BMW E36 Blog

De-Lensing BMW E36 Headlights … DIY

12th June 2012

De-Lensing BMW E36 Headlights … DIY

I’ve seen many good looking BMW E36 cars and I always noticed that they have one thing in common. It’s the standard Bosch headlights, but for some reason, the headlights looked a little bit weird. These headlights were actually delensed.

The Bosch original headlights have lenses that will help move the light in the correct directions. Unfortunately, these make the headlights (and the car) look ugly.

I thought that de-lensing is a hard job to do and honestly, I was worried that the result isn’t worth it. After I read about it and found that the job is easy and totally reversible (which is a major point to me), I thought I would give it a try. This is what I did:

1. First, I had to remove the headlights so that I can work on them easily. To do that, I had to start by removing the corner lamps or signal lights. Simply, use a screwdriver to pry the clip that holds the signal light to the main headlight. Then slide it forward carefully.

2. After that, I removed the headlights. It’s an easily job. You can simply reverse what I’ve done in my previous Replacing BMW E36 Headlights post. Just keep in mind that there are 5 screws that hold the headlight. 3 at the top and 2 at the bottom. Remove the screws and slide the headlight forward a little bit so you can disconnect the sockets from the back of the headlight.

After that, remove the headlights completely and put them at a table so you can work on them safely.

3. On each headlight, there are 5 big plastic clips (3 on top and 2 on the bottom). With a flat-head screwdriver, unhook them CAREFULLY. As soon as you’re done, the front part of the headlight should come off.

4. Take a breath and enjoy checking out the reflectors at the back part of the headlight. When the lenses come off, the reflectors will be easier to see from the front of the car which is going to be a sweet look.

5. Notice that both lenses are held in by factory silicone. Using a blade, slice them off. Your lenses should now fall out quite easily. If they don’t, you can use a flat-head screwdriver to gently nudge it out. Be very, very careful!

IMPORTANT: you must keep those lenses (2 on each headlight) in a safe place in case you decide to go back to the old look.

6. Clean the insides of the headlight thoroughly. I sprayed window cleaner then used newspaper to wipe it clean. You may want to wipe the reflector for the low beam as well. I didn’t do that though because it was very clean.

7. Now, hook the front part of the headlight to the rear part carefully (without the lenses of course), and then, put everything back the way it was. Now, you have de-lensed your BMW E36 headlights… Congrats!

8. Last part of this DIY. Did “LIKE” our BMW E36 Blog page on Facebook? If you haven’t done so yet, please do now. Just click the “LIKE” button below this.

Please leave a comment about whether your car looks better this way or before de-lensing it?


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posted in Do It Yourself, Exterior, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

11th June 2012

Replacing BMW E36 Headlights … DIY



If you’ve seen my BMW E36 pictures before, you’d know that I have low quality Chinese headlights. When I bought the car, I knew these headlights are not the best (lighting-wise), but I kinda liked the way they looked and of course the angel eyes with blue circles added to that look. So, I thought that I can’t replace them easily while keeping the car looking as good as it looked back then.

With time, these headlights started to show the marks of age and since they’re made of plastic, they were deteriorating fast. A month or may be 2 ago when I showed you that BMW E36 Headlights Guide, I thought to myself that may be it’s time that I replace those old-dusty-looking headlights with some original ones that are made of glass (this was my top priority). Headlights can be of huge effect on whether the car looks nice or looks old. Since glass headlights are not affected by time (at least, they are better at that than plastic), I made up my mind to get those glass headlights.

Replacing the old headlights with the new stock ones was very easy. If you care to learn how to do it, the most important thing is to keep in mind that there are 5 screws that will hold a headlight in place in BMW E36 cars.

Take a look at this picture. 3 screws at the top and 2 at the sides (bottom).

Lucky me, I found that my old headlights were using only 2 of the top screws to hold the headlight and the two at the sides were missing. So, I removed the 2 screws and the old headlights came out right away.

There was one catch here which made me realize how lucky I am, otherwise, this replacement task would’ve become a nightmare. The guy who changed the old stock headlights with these one-piece headlights was smart enough not to cut the sockets that were designed to plug into the original stock headlights. Instead, he scratched the wires and used auxiliary wires to connect the headlight wires with the old one-piece headlights. So, this meant that in order to restore everything to its original shape, I had to remove those auxiliary wires and tape the scratched wires. After that, I’ll just plug the sockets into the stock headlights and I’m done.

That’s exactly what I did. Then, I put the headlight in the correct place and slide it there carefully.

Before each headlight sits perfectly in its position, I connected the sockets to the the headlight.

Installing the turn signals was very easy too. The signal light with its socket will fit into the new stock turn signals perfectly. I didn’t have to do anything in there. Just plug them and you’re good to go.

Notice that you’ll have to be extra careful when sliding the turn signals to the side of the headlight. Never ever try to force it into position. If you’ve installed everything correctly, the turn signals will slide in perfectly with small pushing power.

Next, I’ll post about delensing my headlights, but for now, I’ll leave you with these two pictures of the new stock headlights

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posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Exterior, Photos, Technical Info, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

30th March 2011

BMW E36 Parking Sensor Installation – Part 3



Finally, I’m happy to tell you guys that I’ve finished the last videos and now, I’m ready to show them to you. I only needed around 4 hours to do all the work, but creating the videos is what really took the time, so please accept my apology for that.

First, let’s summarize what I’ve done until now, for those who didn’t read my previous posts. In my first post BMW E36 Parking Sensor Unpacking, you saw the parking sensor I bought and the different pieces that came in the package. In the second post BMW E36 Parking Sensor Installation – Part 2, you saw how I made the holes in the car’s bumper and how I passed the wires from beneath it and into the trunk. Now, obviously, you’re going to see how I connected everything and how I provided the power to the parking sensor controller unit. Also, you’re going to see how I mounted the system monitor. Take a look:


Next, you’ll watch while I’m testing the parking sensor and how it works:


Please notice that the system is directional which means that if there’s an obstacle at the left of the car’s rear, the monitor should indicate that on the left side lights. The same happens if it was on the right side. The monitor, however, was designed to be mounted on the car dashboard (not exactly what I wanted), so, I had to switch the sensors that were connected to the controller unit. The left ones connected to the right sockets and the right ones connected to the left sockets and it worked like a charm.

Honestly, I enjoyed doing this to my car and now, I’m motivated to do even more, so, please stay tuned as I’ll be publishing more soon…

NOTE: Please feel free to let us all know what you think of this DIY and if you have any questions. Just write them in the comments below.


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posted in Do It Yourself, Videos | 4 Comments

27th March 2011

BMW E36 Parking Sensor Installation – Part 2


Hi Guys,

This is the second part in the BMW E36 Parking Sensor installation DIY. In the following video, you’re going to see how I calculated the exact distance that should be left between each sensor and the next one and watch while I make the holes in the car’s bumper. Also, you’re going to see how I mount the parking sensors and pass their wires beneath the bumper and into my car’s trunk.

I hope you’ll find the video useful. Please notice that I’m going to post another video soon to show the installation of the monitor and may be include the test video that shows the parking sensor in action. I’ve already finished it and have been using it for 3 or 4 days now, but I didn’t find the time to prepare the other videos, so, I hope you’ll stay tuned for the rest of the DIY and the test videos.

Ready? enjoy…


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posted in Do It Yourself, Videos | 2 Comments

14th March 2011

BMW E36 Parking Sensor Installation – Part 1



I know, I have stopped writing on this blog for a long time and although I meant to start writing again, I have been very busy that I almost stopped doing anything here other than comments and forum moderation. Even my car has been suffering neglect and she’s very sad about it.

A week ago, I ordered a parking system and wanted to install it in my car and thought this would be a great chance for me to start writing again. Even, if I didn’t write as frequently as I used to (around 2 posts/day), I may write once in a while and keep you guys posted about my latest BMW E36 changes and projects.

The system has the following features:

  • 4—Piece Rear Parking System
  • 3—Color Led Indicator
  • Digital Distance Indicator
  • Sensor Cutout Saw Included
  • Built-in Beeping Alarm

In the following video, you can watch me unpacking the parking system I bought and in the next 2 or 3 days may be, I’ll prepare a complete photo shoot or a video with the installation instructions for this system. So, stay tuned and enjoy:-


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posted in Do It Yourself, Videos | Comments Off on BMW E36 Parking Sensor Installation – Part 1