Timm's E63 and E64 Headlight Main Beam Bulb Change
Not as hard as it first appears
When I first looked at the Main Beam Assembly, the replacement of the bulb looked impossible - the bulb is quite a way inside the housing and I expected the usual metal-wire bulb retaining clasp - and that would have been impossible to manipulate even with small hands:
Fortunately BMW thought of this and has come up with a new plan to secure the bulb in place - it is held in a polycarbonate clasp with a metal hoop that secures the sides of the bulb into the correct position - below is a photograph shot by sticking the camera inside the housing:
Have a good look at the photo above because the complete procedure is done by feel - you can't see where the bulb goes unless you remove the headlight from the car - and that's a lot of hassle. Note that the major tang on the bulb is at the top.
There's another trick to this - and that is to watch the bulb from the front of the headlight. Right off we go, we are working on the RHS to start with (drivers side in the UK) - but note that there are some pictures of the LHS unit where I failed to get a decent picture of the RHS. Getting the cover off is fiddly, you press down on the clip as shown below:
...and then lift the front end with your other hand and the top of the cover will move backwards at the top and is hinged at the bottom on two tangs that insert into holes - just lift it upwards and it will come out (easier than it goes back on again):
Have a feel around in the housing and you will feel the bulb connector with two wires going to it - now push that connector downwards and lo and behold the bulb pops out of the carrier:
You can now pull the bulb and connector out of the housing and access the bulb (LHS shown). Note the orientation of the bulb to the connector, you need to get the bulb in the connector using the same orientation:
You are never meant to handle the glass part of the bulb - but you don't have much choice here so arm yourself with a tissue for cleaning the glass once you have got the new bulb in the connector. I'm using Osram Nightbreaker Unlimited bulbs - the best Halogen there is in 2018:
Once you have manhandled the bulb into the holder (noting the correct orientation) give it a quick clean
Here's how to get it back in, watch the bulb through the headlight glass and ensure the bottom of the bulb goes into the bottom of the clasp:
...and then lift the connector upwards so the major tang on the bulb slides into the clasp and the bulb is secured in place. This takes a few goes because it is easy to slightly rotate the bulb so that the major tang hits the claps rather than slide into place. The reflector is a bit flimsy so don't apply too much force - it doesn't take much force for it to clip into place.
If you are having problems with getting it back in again, mark the bottom of the bulb with an indelible pen so that the mark will be visible from the front of the car - you will be able to orientate the bulb a lot easier.
Take it easy putting the cover back on - it is so easy to drop it and it will not be easy getting it back again
All done, time for a cup of tea
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