E36 Headlight Upgrade

Bavarian Autosport offers an upgrade to European headlights, with the following features: (1) ellipsoid projector low beams; 2) the lenses are high-impact glass, and 3) H1 bulbs, allowing one to dial in
preferred wattage. I would be curious to know whether anyone on this group has had experience with such a conversion and has an opinion on whether the benefits warrant the cost ($400-$500 US, depending on whether one gets the angel-eye feature). I think the headlights on my car (1994 325i) are pretty good, but as I advance through middle age my night vision certainly isn't what it used to be. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice.
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On Thu, 19 Jul 2007 11:29:57 -0000, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

If we are talking late models it's Plexiglas or acrylic not GLASS

Euro regs limit one to 55W per bulb for road use.

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lenses.
And using 55W H1 Osram Silverstars or Philips Vision Plus lamps will provide a true 50% increase in lamp lumens too, at the expense of a little lamp life of course.
JB
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Sorry - didn't see the model just the euro bit all late cars have high impact (scratchable) covers. The old models still use glass and it not high impact or anything it plain old ordinary glass.

And if you really want to be silly the 100w Chinese made ones too but they tend to scatter light all over the place and are not UV filtered so the plastic lenses will eventually turn yellow and break.

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It is not plain old glass. It is tempered borosilicate glass to survive the thermal shock of cold water hitting a red hot glass.

JB
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And you heat your headlamp glass to red hot because?

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itself you arse! 55W + 55W at approx 20% luminous efficicacy produces approx 90W of heat alone. You just try holding a 100W lightbulb after it's been illuminated for a while. Just for the record, a clean headlamp glass will reach ~140-155C in an ambient temp of 25C with no airflow (sitting in traffic) with only the dip beam switched on. A dirty glass will reach >165C. Then add a little cold rain.... If the lens was "palin old glass", it would shatter from the thermal shock.
JB
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Fuck you

Which is nowhere near 750 deg C

Like you brain did?

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The bulbs are set way back from the glass and the dip beam is usually a projector style whilst the main beam is a clear bulb and reflector. There are numerous vents around the lamp assy that allow convection currents to keep the bulb units at a reasonable temperature and to stop the GLASS getting condensation. If the glass got as hot as you think or claim then we would also have steam coming from them and enough water to make a good cup of tea or coffee. As it is one can leave the lights on for an hour and still touch the glass which will be no warmer than a baby's bath water. However, the light rays being emitted will feel warmer than the surrounding air as the photons will travel past the glass onto the surface of the skin.

You have experience of this happening or you have actually experimented with it I take it and obviously have documentary proof of your findings?
And all the plastic headlamp covers would turn to jelly (jello) and buckle under the intense heat. No - they are thick glass - not toughened, laminated, heat treated, high tension anything - just glass. Heat it to RED HOT and it will behave as any other glass object - bend, melt then drip on the floor.
Sorry sir my E38 with glass covers has never melted or cracked but have been damage by a stone hitting it once and another time but some tosser with a hammer who had need of a good dentist shortly afterwards.

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Come on guys,
The euro ZKW / Bosch (Asian DEPO's) housings have a replaceable glass cover. The are a really big improvement over the DOT lights that were stock. Yes, a 55w will be better, A good H1 base HID lamp is even better.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Jeffrey,
Most of the replies you got so far were from people (and I use that term loosely) in the UK where the headlamps that came stock on the E36 models were of the type that you are contemplating upgrading to.
Yes, the glass lensed euro type headlamps are technically an improvement over the DOT plastic lensed ones that came stock on US cars. But be aware that these headlamps are mostly better because they have a sharp cut-off of the light in the vertical direction which is only better because it causes less glare to oncoming drivers. They do not actually throw more light down that road than a clean DOT headlamp unless you use higher wattage or HID lamps, both of which are not road legal in any US state. Therefore this upgrade would not actually accomplish that which you desire.
Oh, and the "angel eyes" just look stupid on an E36 to anyone the least bit knowledgeable of older BMWs. I mean, why not just put some ///M badges on the back and really do it up?
Instead, first try just cleaning the plastic lenses. You can polish out most of the pitting and see a pretty dramatic improvement in light output for very little expense. If you can't get them completely clear you may want to try a new set of stock headlamp assemblies. They are whole lot cheaper than those bing-bling upgrade ones.
If that still isn't enough light you can fit a pair of the high beam bulbs into the low beam positions which will provide about 30% more light in the low beams (65W vs 50W) in the normal pattern.
This web site gives details about the bulbs as used on an E34 which are the same as those on an E36:
http://www.bmwe34.net/e34main/upgrade/more_light.htm
FWIW, this is not legal, but it is very hard to tell it has been done and is not particularly obvious by the light output. I have passed multiple safety inspections with 65 watt low beams installed and properly aimed.
--
-Fred W


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Fred W wrote:

I also use 65W low-beams on my E46. Good and cheap.
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Interesting to note that cheap bulbs from the local auto store here in Cape Town fail after about 7 days use despite supposedly reaching SABS standards. In the past some South African built BMW's have been rated higher than German built cars so the SABS must account for something! The German Osram bulbs imported by the local BMW dealers are 4 times the price but certainly last more than 4 times longer. I can't recall when I last replaced them in my 320i they've been in so long. Also using cheap replacements has a dire effect on the focussing of the beams.
George Troupe
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I know this is out of thread date but... Vacation and all that!
Over here in the UK it has been proved that high wattage (illegal) halogen bulbs give a dangerous light scatter and therefore not allowed on road vehicles as the beam cannot be guaranteed to be focused correctly.
I admit that they do give more light but at what cost to safety? You might be able to see but the drive coming towards you could be blinded and swerve into your vehicle - BANG! No car No you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I once read - many years ago - about a trick some US guys were doing with 5.25" sealed beam units from light aircraft landing lights. Remember the old twin headlight days of the Ford Galaxy, Pontiac Parissienn, Dodge Charger/Challenge/Cuda etc? One headlight unit was removed and replaced with a 150W aircraft unit and aimed skywards so the drivers could see the massive overhead road signs you have over there-----------
Very useful but....! I would have thought it better to see where one was actually going rather than the odd occasional overhead direction signs.
BTW - those 150W units did not melt the glass - Oops! I see you have already discussed the possibility of Euro cars having Glass and US cars having cheap plastic.
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