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Thread: ZKW Burnt Projector Bowl Repair/Retrofit DIY doityourself

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Ocean State

    ZKW Burnt Projector Bowl Repair/Retrofit DIY doityourself

    I am in progress of doing some much needed file maintenance and unfortunately all the links to my pics have been broken... please bear with me while I work on my DIY (will take some time due to college studies and work). My apologies for those seeking my diy but if you have any questions please contact me and I'll be happy to help out in any way I can.

    This DIY is picture intensive!

    Part I

    I have an ‘03 330i ZHP with ZKW headlight assemblies. The ZKW projector bowls on both the driver's and passenger's side were burned out as you can see in the picture below....

    I checked my local BMW dealership to find out how much each headlight assembly would cost and found out they would run me about $1200 each. At this point I realized that this would be a recurring problem so I began my research to find a more permanent fix to this problem. As I began my research, I found out that the projector bowls used in the ZKW headlights were plastic. PLASTIC?????? No wonder why these projector bowls burn out over time! Anyway, I found several DIYs through different forums but nothing that was easy to follow and complete for the inexperienced to follow without extensive researching. So I decided to post my experience for others. Hopefully, this DIY will help others to perform their retrofit.

    This is just my guide on how I performed this retrofit.

    ***** DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK *****

    *** If you don't know what you are doing chances are you will screw it up so I would recommend that you find someone who is familiar with this type of work. Doing this DIY does not, in any way, hold me accountable. ***

    ***** Thanks to Botond Pal "BP" for helping with all the pics! *****

    Credit also goes to "Ozymandias" over at Bimmerfest from his DIY for which I would not have attempted my DIY, thank you

    Ozy's diy was used as a base reference for mine and can be found here:

    Also thanks to SNA77 for his many DIYs. They have been very helpful to me during my research and development of this DIY

    Tools I used are:
    - Flat blade screwdriver
    - Phillips screwdriver
    - T-15 driver
    - T-25 driver
    - 8mm ” socket
    - ” socket extender
    - ” screw driver
    - 10mm ” socket
    - Hex Key set
    - Electrical tape
    - Needle nose pliers
    - 3M double-sided tape
    - Dremel and dremel kit
    - Soldering Iron w/ solder
    - JB Weld
    - Very small jewlers screwdriver flat blade
    - A Sharpie Marker (Black)

    Additional items to have prior to starting this DIY...

    - OEM ///M3 projector bowl assemblies
    - OEM ///M3 projector shrouds

    (I cannot emphasize enough that you need to have the original ///M3 projector bowls or this DIY will not work 100%)

    For those with cold weather package:
    - Nozzle clips: BMW PN: 61 67 0 004 457
    - Washer Nozzle: BMW PN: 61 67 8 362 823

    - ZKW to OEM M3 Bi-Xenon solenoid controller circuit from website link:

    This is the OEM ///M3 Bi-Xenon Projector assembly I purchased from eBay for $50

    I got the other ///M3 projector assembly for $75 shipped, same part. Notice the brand of the solenoid....hint....hint....

    Okay... Let's get started

    The first step is to remove your headlights. For those lucky enough to have the cold weather package this will take a little bit longer to remove because the headlight washer nozzle will get in the way. You need to exercise a lot of patience to disconnect this washer nozzle before fully removing the headlight assembly or you will break the nozzle. Believe me, I know…:^)

    The replacement washer nozzle part number is: 61 67 8 362 823.

    Cost for this item is around $65 depending on where you get it so keep that in mind when taking out your headlight assembly. It usually takes somewhere around 30 minutes to an hour to take out the headlight assemblies. Basically, what you need to do is:

    - Remove the turn signals

    - Remove the washer jets (for those who have the cold weather package)

    - Remove the lower bottom painted headlight trim

    - Remove the headlight seal gasket (the black trim attached to the headlight assembly)

    - Remove the 4 retaining screws (8mm size socket will remove them)

    - The bottom two are the hardest to remove - take your time, have spare screws in case you lose them while taking them out…

    For a full description on how to remove headlights, go to this link:

    Start by removing the securing screws to the headlights (8 mm screws). There are two on top and two on the bottom (the bottom ones are hardest to remove, especially when they are corroded or have headlight nozzles installed).

    This is how I set up the 8mm socket with extension and you know why I used electrical tape. This way when you are trying to get to the lower two screws underneath the headlight assemblies, you will not lose the socket.

    An 8mm ” socket is used to remove the securing screws to the headlight assemblies.

    In the above picture, the right bottom headlight screw is located to the right of the headlight washer nozzle. It is a very tight fit, which is why I showed the setup I used to take them out…

    Once the securing screws have been taken out, the next phase is to disconnect all electrical connections to the headlight assembly as well as your Angel Eyes (if installed).

    A picture of the headlight assembly with wires disconnected.

    One thing to note regarding the bottom securing screws. In my case, I found them completely corroded and extremely hard to remove. These were most likely the original screws from when the car was brand new. I almost stripped the heads trying to get these out. These screws will be replaced with new parts.

    A close-up view of the headlight washer nozzle for the lucky ones with cold weather package!

    Removing the headlight assembly (with headlight washer nozzles), it was such a PITA to remove without breaking the nozzle connection (my first time doing it). I ended up braking my passenger’s side while taking it out, fortunately, I had a spare laying around!

    I was using my iPhone to take a picture of the headlight washer nozzle connection (see below picture). It’s a very tight fit, which is why you need to exercise a lot of patience or risk breaking the nozzle connection. If you break the nozzle connection then you will need a new nozzle.

    Just to the left of the headlight nozzle is the connection you need to disconnect prior to pulling out the headlight assembly (circled in red). Those of you who do not have this consider yourself lucky.

    The washer nozzle hose disconnected. Below is a closeup picture of the washer nozzle and the fragile neck that gets broken if too much pressure is applied while trying to disconnect the hose clamp and attached washer hose.

    The part of the nozzle that tends to break off if you are not careful is the right part where you plug the hose in. The lip will literally break off the neck and then you will end up replacing the whole nozzle assembly after shelling out another $64.

    Here is the part number in case you need another: 61 67 8 362 823.

    I would recommend having one on hand just in case you break one. The one on the passenger's side is the one you will most likely break if you have never removed your headlight before. There is less slack concerning the hoses on that side and it’s a very tight fit to disconnect the attached hose.

    Now that the headlight washer is disconnected from the headlight assembly, we can now pull out the headlight assembly to begin our work...broken trim insert has been replaced...

    Removing the Washer Nozzle
    (skip this part of the DIY if this does not apply to you):

    The headlight nozzle has two clips on either side that needs to be popped out. I used a very thin flat blade to put the clips in a position to allow them to slide out. It took some time but eventually I was able to get them out. Do this when you have your headlights out so when putting them back in it will be easier to reassemble.

    First view of my driver's side burned out projector bowl. The crack on the upper tab is a cob-web…there’s no crack there….just sayin’

    Looking through the opening you can see how much of the projector bowl is burned out.

    Taking apart the headlight assemblies
    - this is the same for both headlight assemblies.

    - Unclip the three top clips, the side clips, and the lower three clips. (top 3 clips shown)

    - Once all clips are detached, you can carefully pull off the headlight lens as pictured below….

    Now comes the scary part....replacing the projector assembly....

    - Take off the trim piece but be easy when taking this part off or you will break it.

    - If you have angel eyes installed, you will now take this off.

    Angel Eyes removed - extending the headlight housing using the hex wrench (pictured below) This part makes removal of the projector housing easy.

    - Unscrew the headlight housing as shown below using a hex bit - easiest to use the tool with a longer bit sort of like a screwdriver but in the proper sized hex bit (similar to the pic below).

    Fully extend the headlight housing as far as it will go - both top screws fully open.

    The black auto-level retaining clip pictured below is the part you need to disconnect next using a long flat blade screwdriver. This is a PITA to do and you need to take your time and be careful not to break anything. The auto-leveling mechanism inside will pop out when the clip is spread out far enough…not hard to do, but just take your time and apply just enough pressure to spread the clip to allow the auto-leveling mechanism to pop out (see pic below – auto-leveling mechanism connected to the lower center clip on the ZKW housing).

    The auto-leveling clip on the ZKW housing assembly that you need to use a flat blade screwdriver I was talking about pictured below by my index finger.

    In the picture below:

    The next part you need to do is to disconnect the ZKW housing assembly from the headlight assembly. Pry the two retaining clips (one by each fingers). Once you have this pryed apart the housing assembly will simply slip out. Don't need to pry too much. This is the center top clip.

    On the ZKW headlight assembly, there are three points to disconnect the headlight housing from the ZKW assembly. Top center clip (shown in previous picture by my finger) mates with top center point in picture below, the auto-leveling rod (by my thumb in the pic below) attaches to the bottom part of the headlight housing, and the top right connection point is where the housing finally attaches to. When disconnecting the housing, take your time and do not force anything.

    Taking out the Burned out ZKW projector assemblies:

    - Unscrew the 4 torx screws to take out the old ZKW projectors from the projector housing.

    The ZKW Xenon shrouds clip onto the projectors from the hole circled in red. All you have to do is use a long screwdriver to pop the clips off the projector assembly and the shrouds will come out allowing you to take off the projector assembly from the projector housing assembly.

    When transferring the ZKW lens to the OEM M3 projector assembly, you will also need to use the OEM M3 projector shroud. The ZKW projector shrouds will not fit on the OEM M3 projector assembly, the retaining clips are short and thick.

    Transferring the ZKW lens into the Bosh ///M3 Projector assembly

    - remove screws to separate projector bowl from projector lens

    - bend retaining clips to allow removal of old lens

    Unlike the plastic ZKW lens holders which use a very brittle clip which will break off when you pry it enough to move the lens, the M3 lens holders, being metal, uses metal tabs that can be bent to allow removal of the retaining ring and lens. One of many tabs pointed by my finger (see above pics). This is easily bent with a screwdriver, in my case a torx-head.

    Here is a video I made showing how easy it is to swap out the Bosh lens for the ZKW - bear with me since this is the first time I have ever made a video along with this diy...

    Trimming and fitting the OEM M3 projector assemblies

    As you can see by the pic below, the OEM M3 projector assembly do not line up with the ZKW projector assembly mounting points. We will have to do some trimming and drilling to get the M3 projector assemblies to mount correctly.

    - Line up the M3 projector assembly and mark the new mounting points using a Black Sharpie. Looking through where the M3 projector housing screw holes are place a dot using the sharpie so you have all 4 holes marked on the housing assembly.

    In order to get to this point I had to do some trimming of the headlight mounting bracket which I will outline below:

    Trimming the headlight mounting bracket

    - First line up the ///M3 projector assembly onto the headlight mounting bracket to see what you have to trim off and mark those places using the black sharpie.

    - next get that Dremel and use a cutting disk (be sure to have plenty on hand as these will snap easily)

    You have one shot at this so measure and recheck before you begin cutting and trimming

    Some more trimming at each mounting point - on the most part you should be getting a fairly good idea on what you should have to do...

    - Next change out the bits on the Dremel and use a drill bit (will post actual size later today)
    - Start drilling your pilot holes for the original retaining screws you took out earlier when removing the original ZKW projectors. (have a steady hand when doing this)

    A few holes will come very close to the edge, which is why I chose to use JB Weld to help reinforce those areas from any potential cracking. Passenger's side was done on 29 August and so far with daily driving here in Rhode Island (the land of pot holes), I have not had any issues with my "retrofitted" headlights. Solid as a rock, so to speak

    The surface areas around each hole was roughened up a bit so that when I applied JB Weld at each screw hole, those roughed up areas will allow the JB Weld to grab.

    Mounting the ///M3 projector housing

    ///M3 projector assembly is now mounted onto the original ZKW headlight mounting bracket!

    Note the nice ZKW lens mounted onto the OEM M3 projector assembly! A few angles of how the M3 projector assembly looks when mounted to the ZKW housing assembly…

    You can see the screws protruding...not to worry! With the OEM ///M3 shrouds, you won't see them.

    A little dab of JB Weld...

    After about an 10 minutes or so, I snapped on the projector shrouds. Everything lined up perfectly!


    Okay, this is it for the time being with more to be added. I was limited to only 100 pics in this post so I had to place another "Part II" post to complete the DIY....look for that as well everyone

    Part II will be placed in Post #7

    Thanks everyone for being patient...
    Last edited by cakM3; 02-23-2013 at 09:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    32.8 N, 117.3 W

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    North NJ

    This is Excellent.

  4. #4
    Absolutely AWESOME DIY - Thank you!
    A Venza just isn't the same as a ZHP.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Ocean State
    Thanks everyone! There will be more to add to this DIY....I just ran out of "awake" time and had to get some rest
    2008 GT Silver 997.1tt.......................2004 TiAg ///M.........................2003 Imola ZHP

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Lebanon, OH
    Thanks for putting it together Charlie.

    HTC Thunderbolt+TT
    "Flame suit NOT REQUIRED!!!"
    Call Me Dane l 2/2004 330i ZHP l 18x8 ET45 BBS CK's wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+ @ 245-40-18 l KW V1 Coilovers in front l KW V1 springs w/ Bilstein B8 dampeners in rear l BMW Performance Rotors l UUC StrutBarbarian l Racing Dynamics Rear Strut Bar l Jim Conforti Shark Injector l Light Birch Interior Trim l Bimmian Celly Mount l M3 Trunk Mat l l e90 Performance E-Brake & Shift Knob l M3 Tri-Stitched Boots l AL Headlight Retrofit with ZKW Lenses l CobyWheel Wrap w/M3 Stitching l LCM sw 4.5 triple blink and rear fogs

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Ocean State
    Part II of my DIY

    This part only covers the solenoid converter circuit that I purchased at:

    This part of the retrofit DIY consisted of adding an Bi-Xenon controller circuit since the M3 projector Bi-Xenon solenoid required 3 wires whereas the original ZKW Bi-Xenon solenoid required 2 wires. Wolstentech provided the ZKW to OEM M3 Bi-Xenon solenoid controller circuit. Having this circuit allows full Bi-Xenon functionality of the "retrofitted" ZKW headlight assemblies.

    Keep in mind that this part of the retrofit is easiest when the ZKW headlight assembly is taken apart. Do this before putting everything back together - after retrofitting the M3 projector assembly onto the ZKW mounting plate.

    Remember this step of Part 1 of my DIY?

    Now we are going incorporate the Bi-Xenon solenoid controller circuit into the ZKW headlight assembly..... this part is the easiest of the retrofit, trust me

    This is the actual circuit board assembly that will interface the original ZKW Bi-Xenon circuit to the M3 AL Bi-Xenon circuit (below).

    The Bi-Xenon circuit comes pre-labeled B (black), G (green), R (red) like in the above picture.

    I used 3M Double-sided tape to secure the circuit inside the headlight assembly. The bottom part of the circuit board is already epoxy-coated for protection, so this was the ideal solution to adequately secure the circuit board to prevent it from rattling around inside the headlight assembly.

    I double layered the 3M tape, note the epoxy coating (in black between the circuit board and tape).

    Once you have the 3M Double-sided tape applied to the bottom of the controller circuit, place them aside so that you can now begin separating the ZKW wiring from the plug.

    These are the two wires that will attach to one side of the controller circuit (2 wire to 3 wire).

    -> Take the wires out of the plug using a very small flat bladed jewelers screwdriver.

    Do this until you have the two wires free.

    Next, trim and strip the ends of the wires so that you can apply a coat of solder to them.

    I highly recommend you apply solder to the ends of the wiring (tinting) so that when you attach them to the circuit board they will provide a good connection and remain connected.

    I also rounded the ends to provide for more grab when tightening the screws on the controller circuit.

    This made connection so much easier and I knew that these leads won't ever slip out.
    Connecting the leads to the solenoid controller circuit....

    All leads connected.

    Once you get to this point all you have to do is mount the solenoid controller circuit into the headlight assembly like this...

    Once this is done all you have to do is now put everything back together in reverse order.

    Take your time and if you have to, look over Part 1 of the DIY to have a good understanding how to put everything back together.

    One last is a side by side comparison of the retrofitted ZKWs over the diminished ZKWs.

    In the picture the driver's side is retrofitted and passenger's side is still the original ZKWs.

    I was astounded by the difference in light output after retrofitting mine. Low beams then high beams.

    In front of the garage: low beams to high beams


    The ZKW headlights using plastic projector bowls was a really bad idea due to the amount of degradation that occurs over prolonged usage and the expense of having to replace these assemblies since BMW cannot rebuild these. Personally, I understand this and don't have a problem with BMW not rebuilding these headlights, however I feel that they should recognize this issue as a safety issue due to the amount of diminished light output. In my case I had suffered close to 50% diminished output due to burned projector bowls.

    Here are my original projector bowls:

    Since I was faced with spending at least $2400 for new headlight assemblies or spend $200 for my solution, obviously, I went with my solution. Having recognized there are more out here with similar issues I decided to make a detailed DIY to help others. I am in no means an expert but hopefully what I have outlined here will empower others to do what I did and find a more permanent solution to this problem.

    Finally....I would also like to acknowledge Dane and Steve "Prowlerflyer" for their feedback on the advanced copy of my DIY. Their comments also helped me when I finally posted this DIY. Thanks guys!!!!!
    Last edited by cakM3; 12-23-2011 at 05:22 AM.
    2008 GT Silver 997.1tt.......................2004 TiAg ///M.........................2003 Imola ZHP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Ocean State
    Quote Originally Posted by danewilson77 View Post
    Thanks for putting it together Charlie.

    HTC Thunderbolt+TT
    No problem Dane

    This is something I had wanted to do when I took on this project. Hopefully this will help others with this same exact problem
    2008 GT Silver 997.1tt.......................2004 TiAg ///M.........................2003 Imola ZHP

  9. #9
    Is this a problem with all ZHP's with the xenons?

    Charlie - I admire you figuring it out and executing so beautifully. How long did the project take?
    A Venza just isn't the same as a ZHP.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Ocean State
    Quote Originally Posted by SoarinZHP View Post
    Is this a problem with all ZHP's with the xenons?

    Charlie - I admire you figuring it out and executing so beautifully. How long did the project take?
    Thanks This is a problem with all ZHP sedans (they have ZKW headlight assemblies)

    The project took me a few months to do the research and then a month to get all the parts necessary to execute the project. There are other solutions for sure, but this solution cost me less than $200 to accomplish. The problem is that I did not find any all-inclusive procedures that showed how to do every step. Yes they talked about it but if you have never attempted this type of work, it was intimidating. I was not good with trying this risking a $1200 headlight assembly in case I totally screwed things up. Enter my DIY...

    Basically, you need to get two OEM ///M3 projector assemblies (ebay auction), OEM ///M3 projector shrouds (ebay auction), and the solenoid controller circuit I mentioned in my DIY.

    All it takes is having the tools, the right procedure, and adequate time to get this done right. When doing this, there is no rushing. Anyway, thanks again for the complements.

    2008 GT Silver 997.1tt.......................2004 TiAg ///M.........................2003 Imola ZHP

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