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Old 11-22-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: queens
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My Ride: 2009 335i xDrive
Headlight help 335i

hey everyone i just purchased a 2009 335i in august. About a week after i got the car the right headlight was pointing at the ground. bmw of bridgewater replaced the headlight for free. about 2 weeks after that the left headlight did the same thing which they also replaced in the end since it was under the original warranty. Apparently the headlights are very sensitive to ny potholes. however, last week the right headlight had the same problem. i saw a thread to adjust the headlight with the screw, it worked but only a short term fix. i was wondering if anyone knows a fix so i don't have to spend 800$ on headlights/ call bmw. i don't know if i can access the part to reattach it but i know the bumper will have to come off

thank you for any suggestions

Last edited by tim330i; 11-26-2012 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:46 PM   #2
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Location: SF
Posts: 11,963
My Ride: 03 Ti Silver M3
Welcome to the site! I moved your thread over the the E90 forum as that is the chassis code for your car. This is a common problem, if you can get the dealer to deal with it under warranty that is your best bet. If not there are a couple things to check, here are some solutions from other enthusiasts -

Hi, I had the same problem and I just came out of my garage after spending a few hours fixing it. In my case it was the control arm that came off the xenon light bulb assembly, you can check that by looking with a flashlight in the headlight between the signal block and the xenon assembly, if you see a black + shape thing next to a white circle shape that is the the problem, should be inside the white circle. I had to remove the front half on the wheel fender liner to get access behind the headlight to unplug the electrical connectors and to remove the two bolts that keep the bumper attached to the fender. I pulled out the headlight washer nozzle to remove the caps. Next you have to remove the four bolts on the top of the kidney grills and the bottom ones from the splash shield. The bumper cover should come right off now. The headlight washer hose will have to come off the washer, it will be a good idea to clamp them because the fluid will drain. With the headlight removed you have to get the signal led block out and the xenon bulb cover, you will see then what I am trying to explain. With one hand hold the xenon assembly in place and with a long screw driver try to pry out the control arm to force the + shape inside.
The night I bought my car I got on the freeway and realized the driver headlight was lighting up the sky, I manually adjusted it down but it would shake on every bump and during initial startup it wouldn't adjust up/down [self check]. Left to right movement is fine on turns, but again, no height adjustment.

Car went to the dealer on Wednesday for a few things including the headlight, when I picked it up they said everything was fine. I explained the situation but they assured me they saw no fault codes, so it was operating as it should. I explained again that it isn't leveling itself, however adaptive movement is fine, and the tech told me they don't do that - only left to right movement.

I said fine and took the car back, I know people on here mentioned some arm/bracket connected to the lower control arm that attached to the headlight.. FYI there isn't one.

There is a small arm on the left and right front suspension that connects to a servo/data input kinda box.. this is what sends the info to the headlight servo, there's no physical connection to the headlight. There should also be two in the back that monitor load weight to adjust headlights so they aren't blinding anyone.

I decided to try and figure out what the hell was wrong with my light, I didn't want the dealer to spend hours looking at things and say they couldn't find anything.

So here's what I found:

1) The adjustment screws are independent of the Left-Right and Up-Down movement. Use those to aim properly, it shouldn't affect the automatic movement.

2) I took the bumper off and then took the headlight out, there are two servos in the headlight that control movement. The servo attached to the Up-Down movement was popped out of place.

This explains why it wouldn't level, and why the dealer says everything was fine -- because as far as the electronics go it's all fine.. That's also what irritates me, I explained to the tech if something was physically disconnected but the electronics were fine, the computer wouldn't know.. but again, they just assured me it was working as intended.

Picture 1: You can see the ball is close but not in the socket

Picture 2: This is end that should be in the socket

Picture 3: This is the socket side of the headlight

To fix it I unplugged the servo motor, it comes out just like a bulb, small turn counter clock wise to remove it. I adjusted the height manually until it was at the end of the screw [visible from inside], figured that might move it further out a little and help with getting it popped back in.

To pop the ball back in you'll want to kinda put the servo in at an angle so the ball end is sitting on the top of socket, then use a flathead to pop it back into the socket all the way. Push the servo back in the rest of way, tighten and reconnect all wires, then fire the lights up to make sure it works. If so, put your baby back together and you're all set!
As I said the dealer is your best bet if you can get them to fix it for free. Otherwise try the ideas above.

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Old 12-15-2012, 05:44 AM   #3
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My Ride: e90 335xi
your under warranty take advantage while you can.
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