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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

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  #26  
Old 10-09-2012, 06:33 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Originally Posted by FiveDriver View Post
OK ..... What's the best product out there that meets my needs ??
If I've read your post correctly....

This.
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  #27  
Old 10-09-2012, 08:07 PM
midnitemyst midnitemyst is offline
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Originally Posted by BentValve View Post
You can get a set of used OEM prefacelift Xenon lights, get an HID kit and a 3M headlight polish kit for under $200 if you are good.
I would buy that in a heartbeat if I could find it. Where are you saying I could get all that for that price?
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  #28  
Old 10-10-2012, 06:24 AM
FiveDriver FiveDriver is offline
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Pleiades (my favorite Star Cluster M45) --

"I have a 1999 528 with stock headlights. The Driver's side is aimed a little lower than I'd like, but it looks like the adjuster was butchered by someone in the past. The adjuster raises the beam to a certain point and then stops -- there appears to be a piece of plastic jamming the light from moving any higher. OK, all well and good.

I looked for a used OEM Driver's side Headlight Assembly on ebay/craigslist/ et al. There are some in "lightly used" condition for around $125. If I'm going to spend that much for something that may not match the passenger side nor may not last much longer.....I'll spend a few extra bucks to get the famous Angel Eyes Upgrade. But in researching the Forum, I see photos of Fried Cables, burnt-out fuses and Yellowing Headlights !!!

I understand that we like M-tec products. I don't want to have to add ballast, I don't want something that will throw codes, and I don't want something that will run hot.

What's the best product out there that meets my needs ?? "



No, I didn't describe it correctly. There's some broken plastic inside the sealed unit that jams the headlight bulb from adjusting any higher. The Stock headlights are fine, it's just that somewhere in the past, a piece broke off inside. The stock headlights are both functional, just not optimal. I'd like the solution to upgrade the appearance also.

I don't want to bake the stock unit open. If I'm taking that headlight cluster out......i'm updating both sides.

I don't want to add a ballast unit to the setup. I think the ballast is only for HID, right ???

I don't want Daytime Running Lights. I want to keep the Amber Turn Signals, cause I like the way the look on the Dark Blue car.

I'd like to be able to flash my lights at other Bimmers approaching, cause it's the brotherly thing to do.


What are the Headlight Units I see on ebay for about $180 - $200 for the pair ???
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  #29  
Old 10-10-2012, 06:52 AM
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BentValve BentValve is offline
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Originally Posted by midnitemyst View Post
I would buy that in a heartbeat if I could find it. Where are you saying I could get all that for that price?
Used hella prefacelift xenon housings = $100
HID kit $80-$100
headlight adjusters -$20-$40
headlight polishing kit - $15-$20

Replacing the adjusters on a prefacelift is so much easier than on the the facelift.
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  #30  
Old 10-10-2012, 09:13 AM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveDriver View Post
Pleiades (my favorite Star Cluster M45) --

"I have a 1999 528 with stock headlights. The Driver's side is aimed a little lower than I'd like, but it looks like the adjuster was butchered by someone in the past. The adjuster raises the beam to a certain point and then stops -- there appears to be a piece of plastic jamming the light from moving any higher. OK, all well and good.

I looked for a used OEM Driver's side Headlight Assembly on ebay/craigslist/ et al. There are some in "lightly used" condition for around $125. If I'm going to spend that much for something that may not match the passenger side nor may not last much longer.....I'll spend a few extra bucks to get the famous Angel Eyes Upgrade. But in researching the Forum, I see photos of Fried Cables, burnt-out fuses and Yellowing Headlights !!!

I understand that we like M-tec products. I don't want to have to add ballast, I don't want something that will throw codes, and I don't want something that will run hot.

What's the best product out there that meets my needs ?? "



No, I didn't describe it correctly. There's some broken plastic inside the sealed unit that jams the headlight bulb from adjusting any higher. The Stock headlights are fine, it's just that somewhere in the past, a piece broke off inside. The stock headlights are both functional, just not optimal. I'd like the solution to upgrade the appearance also.

I don't want to bake the stock unit open. If I'm taking that headlight cluster out......i'm updating both sides.

I don't want to add a ballast unit to the setup. I think the ballast is only for HID, right ???

I don't want Daytime Running Lights. I want to keep the Amber Turn Signals, cause I like the way the look on the Dark Blue car.

I'd like to be able to flash my lights at other Bimmers approaching, cause it's the brotherly thing to do.


What are the Headlight Units I see on ebay for about $180 - $200 for the pair ???
You don't have to bake pre-facelift lights to get them apart, swapping an adjuster and removing the broken bit of plastic should be super easy. You could just also add halo rings to your OEM pre-facelift lights, while you are in there. It is a slightly different look than the facelift light, but it will give you angel eyes. Also on prefacelift cars you can swap the lens out easily so if yours are scratched or yellowed you can buy a replacement lens if you don't want to bother refinishing them yourself.

Yellowing lens can happen with any light. You have several options to prevent yellowing, xpel film, laminx film, get them clear coated, use some uv lens protectant.

I am not saying to get HIDs, but if you are going to spend $ upgrading your lights you may want to consider it. These points may address some of you concerns and you can do some more research on these topics.

You can still flash care with HIDs if that is what you are alluding to with that comment. if you were to retrofit HIDs in place of your high beams too (for a total of 4 HIDs lights) then flashing might be an issue. But with a normal HID setup it does not matter as your high beams (halogens) are the ones that flash not the low beam. When you see the term Bi-xenon it just meand the low beam xenon projector's cutoff that limits the height of the light output is moveable, so when you turn on your high beams the cutoff moves and the low beam is not longer restricted. People usually wire their car so their oem high beam (halogens) still come on when they turn on their high beams so you have the oem halogen high beam on plus the xenon low beam with the cutoff no longer impeding the light output.

If you are concerned about melted wires or fuses then run relays they should offer you even more protection. The guys at the the retofit source can probably offer you more details.

http://www.theretrofitsource.com/index.php?cPath=28

This type might be good because they should address bulb out warning light too.
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/pro...roducts_id=238

Another source of melted wires or heat can be using high powered ballasts. The standard OEM ballasts and 35w, but you can get 50w, 55w and even 70w ballasts that offer more power and more light output, but may produce more heat. Sticking with 35w ballasts and staying away from cheap junk ballast should offer you more peace of mind.

Bulb out warning lights can be cured by taking your car to the dealer and having them recode the LCM to xenon so your car will know you now have xenon lights and not throw codes b/c the computer will be measuring volts or (watts?) for xenon lights and not halogen. You can also make your own or buy error eliminators or buy them its basically just a resistor.
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Last edited by Solo12; 10-10-2012 at 09:37 AM.
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  #31  
Old 10-10-2012, 10:49 AM
midnitemyst midnitemyst is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BentValve View Post
Used hella prefacelift xenon housings = $100
HID kit $80-$100
headlight adjusters -$20-$40
headlight polishing kit - $15-$20

Replacing the adjusters on a prefacelift is so much easier than on the the facelift.
Yeah but what I'm asking is where I can buy prefacelift xenon headlights for only $100 or anything close to that? I can't even find one headlight for $100. I only found them for around $400 on eBay. Where do you find them for that cheap? Craigslist? Junk yards?

Last edited by midnitemyst; 10-10-2012 at 10:53 AM.
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  #32  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:08 AM
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umnitza umnitza is offline
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Honestly, you guys are over complicating this decision quite a bit.

OEM headlights are not that good, this is experience talking not salesmanship.

OEM headlights have poor adjusters on 99.99% of the 2001-2003 headlights - regardless of whether they are US or Euro.
OEM headlights pre-2001 have poof beam patterns overall and frankly are over 15 years old as far as technology for lighting.
Just about the only really incredibly good thing they have is the Xenon ballast and bulbs, but even there, you're dealing with technology that is dated and could potentially fail (bulbs do frequently).

Buying used you get 0 warranty on any of the parts and long term, you spend way more than you would if you bought new.

Here's the sales part of this commentary:
1) Retrofitted projectors are great, but you have to do a lot of work to make them fit. How many people have 3-5 hours to devote to a proper retrofit?
2) Standard eBay headlights for $180-200 are stated garbage, you don't have to be yet another statistic
3) Factory headlights - even the nicest Euro Xenons we sell pale in comparison for value to the Projector39s we offer with the options

Here are some very commonly purchased options with our headlights that fit nearly every budget:

$440 for Projector39 with Orion V2 (you get your own Xenon kit if you want).
$475 for Projector39 with Orion V2 (only the Orion V4 are brighter) and Standard 35W HID Kit - - this gives you superior light output to anything from 1997-2000 even headlights with Xenon.
$540 for Projector39 with Orion V2 and Canbus HID kit (no errors) - also more output than anything from the factory
$595 for Projector39 with Orion V4 (brighter than 2012 LED from BMW) and standard 35W
$650 for Projector39 with Orion V4 and Canbus 35W

Those are plug and play, nothing to worry about with install except the wiring of the turn signals for the pre-2001 and wiring of the angel eyes for the post 2001.

For those with existing D2S xenon kits that you want to reuse, our best value is:
$650 for the Projector39 with Orion V2 and FXR Retrofit.
$730 for the Projector39 with Orion V2 and FXR and 35W Canbus
$830 for the Projector39 with Orion V4 and FXR and 35W Canbus
$900 for the Projector39 with Orion V4 and FXR and 35W Canbus with anything custom (like painting the reflector amber or black, or LED turn signals etc).

We really have everything for the budget you have, and often times.
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  #33  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:33 PM
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BentValve BentValve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midnitemyst View Post
Yeah but what I'm asking is where I can buy prefacelift xenon headlights for only $100 or anything close to that? I can't even find one headlight for $100. I only found them for around $400 on eBay. Where do you find them for that cheap? Craigslist? Junk yards?
You have to look. Saving money isn't easy and it can sometimes take time. I've seen plenty of prefacelift headlghts go for $100 because they are old, hazy with broken adjusters. Try the parting out section. Look at my sig, I bought those M5 Xenon lights (IMO the best since they are the rarest) for $100 shipped.

Last edited by BentValve; 10-10-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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  #34  
Old 10-11-2012, 01:49 PM
FiveDriver FiveDriver is offline
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I see some Products on the UmNitza list above. But I need some first hand feedback from someone who has used their product --

Is the Orion V2 sufficient, or do I need to go to V4 ??
Are the so-called "Plug & Play" versions listed above, really "Plug & Play" ??

What do I compare those Prices to ?? Is there another Company that provides similar Product ??

We're getting close to sorting thru the numerous options, here. This Thread may be valuable to the next person looking to upgrade the Headlights.
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  #35  
Old 10-11-2012, 02:03 PM
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here you go:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidekickChuck View Post
Before I give my first impression summary, I will be taking pictures and hopefully videos to show the output beam pattern and performance sometime in the near future. This summary is a write up of my initial impressions of the headlamps.

First off, customer support, and communication with Umnitza is beyond good, its great! You can imagine how many emails, PMs, and questions in posts amongst the many forums they are present (not just this one) must be overwhelming. Yet, they still find time to answer each and every one in a timely manner. This really was one of the major factors in purchasing the headlights.

Once the order was placed, there was some wait time as they do not stock these on the shelves with certain options. If you are getting the FX-R retrofit option, along with any other mods, be prepared to wait. Mine took 2 weeks, but I am sure the wait time varies depending on the amount of custom work they have on any given day. I did not feel like this was too long, but for anyone that needs a set right away, they will not be able to get a retrofit overnight.

Upon receipt of the headlights, I noticed how nice the units were, and how OEM looking they appeared. There were obvious tell tale signs that they are not Hellas, but they are the closest looking unit to the Hellas that I am aware of. The euro sides rounded off the look very nicely. The only items I noticed that did not look totally OEM was the Angel Eyes (because I chose the orion v2 option) and the chrome projector shroud. Its very close to looking like the Hellas, but they have a different edge that goes around the projector lens. This was a very small gripe, and more of an observation since I knew it would not bother me at all once installed.

Within a few days, I installed them, first removing the old headlights and fitting the bottom covering on each headlight and reinstalling them. I had a hard time getting the plugs back onto the new sockets for the blinkers for some reason, but they eventually slipped on. I also ended up re-using the wire adapter off my previous after market angel eyes to plug into the OE plug and wire them up to the new angel eye wires as I did not want to hack up the factory harness. Installing the headlight went smooth and done within an hour.

Before buttoning everything up, I checked all the lights, and they all lit up fine of the first try. Was so happy to have quality output from the FXR units, and such a dramatic change in appearance having clear, non-oxidized headlamp lenses. Couldn't wait until it got dark to aim the projectors.

Once nightfall approached, I went to the back of a shopping center and lined up on flat ground. I was not going to measure the traditional way, but more by feel, knowing not to go too high as to blind opposing and forward traffic. After some time spent, everything came out great! A crisp, clean and WIDE beam pattern with a colorful cutoff prism, and bright white ground coverage. It took a little getting used to the sharp cutoff due to the dramatic contrast between lit and unlit areas where the cutoff is, but all in all, am so very happy that I decided to go the extra mile and get the retrofit.

Now, with the angel eyes, these things are BRIGHT! They look amazing at dusk/dawn and even at midnight, lit up an amazing portion of the road with the headlights off! I think they outperform a depo headlight projector ouich So, the pros certainly outweigh the cons here. What cons?... well I didn't, and still do not like the way they look at night when the headlights are ON. It gives a weird look in my opinion. They are super bright rings, and you see the HID projector poking its little head out of the middle. I prefer to see a system that looks like its one system working together rather than two systems almost looking separate. I contacted Umitza and they said they are coming out with a night module that dims the AEs when the headlight is turned on. Cant wait for this. The only other gripe is how they look during the day. Unless you know what you are looking for, chances are nobody will notice, but a car enthusiast may spot that they do not appear totally stock since LED rings will always look a but different. The tops of the rings expose 2 small wires that usually wont be noticeable when on the car.

Overall, I have no complaints at this point in time. They have been installed for a week, and I look forward to driving at night now. I am finding excuses to leave the house to enjoy the new headlights from Umnitza. I highly recommend the FXR retrofit into these headlights and they kill the output of hella projectors. HID projector has come a long way since the early 2000s, and these certainly are proof of this.

I hope to get pictures and videos up in the near future as time permits. Getting ready for our baby son to be born in the next 3 weeks is taking up a lot of time, so please be patient.

Sorry for the long post, but I thought I would share my experience with my new lights that will be safer for my family and I. (thats how I justified the purchase....safety for our baby :P)

Chuck
Quote:
Originally Posted by x3izM View Post
The v4s wont dissapoint I'm running them right now w. fxr. They match up well and they look like the new angel eyes on the newest bmws. Bright full and no individual led spacing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgdmb View Post
+1 on the V4's w/ FX-R. Installed them about a month ago, still owe the board some pics.

Agree with all the comments on the quality of the light projection, it's rather amazing.
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  #36  
Old 10-11-2012, 02:04 PM
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umnitza umnitza is offline
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Originally Posted by umnitza View Post
Here's a simple breakdown for product costs and quality.

Projector39 Hella-type from Umnitza: $500-575
average quality output and pattern projectors
Best in class Orion V2 angel eyes
Medium to Best in Class HID/Xenon quality
Best in Class workmanship
Customizable

Hella OE Xenon from Umnitza - $1019
better than average output and pattern projectors
average angel eyes (oe yellow) can be upgrade for more using Predator ICE
Best in Class quality HID
Best in Class Build Quality
not customizable

Projector39 standard DEPO type $250-500
Average quality output and pattern projectors
Best in class Orion v2 angel eyes
Medium to best in class HID/Xenon quality
Average build quality - poor DEPO warranty coverage for headlights
customizable

Only the Projector39 DEPO and HELLA type can be customized. The benefit of customizing the Hella type is you retain the quality and look of the original HELLA OE xenon, but have the options of Orion v2 angel eyes and having the ability to put a different projector into the housing.

We charge $250 for the labor to do this, 50% of what others would charge you. Further, we have all the parts. All you have to do is provide the projectors themselves or tell us to source them for you (TSX, TFX, FX35/45, TL, ETC).

You get a beam pattern that is more in line with a modern projector with the OE looks and quality of the Hella.
one more break down.
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  #37  
Old 10-11-2012, 08:22 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Originally Posted by midnitemyst View Post
Yeah but what I'm asking is where I can buy prefacelift xenon headlights for only $100 or anything close to that? I can't even find one headlight for $100. I only found them for around $400 on eBay. Where do you find them for that cheap? Craigslist? Junk yards?

Craigslist, check auto parts regularly or put up an ad in auto parts. I found $300 and $425 OEM Xenon lights this way, the $300 set was suuuuuper hazed over. The guy that sold them to me didn't know about headlight refinishing and bought a brand new set of DEPO headlights because his were hazy, haha. I spent $20 on a kit, and for $320 I had nice looking OEM Xenons. There are some simple upgrades available to them too.

Also, in terms of value when you sell the car, OEM is a better value than aftermarket. Car buyers likely will not know the ins-and-outs of the E39 so explaining you bought some $700 aftermarket lights won't impress someone more than used OEM Xenons, the average person would prefer the BMW part and assume you cheaped out, regardless of ANY debate between which is actually the better light.

Honestly, the reality is there are a lot of great options. Pre-factlift Xenons, OEM Xenon, Umnitza sells good lights, the choice is what you want. Remember you get the US Cutoff pattern with OEM and a "Euro Cutoff" light pattern with aftermarket lights (for the most part). Some people don't like the Euro Cutoff, some people do, so just figure out what you prefer.

Last edited by aspensilver540; 10-11-2012 at 08:23 PM.
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  #38  
Old 10-11-2012, 09:58 PM
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DPP528 DPP528 is offline
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I like my stock 2000 xenon headlights, angel eyes retrofitted to a pre-facelift car in my opinion just don't look the same. I can't seem to find new headlight cover replacements with the amber turn signals. I can only find DEPO with clear turn signals and I don't like the way those look either. I have water in my driver's side headlight and it's also starting to yellow. (Passenger side was replaced under warranty.) I've changed the gasket too. Any suggestions?
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  #39  
Old 10-11-2012, 10:05 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPP528 View Post
I like my stock 2000 xenon headlights, angel eyes retrofitted to a pre-facelift car in my opinion just don't look the same.
I think it is an upgrade on any year, but a lot of the people who buy upgraded Xenons on a PF car buy M5 bumpers too, so you really can't tell what year the car is just from a picture. The PF square foglights on the bumper are probably what looks odd to you. I think everyone agrees facelift or M5 bumpers/fogs look better.

Quote:
I can't seem to find new headlight cover replacements with the amber turn signals. I can only find DEPO with clear turn signals and I don't like the way those look either. I have water in my driver's side headlight and it's also starting to yellow. (Passenger side was replaced under warranty.) I've changed the gasket too. Any suggestions?

When swapping new headlight covers on post facelift you can discard the clear turn reflector and put your amber in. You can then sell the clear reflector for probably at least 35% of the price of the new headlight lenses as a lot of people wish they sold clear reflectors seperately. I don't know how it works on the PF lights but at least look into whether the reflector just pops out like facelift lights
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  #40  
Old 10-11-2012, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPP528 View Post
I like my stock 2000 xenon headlights, angel eyes retrofitted to a pre-facelift car in my opinion just don't look the same. I can't seem to find new headlight cover replacements with the amber turn signals. I can only find DEPO with clear turn signals and I don't like the way those look either. I have water in my driver's side headlight and it's also starting to yellow. (Passenger side was replaced under warranty.) I've changed the gasket too. Any suggestions?
we built a custom headlight for a customer with an amber turn signal
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:25 AM
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DPP528 DPP528 is offline
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Originally Posted by umnitza View Post
we built a custom headlight for a customer with an amber turn signal
I like to keep the car as original and clean as possible. So if I went with angel eyes, I'd have to go ahead and change the fogs and taillights to updated versions as well. Changing all of those lights is probably more than I want to do at this point. Besides, like I said before, I actually kind of like the old style of it.

What I don't like is that my driver's headlight is turning yellow and water is leaking in. Does Umnitza sell anything without the rest of the headlight assembly that looks exactly like this?



The originals were manufactured by Hella and are only found in junkyards and as complete headlight assemblies. Depo sells the lenses but only with clear reflectors...

Also- I'm 99% certain that the reflectors can't be removed from the front plastic piece.
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  #42  
Old 10-12-2012, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPP528 View Post
I like to keep the car as original and clean as possible. So if I went with angel eyes, I'd have to go ahead and change the fogs and taillights to updated versions as well. Changing all of those lights is probably more than I want to do at this point. Besides, like I said before, I actually kind of like the old style of it.

What I don't like is that my driver's headlight is turning yellow and water is leaking in. Does Umnitza sell anything without the rest of the headlight assembly that looks exactly like this?



The originals were manufactured by Hella and are only found in junkyards and as complete headlight assemblies. Depo sells the lenses but only with clear reflectors...

Also- I'm 99% certain that the reflectors can't be removed from the front plastic piece.
You wouldn't have to change the fogs, but changing them at least with xenons would cost you $30 and could be put into the current units.
Tails, easy to do for another $129-149 depending on discount. Not selling here, just giving you the info to make your decision.

We don't sell anything to upgrade or update your old lights, we don't do any work on those either. Sorry
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:49 AM
midnitemyst midnitemyst is offline
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Just wanted to update you guys on my decision. I went ahead and took the advice on a few people on here (Thank you) and actually found some prefacelift oem xenon headlights for cheap. headlight adjusters are broken (to be expected) but otherwise, they are in really good condition. I just really hope they dont start leaking like my current headlights do. Gonna order up some new headlights adjusters and an HID kit and throw them on.

This turned out to be the best option for me on my budget. Just cant justify spending $500+ on headlights right now.

Thanks for all the info and help. If anyone else looks into headlights, now I have some good information for them as well. Also another informative thread for people to read up on when researching getting new headlights!
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  #44  
Old 10-14-2012, 01:01 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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  #45  
Old 10-14-2012, 09:24 PM
salesman salesman is offline
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i'm glad i ponied up the extra dough for the FX-R retrofitted DJ Autos from Umnitza instead of going the cheap route and using them "stock"
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  #46  
Old 10-14-2012, 10:03 PM
aspensilver540 aspensilver540 is offline
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Originally Posted by salesman View Post
i'm glad i ponied up the extra dough for the FX-R retrofitted DJ Autos from Umnitza instead of going the cheap route and using them "stock"

lol, what is this a shill posting or did you want to just make him feel bad about his purchase?
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  #47  
Old 10-14-2012, 10:21 PM
salesman salesman is offline
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Location: Brentwood, CA
 
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Originally Posted by aspensilver540 View Post
lol, what is this a shill posting or did you want to just make him feel bad about his purchase?
i didn't know he already bought some, just posting my experience. i knew i wanted the DJ Autos (cheap) but was trying to decide whether the FX-R would be worth it or not. i think it's a lot more useful to put some money into good headlights than other things like 19" wheels, engine mods, etc. on a daily driver especially if you do a lot of night driving or don't have perfect weather year-round where you live
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  #48  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:15 AM
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umnitza umnitza is offline
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Originally Posted by salesman View Post
i didn't know he already bought some, just posting my experience. i knew i wanted the DJ Autos (cheap) but was trying to decide whether the FX-R would be worth it or not. i think it's a lot more useful to put some money into good headlights than other things like 19" wheels, engine mods, etc. on a daily driver especially if you do a lot of night driving or don't have perfect weather year-round where you live

Quality lighting as we enter winter months is just as necessary as checking your brakes.
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