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      04-05-2011, 01:58 AM   #1
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Angry dealer wants 1.6k to replace headlight!?!?!

Hey, first things first I'm Alex. I'm kinda new here but Ive been around bimmers since I was a baby. Favorite car, only car I'll ever want to drive. Soon attending UTI in orlando FL for the BMW program.

Anyways alright, heres my story. 'bout a month back, the bulb [described in picture] in my 2003 e39 525i went out. I was just assuming it needed to be replaced. So I did the normal and went to auto zone to grab the bulb and such. Guy told me it was an H7 bulb and i agreed with him because last time a bulb went out my dad sent me there for an H7 and i was pretty sure this was the same exact bulb again. The next day I drove my car to our high school autoshop and during lunch period i decided to just go swap out the bulbs, no biggie right? well after removing everything necessary something just didn't seem right. I couldn't figure out how to remove the bulb from the housing. I jerked and pulled just a tiny bit to see if it wanted to come out on its own but it didn't. I even printed out the instructions for replacing the bulb on a computer program called AllData (some of you might be familiar with) Anyways, still no luck. I'm pretty good with our local dealer here in the suburbs of chicago and I decided id just bring it in on a non-busy night and since i know the service advisor and a few other people we'd just take a look at it and diagnose the problem for no charge, no appointment and all that bs.

Well, the next day i get in the mail a letter that says that the whole headlight housing is actually busted, and needs to be replaced..For $1,600.. And that the bulb was a Xenon, not a halogen which i had thought it was..

Sorry, but im only 17. I dont have $1,600 to replace a damn headlight! I have to pay for college and crap like that!!! I have to drive around with fog lights and angel eyes at night just so i dont get a ticket for not having "Sufficient headlights"!!!!

Short version:
Headlight went out and BMW is telling me they need to replace the whole Xenon headlight housing, and their asking $1,600... What can i do about this?!?

If anyone needs more pics or any pics of the actual car or headlight assembly I can put some up later today.
Alex, 17 Year old BMW owner in Chicago IL
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      04-12-2011, 11:19 PM   #2
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dude, this light is held on by 4 bolts... order the ballast on ebay and reconnect it!
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      05-01-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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I'm sure you do not need a whole headlight, but even if you do, the part is $1000 or so, and you can do it in 20 minutes with basic hand tools.

As for bulb replacement, take the headlight out and look at hte back of the bulb. Is there a red electrical twist-off connector on the bulb? If so, your car is equipped with factory HIDs. To remove that bulb, there's simply a little retaining ring that you twist and it pops right out. Swap bulbs side to side and see if it fixes it. If not, buy a ballast and D2s connector on ebay, or buy a used factory ballast and replace that.

Edit: BTW, if it's a greay retaining piece that has a standard black plug on it, it's halogen. There's a second piece you twist to remove IIRC (might be confusing it with E46).
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      05-01-2011, 05:01 PM   #4

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Seriously this is BS.

Just bought brand new Headlights from a e39 2001 530i and they cost me 450 from a guy on the internet. do a little research and find a few more bmw forums. this isn't a big deal and the dealer is jerking u around
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      05-19-2011, 07:15 AM   #5
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If the xenon lights don't work, it's either the bulb, the ignitor or the ballast. It takes a little work to figure out which one it is, which the dealer doesn't want to do (for free) so they took the easy way out. If you want to be an automotive technician (UTI) then this is something that you can and should do yourself. The E39 headlights are the same as the E46 and you can find some good write-ups on other forums (such as E46fanatics) if you can't find one here. Beware of buying used parts on eBay.
2011 535 Deep Sea Blue/oyster ordered with a proper 6 speed manual transmission but later sold in disgust
2000 M5 Jet Black 6-spd, natch
2008 R1200GS Namabia Orange (also with that six speed manual - see a pattern?)
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      05-24-2011, 07:07 PM   #6
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The headlamp itself is about $850 if you have the Xenons, $650 if you have the halogens. If you damaged the harness or balance circuitry, you could be looking at another $250-$300. Go to another dealer or independent.
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