Aiming Headlights

Does anyone have the procedure on how to aim headlights for a 1990 BMW 525i? Where do you adjust the lights? Do you need a special tool?
Thanks,
Joe
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Each head light has an allen-socket (5 or 6 mm, as I rcall) that you turn. One adjusts the verticle position, the other adjusts the horizontal.
As I recall, you need a flat wall and about 25 ft., and some tape to make marks on the wall, and a tape measure to find where the marks go.
Position the car 25 ft from the wall, and make tape marks 24 inches from the ground. Place a blanket over one light so it does not confuse you, and adjust the other light so the hot spot is just at the tape mark. Repeat for the other side. Then, from the driver seat, adjust the left/right adjustment so that the light does not cross into oncomming traffic -- in the States, you want the light to aim to the right. What you really want is for the light to aim straight in front, but NEVER at the face of other drivers. Some like the right side (passenger side) light to be aimed a bit higher than the left (driver side) light. This strategy provides greater distance, but you need to always be aware that your lights are annoying to everybody except you. The more work you lights do for you, the more annoying they are to others. You need to find the fine line where you get the most and those coming at you get the least.
The hot spot in the beam is easily seen when one lamp is covered. Once you see the hot spot, you will even see it when the other lamp is not covered. The hot spot is the object of your desire, and if you get it aimed well, then the rest will fall into line.

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There are two allen socket adjusting screws on the back of the units. The one in the centre of the unit mainly sets the height while the one on the edge sets left/right.
This is my rough setting preceedure - but they really should be checked and fine adjusted on a beam setter afterwards.
Find a level surface and a wall - a large car park is ideal.
Park the car square on to the wall and nearly touching it. Mark the centre of the main (high) beam units with a cross made with sticky tape etc - or some form of spirit marker if you own the wall. ;-) Back the car away in a straight line about 20 ft. The main beams should be pointing straight on to the cross but slightly below it - IIRC 10 degrees is the figure. If the horizontal part of the cross is about 2/3rds of the way up the high beam you won't be far out. Can make things easier if you unplug the dips.
If the lamp units are in good condition the dips should then be near enough right.
--
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

That's an interesting approach. I wouldn't do it that way though. I would adjust the low beams ("dips" as you call them) as the spec, and take the high beams where they turn out to be. The low beams are the standard for driving, and the only lights the oncoming cars should ever have the displeasure to see, so they should be set right and you should deal with your own high beams wherever they come out to be.
Having said that, I agree that if the brights are set well, the low beams will also be set -- given the construction of the lamp assemblies.
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Jeff Strickland wrote:

The guy has a E34, which means that the high beams and low beams are separate units, like on most BMW's I'm familiar with. Anyway, the low beam should have a one degree drop, and the high beam should be level.
The best way to accomplish this is to use a beam setter, however if one's not available you can use a wall and a completely level surface to get a decent result. Using the metric system this is very easy, for every meter the beam should drop 1 cm. So, pull up to the wall, mark the center of the low beam headlight with a piece of tape or whatever. Reverse back say 10 meters, the cutoff should be 10 cm below your mark. If it isn't, adjust it. Also, make sure that the horizontal adjustment is right at the same time.

Ulf
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Unless they have been messed with the relationship between the dip and main is carefully set at manufacture - get one right and the other will follow. With Euro lights the sharp asymmetrical cutoff and broad even spread which overlaps makes it difficult to see a centre so it's easier to work with the mains for setting when using a wall. But it's only for rough setting - they should be checked on proper alignment equipment.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Not on an E34 such as the OP's
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Ah - of course, it has four independant units. Was forgetting this.
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*7up is good for you, signed snow white*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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