Euro E-36 headlight installation project.
Well, after much deliberation, I bit the bullet and bought commercially available Euro headlights for my E-36 1997 ///M3. Like I have heard so many folks before me say, "...why did I wait so long?..", I have no idea, but, had I known that there was really THIS BIG OF A DIFFERENCE, I would have bought them the day I brought the car home.
Shameless Commercial Vendor Plug: I purchased my Euro Spec E-36 headlights (ZKW) from Umnitza and also got the "PnP wiring harness" and the "Stone Guard" film, and will conver this installation as well.
Please Note: If you have an aftermarket radar detector or cold air intake, be ready to get creative when mounting the drivers side headlamp assembly.
First thing, gather around you all the tools you will need:
A pair of hemostats, the longer the better.
A set of diagonal wire cutters.
A sharp x-acto knife
A long handled flat blade screwdriver.
A phillips screwdriver.
Your favorite 1/4 inch ratchet wrench and assorted sockets (small).
Something sticky (more on this later)
Electricians black tape.
Patience (I don't know about you, but I usually need about gallon of high test before I tackle a big project.
Off we go...
Open up your new Euro headlights and install whatever flavor of bulbs you desire, mine have H-1 bulbs so, out with the wimpy 55 watt bulbs and in with the 100 watt uber bulbs.
Step One: Remove the turn signals in the front bumper. Slide a thin flat blade screwdriver between the headlights and teh turn signal from the top and push lightly on the gray plastic flange with the three ripples in it, pull the turn signal towards the front of the car. Not sure? Check the Bentley Manual.
Remove the plastic radiator cover.
If you have the factory anti-theft alarm, the a-oogah horn MAY be just behind the passenger side headlight assembly. If it is, remove it and lay it aside.
Take your 19mm wrench and hold the black plastic nut behind the three attaching bolts on top of the old headlights. Slap your ratchet wrench on it and unscrew the metal screw/bolt from the three attaching points at the top of the old headlight. Be carefull to not allow the 19mm plastic nut to un-adjust itself.
With the turn signal dangling from it's wiring harness, slip your 19mm wrench under the black plastic nut just off the turn signal housing, slip your wratched wrench from the top of the old headlight down on top of the screw and remove.
Look down from above along the remaining side of the old headlamp housing, next to the radiator plastic side. You will see the sinister fifth screw. STOP! Shove something gooey / sticky into the socket you used to remove the other four screw / bolts BEFORE you attempt to remove this bolt. If you don't, it will fall down into the depths of the radiator support and you'll be fishing around down there with a magnet and a string like I did. I used some Red Line CV joint grease to provide adhesion and not drop the bolt / screw while removing it.
Once all five bolts / screws are removed. Drink the first beer.
Step Two: Take out the handy-dandy "PnP wiring harness" and take a look at it. It has two U.S. Spec 9005/9006 connectors and a rubber boot with copper / brass pressure connectors on it and one mysterious gray wire.
Using your hemostat's and being very carefull not to dork anything up, grab the brown wire brass pressure connector for the ground in the PnP wiring harness and slip it over the headlight housing connector pin at the 12 o'clock position.
Grab the yellow wire brass pressure connector for the low beams in the PnP wiring harness and slip it over the headlight housing connector pin at the six o'clock position.
Grab the white wire brass pressure connector for the high beams in the PnP wiring harness and slip it over the headlight housing connector pin at the nine o'clock position.
Grab the gray wire brass pressure connector for the high beams in the PnP wiring harness and slip it over the headlight housing connector pin at the three o'clock position. Strip about 3/4 of an inch of insulation off the other end of the gray wire.
Step Three: Repeat the above step on the other Euro E-36 headlight assembly.
Step Four: Insert the Euro Spec E-36 headlight housing into the front end of your car by tilting if. Lower the out board end nearest the turn signal first and insert slowly. You may have to wiggle it here a bit and take a swig of that gallon jug of patience.
Once if is inserted. Stop.
Step Five: The turn signal bulb assembly has three wires comoing out of it. Pull all the excess length of wire out of the side of the car and take a swig out of beer #1. Remove about four inches of electrical tape from the wiring harness, starting at the end nearest the turn signal bulb assembly. At a point about two inched from the bulb end of the turn signal assembly, strip 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of insulation off of the wire CAREFULLY with your x-acto knife. Making a mistake here is not a good idea.
Each turn signal indicator's "...city light..." wire is color coded, either: with a yellow or purple stripe. Yellow is on one side of the car, purple on the other.
Strip the insulation away from 1/2 inch of the city light wire, slip the non-affressive side of the hemostat between the delicate copper strands of wire and the rubber insulation. Trim off the excess rubber insulation. At this point you should have the turn signal housing, one inch or rubber insulated wire, 1/2 inch of bare copper stranded wire and more rubber insulated wire, leading under the electrical tape and disappearing into the bowels of the wiring harness.
Twist the gray wire's 3/4inch of bare copper wire, around the turn signal harness bare copper wire firmly. Starting at the turn signal indicator buld holder, tightly wrap this splice with electrical tape. Do a nice job, if water gets into this splice, you will not be happy.
Step Six: Change out the 7.5 amp fuses in positions #11 and #12 with 15 amp fuses.
Step Seven: Let the turn signal splicing job dangle, finish off beer #1 and begin bolting / screwing in the Euro Spec E-36 headlight assembly. Start with the Screw / bolt nearest the turn signal housing. Next, make sure your sticky stuff is still working in the sockey, stick a screw / bolt in the sockey, turn it upside down and make sure it does not hit the floor and screw in the hole between the radiator and the headlight housing. Do not tighten anything yet.
Hold the black plactic bolt on the outboard upper bolt hold down on the headlight housing, make sure it does not move. Screw in / bolt in this screw / bolt. Repeat on the inboard upper bolt / Screw.
Now, tighten down the bolt between the radiator and the housing. Next using the 19mm wrench and your socket wrench, tighten the bolt nearest the turn signal indicator. Using your 19mm wrench and socket, tighten the two upper attaching bolts / nuts. Not too tight now.
If you are like me and have the factory alarm, you now have to find some place to re-attach the alarm a-oogah horn. Best of luck.
Turn on the headlights and make sure everything works as planned before going onto step eight.
Step Eight: Repeat steps One thru seven for the other side of the car.
Drink the second beer.
Wait until dark and adjust the new headlights by shining them on the garage door and using the adjusters on the back of the headlight housing. There is a seperate one for high-beam and low-beam.
Shameless Commercial Vendor Plug: Once again, I would like to thank the folks at *****, they deseves alot of credit for putting together a great product and a truly wonderfull wiring harness for their products. Even if you don't end up buying your Euro Spec E-36 headlights, do yourself a favor and buy the wiring harness.
I hope this comes in handy.
thanks to rfc2307.