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Weird S3 Xenon issue: 1 dipped beam out...

dickibo Mar 19, 2012

  1. dickibo

    dickibo New Member

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    Hey folks,

    it's a facelift '03 plate S3 with Xenons, and i've been having an intermittent issue with the offside (drivers) dipped main beam.

    For example, if i start the car, drive to fuel up, engine off. Start up again to drive away, switch lights on, the beam is out and the "bulb out" symbol flashes up on the screen. Sometimes switching them off and on again rectifies it, other times it's as if the bulb IS out -which it's not.

    It's currently down the auto-elecs shop and he recons it's the ballast igniter, and that Audi have quoted him 500 spondoolies for the full light unit rather than just the failed component. Doesn't seem right to me. Has anyone heard of this problem before??


    BTW...Great site with bags of info that's come in handy for me in my 10 months of S3 ownership. Keep up the good work! :icon_thumright:
     
  2. vfr800

    vfr800 Active Member Team Dolphin Grey Audi S3 quattro Audi A6

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    Hi,

    You can purchase second hand ballast units on ebay I think.

    Swapping the ballast to a new headlight unit is a tricky job - I did it at the weekend and if you're ham-fisted, not patient or clumsy you will probably break your head light unit. But it IS possible to put a new ballast in without damaging the unit or resorting to 'splitting' the headlight in half. Splitting a head light unit requires a bit of work with a hair-drier or putting it in the oven for 5-15 mins.

    If it's intermittent then obviously all the connectors and earth connections should be checked and cleaned.

    I rebuilt a couple of units at the weekend, but I have spares so I wasn't too worried about making my car head light-less.

    On the bright side there are quite a few S3's being broken and head light units come up regularly.

    I don't know it it's possible to retrofit an after market ballast to work rather than having to get an Audi OEM?

    Liam
     
  3. dickibo

    dickibo New Member

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    Cheers Liam, yeah just had a quick check on ebay, and there's a used S3 xenon ballast on there for £110. Not sure if whether it's drivers or passengers side is relevant as it doesn't specify.

    With it being a tricky job, i just hope the sparky in the workshop would be skilled enough to replace the ballast (i wouldn't fancy it myself!), cos i'd sooner not spend the 500 on the full unit. I'll keep my eye out for a 2nd hand unit from breakers anyway.

    With this, the failed switch mechanism on my boot & the knackered rear washer (which i guess are linked), knackered electric heated drivers seat, and dodgy passenger window that refuses to shut without a good wrestle, i'm thinkin my otherwise pristine S3 is quickly becoming a dud.

    The other strange thing is that it was in the workshop 2 weeks ago with all these issues and more cos of a faulty ignition switch. They fixed that and the Xenon issue cleared up completely for about 5 days, and has since got progressively worse. Also, the 'engine management light' which had been on for months cos of a supposed bust water temp sensor (even tho it had been replaced twice with Bosch components) disappeared when the ignition switch got done. The auto eleccy is unsure about many of these things cos he's rarely seen A3/S3's, and i've been hunting google with little joy!

    I'm beginning to lose abit of faith in my daily driver which is never good! Anyone got suggestions?

    Cheers,

    Rich
     
  4. vfr800

    vfr800 Active Member Team Dolphin Grey Audi S3 quattro Audi A6

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    If your chap has attention to detail and is a bit OCD he should be fine, if he's happier to force bits then it'll break.

    Remove the electric adjuster and anything else you possibly can remove to give you working space i.e. bulbs and the wiring which isn't ballast-bulb.

    There are two holes in the HID unit, the hole for the HID (dipped beam) and the hole for the halogen (main beam).

    To get the HID connector out you need to move the halogen hole: there's a metal retaining ring that holds the bulb spring etc. that can be removed carefully from the ceramic.

    When that's done, you may (will probably) need to push the reflector as far forward as it'll go to give you enough room to get the bulb connector out. Screw out the adjusters as far as they'll go. Or I just plumped for popping the rubber mounts off (look inside) they join the white plastic doobry on the end of the adjuster thread to the ceramic reflector. Gentle persuasion with a screw driver.

    With the amount of time is takes to do cleanly you might be better off getting a second hand unit from somewhere.

    Find a VAG specialist - it's never good having things misdiagnosed or broken because the mechanic didn't know how to remove something simple.

    Where are you based? If you're close I can offer advice and drink tea/coffee/beer.

    Liam

    PS if you do buy a new unit can I wouldn't mind procuring the old one - was thinking of doing a 'how to dismantle the headlight' post.
     
  5. dickibo

    dickibo New Member

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    Yeah that post would be great mate so you can share your findings with us all as there's very little out there as far as i can see! Dare say i could send you the old one once i've sorted the replacement. I'm based in County Durham, whether that's any use.

    I've got a local VAG specialist, so i'll ask him if he fancies it, though electrical stuff isn't really his bag.

    Cheers for the info Liam, i'll take note and offer it as a guide for the workshop dude.
     

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