulbs...
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  #5  
Old 09-24-2014, 10:48 PM
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E39Freak E39Freak is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 Alpine White 528i
Thanks guys. Both lights are kaput as of 15 minutes ago. I ordered new ballasts online and they should arrive by Friday. After what dking078 said, which is exactly how mine went, I have a feeling they are the problem. When I got them they were off a salvaged 540 so who knows how much life they had left in them, but they lasted 4 yrs.

I'll let you guys know how it turns out.
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:34 PM
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E39Freak E39Freak is offline
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Location: Sunland, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 Alpine White 528i
BAM! back up and running. Bad Ballasts were the culprits. Easy swap that took me about 10 minutes. Interesting story though.....

Way back in the day when I had a guy do the conversion from halogen to Xenon, my dash indicator for burned headlamp bulbs would always be on whenever the lights were not in use and go away when I turned on the headlights. Now that I swapped out the ballasts, my dash indicator does not light up anymore regardless of whether I have the lights on or off. I ran a test by unplugging one headlight but not the other, and sure enough, the indicator lit up to show a burned bulb on the one I unplugged.

So now I'm even happier that the dash indicator works properly again.
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