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Old 02-13-2019, 12:30 AM   #1
3LOU5
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Bi-Xenon headlight problem

Both my headlights fire right up when I turn the switch on....when it's warm.

However, when it's wicked cold, like in the teens and below, the right headlight doesn't want to come on. Well, it DOES come on, but I have do it 1 of 2 ways:

1) Turn the key to the number 2 position without engaging the starter, then switch on the headlight,

or

2) Turn the switch on the headlight, then turning the key to the number 2 position without engaging the starter.

The left comes on normally.

I am open to suggestions on what to replace. Is there an igniter or ballast that I can replace without having to buy the whole headlight assembly ?? If so, where can I buy it, and is there a DIY for it ??

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:06 AM   #2
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The internets say that points to a failing ignitor (but don't automatically trust this response).
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:06 AM   #3
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Could just be a connection issue. Metal contracts and expands with temperature.

When I first bought home that Volvo truck that I used to haul our RV, they were known for connection issues. I went through two cans of die-electric grease with pulling, cleaning, and spraying all electrical connectors I could find.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ff View Post
The internets say that points to a failing ignitor (but don't automatically trust this response).
Yeah, just had enough time last night to research this after I posted my question.

I think you're right. I'm going to replace the igniter first because it's cheaper. Hopefully, it'll fix the problem. If not, I guess a new ballast is in order.

(If I was a smart man, I would switch ballasts with the left headlight because they are easier to access and see if the problem follows the ballast).
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2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Vivid Black) - his
2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Pearl White) - hers
2011 Tao Tao 50 - whoevers bike is in the shop
2007 Reinell 186 FNS - the dog's
1995 Fleetwood Flair 27R - EVERYBODY'S !
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:30 PM   #5
3LOU5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kognito View Post
Could just be a connection issue. Metal contracts and expands with temperature.

When I first bought home that Volvo truck that I used to haul our RV, they were known for connection issues. I went through two cans of die-electric grease with pulling, cleaning, and spraying all electrical connectors I could find.
Good point.

I've also read that the wires could also be an issue due to deterioration from age and engine heat.
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2016 Toyota Sienna SE - hers
2002 BMW 325i - his
1994 Chevrolet Silverado K1500 Sportside Z71 - whoevers vehicle is in the shop
2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Vivid Black) - his
2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Pearl White) - hers
2011 Tao Tao 50 - whoevers bike is in the shop
2007 Reinell 186 FNS - the dog's
1995 Fleetwood Flair 27R - EVERYBODY'S !
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Old 02-19-2019, 02:26 PM   #6
John V
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Can you do some swap-tronics to diagnose it?

I.e. move the igniter over from the right headlight to the left and vice versa and see if the problem moves. If not, do the same with the ballast. If not, do the same with the bulb. Eventually you'll find the dodgy component.

If the igniter / ballast is built into the light, obviously you can't do this.
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Old 02-19-2019, 03:04 PM   #7
3LOU5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John V View Post
Can you do some swap-tronics to diagnose it?

I.e. move the igniter over from the right headlight to the left and vice versa and see if the problem moves. If not, do the same with the ballast. If not, do the same with the bulb. Eventually you'll find the dodgy component.

If the igniter / ballast is built into the light, obviously you can't do this.
It looks like the igniter and ballast are 2 separate components.

The left headlight assembly seems to be more of a pain to remove. I think I'm just gonna roll the dice and replace the right headlight igniter, because it's relatively cheap. I believe that is causing the intermittent problem of the bulb not lighting up.

The problem is, it's harder to replace than the ballast from the looks of it.

Oh well, the story of my life....
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2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Vivid Black) - his
2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Pearl White) - hers
2011 Tao Tao 50 - whoevers bike is in the shop
2007 Reinell 186 FNS - the dog's
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Old 02-19-2019, 03:14 PM   #8
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Ah, that stinks. The factory bi-Xenon BMW headlights are actually quite good from what I remember about my E46. Hope you can get it working.
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