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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 09:19:42 PM   #21
Silvertail
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

Make sure you have the headlight set to auto because that is the only time mine will auto level. If you have it off and then turn on manually it wont auto level.
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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 09:57:03 PM   #22
terraphantm
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

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Originally Posted by Silvertail View Post
Make sure you have the headlight set to auto because that is the only time mine will auto level. If you have it off and then turn on manually it wont auto level.
They will. They just don't go through the calibration cycle if the engine has been running a while
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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 10:59:16 PM   #23
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

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Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
Here: it updates and resets every 25 seconds. BMW's tech document describing the functionality attached.
If the auto-leveling feature adjusts the headlight every 25 seconds while driving, then I'd hardly call it auto-leveling, let alone useful, but okay.

I still think that auto-leveling is overrated. If it works, leave it be. If it fails on you, it's not worth fixing IMO. Most cars with xenons during the e46 era did not come with any auto-leveling feature from the factory, including the S2000, which came with what most people regarded as the best factory projectors on the market.
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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 11:14:04 PM   #24
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

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Originally Posted by camberm3 View Post
If the auto-leveling feature adjusts the headlight every 25 seconds while driving, then I'd hardly call it auto-leveling, let alone useful, but okay.

I still think that auto-leveling is overrated. If it works, leave it be. If it fails on you, it's not worth fixing IMO. Most cars with xenons during the e46 era did not come with any auto-leveling feature from the factory, including the S2000, which came with what most people regarded as the best factory projectors on the market.
Not sure how accurate the 25 second refresh is, or what it means. I was driving my car this weekend. It was dusk, came up and stopped behind a car while going down a hill. As soon as I stopped, I watched my cutoff for my headlights slowly creep up their back bumper, maybe 1.5". It was definitely quick enough that I noticed it immediately.

FWIW, my '02 IS300 had HIDs in non-projector housings from the factory, they also auto leveled the same way at startup, and I saw them move when I'd pull in/out of my garage.
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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 11:23:35 PM   #25
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

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Originally Posted by camberm3 View Post
If the auto-leveling feature adjusts the headlight every 25 seconds while driving, then I'd hardly call it auto-leveling, let alone useful, but okay.

I still think that auto-leveling is overrated. If it works, leave it be. If it fails on you, it's not worth fixing IMO. Most cars with xenons during the e46 era did not come with any auto-leveling feature from the factory, including the S2000, which came with what most people regarded as the best factory projectors on the market.
It's function is to compensate for load changes within the car. Every 25 seconds is plenty for that (and very likely it's more frequent than that in post 1998 e46s).

S2000 projectors are hugely overrated, imo (as they're super bright low beams... I want bright low beams AND high beams), but the quality of a projector is also separate and unrelated from auto leveling.

If you don't have auto leveling, you either have to aim to light too low for when you're alone in the car, so that when you load the car up with people and stuff you're not getting flashed constantly be oncoming traffic, or you have to aim it for when you are along in the car, and get flashed every where you go. Almost never will your headlights be optimally aimed.

Auto leveling is only better to have. With it, you can aim your headlights to the inch before you start blinding people. They are always optimally aimed for your current cargo load. If you have a high quality projector (since you brought up the S2000) it's actually more important, as it lets your run that super sharp cutoff higher. In high quality projectors, with sharp cut offs, there's little to no light above the cutoff, so having them always properly height aimed is critical.

The auto leveling did not work on my M5 when I bought it (auto leveling arm was snapped, common e39 failure). I repaired it, and it was a huge increase in the usefulness of the headlights. Even more so once I retrofitted high quality projectors with sharp cutoffs and a modern 55w xenon system.
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Last edited by Obioban; Tue, Feb-23-2016 at 11:37:05 PM.
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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 11:33:59 PM   #26
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

So is it true that the auto leveling sequence only occurs when the lights are set to auto and not manually turned on?
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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 11:36:03 PM   #27
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

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So is it true that the auto leveling sequence only occurs when the lights are set to auto and not manually turned on?
No.

They do their self test when the car is turn on, not when the lights are turned on, so if lights aren't in auto you may miss the self test.
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Old Tue, Feb-23-2016, 11:55:15 PM   #28
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

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Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
It's function is to compensate for load changes within the car. Every 25 seconds is plenty for that (and very likely it's more frequent than that in post 1998 e46s).

S2000 projectors are hugely overrated, imo (as they're super bright low beams... I want bright low beams AND high beams), but the quality of a projector is also separate and unrelated from auto leveling.

If you don't have auto leveling, you either have to aim to light too low for when you're alone in the car, so that when you load the car up with people and stuff you're not getting flashed constantly be oncoming traffic, or you have to aim it for when you are along in the car, and get flashed every where you go. Almost never will your headlights be optimally aimed.

Auto leveling is only better to have. With it, you can aim your headlights to the inch before you start blinding people. They are always optimally aimed for your current cargo load. If you have a high quality projector (since you brought up the S2000) it's actually more important, as it lets your run that super sharp cutoff higher. In high quality projectors, with sharp cut offs, there's little to no light above the cutoff, so having them always properly height aimed is critical.

The auto leveling did not work on my M5 when I bought it (auto leveling arm was snapped, common e39 failure). I repaired it, and it was a huge increase in the usefulness of the headlights. Even more so once I retrofitted high quality projectors with sharp cutoffs and a modern 55w xenon system.
I drove years with auto-leveling and years without (after it failed). Never once noticed a difference. Never once have I been flashed while driving without auto-level. Never once did I think that my lighting isn't very good and that it should be aimed higher or lower.

If you aim your headlights correctly, there's not reason why auto leveling should make as much of a difference as you make it sound.

Now, if I changed the load drastically, then perhaps I would notice it. But in the years I owned the car, I never have and my guess is that most people wouldn't either. I'm usually very anal about things not working in this car and I have a tendency to keep everything working as the factory intended. However, this is one thing that never bothered me. If it did, I certainly would get it repaired (either the sensor broke or the headlight knob adjustor I'm guessing).
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Old Wed, Feb-24-2016, 12:40:31 AM   #29
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

I don't notice the leveling due to suspension load so much because our suspension is fairly stiff. I'll admit if that's all the auto leveling did, it wouldn't be a big deal. It definitely is noticeable when accelerating hard and braking hard. The 175 km/h adjustment is probably also noticeable, but I generally don't drive that fast, especially at night.
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Old Wed, Feb-24-2016, 12:43:19 AM   #30
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Default Re: Auto leveling on ZCP?

I'd certainly agree that if your car always seems the same load, it's of minimal benefit.

My car sees just me to 4 people to 2 people/wheels and tires in the back seat/track gear in the trunk.
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Discussing Auto leveling on ZCP? in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)