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      10-20-2011, 07:42 PM   #1
prubin
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Question Adaptive headlights adjustment?

My 2011 M3 has Xenon Adaptive headlights with auto-leveling, and I recently noticed an adjustment knob/screw, but I don't know it's purpose. In the attached photos, what is the purpose of the knurled adjustment knob/screw? Does this adjust the headlight position ? If not, is it possible to adjust the height of adaptive headlights? I've read conflicting things in threads about adaptive headlights.
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      10-20-2011, 07:45 PM   #2
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It adjusts the lights up and down.
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      10-20-2011, 10:36 PM   #3
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Self-leveling just means that the lights will correct for issues like a heavy trunk, which would normally cause the lights to be aimed higher than intended. But those knobs let you adjust the "baseline" height.

I've seen other forum members say they think the M3's lights are aimed too low even compared to normal 3ers. Two full turns in the up direction seems to satisfy most of those people. I personally have no issue with it but there you go. Also note that the driver's side headlight is SUPPOSED to be lower than the passenger's to make it easier on oncoming traffic, so don't try to make them even; that's by design.
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Last edited by jphughan; 10-20-2011 at 10:47 PM.
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      10-21-2011, 02:46 AM   #4
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Thank you; is it counter-clockwise for 'up' adjustment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jphughan View Post
Self-leveling just means that the lights will correct for issues like a heavy trunk, which would normally cause the lights to be aimed higher than intended. But those knobs let you adjust the "baseline" height.

I've seen other forum members say they think the M3's lights are aimed too low even compared to normal 3ers. Two full turns in the up direction seems to satisfy most of those people. I personally have no issue with it but there you go. Also note that the driver's side headlight is SUPPOSED to be lower than the passenger's to make it easier on oncoming traffic, so don't try to make them even; that's by design.
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      10-21-2011, 07:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prubin View Post
Thank you; is it counter-clockwise for 'up' adjustment?
Yes. cc is up, clockwise is down.
Park in front of a blank wall or garage door someplace level so you can watch as you adjust and make sure the two lights are adjusted equally. And just go up a little at a time then see how much feedback you get from other drivers... if you start getting flashed by oncoming drivers, then you've obviously adjusted high enough and probably should back them back down a little.
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      10-21-2011, 07:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jphughan View Post
Also note that the driver's side headlight is SUPPOSED to be lower than the passenger's to make it easier on oncoming traffic, so don't try to make them even; that's by design.
That's not true. Left and right lights have essentially identical patterns... a horizontal line accross the field from left to right then towards the right side of the field the pattern goes up. The main horizontal line that both lights project should be equal. And they should both be aimed just below the eye level of oncoming drivers on a level straight road. If the right light is higher than that, it will blind oncoming traffic just as much as the left light would. And if the left light is lower than that, it won't make any difference to oncoming traffic and will just give you less light. So there is no point in aiming the left light lower than the right. They should be even.
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      10-21-2011, 08:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticBlue View Post
That's not true. Left and right lights have essentially identical patterns... a horizontal line accross the field from left to right then towards the right side of the field the pattern goes up. The main horizontal line that both lights project should be equal. And they should both be aimed just below the eye level of oncoming drivers on a level straight road. If the right light is higher than that, it will blind oncoming traffic just as much as the left light would. And if the left light is lower than that, it won't make any difference to oncoming traffic and will just give you less light. So there is no point in aiming the left light lower than the right. They should be even.
Not true. That's one of the reasons the part numbers for lights aren't the same for LHD and RHD cars, and no the passenger side light does not affect the driver as much because of how they're aimed on a horizontal plane. I can't find BMW's own diagram at the moment but there's another thread about this here: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=154940

But regardless OP if you're going to adjust your headlights, just turn each knob the same amount and you'll be fine.
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      10-21-2011, 09:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jphughan View Post
Not true. That's one of the reasons the part numbers for lights aren't the same for LHD and RHD cars, and no the passenger side light does not affect the driver as much because of how they're aimed on a horizontal plane. I can't find BMW's own diagram at the moment but there's another thread about this here: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=154940

But regardless OP if you're going to adjust your headlights, just turn each knob the same amount and you'll be fine.
Of course their part numbers aren't the same. That's not the point.
Park in front of a blank wall and look at the patterns the two lights put up there and tell me the patterns aren't the same. Then tell me what's not true.
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      10-21-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticBlue View Post
Of course their part numbers aren't the same. That's not the point.
Park in front of a blank wall and look at the patterns the two lights put up there and tell me the patterns aren't the same. Then tell me what's not true.
You can't tell looking at a wall because the range is too short. Park your car so the lights go straight down an empty road and tell me which beam is cast farther down the road.
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      10-21-2011, 01:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jphughan View Post
You can't tell looking at a wall because the range is too short. Park your car so the lights go straight down an empty road and tell me which beam is cast farther down the road.
The drivers side headlight is purposefully aimed lower. It even moves to the right a little when you come to a stop so you don't dazzle on coming drivers.
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      10-21-2011, 05:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Hot|Ice=- View Post
The drivers side headlight is purposefully aimed lower. It even moves to the right a little when you come to a stop so you don't dazzle on coming drivers.
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      10-24-2011, 04:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticBlue View Post
Of course their part numbers aren't the same. That's not the point.
Park in front of a blank wall and look at the patterns the two lights put up there and tell me the patterns aren't the same. Then tell me what's not true.
My M3 came from the factory with the left light aimed very slightly lower than the right.
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      10-20-2013, 10:20 AM   #13
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What type of screw driver do you use for the screw? I want to raise mine they're much lower than my tsx in terms of distance
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      10-20-2013, 11:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjjra View Post
What type of screw driver do you use for the screw? I want to raise mine they're much lower than my tsx in terms of distance
A flat or phillips will work if sized properly. You just put it in there and if it turns it works. It doesn't take a lot of power to turn fortunately.
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      10-20-2013, 01:17 PM   #15
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I just did fix yesterday because they were shining too low after the lights were replaced due to moisture in the housing. You will need 6 hex(allen) wrench if I remember correctly. Counter-clockwise = up.
Contrary to many posts out there (I read A LOT) the lights are self-leveling, not self-adjusting to the correct height if they start out incorrectly set up. So if they are out of whack for whatever reasons (replace headlights) you need to adjust.
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      10-20-2013, 08:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Hot|Ice=- View Post
The drivers side headlight is purposefully aimed lower. It even moves to the right a little when you come to a stop so you don't dazzle on coming drivers.
Yup, Thats true^ ive asked BMW SA.
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      10-21-2013, 12:36 AM   #17
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We use a Symtech HBA-5 in class for optical aiming headlights.
http://www.symtechcorp.net/index.php/hba-5/

But I have attached a PDF instructional sheet that I located on the web several years ago about how to aim headlight correctly. It is worth the time to read if you would like the lights to be close to correct.
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File Type: pdf Headlight Aim Instruction[1].pdf (145.9 KB, 593 views)
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      10-21-2013, 03:20 AM   #18
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I did 4 turns counter clockwise and night visibility is SO much better. They aren't too high, In the past two weeks, I've only had one person flash their high beams at me and that was when I was going downhill and they were going up, so all is well.
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