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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, Apr-18-2017, 11:58:08 PM   #1
marathonmann
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Default Help Diagnosing head light failure

Well, I got in my M this morning to drive to work and no drivers side head light, both hi and low beam are out. when i came home today i pulled the bulbs out and swapped them and the drivers side still did not light with the good passenger bulb. So, is my next step to check the ballast ? If it is, where is it located and how hard is it to remove ? Can I do the same check as I did with the bulb and swap passenger/driver side ? Also, the inside light (flash) does work on both sides when I pull the turn signal lever. My car is an 03 with HID's. Any help is appreciated as always from you guys....
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Old Wed, Apr-19-2017, 01:14:24 AM   #2
Jazzkat
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Default Re: Help Diagnosing head light failure

Similar issue on passenger side.

I have been told by a reputable source that there is some wiring on E46's that is prone to breakage so you might want to pull the assembly and check wires before you start popping for ballasts and igniters.

I haven't found time to check mine yet.
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Old Wed, Apr-19-2017, 01:22:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Help Diagnosing head light failure

Check wiring. It seems like the wiring is prone to opening up and leaving bare wire all over inside the housing. Not sure if that's the way all wiring goes in such a temperature switching environment or poor insulation for wires.
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Old Wed, Apr-19-2017, 01:45:14 AM   #4
marathonmann
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Default Re: Help Diagnosing head light failure

Ok, so you mean the wires going from the ballast to the socket/bulb ?
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Old Wed, Apr-19-2017, 02:26:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Help Diagnosing head light failure

Mine ended up being the ballast. I swapped them from side to side to verify. The driver's side is mounted to the right of the air cleaner. Unless its been relocated for a CAI in that case it may be mounted below inside the plastic wheel liner.



The passenger side is mounted underneath the headlight assembly.

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Old Thu, Apr-20-2017, 01:03:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help Diagnosing head light failure

Or it could be the igniter which is located inside the headlight assembly.
Easier to swap the ballast first since both are external of the headlight assembly and if that doesn't work then you have to say it is the igniter inside. You have to pull the headlight out and disassemble it somewhat to get to it.
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Old Thu, Apr-20-2017, 10:19:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Help Diagnosing head light failure

Ok, thanks for the suggestions. I dug through my pile of receipts I got from the PO when I bought the car a few months ago and both ballasts were replaced a little over a year ago. I'm guessing it's more likely the igniter or faulty wiring now. Does anyone have a "how to" on replacing the igniter ? Also, not sure if this means anything or not but neither my daytime running lights or parking lights are working
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Discussing Help Diagnosing head light failure 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)