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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 Thu, Jul-08-2010, 05:21:36 AM   #1
cw
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Default Xenon bulb finally dies after 8.5 years...

Should they last this long? Or longer? Anyhow I'm in the market for a replacement set. I'm not sure what to replace it with. 35w or 55w? I've got bi-xenon, so is that any different?

Thanks!
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 06:54:30 PM   #2
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In theory the xenon bulbs should last longer than the life of the car. Does BMW sell replacements at all?
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 07:52:08 PM   #3
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did the bulb just go out? or did it explode?
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 08:04:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NikolaiD View Post
In theory the xenon bulbs should last longer than the life of the car. Does BMW sell replacements at all?
assuming they never get turned off.

The life estimates are based on continuous use. Constant off / on dramatically reduces the life of the bulb. That's why I never leave my light switch on "auto"
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 08:37:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mugenh22a4 View Post
assuming they never get turned off.

The life estimates are based on continuous use. Constant off / on dramatically reduces the life of the bulb. That's why I never leave my light switch on "auto"
That is a great point, I didn't think about that when I posted.

OP, how do you know it's the bulb? It is more common for ignitors to go bad than bulbs. And those are for sure replaceable.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 09:27:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cw View Post
Should they last this long? Or longer? Anyhow I'm in the market for a replacement set. I'm not sure what to replace it with. 35w or 55w? I've got bi-xenon, so is that any different?

Thanks!
Mine died after 5 years.

When you say 35w or 55w that makes me think you are talking about halogens. Those don't work with your housing/electronics. The 9006 fits the fog light however.

Replace it with a stock xennon pn: 07119904790. They are about $175 bucks from a dealer.

Wear nitrile gloves when you do it if you want it to last at all. These suckers have thin glass and they get really hot. The glass will crack if you have oil on it.

If you don't know what you are doing have the dealer diagnose your problem since your 175 dollar bulb isn't returnable if it turns out your ballast died and not the bulb.

You can switch them around to see if the other bulb works in the same housing. if it doesn't - it's your ballast. again... wear nitrile gloves.

good luck

Last edited by keca10; Thu, Jul-08-2010 at 09:42:13 PM.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 09:35:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugenh22a4 View Post
assuming they never get turned off.

The life estimates are based on continuous use. Constant off / on dramatically reduces the life of the bulb. That's why I never leave my light switch on "auto"
The bulbs still degrade over time quite a bit. Lifetime is sometimes defined as 70% or 50% original brightness - so the bulb can be considered dead even though it still lights up. Most of us wait until it catastrophically dies (different mechanism).

These Xennons continuously drop in luminance output over time.
My guess is that most of them reach 75% brightness in 1200 hours, and 50% in 2000 hours (which is not that bad).
There is probably a trade off of output vs lifetime. So some models might be designed to last longer than others.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 09:44:45 PM   #8
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I thought a couple of times my bulb went out on me too. It turned out to be my habit of backing out of the garage and turning on the headlights right at a slight bump. I think if there's an interruption while the auto level has a chance to adjust, for some reason the passenger headlight stays off. Only parking and shutting off and on the car, will it start working again. Happen to me like 3x already.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 10:03:31 PM   #9
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yeah mine flickered on bumps then died completely.
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Old Thu, Jul-08-2010, 10:35:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by NikolaiD View Post
That is a great point, I didn't think about that when I posted.

OP, how do you know it's the bulb? It is more common for ignitors to go bad than bulbs. And those are for sure replaceable.
Actually I don't know if its the bulb or ignitor. Would the ignitor cause a bulb out message on the dash as well?

Before it officially died, it was dimmer and dimmer, and would flicker when turned on. Right now it seems like that doesn't even happen.

How can I tell what died?
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Discussing Xenon bulb finally dies after 8.5 years... 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)