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Location: London, Ontario Canada
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|3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.|
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In my case I was able to determine it was the ballast itself. I know on some older BMW's HID ballasts have a hard time getting a charge because the wiring is too thin or something along those lines (I've never had a "real" explanation on this theory). A relay usually helps because it draws power from a better source however it tends to complicate things particularly when it comes to wire management.
You could always get a voltmeter and test to see if the ballast is putting out any power to the bulb. If it's consistently giving you the same reading then it could be the bulb.
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