07 1200gs headlight aiming help

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Ritchard, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Ritchard

    Ritchard ZoomZoom

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
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    108
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    Toronto - Center of the Toronto Universe
    I am having a bit of bother with my 1200GS. It seems that the headlamp is aimed way too high, and I can't seem to adjust it any lower. Is there anything to fiddle with besides the adjustment knob and two-up adjustment lever behind the lamps? There are actually two knobs, one in the bottom center, and one in the upper right (from the driver's seat). I gather that the second know is for left to right adjustment, like a car headlight.

    I cannot say with certainty, but it seems that this problem came along after a recent H7 lamp replacement.

    Anyone got any ideas, or can point me to some literature?

    Thanks in advance,

    R
    #1
  2. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    If the problem came in after lamp replacement, there are two possible reasons:

    1. You did not seat the H7 bulb right. It happens occasionally; it is possible to have the "collar" misaligned and still clamp it down. Open up the shell and double-check that the bulb is properly seated.

    2. The bulb is bad. Less likely cause than the above, but still possible.


    Regarding adjustment: you are right, these are the only two adjusters.

    The way you do it is: you set the flip lever for the position where the beam is higher (I believe, that is lever down - you'll see for yourself). This is the normal setup for lightly-loaded riding. Then, adjust the knob in the lever for the proper tilt.

    Proper tilt is when you are sitting on the bike (not on stand!), with your normal "commuting", lightly loaded setup. The idea is to have the shocks and tires compressed as when riding. This is when the bike tail is in highest position you'll use. BMW spec is 1% tilt at this point: the beam should drop 1cm for every 1m distance. In Americanese, that is 1" for about every 8ft. :evil

    Now, when the bike is loaded (pillion, luggage), the tail goes down and the headlight shines upward. That's what the lever is for: you flip it to the other position to lower the beam to compensate for heavy rear.

    The knurled nut at the corner of the lamp is indeed for side-to-side adjustment. No specification on that, as far as I know.
    #2
  3. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    There is one other possible cause. If you push too hard while installing a new bulb, you can actually pop the adjustment arm out of it's joint. What you end up with is the light beam aim is way too high and no amount of adjustment changes it. If you did this you are pretty much up a creek, as the entire headlight assembly is sealed and you can't easily get to the adjustment arm to pop it back in place. Here is a link to someone who was able to fix this problem, but it's not easy to do.

    http://www.snafu.org/pics/r1200gs/headlight/

    The main thing is that when you replace bulbs, be gentle and don't push too hard to seat it.
    #3
  4. GeorgeinVA

    GeorgeinVA Beemers Uber Alles

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    What he said. They pop out very easily. To bad they don't pop back in as easy.
    #4
  5. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I found a pretty quick and easy fix when I accidentally disconnected the adjustment arm linkage on my GS. It's a ball and socket joint, with the ball attached to the knob end, and the socket attached to the headlight reflector. The socket needs to be positioned on top of the ball, which I accomplished by:

    1) removing the headlight unit and instrument cluster from the bike (it's only a couple bolts on either side and a locating pin on the bottom). remove the instrument cluster from the headlight housing (just a few clips hold it in place)

    2) remove both high and low beam bulbs, leaving the caps off. Also, get the internal wiring pushed off to the side and out of the way.

    3) turn the adjustment knob so the ball is moved all the way towards the back of the headlight housing.

    4) thread a 2' piece of nylon twine through the high beam bulb access hole, then under the socket portion of the adjustment joint, then back out the high beam bulb access hole.

    5) make sure the piece of twine isn't wrapped around anything else, and with steady pressure, carefully pull both ends of the twine straight up. This will flex the socket portion of the adjustment arm up and over the top of the ball. You'll feel and hear it click back into place.

    Be careful not to pull too hard on the twine as it might result in snapping the socket end of the joint, in which case you'll be left with no option beyond forking out the $600 for a new headlight assembly
    #5
  6. Ritchard

    Ritchard ZoomZoom

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    Genius. Without actually going outside to check, the adjusting arm as described a couple of posts back sounds like it might have been the problem. If I'm right, let's hope your seemingly farmboy-simple solution works as well as I hope.
    #6
  7. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

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    It worked for me, YMMV. Good luck. :thumb
    #7
  8. Ritchard

    Ritchard ZoomZoom

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    Dude,

    Next time I'm in Fairbanks, the beer is on me. It was a fiddly job, but perseverance paid off, I finally lassoed it just so, and got the socket to pop back on the ball. Of course, all the yanking and pulling popped off the other ball and socket joint for the left/right adjustment. That one was relatively easy though.

    I gotta say, that's not really a brilliant bit of design work, having an adjustment system that fussy and delicate inside a sealed unit like that.

    but anyhow, thanks, problem solved!

    R
    #8
  9. Mudcat

    Mudcat Unregistered

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    Oh, it’s a crappy headlight IMO.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    You realize that the headlight lens is not replaceable? If the lens is in danger of getting hit in your riding, you’d better get a lens protector. Otherwise you will be buying a new headlight unit. You won’t believe what that cost. :evil
    #9
  10. skidlid

    skidlid Been here awhile

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    Thanks for posting this. Worked wonders for me!
    #10
  11. WindSailor

    WindSailor Been here awhile

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    This worked for me too on my 2011 GSA.:clap

    I originally had doubts that this was my problem; but after I ran out the adjustment until I could see that the ball was completely out of the socket and pushing the mechanism from behind the socket (going to need a flashlight to confirm) I knew I had to give this a try.

    And yes it took quite a bit of force to get it to hop onto the ball. A little spooky to apply that much tension.

    Many thanks,
    Rick

    Edit- here is a pic from another thread showing the adjustment knobs - the load lever (around the up / down adjustment knob) is usually in the up position as shown in the pic. Under a 'heavy' load condition you can flip it down to make the headlight aim further down to compensate for your back end squatting under a heavy load.

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Woolly Bugger

    Woolly Bugger n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3
    Great solution to a potentially expensive problem. I broke the post that holds the headlight spring clip. After repairing that by making up a small metal bracket to hold the spring clip in, I managed to somehow dislodge (unknowns to me) the reflector from it's internal mountings. So I had the same problem as described by this fix. What I did notice also was that both mounting ball and socket joints were dislodged and had to put both back. The one on the RHS of the assembly was much simpler and I was able to manipulate it back into place with some gentle force on the reflector.

    Thanks to all who contributed.
    #12
  13. CandyMan_ZA

    CandyMan_ZA R1200GS-WP

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
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    Cape Town, South Africa /\/¯¯¯¯¯\/\
    I had to follow these instructions yesterday. My headlight has been vibrating and illuminating the stars for a few weeks now. So I checked it out. It was this same issue. The ball and socket mechanism had popped out. I followed the advice here however I did not remove the headlight assembly. I merely removed the main beam plastic cover (left side) and connector and proceeded as per instructions. I turned the adjustment knob so that it created a gap between the ball (small black piece of plastic) and the socket (white plastic that fits over the black piece of plastic). I slipped a shoelace under the white plastic socket, it's a little tricky but can be done. This can be seen in the picture below. I sprayed some silicon lube onto the area to ease the replacement. I then applied pressure on the shoelace and pulled gently. It lifted and popped over the socket. Easy peezy. Sorted in 10 minutes :thumb
    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. Tim Graichen

    Tim Graichen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2013
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    56
    My socket piece actually broke off, so I'm kind of S.O.L. I'm most likely going to shell out the $ for a new headlight assembly. I plan on using the old assembly to find out the best place to cut some easy access panels on the bottom of the new one. I may even get the lights set perfectly, then through the access hole, epoxy the entire adjustment mechanism so that it can't pop out or become un-adjusted.
    #14
  15. Scooter1942

    Scooter1942 Average Dude

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    I wish somebody could post better pictures of the ball and socket assembly so that I can see exactly what we're talking about.

    I think I may be facing the same issue.
    #15
  16. PhillipsMetal

    PhillipsMetal Been here awhile

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    I had the same problem after trying to tighten the bail screw and popping the assembly off the ball. I had an old hook that I believe was used to pull springs off of drum brakes. It was heavy enough to take the pulling forces, which I did not think the socket would survive. But after an hour of patient struggle, it popped on.

    When mine popped loose, I went by my mechanics shop and he pulled up the headlight parts break down. Seeing how the ball fits into the socket was a big help.
    #16
  17. MedicAl

    MedicAl n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
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    6
    Location:
    Seattle
    After installing the Cyclops LED bulbs in the GS I found that the aiming suddenly pointed WAAAAAY too high. Swapped back top halogen, and same thing. Found this post, did the string trick to get the ball back in place and BAM! Big Red rides again (without blinding people this time). Must have pushed a bit too hard to get the new LEDs in. Such a great forum. Can't thank everybody enough for all of this wisdom!
    #17
  18. WindSailor

    WindSailor Been here awhile

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    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    774
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    Somewhere out West
    I had to go through this again - I was trying to install an LED H7 in my high beam side and pushed the alignment cup off of the ball. Ouch.

    So I thought I would take a picture to show exactly what it looks like off of the ball... you have to adjust the ball 'outward' or 'forward' to check... see picture below... and you have to take off the headlight assembly to see this accurately... this is viewing inside of the headlight assembly from the high beam side...

    This time I used a light gauged wire - looping around the cup - and applying slow even lifting pressure from the high beam side - you will lift that cup back onto the ball - just be careful...

    [​IMG]
    #18