Saturday, 8 February 2014

E60: First Fault - Parking-Light Bulb

Got a lovely polyphonic chime last Sunday, one week exactly after buying the car. The iDrive showed a failure on the front o/s parking-light (sidelight), the angel-eyes basically. Seemed a bit weird that the bulb would fail so suddenly so I wiggled the wire connector with no joy. The standard headlight model E60s (non-LCI) use normal 501 capless bulbs for the angel-eyes and are just an easy swap. With the optional xenon headlights though, as mine features, the bulb swap is not so simple.


The part you need, above, is a very rare fitment bulb peened in to a ridiculous holder / lens. These are bought from BMW for £25 +VAT, but when I rang up from work to get same-day delivery they said it would need ordering specially and takes 2-3 days anyway, so I reverted back to eBay, where I got the part, BOSCH/Hella, so is OEM and only cost £23.99 with NextDay delivery included. I also got a feedback so that was a no-brained really, online part prices seem to be killing motor-factors lately.


The bulb and holder location is near impossible to work out without knowing what you're looking for, as it is one bulb powering both angel-eye rings, unlike the non-xenon headlights which have one small bulb for each ring. The single xenon angel-eye bulb is located at the inner-side of the headlight unit, behind the smaller round plastic-cap. Getting to it without removing the headlight is all but impossible, unless you have the most double-jointed hands ever, so just pop the headlight out. An official service-guide recommends dropping the front bumper to get the headlight out freely, but this is not essential and will quadruple the length of the job! With a bit of wiggling the headlight can be worked out without damaging the grille or wing.

Process: (For Xenon-headlight equipped cars)

1. Remove the round plastic-cap from the inner-side of the headlight back by gently pressing it anti-clockwise with a screwdriver a short turn and carefully extracting it through the gap.

2. Remove the two bolts holding the top of the headlight in place using a T35 Torx socket. The bolts are located on the headlight bracket on either corner.

3. Remove the two screws holding the bottom of the headlight using an 8mm socket with a long extension-bar. The screws are found just behind the lower corners of the headlight-back, right at the bottom. Dropping these into the lower-tray is annoying, so it's best to use a magnet-on-a-stick to retrieve them rather than extracting them in the socket.

4. Wiggle the headlight unit free from its mount and work it forward out of huge body. Start by moving out the outer-side a small amount and then begin to work the inner-corner away from the centre-grille. The outer-side should then pop out.

5. Remove the main wiring-connector from the headlight unit by sliding the sides of the clip down on either side until it ejects the wiring-connector plug, which should then pull out easily. If it doesn't, the sides of the clip need to go down further.

6. Remove the smaller wiring-connector from below the main connector-plug by pressing the clips in either side and pulling it back.

7. The parking-light bulb/holder is located in the small round aperture, which the cap is already off, right at the bottom - the holder is gold/orange in colour. Using two-fingers rotate the bulb-holder anti-clockwise 1/8-turn, or carefully use a screwdriver. The holder should now easily pull back out of its mount.

8. Use the wires to the bulb-holder to rotate it and pull it out of the headlight unit, wired-end first past the other bulb-holder.

9. Pull the wire-connector out of the old bulb-holder, plug in the new one reverse the process to refit.

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