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
  #101  
Old 11-02-2010, 12:05 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For the record, I found out from this thread, that there was an obscure oval shaped "dark spot" on the side reflector of the front Hella headlights as shown in the photo below from the OPs Bimmer.



My 2002 BMW 525i USA Halogen Hella headlights looked slightly differently; but they still had that 'dark spot':



Taking apart my OEM Hella post-facelift (2002 525i) headlights, I see a fiberoptic cable (FOC) ending at that point and originating as one of five cables at the angel eye bulb.


This is the angel eye bulb on the stock halogen post-facelift Hella where the five fiberoptic cables (FOCs) eminate:


Here, with the room darkened and a flashlight in the angel-eye spot, you can see the side-marker-light FOC termination point (which is on that dark spot).


Here you can count all five fiber-optic cable terminations eminating from the angel eye bulb (in this case, replaced with a flashlight). Personally, these five fiber-optic cables seem like gratuitous overkill to me as they serve (almost) no purpose except to light the two cellis-ring angel eyes and the side-marker light.



Here you see the bundle of five black fiber optic cables at the angel eye bulb opening and to it's left, the longer of the two white headlight adjusters:

Last edited by bluebee; 11-02-2010 at 12:07 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #102  
Old 11-02-2010, 12:38 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For anyone contemplating taking apart the headlights, bear in mind the OEM Hella halogen filament-bulb headlights are actually harder to disassemble than the OEM Hella xenon-arc HID headlights ... mainly because the self-leveling motor stalk in the HID headlights provides slightly more freedom of movement than the rigid ultrasonically welded solid immovable stalk of the halogens.

Here is a picture of the moveable motor-driven stalk:



This article tells you the procedure for disassembly of that motor stalk:
"6. Here comes the hard part - removing the metal plate from the plastic housing. The self-leveling servomotor has a metal rod pointing forward hat terminates in a black plastic ball. This ball fits into a plastic socket that has a tab protruding forward through the metal plate. You have to pull the socket away from the ball to get the metal plate away from the plastic housing. I tried prying along the middle with a long flathead screwdriver but was unsuccessful with this approach. Ultimately I threaded a piece of long nylon rope behind the metal housing between the high and low beams, gathered the ends into my fist and pulled -- HARD -- to finally pop the metal plate away from the plastic housing. I had a helper (my wife) hold the plastic housing while I did this. Pretty unnerving because I feared I would break something - but I used this approach without breaking anything for both headlamps. Heard a loud 'pop' - that was the socket being freed from the ball."

However, on my halogen projector Hellas, the stalk is immovable. Here is a view from the rear of the ultrasonically welded plate (which looks like you can twist it out, but, you can't without breaking it).


On the other end of that stalk, here is what is holding it up:


Unfortunately, for me (and many others), when I tried to remove the "glove" around the ball-end of the stalk, the flimsy ultrasonically welded plate ruptured into three additional pieces.


Also notice there is a rubber gasket around that non-self-leveling stalk on the inside of the headlamp:


Interestingly, the hole didn't look broken; just the plastic stalk base:


Here you can see where it looked like the stalk "threaded into" the hole in the back of the headlight (but it was locked solid if it was).


Here I've stuck the broken stalk back into the hole; it looks like it might be glued without detrimental effect.


As you look closely, you'll see that the three "ears" sheared off the top of the plastic knob at the base of the stalk.


This picture shows how one person unclipped that stalk from the white plastic "glove"; but bear in mind, this picture is from an OEM Hella HID headlight which has that stalk for freedom.


Anyway, one BIG MISTAKE I made was not loosening both the headlight adjuster screws BEFORE trying to disengage the non-self-leveling-motor-stalk.



Nonetheless, once I disengaged the non-self-leveling stalk, the headlight easily came apart in my hands (due to the broken headlight adjusters):


Notice that there are a few white plastic pieces that do not generally break and which must be made out of a different (obviously better) plastic than the PBT plastic adjusters themselves.



Here you see both ends of the white plastic headlight adjusters on the drivers' side light:


Here's the long adjuster BEFORE unscrewing it (which I should have done BEFORE I disengaged the non-self-leveling motor stalk).


Here you see me finally remembering to disengage the two headlight adjusters from their steel threaded adjusting rod:



Here both headlight adjusters are unscrewed from their mooring points:


So here are the parts laid out:



And, finally, after gluing together the old broken PBT headlight adjusters, here they are:


Of course, now it's time to select my options for new adjusters.

There are over twenty options listed in this thread, but the main options appear to be the following:

1. For about $5 USD in materials from Tap Plastics, I can fabricate my own headlight adjusters with a dremel tool (I bought both Delrin and HDPE)
2. For $54 USD + $10 USD shipping, I can buy a set of Delrin adjusters from Palatine on Ebay
3. For $102 USD (includes shipping from Great Britain) I can buy a set of machined aluminum adjusters on Ebay
4. For $160 USD (plus shipping) I can buy a set of aluminum adjusters from EAC Tuning in Ohio.

OPTION #4 above:


OPTION #3 above:


OPTION #2 above:


OPTION #1 above:


OPTION #0 (discussed elsewhere):
Reply With Quote
  #103  
Old 11-02-2010, 12:54 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
BTW, the Delrin adjusters are reputed to not break!

Notice you can twist them (if you force them), but apparently they resist breaking (according to the seller).

Reply With Quote
  #104  
Old 11-02-2010, 11:10 AM
hokiehigh hokiehigh is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Greenwich, CT
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 151
Mein Auto: 2003 540i MSport
Is there also a zip-tie fix? any details on how? Also how exactly do you fabricate the adjuster (option #1)?
I need a temp fix for now so I can decide which option to use for the permanent fix.
Thanks.
__________________
2003 540iA M-Sport Black/Tan
Reply With Quote
  #105  
Old 11-02-2010, 11:23 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiehigh View Post
Is there also a zip-tie fix?
Yes. Search for "zip tie" and "headlight". I remember seeing a description in one of the already referenced threads. Use two zip ties, I'm told. One around the bulb wiring and the other through that and down to anything you can grab in the engine compartment. The goal is to point the bulbs UPward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiehigh View Post
how exactly do you fabricate the adjuster
You have two options at the moment (same options i have):
1. Take out the old adjuster and simply use it as a visual template to manufacture the new one out of a cheap (75 cents each) chunk of plastic from Tap Plastics (who have offices all over the country I'm told). Or buy a mold kit (they're less than $50 at Tap Plastics) and make your own mold from your own headlight adjusters, if they're intact.

2. Wait for me to order and receive the aluminum headlight adjusters from Great Britain and for someone to make a CAD drawing of my measurements upon them. Then take those measurements to any machine shop for fabrication.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiehigh View Post
I need a temp fix for now
Either do the zip-tie trick (see above), or, do exactly what I did. I don't have a picture of it, but, inside the headlight, I stuffed a bar of metal, about a half-inch thick, under the headlamp assembly; then I put the headlight back together. It works surprisingly well to point the lights upward.

If you have any other ideas, let us know because combined tribal knowledge is what makes all these solutions possible.
Reply With Quote
  #106  
Old 11-02-2010, 11:54 AM
hokiehigh hokiehigh is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Greenwich, CT
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 151
Mein Auto: 2003 540i MSport
Bluebee, I will give it a try, thanks a lot!
__________________
2003 540iA M-Sport Black/Tan
Reply With Quote
  #107  
Old 11-02-2010, 04:54 PM
ganesht's Avatar
ganesht ganesht is offline
(oOO)\(lll)(lll)/(OOo)
Location: san diego
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,566
Mein Auto: 98 528i 5 speed
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
BTW, the Delrin adjusters are reputed to not break!

Notice you can twist them (if you force them), but apparently they resist breaking (according to the seller).

well my homemade adjusters just failed; so i ordered a set of these adjusters, just waiting to install them..
__________________
Alida:
Born: Friday, 9th January 1998
Arktissilber Metallic on Schwarz 528i/5


Fs: KAC-8103D, Kicker 08ts10l52
Reply With Quote
  #108  
Old 11-03-2010, 08:54 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by ganesht View Post
well my homemade adjusters just failed; so i ordered a set of these adjusters, just waiting to install them..
Can you post a picture of your home-made adjusters?
Also, whom did you order your adjusters from? (see options here)

Today I ordered a set of the $102 final cost, shipped from Great Britain aluminum headlight adjusters. While I was waiting, I decided to put my six dollars of Delrin and HDPE to good use.

With just a vise, a miter saw, and a 5/32" drill bit, I was shocked how EASY it was to make a pair of headlight adjusters! It took about an hour, but since I don't plan on using these adjusters, I didn't measure anything. I just eyeballed it and hacked away in straight lines. I didn't even have the headlight in front of me as it was on the vehicle.

When I placed the test pieces into the headlight itself, I was shocked how easily they threaded, how well they fit, and how easy the entire process was.

Here are a few pictures of the process so others can try it. I used up about two dollars worth of the raw material, and, for fun, I decided to also make the ball and stalk assembly (all the other fabricators used a bolt and a round cap nut).

In hind sight, I could have made the adjusters even simpler as almost all the nooks and crannies on the original PBT plastic Hella headlight adjusters serve no functional purpose.

These headlight adjusters are AMAZINGLY SIMPLE to fabricate. Trust me, if I can do it with almost no tools, you can too! Both plastics (the white Delrin and the black HDPE) were trivially easy to cut and form). Both were trivial to thread using the 10mm plastic nut (not the allen head plastic socket) on the headlight adjuster stalks.

Here is a picture of the Delrin headlight adjuster once it's threaded in place (the old adjuster is placed in front for comparison purposes). Notice you don't need much by way of geometric shape.


Here is a view of how I used the 10mm socket on the steel adjusting screw to "tap" the fabricated Delrin headlight adjuster. I placed the old Hella PBT plastic headlight adjuster on top in the position the new Delrin adjuster is (inside the headlight assembly).


Here you see a rear view of the old and new headlight adjusters with the 5/32" holes (only one of which is used).


Here is a top view of the four headlight adjusters (Delrin is white, HDPE is black).


It's important to note that almost none of the 'channels' in the original PBT plastic headlight adjusters are functionally needed. I guess Hella put them there to save on PBT plastic. I doubt weight was a restriction because these adjusters (old and new) are ridiculously light already.


If there was one area where my machining skills were lousy, it was on the ball and stalk area (remember, all I used was a saw and a vise. At one point, I toyed with a dremel tool but I really didn't use it all that much. Bear in mind, all the other fabricators listed in the options thread opted to make the ball and stalk out of a steel bolt and capnut. So, I was just having fun creating it myself. If I really tried, I'm sure it would be relatively easy to create a symmetric ball. (Note: The dimensions of the ball actually matter but the stalk doesn't matter all that much, as long as it's smaller in overall width than the diameter of the ball at the end nearest the ball.)
Reply With Quote
  #109  
Old 11-03-2010, 10:36 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For others to follow, here is how I fabricated the first (Delrin) headlight adjuster.

Using just the miter saw on the Delrin block in a vise, I cut the basic shape in about five or ten minutes simply by eyeballing the old part with the new block.


You can see that simple shapes suffice. Here I made the top a little too thin, but it works just the same since the opening in the headlight is rather large.



Here I stuck a dremel bit into the old PBT plastic adjuster so that I could mark where the screw hole goes. All parts are symmetric for both headlights; the only difference is which screw hole you use of the two.


I chose a 5/32" drill bit to drill the holes (smaller would have worked but not larger).


Of course, a drill press would have been nice but it was trivial to drill the hole to the proper depth. Notice the tape I put on the bit to mark the depth. Also notice the original adjuster has VERY FEW threads in the plastic as most of the original PBT adjuster is empty space!


Here you see the two 5/32" drill holes, only one of which is used, depending on whether it's the driver or passenger headlight. Here, the driver headlight uses the left-most hole facing in this direction.


Everyone else who fabricated their adjusters used a bolt with a cap nut on the end; but, for fun, I roughly fabricated the ball and stalk myself. Here is the only place where precision seems to matter. The round ball on the end must fit into the "glove" in the headlight projector tightly enough to engage the lock stops. For that, the ball really should be rounder than it is here but I didn't have any tools to make it rounder (plus this was just a test).


Here is a top view of the crude adjuster.


Here is a bottom view:


At this point, I decided to re-open up my headlights. Notice the black goop is still working, even though I had opened these up once a few weeks ago.


In fact, I was surprised how well these headlights were sealed, given I had done nothing (adding nothing) to seal them up when I put them back without the adjusters (with a block of plastic underneath to hold the lights up).


The goop was amazingly strong ... but no oven was needed this time either as I worked the flathead screwdriver around the circumference a few times.


Notice the frail 10mm nut and the plastic gears meshing with the white plastic allen-head adjuster knob in this picture. Everyone says to thread the 5/32" hole using this 10mm plastic nut with a socket wrench, so that's what I did. It was amazingly easy to do as I turned the nut counterclockwise to thread the rod into the new adjuster.



This looks like the only semi-critical step. The "ball" on the stalk has to fit nicely into the glove that catches it and holds it tightly. So, for that reason, you need to make a half circle; but it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to catch so that it can both push and pull. Here, had I used a capnut on a bolt, it would have been cleaner. But, this was just a test so it works fine for that.


Here you can see the newly fabricated headlight adjuster in place on the screw as I turn the other end with a 10mm socket wrench. I guess you have to make sure you don't strip the threads, so, when you see it bottoming out, stop turning counterclockwise!


Notice almost none of the "indentations" actually matter. The final functional geometric shape is actually very simple. Notice the little "landings" that guide the headlight adjuster in this picture.


Here you see the 10mm socket wrench on the 10mm plastic nut. You could use the white allen sockets but then you take a chance stripping the black gears you see in this picture as you initially thread the rod (using it as a tap). In hindsight, probably the forces were not enough to strip the black gears, but, why risk it. Use the 10mm wrench. Everyone else does.



Here you see the new adjuster almost all the way threaded down.



And here it is, threaded all the way down.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	01.JPG
Views:	1448
Size:	87.0 KB
ID:	253214   Click image for larger version

Name:	02.JPG
Views:	1429
Size:	82.2 KB
ID:	253215   Click image for larger version

Name:	03.JPG
Views:	1425
Size:	106.2 KB
ID:	253216   Click image for larger version

Name:	04.JPG
Views:	1543
Size:	139.9 KB
ID:	253217   Click image for larger version

Name:	05.JPG
Views:	1418
Size:	46.6 KB
ID:	253218  

Click image for larger version

Name:	06.JPG
Views:	1420
Size:	80.5 KB
ID:	253219   Click image for larger version

Name:	07.JPG
Views:	66
Size:	37.6 KB
ID:	253220   Click image for larger version

Name:	08.JPG
Views:	1409
Size:	99.3 KB
ID:	253221   Click image for larger version

Name:	09.JPG
Views:	1407
Size:	102.1 KB
ID:	253222   Click image for larger version

Name:	10.JPG
Views:	1408
Size:	103.9 KB
ID:	253223  

Click image for larger version

Name:	11.JPG
Views:	1394
Size:	32.1 KB
ID:	253224   Click image for larger version

Name:	12.JPG
Views:	1402
Size:	109.3 KB
ID:	253225   Click image for larger version

Name:	13.JPG
Views:	1395
Size:	95.3 KB
ID:	253226   Click image for larger version

Name:	14.JPG
Views:	1391
Size:	82.9 KB
ID:	253227   Click image for larger version

Name:	15.JPG
Views:	1398
Size:	142.8 KB
ID:	253228  

Click image for larger version

Name:	16.JPG
Views:	1392
Size:	123.6 KB
ID:	253229   Click image for larger version

Name:	17.JPG
Views:	1388
Size:	46.3 KB
ID:	253230   Click image for larger version

Name:	18.JPG
Views:	1382
Size:	92.4 KB
ID:	253231   Click image for larger version

Name:	19.JPG
Views:	1643
Size:	86.9 KB
ID:	253232   Click image for larger version

Name:	20.JPG
Views:	1379
Size:	42.6 KB
ID:	253233  

Reply With Quote
  #110  
Old 11-03-2010, 10:59 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I don't want to bore you with the same level of detail for the similar fabrication of the second adjuster (this time out of the black HDPE plastic).

I'll just show the key steps.

While the (white) Delrin block from Tap Plastics was 3/4" thick x 1 1/4 inches wide (by 7 1/2 inches long), the (white) HDPE block was 1/2" thick by 7/8" wide (by 10 1/2 inches long).

Tap Plastics had larger blocks (both wider and thicker); but I chose these sizes as the closest to the adjusters w/o me needing to change the width.



Here is the initial rough cut. Notice how crude it is because I was getting sloppy, knowing this was just a test and the novelty wore off after the first adjuster was done.


Since this adjuster was missing some pieces, I wasn't sure how long the stalk was. I don't think it was missing much so I just guessed at the stalk length. I doubt it matters a whole lot because there is plenty of length in the adjuster stalk; but it would be nice if someone measures their adjusters and reports back on the actual length (I'll know the length when I receive the $102 aluminum ones from England).


Notice the default thickness of the original $1 raw stock HDPE is almost perfect.


Again, I made the ridge a bit on the small side (dunno why I made that mistake twice) but there was still plenty of room for the 5/32" drill hole.



Also notice I did an even worse job on the stalk and ball part; but again, it just has to be close in order to work (plus this was just a test).


Here are the two final pieces, after about an hour's work with no measurement and no special tools (a vise, and a saw and a drill).


Imagine how nice they could have been had I (a) better tools, and (b) some mechanical skills.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	01.JPG
Views:	1377
Size:	87.0 KB
ID:	253234   Click image for larger version

Name:	03.JPG
Views:	1376
Size:	67.8 KB
ID:	253236   Click image for larger version

Name:	04.JPG
Views:	1377
Size:	99.0 KB
ID:	253237   Click image for larger version

Name:	05.JPG
Views:	1373
Size:	71.3 KB
ID:	253238   Click image for larger version

Name:	06.JPG
Views:	1385
Size:	122.1 KB
ID:	253239  

Click image for larger version

Name:	07.JPG
Views:	1366
Size:	88.3 KB
ID:	253240   Click image for larger version

Name:	02.JPG
Views:	1385
Size:	125.8 KB
ID:	253243  

Last edited by bluebee; 11-03-2010 at 11:07 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #111  
Old 11-03-2010, 11:45 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
When putting it back together, I realized a critical dimension to get right is the location of the hole with respect to one of the sides. This is because the adjusting screw is rigidly in place. It spins, but does not otherwise move itself.

Therefore, please note, for the longer of the two adjusters (in my case, the black HDPE outer (lateral) adjuster), the critical dimension is the distance from the wide base to the center of the hole.

In hindsight, I made my base perfectly; but my hole was slightly too high; and I made the center ridgeline too thin (it can even be wider than the original).



As for the shorter medial adjuster (which "mostly" controls horizontal movement), only the left-most hole matters for the driver side (the rightmost hole is used for the passenger side). The distance in mine was perfect; however I note that the original PBT plastic headlight adjuster has a slightly "countersunk" hole, probably to initially guide the 'tapping' screw ... so in hindsight, it would be a good idea to slightly countersink that leftmost hole.


While the medial adjuster threaded perfectly in seconds, for a few seconds, I didn't remember how the lateral adjuster went on so I put the old one back in the only position that fit properly.
Here is a picture of the original (broken) lateral adjuster in place (at left).


Here is the new (black HDPE) lateral adjuster in place (again, at left). It's a tight fit only because I made the 5/32" hole slightly too far from the base and I made the top "ridge" slightly too thin (barely enough to fit the hole).


It's hard to see in the picture (black on black), but, the hole I drilled was slightly (maybe 1/32") too high from the base, so it's a tight fit.


Take these as lessons learned:
- The critical dimension for the longer (lateral) adjuster is the distance of the 5/32" hole from the flat base.
- The critical dimension for the shorter (medial) adjuster is the distance of the 5/32" hole from the side.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_0163.JPG
Views:	1385
Size:	109.1 KB
ID:	253246   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_0164.JPG
Views:	1387
Size:	117.6 KB
ID:	253247   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_0165.JPG
Views:	1372
Size:	115.6 KB
ID:	253248  

Last edited by bluebee; 11-04-2010 at 10:17 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #112  
Old 11-05-2010, 04:26 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Today, for fun, I pulled the headlight out again and snapped some pictures at angles I hadn't done before so we get a good look at how it's built.

Here is a shot of the four bulbs in the headlight:


And, I was curious how/why people want to remove the amber side plastic; it appears (as you can see below) that it would be relatively simple mechanically to remove the amber plastic (I'm not sure why but people keep asking).



In addition, I bought some 'acorn' nuts and bolts to try my hand (again) at fabricating headlight adjusters (the acorn nuts & brass bolts bring the cost from 75 cents each to about $1.50 each).


Of course, these are just experiments because I'm still waiting for the $102 machined aluminum adjusters to arrive from Great Britain.
Reply With Quote
  #113  
Old 11-15-2010, 07:26 PM
silver540it silver540it is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Peru, IN
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 105
Mein Auto: 540it
I randomly found this thread and thought that it would offer some perspective on how to adjust my headlights.....what did I really find.... something else that is broken that needs fixed
Reply With Quote
  #114  
Old 11-15-2010, 07:57 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by silver540it
how to adjust my headlights
Here, from the bestlinks thread, are the links covering how to adjust them:
- Headlight aiming DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)


Reply With Quote
  #115  
Old 11-28-2010, 10:56 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Update:

Today, with information from one of the vendors of plastic (Nylon-6) headlight adjusters, I updated the dozen options folks have used to repair their headlights. A few of these options cost less than $10 for both headlights; while most cost less than $100 for both headlights.

Almost all of this widely scattered information was compiled merely by my ability to search, read, and type; however one free solution I came up with myself which worked just fine temporarily to shore up the headlights while I waited for the $102 (includes shipping) aluminum machined headlight adjusters to arrive from England.

I simply shoved a wedge-shaped bar of metal under the headlight assembly. It worked like a charm while I waited for parts to arrive.

Reply With Quote
  #116  
Old 12-02-2010, 04:11 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
In keeping with the pictorial educational nature of this thread, I will post some pictures of my headlights in the hope that the photos will be useful to others who haven't yet taken theirs apart.

For example, in this thread, someone asked how the three-point adjusting and leveling system works in the HID headlights.

These photos of my halogen (fixed leveling point) headlights, show why I never could figure out the previous red-and-white ball-and-socket diagram when it was first posted (see post #114 above).

That's because the triangle in the diagram is a different shape in my headlights than in that diagram!

Notice the shape of the triangle of three points in this photograph of the female socket ends of the three ball-and-socket joints.

1. The leveling stalk (in the conventional Hella halogens) is permanently fixed.
2. The lateral adjuster adjusts for lateral movement mostly.
3. The medial adjuster adjusts for horizontal movement mostly.


Here is the male end of the ball-and-socket for the three leveling and adjusting points in the Hella headlights:


And here is a closeup of the ball end of the ball-and-socket joints:


You will note these pictures show the home-made (white Delrin on the top left, black HDPE on the top right) adjusters I fabricated (cost is about $7 for four adjusters, enough for both headlights).

More pictures to follow using the aluminum machined headlight adjusters.

Last edited by bluebee; 12-02-2010 at 04:15 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #117  
Old 12-02-2010, 05:56 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I ran into a snag after I put the aluminum headlight adjusters in the 2001 Hella headlights. I had opened the headlights in the hot California sun; but it's cooler now. The headlights have about an eighth to a sixteenth of an inch to go; but the black butyl adhesive in the lip seems to be more rigid than when I pulled it out.

So, searching for the oven temperature for the 2001 headlights, I found this Z3 post which says:
"I heated them for about 10 or 15 minutes on 200F (using fanbake to circulate the air)."

So, that's what I'll do when I get a chance (gotta run to the mall right now).

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	hella_headlight_adjuster.jpg
Views:	2610
Size:	118.9 KB
ID:	257011  
Reply With Quote
  #118  
Old 12-03-2010, 01:58 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Well, after 18 months, starting from not even knowing where the headlight adjusters were, I can now say I've learned a lot, thanks to you.

Today I baked my headlight (for the first time) to put it back together (the last 1/16th of an inch anyway) and put it back into the 2002 BMW 525i.

I made a few mistakes, and, after first installing them ... I then had to remove the headlights to get the side-marker light in place first; then again, I had to remove them because I forgot to put on the top rubber gasket and the bottom painted plastic trim; and then a third time because it's easier to replace the halogen bulbs if the headlights are out of the car a few inches.

Anyway, on the next dark moonless night, I'll adjust them too - but for now, I can't wait for dark so I can see how they work by default in the middle adjuster position.

More details to follow since we have to make a CNC diagram of the machined European aluminum adjusters that I finally settled on.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	oven_baking.JPG
Views:	1603
Size:	104.4 KB
ID:	257083  

Last edited by bluebee; 12-03-2010 at 02:00 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #119  
Old 12-03-2010, 02:13 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
BTW, notice that all these various shapes work just fine inside the headlights!

What matters for the longer (lateral) adjuster (which adjusts horizontal movement 'mostly') measurements are:
- the distance of the screw hole to the 'start' of the base
- the total length

Not much else matters greatly. For example, the aluminum adjuster has a vastly different shape and it works just fine. My crudely fabricated HDPE attempt also had a simpler shape than the original PBT plastic and it would have worked fine except I messed up the distance of the screw hole to the start of the base.

For the shorter medial (vertical motion) adjuster, what matters is:
- the hole position relative to the bottom of the base & longitudinal centerline
- the width of the base (can be about 1/16th larger than OEM but no larger)
- the height to the ledge (can be smaller than OEM but no larger)
- the width of the top ridge (again, can be smaller, but no larger than OEM)
- the total length

All the rest of the measurements are not important. In fact, my crudely fabricated Delrin adjuster worked just fine and the European machined aluminum replacement adjuster is shockingly different in shape from the Hella OEM molded PBT thermoplastic adjusters.

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	various_shapes.JPG
Views:	1674
Size:	81.6 KB
ID:	257084  
Reply With Quote
  #120  
Old 12-03-2010, 02:19 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
As an additional datapoint, the first threading of the brand new machined aluminum or newly fabricated plastic adjusters turned out to be no big deal.

For the longer lateral ('mostly' horizontal motion) adjuster, I counted 25 turns of my 10mm socket wrench to fully thread the European machined aluminum adjuster and 30 turns on the PBT plastic OEM adjuster (I didn't count the turns on my crudely fabricated Delrin adjuster).

For the shorter medial ('mostly' vertical motion) adjuster, I counted 22 turns and 25 turns on the aluminum and OEM PBT adjusters respectively, to fully seat them.

When I assembled the headlights, I needed the adjusters in a position, so, I left them almost fully extended when assembling with just a few threads biting; and then brought them half way (10 turns) with a 10mm socket wrench for placement into the vehicle during the day.

I'll adjust them at night, of course.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	headlights_going_back_in.JPG
Views:	1296
Size:	69.0 KB
ID:	257085  
Reply With Quote
  #121  
Old 12-03-2010, 02:58 PM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
Search, Read, THEN Ask
Location: "Empire State" of Mind
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,614
Mein Auto: 98 540i M62 3.15
Donna, Think you should submit this to the University of BMW as your thesis for an honorary doctorate degree!
Reply With Quote
  #122  
Old 12-03-2010, 03:18 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvsgene View Post
University of BMW as your thesis


Two things drive me.
1. I hate being styupid, and,
2. I like to give back to the team if I can.

I think, in this case, I can give back to the team with newly found or conflictingly interesting knowledge.

For example, one very unexpected pleasantry was that, despite all that was said about the permanent leveling stalk needing to be glued back into place, all I did was twist it about 10 degrees clockwise to seat it, and it seems to have seated fine.

So, despite what others have said, in my 2001 Hella's anyway, my permanent stalk seems to simply be twisted in; and it seems to simply twist out.

Of course, since I had previously broken the twist tabs, I had to glue them back on; so, I hope they hold up for the duration. Time will tell.

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	stalk_post_solid.JPG
Views:	1300
Size:	68.4 KB
ID:	257097   Click image for larger version

Name:	stalk_simply_screwed on.JPG
Views:	1289
Size:	88.9 KB
ID:	257098  

Last edited by bluebee; 12-03-2010 at 03:21 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #123  
Old 12-03-2010, 04:00 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
The red drawn diagram always confused me. Now I know why.

My 2001 Hella halogen headlights look nothing like that red diagram. The triangle of the two adjusters and the one ball-and-socket fixed point is different.

I didn't do a very good job with the diagram, but, see this blue diagram of what mine looked like.

Others better at CAD can draw a better diagram but the point is that the two medial points are almost vertically in line; while only the upper lateral point is off to the side.

You can see from the blue diagram (but not the red diagram) that:
- The lateral (outside) adjuster moves the focus 'mostly' laterally (horizontally)
- The medial (inside) adjuster moves the focus 'mostly' vertically

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	e39adjusteraw5.png
Views:	1590
Size:	318.7 KB
ID:	257102  

Last edited by bluebee; 12-03-2010 at 04:02 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #124  
Old 12-03-2010, 04:31 PM
dms540i's Avatar
dms540i dms540i is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 540
Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540iA
Bravo!
__________________
BMWCCA#401441
Reply With Quote
  #125  
Old 01-22-2011, 11:42 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,273
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Can someone just show me where on this pic of my 2002 E39 the headlight adjustments are?

For the record, this picture probably best shows the answer (as a summary).


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 03:24 PM.


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