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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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Old 08-05-2009, 06:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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HID problem

Have a problem with my aftermarket HIDs. The drivers side works great but the pass. side only works when it wants to. Went over all the wires and there are no problems there. I notice when I turn the switch off and on a few times that suddenly the pass. light starts to work. I'm thinking this is a ballast issue but I'm not sure so hopefully someone here has run into this before. Thanks all!
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In all honesty, this sounds like a ballast issue over anything else. I had a very similar problem last year.

What kind of HID kit is it? Manufacturer? How many watts?
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It is a Beamers HID kit sold by my local perf. shop. Believed to be 55w.
Thanks for the quick reply
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's something with the wiring on these cars that's causing it; I had the same issue on my 535, as well as a ton of other people with BMWs. A harness with a relay usually fixes the problem, but I do know of cases where not even that helped.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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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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Old 08-05-2009, 07:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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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.
Yeah I have a hard time explaining it too. It's something to do with the thickness of the wire and the distance from the fusebox/relays ...

btw, If it's fired up, there wont be any fluctuation in the voltage it's putting out; I've measured that before.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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btw, If it's fired up, there wont be any fluctuation in the voltage it's putting out; I've measured that before.
Did not know that...interesting. I guess that makes sense because if the ballast receives power at a constant rate than there should not be a fluctuation.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks guys I'm going to change the ballast and let you know if that fixes it
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Definitely let us know how it turns out! I also hope it solves your problem.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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changed the ballast last night and have had no problems as of yet. HIDs light up right away. thanks guys!
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Glad things have worked out and lets hope they stay that way!
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