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I'm a DlCK! So what?
3,764 Posts
First of all, I'm going to assume your car originally had halogen headlights (all stock E46 headlights did not come with angel eyes), so the previous owner put some kind of aftermarket projector headlight assemblies in your car, which do NOT have bi-xenon projectors (unless a retrofit was done). That explains why the inner halogens come on when you push the stalk forward.

I'm willing to bet the ballasts and/or bulbs could be bad. Lucky for you, HID kits are relatively cheap. Lots of people swear by Morimoto, but I've had nothing but great experiences with the DDM Tuning Ultra HID kits. Supposedly, they use Hylux ballasts, and they cost about 30% less than other places who sell high-end HID kits. Granted, each person has different experiences, so your mileage may vary.

Another note on aftermarket headlight assemblies with generic HID kits: It's often hard to tell what type of bulb they take for the low beams unless you can match the bulb base with a picture of different headlight bulbs or you know exactly what kind of headlights you have. Some of them use H1, some use 9006. Sometimes you'll get lucky and find the HID bulbs have the bulb type stamped on the plastic base, but not always.

I'm a DlCK! So what?
3,764 Posts
Yes, they're xenon (or HID) bulbs. What I meant by the "type" of bulb is 9006, H7, H1, etc. Here's a chart for you to match the bulb base to. Judging from the picture, it looks like an H7 bulb base.
Product Font Material property Circle Pattern

As for how to tell if the bulbs are shot, it's kind of tough to tell for sure without the other one working, too. Sometimes they'll have a "burned" look to them. Sometimes they'll look perfectly fine. As for determining if it's the bulb or a ballast, the only way to really test them is to swap them around. If it were an OEM HID kit, I'd start with buying new bulbs and then work backwards (OEM ballasts and igniters are not very cheap). Since it's an aftermarket kit, I'd probably just buy a whole new kit and call it a day. You will need a kit that's rated to be error-free for CANBUS systems, because BMWs are weird like that.

For Morimoto's kit, click here. I'll go through the different options with you to help you figure out what you'll need:
  • HID Ballsts - Totally your preference. 35W is the "standard" and provides enough light for 99% of applications, but 50W will produce about 30% more light. Do note that a 50W system will create more heat from the bulb and can potential burn the projector bowls, especially if they're low quality. I've always gone with 35W, but I'll leave that up to you.
  • H7 HID Bulbs - Okay, here's where it gets tricky. There is H7A and H7B. In your picture, your bulb looks to be an H7A. However, there is a surefire way to tell if you need H7A or H7B. When you go to install the bulb into the headlight housing, is the alignment tab on the base of the bulb pointing at 12 o'clock (up) or 6 o'clock (down)? If it's up, you need H7A. If it's down, you need H7B.
    • As far as the color goes, that's your preference. 3800K is slightly yellow, 4000K is basically natural daylight, 5000K is pure white, and 6000K is white with a hint of blue. 4000K will provide the most lumens on the road, but 5000K will provide the most clarity. The more blue you have in your light, the less light output you'll have on the road.
  • Wire Harness - PWM Harness: Morimoto Standalone CANBUS (H7).
  • Optional Anti-Flicker Capacitor Link - You shouldn't need this.
  • Dilectric Grease - They say it's "recommended", but I've never used it in any HID kit installation. It can't hurt anything, but it's totally up to you.
  • TRS Swag - It's up to you if you want to pay to advertise for The Retrofit Source.
  • Morimoto Swag - It's up to you if you want to pay to advertise for Morimoto and The Retrofit Source.
Total Price: $180.22 (plus any applicable tax and/or shipping).

$180 is pretty pricey if you ask me. That's where DDM Tuning comes into play. They have three different kits for you to choose from, but only offer two CANBUS friendly kits. I've provided links directly to the CANBUS kits (click to view each one):
  • Plus CANBUS- Good quality ballasts and bulbs. At the very least, this is what I would choose.
  • Ultra CANBUS- DDM's Ultra HID kits are comparable to Morimoto, but cheaper. This is what I always use in my vehicles when I do an HID upgrade.
Options for both are as follows:
  • Wattage - Your choice.
  • Bulb Type - H7A/H7B Universal Bulb. You'll notice their bulb has two of the alignment tabs, not just one. This lets you flip the bulb to however you need it to be oriented. That electrode wire should always be on the bottom when you install them.
  • Color - Your choice. 3000K is yellow, 4500K is closer to pure white, 5500K has a tint of blue, 6500K is a mix of blue and white, 8500K is mostly blue with a hint of white.
    • I bought 5500K for my wife's car a couple years ago. I was surprised to see they were closer to 6000K. Personally, I'd go with 4500K if you want good, crisp, white light.
  • Adaptor Cables - Shouldn't need them.
You'll also want the relay harness (click here to view).

Total 35W Plus Price: $127.95 (plus any applicable tax and/or shipping).
Total 35W Ultra Price: $145.95 (plus any applicable tax and/or shipping).

At the very least, you saved almost $35 and got a comparable HID system.

I spent entirely too much time typing and organizing all that, so I hope it helps. 馃槄

I'm a DlCK! So what?
3,764 Posts
I can鈥檛 thank you enough for your help. This should cover everything, I鈥檒l grab another set and should be good to go.
I'll also throw this out there: If you want to upgrade your high beams, ditch the halogen and get some good quality LED bulbs. The brightest I've found so far (with long throw) are these Aukee LED bulbs (click to view), which have 12 LED chips on each bulb instead of the usual six. Note that 110W is for the pair, not each bulb. (I only linked H7 because I don't know what kind of halogen bulb your aftermarket housings take in the high beam position.)
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