BMW: E39 Headlamp Adjustment - UK/Europe Driving : BMW 5 series Forum • BMWLand

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E39 Headlamp Adjustment - UK/Europe Driving

BMW forum 5 series car: E12, E28, E34, E39, E60, E61, F07, F10, F11

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E39 Headlamp Adjustment - UK/Europe Driving

Postby rennysnell » Tue, 07 Nov 2006 18:00:55 UTC

Hello, folks, my first posting. This topic has appeared before, but not very recently and not with the precise information I want. Here's hoping....
I have a Feb 02 E39 525i SE Auto, purchased recently as an Approved Vehicle from Barons, Hindhead. Only 15,000 miles, and I'm very pleased with it. My query relates to the process of using the headlamp adjustment to convert between UK and European driving. This process is described on p156 of the Owner's Manual although, irritatingly, only one adjustment lever is referred to, not two. The position I found the levers on my car (for UK driving) was each towards its respective side of the car, which is not what it says in the manual ('slide the lever towards the centre of the car' for driving on the left). I asked Barons about this and, after some deliberation, they told me my levers - as I say, each set towards their respective side of the car - were correct for UK driving, and the manual was wrong.
I contacted BMW(UK) to tell them their Owner's Manual for the E39 (at least) appeared to be wrong. After some time they responded agreeing that the manual was indeed wrong, but giving me yet another setting for the levers - both should be pointed to towards the curb for UK driving.
Help! Three different opinions: manual, Barons, BMW(UK). Can anyone tell me, from experience, just where the adjustment levers should be set for UK and European driving? I'd be most grateful.
Finally, there's a further complication in that I cannot move the lever at all on my offside lamp - it will not move from its present 'towards the side' setting. BMW have no answer to this, except to suggest the lever may have stuck through lack of usage (altho' the nearside lever works fine). If BMW(UK) are correct in their advice re lever settings - see above - this problem means I'm driving about in the UK with an illegally-set offside lamp.
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Postby dlevi67 » Tue, 07 Nov 2006 18:15:03 UTC

Easiest way to check is to use a wall.

After dusk, park the car with the headlights pointing at the wall, about 15-20 ft from it, and switch on the lights. You should have a horizontal beam and then a "fan" that lifts off to the left - a bit like \_ \_ this.

Any other pattern (I think the so called "RHD" position actually has no "fan", as it's supposed to be temporary) is wrong.

To get the lever unstuck, I think you'll need to open the headlight lens and use WD40 very carefully - don't spray stuff in the headlight without opening the lens cover first, or you'll muck things up no end.

I doubt it's stuck in an illegal position, as MOT test is supposed to check for headlight alignment and beam shape. At the very least, there would have been an advisory notice...
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Postby Hearty » Sun, 12 Nov 2006 18:08:40 UTC

Just been messing with mine for a trip to France next week - if you push the levers to the outside of the car the standard dipped pattern is achieved, with the kick up to the left. If you push both levers in towards the centre of the car, a shutter pops up on each lens to mask the kick up, so you get a completely flat beam pattern, which you can use temporarily on the Continent . .

The lever can be a bit stiff, I freed mine off when I had the lenses stripped off, but a determined waggle should free them off . . .

Hope that helps
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