BimmerFest BMW Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
aioros
Joined
·
890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just replaced the headlight adjusters on my '99 E39 :rofl:. I've found all kind of threads to adjust the headlights but only for the HEIGHT of the beam not the WIDTH :eek:. I know that the beam should aim 2.5" below the height of the headlight at a distance of 25' :thumbup:.
What is the distance between the beams? :dunno:
 

·
aioros
Joined
·
890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Edjack. That procedure is exactly what I needed. Now I need to find the place to do all that.
 

·
Seek to understand,^Value
Joined
·
25,199 Posts
RDL did a great analysis of the E39 headlight aiming procedures ...lemme find it.

Ok, a /headlight aiming(F3) found it in the bestlinks.

It's one of these:
- Headlight aiming DIYs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)





I can't seem to find the one from RDL with all the measurements (slow Internet connection)... but it's there somewhere.
 

·
Seek to understand,^Value
Joined
·
25,199 Posts
Ah, it's rare I can't find something and now I know why.

The RDL aiming diagram I was looking for was for the windshield washers (I had a brief brain spasm I guess).

Anyway, the threads I referenced should answer your question - but, if not, please let me know 'cuz that means our headlight-aiming DIYs need to be improved.

Here is a procedure from this thread, for example:
- Do all our E39's have SEPARATE horizontal and vertical headlight adjustment alignment

Based on this Jim Cash article, I've modified the procedure to the following:

(1) Inflate tires properly, tank 1/2 full, typical driver in seat.
(2) Find a wall at least 4' high abutting about 35' of level drivable ground
(3) Obtain two 6mm allen wrenches (each headlight's two adjusters must be turned simultaneously an equal number of turns in the same direction)
(4) Find a small self-standing or clipping light to see under the hood.
(5) On a dark night, park just close enough to the wall to fit your body in between as you string the tape along the wall.
(6) Mark a 10' horizontal line with tape on the wall at the headlight midpoint; the result should look something like this:
----------------------------------------
(7) At each headlight centerpoint, mark a vertical line with tape on the wall to make a plus sign (one for each headlight center point); the result should now look something like this:
--+---------------------------------+--
(8) Back the vehicle until the headlights are 25 feet from the wall and perpendicular to the wall.
(9) Switch the low beam on (both high & low adjust together for each headlight).
(10) Wait about a minute as the Xenons do a calibration run which takes about 30 seconds to complete.
(11) Cover one headlight with an opaque blanket or towel so that only one light is being aimed.
(12) Chant "Lateral:lateral, Medial:vertical", three or four times (or until at least the lateral:lateral part sinks in). This is because the lateral (outside) adjuster MOSTLY moves the headlight laterally (i.e., side to side); in actuality, it moves the headlight aim diagonally, but mostly horizontally. Likewise, the medial (inside) adjuster MOSTLY moves the headlight vertically (i.e., up and down); in actuality, it moves the headlight aim diagonally, but mostly vertically.
(13) Using both 6mm allen wrenches in place on one headlight, twist both adjusters an equal number of turns in the same direction such that the brightest area moves diagonally to about 2" below the horizontal reference tape and to 2" to the right of the vertical reference tape (i.e., the plus sign) for each side respectively (the spec is 2.1 inches/52mm +/- 1.3 inches/33mm).
(14) As a doublecheck, switch on the high beams (the respective alignment should remain the same).

The result should look something like this:
--+----------------------------------+--
-----*----------------------------------*
 

·
Seek to understand,^Value
Joined
·
25,199 Posts
To aioros,
I would like you, once you figure this out, to clarify what has always confused me about the E39 headlight aiming procedure.

It seems on the older E39s, it 'may' be that there 'is' a separate horizontal and vertical adjustment ... however, on my 2002 Hella halogens it seems there is only a pseudo-separate adjustment - which sort of has a 'mostly horizontal' and 'mostly vertical' slant to it.

I've taken my headlights apart (to replace the adjusters), and I've confirmed (to my satisfaction) the two adjusters do NOT operate independently; yet, I've seen E39 procedures which 'imply' that horizontal adjustment differs from vertical.

Q1: If you can clarify whether there is a separate horiz vs vertical or a combined (slanted) adjustment ... please do.

In addition, in one of the headlight adjusting links, Mark at EAC Tuning has stated exactly where he leaves the adjusting screw once the headlight adjusters are replaced. IIRC, it's something like five turns from bottoming out (I put mine halfway, counting something like 30 turns and then putting it at 15 or so ... it's in one of the threads) ... so may I ask a second question?
- How to make your own headlight adjusters (0) (1) (2) (3)

Q2: Where did 'you' leave your adjustment screws (how many turns which way) when you replaced your adjusters.

Third question ... I'm curious ... since I've done it multiple ways (i.e., making my own adjusters out of a block of plastic and installing the $100/two headlights aluminum adjusters) ... what solution did you use for your headlight adjusters?
- A list of your options when your headlight adjusters are broken (1)

Q3: What adjusters did you use? (PBT? Delrin? HDPE? Aluminum? etc.)
 

·
aioros
Joined
·
890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Bluebee for the information.
To answer your questions:
I haven't adjust them properly yet but I used my E46 as reference.
I bought the adjusters from autohausaz, made by EZ Ziegler.

I knew I should've taken pictures of the job :mad:
My headlights don't have the leveling bubbles but my car has the self leveling headlights sensor.

As you can see in the pictures, you can operate the adjuster knobs separate and independently to adjust the headlights up/down or left/right.

All three adjusters are parallel to the floor. But the adjusters 1 and 2 move with a screw attached to the knob. They move towards the front or the rear of the car but parallel to the floor.
 

Attachments

·
Seek to understand,^Value
Joined
·
25,199 Posts
In addition, all those threads show a different set of adjusters then mine. This is what I bought
Oh. I get it (finally).

You can ignore the confused PM I just sent you! :(

There are two totally different situations as covered in this thread:
- List options available (sorted by cost) for 2001-2003 E39 broken headlight adjusters

Specifically, this thread should cover E39's built after September 2000, namely the post-facelift 2001-2003 model year with either the Hella HID (aka xenon gas-discharge low beam with self-leveling motor) or Hella conventional (aka halogen headlights with the H7 base, 9005 holder, 9006 connector, no ballast, no self-leveling motor).
Note: The cost for a complete set of adjusters for E39's older than September 2000 is only $15 at EAC (compared to $160 for newer adjusters); so the older adjusters are not expected to be the topic of this discussion.
 

·
Seek to understand,^Value
Joined
·
25,199 Posts
My headlights don't have the leveling bubbles but my car has the self leveling headlights sensor
I don't have self-leveling headlights.

What is a "leveling bubble"?
 

·
aioros
Joined
·
890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Some "older" models had a bubble on top of the headlight. It was used for the vertical aim, according to the owner's manual.
 

·
Seek to understand,^Value
Joined
·
25,199 Posts
Some "older" models had a bubble on top of the headlight. It was used for the vertical aim, according to the owner's manual.
Oh. I thought you might have been referring to the 'flat spot'.
- What's the flat spot on the USA spec headlights (1) (2)

Thanks for clarifying.
 

·
aioros
Joined
·
890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah that "flat spot" is what I was talking about. If you go up to post #4, which is your first post in this thread, look at the "E39 headlights adjustment procedure" picture, read after "situation" it says:
{There's a new type of headlight. The bubble and knob are no longer there, instead there is a new adjusting procedure}

By the way, I just adjusted my headlights. I will do a "fine tuning" adjustment after a few nights of driving to my liking.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top