• Alexander A.

Get Modern Lighting Without The Aftermarket Look

Updated: May 25, 2020

When you own a car that is as classic and iconic as this BMW E30 M3, you want to keep it looking as original as possible. However, with original lighting like this on an older vehicle, it makes it almost unsafe to drive at night. The lighting may have been adequate for the era the car was made in, but when you compare it to the bright lights of today's vehicles, it really gives you light envy.

So to get the lighting modernized on this vehicle we went ahead and installed our MDRN Standard LED Package on the headlights, turn signals, and fog lights.

BMW E30 with Morimoto 2stroke LEDs installed at modern mdrn retrofits

Vehicle Assessment

Let's really check this car out

First we went ahead and inspected the housing of the lights to check for the brand, bulb sizes, and damages (if any). Then we inspected the wiring.

The E30 had the original HELLA projector headlights, original turn signal housings, and original fog lights installed. Since the goal of this was to keep it original, we had to consider what bulbs we would use for this. To keep the wiring required to a minimum and taking into account the amount of space we had in the engine bay to hide everything, we decided to go with LEDs.

(In order to keep colors consistent we use the same brand of LEDs through out the car.)

BMW E30 original hella lighting at modern mdrn retrofits

Original lighting on the BMW E30


Out with the old and in with the new

When working on older vehicles like this it's common to run into issues. We specifically ran into these two:

  • Driver side fog light connector corroded

  • Driver side turn signal socket lose

To fix these problems we replaced the fog light connector with a new weather packed connector and realigned the pins inside of the turn signal socket.

Once we got those sorted, we wired in resistors for the turn signals to keep the flash rate the same and added anti-flicker modules to prevent the over head diagnostic from indicating a problem with the headlights.

(Since LEDs use less power they will cause hyper flashing and/or flickering if resistors and modules aren't installed)

Morimoto 2stroke LED headlight bulbs being installed on a BMW E30 M3 at modern mdrn retrofits

Morimoto 2stroke LEDs being installed

OEM + Lighting Completed

Now that's better lighting

To get even more style points on this install, we used the Morimoto switchback LEDs because they have a fade on function. This means that when the LEDs are turned on they will slowly fade on until they reach maximum intensity; and when the turn signals are activated they will change color to amber. Once the turn signal is cancelled they will turn off and fade back on to white.

The client absolutely loved that nice little touch and the rest of the lights on the car. He was also glad that we were able to identify those issues and fix them right away. Now driving at night will be a lot safer with the increased visibility for the driver and other traffic.

Parts we used:

  • Morimoto 2stroke LEDs for the low beams, high beams and fog lights

  • Morimoto X-VF switchback LEDs with load resistors for the front turn signals

(You just can't go wrong with that OEM + look)

BMW E30 M3 with Morimoto 2stroke LEDs and switchback turn signals installed with MDRN Pro LED package retrofits

LED lighting completed on the E30. Turn signal was caught with the turn signal activated

Even though you own an older vehicle there are options out there for better and brighter lighting. Not only do these upgrades make driving safer, but also more fun by giving you the confidence to be able to see at night.

What did you think of this install? Does your older vehicle need better lighting?

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