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Old 04-04-2014, 02:36 AM   #1
Derf00
6th Gear Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Vehicle: '08 S197 GT
Location: AZ
Posts: 9,644
Default How to Remove OEM HID Ballasts?

I have factory installed HID headlights.

I switched my headlights on this morning since I drive at dawn and I noticed my passenger side headlight was rather dim like it wasn't getting enough juice or has a bad ground. I switched to high beams at first to see if it was the bulb but they were fine. When I switched back to low beams the passenger side stopped working altogether. I shut them off and back on, and again the passenger side came on again but was dim.

I can hear the ballast buzzing when its on so that's got to be the issue. The ballast itself is tucked in next to the headlight between the headlight and the windshield wiper reservoir. I can't see any other way to get the OEM ballast out to replace it except for to remove the reservoir and come at it from under the car.

Anyone ever needed to replace one? How did you do it? It doesn't feel like its bolted to anything, rather a snap fit. I don't want to go charging in there and break a $40 plastic retainer in addition to the cost of the ballast.

The part is friggin outrageous in cost, $200-300 (ebay) with used being at the lower end. Even the salvage yards want around $180 for them.
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08 S197 GT Auto: FRPP Strut Tower Brace, FRPP Bullitt CAI, Bama 91-P Tune
Pending upgrades: Shaftmasters Aluminum 3.5" DS, FRPP 3.73 gears, Axle back exahust (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostBoyz View Post
if you are getting 29mpg in your 5.0, you aren't driving it correctly
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:00 AM   #2
Exley

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Vehicle: 2007, Ford, Mustang GT
Location: PA
Posts: 44
Default

The easiest thing to do would be to remove the headlight. The ballast is held in place on the side of the headlight bucket by a plastic cover. You need to remove this plastic cover with a torx bit. I forget what size.

I would probably swap the ballast with the other side to see if it is the wiring or the bulb. The ballast itself has nothing to do with the low/high beam. That is a shutter over the bulb that moves to allow more light through. All the ballast does is fire up the bulb and keep it running.

I've never heard of anyone having to replace the ballast, but that doesn't mean it can't happen . Usually it's the bulb, when they wear out it puts a bigger strain on the ballast. That could be why it's buzzing.

Last edited by Exley; 04-11-2014 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 02:06 PM   #3
bones302
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the OEM OSRAM ballasts are about $50-$75 on fleabay. I'm not so sure it is the ballast but rather the bulb.
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:47 PM   #4
Derf00
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Thanks for the replies.

Exley: That's what I was going to do was swap them out from one side to the next. I thought about pulling the headlight but then I'd be worried about headlight alignment when I put it back in? While the ballast itself has nothing to do with high/low beams, if it is failing it will reduce the light output. Same as fluorescent bulbs with a failing ballast. I guess the other thing I could do is just swap the light bulbs from one side to the next. If the bulb on the passenger side is a-ok when I put it on the driver side, then it's a Ballast thing. If the problem follows the bulb, it's a bulb thing.

Bones302 - Those are typically bulbs. The ballasts (for OEM) are expensive. I'm hesitant to buy anything but OEM Ballasts for the OEM HID system since Most Chinese knock offs don't have the tight specs so it could just cause me more headaches.

I just took a fresh look on Ebay. Looks like there are some used ones going for about $80. That's better. I'll decide after I swap the bulbs.
__________________
08 S197 GT Auto: FRPP Strut Tower Brace, FRPP Bullitt CAI, Bama 91-P Tune
Pending upgrades: Shaftmasters Aluminum 3.5" DS, FRPP 3.73 gears, Axle back exahust (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostBoyz View Post
if you are getting 29mpg in your 5.0, you aren't driving it correctly
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
Exley

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derf00 View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Exley: That's what I was going to do was swap them out from one side to the next. I thought about pulling the headlight but then I'd be worried about headlight alignment when I put it back in? While the ballast itself has nothing to do with high/low beams, if it is failing it will reduce the light output. Same as fluorescent bulbs with a failing ballast. I guess the other thing I could do is just swap the light bulbs from one side to the next. If the bulb on the passenger side is a-ok when I put it on the driver side, then it's a Ballast thing. If the problem follows the bulb, it's a bulb thing.
Good plan. That will accomplish the same thing. Best of luck. The bulbs looked like a PITA to replace with the lights on the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derf00 View Post
I just took a fresh look on Ebay. Looks like there are some used ones going for about $80. That's better. I'll decide after I swap the bulbs.
yea that's about what i saw them for. If it helps your search I think other cars use the same ballast. I've just searched OSRAM d3r or OSRAM d3s ballast
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:31 AM   #6
Derf00
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Finally got around to looking into this. Found a ford dealer on ebay that was selling new oem ballasts for $102 so i bought one. In order to access the headlight ballast the front bumper needs to come out.

Swapped the ballast and same issue. So, i disconnected the drivers side headlight assembly and plugged it into the passenger side jarness. The headlight began having the same issue as the passenger side did. I plugged it back into the drivers side and it was fine.

Now for the trippy part, i plugged the passenger side into the driver side harness and it still had an issue. I plugged the driver side assembly back into the drivers side and it was fine.

To be clear, the headlight assembly is a made up pf the headlight housing, ballast, ignitor wire and headlight wire. The harness is a simple 3-wire connection from the car to the headlight assembly.

I'm at a loss at this point. My next step will be to identify the headlight relay(s) and swap it/them with known working ones from another system to see if the relay is failing. If that's not it, then it's going to the dealer for a diagnostic.
__________________
08 S197 GT Auto: FRPP Strut Tower Brace, FRPP Bullitt CAI, Bama 91-P Tune
Pending upgrades: Shaftmasters Aluminum 3.5" DS, FRPP 3.73 gears, Axle back exahust (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostBoyz View Post
if you are getting 29mpg in your 5.0, you aren't driving it correctly
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:27 AM   #7
Exley

 
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Location: PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derf00 View Post
Finally got around to looking into this. Found a ford dealer on ebay that was selling new oem ballasts for $102 so i bought one. In order to access the headlight ballast the front bumper needs to come out.

Swapped the ballast and same issue. So, i disconnected the drivers side headlight assembly and plugged it into the passenger side jarness. The headlight began having the same issue as the passenger side did. I plugged it back into the drivers side and it was fine.

Now for the trippy part, i plugged the passenger side into the driver side harness and it still had an issue. I plugged the driver side assembly back into the drivers side and it was fine.

To be clear, the headlight assembly is a made up pf the headlight housing, ballast, ignitor wire and headlight wire. The harness is a simple 3-wire connection from the car to the headlight assembly.

I'm at a loss at this point. My next step will be to identify the headlight relay(s) and swap it/them with known working ones from another system to see if the relay is failing. If that's not it, then it's going to the dealer for a diagnostic.
That's really weird. You could bench test them if you have the headlights out. That will eliminate the car as a problem. It's kind of a pain in the *** with the connector. I used a PC power supply but the wires did get a little warm.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:12 AM   #8
Derf00
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Location: AZ
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Yeah, I thought about building a test harness using the cars battery and an oem connector from ebay. I did something similar for testing fuel injectors on the wife's Escape when I was tracking down what I thought was an idling/fuel issue and I wanted to test the injector for operation.

My other thought is, after looking at the bulbs they look like they're getting worn out. The passenger side has gone from clear to a kind of Purplish hued color with a white heat mark on it. The drivers side isn't purple but it's a little opaque with a similar heat mark.

After reading more about HID bulbs, they degrade over time and are spent after about 2000 hours. Spent as in they may continue lighting but won't work or look like new.

I used to drive with the HID's on during the day so over the course of 6 years I can see me easily burning through the 2K hour mark. Found a couple of places that sell Philips D3S bulbs (4300K OEM color) for $180 pair.
__________________
08 S197 GT Auto: FRPP Strut Tower Brace, FRPP Bullitt CAI, Bama 91-P Tune
Pending upgrades: Shaftmasters Aluminum 3.5" DS, FRPP 3.73 gears, Axle back exahust (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostBoyz View Post
if you are getting 29mpg in your 5.0, you aren't driving it correctly
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:09 AM   #9
bones302
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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Location: NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bones302 View Post
I'm not so sure it is the ballast but rather the bulb.
...cough...

try switching the bulbs and see if the problem is duplicated.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:58 AM   #10
Exley

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Vehicle: 2007, Ford, Mustang GT
Location: PA
Posts: 44
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derf00 View Post
I used to drive with the HID's on during the day so over the course of 6 years I can see me easily burning through the 2K hour mark. Found a couple of places that sell Philips D3S bulbs (4300K OEM color) for $180 pair.
Yea definitely swap the bulbs first. Sorry I thought you had already tried that. Our bulbs are D3R though. D3S is for cars with projectors.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:58 AM
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