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Are Hella ellipsoid high beam lenses removable?

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  • Are Hella ellipsoid high beam lenses removable?

    Due to an electrical gremlin some years ago, my high beam bulbs burst, leaving some kind of film on the inside of the lenses. I'd like to know if these units are designed to be taken apart or serviced in any way for cleaning. Man that's ugly!

    Last edited by Brandon; 08-22-2012, 04:19 AM.
    Alles Beste!

    B. Wheaton
    1989 E30 M3, Owner since June 2000
    2008 E61 535xiT - The DD and work horse

    http://www.bayareamotorsport.com

    Register your E30 M3!
    http://www.bmwmregistry.com


  • #2
    They are not *designed* to be opened up. That said, you can generally carefully pry them off by baking them in the oven at low heat for a while and getting the glue soft.

    If you break the glass, bmwlight sells plastic replacement lenses that look very good and are more durable.
    2011 BMW M3 Alpinweiß
    2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD
    1990 325is Brilliantrot

    1989 M3 Alpinweiß
    Hers: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo
    Hers: 1989 325iX Zinnoberrot

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    • #3
      No they are not and this is common. I removed the bulb and cleaned the inside with a long cotton swab and glass cleaner. It took a while but got the job done. I would not separate the glass unless the factory seal was already letting moisture in. There's a risk of breaking the glass and the reseal job probably won't be as good as factory.

      88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/M TECH
      89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/SCHWARZ
      85 323I S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZ
      91 M TECHNIC TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH


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      • #4
        if it's just a cleaning you need, then i'd suggest reelizmpro's method. it'll be a pain in the ass, but it's better than cracked glass.

        i took a standard pair of us ellipsoids apart to smoke them using the baking method and everything turned out fine, but i don't know if it's worth risking the lenses if you can do it without taking em apart.

        if you do end up taking em off, bake em, but test intermittently. you don't want to melt the plastic, but you don't want to have to force the lens either. it popped off easily when it was at the right temp.

        then just use permatex or whatever brand gasket sealer and seal it back up.

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        • #5
          hey brandon,

          i separated the low beams before. not sure if the high beams are the same. had to dremel a slot in the security screws in order to loosen them up. i was then able to swap the glass to a non-cracked one. never had a moisture problem, but it was taken out by another rock a couple years later. some RTV should keep them water tight if you're worried about it, but i'm guessing it couldn't look any worse!

          james

          ps. your "M" is one slot too high :nope:
          Last edited by jht3; 08-22-2012, 01:46 PM.
          James
          sigpic

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          • #6
            everything is removable
            is putting it back on that's the issue

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            • #7
              I used a chop stick and a microfiber towel dampened with window cleaner thru the bulb hole. Just take out the whole assembly from the front. It's 3 Philips head screws and two plugs to take it out after the grills are removed.

              Took me about 15 minutes a side last week. Funny how this thread popped up right after I just did this, weird.

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              • #8
                Duly noted - will correct. Thanks for the eagle eye! :^)


                Originally posted by jht3 View Post
                hey brandon,

                ps. your "M" is one slot too high :nope:
                Alles Beste!

                B. Wheaton
                1989 E30 M3, Owner since June 2000
                2008 E61 535xiT - The DD and work horse

                http://www.bayareamotorsport.com

                Register your E30 M3!
                http://www.bmwmregistry.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  The chopstick solution sounds like a great idea - I'll give it a try!


                  Originally posted by OnrailsM3 View Post
                  I used a chop stick and a microfiber towel dampened with window cleaner thru the bulb hole. Just take out the whole assembly from the front. It's 3 Philips head screws and two plugs to take it out after the grills are removed.

                  Took me about 15 minutes a side last week. Funny how this thread popped up right after I just did this, weird.
                  Alles Beste!

                  B. Wheaton
                  1989 E30 M3, Owner since June 2000
                  2008 E61 535xiT - The DD and work horse

                  http://www.bayareamotorsport.com

                  Register your E30 M3!
                  http://www.bmwmregistry.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I took the assemblies out with the inten of using the chopstick method but there was little to no no room in which to maneuver. There is also a reflector that makes it impossible to get half of the lens, no matter what you do. I think I'll just find out if Hella will sell a replacement high beam and replace the suckers. I can't stand looking at that any longer :-)
                    Alles Beste!

                    B. Wheaton
                    1989 E30 M3, Owner since June 2000
                    2008 E61 535xiT - The DD and work horse

                    http://www.bayareamotorsport.com

                    Register your E30 M3!
                    http://www.bmwmregistry.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Brandon,

                      Googled it and this was from the Cadillac forum:

                      Re: Cleaning That Light Foggy Haze From the Inside of Headlights?
                      If you look in the Escalade posts, there seems to be an accross the line problem with this "white haze" inside the headlight units. They recommend anything from heating the assembly to get it apart (not recommended) to putting water and rubbing alcohol inside to swish around and remove the haze. I personally have a 2005 Escalade and am leaning toward the alcohol remedy. The outside of the lens is perfect, but the white haze is getting in the way of the HID.

                      I've heard about the rubbing alcohol method. You may want to try that out also.

                      I've got the same issue in my cabrio as well. I may try the alcohol method soon.
                      1989 E30 M3 Cabrio - Nogaro Sliver / Black - 1 of 786
                      1990 E30 M3 - Sterling Silver / Black
                      1991 E30 318is - Sterling / Black (Mtech II project)

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                      • #12
                        Good advice, James. Will certainly try it out.
                        Alles Beste!

                        B. Wheaton
                        1989 E30 M3, Owner since June 2000
                        2008 E61 535xiT - The DD and work horse

                        http://www.bayareamotorsport.com

                        Register your E30 M3!
                        http://www.bmwmregistry.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Brandon,

                          I simply bent the swabs I used and was able to clean all of the glass. I have heard of the alcohol method but I was happy with the results of just swabbing. Let us know how it goes.

                          88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/M TECH
                          89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/SCHWARZ
                          85 323I S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZ
                          91 M TECHNIC TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, that didn't exactly produce the results I had hoped for.

                            First, I tried a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and demineralized water. I squirted a few CCs of the mixture into the high beam - the fog cleared up IMMEDIATELY and I was elated. I went into the garage to dry the unit out with some low pressure air from my compressor and the goddamn thing fogged right back up as it was previously.

                            Take II - 100% isopropyl alcohol and swished around the inside of the lens - same results

                            Take III - got some lint free square cotton tabs used for fingernail polish removal, affixed to the end of an unbent paperclip and tried actually wiping the surface of the lenses. This worked marginally better, but the lenses are still slightly fogged. On top of that, it now looks as though there are deposits or some sort of schmutz on the interior chrome reflective surface. As I used demineralized water and lint-free cloth, I don't know where this could have come from. It's not bad, but I want the damn things to be perfect.

                            I don't recommend this procedure if you are looking for perfect results. I'm just going to replace the high beam housings, if I can even get them from Hella.


                            Before:




                            As good as it's gonna get:



                            Passenger side was the one "cleaned". Notice marginal improvement over driver side:



                            Yes, I know my ///M Badge is one slat too high :^) Damn air ducts are also coming loose because the plastic has given way after 10+ years. Need a solution for that.
                            Alles Beste!

                            B. Wheaton
                            1989 E30 M3, Owner since June 2000
                            2008 E61 535xiT - The DD and work horse

                            http://www.bayareamotorsport.com

                            Register your E30 M3!
                            http://www.bmwmregistry.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Does anyone know if individually sold Hella high beams are drop-in replacements for these things?

                              Here is an example: http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-39...eadlights.aspx
                              Alles Beste!

                              B. Wheaton
                              1989 E30 M3, Owner since June 2000
                              2008 E61 535xiT - The DD and work horse

                              http://www.bayareamotorsport.com

                              Register your E30 M3!
                              http://www.bmwmregistry.com

                              Comment

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