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wezzer-45's

Original Poster:

187 posts

90 months

[news] 
Monday 16th March 2009 quote quote all
Hi Guys,

I've recently bought myself an e39 528i sport which I'm really enjoying.
I have an issue of condensation in the o/s headlamp.
Apparently this is quite a common issue on the e39's. Has anyone got a fix for this issue after drying them out with a hair dryer?
The car is a 2000 model and so doesn't have the angel eye lamps. Does the lense come off and seals changed or are they sealed units.

Any help or avice would be appreciated.

SJobson

8,861 posts

151 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th March 2009 quote quote all
My non-angel eye 540i has condensation in the nearside headlamp. It's had it since last year; at first I tried drying it with my wife's hairdryer but after about 45 mins she started shouting at me and it hadn't properly worked anyway.

Since it's an MOT failure (I believe), I took the whole headlight apart in Feb just before my MOT was due. There was quite a bit of water inside the bottom of the unit, which I tipped out, then I dried the inside as fully as I could with kitchen towels - cut them into a point to dry the bit in front of the indicator lens.

It stayed dry long enough to pass the MOT, but it has filled up again now. I think it's the main rubber seal round the plastic which must be slightly damaged, though it doesn't look it. There's no point just covering every joint with silicone sealant because I hear that doesn't solve it either.

By the way, the units aren't totally sealed - there are a couple of holes at the back with rubber L-shaped tubes attached, open to the air. I did remove the accumulated crud from those, but made sure I put the gauze back in each. Obviously that wasn't the problem though.

volvos60s60

301 posts

101 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th March 2009 quote quote all
Very common problem. Ther outer lens is plastic, so with a nail heated in a gas flame I made some drain holes at the bottom & vent holes at the top of the lens. There is still a minor condensation problem in certain weather but at least my headlight no longer resembles a fish tank!!

SJobson

8,861 posts

151 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th March 2009 quote quote all
Rather than making holes in your headlight, at least try taking the top cap off for a bit first!

sparks_E39

8,448 posts

100 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th March 2009 quote quote all
I took my cap off for a bit, put it back on drove around for the next couple of weeks with my lights always on and it went away, then I bought some Hella angel eyes biggrin
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E38

680 posts

100 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th March 2009 quote quote all
The condensation is only there when you are not driving it! A few mins after start-up the heat dissipation clears it up.

SJobson

8,861 posts

151 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th March 2009 quote quote all
E38 said:
The condensation is only there when you are not driving it! A few mins after start-up the heat dissipation clears it up.
You've not seen my headlamp unit - there's actual water collecting in the bottom of it. That doesn't just evaporate after half an hour with headlights on.

dan101smith

14,564 posts

98 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th March 2009 quote quote all
Someone raised this with BMW, who replied that it is within tolerance and part of the design.

Ok then...

TheEnd

14,372 posts

75 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th March 2009 quote quote all
For an e36 (which also has the same problem) leaving the access caps off the back of the unit solves condensation, but actual water inside is a leaking seal somewhere

wezzer-45's

Original Poster:

187 posts

90 months

[news] 
Saturday 21st March 2009 quote quote all
I tried the hair dryer technique and it seemed to clear the fogging but left the droplets there.
The next morning it was worse than ever, the lamp was completely covered and looked terrible.

Today I removed the lamp which was very easy to do, and stripped it down to access the lense. I popped out the lamp glasses and properly dried out the lamp.
I don't know if it will help but I also applied rainex to the inside of the lense.

The job only took 25 mins in total and I think the origional cause was the indicator bulb holder wasn't clipped in properly.
Fingers crossed it is now sorted.

welwynnick

107 posts

79 months

[news] 
Tuesday 24th March 2009 quote quote all
I had this problem with mine. After getting fed up with using a hair dryer for the umpteenth time, what I did in the end was dismantle the headlamp. I removed the rubber seal, cleaned it up and greased it, then refitted it back to front, so the weathered and perished surface was now inside the seal channel. That worked fine.

Nick

SJobson

8,861 posts

151 months

[news] 
Tuesday 24th March 2009 quote quote all
Cheers Nick, I shall try that because I haven't got round to getting a new seal.

I've left the top cap off mine for a couple of weeks and in the fine weather last week the condensation mostly went away - the only remaining bit is in front of the indicator lens where there's little air circulation.
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