Tools and supplies required:

  • HID lighting upgrade kit. Includes 2 ballasts, 2 exciters, 2 bulbs (9006 or H1), 2 wire insulators, 1 package of zip ties,
  • Soldering gun and solder or stake-on style butt connectors
  • Acid paste
  • Drill and multibit
  • Phillips screwdriver.
  • Small wire cutters
  • Wire stripper
  • Black RTV silicone (H1 system only)
  • Electrical tape
  • (2) 15 Amp fuses
  • (2) (optional) H1 or 9006 wiring adapter.
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Cloth or lint free paper towel
  • Double sided tape.

I am going to assume you have done your homework and realize that these are not DOT approved in the US. For those in Canada I believe you are OK but you should check your provincial MVA if this is important to you.

There are a wide range of HID systems available for the E32 and E34 so research exactly what you want. For improved lighting you will want a low Kelvin probably below 5000K while for aesthetics you will want a higher Kelvin. 4300K is what most OE manufacturers supply from the factory including BMW.
Not only that but there are a large number of offshore kits flooding the market so be certain you know what you are getting. You do get what you pay for.

For most US and Canadian cars you are going to want the 9006 kit while those in Europe and abroad or those who have upgraded to the Euro Smiley lamp you want the H1 kit. In North America some E34’s and E32’s built in 1991 through 1993 have non-projector lamps and you are going to have to upgrade to projectors before going to an HID system. I recommend the European lamps by Hella, Bosch, or Depo. Depo is nowhere near the quality of Bosch and Hella but at half price it is a viable alternative. The rest of the offshore options are junk. I won’t name them but please avoid them. Also avoid clear and ‘angel eye’ lamps unless aesthetics is more important than lighting.

So now you have done all of your homework and research, decided on a system, and want to install it in your E32 7 Series or E34 5 Series. The factory lighting systems on these cars are identical.

1. The Bohmen H1 kit

2. Start by removing the rear covers over the backs of the headlamps to expose the wiring.

Prefit the ballast and make certain the wires will reach with the plastic covers back in place. Test to see if you have room to slide the bulb into the lamp. You may need to remove the air box, washer bottle, or LAD reservoir to insert the bulb… it needs to go in straight and in the correct orientation.

9006 system:
Unplug the light bulb and then twist and remove the bulb. Remove the HID bulb from the case and handle it by the spacer (see photograph).

3. Handle bulb by the plastic spacer

Only remove the spacer once the bulb is inserted into the lamp. NEVER touch the glass bulb. If you do happen to touch the glass clean the bulb with alcohol and a lint free cloth or towel. Install the bulbs.

H1 system:
4. Unplug the hat then twist and remove the hat.

Disconnect the bulb and ground wire then remove the hat completely. Disengage the spring retainer and remove the bulb.

5. Using a screwdriver press the wire pins into the hat and remove them.

Fill the holes with black RTV silicone. Find centre on the hat and drill a hole approximately 14mm (9/16).

6. Multibit drill bit

Continue to test fit the grommet on the bulb to make sure you don’t go too big. On mine I had to snip an additional notch in order to slide the connector through but keep the opening small enough for the grommet to fit.

7. Note notch on hole

With the wire harness threaded through the hat insert the new H1 bulb into the lamp paying close attention to the orientation. Make certain the two nipples are fully inserted and that the light bulb base is sitting perfectly square. Any deviation will result in a poor light pattern. Push the hat onto the grommet and wiggle the grommet into position in the hole. On mine the hats were too shallow and the grommet protrudes through so I had to use the RTV silicone to seal the hole.

If you didn’t purchase the optional 9006 or H1 wiring adapter cut the end off of your existing H1 or 9006 plug. Solder the wire ends of your adapter or the stripped ends of your harness like I did.

8. Use acid paste to ensure a good solder joint

9. Solder the BMW wiring to the spades

On my Bohmen system the spades were supplied in the kit so I simply soldered them to the lighting wires then plugged them in in the correct position: black on the HID is ground while Brown on the BMW is ground. Colour on the BMW side connects to white. The BMW colours are constant and the HID side is pretty universal but confirm in your own system.

10. I then snapped the insulator cover in place.

Tape over any exposed wiring with a quality electrical tape. Having found a nice flat clear area for your ballast clean both the mounting surface and the back of the ballast with alcohol.

11. Allow it to evaporate then apply the double sided tape supplied in the kit to the back of the ballast.

The body of the ballast should not be allowed to contact metal once fully installed so allow clearance to any body parts.
12. Press it into place.

Plug the HID system into the light.
13. Mount the exciter.

On the passenger side I had to mount the exciter to the back of the lamp assembly but on the driver’s side I was able to mount it to the bottom of the fender just behind the lamps. There is no extra tape supplied so use zip ties or tape to mount these in a secure location.

14. Double check your wiring and zip tie it securely out of the way then reinstall anything you have removed including the rear plastic covers.


On all E32’s and E34’s the fuses to the final circuit of the low beams are in position 10 and 11 in the front Power distribution box. Replace the 7.5 Amp fuses with 15 Amp fuses to accommodate the inrush current. Continuous draw will be 2.9 Amps compared to 4.6 Amps with the original 55W H1 or 9006.

Test your new, brighter, cleaner lighting! Be sure to check and aim the headlamps at your first opportunity to take full advantage of the HID system.

16. Comparing 5000K HID to a 65W H1

You can also use the H1 upgrade kit on the E32 and E34’s that have the projector style fog lamps.

17. Compare the H1 to the H1 based HID

Note the two nipples that must be properly inserted into the back of the lamp.

Article By Shayne Mcguire