BMW headlight replacement

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  #1  
Old 12-22-14, 08:37 PM
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BMW headlight replacement

BMW HEADLIGHT REPLACEMENT
Does anybody else think it's expensive @$1,200 to replace a burned out headlight on my 2001 BMW or is it just me ?
My question is "who can advise me on how to do this myself " ? I'm pretty handy at this stuff so if anybody can help out I'd appreciate your advce.
Thanks !
 
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  #2  
Old 12-22-14, 09:36 PM
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You didn't post a model so there is a little guess work here.

Are we talking about an HID/xenon system ?

Most of the BMW's of that vintage use an H7 replacement lamp. The plastic socket assembly is held in place with a clip. Squeeze the clip and the entire socket rotates. Once the assembly is out the bulb is pulled straight out of the socket. You cannot touch the glass envelope on the new bulb with your hands.

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Old 12-23-14, 03:57 AM
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To further Pete's comments, I don't think the bulbs are all that expensive, and labor takes almost 3 minutes, so I don't understand where the $1200 figure comes in at. Surely this was a dealer quote. Your model may differ, but here's a video to show how to do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sO2W10iiW0
 
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Old 12-23-14, 05:12 AM
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A few weeks ago there was a question in the Car Talk column on this subject. I don't recall what make/model was in question but it was an extremely expensive headlight bulb change. The Answer was that on that owner's car, bulb replacement essentially consists of dismantling the entire front of the car for access and they advised doing BOTH bulbs since most of the cost was labor to access the bulb. I think these were HID bulbs being discussed. I'll see if I can find the column.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 05:19 AM
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Here's the Q&A; this was on an Acura:

Blog Post | The $1K Headlight Job | Car Talk
 
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Old 12-23-14, 05:28 AM
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Yeah, we don't know the model of the BMW, nor the lighting system. Hopefully the dealer isn't milking the situation, knowing the BMW is a higher end car and the owner will fall for it.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 05:40 AM
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If you call around and price the price of the bulb [dealer will charge more than others] that will give you an idea of what the labor portion is and may give you an idea of how difficult or easy it is to replace the bulb on your vehicle.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 05:47 AM
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Ultimate driving machine = Ultimate repair bills.
 
  #9  
Old 12-23-14, 06:56 AM
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It's an '02 330CI with Xenon headlamp system.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 08:06 AM
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That's a completely different issue. Instead of dealing with a standard filament type bulb you're dealing with a discharge lamp, ignitor and ballast. The dealer was most likely changing the entire assembly which is the quickest and most reliable way to repair it.

I can't advise you how to repair your system directly as I doubt it's just a bad lamp.
 
  #11  
Old 12-24-14, 07:54 AM
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Thanks PJ MAX
I can get the headlight out but I think the new headlamp requires some sort of programimg, Do you, or does anybody else know that process ?.Thanks!
 
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Old 12-24-14, 11:34 AM
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If something was needing to be reprogrammed it would probably be the ballast.
If you are just changing the discharge lamp I don't think reprogramming would be necessary.
 
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Old 12-25-14, 03:50 AM
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You first might try swapping the bulbs from left to right to see if the problem follows the bulb. If so, change both bulbs of course (always change bulbs in L/R pairs).

If that doesn't solve it, and if you have the E46 with Adaptive bi-xenon's, you should have the LSZ (light switch module) scanned for fault codes before you change anymore parts (not sure if that year model has a LSZ tho... ) .
 
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Old 12-25-14, 04:22 AM
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Also check the bulb connector(s) and wiring while you're in there. Some 330 owners have mentioned frayed headlamp wiring at or near the lamp assembly.
 
  #15  
Old 12-26-14, 06:58 AM
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BMW Headblight Replacement

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll try them all. Headlight itself costs $100.00 I'm searching for a lower cost. $200.00 for headlights seems pretty high to me.
I'll keep searching.
 
  #16  
Old 12-26-14, 05:39 PM
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Hopefully the dealer isn't milking the situation, knowing the BMW is a higher end car and the owner will fall for it.
You must mean like they fell for buying that car in the first place.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 08:25 PM
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Hey, it's not just Beemers. My new Kia? The key fob is 180 bucks! Just the metal part of the key is $20.

I haven't read the whole thread...but no way bulb replacement should cost a lot. If you start talking entire headlight assembly replacement...yeah, it can get complicated with many hours of labor.

I had to take the damn bumper, fender liners, and front facia off my Tribute to put in new ones. No Pro and bad working conditions, but it was still a 4-5 hr job for me. Dealer book labor costs...yeah, I can see $1200 for replacing both assemblys, esp with stock parts. I went aftermarket and replaced both for $140 plus my time.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 08:32 PM
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We're not talking just a "bulb" here..... we're talking about an (HID) xenon arc tube. $100 for that item is a fairly good price.
 
  #19  
Old 12-27-14, 04:17 AM
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I, from the very start, failed to ask the OP some very important questions. Kind of late now, but here goes:

Did the repair shop perform any headlight system diagnostics? And, if so, did it provide a proper written estimate with a (separate) breakdown on the parts and labor? Or was this just a verbal 'shot in the dark' ballpark maximum quote?
 
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