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How to Change the Headlight on a 2016 RT


BigTup

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I am having a hell of a time getting the back cover off to change a burned out headlight. I can reach it, but its smooth, and I can't grip it enough. It moves maybe 1/8" and that's it. The high beam in the center has ribs, and turns easily. I was actually thinking of glueing a couple of pieces of plastic on in order to get some grip. Has anyone solved this problem?

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So I started the bike up. Looking at the front the left is on, the right is out, and the center is out also. Turn on high beam, and both left and right go on, and the center is still out. My bike doesn't seem to align with your diagram as I'm not able to find the smaller #2 ribbed covers. I see what appears to be 2 of #3 smooth covers right behind the 2 left and right lights.

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Just now, BigTup said:

So I started the bike up. Looking at the front the left is on, the right is out, and the center is out also. Turn on high beam, and both left and right go on, and the center is still out. My bike doesn't seem to align with your diagram as I'm not able to find the smaller #2 ribbed covers. I see what appears to be 2 of #3 smooth covers right behind the 2 left and right lights.

When the low beam goes out one high beam comes on.   You just need to replace the low beam.  The instillation is your bike.  The low beam is in the center.  The bike has 2 high beams and 1 parking light. 

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The later(?) RT's will turn on one of the high beam lights when the low beam filament burns out. The outer two lights are your high beam. The Center is the low beam. It is the easiest to get to. MUCH easier to access it by being in FRONT of the bike and reaching up under the fairing with one hand. May need to remove the horn or bend the bracket to make this easy. Yes, you are doing this blind. But studying it will give enough of a pic in your head of what is needed. 

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I think it's easiest to come up from underneath.  Getting the cap off is the easy part.  Getting BOTH springs off is a challenge.  You'll probably end up with sore fingers trying to press inward and push the spring away from the bulb.

 

First time I did a regular halogen on mine, took 5 minutes.  Second time took me 15.  One side or the other just didn't want to hook, or un-hook.

 

Which  is why I went LED.

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+1 on the sore fingertips.  I almost gave up at one point after I had the dead bulb out.  I replaced with a Cyclops LED, which works great and is very bright.  The biggest challenge after getting the spring clips reattached was to jam the LED pigtail into the housing.  Persistence is the key to this DIY.

 

Alternatively, the service manual describes a procedure in which you remove most of the front bodywork to get to the headlight housing.  Several hours of work.  If my high beams ever fail, that will be the job.

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You won't have sore finger-tip if you use a short piece of wooden dowel, or something like it, with a notch cut into the end to catch the clip wire.  Makes changing the bulb quite a breeze.  I actually used a disposable chopstick that I had around.

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Has anyone with 2xl glove-sized hands changed out the low beam headlight?  Inquiring minds would like to know.....I'm hoping by the time mine goes out again LED lighting will be my fix.

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52 minutes ago, bimmer2 said:

...I'm hoping by the time mine goes out again LED lighting will be my fix.

 

LED lighting is already the fix. Many of us have it and are happy with both the light output, the accuracy of beam pattern and the lower power draw.

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  • 1 year later...

I changed out my OE low beam tonight. It went out at 10,250 mi. Looking at YouTube videos and reading threads gave me some advance insight on how to approach the job. It went pretty good, maybe 15 minutes or so to do the swap. Replaced it with this Osram Long Life PX26D H7, we’ll see how it lasts, burned out original bulb to the right in the pic.

A5E2B4E3-5FC3-4BF2-BAF7-3FDB33E78838.jpeg

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if you don't have a notched dowel, a thin shop glove helps avoid bruised finger tips.  You do loose some touch, but once you figured out how the bulb retainer system works a thin glove won't leave you completely braille blind

Amazon.com: Thin Work Gloves

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I have forgotten how to change the low beam bulb. Was pretty good for a while. 

Years ago I installed the LED bulb I have not touched it since! Even if I did have to replace it, the quality of lighting made it the only way I would go. 

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Bill_Walker

I like the technique I used: I was up in San Francisco visiting my daughter, and the bulb failed just as I started the bike to leave her place.  Not wanting to ride home to San Diego without a low beam, and having heard the bulb was notoriously difficult to change, I detoured by BMW Motorcycles of San Francisco to see if they could help me.  They said if I bought the bulb from them, they'd install it for free, right there and then!

 

It turned out that the guy doing the install must not have had the experience before.  They "had some trouble", and it took 45 minutes.  It probably would have taken me that long, too!  Besides, what do you want for nothin'?

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On 6/29/2021 at 7:15 PM, Bill_Walker said:

I like the technique I used: I was up in San Francisco visiting my daughter, and the bulb failed just as I started the bike to leave her place.  Not wanting to ride home to San Diego without a low beam, and having heard the bulb was notoriously difficult to change, I detoured by BMW Motorcycles of San Francisco to see if they could help me.  They said if I bought the bulb from them, they'd install it for free, right there and then!

 

It turned out that the guy doing the install must not have had the experience before.  They "had some trouble", and it took 45 minutes.  It probably would have taken me that long, too!  Besides, what do you want for nothin'?

On my 15 RT I was so bloody from trying I rode it to the dealer and it took the guy like 5 mins tops.  I paid 1/2 labor but the best 45 bucks I ever spent. 

 

Don't have the issue on my 17.5 GS and dont miss it.

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19 hours ago, Rougarou said:

Some of you all might need to start doing wrist and forearm yoga:18:

Nope, hands just too big. It was not a strength issue.

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  • 3 months later...

Had my first one go out on a road trip somewhere in Kansas last year. Tried to replace in a motel parking lot, but after 30 min of fiddling I said screw it, time to get a beer or 3.  Got it replaced when I got back home to IL. The spring clips are quite fiddly.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/8/2019 at 12:44 PM, strataj said:

When the low beam goes out one high beam comes on.   You just need to replace the low beam.  The instillation is your bike.  The low beam is in the center.  The bike has 2 high beams and 1 parking light. 

Yes!

Low Beam is center.

Try this, kneel in front of the bike so you are looking at the bulb.  Reach at it from below with your right hand, and with a grab and a downward thumb and unscrew with a jelly jar motion, then pull that cover off!

 

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  • 1 month later...

Damn, mine just went out today on my way to my childhood friend’s dad’s funeral. I take it the consensus is to go LED?  My wife has stepped up to the plate and offered her small hands to make the change. Heh heh 😏

 

Opinions on best brand and price?  

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The 2 HIGH beams on either side are relatively "easy" compared to center LOW beam.

Once you remove the 2 speakers, they can be reached while standing beside the bike.

 

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After managing to swap the low beam in my 2017 RT without removing the front bodywork, I was attempting the same job on a 2019 RT, and dropped the mounting ring into the front headlight bucket.  :cry:

 

So, I removed all the front bodywork on the 2019.  Using the factory service manual, it turned out that it is not a hard job, just somewhat tedious.  I think I spent 2-3 hours total.  Frankly, if I had to do it again, I would choose the longer, but easier, method.  There are a couple of side-benefits of the longer method.  First, cramming all the extra LED harness and resistor into the headlight bucket is much easier when you can see it and fiddle with it.  And second, having the high beams accessible prompted me to install a couple of cheap LED replacements that I bought on eBay: Cheap but Good LED High Beams.  Although these are direct replacements, they nevertheless require some delicate placement of their ground connections -- I would never have been able to get that done without having the headlight assembly on my bench.

 

Oh, and one more unexpected benefit: the new low beam is very bright (as expected) but the new high beams are AWESOMELY bright.  As in, you can melt the paint off a car driving too slowly in front of you.  Not that I would ever do that.  :classic_rolleyes:

 

Cap

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I would have to agree with you. After trying what I'll call the shortcut method, I would not suggest it to anyone. Removing the panels and headlight assembly is the way I'll go next time.

An added bonus for me would be retrieving the half pencil  that got lost in the headlight assembly. :4317:

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I don't know about the EBay versions, but my ADV's had the rings I had to install first.  What I did is I used some of the thin bubble wrap that came with the package.  I rolled it into a small cigar.  I then slipped the LED ring over the cigar.  That way I had something to hold onto, and something to hold the ring so I wouldn't drop it into the assembly.  The only issue is working the two wires past the cigar downward to get them locked it.  But just moved it slow and the wires went by.  Once the ring is locked in, pull out the cigar.

 

First time on the ADV's, took me close to an hour.  I thought I would have to observe polarity, found out I didn't.  Figured out the cigar method.  Then got them installed.  When the wife bought an RT 2 years later, it was a 20 minute job.  But I do have small hands, so yeah...

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On 12/8/2021 at 9:15 PM, MachineJoe said:

CIL-LED-H7 4.8 Platinum H7 LED Headlight Bulb

Cyclops H7   $65.00

https://www.cyclopsadventuresports.com/48-Platinum-H7-LED-Headlight-Bulb_p_86.html

It's very bright compared to the stock bulb

Hi MachineJoe, Just got one of these cyclops from Brad Boxflier.  Gonna get on my knees and do the cover twist out just as soon as I finish building my greenhouse. Oh, almost forgot about that dang Bosch two tone horn that I've upgraded from the FIAT horn, it just may get in the way and I might be going the long route and offing the panels after all.....Can't wait to stick in the Cyclops LED.  

Edited by EyeBike528
misspell
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Hello EyeBike,

 

While you're on your knees in front of your bike, say a prayer and apologize to your finger tips. :) 

I found that breaking a pencil to a short length and cutting a V notch will assist in repositioning the wire spring.

Just don't drop the pencil into the light assembly.

Are you building a hoop house with plastic sheet or a glass house?

 

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5 hours ago, EyeBike528 said:

 Oh, almost forgot about that dang Bosch two tone horn that I've upgraded from the FIAT horn ....

That's a good point.  I'm a major "while I'm at it" project-scope-expansion guy, yes, to a fault, but installing a air horn was on the list, and I might as well do both of these at the same time.   Heck, I want to add additional driving lights on brackets just off the mirrors, so add in that, too.  If something requires tearing down the bike (tupperwear, front end, etc.), make sure you don't have to do it again for a while.  

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I've swapped the OEM type incandescent bulbs to LED's in all my bikes and several others.  It seems the headlights are the hardest on all bikes.  The BMW spring clips are the most difficult, except for all the others.  Access is a problem, too.

 

This is the mount on my '99 RT.  You might try the "old indian trick" of sticking your cell phone up in there to take a few pics to get an idea of what you're dealing with, like this pic:

 

image.png.6c21a25d8666338c9841698b1f2400ab.png

 

To remove a bulb just squeeze the two spring-wire loops (2 o'clock position above) together.  They are "spring loaded" to push themselves out (and hold the bulb in when they are captured by the slots).

 

A huge help installing the LED bulb is to remove the black MOUNTING RING on the LED, install the ring in the headlight reflector (like the pic above), THEN install the LED bulb in the mounting ring.

 

image.png.91d762e35623920c2f97508805108011.png

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14 minutes ago, Lowndes said:

 

This is the mount on my '99 RT.  You might try the "old indian trick" of sticking your cell phone up in there to take a few pics to get an idea of what you're dealing with, like this pic:

 

 

 

To remove a bulb just squeeze the two spring-wire loops (2 o'clock position above) together.  They are "spring loaded" to push themselves out (and hold the bulb in when they are captured by the slots).

 

Morning__

 

For future readers, you definitely need to see what you are working with as on some of the later BMW's you don't just squeeze the loops together as they they not only move the other way ( apart to unhook)  but need to first  be moved towards the light assembly to allow the wires to unlatch. If the wire retainer ends are  not moved towards the light as they are moved apart they are not only impossible to unhook but the wire retainers can get bent using force in trying to unhook. 

 

 LgGUtgE.jpg

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In my option it's much easier to remove the headlight.  Yes it does take time but no hurt fingers and no profanity.  After changing a couple of halogen bulbs I had enough of that...   I changed to an LED  https://stores.advmonster.com/  but this time removed the headlight.  I did have the aid of a BMW repair DVD but I've seen instructions posted since. 

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5 hours ago, strataj said:

In my option it's much easier to remove the headlight.  Yes it does take time but no hurt fingers and no profanity.  After changing a couple of halogen bulbs I had enough of that...   I changed to an LED  https://stores.advmonster.com/  but this time removed the headlight.  I did have the aid of a BMW repair DVD but I've seen instructions posted since. 

Some guys just gotta ruin the fun for everyone else ....  🤣

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I installed the 3 bulb Cyclops kit in my 2018 yesterday. I was going to give it going through the speaker opening but once I tried the right side, I decided that there was no way I would be happy with the end result with getting everything in place in an orderly fashion. It took me a few hours but I was able to clean things up and give it a coat of Honda Polish while I was there.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
Rinkydink

$?&@!;$)/%#€£
 

Got the damn thing done. Clutch side clip off in 2 seconds…I got cocky. 30 minutes to get front brake side off. New Sylvania bulb installed, clutch side clip on in 5 seconds. Resisted getting cocky again. Probably 45 minutes getting other clip on. I tried the wooden dowel with a groove in the end but my gorilla hands and eyesight or lack thereof made that useless. Had to get my wife to come look while I held my mag light just to be sure both clips were indeed on. THEN, getting the electrical connector on while driving blind I knocked the clutch side clip off again. More $&%€?¥+#%. Got it all on and buttoned up and horn back on. Started bike, no low beam. Took apart again and I only got one spade lug on bulb. All told an hour and a half. I could strangle a German product designer right about now. I think I’ve changed both tires and my oil faster than it took to change my low beam. Arms bruised and scraped so I’m having a beer(s) now. 

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6 minutes ago, Rinkydink said:

$?&@!;$)/%#€£
 

Got the damn thing done. Clutch side clip off in 2 seconds…I got cocky. 30 minutes to get front brake side off. New Sylvania bulb installed, clutch side clip on in 5 seconds. Resisted getting cocky again. Probably 45 minutes getting other clip on. I tried the wooden dowel with a groove in the end but my gorilla hands and eyesight or lack thereof made that useless. Had to get my wife to come look while I held my mag light just to be sure both clips were indeed on. THEN, getting the electrical connector on while driving blind I knocked the clutch side clip off again. More $&%€?¥+#%. Got it all on and buttoned up and horn back on. Started bike, no low beam. Took apart again and I only got one spade lug on bulb. All told an hour and a half. I could strangle a German product designer right about now. I think I’ve changed both tires and my oil faster than it took to change my low beam. Arms bruised and scraped so I’m having a beer(s) now. 

But no blood? Lucky guy, I always leave a little blood back.

Mine low bean died on Saturday morning at 5;20 AM, when I started the bike for my ride to lunch in GA.

Changed the bulb on Sunday afternoon, no big problem, but as I said, I always cut something doing it.

:wave:

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Rinkydink
29 minutes ago, Bernie said:

But no blood? Lucky guy, I always leave a little blood back.

Mine low bean died on Saturday morning at 5;20 AM, when I started the bike for my ride to lunch in GA.

Changed the bulb on Sunday afternoon, no big problem, but as I said, I always cut something doing it.

:wave:

I get the old man arm bruise thing. I know I won’t be playing guitar for a few days. 
 

 

 

D18C10C1-A38A-4392-B9F8-D8A56230A0C9.jpeg

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EyeBike528
On 12/16/2021 at 7:39 AM, MachineJoe said:

Hello EyeBike,

 

While you're on your knees in front of your bike, say a prayer and apologize to your finger tips. :) 

I found that breaking a pencil to a short length and cutting a V notch will assist in repositioning the wire spring.

Just don't drop the pencil into the light assembly.

Are you building a hoop house with plastic sheet or a glass house?

 

Hey MJoe, been busy w the holidays- I’m back.  It’s been below freezing here on Long Island for 10 days now and I’m dying to get back into the garage, just too damn cold.  I got to take off the speakers, do the Brad thing, loosen my air horn supports and get at that center f-ing bulb.  But I think I bent one clip the perverbial 1/16th inch off center bc I can’t get it to line back up.   I had a lead on a good service manual but can’t figure out the software to open it up. If I go L O N G, what source for a R12RTLC service manual did you use?   Oh, diggin the pencil idea, but I use a long grounding rod with a dimple ground into the tip and use it like a ‘pool cue’ to flick the tabs in and out.  Duct tape on the Tupperware beside the gas tank cover helps prevent scratching.

Mahalo!

 

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23 hours ago, EyeBike528 said:

Hey MJoe, been busy w the holidays- I’m back.  It’s been below freezing here on Long Island for 10 days now and I’m dying to get back into the garage, just too damn cold.  I got to take off the speakers, do the Brad thing, loosen my air horn supports and get at that center f-ing bulb.  But I think I bent one clip the perverbial 1/16th inch off center bc I can’t get it to line back up.   I had a lead on a good service manual but can’t figure out the software to open it up. If I go L O N G, what source for a R12RTLC service manual did you use?   Oh, diggin the pencil idea, but I use a long grounding rod with a dimple ground into the tip and use it like a ‘pool cue’ to flick the tabs in and out.  Duct tape on the Tupperware beside the gas tank cover helps prevent scratching.

Mahalo!

 

EyeBike,  Keep us posted. I just got approval from the wife to drive the bike through the downstairs family room and into my tiny workshop in the basement. Once I get it set in place I'll start to tear it down to redo my low beam and straighten out the bent clip then onto a cam adjustment.  The greenhouse would be fun to have as well. NICE !!!!

 

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On 1/13/2022 at 8:06 PM, MachineJoe said:

EyeBike,  Keep us posted. I just got approval from the wife to drive the bike through the downstairs family room and into my tiny workshop in the basement. Once I get it set in place I'll start to tear it down to redo my low beam and straighten out the bent clip then onto a cam adjustment.  The greenhouse would be fun to have as well. NICE !!!!

 

MJ what manual do you have for instructions on how to take down the front fairing of  our K52? I just ordered a Motorrad Manual from Italy. Won’t be here for 15 days. 

Your downstairs family room must have some wide doors to motor her through! Lucky you. 

 

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EB,  I'm sorry but I don't have a manual. I tried searching for you some info but came up empty. I'll just be tearing down until I get the headlight assy out. I hope your manual come quick.

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On 1/15/2022 at 10:08 PM, EyeBike528 said:

MJ what manual do you have for instructions on how to take down the front fairing of  our K52? I just ordered a Motorrad Manual from Italy. Won’t be here for 15 days. 

Your downstairs family room must have some wide doors to motor her through! Lucky you. 

 

I found this

 you will need to scroll down a few posts. 

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