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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)

E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-10-2015, 01:11 PM
CJKCyclone CJKCyclone is offline
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Mein Auto: '10 528i xDrive, 07' 997S
Wires fried inside headlight/angel eye

I got a warning that my left side halo was out. When I went to change the bulb, the grey plastic housing was melted and one of the wires was fused to the bulb housing itself. I couldn't even pull it apart. It appears there was a short of some kind due to the wire being exposed from the insulation around it.

My car is a 2010 and is still under CPO. What are the chances CPO will cover this? If they won't, should I look to see if the wires can be snipped and fused to good wires and new grey connector?

Anyone with any history on this issue?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2015, 01:21 PM
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txag_530i txag_530i is offline
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It should be covered. Take it in and make them fix it. The wiring in the headlight assemblies for these cars is just crap.
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2015, 01:25 PM
CJKCyclone CJKCyclone is offline
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I should add that when I jiggled the wires, the bulb came back on. So, there is still power going through the wires. It seems to me that even a novice electrician could fix this...I'm am not even a novice, however.
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2014 Subaru Forester Limited (Wife's car)
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Highlights (some lowlights) from the Past:

2009 Audi A3 2.0T S-Line Quattro - APR stage I
2008 Audi A3 S-Line
2006 Audi A4 Avant
2003 Mazda 6s
2002 Toyota 4Runner
2001 Audi A4 1.8T Sport Quattro
1997 Lexus ES300
1996 Nissan Altima
1991 Geo Storm Wagon
1993 Geo Tracker
1986 GMC S-15 Jimmy

2007 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special - VRSCDX
2002 Mariah SX19 Boat
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2015, 03:08 AM
SuperBright SuperBright is offline
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the american summer in some states is enough to cause the plastic sheathing to become brittle... it should most definitely be covered under cpo. I would also report it to the nhtsa because the wires can short out, just like the recall for the rear lci taillights.
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2015, 08:34 AM
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dwlink dwlink is offline
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Aside of the dealer fixing it, the only moderately simple approach is to wrap any exposed wire in quality electrical tape. The insulator quality really seems to be hit or miss as mine never became brittle and while I had my E60.
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2015, 10:05 AM
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dolfan13 dolfan13 is offline
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Well know the wiring insulation inside the e60 headlights is common problem.Insulation turns brittle and falls off if touched.Big problem when changing halo bulb.Big discussion a while back.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-2015, 10:17 AM
TX550 TX550 is offline
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Please report it to the NHTSA. We need to add more reports. If we're lucky, perhaps we can get a recall out of it.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2015, 10:27 AM
CJKCyclone CJKCyclone is offline
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Complaint has been submitted to NHTSA
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Current Garage:

2010 BMW 528i xDrive
2014 Subaru Forester Limited (Wife's car)
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Highlights (some lowlights) from the Past:

2009 Audi A3 2.0T S-Line Quattro - APR stage I
2008 Audi A3 S-Line
2006 Audi A4 Avant
2003 Mazda 6s
2002 Toyota 4Runner
2001 Audi A4 1.8T Sport Quattro
1997 Lexus ES300
1996 Nissan Altima
1991 Geo Storm Wagon
1993 Geo Tracker
1986 GMC S-15 Jimmy

2007 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special - VRSCDX
2002 Mariah SX19 Boat
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2015, 01:00 PM
CJKCyclone CJKCyclone is offline
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More to the story...

I talked to my Independent mechanic who works on my Porsche and also specializes in BMW. He found a SIB for this exact problem and said they absolutely should cover it under CPO if there is a SIB...Needless to say this guy will continue to get my business and recommendations.

European Auto House, Mequon WI. Nathaniel is the owner.

I did a quick search online and think I have found it...

http://www.autosafety.org/10040057-sib-63-03-11

I'll let you know what I find out next week.
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Current Garage:

2010 BMW 528i xDrive
2014 Subaru Forester Limited (Wife's car)
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Highlights (some lowlights) from the Past:

2009 Audi A3 2.0T S-Line Quattro - APR stage I
2008 Audi A3 S-Line
2006 Audi A4 Avant
2003 Mazda 6s
2002 Toyota 4Runner
2001 Audi A4 1.8T Sport Quattro
1997 Lexus ES300
1996 Nissan Altima
1991 Geo Storm Wagon
1993 Geo Tracker
1986 GMC S-15 Jimmy

2007 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special - VRSCDX
2002 Mariah SX19 Boat
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2015, 07:03 PM
bmwblack55 bmwblack55 is offline
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I had the same issue. Called BMWNA they told me to open complaint with NHTSA which i just did. I told them it is a safety issue. Lets see what happens, hoping to have a recall
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  #11  
Old 02-11-2015, 10:22 PM
TX550 TX550 is offline
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Push for it. The only thing going against us right now is that only the angel eyes are going out. Has anyone actually had the turn signals or headlights fail because of this?
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  #12  
Old 02-12-2015, 06:02 AM
bmwblack55 bmwblack55 is offline
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Happened to angel light twice but came right back after wires manipulation. Low beam out once Indy changed the bulb once. I turned off the 'drl' as it might pulling current all the time to lessen the damage.As mentioned reported to Nhtsa . I guess naked metal wires touching each other in headlight assembly is a fire hazard in my opinion
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  #13  
Old 02-12-2015, 09:02 AM
banglenot banglenot is offline
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Yep, it's dangerous and a fire hazard. My guess is that there are thousands of rotten light pods out there, since we're heard from multiple years and models of the problem. The problem is invisible, though. No one sees it until they open one up or have a failure.

BMW owners deserve a fix, but until there's a lot of complaints to the NHTSA, nothing will happen. And it absolutely should be covered under CPO, even though BMW is refusing to.
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  #14  
Old 02-12-2015, 11:59 PM
TX550 TX550 is offline
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The NHTSA chief has said he intends to come down hard on manufacturers and recalls in general. Hopefully this current recall culture that is running rampant can be of some help to us.
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2015, 05:33 PM
CJKCyclone CJKCyclone is offline
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Update on headlight wires...

Turns out dealer will repair the wires rather than replace entire headlight assembly. They claim the damage was caused because I had 55W bulbs instead of the 35W bulbs it is rated for. I'm skeptical but time to move on...
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Current Garage:

2010 BMW 528i xDrive
2014 Subaru Forester Limited (Wife's car)
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Highlights (some lowlights) from the Past:

2009 Audi A3 2.0T S-Line Quattro - APR stage I
2008 Audi A3 S-Line
2006 Audi A4 Avant
2003 Mazda 6s
2002 Toyota 4Runner
2001 Audi A4 1.8T Sport Quattro
1997 Lexus ES300
1996 Nissan Altima
1991 Geo Storm Wagon
1993 Geo Tracker
1986 GMC S-15 Jimmy

2007 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special - VRSCDX
2002 Mariah SX19 Boat
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  #16  
Old 02-20-2015, 12:09 AM
TX550 TX550 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJKCyclone View Post
Turns out dealer will repair the wires rather than replace entire headlight assembly. They claim the damage was caused because I had 55W bulbs instead of the 35W bulbs it is rated for. I'm skeptical but time to move on...
Show them this thread. Then ask them to prove to you and your lawyer how your modification caused wire sheathing to disintegrate.

Are they paying for it?
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  #17  
Old 02-20-2015, 05:46 AM
toga94m toga94m is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX550 View Post
Show them this thread. Then ask them to prove to you and your lawyer how your modification caused wire sheathing to disintegrate.
Not trying to cut down the seriousness of the issue here, or to defend BMW's suppliers, but using higher wattage aftermarket bulbs could definitely affect the wiring insulation. 35 watts at 12 volts is about 3 amps current. 55 watts at 12 volts is about 4.6 amps current, 50% more. Current thru wire resistance causes heat. Power = I * I * R where I is current. So if current goes up 50% = 1.5x, power goes up (1.5 * 1.5) = 2.25 times. That translates to more heat/higher insulation temperature in the wire, which accelerates deterioration of the questionable insulation.

The root cause seems to be the insulation material itself, which degrades faster than expected with heat. I've heard it linked to German environmental regulations about making things more recyclable in the future.

Take a look at where people have failures - mostly in the southern part of the US, rather than us northerners. I'm not seeing much heat under my hood this morning - it's -1F outside before I start the car. I'd be interested to see people chime in with their car paint color - if it happens mostly to the black/dark blue cars, and less on the silver/white cars, because of solar heating in addition to ambient air temperature.

CJKCyclone in Wisconsin breaks that theory - but his car is CPO, maybe it started life in Miami or Texas before moving north?
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Last edited by toga94m; 02-20-2015 at 05:48 AM.
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  #18  
Old 02-20-2015, 06:02 AM
CJKCyclone CJKCyclone is offline
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My car has spent its entire life in WI.

I think in my particular case, I may be at fault. I took some bad advice using those bulbs and should have realized that the wattage could be too high. I have too much experience with German cars. I should have known better. They are typically built to very high tolerances and usually go wrong when people try and push maintenance intervals too long or generally believe they can treat them like a Camry and will be just as reliable...basically be irresponsible. It's something I like about German cars.

So, do I think the bulbs caused the problem? Probably not. Does BMW have deniability in my case? Probably.

Regardless of my experience, there is a SIB for the issue. That wouldn't exist if BMW didn't think it was a problem with the wires.
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Current Garage:

2010 BMW 528i xDrive
2014 Subaru Forester Limited (Wife's car)
2007 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Highlights (some lowlights) from the Past:

2009 Audi A3 2.0T S-Line Quattro - APR stage I
2008 Audi A3 S-Line
2006 Audi A4 Avant
2003 Mazda 6s
2002 Toyota 4Runner
2001 Audi A4 1.8T Sport Quattro
1997 Lexus ES300
1996 Nissan Altima
1991 Geo Storm Wagon
1993 Geo Tracker
1986 GMC S-15 Jimmy

2007 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special - VRSCDX
2002 Mariah SX19 Boat
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  #19  
Old 02-20-2015, 06:32 AM
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dolfan13 dolfan13 is offline
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My first e60 545i back in 08, lots of insulation falling off.80k miles first halo stock bulb change.Now have e60 550i and afraid to even look.

Last edited by dolfan13; 02-20-2015 at 06:38 AM.
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  #20  
Old 02-20-2015, 08:01 AM
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JayDee4711 JayDee4711 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJKCyclone View Post
I did a quick search online and think I have found it...

http://www.autosafety.org/10040057-sib-63-03-11

I'll let you know what I find out next week.
Hold on! It reads: "...and the cover not being secured properly." Does moisture play a role? We wouldn't get much of that here in California. When I checked my wires maybe 2 months ago, they looked fine (~65k miles). But I had condensation in both headlights during the flash flood that we had here. [Scared]
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  #21  
Old 02-20-2015, 08:22 AM
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legend700 legend700 is offline
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I wonder how many owners with this wiring problem modded their lighting. My car originated in SoCal and is in my possession since July 2010 and I live in SC. The wiring is like new. For a while I had my AEs coded to their brightest setting, but changed them back to factory specs after becoming aware of the disintegrating insulation problem. By now, I am finding the my-AEs-are-brighter-than-yours hype a bit silly anyway.

I participated in a German E60 forum for over 3 years and the subject of rotting wires came never up, not even once. Maybe climate has something to do with it after all? Not sure. But more importantly, their cars would not pass strict German TUV inspections. Any modifications done have to be approved by that authority.

I still wish, a valid, convincing explanation were available.
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  #22  
Old 02-20-2015, 08:36 AM
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txag_530i txag_530i is offline
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My 2006 530i has spent its entire life in Houston, TX. The insulation is in terrible condition. Was it in terrible condition during the warranty period (I had the CPO warranty)? I don't know, because I didn't have any bulb failures and therefore I didn't look in the headlight assemblies.

A higher current draw and higher than design ambient conditions will definitely shorten the life of the insulation.
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  #23  
Old 02-20-2015, 09:24 AM
HPIA4v2 HPIA4v2 is offline
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I wonder if this problem is specific to pre-LCI or non-Xenon headlamps.
Cause mine is LCI with Xenon and the wirings look fine.

Just something to ponder on, most automotive wiring is spec to deal with extreme condition unlike house electrical wiring, when you park your car in the sun in Las Vegas or Arizona in summer time the inside can go to 150F easy.

BTW, there is no 55W H8 bulbs for angel eyes, what it means is the bulb suppose to produce 55W light output while drawing only 35W.
If the wing-pattern at the base of the bulb is H8, then it's 35W the box may say 55W or highr but it draws the same power of 35W. BTW, tt's a myth that one halogen mfg can do this (producing 55w on 35W power), LED is different matter.
So BMW can't claim it's the source of the problem, BUT.......
if you file one of the wing on H11 bulb and use if as your angel eyes then yes it can draw 55W, cause H11 bulb specs is true 55W. This practice is rather stupid since most modern BMW has LCM(light control module) that uses FET-transistor to drive the bulbs unlike our grandfather Oldsmobile that uses relay.

Last edited by HPIA4v2; 02-20-2015 at 09:33 AM.
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  #24  
Old Today, 01:36 PM
u290301 u290301 is online now
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angel eyes

i am new to bmw, well was new before my 545i. im so knee deep in valve cover gaskets and oil pan gaskets my angel eyes went out, so i just have the day time running lights. i have to turn on the fog lights for night time driving. i did replace the bulbs but it still says right and left side low beam malfunction. The left side comes on for a second. blinks then goes out. i read the forum but im not mechanicly inclined enough to install anything past the bulbs. Anybody else get this and if repaired what was the cost?
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  #25  
Old Today, 02:35 PM
TX550 TX550 is offline
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^
Is the wiring cracked exposing the bare copper?
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