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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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Old 10-01-2019, 08:32 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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2003 530i Xenon replacement bulbs

Looking for suggestions for replacement Xenon bulbs "Sterling". One light is a bit brighter than the other (not hugely, but I can see it), one has a funky shadow (on the road, but not projected on a wall) that I'm convinced is not the internal housing breaking down, so I want to treat the car to a fresh pair of Xenon bulbs. For all I know the bulb in question many be a D2R with that blind on it. I haven't looked yet. Driving on a dark unmarked road at FWY speed is no fun....pucker factor is high, so I think it's time for new ones. I did replace the sensor arm on the front that was broken (and thus the Xenon's weren't articulating properly. They do now.)

Been looking at OSRAM from FCP Euro....but also am looking at Phillips, and Hella elsewhere. Open for suggestions from experience here..including suggested Kelvin rating if applicable. I'd like a bit brighter beam, but maybe just a new OEM pair will do.

Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2019, 10:38 PM
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Oem Osram or Philips is all I have used. Yes, there are various color temps and ratings, but they are seem to be a compromise in one way or another. Higher color temp, less lumens. More lumens, less bulb life...
You can find Osram and Philips sold by reputable sellers on Ebay. Just do your research and only buy from USA sellers. All the super cheap Osram and Philips from China are fakes...good ones from the stand point of packaging, right down to the holograms...but fake none the less.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:03 AM
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D2S bulb.

Are you sure your adjusters aren't broken? How many miles on the car? If you haven't replaced the adjusters there's about a 99% chance that they're broken by now, causing your headlights to dip down thereby increasing your "pucker factor".
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:30 AM
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I went with Osram CBI back when they were top of line and expensive, they are less now:

https://chrisparente.com/2014/05/19/...adlight-bulbs/

Make sure you're comfortable knowing how to swap, more complicated than halogen.

RetroFitSource is a good site to learn up on the various bulbs out there. Also good point re adjusters, make sure that's not it first.
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Old 10-02-2019, 01:28 PM
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+3 on headlight adjusters...mine were broken at around 2011 and I replaced with metal ones. Good luck on a 2003, as the headlight lenses are glued in that year, so it is a complicated process to replace from the rear on those...search and you can probably find a tutorial on it.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:59 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Thank you. I do know the D2S is correct but I wonder if someone slapped in a D2R in a pinch in one side before I got the car. I need to remove them and take a look. The car has 174,XXX miles on it, and I have no idea if they have been upgraded/repaired in the past...I know the 2003 is a bad prospect for rebuilding the lights without cutting into them, sad to say. I just cleaned up the outer clear lens last weekend using E2 Lens Renew. May give it another round again...but why bother if they are trash and I need new Hellas?

I'm not certain the adjusters are or aren't broken. Is there any way to verify without disassembly? I can say there is not much play in the Xenons....perhaps one a tad bit more than the other, but certainly not sloppy. They do not do a " Up/down/center" post test that I've read about every time you turn them on, but they will move up, and then center just not every time you turn them on... for example, when you're parked in the same spot and haven't moved. I have been told that is normal by a mechanic but I'm not so sure.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:25 PM
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Has anybody installed these personally? I read they can be installed in 2003 headlights

(Odometer Gears E39HAK)
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:32 PM
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I have for sale HID bulbs OSRAM Xenarc Night Breaker Laser D2S. It's genuine and bought from powerbulbs. Used them for only two weeks but didn't like their color temperature, otherwise nothing wrong with them. Replaced them with 6k bulbs. Bought them from powerbulbs.com for $110. They can be yours for $85.

https://xoutpost.com/classifieds/bmw...laser-d2s.html
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:52 AM
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this is something i need to pay attention to..

at 248,000 miles i need to be worried about the headlights that have never been removed or touched or thought about in the last what.. 20 years?

link to the bulb we are suppose to use?
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:54 AM
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https://www.ecstuning.com/b-morimoto...4aAiDJEALw_wcB

this is it? this pretty much covers all bmw and audi...

to add fuel to the fire.. i have 3 cars with HID's all taken the same bulb, i have no bulbs on hand,

are the ballast's the same? you have intrigued me: mission time
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
May give it another round again...but why bother if they are trash and I need new Hellas?
A new set of HID Hellas are $1,500+. High quality but still 20+ year old technology. That's why owners often research alternatives.

Here's what I did - purchased new projectors and adjusters, outsourced the actual break apart/assembly and still paid hundreds less than a new set: https://chrisparente.com/2018/08/15/...ight-retrofit/

Quote:
this is it? this pretty much covers all bmw and audi...
Morimoto is a known brand with its fans. Personally I stick with Osram. All sorts of comparison videos out there if you want to research. Dealer brand is Phillips IIRC.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:26 PM
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To test your headlights, park in front of a wall, and turn off the car and headlights. Start the car....then turn on the headlights. When the fire up, you should see the beam tilt down, then up. If they don't move, the adjusters are broken...usually in the down position, which is why you can't see very far.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:33 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgy36-39 View Post
A new set of HID Hellas are $1,500+. High quality but still 20+ year old technology. That's why owners often research alternatives.
True, but so is the whole car, and I love it, and it's in very nice condition.

Quote:
Here's what I did - purchased new projectors and adjusters, outsourced the actual break apart/assembly and still paid hundreds less than a new set: https://chrisparente.com/2018/08/15/...ight-retrofit/
Very cool job!! Problem is, I have the no-bake (April 2003) units. Grr... Hmm outsourcing the right assembly. I really want these things looking AND functioning minty-fresh. Nice, clear lenses, etc.


Quote:
Morimoto is a known brand with its fans. Personally I stick with Osram. All sorts of comparison videos out there if you want to research. Dealer brand is Phillips IIRC.
I know MM has a great following, but you can't beat older experience in making these things like OSRAM and PHILLIPS.

Sadly, methinks my adjusters are porked. But I'd still like to replace the bulbs as well, being as they don't look the same light-wise when looking at them.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:40 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
To test your headlights, park in front of a wall, and turn off the car and headlights. Start the car....then turn on the headlights. When the fire up, you should see the beam tilt down, then up. If they don't move, the adjusters are broken...usually in the down position, which is why you can't see very far.
Hey there 540 M-Sport! Sadly, they do NOT do the post test (or whatever it's called) the way that you just described. I just replaced the front sensor arm, and Sometimes the lights will move up just a bit and then center, and that's all. Not like my friend's 2002 M3 that does exactly what you describe. Our "mechanic" says that's normal, and I don't buy it... as much as I'd like to...
Methinks the adjusters are porked as many of you surmise, as much as I hate to say it....because I know it means one of two things:

1. Fixing the current ones (with some internal lens funk that I can't clean up because they're sealed)

2. or spending $1500 for a pair of new Hellas.

I want these things working AND looking like new.

Unless I can find a situation like Edgy 36-39's solution.

Thanks for all the responses I really appreciate it!
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1BlinkGone View Post
...
Methinks the adjusters are porked as many of you surmise, as much as I hate to say it
...
I've had broken adjusters, all 4 actually, and the headlights still did the up/down registration cycle - but they always ended up in worm hunting mode. OTOH, a failed LWR module, broken wiring or faulty stepper motors in the headlights would result in no up/down at startup.

Broken adjuster are easy enough to test. Good adjusters allow some flex. But if moderate in/out and up/down push and pull on the low beam Xenon plug moves it more than about 1/4" the adjuster(s) is broken. The other test is turning the adjuster knobs and seeing no change in the headlight aim.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:49 AM
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FWIW, some say you can dremel the 03 lights open. Might want to call a shop and ask.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Edgy36-39 View Post
FWIW, some say you can dremel the 03 lights opwereen. Might want to call a shop and ask.
This is possible but it's quite a frustrating, difficult job. Allow a full hour each lens. Then allow another 1/2 hour a or bit more to gouge and cut out the RTV still in the body's groove to make enough room for the new lens. So 3 to 4 hours for a pair of headlights.

The steps I followed to open the permanently sealed lights :
1 use a Dremel, best with a toothed cutoff wheel, to cut the face of the cover/lens off leaving a strip ~1 inch wide still attached to the headlight body
2 with a sharp utility knife cut the rubber/RTV sealant/adhesive on both sides of the strip of lens
3 using a dental pick tool with a 90 deg bend about 1/8" long, reach in behind the strip of lens to tear at the uncut RTV behind the lens strip
4 with a blade screwdriver reach into the lens mounting groove and pry the lens strip out. There will still be lots of RTV hanging on and one must work slowly, all the while used the knife and dental pick to tear away at the RTV now exposed by the lifted section.
5 once you're able to lift a section of the lens strip clear of the body, cut the strip so there are free ends that can be more easily pried outward for access for the knife & pick to cut and tear at the RTV until the entire lens strip is removed.
6 then do similar cutting and gouging to free the black plastic shroud that surrounds the headlights and supports the angel eye rings. Take care to avoid breaking the mounting legs for the surround piece. This though does go faster; access for the knife and pick is better and there is less adhesive attaching the shroud.
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Old 10-04-2019, 05:44 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I've had broken adjusters, all 4 actually, and the headlights still did the up/down registration cycle - but they always ended up in worm hunting mode. OTOH, a failed LWR module, broken wiring or faulty stepper motors in the headlights would result in no up/down at startup.

Broken adjuster are easy enough to test. Good adjusters allow some flex. But if moderate in/out and up/down push and pull on the low beam Xenon plug moves it more than about 1/4" the adjuster(s) is broken. The other test is turning the adjuster knobs and seeing no change in the headlight aim.
Excellent idea. I can tell you both stepper motors are working just fine. No dead motors there! And while there is a slight difference in play between the left and right, the play is still quite minimal.

Since this car is my DD, I can't afford to have much downtime here either. Thanks, all.
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:07 AM
KURRRWA KURRRWA is offline
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Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I can tell you both stepper motors are working just fine. No dead motors there! And while there is a slight difference in play between the left and right, the play is still quite minimal.

Since this car is my DD, I can't afford to have much downtime here either. Thanks, all.
The motors dont fail. the adjustable plastic couplings fail. you should have zero play if all "adjusters" are intact.

I did the adjusters on my 01, still had terrible light output. Replaced headlights with aftermarket garbage, DJ Auto Euro headlights from DDM Tuning. They stuff a cheap HID kit into an aftermarket halogen projector, brighter than stock but still terrible

If I were you, I would do a good retrofit like mentioned above with the Morimoto.
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Old 10-06-2019, 06:29 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Originally Posted by musa View Post
I have for sale HID bulbs OSRAM Xenarc Night Breaker Laser D2S. It's genuine and bought from powerbulbs. Used them for only two weeks but didn't like their color temperature, otherwise nothing wrong with them. Replaced them with 6k bulbs. Bought them from powerbulbs.com for $110. They can be yours for $85.

https://xoutpost.com/classifieds/bmw...laser-d2s.html
Thank you for the offer. I will let you know if that's the direction I want to go. Thanks again!
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:53 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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The motors dont fail. the adjustable plastic couplings fail.
Right. I'm 100% aware of that. Maybe others are not.


Quote:
you should have zero play if all "adjusters" are intact.
I've read that up to @ 1/8" of play is acceptable.

Quote:
If I were you, I would do a good retrofit like mentioned above with the Morimoto.
Definitely looking at all options. Thanks!
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:13 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Update 10/20/19!

Ok so I finally had time up here while at my in-law's in Oregon for a few days to move fwd with this issue. First thank you for all the input, experience and even an offer to sell me bulbs.

A few days ago before leaving for Oregon, I happened to turn the headlight sw to "auto-on"...something I never use, and voila, both headlights did the up/down/center schtick (I may have the sequence wrong here but you get the idea) and found that they were also doing it using the DRL/FULL-ON manual switching to the right of "off", I have LED's in the Angel Eyes, and anyways, by the time the switch gets to full on they have already cycled. I watched the lights with the hood up while cycling the switch to verify, and both sides move as they should.

I did acquire a new pair of (after much reading and research) the Osram Night Breaker Laser D2S bulbs for about $116 (sorry MUSA, and I do appreciate the offer!) that are indeed genuine Osram units....both the box sticker code and bulb numbers on each unit show "Genuine OSRAM" according to their website.

Findings upon installation yesterday:

I pulled an OSRAM 66040 in the driver's side (the one that was igniting "pink" and then going to normal color) the boot is badly torn; the passenger side had a "HELIOLIGHT" D2S variant, and the plastic collar to secure the bulb was installed crooked.

There IS a definite "feel" to getting everything back on correctly: bulbs seated correctly (a visual helps), locking collar, boots and yes the high voltage connector. I used some Gummi Pfledge on the exterior of the boots (yes even the torn one for now) to help the rubber a bit. The Passenger side, that I thought had a hole, was 100% uncompromised. Yay, that just cut my parts cost in half as I was going to order both sides...

Now, sadly, the driver's side low beam pod I can move up and down by hand like a bobble-head doll with it unplugged, and it visually looks to be pointing more downwards than its passenger-side twin; however, both the drivers and passenger side high/low assemblies articulate up and down as they should. The passenger side low beam pod is rock-solid and I can't move it up and down like that.

In spite of my finding the floppy low-beam pod, overall results are as follows:

The new BULBS? OH. MY. STARS. In spite of the driver's side 'reach' down the road being marginally shorter than the right side, the v-shaped shadow in the road that I had described to you all is GONE, and we have a wash of wonderful light. It's really glorious in comparison to what we had, and I wish I had time to install these before coming up here in the rain a few nights ago.

I think BLUEBEE had mentioned in a thread jamming a shim or something under the pod to get it where it should be. Will that affect the overall articulation of the low/high pair?

I can't wait for these to get about 20 hrs on them. For me the OSRAM NBL's are keepers, and I want to find H7 Halogens that compliment these as much as possible without having to change them every 6 months. Of course, the right fog light bulbs too. Anyways, there's where we are at the moment. Now to order a new boot and one (?) adjuster for the driver's side headlight. Thank you everyone. I know this wasn't a short read but that's it.
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Old 10-20-2019, 02:24 PM
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my head lights auto adjust every time i turn them on.. i dont have a auto daylight mode (*just on and off)
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:47 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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my head lights auto adjust every time i turn them on.. i dont have a auto daylight mode (*just on and off)
Your auto adjust functioning as they should! Mine work as well. Relieved to find that.

Auto-on is at 11 o'clock on the switch. "Off" is NOON. Markers only is 1 o'clock and all on is 2 o'clock respectively.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:57 AM
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Mein Auto: e39, e83, e60
mine does not have that option 12oclock is off, 1 oclock is markers, 2 oclock is on...

the one you describe is like that in the x3
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