5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60)Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)
I believe you can find adjustments behind the lights. There are plastic rods inside the lights adjustments and they can break easy. Auto leveling would still work but like you said the lights are aimed low and sounds like some of the plastic adjustment rods have broken off. if it is broken you need to remove the head light and pull it apart to replace the broken rods.
Pretty easy way to tell if the adjusters are broken. Open the hood and grab the back of the lens housings and give them a little wiggle. If the adjusters are broken the whole inside assembly will move around- wiggle the other side to see how they compare- They should be solidly attached but if it wiggles around you have a really big job ahead of you in replacing the inner adjusters. I know as I just did my drivers side adjusters. Seems BMW made a design change in 2001 to make the black plastic back housing one piece where the 2000 and olders were two piece and easily separated. Several aftermarkets make replacements adjusters- you can google e39 xenon headlight adjusters and take your pick of plastic or aluminum. It took me the better part of 5 hours working the lens away from the housing. These two are glued together and obviously not meant to ever be taken apart, BUT once you get them apart replacing the adjusters is easy and you simply glue the housing back on the lens. Be patient and take your time if you tackle this one. You don't want to break either part as they are WAY expensive to replace. Good luck!
I had the same problem with my 2000 M5. I had to replace adjusters and yes, they are about $10 for the set on eBay. It took me about 1 hour to do both sides.
I would do mine myself too because they charge too much at dealers. I already got some angel eyes and smoked indicators that I fitted and found the problem but I didn't have the parts at the time and hoping to get HID's at the same time.
I didn't even know that deal sells those parts or offer such repairs. Here dealer would just tell you to replace the entire assembly.
I avoid going to dealer as much as possible, as the they charge so much here. I only go there for oil changes, because for some strange reason dealer charges less for 10x60 oil than eBay, Amazon, etc.
I asked couple of years ago and it was about 4-5 hours labour to do it. I didn't ask if they had parts for the job. But it could be the same thing as the motor and gearing for the headrest. One of my mates thought to help his girlfriend from the back seat of my car to get the headrest down for her and forced it down srtipping the gears. I was swearing in my mind but I didn't want to ruin the evening so I didn't say anything. Can't get the gears without the motor and that is about $500 new and everyone wants to sell me the whole seat if getting second hand and that is even more money. I should have said something.
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