Aftermarket Headlight Install

About a month ago the driver’s side low beam went out on our 2000 BMW 540i touring, or as we call it “the wagon”. After swapping the HID bulbs between passenger and driver’s side housings I determined that the the ballast was at fault.

These aren’t cheap but I got one in used condition for less than $100 from an eBay seller. Then I discovered that the adjusters were broken (the beams could not be aimed) and decided that a total aftermarket replacement was the way to go.

BMW e39 Touring with standard Xenon HIDs

Above: Standard HIDs after installing a used but working ballast.

I ordered lights from DDM Tuning but while reading about the install process I learned that I could get better, easier to install lights for a little more money. Unfortunately I’d already tried to install the lights and was committed. I went to DDMTuning based on out dated product reviews and because I’d dealt with them previously. Next time I will definitely shop and compare more thoroughly.

The challenges to this install are:

  1. The AC low-side pipe needs to be bent 1/2 inch to accommodate the new lights
  2. The Angel Eyes need to be hacked into the electrical system (many options based on how you want them to function
  3. The side turn signal connector is different between OEM and aftermarket headlights. In absence of a connector the turn signal needs to be hard-wired to the car.
  4. The kit didn’t come with front turn signal bulbs and required 2x 1156A (amber) bulbs.

Supposedly two pipes such as those used for plumbing can be used to bend the AC low side tube, but I was able to pick up a tool at Harbor Freight for $5 that proved effective.

Tube Bender for AC Low Side Pipe on e39

Above: Tube bender from Harbor Freight.

Install took about 3 hours but would have taken less time if we’d had the correct turn signal bulbs before starting. The new lights (sans Angel Eye functions) are finally installed thanks to my buddy Ryan Rich who I must confess did most of the work.

Ryan Rich Installing Headlights

Above: Ryan showing off OEM quality solder and heat shrink.

BMW e39 Touring with DDMTuning DJAuto headlights

BMW e39 Touring with DDMTuning DJAuto headlights

Above: New lenses and HIDs installed.

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October 4, 2013 e39 touring