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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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Section 1: Review/story
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The purpose of this review is to help those interested in purchasing and installing P46s. Ever since I took ownership of a bmw, this was the one mod i HAD to do. Angel Eyes are [imo] the most distinctive lighting accessory available ... but of course ya'll know that :)

It was difficult to choose an online retailer; I felt most comfortable with Umnitza. My decision comes from a comparison of information provided on retailers' product webpages and general forum presence/support. Overall I'm satisfied with my choice.

P46 Configuration: 6000K Slim Ds2 OEM Xenon + Orion V2

Unboxing Photos can be found here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=687442

The recently celebrated July 4th holiday was the perfect 3day weekend for me to take my time and perform the installation. Warning: for anyone who isn't absolutely familiar with the headlight/AE installation procedure ... This job will EASILY take 8~10 hours. This is approximately the amount of time it took me to complete the job.

Why so long? Firstly, one must take their time and properly understand all the mechanisms behind the headlights ... such as how the assemblies are taken apart and put back together. You need understand the order of installation steps so things go smoothly. If you do a rush job its possible you can break trim pieces, lose bolts/fasteners and/or damage your car. Many people here will probably laugh at the time estimate, but if you havent touched anything under the hood... block off alot of time. Final reason is because, for me, all the connectors/parts felt like they were welded together. They required alot of force to separate, nothing came out/apart smoothly. Having gone through the whole process, I'm confident I could do it again in less than half the time [<4hrs]

Online Guides I found most useful:
1) FastM's Writeup for angel eye wiring: http://www.fastm.com/m3/angeleyes_orionv2.html
2) Umnitza's guide for Projector swap: http://www.umnitza.com/gallery/album49

Now lets cut to the chase .. Did it work? Yes and no. The Angel eyes worked as advertised....so sexy :) . I installed them to stay on whenever the car was, which also happened to be the easier wiring setup. Unfortunately, My xenon headlamps were plagued with a typical issue found on the forums: works fine when the engine is off but flicker and turn off when the engine is on [with bulb out errors]. I will explain how this happened and the solution:

Umnitza sent me the wrong ballasts. After working with them over email, I was told the ballasts I had were the more expensive, most durable ballasts available...but they lack the error-cancelling ability of the standard ballasts. At first I was very annoyed, but I decided to work with what I had to make things right.

Umnitza told me there were 2 solutions:
1) LCM reflash/Capacitor Method
2) Swap ballasts for the ones I was supposed to get.

With little desire to mess around with the setup, I opted for the reflash. This appeared to be the cleanest solution available, with proper integration with the car's computer [no fooling with capacitors or error-cancelling ballasts]. I'm sure many of you here will argue differently, but for me this was the best solution. I have never locked-on my high beams before, so losing this feature was of little consequence.

I just got my car back from the dealership and everything went smoothly, and of course my wallet got a bit lighter heh. It's called the stealership for a reason ;). Seriously though, my service advisor complimented me on the angel eyes, said it was a "hot look" and knew exactly what I wanted. Everything works as expected and I am one happy bimmer owner.

I will note that I was able to resolve this issue with Umnitza over email in under 12 hours. If I recall correctly, they responded on a Sunday night and by monday noon-time I knew my course of action. They gave me all the information I needed to make the decision that worked best for me. Not having a working pair of headlights can really screw with your plans, but I only had to stay off the streets for 2 nights... not thaaaat bad of an inconvenience.

Let me say this, the 6000k color is [email protected]$$!! It's very white but with a hint of blue, and looks great. The LED's brightness cannot be ignored in any light, you will see these rings coming your way. Driving around for a few minutes yielded plenty of second looks! :)

Small criticism for Umnitza: You had different ballasts?? I think ballast options and procedures for fully functional P46's should be better described on the product page. Also, there is no location to designate desired temperate for xenons/AE's ... I had to put this information in shipping instructions. Everything went smoothly ... but still, these fixes shouldn't be too hard to implement.


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Section 2 :: Installation Supplement
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In this part of the write-up I'd like to present some pictures and give commentary on the installation. Throughout the course of the installation, there were some things I learned that I wish I had known before I started [to save some time and frustration]. So here we go...

2004 Silver Grey Metallic 330i w/ headlamp washer system:

Some photos with the stock headlights removed.









Notes for above pictures: I recommend having a friend available if you are working on a car with the headlamp washer system. In the last pic you will see that the lower trim piece CAN separate from the fender; i heard conflicting information on different guides. This trim piece is VERY sturdy and can definitely take some force, which is required to separate it from the body. If you don't have the washer system, It would be simple to remove it completely to have unhindered access to the headlight mounts. I had a friend pull the trim piece out while I swapped the units. Worst thing that will happen is that washer fluid WILL leak, but put a cup underneath the car to collect it. The trim piece snaps back in pretty easily and you're good to go. If you dont have an assistant [and have the washer system], you will probalby have to disassemble the washer nozzle so it doesnt get in your way.



Notes for above picture: That 8mm bolt hole shown right in the center is an ABSOLUTE PAIN to access and remove. The umnitza guide says you will need a magnet. I would agree if you are using a magnet taken from the Large Hadron Collidor. Unless you have a super strong magnet, you are not pulling out that weathered, comfortably lodged bolt. Best approach is to use a socket wrench w/ extender and unscrew as much as possible. Then use one of these:







Notes for above pictures: A $5 tool [from home depot] you will quickly love and cherish. This works very well for recovering dropped parts [provided you can see it]. Here are some Photos of OEM hardware removed and new DEPOS before getting installed.



Notes for above picture: I didnt need to take them apart... but i got curious :)



Notes for above picture: Overall I was impressed with the quality of the Depos. They felt very similar to the OEM. One difference I did note were the little retention clips that can be seen in the previous pictures on the headlight mounts right above the washer system. the OEM counterparts are far more sturdy... so I simply reused those.



Notes for above picture: Installed just fine, fit and finish were excellent.



Notes for above picture: Driver side wiring and ballast. This side was easy, plenty of room to

work with.



Notes for above picture: Wire tap for always-on AE's. Those wires look harmless but you will definitely wrestle with them to free the wire you need and successfully put a tap on it. Tap requires ALOT of pressure with pliers. Work with a steady hand, or you'll lose one of the taps like i did [fell down belooooow]. Thankfully I got two in the package so I was able complete this task.





Notes for above pictures: OMG, this was one of the most stressful parts of the installation. Little did I know this positive terminal cover required inhuman levels of strength to remove. The fastm guide simply says 'lift from here" to slide up the cover... but don't be fooled. I killed my fingers trying to get that thing off. There is a little black plug/screw thing that has to be removed inorder to free the cover. Since it was a once piece plug, there is no way to put it back together once it's off. I couldn't find realistic way to take to the cover off without destroying that plug that connects both sides of the power terminal plastic together. I'm not trying to knock the fastm guide, it just doesn't accurately describe the effort required to remove the plastic cover.

And now... the photos you *really* want to see:







Notes for above picture: There is a slight yellow border on the lights... but whatever, they look great. I'm pretty sure my cutoff isn't perfect, but it doesnt look like it will cause problems on the road. I'll adjust that later.











So there it is, I hope you enjoyed this read. If you hate reading, then I hope you enjoyed the photos. My motivation for this write-up is to give back to the active community here that works together to solve eachother's problems [and have fun too]. I'm thankful for the advice I have received and I hope this will help others install their P46s/AE's.

:woot:
 

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Niiice! Looks great! Nice write up too. How much did the re-flash cost you? I've got a set of OE Bosch headlights not installed yet, I may need a reflash too, just wondering what they charged you to do it. After the reflash you had no problems? Looks fantastic, good job!
 

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nice :woot:
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Niiice! Looks great! Nice write up too. How much did the re-flash cost you? I've got a set of OE Bosch headlights not installed yet, I may need a reflash too, just wondering what they charged you to do it. After the reflash you had no problems? Looks fantastic, good job!
Thanks!

The cost was approximately $130... 1 hour of labor time, that's their minimum charge.

EDIT:

I forgot to answer your second question: No problems after reflash. They behave as if they are integrated into the car. DO KNOW that you will lose locked-on high beams [stalk pushed away]. You will keep flash-to-pass [stalk pulled towards you]
 

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hey nice write up. i agree about that black cover on that terminal. i was on the phone with another fanatic for a long time trying to take that off. eventually i broke it off.

can you take a pic against a clean wall of your cutoff? it looks pretty clean in that picture. much more than mine. i wonder if its a bulb or a housing thing?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yea, if you give me a day or two I'll add a cutoff pic.

The cutoff IS pretty level, and there is a distinct/pronounced high light bounce for the passenger side. The only issue with my setup is that it's not properly adjusted [throws light a bit high]. Overall I'm happy with it though.
 

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nice write up! looks great :)
 

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i dont mean to thread jack but i cant find the red/white with yellow/gold traces anywhere!!! i have a green/brown wire, and both my headlights is shown to have a bulb out in the dash :facepalm: im a noob at wiring

any help?
 

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i dont mean to thread jack but i cant find the red/white with yellow/gold traces anywhere!!! i have a green/brown wire, and both my headlights is shown to have a bulb out in the dash :facepalm: im a noob at wiring

any help?
For 99 model cars you can pull fuse 32 for the error codes.
You have PM.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The cutoff still looks like crap compared to OEM and the light distribution is still shitty.

Your 330 didn't have projectors/xenon's from when you bought it?
:facepalm::facepalm::facepalm:

If you took the time to read my write-up... you would have found your answer.

I'm amazed you can infer poor cutoff/distrobution from the 1 picture I have with the light's on. I find it to be perfectly acceptable and a massive upgrade from what I had prior.

Why are you wasting your time here?? go to the dealer and get your oem xenons installed!!! :facepalm::facepalm::facepalm:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
i dont mean to thread jack but i cant find the red/white with yellow/gold traces anywhere!!! i have a green/brown wire, and both my headlights is shown to have a bulb out in the dash :facepalm: im a noob at wiring

any help?
the wire with tracers, the one you need for the angel eyes, IS in the engine control box on the driver side away from the bumper. See the pictures above... it's all shown pretty clearly.

Again read the writeup to see how to get rid of the bulb out warnings.
 

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The cut-off isn't as bad as people think it is. It's still a massive upgrade over OEM halogens

Also, to the OP. The yellow and different colors at the top of the light where your headlights are aimed are caused by the cut-off. Perfectly normal
 

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not sure if it was said already, but, FYI, the cut-offs are supposed to have diagonal slants. It's a Euro-style thing meant to shed more light on the edge of the road (at d what-not) and reduce the light shining at oncoming traffic on the other side of the signs anroad. US spec HIDs (official DOT spec, I think) either requires or allows level, fully horizontal cut-offs.

I prefer the perfectly flat edges, but I have P46s and don't mind the slant. There's a fairly simple DIY guide somewhere on here to delete the slants if you don't like them. I think it might have been by neil1138.

All in all, the P46 output is pretty good. Virtually no mod is as good as OEM, but it's hard to beat these for the price. Major improvement over halogens.
 
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