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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
All,

since I got my 2004 Coupe last year I was not impressed with the headlights illumination. However, I did not look too much into it until now.

Based on my owner's manual, it looks like that cars that don't have the headlight height adjuster wheel next to the headlight switch, are equipped with Xenon headlights.
However, my car does not have the adjustment wheel but my headlights do not appear to be Xenon. I say this based on the fact that (1) if I start the car with the headlights ON I don't see the up/down self calibration motion and (2) my headlights are definitively yellowish and not white/bluish (which I understand it is a characteristic of Xenon bulbs).

So the question is: is it possible that I have regular headlights even if I don't have the adjustment wheel next to the headlight switch? Also, I have a build sheet for my car and it does not show Xenon headlights (I guess they were optional).
Alternatively, assuming that I do indeed have Xenon (and say the self leveling is not working and/or I have regular bulbs installed), what is the best way to confirm that I have the Xenon? Remove wheel arch lining and see if there is a ballast under the headlight assembly?

I searched a bit the forums but I could not find definitive answers. Hence the this thread.

Font Parallel Terrestrial plant Rectangle Slope
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you have the window sticker, it will show the options that your car has, of which the xenon headlights would be listed for about $1205 USD. If that isn't listed under the options, then you probably have the standard headlights.
The window sticker that I was given by previous owner does not list Xenon. There is an "other options" category but that could be the skyhook, which is not listed anywhere else. The sticker matches what I have on the car except actually for "pwr soft top" (it is a Coupe!) in the standard list.

Font Paper Number Document Paper product


The build sheet includes skyhook (which I know I have) and includes everything else I have but not Xenon

Font Number Parallel Pattern Document



Do you have the pop out washers on the bumper?
I don't think so. (I will double check) All Xenon came with pop out washers?

The sensor on the wishbones are probably broken so the beams are going the wrong way and you're not getting the calibration.

Also the lenses might be yellowed / UV damaged

C
That is what I was wondering. Would it show on a scan though? I just did a diagnostic with the X431 Pros Mini and nothing came out. I will look next time I take wheels off to see if I can spot the sensors. I guess that if I don't have the sensors then I don't have Xenon, right?

The lenses are very clean and transparent (at least cosmetically).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I believe they all came with washers as it's mandated here in the (ex) EU.

Not sure it would show on a scan. It'll still be sending a signal, just not a variable one. The sensors and links are really easy to see. I wonder if your car had a bumper / front end replacement.....

C
You are onto something. Previous owner replaced the front bumper (minor damage, it was a curb hit or something of that extent, he was a member here).
How would that affect the headlight though? Craig Waterman when he inspected the car told me that it was a quality repair and did not note anything odd with the front bumper.

Now that I think about it I think previous owner also cleaned up the lenses. That makes me think that he possibly replaced the bulbs with halogen (hence the yellow color). Is that possible?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Plot thickens.

I checked the physical owner's booklet in the glovebox and it does not have the same graphics that I shared above. It just says that if you have Xenon, they are self balancing. However, it does not say that if you don't have Xenon then you have the headlight height adjuster wheel next to the headlight switch.
Perhaps this is US specific, but based on this information, it is possible that I don't have the headlight height adjuster and I don't have Xenon either.

Also, I looked at the bumper and there are no headlight wipers.

As I mentioned, bumper was replaced, but I checked the old bumper (see photos in listing below), and although not 100% clear I don't think there were headlight washers there. So I think my car did not come with headlight washers. Now last thing to check is whether I have the attitude sensors on the wishbones. If I don't, then everything seems to be consistent with a non-Xenon car.


Btw previous owner documented the lens polishing in this post and I can attest that lenses are still crystal clear!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And... for reference, I looked up some used headlight assemblies ads to spot the differences between Xenon and regular headlights.

A Xenon headlight is going to have a ballast at the bottom and two adjustment knobs.
Personal protective equipment Eyewear Bag Fashion accessory Auto part


Peripheral Input device Bag Gadget Personal protective equipment



The halogen appears to have only one adjustment knob

Automotive lighting Automotive design Gadget Bumper Cable


And no ballast at the bottom

Cable Wire Auto part Font Musical instrument accessory
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi C,
Your car, my previous coupe only has halogen. The halogen models for this car are not great. I think I last installed in Sylvania Silverstars Ultras, helped, but not much. I drove around with my high beams on most of the time, oncoming drivers never even noticed.
I think you next project should be to retrofit in some high-power LED projectors! But getting the headlight buckets out, as you can see by my old posts, is a PITA.
Glad to see you are enjoying the car.
Thanks B for jumping on this thread and confirming that I don't have Xenon.

After seeing your headlights disassembly project and Lambertius comments I am not too keen in fiddling with the projectors. Perhaps, I will start with trying different bulbs to see how far I can go with that.

BTW, I am loving the car and I am happy to continue the good work that you did on it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, I did a quick search for used cars and by observing the photographs I think that the following is true:

EU cars (including UK) with headlight wipers don't have the headlight height adjuster wheel and therefore I guess these are Xenon equipped cars

US cars, regardless of the headlight wipers, don't have the headlight height adjuster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would suggest reaching out to Daniel Stern and see if he has any suggestions. His advice and expertise was quite useful for a classic Maserati restoration I did a few years ago, and I'm pretty sure he works with all eras of cars/lighting, not just the old ones. He's forgotten more about automotive lighting than most experts know, that's my impression at least.


Thor
Thanks for the pointer, I will keep him in mind when I start digging more into this.


It's because you sit on the wrong side of the car, Chris
:ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
So, I bought a pair of budget (but with decent reviews) LEDs on Amazon to experiment.

Initial impressions are positive but I only evaluated them against the garage door. Light color is wither and overall they seem to emit more light so I am hopeful that if I will also be able to raise the beam a bit I may have a viable solution here.

Left is LED and right is halogen (I did not take down the model but brand name good quality halogen). Left beam is a bit high because front left corner was lifted.
Cloud Atmosphere Automotive lighting Sky Hood


I will do a more detailed thread to document the swap later on.

Edit: writeup on LED upgrade in the thread below
 
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