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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
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  #1  
Old 09-18-2014, 10:14 AM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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Xenon headlights

Is it me or our Xenon headlights suck! I have a newly acquired 07 3.0SI that has only 27,000 miles. I can hardly see the road with these headlights at night. My Highlander headlights which I considered as terrible in terms of their ability to illuminate are much better than my Z4.

Can the amount of illuminations(lumens) in the xenon bulbs deteriorate over time?

Where is a good place to get replacements?
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2014, 11:43 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Check to see if the head light leveling system is working. There's a sensor on the right front control arm and the right rear trailing arm to determine the longitudinal attitude of the car and correct the aim of the xenon head lights. If there's a problem with the leveling system the headlights may not be pointing in the right plane to give proper illumination of the road.
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  #3  
Old 09-18-2014, 12:13 PM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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I guess the leveling system is operating as my headlights will move slightly downwards and then upwards when I turn them on. Can one physically adjust the headlights vertically?
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  #4  
Old 09-18-2014, 12:31 PM
keeton keeton is offline
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In '07, the factory xenons were bi-xenon which meant that the single bulb worked for both the low and high beam. The low beam is just as bright (which is pretty darned bright!) as the high beam except that there is a little shutter in the bulb that covers part of the light and provides a sharp cutoff of the lighting pattern. When you switch on high beams, the shutter lifts and the light covers a broader range.

When you turn on your lights, do you see the beam bounce for the first second? That is the auto leveler working. Try switching between low and high beam and observe the pattern. The brightness immediately in front of the car should not change.

If your car doesn't work as I described, then you either have non-factory xenons (or factory halogens??) or your system is not working correctly and should be repaired.
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  #5  
Old 09-18-2014, 02:44 PM
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bwillia bwillia is offline
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How yellow are your lenses at this point? My 06 had terrible yellowing of the lenses and that affecting the brightness at night. A good polish job of the lenses and some sealant took care of it.
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  #6  
Old 09-18-2014, 03:10 PM
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pungo pungo is offline
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Maybe the previous owner swapped them out thinking using a higher K value would give them better lighting. Changing out to say a 6000k Chinese bulb will not have anywhere near the lumens of the stock 4300k bulb. Do the bulbs seem bluer then a typical stock Xenon bulb?

Are they aimed too low? Do they shine bright only a short distance in from of the car?
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  #7  
Old 09-18-2014, 05:15 PM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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The lens surfaces are clear so that is not the problem. The auto-leveling system is fully functional. The color of the light resembles 4500 -5000K. So I think the bulbs are stock. Now can the low beam be adjusted vertically to project the illumination further down the road?
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  #8  
Old 09-18-2014, 06:05 PM
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pungo pungo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jliuod View Post
The lens surfaces are clear so that is not the problem. The auto-leveling system is fully functional. The color of the light resembles 4500 -5000K. So I think the bulbs are stock. Now can the low beam be adjusted vertically to project the illumination further down the road?
Yes, I hex wrench is used to adjust the height. With the hood up, you should be able to see the adjustment looking down from above the headlight toward the back. The cutoff line should drop ~2" over a 25 foot distance. How to aim headlights
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2014, 06:45 PM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pungo View Post
Yes, I hex wrench is used to adjust the height. With the hood up, you should be able to see the adjustment looking down from above the headlight toward the back. The cutoff line should drop ~2" over a 25 foot distance. How to aim headlights
That is what I am looking for. Thank you
Just adjusted the height a bit
Will try it out tomorrow morning to see if it makes a difference.
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2014, 09:10 PM
F30_E85 F30_E85 is offline
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I have a 07 3.0 si too. Bought it in March with 10K miles. Just saw 15K miles today.
No problem with the lights.


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  #11  
Old 09-19-2014, 07:24 AM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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Raised the low beam last evening. It was much better this morning on the way to work in the dark. I might have raised it up a bit too much. Will have to play with it later. Thanks for all the replies.
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  #12  
Old 09-19-2014, 08:20 PM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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Interesting event after adjusting the low beams. Now the auto leveling feature is no longer working. The headlights no longer bounce up and down when I turn them on. Not really a big deal , but just wondering if this is normal.
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2014, 10:35 PM
AZ_MLC AZ_MLC is offline
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They may be adjusted too high. There isn't a ton of movement in them, so the adjustment may be limiting them.


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  #14  
Old 09-20-2014, 04:53 PM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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Originally Posted by AZ_MLC View Post
They may be adjusted too high. There isn't a ton of movement in them, so the adjustment may be limiting them.


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Thank you. You are spot on. Readjusted the low beam and now the auto-leveling feature works again.

This is what I learned. You don't have to raise the low beams alot to get the light projection further down the road. In my car I still think the previous owner may have changed the color temperature. I am going to get a set of 4300K bulbs to see if I get a brighter illumination.
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2014, 06:03 PM
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pungo pungo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jliuod View Post
Thank you. You are spot on. Readjusted the low beam and now the auto-leveling feature works again.

This is what I learned. You don't have to raise the low beams alot to get the light projection further down the road. In my car I still think the previous owner may have changed the color temperature. I am going to get a set of 4300K bulbs to see if I get a brighter illumination.
Make sure you get some brand name bulbs that are not fakes. High quality bulbs are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. If the bulbs seem cheap, they probably are.

Also, swapping out for clear projector lenses are sharper and brighter than than stock lenses. As well, the stock lens tend to get a haze built up on them which reduces the output. Simply cleaning them will increase the brightness. Unfortunately, the projector needs to come out to clean the lens, so might as well swap them for clear lenses for ~$40 for a pair.
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  #16  
Old 09-20-2014, 07:01 PM
jliuod jliuod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pungo View Post
Make sure you get some brand name bulbs that are not fakes. High quality bulbs are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. If the bulbs seem cheap, they probably are.

Also, swapping out for clear projector lenses are sharper and brighter than than stock lenses. As well, the stock lens tend to get a haze built up on them which reduces the output. Simply cleaning them will increase the brightness. Unfortunately, the projector needs to come out to clean the lens, so might as well swap them for clear lenses for ~$40 for a pair.

I hear you. There are actually some smears on the front of both of my lenses. Is there a turorial on how to remove the headlights and how to get to the lenses?
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  #17  
Old 09-20-2014, 08:14 PM
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pungo pungo is offline
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Originally Posted by jliuod View Post
I hear you. There are actually some smears on the front of both of my lenses. Is there a turorial on how to remove the headlights and how to get to the lenses?
You can remove the projector from the wheel well access panel so there's no need to remove the headlight. Here's a link to a DIY. I swapped to clear lenses and it was pretty easy. I removed the wheels for better access
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