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Help with front clear blinker install (xenon)... (archive)

[ Follow Ups ] [ 5-series (E39) Message Board ] [ Msg. Board FAQ ]

Posted by Brad D on August 14, 1999 at 19:12:58:


I need some advice - you will probably know someone with the answer for me.

Here's the long version of the story: When I was in Munich at the BMW Niederlassung (sp?), I asked for the clear blinker set for my E39. I specified xenons and US-specification. I had already picked up the German 1999 Accessories catalog, and so I pointed to the clear blinker set listed there. When reading the list, I noticed that each clear light was available separately, and, in addition, there was an entire set for the car which had a single part number. The guy at the counter spoke a little English, and when I asked for the full clear blinker set for my 540iA, he said that it was cheaper to ask for the individual pieces, so that's what I did. He said that there was a component in the full blinker set that I did not need for my car, although, due to the language barrier, I never did figure out what that was. I did save at least $100 by getting the individual parts, though.

Anyway, since I've had the car back in the US, I installed both the clear side blinkers and the clear rear blinkers. Both work fine.

I took a look at the front blinker, but it seemed too difficult for me. That is, I was too scared to mess with the xenons. I don't know if you've ever seen the clear front blinkers for the E39, but they are not simple corner pieces like on the E36 and E46. The entire clear headlight cover and both headlight lenses are integrated with the front blinker. Therefore, there the clear blinker piece for the front of the E39 comes as basically the front half of the headlamp cluster (one each for right and left). This looks like it simply snaps together with the rest of the headlamp assembly.

I have talked to some over the internet about the difficulty of doing this, and I have been told that the difficult part is getting the headlamp cluster removed from the car. Once that is done, it is supposedly a matter of unsnapping the front off and replacing with the new one. The front piece basically has four clips, two on the top and two on the bottom, and no screws.

When I was looking at my headlamp clusters, I noticed that on each set of headlamps, one of the top clips has a plastic "staple" through it. Basically, what the factory did was clip the thing together, but then stamped a plastic piece through the clip, and it is very clear that the purpose is to keep a user (or even dealer) from unclipping (and disassembling) the unit. After seeing this, I decided to let a dealer have a look at it.

Anyway, I talked to a local BMW dealer, who actually stocks the clear blinker kits for the E36 and E39. I talked with a guy in the parts department about my problem (didn't show him, though - the car was in the shop). His theory is that the DOT requires that headlight clusters are sealed, and must remain sealed, to avoid moisture getting inside and condensing on the inside of the front headlight cover. He said that they are not allowed to open a headlamp cluster, and that any requirement to do this means that he has to buy the whole headlamp cluster, pre-sealed, as a replacement. This theory (of DOT requirement) actually makes some sense, and it could be that in Europe this is not a requirement, and so the unit can be easily "unclipped". I do not know this for sure, though. He also said that the dealer would not be willing to open the cluster if this was the case.

What is your idea regarding this theory? If the unit is truly sealed to avoid condensation inside, I don't know how comfortable I am having the unit opened up (assuming that I can find a shop that will do it). Or is this whole thing bogus (i.e. the clip is simply another xenon precaution)?

Brad D

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