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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 02-18-2010, 08:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Self leveling headlight problem...

I've searched for days and days about this but haven't come up with anything solid.

Problem: The self leveling headlights will sometimes level up to the perfect height, and sometimes they'll only level up to well-below the perfect height.

My thoughts: Both headlights ALWAYS move, move together, move equally, move at the same time, both either move to the correct height or they both don't move to the correct height....so, I think this rules out bad stepper motors or anything in the headlight itself.

That could mean that one or both of the leveling sensors on either suspension are going out. I checked the front sensor and nothing is visibly broken (the plastic arm tends to break). I even sprayed it with carb cleaner to hopefully clean it out.

There is nothing consistent about when they will go to the correct height and when they will not. They might work fine for days and then not quite work for a couple days. It could be every other use as well.

Any idea's or pointers?

I can't even find a place online to buy new sensors.

Any help at all would be awesome.

Thanks!
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have exactly the same problem with my 07 335i. have you managed to resolve this?
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Kinda but not really. I pulled both the sensors and cleaned them with electrical cleaner but that didn't help at all.

At first the lights would sometimes level to the correct height and sometimes they would level waaaaay to low. After a while they started to ALWAYS level too low and NEVER leveled up to the correct height...so all I did was adjust the height of the lights so they level to the correct height. I didn't fix the problem but now I can see. They still level/move but not as much as they did before. Does all that make sense?

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It could still be the stepper motor. Im not sure if its a stepper or a servo. But either way you should beable to reprogram the settings and adjustments.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yammahamma View Post
Kinda but not really. I pulled both the sensors and cleaned them with electrical cleaner but that didn't help at all.

At first the lights would sometimes level to the correct height and sometimes they would level waaaaay to low. After a while they started to ALWAYS level too low and NEVER leveled up to the correct height...so all I did was adjust the height of the lights so they level to the correct height. I didn't fix the problem but now I can see. They still level/move but not as much as they did before. Does all that make sense?

Hope that helps.
I am tempted to adjust the static aim too but since mine levels properly about half the time, I'm afraid they lights will be too high when they are in the correct position. I called up the dealer today and they want me to bring the car in for software upgrading - for the headlights???
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It could still be the stepper motor. Im not sure if its a stepper or a servo. But either way you should beable to reprogram the settings and adjustments.
Maybe that's what the dealer wants to do - I'll post what happens after they fiddle with it. Thanks
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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They could update/re-flash the software and they may fix the problem. I'm sure it will cost you $70 or so. Let me know if that works.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I just bought a 2006 325 Ci convertible and I noticed that the headlights seemed to be pointed a little low or at least lower than my other cars. I ddin't realize that they were self leveling, mine don't seem to move any higher. Also is the red tailight area surrounding the backup (white) light supposed to light up, because mine is not.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The red areas around the backing lights are just trim. There may be another red section that does nothing; that's most likely the rear rain/fog light for other countries.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info, I think I'm going to take it into the dealer to check out the headlights though, I think they are pointing a little low.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Has your cars suspension been altered in any way? Sometimes if its lowered or if you've changed something that can affect the headlights.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't know if anything has been done as far as lowering the suspension, we just bought the car used at a BMW dealership. At last resort, we are planning on taking it there and asking about the headlights. Thanks for the info.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm having a similar problem with my e46's xenons. The difference, is that mine don't auto level at all. Someone suggested to me that perhaps it was retrofitted with them before I bought the car (and can't auto level), and I was fine believing that. But recently I came to the conclusion that they are stock headlights and even have the sensor passenger side suspension sensor (intact). So clearly, its supposed to auto-level, but I don't have the slightest idea why they don't.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks, so its not just our car.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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headlight levelling problem

This is not a solution to the previous problem but asking for an answer to a similar problem I have. My headlights will auto-level if I have the manual adjustment set what is actually too high. If I reset the manual adjustment lower, the lights will get "stuck" trying to auto-level. If I put pressure on the rubber motor cover behind the passenger light the lights will eventually rise automatically. Seems something is just not catching properly in the motor behind the light? Any ideas?
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