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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 01-18-2010, 04:42 PM
fitchesbass fitchesbass is offline
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Z4M headlight question

Hey guys and girls -

I just got back from taking my car for VA safety inspection. No big deal compared to the days when I use to take my high mileage E36 in for inspection each year.

Anyway, my rear tires were getting on the "low" side so I took it to a regular ol' shaddy gas station place that would just slap a sticker on it. The guy gets in the car and starts checking everything out - primarily the lights and indicators.

He then calls me over and tells me my passenger side headlight is out. I said, that can't be possible they were working fine 5 minutes earlier on the drive over. The guy shows me again what he did and he was cycling the lights from on to off - very quickly - and sure enough the passenger side was out.

I told the guy, they are xenon's and aren't really meant to be cycled on/off that quickly and perhaps that's why this was happening. I got into the car to show him if you wait 30 seconds and then turn them back on that both work.

So my question is: Is this typical headlight behavior or is it time to get the dealer to fix something under warranty? I'm not a dummy when it comes to cars, so I think my rationale to the mechanic may have been somewhat accurate. Thankfully the guy was real nice and just passed me

Any input on the topic is appreciated.

Thanks,
Derek
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2010, 06:17 PM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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This sounds familiar. I had this issue and it eventually got bad enough that I had the dealer look at it while it was under warranty. I first noticed it when I tried to flash my lights on/off to warn someone of deer in the road at night and neither headlight would come back on. Luckily had the foglights. Burnt out lightbulb warning came on in the instrument cluster. Eventually, if I let them "cool off" for 30s or a minute they would both come back on but the color was different between the two (one was more blue than the other...). Warning light in cluster went out. One bulb consistently acted up more than the other.

Took the dealer three days of testing different components of the lighting system, but it eventually came back that one xenon bulb was faulty, and they replaced it under warranty as expected. I guess the other one wasn't bad enough yet.

I can flash them on/off quickly now but I figure they will eventually start acting up again so I am more careful with them. I stopped using the automatic lights feature since it would turn them on and off too rapidly. I make sure to give them the "cool down" period if I want to turn them off again.

Take it to the dealer and have them check it out. Hopefully you're still under warranty. My repair would have been $1200 of parts and labor otherwise...
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:21 PM
blau335 blau335 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyD View Post
This sounds familiar. I had this issue and it eventually got bad enough that I had the dealer look at it while it was under warranty. I first noticed it when I tried to flash my lights on/off to warn someone of deer in the road at night and neither headlight would come back on.
Doesn't apply to the xenons, the bulb stay illuminate the same way, a hood just open to let more light out. I'm pretty sure anyway.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:23 PM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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Right....with the hi/lo beam. I was flashing on/off. As I said, they wouldn't come back on.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:53 PM
fitchesbass fitchesbass is offline
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thanks for the feedback guys.

It appears to only do it on cycles on and off (completely) the headlights. The hi to low beam thing does not cause it.

I am coming up an a dealer oil change soon so I have them look at it them I guess. I just feel like I always get the run around at dealers trying to fix problems like this....
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:04 PM
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Ron Stygar Ron Stygar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyD View Post
Right....with the hi/lo beam. I was flashing on/off. As I said, they wouldn't come back on.
So you are flashing with the low beam off?
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:08 PM
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wildag wildag is offline
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I just had the "light out" dash indicator turn on in my car several times. Went away after I turned the headlights off for 20 seconds, and then turned them on. *sigh*... back to the dealer.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:03 AM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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In that case that I mentioned with warning about the deer in the road, it was night. Low beams were on. I thought, instead of blinding other guy with hi beams, I'll just reach over to light switch and flip them off and on a couple times. That's when the xenons decided not to come back on again. Luckily had the foglights.

Unfortunately, the more electronic technology and gadgets they put in these cars, the more and more expensive it is to take it to the dealer, which you almost have to do since it is so complicated that you can't do any of the work yourself. They want it that way I suppose...

Last edited by scottyD; 01-19-2010 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:14 AM
GrantM62 GrantM62 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildag View Post
I just had the "light out" dash indicator turn on in my car several times. Went away after I turned the headlights off for 20 seconds, and then turned them on. *sigh*... back to the dealer.
I had the same issue last week with mine. My wife was driving the car, and said that one of the headlights was "burned out". As she got home, I went out to the garage, and sure enough the passenger side light wasn't working. It was late, so I didn't mess with it. The next day, everything was fine. Hasn't happened again since.

I don't know if she turned the lights on and off quickly or anything when this happened, though. The car was at the dealership one time since then, and they didn't find anything wrong (of course).
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:34 PM
pwrdbym pwrdbym is offline
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I've had this issue. I turn off my headlights when entering a military base at night and when I would turn them back on leaving the gate the passenger low beam would be out. I would also get the bulb out indicator in the cluster. Every time I would get back in the car, after doing whatever it was I was doing, it would come back on like nothing was ever wrong.
I actually took the front wheel off, removed the panel and took apart the headlight cluster. I removed the bulb and reset everything and I haven't had the problem since. At the time I was thinking loose connection somewhere, but the cool down theory makes sense.
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