Headlight beam mounting clip - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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    Headlight beam mounting clip

    31 Comments by Mokkybear Published on 11-27-12 06:12 AM
    Others on the forum have complained about the fiddly attachment clips on the headlight bulbs. I didnt think it was much of a problem until I didnt take sufficient care when changing a low beam bulb recently and managed to break off the tabs that locate the spring clip which holds the bulb. The low beam bulb is particularly hard to get to and you can either see it, or get your fingers in there, but not both. Hence it seems breaking the tabs is not uncommon for the uninitiated.

    The high beam isnt such a problem due to the vertical orientation of the clip it tends to self-centre. On the low beam though, the spring clip is horizontal and tends to skew downwards when released. If you dont centre and align it properly when you try to re-fit the bulb, you can easily snap the little tabs that locate the spring clip under the screw.

    To fix this, I fabricated a small L-shaped bracket with a hole drilled for the screw. This ensures the spring clip remains in place and aligns horizontally. To make it, I used a scrap of copper about 0.6 mm thick from my bitsnbobs bucket (hence the spurious semi-circular cutout seen in the photos). I also added some landings to the base of the bracket, but these now seem to be spurious, so a straight 11 mm wide should suffice, as per my diagram.

    You could possibly fit the bracket without taking out the headlight assembly, but then you risk cross-threading the screw, and the assembly is very easily removed anyway.
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    R1200R-LC ​Exclusive in Thunder Grey with Touring Pack. Formerly Graphitane F800ST 04/2007. I rarely visit the forum these days ...

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  4. #2
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    Nice fix. The last time I had to mess with mine I put a washer under the screw to retain the clip more securely. Just a poor CHEAP design by the boy in Germany.

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  6. #3
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    Outstanding description and pics but most important the quality engineering that you applied.

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    Even though my clip retainer wasn't broken (yet), this post helped a lot when my low beam burned out yesterday, on my way to the annual safety inspection! Guess I shouldn't complain: a few weeks shy of 4 years and about 22k miles.

    One of the most valuable things it taught me was the importance of spending the extra 10 minutes (at most) to remove the entire headlight assembly. Unless you have done the bulb replacement before, it is very hard to reach around the forks and see just how the clip latches and way too easy to beak the plastic retainer. With the assembly off the bike, piece of cake.

    I removed the mirrors, windshield and two top pieces of tupperware, left & right, to get at the four fasteners for the headlight assembly. Next time I think I can just remove the mirrors and shield, then loosen and move the tupperware enough to get at the four T25s. Either way, be careful unclipping the three wiring connectors -- headlights; parking light; ambient air temp probe -- to avoid snapping any of their locking tabs.

    Thanks to Mokkybear and hope this helps the next person.

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zmo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport.

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  11. #5
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    Danham, I need to try your method. Only a few screws and a few minutes? Sounds too easy.

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    Thanks for the advice and great pictures. I bought a 2007 F800S earlier this year and found exactly this issue when the dipped beam bulb failed last week - previous owner must have snapped the plastic tabs. I couldn't work out why the retaining clip wouldn't release when unclipped from its fastening until I took the headlight off and found the pivoting end of the retaining clip had been clamped down under the screw head.

    Anyway I found that an adapted picture hook makes an ideal hinge for the retaining clip for anyone (like me!) who doesn't have Mokkybear's engineering skills. Pics attached in case this is useful for anyone.

    Click image for larger version.

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  14. #7
    Mokkybear's Avatar
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    Looks an excellent solution, and easier to produce than mine
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    This article really helped me to replace my low beam bulb last week when mine failed. Luckily too my local Halfords had the H7 bulb I needed too at a cost of 9.99

  16. #9
    Elgin, Scotland ST404 is offline Volunteer Moderator - GT
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    The easier the better. I nice simple solution to an ongoing problem

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    This is an old thread but what a difference. Even dealers have read this. How do I know. Changed my blown dipped beam tonight. A replacement lasting about 10 months. Saw this mod which my dealer did as a favour, never mentioned it. 90 minutes of disassemble reassembly and 5 minutes for old out new in. Thank you and why isn't this jus part of the assembly in the first place?

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    When I changed my low bulb I screamed to the heavens for about 40minutes, that dumbies at bmw factory had the original bulb mounted with the square section OUTSIDE , in vertical position, just like the one of the high lamp...and obviously to make the headbulb enter in such a wrong position, they FORCED IT DOWN BY SHEER FORCE...taking it out without breaking all the stuff was almost a miracle... !
    Majesty400 -> bmw f800s

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    Hi Again all, My Headlight went again the other day post a ride home from work. It was fine when I got home. Next morning the headlight LAMP was on and saw light had failed. Went to halfords that evening on way back from work and got a replacement which I fitted in the shop car park under a spotlight as it was dark. Lets hope this once last longer though I guess the water must be getting in somewhere though I did notice anythign obvious.

  22. #14
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    Thanks Mokkybear and everyone for these solutions to this beyond pathetic cruel joke of a design. They actually and to work at this design to get it this bad!

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    Quote Originally Posted by oscar800 View Post
    Anyway I found that an adapted picture hook makes an ideal hinge for the retaining clip for anyone (like me!) who doesn't have Mokkybear's engineering skills. Pics attached in case this is useful for anyone.
    This looks great! The advantage of this method is that it's easy to make and the brass retaining clip is captive, so it can't be lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mokkybear View Post
    To make it, I used a scrap of copper about 0.6 mm thick from my bitsnbobs bucket...a straight 11 mm wide should suffice, as per my diagram.
    I wonder if it would be possible to shorten the 5.5mm side a bit, say to 1.5 or 2mm, so that the screw could be partially backed off, the clip rotated out of the way, and the bail swung away for lamp replacement. In this way, both the screw and clip would be captive and couldn't be lost.

  25. #16
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    With both solutions, there's no need to back the screw off - just operate the wire clip as the BMW engineers intended.
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  26. #17
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    AHH I see. I didn't grasp that this is the hinged side. Thanks for clarifying.

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    My plastic tab near the clip retaining screw broke also. I took the fairing off so I could work on the plastic headlight setup and cut a piece of copper out of a Prius hybrid battery cell interconnect. My roomie rebuilds Prius battery packs. I bent the little piece of copper, slipped the clip in and tightened the screw. Problem solved. The clip should no longer be able to leave the fixture and I can still move it. But, I fruitlessly sweated trying to do it for awhile without removing the headlight fixture from my F800S. I also used two of these copper Prius battery interconnects to fix my F800S radiator right side mount. DPO somehow broke off the radiator plastic mounting bracket around where there is a rubber grommet. Can't blame BMW since most radiators are plasticy nowadays. Anyways the Prius coppers gives it a nice slightly flexible radiator vibration mounting.

  28. #19
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    I do wonder where headlamp assemblies are manufactured as they are the cheapest and nastiest I've come across, so different from the generally high standard of engineering of most of the rest of the bike! Come to think of it there is a thread on the GT version regarding a rear light that keeps cracking, perhaps made by the same manufacturer?

  29. #20
    Elgin, Scotland ST404 is offline Volunteer Moderator - GT
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    The day I purchased my latest GT, I removed the fairing to fit other items (horns, Autocom, Fuse lock, Optimate). Whilst off I took the headlight right off the bike and fitted the bent washer fix as I had on other "F's" . It saves the hassle of dealing with it when you least want to.
    Last edited by ST404; 09-12-16 at 06:35 PM.

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  31. #21
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    Did you remove the headlight assembly to do this repair and you did manage to do it from the rear without removing the assembly?

  32. #22
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    I didn't bother to remove the headlight assemble - but I do have a tiny ratchet handle that fits quarter inch hex bits (in this case, #2 Phillips). I assume a short screwdriver would work.
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    I executed this fix today on my F800GT using the flattened picture hook method. I did not remove the headlight assembly, and with a stubby #2 Phillips it went smoothly. I especially appreciated how the flattened picture hook magically created just enough pivot space for the clip.

    Now to fix the fried socket that started this problem...

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  35. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mantsel View Post
    ... Now to fix the fried socket that started this problem...
    I, too, suffered this problem. The stock connectors weren't firm enough, causing poor contact, arcing, then heating which removed all temper from the metal in the connector, spiralling into a non-functioning headlight.

    I ended up cutting off the socket and splicing in a new ceramic H7 connector (a few dollars on eBay).
    R1200R-LC ​Exclusive in Thunder Grey with Touring Pack. Formerly Graphitane F800ST 04/2007. I rarely visit the forum these days ...

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  37. #25
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    With a cordless drill and the correct Torx sockets it doesn't take long to take out the whole headlight assembly to fix it when the plastic breaks near the headlight bulb. Picture hanger metal or any little piece of sheet copper folded over works great...plus one little screw. I prefer copper because it is easier to work with. Just don't strip anything with a powerful cordless drill. Small air ratchet would work too.

  38. #26
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    FWIW the dealer replaced the whole assembly on my '13 GT under warranty and I asked them to apply the fix on the new assembly prior to installation which he kindly did, so there you go. On my '16 RT they solved the poor design hinge but the low beam is so hard to get to it's heinous. I did change it out, it took about 50 minutes to do all done blindly from the front of the bike and I think the next time it should go much quicker but it's exceedingly tight--my fine boned hands allowed me to get it done.

  39. #27
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    My OEM low beam went out yesterday, so this morning I undertook replacement of both low and high with new Phillips X-treme Vision 55W H7 lamps.

    Fortunately, I was able to replace both lamps without breaking off the tabs, but I had the confidence to tackle the job knowing that these excellent fixes were there as a backup.

    For anyone undertaking the job and wanting to try not to break off the tabs, here would be my tips:

    1) Do it in the garage under good lighting.
    2) Use your phone to take pictures of what's in there so you don't have to fumble around.
    3) Rather than squeezing the two ends of the wire bale, I used a fingertip to push one end at a time straight down and a bit to the inside to release.
    4) Be sure to properly orient and seat the new lamp fully before attempting to re-secure the bale (to prevent stressing the retainer).
    5) Re-secure the bale by again pushing straight down with a fingertip and a bit to the inside to move it under the catch.

    The following photos are oriented correctly ("up" is at the top of the photos):

    Low Beam (right side), connected:




    Low Beam (right side), disconnected:




    High Beam (left side), connected:




    High Beam (left side), disconnected:
    Last edited by Futterman; 01-14-17 at 04:41 PM. Reason: Add photos

  40. #28
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    My HID light failed and HIDS4U sent TWO replacements under guarantee! So all I had to do was to put one back..... two hours later, with a sore back, and cricked neck I gave up as the spring clip came away in my hand. The screw had slackened off , not broken, but I found it impossible to locate the spring clip and tighten the screw at the same time. So I've given up for to-day and when I recover I'll strip the front off, and while I'm at it sacrifice a picture hook. There's no consideration for the older generation when designing modern tupperware!

  41. #29
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    as I like to use Osram nightbreakers (they last a bout a year constantly on) I've changed the bulb a few times by feel just removing the O-ring cover, this time I moved the clip too far, and after 15minutes wondering why I couldn't get it back in, I found this thread, used the picture hook method, with the headlight assembly still in place, job done! thanks all

  42. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudshark View Post
    as I like to use Osram nightbreakers (they last a bout a year constantly on) I've changed the bulb a few times by feel just removing the O-ring cover, this time I moved the clip too far, and after 15minutes wondering why I couldn't get it back in, I found this thread, used the picture hook method, with the headlight assembly still in place, job done! thanks all
    You did better than me! Once my man flu abates the front of my GT comes off after a fruitless few hours trying to get spring and screwdriver co-located with mirror and light. No chance!

  43. #31
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    i have a 2013 F800GT and need to remove the headlamp assembly to fix the headlamp clamp issue and retrieve a dropped screw. Can someone tell me how to remove the front headlamp assembly?

  44. #32
    Elgin, Scotland ST404 is offline Volunteer Moderator - GT
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    Remove all the front fairing pieces and you will see from the front of the bike that the headlight unit is held on by 4 bolts. Undo these and the headlight will pull away.

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