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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 11-30-2010, 12:02 PM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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2004 X3 3.0i Passenger Xenon Headlight Bulb

Hi, everyone,

My wife's X3's passenger side headlight just went out yesterday. The Lamp Defective light is on and the front fog lights are on automatically to compensate.

It's a 2004 X3 3.0i w/ Premium Package. The Xenon headlights are automatic. I searched the Net and learned that I should get a HID-D2S low beam Xenon bulb. However, I'm totally confused by the high beam part. I pushed the level forward to the high beam position and found out that both the fixed headlights remained dark. The driver (good) side automatic headlight did change the pattern and seemed to be brighter. So, I wonder if the vehicle uses the same bulb for both low beam and high beam. If that's the case, then should I get a high beam Xenon bulb instead?

The dealer said an hour diagnosis would be $150 and replacing the bulb would be $200-$300.
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2010, 12:50 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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That is correct. The xenons are Bi-xenons, in the sense that the bulb functions as both the dipped (low) beam and high-beam. So with the loss of one bulb, you will lose all functionality in that bulb. It is only one bulb.

FYI for bi-xenons, there is a shutter that dips the beam during the low-beam operation, then that shutter opens when you activate the high beams. The part number is: 63 21 7 160 806 and costs around $180. Make sure it isn't the ignitor that failed first though.
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2010, 01:12 PM
KevNev KevNev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdx-x3 View Post
The dealer said an hour diagnosis would be $150 and replacing the bulb would be $200-$300.
I don't know if there are any major differences from an '07, but it took me all of 2 minutes to change out my HID bulb.
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  #4  
Old 11-30-2010, 01:20 PM
kenza kenza is offline
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No, it should be the same and simple process. BTW, you can buy the bulb for a lot less somehwere else.
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2010, 01:45 PM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevNev View Post
I don't know if there are any major differences from an '07, but it took me all of 2 minutes to change out my HID bulb.
There are big warnings in the users manual and under the hood. I guess I shouldn't be intimidated by them. Anything I could do to make the process as safe as possible? I can think of disconnecting the battery.
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2010, 01:48 PM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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Originally Posted by kenza View Post
No, it should be the same and simple process. BTW, you can buy the bulb for a lot less somehwere else.
I'll try eBay first. I assume I should get a standard HID-D2S bulb, right? It seems that the factory bulb is 4300K. I'll try to find one as close as possible. Or, I could replace both.
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2010, 09:48 PM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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Just noticed that the passenger side headlight would flash a couple of times when I started the car. Then, the lamp defective warning light and the front fog lights would come on. I'll try switching the bulbs to make sure it's the bulb.
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2010, 11:53 PM
littleE46 littleE46 is offline
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I just replaced both on my wife's X3. The last owner replaced just one last time so the two headlights were different colors. They change over time so it's best to replace both.

Before I purchased new bulbs I swapped just the bulb to be sure that the bulb was the problem not the ignitor.

I don't think the procedure takes just 2 minutes. Trying to work in the small opening behind the headlight was frustrating. The hardest part was getting the wire back on the ignitor. I found it worked to put an elastic around the connector and ignitor before trying to put the ignitor back. The connector won't go in fully until the ignitor is back in place. It's probably worth a DYI if anyone is interested.

One more thing, its worth it to remove the washer fluid tank and the air intake box.

Last edited by littleE46; 11-30-2010 at 11:54 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2010, 01:41 PM
KevNev KevNev is offline
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I only had to work on the driver's side headlight. Removing the washer fluid tank would be necessary for the passenger's side. Really though, maybe I have small enough hands, but it was a simple job. Remove cover on the rear of the headlight, undo two metal retaining clips, unplug old bulb, plug in new bulb, re-fasten metal retaining clips, and re-install headlight cover.
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2010, 02:22 PM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevNev View Post
I only had to work on the driver's side headlight. Removing the washer fluid tank would be necessary for the passenger's side. Really though, maybe I have small enough hands, but it was a simple job. Remove cover on the rear of the headlight, undo two metal retaining clips, unplug old bulb, plug in new bulb, re-fasten metal retaining clips, and re-install headlight cover.
Glad to hear that --- I have small hands too. My 9-year-old son's hands are even smaller.

I have ordered two D2S bulbs and will replace the passenger side first. If the colors were too different, then I would replace the driver side as well. The bulbs are so cheap that I have decided to simply replace the bulb instead of checking whether the ignitor is the real problem.
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2010, 02:14 AM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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I bought a pair of bulbs from eBay for $9.99 shipped. I just received them yesterday. They turned out to be D2C instead of D2S. However, they should be compatible.

I unscrewed the washer fluid tank and move it out of way. Then, I used a screwdriver to push the tab on the top of the headlight back cover to remove the cover. It was very easy to take off the ignitor by turning it counter-clockwise. Turning the retainer counter-closewise allowed me to remove both the retainer and the bulb. The bulb was clearly blown.

Now, the problem began. The retainer wouldn't lock back after I inserted the new bulb. I tried and tried, got so frustrated that I almost broke the new bulb. Actually, the ceramic tube did break around the base. Eventually, I decided to test the new bulb without locking the retainer. The new bulb did work after I connected everything.

Today, I spent some time comparing the OEM bulb and the new after-market bulb. It seemed that the plastic base of the after-market bulb was slightly thicker. So, using a utility knife, I carefully trimmed the plastic base and made it thinner. Then, the retainer successfully locked with the modified bulb.

The new bulb's color is close enough to the driver side's. So, I'm not going to replace the driver side. It's a lot of work to trim the bulb's plastic base without damaging the bulb. Besides, I don't want to use the bulb with the broken ceramic tube.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2010, 08:15 AM
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X3emist X3emist is offline
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Replace both, not just one

Even if you use OEM bulbs it is doubtful that they will be the same brightness. And, remember, you get what you pay for. Personally I would steer way clear of any el cheapo fleabay bulbs.

Here is a good resource for getting a lighting education- http://www.danielsternlighting.com/home.html
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  #13  
Old 12-11-2010, 01:05 PM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3emist View Post
Even if you use OEM bulbs it is doubtful that they will be the same brightness. And, remember, you get what you pay for. Personally I would steer way clear of any el cheapo fleabay bulbs.

Here is a good resource for getting a lighting education- http://www.danielsternlighting.com/home.html
Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

Since I broke one bulb's ceramic tube, I modified the other good bulb and put it on the passenger side.

I did check out the OEM bulbs' prices before ordering the after-market ones. I decided to go for the after-market ones since I was concerned about breaking the expensive OEM bulbs. It turns out that an OEM bulb would have saved me a lot of hassles. Since I'm confident with replacing the bulbs now, I'm going to order a pair of OEM bulbs and replace both sides.
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2010, 11:57 PM
pdx-x3 pdx-x3 is offline
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I have found another problem with the after-market bulb --- the ignitor would not stay tight on the bulb retainer. We drove for about 30 minutes. Then, the passenger side headlight went off again. When we got back home, I found that the ignitor had turned counter-clockwise by itself and the connector had popped out. I had to use some tapes to keep the ignitor in place on the retainer. Fortunately, I'm going to order a pair of OEM bulbs, which should get rid of all the problems.
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  #15  
Old 12-12-2010, 06:58 AM
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X3emist X3emist is offline
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A lesson here for others

This sounds like one of my deals. Try to take a shortcut and ends up costing more in the long run. Should have done it right the first time.
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  #16  
Old 02-26-2011, 08:37 PM
command command is offline
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You Problem is Xenon Ballast, not bulb .

PS. Ballast like this
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  #17  
Old 02-27-2011, 07:02 AM
UberXY UberXY is offline
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Look on Amazon. Prices run from about $12 for a bulb of unknown origins to maybe $50 for a Sylvania. For sure BMW does not make OEM bulbs; they are simply someone elses rebranded and marked up about 300%.


Ub
00 M5, 05 X3, 08 X3, 10 S1000RR

Last edited by UberXY; 02-27-2011 at 08:21 AM.
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  #18  
Old 03-04-2011, 11:09 PM
Brianbox Brianbox is offline
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Ok I am so comfused, I have a x3 and the drivers side xenon light flickers and then goes out. Is that the ballest (sp?) or the light. If it is the ballest then how much should it be to replace? Deal says about 1000 for it and 335 for the light only. Grrrrrrrr. What the hell should I do?
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  #19  
Old 03-05-2011, 04:30 AM
rotty rotty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianbox View Post
Ok I am so comfused, I have a x3 and the drivers side xenon light flickers and then goes out. Is that the ballest (sp?) or the light. If it is the ballest then how much should it be to replace? Deal says about 1000 for it and 335 for the light only. Grrrrrrrr. What the hell should I do?
Replace the bulb ....

a) it's the most likely part to fail - all bulbs be they filament (Halogen) or Gas Discharge (Xenon) will fail in time. Just Xenon bulbs are more resiliant to shock as they don't have a filament to break, however over time the gas in the tube degrades, as do the electrodes. Usually the bulb goes a slightly different colout before it then fails to ignite or it won't stay lit.
b) the bulb is the cheapest part of the system to replace. Why replace a Ballast or Igniter just to see if that cures the issue.

Think of the system a bit like a domestic flourescent tube and fitting (same principles). How often do you replace the tube compared to replacing the internal Ballast or even the 'starter' plugin? I've replaced about 5 tubes in my garage lights, no ballasts and no starters. And in my 2004 X3, I haven't yet had to replace a bulb, but do have a pair of OEM BMW bulbs just in case.

You may want to consider replacing the pair as the colour temp. of the new bulb will be different to the old/worn bulb, and the old bulb will probably go soon too.....

HTH.

Last edited by rotty; 03-05-2011 at 04:31 AM.
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  #20  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:58 AM
bjm442 bjm442 is offline
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My driver side went out two days ago... I having a hard time getting the bulb out. How do you get the bulb out?

Never mind.... I got it

Last edited by bjm442; 10-10-2012 at 12:37 PM.
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  #21  
Old 05-12-2014, 06:35 AM
Frankito Frankito is offline
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Where could I get a set of good quality bulbs but that are not the 250.00 my local BMW dealer quoted me at ? I have an 05 X5
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  #22  
Old 05-12-2014, 01:51 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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A few options for D2S bulbs:

http://www.kbcarstuff.com/Philips-43.../pb-d2s-4k.htm

http://www.oembimmerparts.com/BMW_X3...17217509x3.htm (but they seem to just list the D1S bulb for 2007+ model)
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