I sometimes get ahead of myself and... - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 12 Old Sep 29th, 2010, 11:43 pm Thread Starter
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Red face I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

Screw up. I ordered a DDM low beam kit. It came in and I was more than eager to get out and get it installed. I had researched the forum for days and was a little intimidated, but that has never stopped me before, after all in the 5 weeks that I have owned the bike, I have become one with it. My first six days of ownership was a 4200 mile trip...we bonded. Anywhoo, I have tackled an oil change, the shock top-off, so far so good. Now the HID low beam.

I decided to go for the "no tupperware removal approach" which surprisingly wasn't bad. I got the dust cover off, the lamp out, and started fitting my new HID. Right from the outset, something didn't look right. The base of mine was much larger than what I was seeing in the posted pics from those who have come before me, but I just thought manufacturing had probably changed since the pics were posted a few years ago. So after much dremelling, rolling around with my flashlight in my mouth (I started these shenanigans at 11:30 last night...wifes out of town), and scratching my head, I finally got it all together. I even figured out where the two pigtails go...that in itself took an hour...I'm not too "bright", pun intended. At 1:30 a.m. I reconnected the battery, turned the key, and sure enough, a soft hum and bluish light started emitting from my nosecone, or the bikes rather. Sounds great, right?

Well, here is where I screwed up. In all of my excitement, I just assumed the "low" beam came from the "lower" lamp. I came back to my computer, did one more search and found instructions that I had not yet seen clearly explaining the difference in where the low beam and the high beam lamps are positioned in the assembly.

I could not turn back now. I had dremelled the socket housing of the high beam and the base of the low beam lamp to a perfect union, and neither could return to their original dwelling places. So, my question is...is there any freaking difference in a DDM H7 35W 4500 and a DDM H3 35W 4500? Because I may be the only guy with a H7 high beam.

I took her for a 2:00 am ride and the new lowhi beam lit up the night like never before. It was a tremendous improvement. But I was wondering if the H7 is "dipped" therefore having a different pattern than the H3 or does the reflector take care of all that?

Thanks for listening or reading or whatever the term for what we do is.
Here is a link to pics from the first 6 days on the bike:
http://picasaweb.google.com/10894939...26483824907362

Last edited by TNJason; Sep 29th, 2010 at 11:48 pm.
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post #2 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 12:50 am
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

I've got both hi & low, but haven't installed the high yet. Waiting on winter for that. I can't really see any difference in the bulbs other than the mount the bulb is in. Others here know a lot more about this stuff than me, but it looks like to me if you get another low & put it in the right place, you should be all set. I suppose you could use a stock bulb in the low and use it that way, but your switching would be backwards.

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post #3 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 5:08 am
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

The DDM H3 and H7 lamps are not dipped. The only dipped lamps are for a high/low beam installation using just one lamp. As you know the LT uses 2 lamps.

What determines the shape of the headlight beam is the length of the lamp envelope and the shape of the reflector. If you are happy with the performance of your new high beam pattern and performance I would leave the high beam alone. Use what you have already installed.

I would now order another low beam kit and install it this time in the low beam position (the upper one).

Worst case is that if the high beam pattern is not acceptable then you will need to order a used headlamp bucket cover from someone breaking down a wrecked bike. I doubt you will need to go this far.

BTW, your second installation should be a lot easier than your first! The new lamp should fit easily into the hole!

Let us know how this turns out. By putting an H7 lamp in an H3 hole you might have actually improved the performance of your high beam!

Loren

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post #4 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 6:24 am
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

First of all, the bulb retention devices for H3 and H7 are totally different, second, the seating depth of the bulbs is CRITICAL to get the correct beam shape. 1/16" difference in seating depth can change the beam pattern dramatically.

My questions are: How well is your bulb contained now? Can you wiggle it in its position? It should be solidly attached.

How does your beam pattern look? Does it compare in shape to the original?

You may be OK since it is High Beam, because it should always be turned off when meeting oncoming drivers. So even if the beam pattern is incorrect, maybe no one but you will know it.

Biggest issue is that now this is a bike on which any future owner will have trouble replacing the bulbs, unless they have been told about the change.

You really should be on the lookout for a used lower housing assembly to replace it so the correct bulbs can be used.

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post #5 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 6:28 am
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wa1200lt
----------------------------------------------snipped---------------------------

Let us know how this turns out. By putting an H7 lamp in an H3 hole you might have actually improved the performance of your high beam!

Loren
How could it be an improvement? There is absolutely no difference in the actual bulbs, only their mounting bases. They are both the same 35 watt capsule.

To me, dremelling out the reflector of an H3 to accept an H7 has ruined it. It would be a miracle if the spacing and centering is now right.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
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EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
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post #6 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 8:21 am Thread Starter
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

I have already ordered another H7 for the low beam. Im sure it has got to be easier...
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post #7 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 8:33 am Thread Starter
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
First of all, the bulb retention devices for H3 and H7 are totally different, second, the seating depth of the bulbs is CRITICAL to get the correct beam shape. 1/16" difference in seating depth can change the beam pattern dramatically.

My questions are: How well is your bulb contained now? Can you wiggle it in its position? It should be solidly attached.

How does your beam pattern look? Does it compare in shape to the original?

You may be OK since it is High Beam, because it should always be turned off when meeting oncoming drivers. So even if the beam pattern is incorrect, maybe no one but you will know it.

Biggest issue is that now this is a bike on which any future owner will have trouble replacing the bulbs, unless they have been told about the change.

You really should be on the lookout for a used lower housing assembly to replace it so the correct bulbs can be used.
1. The bulb is contained very well. Fits snugly and flat against the galvanized part of the socket assembly. No wiggling. If it is off center, it is by no more that a 1/32". When dremeling the base of the bulb, I took off a "flange" that had a raised rim around it. Taking it just to the rim made it fit perfectly inside the socket. I roughed it in with the dremel and took off the last fraction of flange with sandpaper being very careful not to go off center.

2. I can't tell how the pattern compares to original. I can tell that it is aimed higher than the low, but there is now so much light that it is hard to tell. During my test ride, I met a couple oncoming cars and left the high beam on for just a second to see if they would flash me. Being that it was about the hour of "last call" I didn't push my luck, nor did I want to blind anyone, so I only left it on briefly before switching back to low, however, no flashes.

3. I plan on ordering a new high beam socket...they aren't much from BMW, about $20, just in case it does prove to be an issue or if I ever sell.

Thank you for your input. I will be second guessing this one for a long time.
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post #8 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 8:56 am Thread Starter
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

In response to this post, I did not dremel any of the reflector. The only thing that I modified was 1) the base of the lamp itself, as I explained in the above post, and 2) the little plastic socket that slips inside the galvanized part of the socket. I removed no tupperware and the only thing that was modified came out with the high beam bulb. The black plastic part with the handle on it. When I put it back together, it slipped right back into place as though it were OEM, and it still looks OEM. Does that make sense? If the bulb capsules are the same and the beam isn't dipped, I really think I am in good shape. Any more thoughts? I appreciate your comments.
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post #9 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 9:16 am
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

Good morning David!

It was the base of the lamp that was altered not the reflector. I sincerely doubt if there will be any difference in the high beam pattern.

Hopefully we will find out. The only problem is that TN Jason doesn't have any previous experience with an HID high beam on his LT so how can he judge whether the light pattern has changed. There is so much more light out there that he might perceive the improvement to be 300% instead of 500%.

I'll bet he likes it!

Loren

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
How could it be an improvement? There is absolutely no difference in the actual bulbs, only their mounting bases. They are both the same 35 watt capsule.

To me, dremelling out the reflector of an H3 to accept an H7 has ruined it. It would be a miracle if the spacing and centering is now right.

WAK1200LT
Loren

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post #10 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 1:10 pm Thread Starter
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

You are safe with that bet, Loren. I LOVE IT! I can't wait for the low beam to get here. Thanks for your input...I feel much better.

Jason
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post #11 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 3:29 pm
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

Great photos.

Great trip.

Glenn
Virginia Beach VA and Washington DC

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post #12 of 12 Old Sep 30th, 2010, 5:41 pm Thread Starter
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Re: I sometimes get ahead of myself and...

Thanks...trip of a lifetime.
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