Switching E36 UK headlamps for EU mainland dip

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I'm off to drive in that funny world on t'other side of the road in a few month, so being the prepared chappy that I am, I thought I'd try to find how the headlamps on my E36 are aimed to the left, and how to
switch them to aim to the right.
The manual is no help "refer to BMW garage" etc etc.
Looking at the headlamp from the front, I really can't see how it managed to create the wedge of light to the left, the whole dipped beamed unit looks identical either side of the centre line.
Is there a way of re-aiming them as I've seen with many other cars, or am I reduced to a bit of dark sticky tape and driving with the bit of light left in the middle?
Dodgy.
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I think you adjust them from behind.
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Email: snipped-for-privacy@unixnerd.demon.co.uk, John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland
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On Tue, 11 Sep 2007 15:47:06 +0100, John Burns

I had a look behind, and nothing was obvious... I remember having a casual look when I had the whole lamp unit out a few months ago to change the broken glass, and nothing jumped out at me.
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Dodgy wrote:

Are they projector lights? If so, there are three screws you loosen and turn the reflector ~30 degrees. It's pretty straight forward.
Ulf
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Ulf wrote:

exactly, that's the way it was on my old E30 - you do it while waiting for the ferry and try not to drop the black plastic press-studs which hold the black plastic guards behind the headlamps in place.
Does anyone know how to adjust bi-xenons? Is that a simple lever?
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waffled on about something:

Hi Ulf, Stuart,
Yup, projector type, huge lump of glass lens right in front of the bulb.
The 3 screws do ring a bell, I remember seeing them when I had the lamp unit out... Although I don't fancy trying to do that when I'm waiting for the ferry, I have enough trouble getting to the back of the lamp to change the bulb, let alone poking about with a screwdriver! I'll have a test run later... And try to book a ferry so I can drive down from home in daylight! :-)
Then again, given the number of cars I see who have headlights pointing all over the place these days, maybe I won't! It's not like the police in the yellow boxes catch them, or the 6 months of the year rear fog light brigade.
Dodgy.
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waffled on about something:

never changed mine on trips to Germany, plenty of others dont too.
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If its the same layout as my 730d E65 the start with the off side (right) and you should find a very flimsy metal lever (no colour just feel) on the right side of the bulb holder deep down near the reflector or projector lens. Down for UK up for EU now BMW say it's the opposite side on the left light but on my E65 its on the same side of the bulb and if you think about it it should be because you are deleting the left hand wedge on dip to make it a flat beam so it makes sense to have it on the same side and not the opposite side as BMW say.
Sir Hugh of Bognor
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snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk wrote:

thanks
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waffled on about something:

There is no adjustment. The feature you are looking for is ground into the lens during manufacture.
If you are moving to the mainland and will be driving on the right side of the roadway, then you need to make this change. But, if you are just visiting, then it seems to that the mainland gets lots of visitors from the island, and they just deal with it.
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I'm pretty sure mine weren't adjustable so I just drove with the tape on and I had no problems.
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My knowledge is that the headlamps must be replaced to get the wedge to switch to the other side.

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Jeff Strickland wrote:

Not projector beams, which are standard on E36's. The old style headlights without the "magnifying glass", which also have markings on the lens where to put the sticker/tape for opposite side use, can't be converted though.

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There is nothing in the EKT or TIS about this but the lamps are similar to the E38 which has a small red lever by the side of the dip beam lamp after removing the cover this turns a shield that simply cuts off the left wedge of the dip beam making it a flat beam and NOT true LHD. Same goes for the HID units and if anyone has an E65 reading this the lever is on the right side an both units and not on the outside as BMW insist in the book!
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On Tue, 11 Sep 2007 18:29:46 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk waffled on about something:

No lever or anything nice like that! That was the kind of thing I was looking for though, as my friends Alfa had projector lamps and he just popped the bonnet, moved a lever, and that was it!
Ulf's comments about 3 screws rings a bell.
Dodgy.
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The hard edge and shape is created by a metal 'flag' just in front of the bulb itself. Depending on model there may be an adjusting lever to change this to right hand dip - or it might mean dismantling the lamp unit to get at it. Others simply remove the spike of light down the left so the dip beam is near central by applying a bit of tape to the outside of the unit glass.
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Tape is a good method to prevent dazzling other drivers but if you are emigrating then the whole light unit has to be changed. Units carry different code letters for left or right dipping. Same problem with importing LHD vehicles - they fail the MOT.
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As I said before, the only difference with projector types is the metal 'flag' between bulb and lens which gives the sharp cutoff and spike of light to the nearside. This can usually be turned round for opposite side driving although it will mean dismantling the lamp unit - well worth it given the cost of new ones. Of course there are so many different designs this might not apply to all models.
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Where are you going? Some areas the roads are well lit and in others not. Also, of course, you don't need to worry if you're only driving in the day and the weather isn't bad.
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I hardly used my headlights during a 3 week tour of France, Andorra and Spain but when the rain is so bad that you can just see the front of the car you will need the headlight (legal requirement) and if negotiation those tunnels you will also need them but on the whole if you'll be daytime running only then it's unlikely that you'll need to change but remember you will at this time of year and the further North you go it gets dark earlier also the further east you go it gets dark earlier and if you go out for a meal (don't drink it ain't worth it) at night you'll need them then..........
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