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Thread: Replace bulb when replacing burnt bowls?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Replace bulb when replacing burnt bowls?

    Already loving this site as I am pretty sure I learned the problem of my dim headlights (burnt bowls) and have contacted a member here who refurbishes bowls.

    My question now is, when I am going through the trouble of replacing the burnt bowls, is it also worth changing the bulbs at the same time? Since my bulbs are the original ones in the car (12 years old), I am not sure how long they have left and if it makes sense to swap them out at the same time?

    For those that have changed bulbs, what bulbs are preferred if the desired result is more light?

    Thanks,

    dpark
    2004 330i E46 with ZHP performance package and cold weather package

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
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    When I got my FX-R retrofit done by Caesar at Lightwerkz, he recommended I replace my bulbs. I still have those bulbs in there, which are original to the car. I can see fine, but I'm now starting to wonder if my lighting could be a lot better if I replaced them as they appear slightly dim to me.

    If your bulbs are original, you definitely have suffered some output loss, and you should replace your bulbs if it bothers you. If it doesn't, then you can can squeeze some more use out of them.
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Imolarot / Naturbraun



    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

  3. #3
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    I never replaced my bulbs after my FX-R retrofit either...that was like, 3 years ago
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  4. #4
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    yes replace the bulbs. they peak out like at 3-4 years. then just goes downhill from there. you just get used to it having less and less light lol then you put a brand new one in, and you're like OMG. i'd go for the Osram CBIs if you want a whiter light, the SVS for a more white/yellow light.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sillieidiot View Post
    yes replace the bulbs. they peak out like at 3-4 years. then just goes downhill from there. you just get used to it having less and less light lol then you put a brand new one in, and you're like OMG. i'd go for the Osram CBIs if you want a whiter light, the SVS for a more white/yellow light.
    It's not that big of a difference, IMO. My 12 year old Philips 81522's aren't significantly dimmer than the new bulbs I just put in.

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Imolarot / Naturbraun



    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    Thanks for the advice. I guess I don't know what the life expectancy is for the bulbs. Still using the same ones that came with the car which puts them at 12+ years and I had the daytime running light set to "on" when I took delivery.

    I figured if I was "in there" that it would make sense to change the bulbs since I don't know how long they are rated for and I would hate to have to go back in and change bulbs in a year.
    2004 330i E46 with ZHP performance package and cold weather package

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpark View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I guess I don't know what the life expectancy is for the bulbs. Still using the same ones that came with the car which puts them at 12+ years and I had the daytime running light set to "on" when I took delivery.

    I figured if I was "in there" that it would make sense to change the bulbs since I don't know how long they are rated for and I would hate to have to go back in and change bulbs in a year.
    The DRL lights are actually the inside halogen "flash to pass" lights at half brightness, so that doesn't affect your Xenon bulb lifespan.
    The Xenons are more of a slow-failure item. Have you ever seen other older "premium" cars (Acuras seem to be notorious for it) driving around with purple/pink looking headlights? Those bulbs have been failing for a long time, and they lose their color and output as they age. If yours still look good and provide usable output, then they'll still be good for a while.

    This is a money question, really. If you can afford to change them now and don't mind spending the money, it definitely doesn't hurt. It just may not entirely be "necessary", so if you're trying to pinch some pennies then it's not critical to do it now.
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Imolarot / Naturbraun



    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by az3579 View Post
    It's not that big of a difference, IMO. My 12 year old Philips 81522's aren't significantly dimmer than the new bulbs I just put in.

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    Yeah it is. But it also depends highly on your driving and how often you drive at night. It also depends on the bulbs you replace them with as well. But generally, it's going to be brighter.

    Quote Originally Posted by az3579 View Post
    The DRL lights are actually the inside halogen "flash to pass" lights at half brightness, so that doesn't affect your Xenon bulb lifespan.
    The Xenons are more of a slow-failure item. Have you ever seen other older "premium" cars (Acuras seem to be notorious for it) driving around with purple/pink looking headlights? Those bulbs have been failing for a long time, and they lose their color and output as they age. If yours still look good and provide usable output, then they'll still be good for a while.

    This is a money question, really. If you can afford to change them now and don't mind spending the money, it definitely doesn't hurt. It just may not entirely be "necessary", so if you're trying to pinch some pennies then it's not critical to do it now.
    The bulbs turning pink is actually a trait of Osram HID bulbs back in the day when they are dying. With Philips bulbs, they just get more blue and dimmer.

    But yeah I agree. If you don't have the money for it and you think they are fine currently. Just keep using them until they actually die.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    Well, I did the bowl replacement today and the increased brightness from Clemsone46's bowls has made a big difference. Very happy with the light output and I kept the original bulbs. Couldn't get the Osram Nightbreakers in time and I wanted to get this done this weekend.

    Other than the "hotspot" issue with the new bowls, the brightness is very good and I can "see" again at night without needing to use my foglights.

    I will hold off on spending $125 on new bulbs until one goes out, as I am satisfied with the light I am now getting.
    2004 330i E46 with ZHP performance package and cold weather package

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