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Thread: E39 auto headlight retrofit

  1. #1
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    E39 auto headlight retrofit

    Despite being registered as a 2002 car my E39 was sadly built exactly 2 weeks before the MY2002 revisions and therefore doesn't have automatic headlights. I'd like to see what is involved with retrofitting these.

    Research tells me that potentially you need a new light switch, a new LCM and a rain/light sensor. But it also seems that some cars don't need this - and was wondering how I'd found out exactly what I needed, given how my car was quite literally one of the last made before the feature was fitted as standard. I also had a brand new OEM BMW screen fitted a year or so back so wonder if I already have the light sensor fitted.

    How would I go about checking all this? Whats involved with the retrofit?

    Anyone done it? I notice the E38 guys seem to have had some luck.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I think this retrofit cost you a bit more than your headlights (the xenon ones and the angels eyes ones)
    my advice, leave that thing alone.....

    E39, 523i, 1999, M52TUB30, 5 SPEED MANUAL, UUC SHORT SHIFTER, EURO SPECS, KONI YELLOWS, OEM SPORTS SPRINGS, OEM SPORTS SEATS, ALCANTARA HEADLINER AND /A/B/C PILLARS, OEM M-TECHNIC AERODYNAMIC, OEM M5 FRONT GRILLS, OEM M5 REAR FOLDING MIRRORS, OEM M5 REAR SWAYBAR, OEM M-TECHNIC II FRONT SWAYBAR, REMUS DUAL TIP MUFFLER, TITANSILVER, BIXENON, M PARALLEL SPOKE 66 STAGGERED, OEM M-AUDIO SYSTEM, NAV SCREEN 16:9, INTRAVEE II iPOD INTERFACE, OEM TCM WITH BLUETOOTH, Y RESONATOR DELETE, INTAKE HORN DELETE, CDV DELETE, CHARCOAL TITANIUM BRUSHED TRIM, FAN CLUTCH DELETE, ELECTRIC FAN, 3.15LSD DIFFERENTIAL, ESS TS2+ SUPERCHARGER, AQUAMIST METHANOL + WATER INJECTION

    PANAMA, CIUDAD DE PANAMA

  3. #3
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    My headlights didnt cost anything, they came with the car?

    So obviously I'd expect to pay a bit more than zero.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fox530i View Post
    My headlights didnt cost anything, they came with the car?

    So obviously I'd expect to pay a bit more than zero.
    well what I'm trying to tell you, this cost you A LOT....
    a bit more of $1,500 for a new headlights maybe it's a lot of money, don't you think?
    but one question, I saw your are from UK, don't you have the manual leveling in your car? my car are Euro Specs (came from Germany) and has this feature!!
    Last edited by jdjg; 11-01-2011 at 09:02 AM.

    E39, 523i, 1999, M52TUB30, 5 SPEED MANUAL, UUC SHORT SHIFTER, EURO SPECS, KONI YELLOWS, OEM SPORTS SPRINGS, OEM SPORTS SEATS, ALCANTARA HEADLINER AND /A/B/C PILLARS, OEM M-TECHNIC AERODYNAMIC, OEM M5 FRONT GRILLS, OEM M5 REAR FOLDING MIRRORS, OEM M5 REAR SWAYBAR, OEM M-TECHNIC II FRONT SWAYBAR, REMUS DUAL TIP MUFFLER, TITANSILVER, BIXENON, M PARALLEL SPOKE 66 STAGGERED, OEM M-AUDIO SYSTEM, NAV SCREEN 16:9, INTRAVEE II iPOD INTERFACE, OEM TCM WITH BLUETOOTH, Y RESONATOR DELETE, INTAKE HORN DELETE, CDV DELETE, CHARCOAL TITANIUM BRUSHED TRIM, FAN CLUTCH DELETE, ELECTRIC FAN, 3.15LSD DIFFERENTIAL, ESS TS2+ SUPERCHARGER, AQUAMIST METHANOL + WATER INJECTION

    PANAMA, CIUDAD DE PANAMA

  5. #5
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    Why would I need new headlights?

    Yes, I have manual levelling in my car?

    I'm talking about auto headlights - ie, they come on when it comes dark, standard fit on all MY2002 onwards E39's. I am not talking about auto levelling?

  6. #6
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    A cheaper solution could be to car programmed to have daytime driving lights (different from daytime running lights). Your headlights parking lights tail lights stay on all the time even with switch turned off. Solves problem of leaving lights on by accident or having to reach all the way over to turn the darn things on. Little to no money involved if you can find fellow member to do car key memory program for you.
    98 540i | auto | sport | nav | m parallels

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fox530i View Post
    Why would I need new headlights?

    Yes, I have manual levelling in my car?

    I'm talking about auto headlights - ie, they come on when it comes dark, standard fit on all MY2002 onwards E39's. I am not talking about auto levelling?
    no no no no no no no, I never say that you need to buy a new pair of headlights!!!!
    I say, the cost of put the automatic leveling to your headlights cost a bit more than the cost of your CURRENT headlights!!! If you see this ins perspective, not worth to pay all that amount of money.....
    so if you have the manual leveling, why do you want to put the automatic leveling?
    I think it's more wiser and cheaper to adjust your headlights manually, don't you think?

    E39, 523i, 1999, M52TUB30, 5 SPEED MANUAL, UUC SHORT SHIFTER, EURO SPECS, KONI YELLOWS, OEM SPORTS SPRINGS, OEM SPORTS SEATS, ALCANTARA HEADLINER AND /A/B/C PILLARS, OEM M-TECHNIC AERODYNAMIC, OEM M5 FRONT GRILLS, OEM M5 REAR FOLDING MIRRORS, OEM M5 REAR SWAYBAR, OEM M-TECHNIC II FRONT SWAYBAR, REMUS DUAL TIP MUFFLER, TITANSILVER, BIXENON, M PARALLEL SPOKE 66 STAGGERED, OEM M-AUDIO SYSTEM, NAV SCREEN 16:9, INTRAVEE II iPOD INTERFACE, OEM TCM WITH BLUETOOTH, Y RESONATOR DELETE, INTAKE HORN DELETE, CDV DELETE, CHARCOAL TITANIUM BRUSHED TRIM, FAN CLUTCH DELETE, ELECTRIC FAN, 3.15LSD DIFFERENTIAL, ESS TS2+ SUPERCHARGER, AQUAMIST METHANOL + WATER INJECTION

    PANAMA, CIUDAD DE PANAMA

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdjg View Post
    no no no no no no no, I never say that you need to buy a new pair of headlights!!!!
    I say, the cost of put the automatic leveling to your headlights cost a bit more than the cost of your CURRENT headlights!!! If you see this ins perspective, not worth to pay all that amount of money.....
    so if you have the manual leveling, why do you want to put the automatic leveling?
    I think it's more wiser and cheaper to adjust your headlights manually, don't you think?
    You have quoted my post saying I am not talking about auto levelling headlights?

    Auto lights are lights which come on by themselves when the light level drops.

  9. #9
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    Hi Fox

    My cousins E39 530i Sport has the auto lights feature and I then wanted it!

    However, I think as jdjg is mentioning, getting the oem parts bought, retrofitted and potentially programmed will cost a fair old packet indeed. I then did my auto headlights for free!!.. all I do is just expend a few joules of energy, lift my right hand up and flick the headlamp switch to 'on' - the 3,4,5,600+ saving I put to better use

    Now with a little more seriousness, there is an aftermarket kit which can be fitted which I think would probably be the best course of action in achieving this function. As I have my 'free' solution, I've never really looked more into it, so I'll have a dig around (I can't even directly recall the supplier of it right now!) and let you know about it and the price etc.

    Cheers, Dennis!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fox530i View Post
    You have quoted my post saying I am not talking about auto levelling headlights?

    Auto lights are lights which come on by themselves when the light level drops.
    ohhh men!! so sorry.... my terrible mistake!!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisCooper View Post
    Hi Fox

    My cousins E39 530i Sport has the auto lights feature and I then wanted it!

    However, I think as jdjg is mentioning, getting the oem parts bought, retrofitted and potentially programmed will cost a fair old packet indeed. I then did my auto headlights for free!!.. all I do is just expend a few joules of energy, lift my right hand up and flick the headlamp switch to 'on' - the 3,4,5,600+ saving I put to better use

    Now with a little more seriousness, there is an aftermarket kit which can be fitted which I think would probably be the best course of action in achieving this function. As I have my 'free' solution, I've never really looked more into it, so I'll have a dig around (I can't even directly recall the supplier of it right now!) and let you know about it and the price etc.

    Cheers, Dennis!
    Last edited by jdjg; 11-01-2011 at 01:28 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

    E39, 523i, 1999, M52TUB30, 5 SPEED MANUAL, UUC SHORT SHIFTER, EURO SPECS, KONI YELLOWS, OEM SPORTS SPRINGS, OEM SPORTS SEATS, ALCANTARA HEADLINER AND /A/B/C PILLARS, OEM M-TECHNIC AERODYNAMIC, OEM M5 FRONT GRILLS, OEM M5 REAR FOLDING MIRRORS, OEM M5 REAR SWAYBAR, OEM M-TECHNIC II FRONT SWAYBAR, REMUS DUAL TIP MUFFLER, TITANSILVER, BIXENON, M PARALLEL SPOKE 66 STAGGERED, OEM M-AUDIO SYSTEM, NAV SCREEN 16:9, INTRAVEE II iPOD INTERFACE, OEM TCM WITH BLUETOOTH, Y RESONATOR DELETE, INTAKE HORN DELETE, CDV DELETE, CHARCOAL TITANIUM BRUSHED TRIM, FAN CLUTCH DELETE, ELECTRIC FAN, 3.15LSD DIFFERENTIAL, ESS TS2+ SUPERCHARGER, AQUAMIST METHANOL + WATER INJECTION

    PANAMA, CIUDAD DE PANAMA

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Here is a DIY from http://www.e39.org.uk/autolights.htm

    Here is a retro-fit I have been wanting to do for a while! For 09/2001> build dates the E39 received automatic headlights as standard. The headlights switches on/off depending on measured ambient light level. So drive through a tunnel or into a multi-story car park and your lights turn off, out again and they go out! It wasn't even an option before 09/2001. You need to do some eBay shopping:



    What you need.

    From left to right:

    RLS (Rain Light Sensor) electronics. They come up on eBay quite often this one is part number 61 35 6 923 954. Make sure you check on RealOEM that this was originally fitted to an E39. This will be different to the rain sensor fitted as standard before 09/2001.

    Light Switch Surround. Rare to find second hand. Bought new from BMW dealer 8.15 + VAT

    Prism. This was one of the harder parts to source second hand. You can buy new from a company in the USA but shipping costs were extraordinary from there. I ended up buying a RLS from eBay which happen to be sold with one attached, the RLS electronics were from a 7-series and so couldn't be used for the retrofit but all the prisms are the same. Another option is to chat-up a Auto-glass fitter and see if he can cut one off an old screen. The Prisms are shared with other manufactures so as long as you get one which looks like it will fit with 8 protrusions you should be OK.

    Light Switch. Again rare second hand. Bought new from BMW dealer 21.77 + VAT. Comes in a nice shade of purple!

    LCMIII-B or LCMIV. You need one from a car with a build date after 09/2001. Mine was part number 6 915 919 HW: 02 SW: 43 this is only one software revision later than my original LCM which was part number 6 908 365 HW: 02 SW: 43. These are not current part numbers so you just have to trust the breaker about which car it was taken from, 6 915 919 was taken from a 530D 2002 model year. I bought it using German eBay for 65 delivered to the UK (exchange rates were appalling a the time!). I wish there was a way to flash update the firmware on LCMs as the hardware revision of both units was the same (the label states LCMIIIB for the new one and LCMIIIA for the old).



    Installation:

    Step1: Change the light switch

    Remove the dash parts, pull very hard on the light knob and it pops off and leaves you with a 19mm plastic nut to remove. The switch and surround just falls out after you have removed the nut!





    To remove the switch, unscrew this 19mm nut!



    Switch and knob installed. From a technical point of view all the new switch does is add a "no connection" setting to the 4 wires which feed back to the LCM. There is no need for any additional wiring!

    Step 2: Install the RLS prism





    Assuming you are not fitting a new windscreen. Remove your old Prism from the windscreen, with the module still attached just twist and the glue will break. Clean up very well using a sharp scraper and some solvent.



    To attach the "new" prism I used some Super-Elastic Sealant which was advertised to be better than silicon sealant. I was very happy with it, spread over your new Prism and press onto screen.



    New Prism installed.



    Not too many bubbles, once the sealant had dried I noticed some but kept my fingers crossed they wouldn't effect the rain sensor operation.

    My screen is 9 years old so has some stone chips! Looks like the front of the car has been sandblasted on the motorway runs (you can see why I had to have a front end re-spray and some new lights now!)

    Step 3. Change your LCM

    Now the LCM. Hook up BMW Scanner and talk to your old LCM, write down the and VIN information. You will need these to program into your new LCM. Disconnect your battery and physically replace your old LCM with the new one. This is a right pain, the LCM is under the right hand side (drivers side on RHD cars) kick panel.



    Re-connect the battery and use BMW Scanner to re-program your mileage and VIN information into the new LCM.



    Here is the info pre-programmed.

    Step 4. Code with NCS Expert

    Depending on your current SA you may or may not have to code the car to tell it you have installed a RLS. The easiest way to do this is to use NCS Expert which is part of the Edibas installation. I found the following information in the E39ZST.000 file

    0521 00000000 0000000000000100 0000000000 1 REGENSENSOR //Regensensor (fr US-Fzg.) // ab 09/01 +Fahr u.Lichtautomatik (Serie)

    This means "rainsensor" and from 09/2001 automatic lights!

    My original SA was 20010C910D64C7A4H as you can the field is already 7 so has bit 1 set as the car original has the rain sensor.

    Some digging revealed the other two bits fields correspond to:

    0430 00000000 0000000000000200 0000000000 1 SPIEGELPAKET //Innen- und Auenspiegel,elektrochrom abblendend

    which is the interior and exterior electro chrome option fitted in the factor to my car

    0520 00000000 0000000000000400 0000000000 1 NEBELSCHEINW //Nebelscheinwerfer // zu 09/00 Serie ausser 520i u 520d

    which is front "fog lights".

    If you don't have bit 1 set in position 14 you may need to set it and code as required.

    Step 5. Reset RLS rain sensor in INPA

    The final step is to re-set the new RLS adaptions to match your need windscreen otherwise the rain sensor won't work. I was rather pleased that the small air-bubbles in the adhesive appeared to be calibrated out as the rain sensor works fine when tested with a watering can!

    Result.

    You set the light switch to "A" and when you cover up the sensor in the windscreen the lights come on! Also the rain sensor works as before! Total time spent? Around 2 hours after you amass the bits.

    All credits to the author

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