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R56 Retrofit OEM Bi-Xenon

  #1  
Old 05-03-2009, 05:35 AM
wonton-y
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R56 Retrofit OEM Bi-Xenon

My apologies if this has been asked before, but I cannot find an answers in any of the threads.

Has anyone completed a retrofit on a r56 from halogen to the bi-xenon from OEM parts? If so, how hard is the installation and the parts required? Thanks in advance.
 
  #2  
Old 05-03-2009, 01:12 PM
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This thread should help get you started but there are many others.
 
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:37 PM
wonton-y
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Thanks Nim. I will search a little more. Does anyone know if this installation is a plug and play once all the components are in place?

Thank you
 
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:55 PM
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I can tell you that after doing some extensive reading on this topic, both here and other forums, I have not read anywhere of anyone successfully completing the mod.

Couple issues; Cost. While you can get the lights on ebay etc, you will put a lot of time and effort to getting the necessary parts, assuming they work. Otherwise you can order from real OEM, and you are looking at north of 1300 for parts.

Second issue is functionality. This is where it gets tricky. I read on one of these threads someone did swap them out plug and play, and they would not power on, nevermind balance. Dealer could attempt to flash the ECU, best efforts. Does not appear he ever had them attempt.

My advice, save the money, since it does not appear it will work. Until someone can successfully confirm it done, I would not even attempt.
 
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by ImCBParker View Post
My advice, save the money, since it does not appear it will work. Until someone can successfully confirm it done, I would not even attempt.
With that attitude, nothing would ever happen.
 
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by joshK View Post
With that attitude, nothing would ever happen.
It is not an attitude, it is a realistic approach to modding. Others have tried, and still no one has been successful. I am confident it could be done, but at what cost? There are a number of things one could do for the money.
 
  #7  
Old 05-16-2009, 11:34 AM
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It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

Anyone know of anybody who's just had the dealer do the retrofit?
 
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:17 PM
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So after some research there is a vendor who sells the bi-xenon housings for $446/side. Auto-leveling aside, you can pick up ballast and bulbs for about $100 these days, in many cases, less than this. Does anyone know about the wiring involved to get this to work?
 
  #9  
Old 05-16-2010, 11:03 PM
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The computer will be expecting Halogen, not HID so if you get them in and wired up you may need a resistor kit to fake out the computer. 6 ohm 50 watt between the low and high beam conductors and ground (4 resistors total) will do the trick. I have no bulbout warning in my conversion.

I ended up going the non-politically correct route and added HID to the stock halogen housing. If you have the bucks, definitely go with the projector housing. The near field will be lit better, inside the pattern will be more evenly lit and the cutoff is a little better. If you can get the auto level function to work, the light is aimed level, so as you crest a hill it automatically points downward to a degree. It is motorized as opposed to a gravity system so it doesn't always do what you think it would. Also if you can hook up the washer function that is a big plus too because they don't work at all when fogged up.

However, if you can't get the leveler working, or the washer, check out my gallery to see if it is still worth it from your standpoint. I have 2 Mini's, one has factory projector HID (R53), the other has an HID conversion in a halogen housing (R56). The R56 halogen housing does a decent job with cutoff. It does not have that diffuser like the R53 halogen housing, so there is a bit less scatter. The cutoff is relatively clean, especially where it counts.

For comparison check out the pic of the R53 projector cutoff in my gallery. It's no secret Mini projectors are not the greatest and you will find many threads of how to retrofit using a Honda TSX projector or S2000 because of the superior cutoff. The R56 projectors have a fuzzy, prismatic free cutoff (much like a halogen housing). Granted, the halogen housing has hot-spots (see the garage pic) but they are large and blend out on the road (see the on road pic). Check out the R53 projector hot-spots and ghosted cutoff, not much color at the cutoff either. And contrary to the info in this thread, at least in my application that uses 55w ballasts, not only are they several times brighter than stock or any fancy halogen bulb you can find, they are brighter than the projectors too. They do not auto-level so you have to aim them down at a slight angle. Installed 6 months ago, I live in a hilly area and I have never been flashed. The photos in my gallery are all taken with the same camera, same settings, no retouching. Also I tried at least 5 different retro fit kits in my car (trying to solve the bulbout problem) and all had the same pattern ( so unless 2nd generation mini housing tolerances are all over the place you will likely get similar results). I spent $132.00 total including the bulbout canceling resistors. Again the projector pattern is better, hands down. Someday I may retro fit using a projector housing but until then I will never double check to see if my headlights are on.
 

Last edited by smoke05S; 05-18-2010 at 10:32 PM.
  #10  
Old 08-14-2010, 11:20 AM
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Bringing this back from the dead, a friend of mine and I are willing to try. We test fitted a bi-xenon housing to my halogen car and thats probably the easiest part in this. Right now, I'm working on sourcing a factory pair of ballasts to mount to the housing as its cleaner will connect perfectly to the existing connections. I priced out the washer covers at $4/side and will see if they can be "glued" to the catches on the housing. It seems so far that fitment is not an issue. Even the connector used in Halogen is the same.

I've asked 2 dealers about doing the electrical portion of this but always get the same, standard, half-*** answer... "its too expensive and not worth it". No one seems wiling to tell me whats exactly involved in reprogramming the CAN bus to make the car a bi-xenon car. I do have access to a Bavarian Technic tool that will interface with the car and maybe its just a toggle within there that may do the trick, provided the halogen harness sends the same signals to the headlight and just needs to be programmed to do so.

I will keep this thread updated with my progress.
 
  #11  
Old 08-16-2010, 08:33 AM
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Okay check this part that RealOEM lists as a BiXeon retrofit.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...97&hg=63&fg=95

This part may have instructions a dealer can print for you that may include the programming.

If you want to do the programming yourself, the J2534 tool (look for the thread in the service forum), that should allow you to make the retrofit in the computer.

Look at this section
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...68&hg=63&fg=05

to get the part numbers you need, and I found parts.com has the cheapest prices for BMW parts. Good luck! I can't wait to hear your progress! I love factory retrofits projects, and I love my HID lights so I think this is a worthwhile endeavor.
 
  #12  
Old 08-19-2010, 02:59 PM
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OK so an update...
I'm kind of at a point where I'm not sure I should go through with it now from my recent findings. The pics will illustrate my point...



As you can see, this shows how many wires go into this harness. This is from a car with bi-xenons from the factory with the headlight washers.



This pic is from my car, same style connector, but only 4 wires.

Now I'm at the point where maybe I only need these 2 pair of wires. I am not retrofitting headlamp washers (just mounting covers) nor am I installing the leveling feature.

If only I had a wiring diagram for both cars.
 
  #13  
Old 08-19-2010, 03:08 PM
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Here are the diagrams.

You can use the WDS (wiring diagrams). Just go to the address shown. Make sure you install the Adobe SVG plugin and use IE 32-bit.

F-ing forum shrunk them down.
 
Attached Thumbnails R56 Retrofit OEM Bi-Xenon-halogen.jpg   R56 Retrofit OEM Bi-Xenon-xenon.jpg  
  #14  
Old 08-26-2010, 09:14 PM
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Anyone have any luck yet? I just traded in the Smoke05s for a 2010 JCW clubman, off the showroom floor and again with those darn halogens.
 
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:30 PM
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You can swap all the hardware but unless you have the harnesses that include connections for the auto leveling sensors that attach to the suspension and have it successfully programmed by the dealer(which most claim can't be done but really are afraid to take the risk)your wasting your money. Go with an aftermarket HID kit and save yourself the headache.
 
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:30 AM
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I do not believe we need the leveling sensors, unless power to the ballast is being fed within that circuit. I was planning to manually aim mine anyway.

My plan now (although I have been busy with work) is I plan to map out the existing Halogen pin-outs wires on my harness and if necessary, re-arrange them to feed the necessary pin-outs on the Xenon diagram. I have a test bi-xenon headlamp, just waiting on OE ballasts/bulbs for the test and some free-time to try. If this test fails, then its time to bribe a dealer tech to re-program my car.
 
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:04 AM
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If only someone could at least match the dealer price of $500.00. I cant believe with $100.00 HID set ups on ebay it is tough to find the parts which lets face it are simple production headlights for under a grand. there is another thread on this issue with a custom house in New York that is doing the work. He has a quick turnaround, can also perform the Joey mod at no extra charge. He has the best price I have seen but it is still more than the dealer xenon option. Also I am still skeptical because the lights appear to be aimed toward the sky with a worse near field than stock. Hopefully there is still enough adjustment to fix it.

UPDATE: There is another thread who got his lights aimed properly from that New York shop. His setup looks fantastic, much better than stock Mini Projectors. First class service too. It looks like you can forget about leveling and washers though. But to be honest when I had my R53 I saw the washers come on 1 time in 5 years of So Cal ownership and the levelers seem really clunky. I think we can live without this stuff.
 

Last edited by smoke05S; 10-30-2010 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by fmalgapo View Post
I do not believe we need the leveling sensors, unless power to the ballast is being fed within that circuit. I was planning to manually aim mine anyway.

My plan now (although I have been busy with work) is I plan to map out the existing Halogen pin-outs wires on my harness and if necessary, re-arrange them to feed the necessary pin-outs on the Xenon diagram. I have a test bi-xenon headlamp, just waiting on OE ballasts/bulbs for the test and some free-time to try. If this test fails, then its time to bribe a dealer tech to re-program my car.
Did you ever get this to work? Had I not bought mine off the lot I would have gotten xenons, and after driving at night the halogen's are pretty poor. I'd love to do this retrofit.
 
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:13 AM
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You will definately want to reprogram the FRM module to Xenon and Bixenon, I am pretty sure the dealer can do it with ISTA/P via a retrofit path. It can be done in NCS Expert as well. There are a lot of changes to that module and the way the lights behave (for example they stay on during engine crank).
 
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:44 AM
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Swapping out halogen for xenon at dealer

So, I'm super excited... I'm jumping into the the MINI pool! One question... the dealer has the almost perfect 2011 MINI Cooper S coming next week. It has everything except the black housing/xenons; however, the test drive Cooper S has them. My question, can the dealer swap the two housings? I know that some have struggled to do this mod themselves, but have been able to pull it off.

I would love to hear what you guys think.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:15 PM
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I have an 03s with xenons but my pass. side shield was busted by an on coming semi truck that had a blowout. Instead of buying a $600 headlight is it possible to buy ebay halogen headlights and retrofit my xenon ballast and lights to them?

Is there a "how to" on this?
 
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:57 AM
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Bringing this back from the dead again ... Does anyone know the auto-leveling electronic interface? Is it a serial bus (can,i2c,spi, etc) or something like a pulse-width modulated signal / servo? I would like to retrofit my R56 but do not want to modify the ECU at all. I am wondering if it is possible to hook up the projectors to an accelerometer and use that instead of suspension sensors for leveling. Thank you in advance.
 
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:13 PM
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I have successfully completed this MOD.
 
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bullit 2496 View Post
I have successfully completed this MOD.
Can you give some more details, on your steps and wiring? I would like to do this on a 2011 R56. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-21-2011, 04:54 PM
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You need to purchase a set of OEM Bi-Xenons including the control modules. Then you buy the retrofit kit from realoem.com. It will include two suspension position sensors, a wiring harness, and the headlight washing system parts. You mount the sensors on the control arms with self tapping screws into existing holes and run the wiring harness to them, then to the headlights, the windshield washer pump, and into the cabin. in the footwells. You also mount a new washer tank w/ a second pump for the headlights.


It's not the trickiest thing in the world. The most time consuming part is removing the individual wires on the pinouts in the footwell module to reassign them to the new wires you added to the headlight plugs.

You'll need some tiny screwdrivers to release the pins in the connectors. The retrofit kit comes with pretty thorough instructions, or I could email you a copy of the PDF version I got...

The only headache I'm having now is getting the retrofit programming done to the ECUs...

-Doug
 

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