Ford and Volkswagen MPV Forums

Large MPVs -- Ford Galaxy / VW Sharan / SEAT Alhambra: => Mk3 Ford Galaxy / Ford S-Max => Topic started by: TonyC121 on October 15, 2014, 09:11:28 AM

Title: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: TonyC121 on October 15, 2014, 09:11:28 AM
I have a 2011 2.2 tdci Titanium X which seems to have developed a fault that my local ford garage can not find. It recently had a new battery after a starting problem ford reset the radio, etc but not my auto leveling lights as the beam was very low. In fact no beam out front the at all. However they reset them last week all was ok as we left the garage. Now the lights are back to a low beam again and I can't see a thing when driving.

When it's plugged in no fault codes on computer, no fault messages on car dash, no indication of a fault other then beam seems low so we reset it again. Less then 24hrs after another reset the lights are back to a low beam again.

Both lights do it, both headlight bulbs are working/bright, both lights autolevel at start up but set very, very low.

Can anyone help  :o
Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: Chrispb on October 15, 2014, 10:11:22 AM
Hello Tony and  [W4]
I can't help with your problem but Mirez wil be along he may be able to.
Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: TonyC121 on October 15, 2014, 12:06:15 PM
No worries.

It's in with another Ford garage at the weekend maybe they will have better luck.

A bit more info - Bulbs are fine, balist units are fine, according to the computer level is spot on, new battery has been checked and thats fine, light units have been checked no visable signs of damage or water ingress and wiring loom to the lighting unit is also fine. But I still can't see a thing, in fact I'm driving with just my daytime running lights on as they are brighter then my headlights.

I look forward to reading the comments and hopefully someone has a nugget of infomation that will steer to fixing the problem.
Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: Mirez on October 15, 2014, 04:34:12 PM
Hi Tony, welcome to the forum.

I have two possibilities, the first being the most likely. That is, the auto-levelling isn't working correctly as it has lost its home position as a result of the battery disconnection.

If you imagine the vehicle perfectly level, the headlights are adjusted for the beam to be correct and then the controller is told this is "home". Unlike conventional headlights xenon units need to automatically adjust the aim as the vehicles pitch changes so the beam isn't dazzling to others. To do this the controller periodically samples two sensors, one on each axle, to measure the amount of weight (load) being carried and then calculates the difference between the two to work out if the vehicle is pointing up, down or level. Once it's got that value, it then adjusts the headlights to compensate based against the home position is already knows. When the battery is disconnected the controller can forget where the home position is so in most cases (I'm not 100% on the Mk3 setup) it will drive the lights to the lowest position to avoid dazzle. If Ford have simply adjusted the lights back to a 0 degree pitch without telling the controller this is "home" then as soon as it checks the pitch of the car it will discover the lights are neither at "home" (as it still doesn't know) or at low and subsequently drive them back to the low position.

The second possibility revolves around how often you've driven a xenon setup in the wet? Xenon's are awesome in the dry but actually worse then halogens in the wet, a result of the lights colour. If you are unused to xenon then it can be possible to think they aren't even on in very wet conditions as the light isn't reflected back as well.

Final point is that DRL's have no cut-off at all, so beware you will be dazzling others if you are using them in the dark instead of proper lights.
Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: TonyC121 on October 15, 2014, 09:36:16 PM
Mirez many thanks.

Ford assured me that they did store the home position the second time it went back. I've owned the car from new so second possibility a non- starter as I've driven in the wet plenty and yes I agree there can be a difference but not no beam at all.

It's still a mystery at present even the independent garage I took it to today have no idea just a recommendation to change the bulbs which have been done already. Roll on the weekend as it's going to a different ford garage, I'll keep you all posted.
Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: TonyC121 on October 20, 2014, 12:59:25 PM
As promised an update.

Well all is good lights are now pointing where they should be the issue was with the bulbs themselves not the headlight unit or auto levelling. After many checks and many vehicle technicians looking at the car and all saying the bulbs were fine they all forgot to check if the bulb was actually secured in it's housing. It wasn't until they started to strip out the headlight unit they heard a rattling. On further investigation the bulb retaining clip had come off, yes on both bulbs. They put it down to hitting a pot hole too hard as a possible reason for the clip coming away - has anyone else ever had this happen?

Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: Mirez on October 20, 2014, 05:35:27 PM
How much do you trust the garage that replaced your battery? Given xenon bulbs are around £120 each, it wouldn't be the first time someone at a garage has swapped over his ageing pair with a nice new set! I've not had a decent look at the Mk3 setup but the Mk2's use a twist-lock retainer which needs considerable effort to twist before it comes loose - certainly wouldn't be as the result of a pothole IMHO.
Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: TonyC121 on October 22, 2014, 09:31:11 AM
It's strange you should say that as every time my car has been in my local ford garage it has to go back for something else or because job not completed properly. I will have a look at the bulbs at the weekend to see if they have been changed over.  I was surprized to hear that the bulbs had just fallen out as much as you and now you have mentioned the garage could have swapped them over there should have been no reason for them to touch the bulbs when changing my battery.

Do you suggest I name the ford garage so others steer clear?
Title: Re: Xenon Headlights Dim/Low
Post by: Mirez on October 22, 2014, 05:49:59 PM
Its a possibility is all I'm saying and I know they do swap bits about sometimes when fault finding other vehicles which whilst it isn't right, is a semi-legitimate reason to have taken them out. I remember a while back I popped into my local VW garage who had my golf for a service to grab something out the back and was somewhat taken about to find they had swapped the climate panel out to disprove a faulty one on another car - I certainly wasn't happy at the time but they put everything back correctly and I get the impression this might happen a little more then we suspect!

Without proof it's fairly academic if you name them or not as at this stage its just for information, you can't categorically say it was them.