Before I do the final connector termination I wanted to get together an install guide, and might as well practice what I preach, so my car it is. It took me 15 minutes to install the SKBOWE pair while taking pictures and figuring it out for the first time.
Ironically it took about 30 minutes to get the original pre-KBOWE out. I forgot how big of a PITA it was to get that thing installed.
Just for the record, it still works fine – 8 years later (2009-2017) – still under 1V pk-pk at driving 50W at 50%PWM. Anyway, out with the old, in with the new!
Step 1: Pull the pin
JKJK if you can’t figure out how to get your headlights out of a P1 car please return your SKBOWE .
Real Step 1: Mount SKBOWE
The recommended quick-install mounting location is behind the OEM GDL (gas discharge lamp) control module cutout, directly behind the headlight housing. The best way would be to drill two holes in the upper member and secure the SKBOWE with stainless screws like my ballasts are:
But I know 99% of you won’t do that (and it’s hot outside), so for demonstration purposes here’s how one might secure them with zip-ties (included) in about 30 seconds.
Fits like a glove! Alternately, depending on how your ballast is mounted you could shove them in the gap between the quarter panel and wheel well, and secure it with a single zip tie or industrial strength velcro (not included)
Step 2: Ground SKBOWE
The recommended grounding location is the M8x1.25 quarter-panel mounting bolt at the top of the headlight housing opening. This was painted with the car so you will need to clean it up.
This is the most important step in the install process – the grounding is what protects your WMM.
You should really use a Dremel Tool with a burr or sanding disk, but I will include a small piece of sand paper in the kit for those who don’t have them. Using the sand paper will take a long time (spend 5 minutes per side)! THE METAL HAS TO BE SHINY.
Once the bolt is clean, route the ground strap up and around to come in from behind.
I will include two M8-1.25 stainless nuts with each kit. Tighten the hell out of this nut.
Step 3: Install the Ballast
Make sure to mount the ballast such that the connector(s) won’t collect water:
9005/9006 connectors from Headlight -> SKBOWE -> Ballast. It only hooks up one way.
Do check to make sure the red goes to red (or +), black to black (or -), 99% of manufactures use the same configuration (as does the SKBOWE) but it never hurts to check.
Here’s a diagram if you are having trouble with my blurry iPhone pics
If you want to get fancy and have the Morimoto ballasts, the “Nick-style” setup which eliminates the need for a grommet is shown below. This is exactly how the original BMW E46 Gen1 headlight assemblies were wired, with both the ignitor input and 12V output passing through the housing.
Note that this only works for ballasts with detachable ignitors, since there is only 85VAC or so in the blue/green wires. Don’t even think about running the HV (20kV) next to battery voltage!
Start out testing by activating the headlights with the engine off just to make sure everything is hooked up right.
If that works, button her up, do a quick FOD check, fire her up and go for a spin! Enjoy your beautiful error-free headlights.