How to Remove an e46 Headlight and change the Ballast and Igniter
The OEM Xenon headlights (made by AL) ten to have parts that die with age. The ballasts and igniter's are both prone to failure. The ballast is relatively easy to replace, but the igniter is a PITA. Here's how to change both. You can also use this DIY as a guide to change the headlight trim and headlight lenses...
Replacement part #'s (for AL bi-xenon's:
There are four bolts that hold in the headlight. They all use an 8mm head. The first 2 are easy to get to, and the other 2 are a bit more of a pain. With the one on the far right, you'll need an extension magnet tool to get it out without dropping it.
Once the headlights are removed, remove the lower headlight trim. Use a small flat head screw driver to pop the trim out, starting on the inside lower corner and working your way back towards the corner lights:
The headlight one its pulled out:
Remove the rubber trim on top. It will slowly pull away with a flat head screw driver or fingernail. Remove the plastic lens and headlight trim. Be careful with both. You don't want to break the tabs holding the headlight on or your headlight will get condensation in it.
The white thing on the bottom is the ballast. There are 3 T20 torx screw holding it in. Simply unscrew the screws and replace with the new ballast.
Remove the HID bulb carefully. Be
sure not to touch the glass on the bulb.
Remove the halogen bulb and rubber
Time to remove the projectors. You can use a cordless screwdriver to speed the process up. Do not go to fast or you will strip the screws and have to do it by hand. You use the 2 hand screws meant for adjusting the headlight to loosen the projectors.
LOOSEN = CLOCKWISE
As you loosen the screws, you'll see the projectors moving forward. Move them about 90% of the way to the end. There is still one retaining clip holding them in place. Use a screw driver from the back of the light to pop the retainer out of the holder. Do this CAREFULLY!
This is the infamous igniter. Use a T20 torx to remove the igniter.
Disconnect the cable:
Once you've replaced the faulty igniter, its time to...
Reinstall the projector. There are 2 mounting points that need to be made. One the left hand side, there is a hook that needs to hook around the circular plastic piece on the headlight. You also need to connect the piece in the middle and make sure it lines up. As you push both of those back in, tighten the projector with the thumb screws until you feel the projector catch and start pulling in. When you've brought them in a good way, take your palm between the 2 projectors and push the entire projector housing back into the retaining pin (the one you pried out with a flat head before)
That's it! Reassemble the headlight. Oh, the ETK lists no part # for the black headlight trim (just the silver trim--you can only buy the black trim with new headlights). But there is a part # listed on the trim itself. Here it is: