HID Adjustment - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 6 Old Jan 4th, 2006, 8:45 am Thread Starter
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Question HID Adjustment

I did a mass farkle installation over the holidays and one of the items was an HID low beam. The installation went OK with the exception of locating a place for the power supply/balun which is a one piece unit on the kit I bought and a little large to place on the nose cowl shelf. On my second mounting effort I found a place that worked but I will probably have to remove it every time I need to get to the headlight housing. But I digress

The difference in brightness it quite dramatic. I also installed an Autoswitch and some driving lights that mount using the two top bolt holes on the front fender. This is a GTI kit I got off eBay and the mount is a custom machined piece of aluminum that fits this spot perfectly. The lights themselves are some no name brand but they put out decent light and I like that the light tracks the direction of the front wheel for cornering at night.

Now to my problem. I was adjusting the driving lights and admiring the brightness of the HID when I noticed that the HID seemed to be spread high and wide. The only area that looked like a focused beam of any sort was at the top edge of the pattern mostly at the centerline and to the right of centerline. The height of the bright area is the same height as my high beam.

Now I am going to assume that the problem is that the radiating segment of the HID is farther into the light fixture than a stock halogen lamp element. I am sure I will need to tear everything apart anyway so I will make some measurements to verify this. With the aid of a couple sets of sunglasses the radiating element on the HID appears to be the little sphere of glass approximately in the middle of the lamp. I have cranked my headlight adjuster on the dash all the way down but the light beam is still too high.

If I am willing to sacrifice my high beam is there an additional vertical adjustment inside the headlight fixture?

If someone else has had to make adjustments to their bulb positioning what is a good way to do it?

I am speculating that some appropriately sized washers between the bulb base and the headlight housing would work. What is a good way to keep the bulb in place if the clips are no longer functional with the bulb backed out some distance?

Any web wisdom would be appreciated before I try to dig into it again.

Thanks!


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post #2 of 6 Old Jan 4th, 2006, 8:57 am
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Jim:

First thing I would check is that the two retaining wire clips behind the bulb are actually in place. The top one usually is the hard one to hook when doing an HID retrofit. If it is not hooked, the bulb will shift back and up.

If this is not the case, then there is a small black knob on the headlight assembly where the cable from the dash terminates. You can adjust the headlight assembly vertically by turning this knob. This knob increases the adjustment range of the headlight.



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post #3 of 6 Old Jan 4th, 2006, 9:30 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaffyK
Jim:

First thing I would check is that the two retaining wire clips behind the bulb are actually in place. The top one usually is the hard one to hook when doing an HID retrofit. If it is not hooked, the bulb will shift back and up.
I agree with Raffy. I actually made a new wire clip when I did my HID low beam. Just could not get the stock clip to retain the bulb properly. If the bulb is not seated solidly and unmoveable, you will get a strange light pattern. My bulb had a molded protrusion on one side that forced the wire clip out so far that it would not clip in place and still force the bulb against the seat. Made a new one from music wire that had a bulge in it to clear the protrusion.

If you can wiggle the bulb at all, this is likely your problem.

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post #4 of 6 Old Jan 4th, 2006, 10:49 am Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips. Both clips were in place before I put the cover back on but it is certainly possible that it popped off during that process. It was difficult to put the top clip back on and a little voice, which I ignored , was whispering that I didn't like the way it locked or possibly didn't lock in place.

The kit came with a Philips bulb which I have read is the best quality bulb on the market so I was figuring it was probably something I did wrong. I also have a high beam HID set but I decided not to install it for a couple of reasons. The primary reason was I couldn't figure out how to mount the H3 bulb with the two piece mounting fixture that is in the LT headlight. (Perhaps there is a web wisdom tip lurking in the forum someplace ) After a solid week of farkling I didn't have the will power to pursue it any farther. The other reason was the was the total size of two of the combined PS/Baluns. Both of these issues are probably not insurmountable but I just ran out of gas. I will probably look at it again when I get in to work the low beam problem.

I probably should have bitten the bullet and bought my HIDs from one of the recommended sources but the cheapskate eBay demon in me took control .


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post #5 of 6 Old Jan 4th, 2006, 11:07 am
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Ok. Check that top wire clip. You need to tweak it a bit. Open the end loop and it will be easier to hook it. I use a needle nose plier to assist.

As far as the high beam HID, not knowing which kit you have and what type of bulb base it came with, you may need to drill out the inside of the black plastic bulb holder to pass the pig tail wires through. Then seat the bulb on the plastic and use the retaining metal piece to hold the bulb in place just like the OEM bulb. However, if the bulb base is not deep enough (read thick), the bulb will not sit in an optimum position and could create a halo effect when you turn the high beam HID on. The bulb needs to be a certain depth to maintain a tight light pattern.

An easy solution will be to make a spacer (HID-Online.com developed one a couple of years ago) or fill the black plastic with RTV and let it harden as long as you figure out the correct depth first.



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post #6 of 6 Old Jan 13th, 2006, 4:47 pm Thread Starter
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I thought I would post the results of my low beam adjustment problem.

I pulled the nose fairing off and took off the headlight cover panel. Both clips were still in place. I removed the HID bulb and replaced it looking to see if it might have been canted in the mounting in some way. I made sure it was not canted and connected the retainer clips. I was able to connect up the HID module and the headlight power connector while holding onto the nose fairing. I turned on the Hi and Low Beams and shined them on my garage door. I still had the same problem, the top edge of the Low Beam was at the Hi Beam level.

I then un-clipped the retaining clips and moved the bulb around canting it up/down and in/out by hand to see the affect on the Low Beam aim point. Yes I did survive the experience though some might argue the point. I could only drop the Low Beam aim point by canting the bulb upward in the fixture. This puts the radiating element higher and slightly less deep into the headlight. Seeing as how we are talking about a reflection from a mirror behind the radiating element this makes sense.

To accomplish this for the "fix" I needed a way to put a spacer under the locator tab on the HID bulb which is at the top of the holding fixture. What I did was cut strips of adhesive backed aluminum tape just narrow enough fit into the notch in the housing for the bulb locator tab. I chose aluminum tape so it wouldn't compress over time. I kept adding layers of tape until I got the aim point I wanted. I think I ended up with twelve layers of aluminum tape. Both the bulb retainer clips are still functional, with a little encouragement , so the cant isn't to radical.

I have only ridden about 100 miles at night so far but I have not been flashed yet. The Low Beam HID is a great improvement and I did not have to sacrifice my Hi Beam. Not an elegant solution but it solved my problem. The components look great but I am not sure I would recommend this kit I bought off eBay from an installation perspective. Only time will tell how it holds up.

Until then it's SHINE ON Rufus .


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