Xenon headlight blinking and finally wasted - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 15 Old 06-06-19 Thread Starter
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Xenon headlight blinking and finally wasted

Hi
I'm opening this post to get some help and also to collect information from various sources to help upcoming forumers.

My 2004 156 Ti has OEM Xenon headlights.
The previous owner put a metal plate underneath the car that "pushes" (let's rather say it even bends... ) the linkage that gives the info to the Xenon ECU on how to level, so the light is always "down" (but god it lights well !) ... But that is another issue.

For several months, my Left headlight was "blinking", I mean, sometimes it was seeming to "reinitialize" with this peculiar flash of light, sometimes it was working perfectly well, and sometimes it shutted down, requiring to switch my lights off then on to bring it back.

But since now two months, this healight definitely went down. Never able to bring it up anymore.
I'm planning to do the classic fault analysis from easier to more complex :
(btw the main issue for me is a proper bumper removal as nothing is reachable on the 2.4jtd 20V, not even a simple bulb swap )

- Switching bulbs , and changing one of them (by good products.. ) if this is the fault
- Switching Xenon Ballast (may has water or moisture), and finding a good ballast (or another make with a wiring change for the height adjustement)
-Ultimately accessing the igniters (which may involve "blind" cut of the headlight plastic), don't know if anything to clean here.

My question is : given the symptoms, would it be possible that it is caused by igniters ? Don't they just "ignite" and then are not in use later ?
Are they cleanable ? Would someone have a picture with a cut headlight with igniters ?

Thansk a lot and I keep you posted !
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Was there a pink tinge to the light from the failing lamp?
If so - suspect the lamp itself, not the ballast

However, blinking is more likely the ballast than the lamp, as it fails to maintain the required current to keep the lamp lit (as opposed to the massive initial sparking voltage).

A ballast fault may be repairable if you're skilled with electronic diagnosis and soldering - however 100 or so for an almost compatible unit from a similar vintage Mondeo etc may be the simpler solution.

P
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(Post Link) post #3 of 15 Old 07-06-19 Thread Starter
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Hi !
Thanks for your answer.
AFAIK, I never saw any pink tinge...So maybe the ballast itself.
Igniter failure would cause probably sudden total loss ?
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Seems plausible - should be easy enough to swap the bulbs across and see if the problem follows the bulb or stays put.
Igniter, as you say, is the less likely if it keeps coming back .. my gut would say capacitor on the ballast.
Can you "talk" to the ballast from MES? (only talks to the LHS one though !)

P
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(Post Link) post #5 of 15 Old 10-06-19 Thread Starter
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Hi,
I did a Scan on a trial version of MES with the green adapter (supposedly connecting pin 7 to pin 12), it was not seeing the Xenon ECUs .. then I thought "but hey, it may need to be switched on" and I ddidn't retry.
Anyway, I was wondering if it was worth the 50 to get a full MES as Xenon is requiring full licence to be diagnosed, and if you say that only one ECU is "talking" I'd say it's not worthwhile for the moment...

Now for the bulbs : is there someone that managed to swap the bulbs without removing anything (but plastic protective parts or maybe the coolant tank) ? It seems pretty hard just to remove the 3 screws of the xenon protective panel (with the Electric Hazard logo)...if someone can confirm, I can already try the bulb swap
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(Post Link) post #6 of 15 Old 10-06-19 Thread Starter
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If I look at elearrn : 5540B44 DIPPED BEAM FOR ONE GAS DISCHARGE LIGHTING UNIT ONE LH OR RH R R - Alfa - 156 - eLearn - 4CarData it seems everything should be reachable without dismounting anything.
Having the schematics should help
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I can change the bulbs without taking anything out, but mine is a pre-facelift 156, and my hands are small. My money would be on the bulb by the way, from my experience the ballast either works or does not. Bulb will give that flickering and on-off behavior. Change both if it is gone.
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Bulb swap is easy enough:
Power down and depending on paranoia - keys in pocket, battery disconnected etc
Remove cover (three screws)
Remove the electrical connection to the bulb base (quarter turn at most)
Unscrew the surround that holds the bulb in
Remove bulb

<Haynes/>
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(Post Link) post #9 of 15 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,
some news, might always get interesting for other Alfisti.

So far I just cannot, on the 20V, remove the 3 (even 2) screws that maintain the Xenon bulb cover. First is easy (I'm talking about driver side, (left)) I might remove a second one and make the cover flip, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to put it back, letting humidity inside.

I cleaned up some connectors, no luck.
There are two black bold cables , one of which seem corroded. I think these are ground wires. Can someone confirm this has no impact, even if a little bit exposed and corroded ?
(red ending connector on the picture below)

Anyway I won't be able to even swap bulb. Next step will be to remove the front bumper so I can properly take off the headlights, check bulbs, clean ballast connectors...
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File Type: jpg rear_xenon_wires.jpg (87.2 KB, 17 views)
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(Post Link) post #10 of 15 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Looks more like ventilation tubes as opposed to wiring.
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(Post Link) post #11 of 15 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Oddly I cannot see where this supposed grounding would ground on the chassis, this looks like just a connector between the two wires. There must be a grounding somewhere
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(Post Link) post #12 of 15 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyroper View Post
Looks more like ventilation tubes as opposed to wiring.
Hi,
don't think so because (I'll take a picture later tomorrow), one is corroded and leave exposed some kind of twisted metal wiring
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(Post Link) post #13 of 15 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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The two cables are the adjusters - you can safely disconnect their retainer and replace them afterwards.
One is vertical adjustment, the other is lateral - so be careful to put them back into position

Once they're free - the three screws are easily removed - and the bulb is easy to change.

P
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(Post Link) post #14 of 15 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proinsias View Post
The two cables are the adjusters - you can safely disconnect their retainer and replace them afterwards.
One is vertical adjustment, the other is lateral - so be careful to put them back into position

Once they're free - the three screws are easily removed - and the bulb is easy to change.

P
Oh thanks...so only needed for adjustement...manual or automatic ? Where is the moving part, if automatic ?
In any case, this has no impact on the functionality of the headlights, then
Thanks
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(Post Link) post #15 of 15 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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The automatic adjustment is controlled by motors connected to the ballasts (inside the lamp)
These are for the detail adjustment (ensure both lamps are at the same height / dip correctly etc)
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