High beam won't work - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 17 Old Aug 16th, 2008, 11:31 am Thread Starter
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High beam won't work

I tried different searchs but couldn't come up with anything on this problem. My high beam hasn't worked since I bought the bike (2004 LT), last fall. The owner said the bulb was burned out. When I went to replace it this spring the bulb holder would not stay pushed into the bulb ring so it took a few weeks to get a new one. I finally got around to putting the bulb (PIAA H3) into the bike and it still didn't work. I thought maybe the wiring to the bulb might have been bad, but did a test on it and there is 12 v coming to the bulb connector at the headlight and also when I put the testing probe on the metal connector on the wire to the bulb. I had purchased 2 bulbs so I tried the 2nd one with the same results, so I presume it isn't the bulb, can't see getting 2 bad ones. Does anyone have any ideas what I should do from here? The low beam was modified to a HID bulb and it works fine and I really don't need the high beam as I don't think it would add much light, but I can't flash my headlight to the occasional car who thinks I am on high beam so I would like to get it working if I could. Not being too knowledgable electrically I don't know what else to test. I would have thought if there was power to the bulb it should light. Out of curiosity I did a continuity check on one of the bulbs I just bought and the one I took out that was supposedly burned out. They both seem to test ok. I am testing from the wire connector on the bulb to where the metal tip of the bulb comes out of the glass. I am not sure if that shows anything or not, but can't get inside bulb to test any further. Hope someone has some idea what I am talking about


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post #2 of 17 Old Aug 16th, 2008, 11:48 am
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Re: High beam won't work

Had a similar problem last year and trying to recall the details.
It sure sounds to me like the trouble you are having relates to how the bulb is "clipped in place" ... seems to me there is a ground connection or perhaps the negative post is part of the clipping mechanisim.
I have replaced both low and high beams with HID or I'd go and look at mine ....
There are guys on this forum who will KNOW EXACTLY what you need to do and perhaps even what I'm talking about. Hope so anyway.
Don't do anything expensive yet ....... it's a very simple fix ... if only I could remember the detail. This "sometimers" I have seems to get worse and worse ..
Keir
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post #3 of 17 Old Aug 16th, 2008, 12:05 pm Thread Starter
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Re: High beam won't work

There is a brass ground clip that you have to push up over the base of the bulb, and the bulb will only fit into the headlight one way, as there are 2 or 3 notches and groves that have to line up when you put the bulb in. It all seems correct. Only thing I didn't check is whether that ground clip is still grounding, I don't know if it is wired to something or if it just grounds to frame when it clips in tight. I will take it apart again and look. Thanks for the info, if you think of anything else let me know. Sometime if we ever run into each other in Freddy Beach I will take a look at your high beam HID install. It is probably the way to go. Anyone looking for 2 piaa H3 bulbs? Too bad they are so expensive.


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post #4 of 17 Old Aug 16th, 2008, 12:14 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

It needs to ground to a BROWN wire. Frame grounds on BMW's are not reliable. It is a common fault that the ground wire has corroded at the connection. Check both ends of the brown wire.

John
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post #5 of 17 Old Aug 16th, 2008, 2:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: High beam won't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
It needs to ground to a BROWN wire. Frame grounds on BMW's are not reliable. It is a common fault that the ground wire has corroded at the connection. Check both ends of the brown wire.

There is a brown wire that goes into the end of the headlight assembly, where the plug in is for the wire going to the bulb. This brown wire is also connected into a block of somekind that is part of the HID conversion.(it is taped over so can't see what it is, possibly a relay or connector block or something). Then the wires from this HID conversion go back into a maze of other wires...If this brown is a ground, I am not sure if it originates somewhere before that connection box in that maze of wires. If it is the ground, I presume it is grounding the headlight assembly so that when the bulb ring is touching it, then the ground is completed. And if that is what it is doing, than it must be doing it for the HID bulb as well, since the brown wire goes to the light assembly. If it is grounding the headlight assembly, than it should work for the high beam as well as the low. I can't see the end of the wire where it connects into the headlight assembly without taking the whole assembly out, which means taking off part of the fairing I think.

Anyway, thanks for the help, possibly there is something in all this maze of wires that is preventing the ground, but it is a hard spot to work on unless I go into removing the other items, which I may have to do, I guess. Maybe easier to convert high beam to HID.


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post #6 of 17 Old Nov 7th, 2008, 4:10 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

Sort of reviving an older post - I seem to be having the same problem. I thought the High Beam (H3) Bulb went bad and replaced it. It still does not come on.

I have a flicker attached to the high beam that only works in the daylight. The blue indicator on the dash comes on too.. There just seems to be one wire connected to the bulb and I'm guessing that the ground is through the housing? Brown, ground wire seems to be tight and not corroded...Any suggestions.

Dano
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post #7 of 17 Old Nov 7th, 2008, 4:21 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

you need power and ground--- if you have both you have a bad bulb
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post #8 of 17 Old Nov 7th, 2008, 4:35 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

pretty sure I have both, but will double check. How do I check for the ground? It's not hard to install the complete buld assembly and it seems to be fitting correctly. Bulb does not look burned out but I replaced it with a similar bulb. still no glow. HID works along with parking bulb..

Dano
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post #9 of 17 Old Nov 7th, 2008, 4:55 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

Follow the brown wire off the bulb. I unhooked mine by mistake when putting in the low beam. It is not easy to find the ground connection, but it is there, Make sure it is clean and tight.

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post #10 of 17 Old Nov 7th, 2008, 5:15 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

thanks - My next project in the morning.

Dano
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post #11 of 17 Old Nov 7th, 2008, 7:18 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

If the bulb is a regular filament type, you should be able to check it for continuity, like one would a fuse.

The normal bulb runs on DC.
You can check for voltage to the socket with a multitester. If you get plus an minus backwards the tester will let you know.

You can also check the ground by testing for continuity from the negative wire to unpainted ground.

I remember people reporting having problems with the connection of the ground wire to the frame. Broen wire?

Best from cold Tucson
Bob

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post #12 of 17 Old Nov 7th, 2008, 9:23 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

thanks... I'll be able to see better in the light of day tomorrow.

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

12 K1600 GTL
02 K1200 LT (gone but not forgotten)
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post #13 of 17 Old Nov 8th, 2008, 8:55 am
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Re: High beam won't work

Can't seem to find the "ground wire." I'm assuming that the wire coming off of the bulb is the power wire and connects from a spade lug into the receptacle just above the bulb. That seems to be ok. A ground "wire" has been mentioned and I can't locate it. Don't remember seeing it when I dissembled the headlight cover. Not a lot of room to work and I'm trying to do it by feel and limited view. Is there a specific ground wire? where is it? Now it off to skydive today......... fix the bike later..

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

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02 K1200 LT (gone but not forgotten)
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post #14 of 17 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 8:38 pm
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High Beam is Working

I do not know how I fixed the problem, but the high beam is working. I completely disassembled the front end to get to the wires in the nose and went over every wire and connection.

It is amazing what you have to remove to take the nose off! Once every thing was apart I cleaned and tightened up every connection and found nothing really bad. Put it all back together and the high beam is now working. Wish I knew why, but maybe by cleaning every connection and tidying up the wires, good karma followed......

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

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post #15 of 17 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 9:02 pm
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Re: High Beam is Working

I hope you had some dielectric grease to apply to the connectors...

also, the 'brown wire' is the 'ground'... that needs to carry power to 'ground". If it isn't making good contact with the bulb contacts.. or is broken inside the insulation of the wire.. .or has "corrosion" where it connects to 'frame ground' you may have this problem resurface.

If it does, I recommend "redoing" the "frame ground" from the headlights...with ample dielectric grease.

...............
J.M.J...
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post #16 of 17 Old Nov 10th, 2008, 11:12 pm
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Re: High beam won't work

It is a pain to pull the nose cone.

Redoing the connections might have removed a little oxidation-corrosion that blocked the flow of electrons.

Some parts of electronic theory have electrons flowing from negative to positive.

As a child, I assumed that the + line was fused because it was "HOT", electrons flowed from plus to minus. Its a hard habit to break when I play around with "glow in the dark" circuits.

Best from COLD Tucson
Bob

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post #17 of 17 Old Nov 11th, 2008, 1:29 am
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Re: High beam won't work

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
As a child, I assumed that the + line was fused because it was "HOT", electrons flowed from plus to minus.
You and Ben Franklin. Of course it took more than 100 years to show that "holes" move + to -, and electrons move - to +.

Either way you look at it bulbs still need a complete circuit to light up, and the LT's headlight ground connection is notoriously flaky.

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