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Old 07-20-2019, 01:35 AM
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Random alternating headlights turn off while driving

Hello all,


New X5 owner here, of a low mileage 2003 3.0. It has a few niggles, and I was aware of possible/probable common issues that may or will pop up. The one thing I never considered is the headlights occasionally not working. I mean, I have had headlights die on me many times, but not this.



So, the left lowbeam would work for about 5 minutes, then shut off. Turn the lights off and on again, and it comes back on. For a few minutes. I did notice that the left light was way more yellow than the right headlight, it was very white and bright. So to narrow the problem down to bulb or ballast, I swapped them and went for a dive.


After the usual 5 minutes, the left headlight went out again. Ok, so maybe not the bulb then. And the the right headlight shut off, and the left came back on again. Then they both went out. The the left came on, then off, and then the right. This continued the rest of the drive, every few seconds or a bit longer, until I got back home 10 minutes later.


So...what the hell? Any suggestions?


Many thanks!
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:41 AM
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I bet you'll find someone has wired the igniters in series

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Old 07-20-2019, 08:09 AM
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The key phase is more yellow. When hid wear out they tend to turn blue. They also draw a lot more current. I'm guessing more than the ballast will allow so it powers down.

My car came with one more beam that was basically blue. Moron PO changed ONE low beam. I bought a pair for $40-50 a high rated 5k set (matches sun light nice for city driving not the best for country but that's what high beams are for).

I would get some new bulbs in there it's a good chance that will fix the problem and you won't need to replace the ballasts.


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Old 07-20-2019, 01:46 PM
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It is the yellow one that was consistently shutting off, would it really be as simple as replacing the bulbs?


And how would one wire the igniters in series? I will look at both options, thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:34 PM
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When I bought my X5 someone had wired the power in for the left side by connecting it to the right so I was getting similar symptoms and it was not enough juice to fire up 1 and when it did it would draw enough to delay or keep off the other side. (The wonders of shade tree mechanics where ther aren't trees)

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Old 07-21-2019, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raido luna View Post
It is the yellow one that was consistently shutting off, would it really be as simple as replacing the bulbs?


And how would one wire the igniters in series? I will look at both options, thanks for the suggestions!


There isn't quite enough information but the fact they are different color means either they are greatly different amount of wear or very different lamps. Possibly the wrong wattage.

Get some proper bulbs. Get some highly rated lamps from Amazon that are bewteen 4000k if you drive in the country a lot or 5000k if mostly in the city. (nature vs concrete).

Only with a "given" that the bulbs are both proper can you actually start to solve the problem.

Definitely check the wiring through. Start with putting your Vin into realoem and make sure your car came with hid.

If It was added on after makes a huge difference in how to find the problem.


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Old 07-21-2019, 05:17 AM
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One common problem in BMW headlights is the wiring insulation deterioration. The German Green Party pushed through an idiotic requirement that all car plastics not exposed to weather must be biodegradable. The wiring insulation inside the headlights is biodegradable and cracks causing random shorts.

The fix is to replace the wiring inside with US made wire.
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