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Author Topic: Ford Galaxy - Xenon (HID) Headlight Knowledge-base (Mk2)  (Read 16033 times)

Offline Mirez

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Ford Galaxy - Xenon (HID) Headlight Knowledge-base (Mk2)
« on: February 04, 2012, 05:15:39 pm »
What are they?

Mk2 Galaxy's had the option of having Xenon Headlights specified and they also came as part of the "Technology Pack". Xenon headlights, also referred to as HID (High Intensity Discharge) produce a significantly brighter light then conventional halogen lamps and also produce a colour much closer to natural daylight resulting in a sharper, crisper light output. Legally HID lighting must come with headlight washers and be fully self-leveling, that is, as weight is added/removed to the vehicle the lamps must automatically lower or raise to compensate.

How do they work?

Unlike conventional headlights that use a filament lamp to produce the light source, HID lamps create an arc (essentially a powerful spark) and maintain that to create the output. In order to generate and maintain this arc a ballast pack is fitted to the back of the headlight assembly. The ballast is responsible for converting the vehicles 12V electrical source to around 1200V so it can ignite the arc and then produce a stable current in order to maintain it.

How do I know what I have?

HID lamps are generally easy to spot because of the much larger projection lens. They are accompanied by headlight washers so the bumper will have two rectangular panels just below the headlight. Below are two passenger lamp units, the left is a conventional halogen unit and the right photo shows a Xenon HID Lamp.


The HID System comprises multiple components:

  • Xenon Lamp
  • Controller
  • Ballast Pack
  • Headlight Washer
  • Headlight Washer Pump
  • Front Suspension Sensor
  • Rear Suspension Sensor

Xenon Lamp

The lamp (or bulb) in a HID unit is generally very reliable and will normally outlast the life of the vehicle. However one of the characteristics of a Xenon lamp is that its output decreases over time. In general the output of a Xenon lamp (in terms of its actual brightness) will begin to fall below that of a halogen lamp sometime between 200hrs and 3000hrs of use so whilst it may still be lit the benefit of Xenon lighting may have been lost.

Galaxy headlights use D2 XenArc lamp's which are commonly available. Care must be taken however to match the K (Kelvin) value when choosing replacements. The K value essentially  determines what colour light the lamp will produce, a higher K value will produce a bluer light and a lower K value will produce a yellower light. The factory lamps have a K value of 4300K with the optimal value being generally considered to be around 5000K - higher values will produce a distinctly blue/purple hue and will be perceived by the human eye as being dimmer then lower values.

A D2 Lamp:

The Controller is directly accessible by VagCom / VCDS using module 29 "Left Light".  The controller sits inside this headlight and a slave controller, 39 "Right Light" is fitted to the drivers side headlight. Whilst communication can be established with it the left headlight is the master to the system and holds the levelling set-up. Setup and Data will be covered later in this thread.

Ballast Pack
The ballast pack deals with the high voltages required to generate the arc, again highly reliable if one does fail its unlikely to be repairable. The Ballast packs on Galaxy's are bolted to the back of each headlight assembly. They are made by Bosch and are fitted to a wide range of cars. Whilst obviously preferable to fit like-for-like there are a number of reports that Bosch ballasts from other makes and models fit and work correctly. The part number for the Galaxy is "7M3 907 391" but has a hefty price tag of a little over £200. They are not sided.

Headlight Wash System
The headlight wash system is required on all vehicles equipped with HID lighting and from 2012 it will be a MoT failure if it isn't working. The system comprises two relays, a motor, a fuse and two headlight washers integrated into the bumper. The system is activated every time the windscreen is washed with the headlights on, using one relay to determine that the headlights are switched on and another to energising the pump. The pump is supplied by Fuse 11 (20 Amp) which unless you have a factory fitted trailer hitch is the sole circuit on this fuse - due to the high current requirements of this circuit its not uncommon for it to blow during winter periods if the reservoir is frozen. Once energised the pump runs for around 2 seconds which sends a high pressure stream of water to the jets, this pressure overcomes the retraction spring allowing the turret to lift from the bumper and spray the headlight. The jets can be adjusted for both vertical and side to side alignment, and also the turret can be rotated to adjust the height it sits on the bumper.

Headlight Levelling
By law Xenon light's must be fitted with automatic levelling, that is, as weight is added or removed from the vehicle the headlight beam must be automatically adjusted to maintain a zero reference. Again from 2012 the MoT will evaluate the levelling system however its unclear just how or if it will be tested. The system comprises two load sensors which are mounted onto the front and rear anti-roll bars and two levelling assemblies mounted within the headlight assembly itself. Within the levelling assemblies are a motor for moving the headlight and a sliding resistor to measure the current position. The load sensors monitor the difference in front and rear chassis heights and reference that data against the current headlight aim and move the aim as required. The most common reason for the levelling system not to function is for the levelling reference map to have been lost, this can be for a variety of reasons but complete battery disconnection seems to occasionally cause this. Should the map need to be restored then a full version of VagCom/VCDS will be required:

[29 - Left Light]
[Basic Settings - 04]
Group 001

Wait at least 20 seconds for the headlamp motors to move. The headlamps are now in the zero position so you can turn on headlights ans manually adjust them against a suitable aiming target. When finished scroll up to Group 002. The Xenon Range controller has now learned this position as its Home position. Click the [Done, Go Back] button to finish.

I don't have factory HID lights, can I add them?
Yes, but only if you have a lot of time on your hands! Retrofitting them requires you also fit the self-levelling system and the headlight wash system. There are some wiring modifications and coding that has to be changed.

What about an aftermarket HID kit?
NO! Regardless of what is said in their marketing hype there is physically no way the halogen reflector can control the glare a Xenon lamp produces. There is a reason OEM headlamps have all that extra glass you can see in the photo's above, its designed to produce a very sharp cut-off that isn't going to dazzle other drivers. HID kits are always illegal in the UK, they can't have type approval, E-Marking or meet lighting regulations so don't fall for the advertising - most sellers just want to make a sale, they don't care if what they claim is fact or fiction! Fitting these kits might make you see fractionally better but everyone coming toward you will see less - think about that, what you are actually doing is blinding the one thing controlling that 2 ton, 60mph missile coming toward you...

03 Ford Galaxy 1.9 TDI 115 Ghia in Spruce Green Metallic
With cream leather interior, Full Bodykit, Remapped at 145bhp, Lowered on 18's
08 Ford Transit 2.2 TDI 115 in Frozen White
With retrofitted everything except another slidey door! :)

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Offline brummygit

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Useful Information - Headlamp Levelling Motor with Xenon Headlights
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2012, 06:51:32 pm »
I had to replace one of my levelling motors in my Xenon headlamps today. I hope the following might help someone else.

When I replaced my motor, the new motor was not in the same position as the one removed. I fitted the motor and the lamp with the the new motor was much too low, so I drove to a local car park with a decent wall and adjusted the headlight up to the same as the untouched unit.

I then drove home happy with the job and decided to test the motor by asking some people to sit in the boot while I turned the lights and ignition on. To my horror the old light lowered as expected, but the new one raised up. I was convinced I had a dodgy motor.

A quick exit by my ballast (kids) and a turning on the ignition and lights again moved both lamps up correctly. Ballast in and both moved back down again. Now the headlamp adjustment was working fine, so it was back to my trusty wall to readjust the new lamp again.

The Xenon headlamps only ask the motor to adjust the height when a change to the expected setting is required. When I had first fitted the motor it didn't self adjust until the first time I had added weight in the boot - by which time I had mucked up the adjustment.


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