Well I got started on my headlight conversion finally. One of the first things I did when I bought my car was convert the conventional halogen bulbs to a 6500K HID system. This was a huge upgrade over stock, but the beam pattern left much to be desired. The culprit: sealed beam style housings. The solution: projectors.
When BMW first started production of the E34, most were produced with the non-projector conventional head lamps. Later E34’s had projector low beams (the outer most head lamps) while still using the same conventional housing for the high-beams. Euro E34’s had what are referred to as “smiley” ellipsoid projectors for the low beams. These had a small section cut out of the light just below the projector to reduce glare towards oncoming drivers.
First thing’s first. The lights went into the oven at just shy of 300 degrees for a good 20 minutes to break the seals and remove the lenses. Why do this? I plan on painting the chrome insides of the these lights a dark metallic grey or gunmetal color like the newer BMW cars. This part of the housing does not effect light output and can be painted any color you like.
As you can see there is a small cutout at the top of the light for a “city light” which I will not be using.
Now here is where I don’t follow the rules. This is a common upgrade to any BMW, but none of these cars or headlight kits utilize a projector housing for the high-beams too, only the low-beams. So I set out to Avenue Auto and picked up some OEM non-euro projectors from an old 7-series to put in place of the standard high-beams. Here is a side-by-side comparison with the DEPO units:
A quick look through the projectors shows the differences between the two style projectors:
The DEPO lights have the typical euro “slant” beam pattern which provides more light output and will make road signs easier to read. The BMW units however have a very horizontal cut-off which when aimed correctly will make an effective high-beam.
That’s all for now unfortunately. I have another HID kit on order for the new headlights and will be using my old kit for the high beams as they use the same bulbs. Stay tuned for updates on these lights which will be post paint and high-beam projector retrofit.