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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 01-22-2004, 03:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I bought a used 2000 323i which I thought had halogen headlights. However, I have seen other BMW's with xenon headlights that look the same as mine. Is there anyway to tell if the headlights are xenon or halogen?

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Old 01-22-2004, 04:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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While there are other brands of cars that use Halogen Projectors, BMW only uses Projectors in conjunction with Xenon lamps in the 3 Series. The easy way to tell if you have true Xenon HIDs is by looking at my signature picture, if you have the projectors on the outside, and the reflectors on the inside, than you have HIDs.

Its possible (and quite common) that your previous owner put in Hyperwhite or blue "colored" halogen bulbs.
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Old 01-22-2004, 04:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have reflectors on both the inside and outside... that's why I thought I had halogen. But I've seen BMW's (described as having xenon) without projectors.
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Old 01-22-2004, 05:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Another way to tell - if your car does have the factory BMW Xenons, the outside lights will say 'xenon' on it if you look closely.
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Old 01-22-2004, 05:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you look behind the headlight assembly, you should see a metal box attatched to it, with a big wire going to the bulb. There would be a warning label indicating high voltage-if you have Xenon.
Maybe you've got those blue bulbs installed.

Xenons will come on and flash real bright when they first come on, and then quickly dim to the normal level.
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally posted by TECH@Jan 22 2004, 07:29 PM
If you look behind the headlight assembly, you should see a metal box attatched to it, with a big wire going to the bulb. There would be a warning label indicating high voltage-if you have Xenon.
Maybe you've got those blue bulbs installed.

Xenons will come on and flash real bright when they first come on, and then quickly dim to the normal level.
That's solves it. They must be halogen.
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Old 01-22-2004, 08:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by chris323i@Jan 22 2004, 05:56 PM
I have reflectors on both the inside and outside... that's why I thought I had halogen. But I've seen BMW's (described as having xenon) without projectors.
Actually funny thing now that you mention it... I dont think BMW has EVER had a reflectorized HID setup in any US sold car. They were among the very first to have Xenons waaaaay back in 1995 with the 750iL redesign and THOSE were projectors. So I think its safe to say all BMW Xenons are projectors unless somehow retrofitted with another setup.
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Old 01-22-2004, 10:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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These are Xenon lights on my car.

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Old 03-25-2004, 04:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well...you may have already found some xenons by now. But I bought some aftermarket bulbs that have been really great. They look awesome and have been working great since December. Here is some pics. I found them at: bmwxenon.com or Jimmy540i@aol.com. They cost $100.00.
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