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F10 / F11 (2011 - 2016)
The sixth generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) was produced from 2011 - 2016 with LCI updates arriving in 2014. In the US BMW offered a hatchback 5 Series Gran Truismo (F07) and the rest of the world also go a Station Wagon/Touring version F11.

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  #1  
Old 01-14-2020, 05:42 PM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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Headlight Condensation

Driver side headlight has a significant amount of Condensation in it. I dried it out with a hairdryer but it came back. Looks like early F10s are prone to this problem because I've seen at least a few others with the same issue. Does anyone know how to resolve this or reseal the headlight?

Thanks
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:19 PM
poconosms1 poconosms1 is offline
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as far as I know, you have to replace the whole lens.. The issue is water gets in, but can't get out. Moisture, condensation, rain, etc...

that said, i've fixed this problem on several different brands of cars that i've owned. Only do this if you don't want to replace the lens.

Using a very very small bit, drill a whole at the bottom of the lens in an upward angle. Do the same on the top also at an upward angle. Not in the middle, but off to the sides. Sometimes I've had to drill a couple of holes. The bottom acts as a drain, the top as a vent. When the light is in the sun or headlights on, the combination of the heat and vents creates air flow, which dries out the lens.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:31 PM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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Originally Posted by poconosms1 View Post
as far as I know, you have to replace the whole lens.. The issue is water gets in, but can't get out. Moisture, condensation, rain, etc...

that said, i've fixed this problem on several different brands of cars that i've owned. Only do this if you don't want to replace the lens.

Using a very very small bit, drill a whole at the bottom of the lens in an upward angle. Do the same on the top also at an upward angle. Not in the middle, but off to the sides. Sometimes I've had to drill a couple of holes. The bottom acts as a drain, the top as a vent. When the light is in the sun or headlights on, the combination of the heat and vents creates air flow, which dries out the lens.
Any info on how to replace the lens?
I was honestly thinking about drilling holes but I would probably do that as a last resort before I have to replace the lens. There's no guarantee the lens is faulty, it could just be a bad seal, right?
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:34 PM
zelex zelex is offline
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Originally Posted by gtmaster303 View Post
Driver side headlight has a significant amount of Condensation in it. I dried it out with a hairdryer but it came back. Looks like early F10s are prone to this problem because I've seen at least a few others with the same issue. Does anyone know how to resolve this or reseal the headlight?

Thanks
Funny that you mention it, I literally encountered this problem yesterday with the condensation, good to hear I'm not the only one experiencing this.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:44 AM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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I've started getting error codes related to headlight intermittently, but they clear after the car is turned off and on again.
Adaptive headlight malfunction, daytime running light malfunction, and a few others
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:50 AM
YVR Dragon YVR Dragon is offline
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I too have fixed this problem on other cars before. But I did not drill through the lens, and think that is going to make things worse. Drill the holes on the BACK side of the housing. I haven't pulled the headlights out of my car yet, but I'm sure there must be somewhere protected from direct exposure to water where a bottom drain and top vent can be drilled.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:05 AM
poconosms1 poconosms1 is offline
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sorry, but i've not had the problem on my BMW yet.

I did notice with GM, Hyndai, and subaru, recent design changes makes it a 10 minute job to switch out lenses. I'm sure BMW managed to make it an 8 hour job.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:06 AM
poconosms1 poconosms1 is offline
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Originally Posted by YVR Dragon View Post
I too have fixed this problem on other cars before. But I did not drill through the lens, and think that is going to make things worse. Drill the holes on the BACK side of the housing. I haven't pulled the headlights out of my car yet, but I'm sure there must be somewhere protected from direct exposure to water where a bottom drain and top vent can be drilled.
I like this idea better than mine, i was just too lazy to pull the lights.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:15 AM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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sorry, but i've not had the problem on my BMW yet.

I did notice with GM, Hyndai, and subaru, recent design changes makes it a 10 minute job to switch out lenses. I'm sure BMW managed to make it an 8 hour job.
From what I've searched so far the job is very extensive. The sealant doesn't come off easily and you basically have to cut off the plastic lens with a dremmel and almost completely dismantle the headlight. Honestly a little beyond my technical skills but I would be willing to try it with a guide if there was one

For the time being I've taken the top cap off the headlight, next to the hood latch and a decent amount of condensation has cleared. I think the airflow plus heat from the engine bay has helped. It looks like there's enough weather stripping and cover that water shouldn't make it's way back in for now, right?
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:45 AM
OnlyGerman OnlyGerman is offline
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This is normal as stated in the manual...
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:12 AM
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:29 AM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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This doesn't really help, the instructions only say how to dry out the headlight. That's the easy part
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:30 AM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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This is normal as stated in the manual...
I can't tell if you're joking or serious...
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:33 AM
YVR Dragon YVR Dragon is offline
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One of my cars has vents already on the back of the housing, with a small 90 deg fitting on it so the opening faces down. Can't remember if its the SAAB 9-5 or the 2001 M3. I wonder if the F10 has them and it is plugged?
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:49 AM
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One of my cars has vents already on the back of the housing, with a small 90 deg fitting on it so the opening faces down. Can't remember if its the SAAB 9-5 or the 2001 M3. I wonder if the F10 has them and it is plugged?
And some BMW headlight assemblies have vents. There was a discussion here on BF of finding bugs clogging the vent / drains and of the advisability of screening the holes.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:00 AM
buuza33 buuza33 is offline
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I have the same issue with my left headlight. I recently took off the headlight, dried and sealed with silicone all around the housing. Seems not helping, as housing itself has 5 or 6 holes in the back for ventilation. after 3 days, moist is back
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:07 AM
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You must get the HL assembly hot and keep it hot as there is no active ventilation - air movement - through the assembly.

Just like your electronics modules, humid moisture laden air gets in real easily, but then condenses into water droplets with surface tension that prevents them flowing through the tiny gaps in the seal. Tiny gaps that don't even slow a water molecule.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:22 PM
zelex zelex is offline
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Originally Posted by gtmaster303 View Post
I've started getting error codes related to headlight intermittently, but they clear after the car is turned off and on again.
Adaptive headlight malfunction, daytime running light malfunction, and a few others
Same here. I was reading an article posted where someone was able to reseal the headlight, will try to find it now and post it here.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:39 PM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtmaster303 View Post
I've started getting error codes related to headlight intermittently, but they clear after the car is turned off and on again.
Adaptive headlight malfunction, daytime running light malfunction, and a few others
Same here. I was reading an article posted where someone was able to reseal the headlight, will try to find it now and post it here.
Please and thank you!

Update: a lot of the headlight dried out just by leaving the top cover off and driving it around. I would still need to test if water gets in with the cover off, but weather has been dry. Might be a good temporary fix at least for a little bit
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:23 AM
cinergi cinergi is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
And some BMW headlight assemblies have vents. There was a discussion here on BF of finding bugs clogging the vent / drains and of the advisability of screening the holes.
Yes, my E60 had vents with 90-degree elbows facing down on the back of the headlights. Don't know about the F10.

I've noticed that mine occasionally get a bit of condensation following a large temperature change (e.g. coming out of my heated garage on a cold, humid day) but it always clears up. My E60 was also like this. I think it's normal, and that's what the vents are for.

-cinergi
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:44 PM
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I agree.
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:00 PM
OnlyGerman OnlyGerman is offline
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Originally Posted by gtmaster303 View Post
I can't tell if you're joking or serious...
Serious. If still under factory warranty and you put up enough of a fight they could be replaced, otherwise most dealers claim normal. But this is minor fogging.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:08 PM
gtmaster303 gtmaster303 is offline
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Originally Posted by gtmaster303 View Post
I can't tell if you're joking or serious...
Serious. If still under factory warranty and you put up enough of a fight they could be replaced, otherwise most dealers claim normal. But this is minor fogging.
Oh no this is major water in the headlight, not trace amounts of moisture. I know what you mean, I've read a thread about it before.
Not to mention my car is well outside of warranty...
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:20 PM
Darkgraphite Darkgraphite is offline
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My quick and cheap hack has been to place 40 gram silica packs in the housing. It removed the condensation and the error codes. I've had my car for almost 6 years and this problem just developed last year.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:34 PM
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My quick and cheap hack has been to place 40 gram silica packs in the housing. It removed the condensation and the error codes. I've had my car for almost 6 years and this problem just developed last year.
What do you do when the silica gel packs are saturated?

Dehydrating silica gel is exactly the same as drying the condensation from a headlight assembly; 250įF for an hour.
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Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)
Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.
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