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Another headlight Rant


A-Red Bill

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I smugly read previous posts complaining about difficulties replacing the low beam H7 lamp. It did not appear that much more difficult than replacing the lamp on the oilhead which I have done many times.

 

Sincere apologies for those thoughts.

 

This is a sadistically flawed piece of engineering. This is component that you need to be prepared to replace out on the road and will not happen without a good bit of luck.

 

The difficulty is access and seeing what you are doing. I finally resorted to removal of the horn and some Tupperware including the left side glove box. I have seen worse. Replacing the taillight bulbs on a 1966 Cadillac required removal of the rear bumper assembly. But BMW should be able to better than GM and certainly needs to do better than this arrangement.

 

My lowbeam lasted 15,000 miles. In the future it will be an item replaced at the 12,000 mile service.

UGG.

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Is there any more reliable option, either HID or LED? My thinking is that when mine blows it would better to replace the halogen with something more long lasting (and whiter).

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I was contemplating a HID, but the space between the back of the light cover and the nose frame looks too small. LED would be worse, due to the length added by the cooling fan.

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You are right but I can only say that I wish it was the only design flaw on a BMW!

 

You're wrong, of course. There are no design flaws with BMW Motorrad, only operator errors and a lack of understanding of how the thing works.

 

Now, please refrain from posting until such time as you have consumed enough of this

8005371703_7b21e200c0_o.jpg

to improve your standing in the community.

 

Please excuse me now; I'm going to go and try and put air in the rear tire.

 

Tom

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Remember those components are designed for ease of assembly, not maintenance. ;)

 

A concept which would have Bill Lear firing engineers right and left...

 

Tom

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The spring clip method for securing halogen bulbs in headlight units dates back to the 1970s and is found in almost all German vehicles since then. Some other German vehicles also mount the headlight unit so close to other components that extra effort and maybe component removal is required to change a bulb. Those of us with long-time familiarity with German vehicles aren't particularly taken aback or stymied by the BMW motorcycle situation in this regard.

 

The BMW E39 (late '90s-early 2000s 5-series) had bayonet sockets that held H7 bulbs that removed/installed from the headlight units with a quarter turn. A very rare exception but one that would be appreciated by BMW bike owners in many instances.

 

One thing to always note: German vehicles are NOT designed for ease of DIY maintenance but rather the expectation is maintenance will be always be performed by professionals. This is NOT a design flaw but rather just a philosophy and clearly one not particularly appreciated by those of us living in the Model T culture that is the USA automotive culture.

 

In reality the biggest complaint we have is with USA regulations requiring our headlights to be always on. BMW was between a rock and hard place with the 2005-2013 RTs as new lighting regulations in Europe were pending at the time. The solution was two low beam bulbs.

 

For the Wethead RTs, it's a return to a single low-beam headlight with the angel eyes serving the DRL function for Europe and with the return of the headlight on/off switch. Unfortunately the angel eyes don't meet the letter of the USA regulation and we're left with a bit of a safety problem since the probability of a burned out low beam headlight is increased.

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Here in good ol Auss, Angel Eyes fulfill the daylight requirements as per regulations.

I have now seen enough Wethead RT's come towards me with Headlight On and OFF.

Adding the Low Beam at daytime does really nothing to increase visibility.

So my personal opinion is that BMW has got it right with the

Angel Eyes as daylight running lights.

Now turning on and adding my BMW Auxiliary LED lights make me "really" stand out. Far more then the low beam does.

 

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I do not find the RT to be difficult to do maintenance on; quite the contrary, it is a simple machine.

 

Nothing in the way of routine maintenance is beyond the ken of a decent home mechanic. The valve train is the most beautiful design I've seen for ease of adjustment. I'd rather adjust the valves on my RT than on my KLR. Changing lubricants is easy, at least on the later ones with a final drive drain. Throttle body synching is simple; in fact it's all but not required. In short, there's nothing in the way of routine mechanical maintenance to the engine and drive train that really requires professional help.

 

The design 'flaws' are where BMW has made the design such that it is difficult to do routine things that need to be done immediately (add air to the rear tire, change a burned out light bulb). Neither should require a trip to the dealership to be done by a professional, rather they should be easily done by the owner when and where required.

 

Changing the light bulb is not hard once you figure out the contortionist position required. If you ever changed a wire clip bulb your head can guide your fingers without the benefit of sight. It's still far harder than it needs to be.

 

BMW knows how to set up a wheel so that adding air to a tire is easy. They did it brilliantly at the front. At the back they offset the valve in the arch just enough to make it difficult. Not impossible, but annoying. One is well advised to carry a 90 degree adapter in case the source of air is a straight chuck (most common) rather than the 45 degree chuck that almost works.

 

There are other things that are niggling and stupid, but I don't think I'd make much of an impression by elaborating. I won't even get into the deliberately obtuse designs and poor implementation of common technologies.

 

Tom

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I might hold the world record for time to change the low beam lamp.....I mean the longest, not the shortest. It took me about 6.5 hours with a brief rest for hydration. It was the last 3.5 hours dedicated to being able to fasten the second spring clip and it had to have been due to the metal tang getting bent just enough to not accept the spring clip wire. I finally removed the left glove box and speaker. I also removed the poor excuse for a horn temporarily for better access. Arghhhhhh!!!!

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Guest Kakugo
Remember those components are designed for ease of assembly, not maintenance. ;)

 

A concept which would have Bill Lear firing engineers right and left...

 

Tom

 

I take you never had to change the valve cover gasket on a Prince (BMW/PSA) engine. The amount of parts that need to come off to perform that simple operation defies belief. :grin:

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What has the Prince engine got to do with Bill Lear?

 

He was 25 years dead by the time the Prince came into being. While he ventured into plenty of areas besides LearJet, I don't think he had anything to do with even the genesis of the Prince.

 

Bill Lear was reputed to have insisted that his engineers go work on the stuff they designed (purportedly after having spent plenty of time in the office so their hands were nice and tender) so that they could have a good understanding of how to design stuff such that it could be put together in the factory and serviced in the field.

 

The whole concept of "designed for ease of assembly, not maintenance" would have been antithetical to him and, indeed, is a repugnant idea to any decent engineer.

 

Tom

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Guest Kakugo
What has the Prince engine got to do with Bill Lear?

 

He was 25 years dead by the time the Prince came into being. While he ventured into plenty of areas besides LearJet, I don't think he had anything to do with even the genesis of the Prince.

 

Bill Lear was reputed to have insisted that his engineers go work on the stuff they designed (purportedly after having spent plenty of time in the office so their hands were nice and tender) so that they could have a good understanding of how to design stuff such that it could be put together in the factory and serviced in the field.

 

The whole concept of "designed for ease of assembly, not maintenance" would have been antithetical to him and, indeed, is a repugnant idea to any decent engineer.

 

Tom

 

If he would fire engineers left and right for the RT headlight, imagine what he would do because of that engine (which is an oil guzzler to boot). :grin:

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They do have a reputation for using a lot of oil.

 

Tom

 

Since this is in the Wethead section I'll assume you are saying they ( wetheads ) have a reputation for using a lot of oil?

 

Speaking for myself, as that is the only one I have facts for, the wethead is using a LOT less oil than my Oilhead. In fact I have not added oil between oil changes as the amount of change in the oil window has hardly moved in this past 5000+ miles.

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If he would fire engineers left and right for the RT headlight, imagine what he would do because of that engine (which is an oil guzzler to boot). :grin:

 

Which engine is an oil guzzler???

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YES ON AN 2014 RT, BUT NOT WITHOUT A "BMW SURPRISE". WHAT I DICOVERED WAS THAT WHEN THE HIGH BEAM GO'S ON, EITHER FLASH, OR STAY ON THAT THE VOLTAGE TO THE LOW BEAM DROPS FROM 14V TO 6V, CAUSING THE HID TO FLICKER WHICH IF LEFT ON FOR LONG WILL DISTROY THE HID SYSTEM. THE FIX WAS USING A FUSE PANEL WITH A DIRECT POWER FROM THE BATTERY, AND USING THE LOW BEAM BULB CONNECTOR AS THE TRIGGER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YES

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Bill Lear was reputed to have insisted that his engineers go work on the stuff they designed (purportedly after having spent plenty of time in the office so their hands were nice and tender) so that they could have a good understanding of how to design stuff such that it could be put together in the factory and serviced in the field.

 

The whole concept of "designed for ease of assembly, not maintenance" would have been antithetical to him and, indeed, is a repugnant idea to any decent engineer.

 

Tom

+1! I have long wanted to string up design engineers for making what should be simple tasks nearly impossible without a multitude of special tools and the ability to make yourself tiny in order to fit into certain places.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Aw yes the thrill of changing the low beam on an RT all I can say is those Germans have a weird sense of humor or is it revenge. Anyway just had to replace the low beam on my 14RTLC after 22,769 miles took about 15 minutes but only because I had lots of practice on my 04RT in the four and a half years and 90,000 miles I owned it . I feel for the unfortunate person who has never changed one ,don't expect the owners manual to help because it doesn't !!! One last note it helps to remove the left side speaker cover which affords you more room to work.

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Aw yes the thrill of changing the low beam on an RT all I can say is those Germans have a weird sense of humor or is it revenge.

No, we don't have a weird sense of humor. But we do have Schadenfreude.

Yes, in our factory we employ little petite girls with slender fingers who install the light bulbs in 2 minutes flat.

Yes, I can imagine you guys with your sausage fingers trying to change them and have to laugh.

I assume that my fellow country men feel the same :-)

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No, we don't have a sense of humor.

 

Fixed it for you.

 

Do you know why there are no German jokes?

 

There is absolutely nothing funny about Germans. If you think there is, I have a form for you to fill out and I will report it.

 

I say that as a person of very pure German heritage. Well, the family does come from Utscheid in eastern Germany, perilously close to Alsace-Lorraine, but still...

 

Tom

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Well there is your problem. We always new that your region had no sense of humor.

Now if you would be coming from the Aachen area, you would have plenty to laugh about.

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  • 1 month later...

All,

 

Just an update on the headlight rant thread.

 

It's getting much easier to do now. Just five "steps" and it's a done deal.

 

Sit at left front of bike facing aft. Left arm on the ground.

 

1. Using your strong side hand, reach straight up and remove cover.

 

2. Pull straight back on electrical connector to remove.

 

3. Using index finger (Band-Aid optional) pull (or push depending on how you see things) and spread left side spring.

 

4. Using same finger, pull and spread right side spring.

 

5. Remove bulb.

 

Rinse and repeat in reverse order to complete job.

 

I've got it down to 10 minutes now and will go for the 5 minute record on the next attempt!!

 

This bulb (Osram H-7 Heavy Duty Offroad only under penalty of death) lasted almost exactly 11,000 miles.

 

Installed at 21,500. Burned out/replaced at 32,500 miles. Of course I was at Biketoberfest in Daytona, on the road and "slightly" off center, so to speak.

 

So far the H-7 low beam has failed at 7700, 21,500 and 32,500 miles. Your mileage may vary. :)

 

AD

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  • 2 weeks later...

Question along these same lines...I had the BWM dealer install Phillips Crystal Vision bulbs in May in my 2004 R1150RT -- both Hi and Lo Beam.

 

They both failed last week at the same time. Fogs still work so I don't think it's a fuse issue.

 

I suspect the ham-handed tech installed them with his bare hands but would appreciate any advice

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Afternoon Bob

 

Your post is for a 2004 oilhead so really belongs in the oilhead forum.

 

In the mean time see if your flash-to-pass works. If it does then your high beam bulb is OK & you have other circuit issues.

 

No headlight fuse but there are things in the headlight circuit that can fail.

 

The fog lights operating tell us nothing as they work on a different circuit.

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In my previous 07 and 2012 RT I used DDM's HID ballast/bulb system (35w, 6000, H7) with wonderful results. Much better lighting, $35/ pair, although it took some work to install.

 

My 2014 RTW will NOT accept the standard DDM HID ballast/bulb. Yesterday I checked and they say use their CANBUS system

 

http://ddmtuning.com/Products/UltraCanbusMoto

 

Has anyone tried this?

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