DIY, part two: Installing HIR lighting on a BMW e36 325i

Posted on 5 March 2008


e36 headlamp assembly

Halogen Infrared Reflecting, that is.

You may have never searched for replacement bulbs online before, but trust me when I say that it is an unpleasant experience. Everyone is trying to sell these stupid “SuperUltraHyperMax10000+ Waveon UltraHID Halogen” or whatever brand/model bulbs, and it’s annoying for any number of reasons, including the two following items:

  • they’re usually WAY overpriced, and…
  • they don’t offer any real performance gains, and pale in comparison to HIDs.

(Again I find that BMW CCA is the finest source of info available. There’s just so much rubbish out there on the euro mod bulletin boards; it’s almost a waste of time to read some of those boards!)

Anyway, the point of all of this is that the only thing that most of the replacement bulbs seem to accomplish is to look a little bit more blue, i.e. to exclude some of the longer wavelengths of light by way of a plastic coating on the glass capsule of the light bulb; this is to say that they reduce the amount of light that the put out so that they look more like fake HIDs.

Not interested, man.

But the following reading is interesting:

There’s another type of bulb, based on the halogen design, that is apparently a more efficient product in terms of lumens/watt (and approaches HID in terms of efficiency at much lower cost!); it’s known as HIR. While these bulbs were only ever used in a small number of OEM automotive applications (in particular, by DaimlerChrysler in the Dodge Viper and also by Infiniti/Nissan), they are conveniently OEM for some John Deere 9000 Series tractors (ahh, good engineering…thanks guys!)–hence, they’re widely available online:

…and just slightly off-topic, another means to improve light dispersion:

Finally, while this is probably a little over the top, I hate drivers with poorly-focused headlights blinding me at night:

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: HIR replacement of OEM 9005/9006 bulbs. The directions:

p.s.: Ever wonder why those old ’80s Mercedes-Benz sedans have those weird round yellow foglights? See here:

Posted in: Cars, DIY