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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 10-24-2009, 11:57 AM
CarlosCA CarlosCA is offline
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How to: Adjusting headlight lights on an E-92

I don't know if this has been done before, but I thought I'd share some knowledge on how to adjust the headlights on the newer generation 3-series cars. I am only talking vertical adjustment too. I have not figured out if there is a horizontal adjustment, but mine seem to be okay there, so why mess with it?

I just bought my 07 328 and immediately noticed the headlights were aimed very low. In fact, they were lighting up a small area just a few feet in front of the car, but it was dark beyond that. Not good, especially here in rural SC.
Yes, I could have taken it to the dealer, but I've been working on cars for over 25 years and would rather do it myself and learn something in the process.
So, let's get started. The first thing I had to do was determine where the adjustment is. Fortunately, BMW made the adjustment hardware as obvious as daylight. The adjustment screws look like knurled knobs with an Allen head and a cross-tip head further down.


Using a 6mm wrench, rotate the knob as necessary to bring the headlight(s) up or down. The threads must be very fine too because it will take several revolutions of the knob to get the headlights to move.


Here are pics of both sides of the car to show where the knobs are relative to some reference points. The wrenches are in knobs in these pics.



Now the problem is to figure out where to set the headlights to. I tried a couple of settings before coming up with something that would give me excellent vision and would not result in constant flashing from oncoming vehicles. What worked for me - and it may be different for you - is to set the height of the light projection to 25 inches at 4 feet. I set up a card table 4 feet from the center of the bumper and adjusted the height of the center of the beam on each side to 25 inches above the ground.


Last edited by CarlosCA; 10-24-2009 at 12:00 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2009, 01:35 PM
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Grentz Grentz is offline
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Interesting. Do you have Xenons? I would guess not as Xenons are supposed to be self leveling (that is the up down motion they do when turning on) to compensate for different weights in the car. Remember as the car is weighed down it will effect the light beam.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2009, 02:32 PM
CarlosCA CarlosCA is offline
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Yes, they are Xenons and they do adjust. Even if they do self-level, there has to be an initial adjustment though. Think of it this way...if there was no need to adjust them, why would they have adjustment knobs? I have already experimented by having the family sit in the back and the headlights do level to maintain whatever they are adjusted to.
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:39 PM
MiPo MiPo is offline
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Just curious, what were they set before? I do notice they don't light up very far, but have been reluctant to change fearing I'd blind the person in front of me, how did you manage to determine a good height for it? Thanks a ton!
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2009, 02:46 PM
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Grentz Grentz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlosCA View Post
Yes, they are Xenons and they do adjust. Even if they do self-level, there has to be an initial adjustment though. Think of it this way...if there was no need to adjust them, why would they have adjustment knobs? I have already experimented by having the family sit in the back and the headlights do level to maintain whatever they are adjusted to.
Makes sense.
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2009, 02:58 PM
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ProfessorCook ProfessorCook is offline
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Great post. Thanks.

I've noticed that my left headlight is set lower than the right and I'm sure this is on purpose. If I get a chance, I'll get a picture of how mine are set. My car is a January build and was built in Germany.
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2009, 03:03 PM
caradd caradd is offline
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Usually the passenger side light is adjusted higher. Yours look even. Thanks for the write-up
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2009, 03:17 PM
CarlosCA CarlosCA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiPo View Post
Just curious, what were they set before? I do notice they don't light up very far, but have been reluctant to change fearing I'd blind the person in front of me, how did you manage to determine a good height for it? Thanks a ton!
Unfortunately, I did not measure them beforehand, but it required about 30 full rotations to bring them up to 25". They were ridiculously low to the point where I was concerned about driving at night. Let's face it, we know when something isn't quite right and I knew the headlights were way off.

I live in a cul de sac. At the end of our street, there is a long privacy fence. I watched where our other cars and my neighbors' cars' headlights were hitting on the fence. Particularly useful was my wife's Honda, which has similar headlights with a well-defined light height. I then adjusted my lights to roughly match her pattern and drove it around to see how they lit up the road, lit up road signs, and if they bothered anyone. 25 is the magic number I came up with. Of course, your car may be different as no two cars are exactly alike, but 25" at 4' should at least give you a starting point.

Glad I could help.
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2009, 03:23 PM
CarlosCA CarlosCA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caradd View Post
Usually the passenger side light is adjusted higher. Yours look even. Thanks for the write-up
Actually, the picture you see is only of the driver's side light. At 4', you can set up the card table in front of each light and make adjustments to each independent of the other. That is, you will only project one light onto the card table at a time.

I knew about the passenger light needing to be higher for road signs, but I have not had any problems illuminating signs, so for the time being, I am leaving them as is.

No problem with the write-up. Just hanging around here recently I have learned a lot from other members. I am glad I can make a contribution.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2010, 11:57 AM
arrambide arrambide is offline
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Hello people!!..

I have the problem but is was after a big hole on the street and I needed to replace the lower control arm of the left side.

The thing is that on that arm, is the little arm that attach to the leveling sensor so when the lower control arm goes up, the sensor detect that the car is lower than normal position and when the lower arm goes down, the sensor detect that the car is higher that normal so that sensor "ask" to the headlight to lift or lower the direction of the lights.

My problem is the lights are on the higher position that the electronic function can, just like the sensor were on the "lowered car position" so if I just manually use this method, will lower the lights, thatīs Ok, but when the car really need to up the lights because ir really lowered, the sensor is on the higher position so will not up the lights don't you think?

Do anyone of you took a picture of this sensor?, So I can see if mine is on the correct position and if not, try to fit as it has to be?

I leave some pics of mine.

Thank you all.
From rear to front..



From the front to rear




As you see, the car is leveled


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  #11  
Old 11-09-2011, 09:08 PM
taukappa taukappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlosCA View Post
I don't know if this has been done before, but I thought I'd share some knowledge on how to adjust the headlights on the newer generation 3-series cars. I am only talking vertical adjustment too. I have not figured out if there is a horizontal adjustment, but mine seem to be okay there, so why mess with it?

I just bought my 07 328 and immediately noticed the headlights were aimed very low. In fact, they were lighting up a small area just a few feet in front of the car, but it was dark beyond that. Not good, especially here in rural SC.
Yes, I could have taken it to the dealer, but I've been working on cars for over 25 years and would rather do it myself and learn something in the process.
So, let's get started. The first thing I had to do was determine where the adjustment is. Fortunately, BMW made the adjustment hardware as obvious as daylight. The adjustment screws look like knurled knobs with an Allen head and a cross-tip head further down.


Using a 6mm wrench, rotate the knob as necessary to bring the headlight(s) up or down. The threads must be very fine too because it will take several revolutions of the knob to get the headlights to move.


Here are pics of both sides of the car to show where the knobs are relative to some reference points. The wrenches are in knobs in these pics.



Now the problem is to figure out where to set the headlights to. I tried a couple of settings before coming up with something that would give me excellent vision and would not result in constant flashing from oncoming vehicles. What worked for me - and it may be different for you - is to set the height of the light projection to 25 inches at 4 feet. I set up a card table 4 feet from the center of the bumper and adjusted the height of the center of the beam on each side to 25 inches above the ground.

Great post! Thanks for the pics.
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2012, 05:24 AM
bben007 bben007 is offline
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Hi there just wondering if any of you can help me...see the attached picture...do you know if this projector will remove that gap you see between the chrome housing and the projector lens? i have circled it with a red line....thnx!
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2012, 06:38 AM
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MrAbbs325is MrAbbs325is is offline
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Thank you, I have been meaning to do this as my passenger side is a few inches lower then drivers. Thanks for the table jig as well as I always went off the wall in the garage to what I felt would suffice.
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2012, 07:35 AM
suju suju is offline
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+10 for the effort on different angles.
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  #15  
Old 02-26-2013, 07:03 PM
Beauly Beauly is offline
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I know this is an old thread.... But just bought a gently used 2009 328i Xdrive wagon and drove it for the first time tonight. I feel like the low beam lights are only hitting about 20 feet ahead on the ground. So I will adjust for sure.
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  #16  
Old 01-04-2014, 07:51 AM
drbone641 drbone641 is offline
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Same here for a 12 wagon. Low was loooow. thanks
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  #17  
Old 01-04-2014, 01:04 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beauly View Post
I know this is an old thread.... But just bought a gently used 2009 328i Xdrive wagon and drove it for the first time tonight. I feel like the low beam lights are only hitting about 20 feet ahead on the ground. So I will adjust for sure.

A-yesssssss....ride lowered? And if altered in any way, are you familiar with suspension components vis-a-vis headlight aim?
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  #18  
Old 01-05-2014, 08:12 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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If anyone is wondering, horizontal adjustment is under that round, rubber cap on the fender. Lift that cap up and you'll see another spot for a Phillips screwdriver.
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:16 AM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Any particular reason the E90/92 are set so low? They're almost useless in the stock form...I actually had a bunch of friends park towards a wall and the E90s' cutoffs were very noticeably lower.
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  #20  
Old 04-10-2014, 07:12 PM
eyoussef eyoussef is offline
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Sorry to bring this thread back to life, but I have a question. I just bought my car a few days ago and tonight was the first time I drove at night, I noticed the passenger side headlight is really high. I attempted to adjust it myself but as I was rotating the screw, nothing was happening to the level of the light. I know the OP said it may be a fine thread and could take several turns but I turned it a lot and it wasn't moving. Has anyone experienced this as well?
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  #21  
Old 04-11-2014, 06:54 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyoussef View Post
Sorry to bring this thread back to life, but I have a question. I just bought my car a few days ago and tonight was the first time I drove at night, I noticed the passenger side headlight is really high. I attempted to adjust it myself but as I was rotating the screw, nothing was happening to the level of the light. I know the OP said it may be a fine thread and could take several turns but I turned it a lot and it wasn't moving. Has anyone experienced this as well?
The projector carrier most likely popped off the stepper motor ball joint.

Does the headlight beam shake like crazy over bumps?

There's an easy fix for this. Though the dealer will tell you, you need a whole new headlight.
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  #22  
Old 04-11-2014, 07:44 AM
eyoussef eyoussef is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
The projector carrier most likely popped off the stepper motor ball joint.

Does the headlight beam shake like crazy over bumps?

There's an easy fix for this. Though the dealer will tell you, you need a whole new headlight.
I found similar posts in other forums after doing more research. I'm hoping it's the same issue and it's just a matter of popping it back into place. It's really bugging me so i'm going to take a look after work tonight, fingers crossed it's nothing major.
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