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  #1  
Old 04-25-2008, 10:07 AM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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OEM v. Aftermarket ballast

Well, it's finally really driving me nuts. After a cold winter of surprisingly working well, my passenger side ballast for my HID's is acting up again. My question: Do I drive 20 minutes down the road to my Beemer dealer and pay $440 ( ) for the OE ballast which I'm sure is better quality and I know is in stock or pay maybe 100-150 for one online from one of the various Xenon kit makers. I've been looking at the aftermarket suppliers and some of them seem shady. I'd like to buy OE because I know it plugs right in with no wiring required (right?) while the internet brands all seem like they require wiring. Any opinions? Also, anyone replaced one of these? If so, it take long, right?
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:44 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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Anyone care to add $.02?
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:47 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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Bumping in hopes of a response...
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:03 PM
chpsk8 chpsk8 is offline
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Tough call. What does PelicanParts charge for the ballast? Part of me says yeah go ahead and cut the harness and splice in the new non-oem, but my common sense says just suck it up and pay the coin knowing the product will probably be much better.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:11 PM
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The control unit is still $402, even from Pelican.

Looking at the parts diagram on realoem, the control unit looks like it comes in a similar package as the ECU - it's just a box that plugs into a receptacle in the car, rather than being a box with wires coming out of it.

As such, you'd pretty much have to cut the factory wiring harness and bypass the receptacle entirely, and I wouldn't know which factory wires to connect to which wires on the aftermarket ballast.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:13 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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What does PelicanParts charge for the ballast?
$402, the dealer wants $389 and is 20mins. down the road. My car is my one form of transportation so there is a damn near 99% chance there won't be any cutting and splicing.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:19 PM
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Another thought is that if you can figure out which wires are which on the factory harness, you could use your bad control unit as an "adapter" between the car's wiring and an aftermarket ballast. That way, you wouldn't have to cut or splice anything in the car.

Take the old ballast, crack it open and gut out the insides so that you're just left with an empty box and the plug that connects it to the car. Then you connect the wires from the aftermarket ballast to the plug wiring inside your old control module, and plug the old module back into the car.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:28 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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Well, I hate anything electrical. Always have, always will. I will more than likely just end up going to the dealer and biting the bullet on this. That, and going online and buying 2 new 5000k bulbs and having them all put in at once. Just a quick question, the side only does it occasionally. Cold, wet, and damp seems to be the most common scenario. I'll click them on and off anywhere from 2-20 times trying to get it to go. Other times, it fires right up. I know the bulb is good because eventually, it lights and I swapped bulbs thinking it was the bulb. It stayed on the same side. Is there anything else it could be?
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:48 PM
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Looking at realoem, it appears that the control unit is the same for both sides. You might try swapping the control units and seeing if the problem stays on the same side of the car or if it follows the control unit.
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:03 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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Originally Posted by ScottRiqui View Post
Looking at realoem, it appears that the control unit is the same for both sides. You might try swapping the control units and seeing if the problem stays on the same side of the car or if it follows the control unit.
True. And thanks for the help, Scott.This thread sat for 4 days in the Problems/Issues thread and no responses. I had it moved here and have had 4 responses in a few hours.
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:15 PM
K5Cruiser K5Cruiser is offline
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What about parts from a salvage yard? Would that be appropriate for what you want to replace? Here in SoCal there's Mini World in Sun Valley, there number is 818-768-4800. You can also go to www.alpineautoparts.com. Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:24 PM
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You're welcome - I don't know why I didn't see the thread when you first posted it.

You're in kind of a sticky situation here. You can either hand the car to the dealer and say "fix it", and let them do all the troubleshooting and find where the problem actually is, but you'll have to pay their labour rate.

On the other hand, you can buy the control unit yourself, but if that turns out not to be the problem, you're out $400 on a non-returnable part, and your lights still won't work properly.

I think swapping the control units is a good next step. That will also give you a chance to look at the control unit plug and the receptacle in the car's body to make sure the connections are clean and tight. If there's corrosion on the connections, it can cause the kind of intermittent problems you're seeing.

Heck, and if it's just a poor connection, you may find that simply swapping the parts from one side to the other will fix the problem entirely.
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:13 AM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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Well, I swapped them from side to side and will know what's up in about 11 hours whenI leave work. I already swapped bulbs from side-to-side a while ago and it stayed the same. If it moves now, I know it's the ballast. If it still stays the same, than . In a way, I hope it is the ballast so this can be done with.

Last edited by hemiheaded18; 05-01-2008 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:01 PM
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Sure enough, I turned them on at work and the passenger side is still doing it. That means $400 I get to save and probably pay someone to finally fix it. I was told it more than likely now is a bad ground or power lead.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:01 PM
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Well, it seems to work a little better than before but there is still a slight hesitation on the passenger side. Any tips where to check my hot and ground connections at?
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:11 PM
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No, the only thing I can think to suggest is to check the socket for the control unit and the pins on the control unit.

When you swapped bulbs from side to side, did you notice any corrosion in the bulb socket? Might be a good place to check.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:58 PM
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Are the ignitor and ballast separate units or are they built into each other? If the light struggles to turn on but does not flicker once it is on, then it could just be the ignitor.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by hemiheaded18 View Post
Anyone care to add $.02?
sure whats your paypal account? sorry i couldnt resist
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:25 AM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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Originally Posted by ScottRiqui View Post
No, the only thing I can think to suggest is to check the socket for the control unit and the pins on the control unit.

When you swapped bulbs from side to side, did you notice any corrosion in the bulb socket? Might be a good place to check.
I looked at the pins and didn't really see any corrosion. Granted the pins are super tiny and hard to see but still couldn't make anything out. What about some dielectric grease? Should I slather some in there to prevent any possible corrosion down the road? We've had some pretty crappy weather here in the Keystone state over the last few days so one the next decent, not windy day, I'll go take a look at the bulb connections.
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Are the ignitor and ballast separate units or are they built into each other? If the light struggles to turn on but does not flicker once it is on, then it could just be the ignitor.
??? Not sure. All I did wasswap the contollers from one side to another.
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sure whats your paypal account? sorry i couldnt resist
Nice, nice. Very well done. Never would have seen that one coming, actually.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:00 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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It was about 50 and drizzling when I left work. Anymore, I burn them the full 30-40 min drive to work hoping it will help at night. It either helps of swapping the ballast did something. They both fired simultaniously when I left work. So far, so good. Knocks on wood.
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  #21  
Old 05-05-2008, 03:38 PM
//MiniMonster// //MiniMonster// is offline
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xenon eyes.com... lifetime warranty and cheap.. i think 250? but thats for two..
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:08 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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xenon eyes.com... lifetime warranty and cheap.. i think 250? but thats for two..
Nice to know but it's not the ballast, as much as I would like it to be. Than it's a trip to Thompson and I'm done. Ithas to be something more internal somewhere.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:06 PM
CSIBMINI CSIBMINI is offline
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Any update on your situation? I am having the same problem. When I use my headlight washers, the passenger side xenon will not turn on. I swap the bulb and it works.

thanks,
Brad
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:14 PM
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one thing you should consider is the time to reach 100% brightness that alfermarket ballasts have. they need more time to do it, 2-4 seconds more than oem. so you will have to change both ballasts.
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:09 PM
hemiheaded18 hemiheaded18 is offline
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Any update on your situation? I am having the same problem. When I use my headlight washers, the passenger side xenon will not turn on. I swap the bulb and it works.

thanks,
Brad
It was cool and drizzly for part of the day and than it became quite nice and it acted up, sure enough. Stood there and clicked it probably 10 times before it came on. I'm going to have it looked at when I get it inspected. Maybe they could trace the wiring and find something that way. That, and I can tell the bulbs are very slightly off in color so I should spring for a new set online. Maybe 5000k this time...
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:09 PM
 
 
 
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