New, Used Head Lights - City Light DIY


  After much anticipation I'm finally getting rid of these Ebay headlights. Thanks to my buddy Jeremy, I now have a used set of stock headlights. They are in good shape, just needed a little polishing. 

  I'm using the ole Turtle Wax manual kit. Comes with the little sanding pads and some compound. It's ok. The box says clarity in minutes. If by minutes they mean 30 then, sure. The left side light was fairly oxidized so it took a good bit of sanding and polishing to get it looking decent. Maybe I'm just too picky.

  After a bit of polishing and a sore arm later, the lights are looking much better.

  I've had this conversation before about the halos vs no headlights. I went to a parts garage near me on Saturday. The gentleman who owns it showed me his Euro M3 lights he got from Italy. They had city lights in the high beam housing. I had no idea that was a thing on the Euro lights. They looked beautiful. That's what got my gears turning.

  I took a look when I got home to see if there were any good DIY's out there for city lights in stock housings. I stumbled across this post: City Lights with Pics. I felt confident I could manage to make something similar work.

  After work on Monday I stopped by my favorite auto parts store. Three isles in, left, almost to the end of the isle, knee level. They had 3 different variations of lamp pigtails that accepted a 194 bulb. I went with the 90 degree ones due to the space constraints near the high beams on Helena. So here's what I did to mount them.

  Tools of the trade:

  • 5/8 spade bit
  • Small drill
  • File
  • Marker
  • Some rotary tool
  • Measuring device
  • Power Drill
  • x2 85868 Dorman License and Sidemarker Socket

  I first used the small drill to make a hole roughly 25mm below the ridge on the outer ring of the high beam mount to the center of the opening I was making.

  Then, I used the spade bit at a high speed to make the 5/8 hole. The spade bit didn't care for the plastic it got stuck once it got close to popping through. I stopped short and used the rotary tool to finish the job. Its easy to do since the spade bit leaves a good spherical template to follow.

 Once you have the hole we need to make the four square openings for the pigtail lock twists. I used the rotary tool to rough them in then, I finished it off with the file to clean the edges nicely.

  Then we just need to twist our pigtail in. These Dorman ones were fairly flexible and sealed the opening well. Just be careful not to over do the opening. Erring on the side of being a little too small is better than too big in this case.

  Now I need to swap the lights and wire these up. Since the eBay specials on there have the Halos wired into the turn signals already this will hopefully not be too bad an install. More to come on that note.


These Ebay Headlights gotta go!

The headlights that came with this 328i when I bought it are, eBay specials. The manufacture on the lights is a company called: SunYan. Helena needs an eye transplant.

  • They are not DOT approved at all.
  • The low beams are in protectors but, they are terrible. The fog lights are brighter than they are. 
  • The plastic is faded and sun beat. Not really to any fault of the manufacturer, they just aren't glass.
  • The front of the lights are starting to separate from the back of the lights on one of them. 
  • The fitment is not good. Especially around the corner light area.
  • The wiring adapters are pretty cheap and look rather flimsy.
  • The High Beams are bright. Non Projection helps with this I believe.
  • They were probably super cost effective.
  • They did come with wiring adapters. Thank God for this. No hacked wiring.
  • They have H1 high and low beam bulbs.
  • They have dual fluorescent halo rings, if you are into that kinda thing.
They honestly don't look that bad but, I'd like to get these off the car before they catch fire. I'm trying to cut costs and fix what really needs attention but, these lights are eating at me.

  There are several light options available for this car. The go to are Depo ZKW style headlights. These are replicas of the ZKW Euro M3 lights. They have a clear front housing and projectors in the low beams. Depo offers halos with these as well. They are glass front.

  The other option are actual ZKW Bosch Headlights. These have no halos but, do have city lights. The also have a low beam projector and glass fronts. More robust and sturdy than any of the copies.

  One of the members of the car club I'm apart of said to look into DDM Tuning. So, I did. The lights are DJ Auto style? and  are glass front. Look very similar to the Depos. They offer HID kits packaged with the headlights, halos (if that's your thing), and Lamin-X films.

  Straight from their site:

  • Direct replacement headlight with HIDs, optional Angel Eyes and clear Lamin-X protector
  • High quality headlight housing, glass lens and wiring
  • Plug-and-play adapters allow for a direct and easy installation
  • Includes halogen bulbs for the high beam function at no charge
  • Comes in the pair
  Pretty cool stuff. I did some looking on Yelp to see if the garage had any reviews. They are in fact on there. The reviews, at the time of this write up, were a mixture of good and bad. 63 people rating them a 2.5 star. It seems mostly because of the customer service is poor. :/ Not so good in a tough market already. So before going that route I'd like to see if I can find some locally.

     My buddy Jeremy let me know just this morning that there are two sets locally. I'm going to look in to that first.

    The tabs were indeed broken. The two on top where the head lights mount and the one had missing plastic where the track for the corner light slides in. Jeremy recommended I steer away from these as his had the same problem. He was quite unsatisfied with his.

  He then, reminded me of the stock headlights that he himself removed from his car. All he needed to do was get them from where they were stored, and I could have them. Like free? Yeah. Sweet! So...What are you waiting for? Go get them man!