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Discussion Starter #1
Ok well guys here it is:

The headlamp adjusters in my '03 M5 have been broken for some time. First I found this great post on how to fab your own adjusters. Then last week I delved in. After a few attempts at baking the 2003 model year headlamps, I checked here and learned that the late production 2003 has a different adhesive. Regardless of what anyone tells you, this adhesive can not be melted. I tore a piece of the adhesive out and tried to melt it over a nice hot blue flame. The adhesive went from solid state to flash point without melting.

So after much deliberation and staring I decided I could reach the adjusters by cutting holes in the headlamps from the top. First I used a Dremel multimax. This left too much debris inside the headlamp. I removed it as best I could by taping all exits/holes except for one and blew the debris out with compressed air. After seeing the mess I made, I decided to use a soldering gun to make debris free cuts.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Look at the mess on that left side headlamp. Trust me when I tell you that you would rather cut through with a soldering iron.

Ok. So I've now fabbed my adjusters using just about every shop tool I have. You'll note the cream colored tops. You actually have to grind the hex caps down to make them fit. I placed a little rustoleum paint on them to minimize corrosion. What a waste. I ended up having to grind even more. Why didn't I repaint? It kept rubbing off with trial fits. Truth is, I had limited access and I didn't want to jam my adjuster in so tight that I couldn't remove it.

Basically, If you fabricate the adjusters to normal length you will not be able to get them into the hole. So you need to make them shorter.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I didn't take a photo, but after I shortened the adjuster, I made sure the adjustment screw would be able to pass completely through the plastic. In other words, the hole for the adjustment screw passed the complete length of the plastic. This was done to prevent binding/bottoming out of the adjustment screws.

As you can see, I made one too short. (fortunately only one) I was worried I might completely unscrew the adjustment screw from the adjuster so I used the piece I cut off to as a spacer and attempted to melt the material back together.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok. At this point I have the adjusters in and I placed the headlamps in the car to insure proper operation prior to closing everything up. Everything worked great!

So out come the headlamps and back to the table for final fitment.

You'll notice the covers don't want to go back on. I trimmed the underside of the covers so they would allow free movement of the adjusters.

I've also put in an image of the adjusters in place prior to buttoning up.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The last image perhaps doesn't convey what I'm saying. Essentially there are fins on the underside of the "covers" you removed. You must make sure the plastic adjusters which were fabricated can move through their full range without lifting or binding on the cover. If they bind, adjust the the fins on the covers as necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In a few places I needed some additional material. So I sourced some material from a the fins which are next to the little rubber exhaust ports on the back of the headlamp. Sorry I couldn't get a clear image.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Honestly, this was a fun project and I feel like I saved some bucks. The biggest trouble spots I ran into were:
1 Shortening the adjusters to fit through my small access and having to deal with the limited range of movement of the lamp housing.
2. Shortening/shaping the hex cap to fit.
 

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Thanks !

This is a great thread especially for '03 owners !!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
By the way, here are the rough measurements of the my adjusters after final shaping and contouring. I forgot to take the dimensions before I put them in the headlamps. So I'm sorry that I'm missing the dado depth....
 

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Great post!

I may need to do this as my Hella Euros are bouncing like crazy =(
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just realized I never showed this image of the adjusters installed. This was obviously prior to putting the covers back on. The one adjuster which was cut too short can be readily seen here too.
 

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How did you know where to cut your "doors"? Also, what color is your OEM epoxy thats holding the housings together? Reason I ask is I know I need to fix my adjusters and I want to see if I can tell what year my lights are.


Oh and damn dude AWESOME write up. This should be a sticky or at least put in the FAQ sticky.
 

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Nice job! I do have one additional thought (especially for those detail-oriented owners). Perhaps instead of regluing the old plastic cut-outs I'd just fabricate some rectangular metal plates, possibly out of nickel and epoxy those on. It would give it more of a professional look. Anyhow, this is much better than dremelling around the whole lens...
 
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