Headlight replacement


Cost: $100


If you have a cracked headlight on your Bmw E34, it is time to replace it.

Failure syndromes:
• Just look at it.


  • Phillips and flat screwdrivers

1. Removal of the center grill is difficult. The plastic retaining clips at each side (behind the lowbeam lamps) are totally blind so you have to know in advance which hidden plastic tab to push on with a 10" long and narrow screwdriver. Cast a shop light on the back of the headlamp assembly and look down the access hole for these two locking tabs. You will not see the tabs, but you will see a set of holes cut out of successive body panels. You screwdriver passes through these. Try to center it in these holes laterally, and bias the screwdriver toward the front of the holes. If you feel it hit something slightly springy, then the tip is on the retaining tab. You have to push quite hard to get the tab to release the side wing part of the center grill. Even with the tab release, it took a lot of prying pressure to get those wings loose with a screwdriver.
Be careful not to scratch the paint. See Bentley manual for pictures.
2. You do not need to take the headlamp assembly out to change either the low or high beam. Spray some WD40, heat with a hair dryer for 4-5 min and carefully pry the light out off the ball screws. The sleeves that hold the lens/reflector assembly to the ball-stripped screws break easily. Get replacements from the dealer before tackling the job.
3. When you put the lens/reflector assembly back into the ball-stripped screws, put the sleeves on the ball tips first, and then put the light onto the sleeves. This will help prevent inadvertent cracking of the sleeves.
4. You can take off the whole headlamp assembly: you remove the 3 rear screws from the front then remove the screw holding the turn signal to the fender.

Tip from Jim Butler: I found that I didn't have to completely remove the grill assembly to change my right high beam. I release the clips on the right, and in the center. I was then able to able to pull the grill out enough to get at the remaining screws for the plastic grill and pull the headlamp assembly out.

Thanks to John Feng

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