How to Retrofit HIDs into a 1992 BMW E36 M3

Posted on 12 July 2011 by Tony Santos

Installing HIDs properly into an early ’92-98 BMW E36 M3 is a fairly straightforward process, provided you have sufficient automotive technological know-how and can follow directions step-by-step. This isn’t as easy as just switching out bulbs, but it certainly isn’t more difficult than many other vehicular modifications. The following runs down the list of steps you should take to ensure an effective HID kit installation, so provided you follow the steps accurately, you should have working HID headlights in no-time.

1 – To begin, make sure the engine’s been shut off and that the battery(located in rear) is disconnected. When handling the HID bulbs themselves, also remember to avoid skin contact. Then pop open the hood, and we can move on to the actual installation.

2 – You’re going to need to find a suitable place to install the ballasts, which is certainly the most difficult part of this whole exercise. You need to locate a flat surface as far away from the heat of the engine as possible, so even though there’s plenty of apparent room to work with, truly flat surfaces are few and far between. Though every model may differ, two optimal spots are as follows: on the passenger’s side, mount one directly beneath the air box; on the driver’s side, mount it on the flat space directly underside the washer fluid bottle.

3 – You’ll now need to install the globes. To do so, remove the covers for the low beams. Take a power drill, and drill a hole in the rear of each that’s large enough to allow the globe wiring grommet to fit through (you can judge this by eye). It’s recommended that you drill around 1cm above the center of the globe in order to create the best fitting possible for the grommet/wiring.

4 – Remove the stock globe wiring and earth wire and place the new globe into the appropriate housing. You may need to maneuver these in with some force to make the fit work, but it shouldn’t require any further physical modifications.

5 – Make sure each wire has heat resistant cover, and then connect the red wire (positive) to the yellow wire from the back of the bulb that was already removed. Then, connect the black wire (negative) to the brown wire you similarly removed from the housing earlier.

6 – Tie up the loose wires, and use heat-resistant shrink to seal everything in place to avoid any damage or melting of wires. This applies to all wires and fittings from the installation process.

7 – Take the two ballast plugs and insert them into the back of the headlight array and click them into ‘locked’ position. Reconnect the battery and start the engine, and test the lights. If they work, you’re good to go.

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