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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

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  #51  
Old 08-12-2009, 08:32 PM
TMacGasman TMacGasman is offline
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after reading above, my 2000 528i H-7 halogen headlight prob might have been answered. Priced new aftermarket headlight assem's @ $190 each, & factory replacements were a joke approachin $450 each.....ouch, but it IS a Bimmer. Aim is low, & both sides are shaky. Sounds like both vert & horiz adjusters on both sides are shot. Wanted some pointers on removing the headlight assembly, since ALL of the plastic is ridiculously brittle....really don't want to unknowingly move something I don't need to for fear of snappin it. Anyone have simple instructions on not only removing the headlight assem, but also accessing/replacing the adjusters?? Just didn't want to touch any part that doesn't need touching, don't ya know. Appr any help...........
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  #52  
Old 08-12-2009, 09:29 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...=adjusters+diy
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  #53  
Old 08-12-2009, 11:10 PM
TMacGasman TMacGasman is offline
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Stig,
thx for the direction. I think this is what I need. Appr it
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  #54  
Old 08-23-2009, 11:47 PM
Alexbenz Alexbenz is offline
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ok gotta quick question.....

i recently bought the metal adjusters and swaped them out and right drivers side is fine, my passenger side was a bit low, so i started to adjust the inner knob and the beam started to go up but then just fell and now it won't go back up? any clue as what happened?
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  #55  
Old 08-24-2009, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexbenz View Post
ok gotta quick question.....

i recently bought the metal adjusters and swaped them out and right drivers side is fine, my passenger side was a bit low, so i started to adjust the inner knob and the beam started to go up but then just fell and now it won't go back up? any clue as what happened?

Just a thought....but when I replaced mine w/ the aluminum ones the aluminum socket ball that goes into the plastic piece on the headlight was loose compared to the OEM plastic socket ball. If you adjusted it even a little bit the alum. adjuster popped out of the plastic piece and the entire chrome trim that holds the projector and has the high beam reflector just hung there because there was no support from the adjuters.

I had to use some alum tape and make some thin shims so the ball didnt pop out of the plastic socket. Thats probably what happened to yours.
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  #56  
Old 08-24-2009, 03:03 AM
Alexbenz Alexbenz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
Just a thought....but when I replaced mine w/ the aluminum ones the aluminum socket ball that goes into the plastic piece on the headlight was loose compared to the OEM plastic socket ball. If you adjusted it even a little bit the alum. adjuster popped out of the plastic piece and the entire chrome trim that holds the projector and has the high beam reflector just hung there because there was no support from the adjuters.

I had to use some alum tape and make some thin shims so the ball didnt pop out of the plastic socket. Thats probably what happened to yours.
so do i need to open them again to fix this problem?
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  #57  
Old 08-24-2009, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexbenz View Post
so do i need to open them again to fix this problem?
Probably....if you cant adjust them back up more than likely something is wrong internally.
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  #58  
Old 08-24-2009, 12:06 PM
Alexbenz Alexbenz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
Probably....if you cant adjust them back up more than likely something is wrong internally.
thanks man, i will have to check it out. do you have any pics of how you taped them up?
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  #59  
Old 08-24-2009, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexbenz View Post
thanks man, i will have to check it out. do you have any pics of how you taped them up?
I didnt really tape them...I just cut strips of aluminum tape and squeezed them into the plastic part to use as a little friction.

I'll take a pic when I get home in a few hrs. and post it up for you.
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  #60  
Old 08-24-2009, 12:23 PM
Alexbenz Alexbenz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
I didnt really tape them...I just cut strips of aluminum tape and squeezed them into the plastic part to use as a little friction.

I'll take a pic when I get home in a few hrs. and post it up for you.
great, thanks man
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  #61  
Old 08-24-2009, 03:47 PM
Alexbenz Alexbenz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
I didnt really tape them...I just cut strips of aluminum tape and squeezed them into the plastic part to use as a little friction.

I'll take a pic when I get home in a few hrs. and post it up for you.
i tried to mess around with them today and the adjuster feels like it's poped out, cause i can raise the beam by grabbing the headlight bulb itself...
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  #62  
Old 08-24-2009, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexbenz View Post
i tried to mess around with them today and the adjuster feels like it's poped out, cause i can raise the beam by grabbing the headlight bulb itself...

Yeah thats it then. Heres a pic....I used some aluminum tape as a shim in the empty hole....both adjusters have the same hole so shim both adjusters just in case. When you put the shim it, it puts pressure on the tab thats holding the aluminum ball into the socket.


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  #63  
Old 08-24-2009, 04:25 PM
Alexbenz Alexbenz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
Yeah thats it then. Heres a pic....I used some aluminum tape as a shim in the empty hole....both adjusters have the same hole so shim both adjusters just in case. When you put the shim it, it puts pressure on the tab thats holding the aluminum ball into the socket.


do i need to use aluminum tape or would duct tape work? also do i need to shove it in there? i didn't do the work to install the metal adjusters...
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  #64  
Old 08-24-2009, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexbenz View Post
do i need to use aluminum tape or would duct tape work? also do i need to shove it in there? i didn't do the work to install the metal adjusters...

Yeah you can use duct tape....or any tape or thin cardboard like from a ceral box.

You want it pretty tight so it puts pressure on the tab. If its not putting enough pressure on it, the aluminum ball could pop back out over a hard bump etc. It took me a couple of tries to get the shim to the right thickness.
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  #65  
Old 08-24-2009, 08:34 PM
Alexbenz Alexbenz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
Yeah you can use duct tape....or any tape or thin cardboard like from a ceral box.

You want it pretty tight so it puts pressure on the tab. If its not putting enough pressure on it, the aluminum ball could pop back out over a hard bump etc. It took me a couple of tries to get the shim to the right thickness.
gotcha, thanks man!!!! i will try it and report back
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  #66  
Old 02-13-2010, 11:20 AM
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Cross reference here and here ... and a repeat of where to get the aluminum headlight adjusters here.

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  #67  
Old 04-01-2010, 10:35 PM
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A friend just called asking about the aluminum headlight adjusters for his 1998 E39 ... I can't find 'em.

Am I right that, for my USA 2002 E39 525i, I can get (per side):
- $500 Hella OEM headlights
- $275 Aftermarket DEPO/DJAuto headlights
- $165 Aluminum adjusters (both sides, must open sealed lights)
- $85 Plastic adjusters (each side, must open sealed lights)

But, for his USA 1998 E39 528i, the choices seem to be different (per side):
- $500 Hella OEM headlights
- $275 Aftermarket DEPO/DJAuto headlights
- Aluminum adjusters are not available ???
- $12 Plastic adjusters (per side, do not need to open sealed lights???)

Is this a correct assessment of the best choices available to fix broken headlights?


REFERENCES: (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
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File Type: pdf E39 Headlight Adjusters Replacement DIY #1.pdf (362.5 KB, 157 views)
File Type: pdf E39 Headlight Adjusters Replacement DIY #2.pdf (142.8 KB, 130 views)
File Type: pdf E39_Headlight_FAQ.pdf (631.3 KB, 168 views)
File Type: pdf http_bimmerfest.com_t_3404461_5.pdf (139.9 KB, 141 views)
File Type: pdf http_bimmerforums.com_t=1398704.pdf (704.6 KB, 217 views)
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File Type: pdf http_www.odometergears.com_bmw.pdf (281.5 KB, 278 views)
File Type: pdf http_www.odometergears.com_subpages_E39HLFAQ.pdf (15.4 KB, 169 views)
File Type: pdf http_bimmerfest.com_t=179156.pdf (373.1 KB, 120 views)

Last edited by bluebee; 04-01-2010 at 11:03 PM.
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  #68  
Old 04-02-2010, 08:49 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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The reason there are no aluminum parts for the old lights is you can get adjusters for the 97-2000 lights by BMW part number 63120027924. Pound that number into the search box on the EAC site if you need adjusters for the old lights.

no one is going to pay for CNC machined parts when they can get plastic for 8 dollars a light.

The reason our aluminum parts are so popular is because it's either buy those and fix them yourself or buy a set of new Hella angel eyes or some aftermarket crap headlights.

The aluminum adjusters for the 2001+ lights are in stock on our site at the moment. If you do not see an add to cart button- here's an idea- call or email us!

We get these in lots of 10 or 20 sets. They go quickly and then we have to wait for the next batch. We will always have more in the near future though.
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  #69  
Old 04-02-2010, 10:14 AM
Mark@EAC Mark@EAC is offline
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also for you guys experiencing problems with the adjusters popping out, just wrap the ball end in a layer of tape to make it slightly bigger. You most likely were rough on the ball socket removing the old ball and now it's loose. There is no need to prop up the retainer like that. On the 03 lights that cannot be opened I snap the retainers out as it is the only way to get the old balls out since you can't open the lights. none of those guys have adjusters popping out of socket.

That retainer does not really do anything once the ball is seated fully, it is the friction of the ball itself that holds it in place.
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  #70  
Old 04-02-2010, 12:01 PM
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Id rather make a little shim to put a little pressure on the tab than wrap the ball w/ tape....to each their own.
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  #71  
Old 05-01-2010, 10:52 AM
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Question EAC Mark...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark@EACTuning View Post
On the 03 lights that cannot be opened I snap the retainers out as it is the only way to get the old balls out since you can't open the lights. none of those guys have adjusters popping out of socket.

That retainer does not really do anything once the ball is seated fully, it is the friction of the ball itself that holds it in place.
mark, I have a 2003 540iT M-Sport. I believe my driver side adjuster is broken. From your quote above, it sounds like my headlights cannot be opened up using the oven method, is that correct? How do I fix the adjusters then?
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  #72  
Old 07-22-2010, 11:07 PM
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For the record, there's a really nice headlight polishing thread here.

The DIY shows how to remove the headlights better than in this thread.

And, it contains stunning before and after pictures ...

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  #73  
Old 10-05-2010, 03:52 PM
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Speaking of adjusting headlights, Ågent99 and I teamed up to come up with the following suggested headlight-aiming procedure for the E39 Hellas:

(0) Find a wall at least 4' high abutting about 35' of level drivable ground
(1) Keep handy a flashlight and one, or better yet, two 6mm allen wrenches (remember, it's dark)
(2) Inflate tires properly, tank 1/2 full, typical driver in seat.
(3) At night, park just close enough to the wall to fit in between as you string the tape.
(4) Mark a 10' horizontal line with tape on the wall at the headlight midpoint; the result should look something like this:
----------------------------------------
(5) 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:
--+---------------------------------+--
(6) Back the vehicle until the headlights are 25 feet from the wall and perpendicular to the wall.
(7) Switch the low beam on (both high & low adjust together for each headlight).
(8) Chant "Lateral adjusters handle lateral movement; medial adjusters perform vertical movement", three or four times (or until at least the lateral:lateral part sinks in).
(9) With the 6mm allen wrench, adjust both headlight's inside (medial) adjusters such that the brightest area is about 2" below the horizontal reference tape.
(10) Then, with the 6mm allen wrench, adjust each headlight's outside (lateral) adjusters such that the bright spot is also about 2" to the right of the vertical reference tape (i.e., the plus sign) for each side respectively.
(11) As a doublecheck, switch on the high beams (the respective alignment should remain the same).
(12) The result should look something like this:
--+----------------------------------+--
-----*----------------------------------*

The asterisks above denote the final positions of the brightest points of your headlights after adjustments (ignore the hyphens with the asterisks...they were necessary for proper placement of the asterisks)


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Last edited by bluebee; 10-09-2010 at 08:07 AM.
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  #74  
Old 10-06-2010, 12:24 PM
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I did some research into the old posts (back to 2008) and it seems like the procedure listed above is still a bit wrong and needs to be honed.

So I opened a thread to clarify which of the three below is correct:
- One adjuster for vertical, one for horizontal
- Both adjusters do vertical, there is no horizontal (as stated in the diagram below)
- The adjusters are actually DIAGONAL (one is mostly vertical, the other is mostly horizontal)

Here is the thread opened to resolve that issue.

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  #75  
Old 10-06-2010, 12:53 PM
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While I'm still on this focus, I want to propose an adjustment procedure ASSUMING that DIAGONAL motion (with MOSTLY-directions) is what is actually occurring.

This proposal ASSUMES the answer to this question is "diagonal":
(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.
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Last edited by bluebee; 10-10-2010 at 10:03 PM.
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