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Accessing the headlight bucket on RS/RT
(+ cleaning the headlamp assembly, re-aiming the headlight,
accessing wiring, etc.)
Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer

http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/headlightbucket.htm
36



1.  Don't do any disassembly of the fairing!
2.  Fold back, barely, just a small amount, one corner at a time, each corner of the rubberized material surrounding the $$$ glass in the fairing.   That will expose a phillips screw at each corner.  
3.  Use a phillips screwdriver on one each screw in the 4 corners & loosen them fully. I usually just leave them in place, fully loosened.
4.  Pull out the entire rubber headlight assembly we call the Headlight Tunnel.  BMW calls it the Light Shaft with Molded Glass.  

5.  The two very large side nuts that hold the metal headlight bucket to the metal ears, are, even when tight (which they should be), acting against rubber pads in such a way that the headlight bucket can be moved (rotated) up and down without loosening the large side nuts. The bucket is moveable for adjustment, without loosening those big nuts.  If not, maybe you are missing the rubbers, then you will have to loosen them a bit, and consider installing the proper rubbers, etc. 
6.   From the front of the motorcycle, grab the headlight bucket, and tilt it up somewhat with your hands.  Do this enough to allow a phillips screwdriver to access the screw at the bottom center of the front of the bucket at the outer chromed ring.   That screw holds the headlight and reflector/chrome/assembly to the bucket.  Loosen a few turns...do NOT remove the screw.  
7.   Lift the chrome ring with the headlamp and reflector and headlamp lens UP and outwards FROM the bottom, and remove the electrical plug going to headlight lamp, while the lamp is still mounted to the reflector.  The lamp is usually fairly tight.

You now have everything in front of you.  What you see depends on your year and model.

Except on very last of the Airheads or some earlier R45/R65 models, you probably you will see the Flasher relay on the left, headlamp relay on right...as you face the open bucket.   It is a good idea to be sure all wires are tight, nothing loose, the two fuses are making good contact.  If the fuses are not making good contact, then remove, clean/burnish fuses and prongs with eraser.  DO NOT break prongs, bend carefully a bit if needed, they must grip fuses moderately tightly.   I usually rotate the fuses with my fingertips, so as to have the pointy tips of the fuses rub a bit in the holder, which helps clean the contact area.

Now is a good time to remove the headlight lamp bulb, clean the inside of the reflector with alcohol and swab and clean the lamp.  Clean the lamp quartz glass with alcohol and soft cotton rag or swab, etc.  Do NOT leave fingerprints or anything at all on the quartz glass of the halogen lamp itself when you reinstall it, and, of course, the reflector must be dry, any fingerprints or moisture left can reduce lamp life. 

You can clean the reflector, via the lamp hole, with non-ammonia glass cleaners.  I prefer NOT to use ANYthing with ammonia.  I use common household 'rubbing alcohol', which is 70% isopropyl alcohol plus water.   Clean the inside of the reflector with a soft cotton swab, curved forceps help.  Clean the inside of the protective glass in the Tunnel too, any common cleaner, ammoniated or not, and even detergent in water will do for that glass.  When you are sure you have no cleaning streaks left on the reflector and/or glass, reassemble.

When replacing the headlight/ring/assembly, it hooks first at the top, there is a depression for that, to center the assembly.  You may have to hold a bit of pressure on it towards the bottom, while you tighten the phillips screw at the bottom. DO NOT overtighten that screw. BE SURE that the ring/glass/lamp assembly is fully home to the bucket.  If it does not want to, loosen the screw another turn or two.


Adjusting the headlight:

Most people simply grab the headlight bucket from in front before replacing the Tunnel rubber assembly, and move the headlight to an APPROXIMATE position, and then, from the rider's seat position, and push it to the "desired" light output position on low beam.   Nothing at all wrong with doing that.  For the purists, or more nerdy, etc...there is an official method....which places the light in legal illumination position.

Here is the official way to adjust the headlight:

On your flat floored garage, make a mark on the floor, 5 meters (16 feet 5 inches) from a vertical wall.

Sit on your bike, with a normal load, that means balancing and having your feet on the pegs! as best you can.

Have someone measure the distance from the CENTER of the headlight outer glass to the garage floor.  Put a mark at this same vertical distance on the wall, and add another mark 5 cm (2 inches) below it. 

Move your bike until the FRONT AXLE is directly above the 5 meters floor mark. Aim the headlight for the two marks, balancing, with your normal weight and load, as before.    The bucket should be adjusted for the cutoff to dark area on top to lighted area, to be between the two marks.  Below is a scan of a factory service book sketch that may help you visualize the information:



rev:
02/25/2005:  clarifications
06/08/2011:  Clean up
10/03/2012:  Add QR code, add language button, update Google Ad-Sense code; shorten article and eliminate a fair amount of redundancy.
2013:  Remove language button, its scripting caused problems.
07/15/2016:  Update meta-codes, scripts, H.L., justify left, clean up fonts, add .gif of adjustment sketch.

Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer

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Last check/edit: Saturday, April 29, 2017