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View Full Version : Are european headlamps illegal in Canada ? ?


SkycityBMW
08-27-2004, 05:08 PM
I was on another forum and some said:
"well in canada, or british columbia at leastit is illegal to modify your headlamps. infact, european headlamps are illegal and my friend was ticketed for his.. "


Is this true ? ? ?

Justin e36
08-27-2004, 05:12 PM
technically? yes... it's true. Eurospec headlamps are not DOT / SAE approved.

King Luis
08-27-2004, 06:42 PM
what makes european headlights different from north american ones??? why aren't they dot/sae approved??is it cause they don't have that in europe?

Lennon
08-27-2004, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by King Luis
what makes european headlights different from north american ones??? why aren't they dot/sae approved??is it cause they don't have that in europe?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong please

I've been told by someone is that the reason is because the light pattern is different, and that its to the effect where it can impair the person driving towards you, or if your right behind someone, the person driving infront of you.

Does that make sense?

Again, this was told to me by someone who kinda knows everything... so who really knows.

Justin e36
08-27-2004, 07:01 PM
Lennon.. definately a possibility...

5style
08-27-2004, 07:35 PM
i heard its the way the light is aimed.. american headlights are aimed low and in while euro lights shine out and to the sides, thus imapring drivers in front and to the side.... I CALL BULLSHIT, american headlights just suk :P and the americans won t admit it, so they ban euro lights.

NickP
08-27-2004, 07:55 PM
European headlights are legal in Canada.

Canada, but not the US, also permits European headlamps as original equipment on new vehicles, and the provinces allow them as replacement equipment. Their lenses and bulbs are marked " H1", "H2", "H3" or "H4" and letter "E" in a circle.

http://www.island.net/~cihp/headlights.html

Mystikal
08-27-2004, 09:18 PM
^ What he said.

Lennon
08-27-2004, 10:15 PM
Thanks Nick *th-up*

Gamite
08-27-2004, 10:15 PM
The beam pattern is different on the euro lights.

the US ones look like this:

____------- ____-------

and the euro ones look like this

_/_/ (so to speak)

EstorilM3
08-27-2004, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by NickP
European headlights are legal in Canada.

Canada, but not the US, also permits European headlamps as original equipment on new vehicles, and the provinces allow them as replacement equipment. Their lenses and bulbs are marked " H1", "H2", "H3" or "H4" and letter "E" in a circle.

http://www.island.net/~cihp/headlights.html

That's a very interesting link!
Surprised the RCMP took the trouble to translate what sometimes is difficult-to-comprehend federal/provincial lighting laws

Yes, European headlamps, and European type bulbs such as H1, H2, H3, H4, and H7 are legal in Canada as long as they don't exceed certain wattage, like 80watts, and as long as they put out white light.

Years ago, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act also allowed yellow bulbs as found in France once upon a time, and some other countries. That was amended recently so that these are no longer legal which is too bad since such yellow bulbs were much easier on the eyes (less strain for the driver, as well as the oncoming traffic). Note that these yellow bulbs are not the same as the typical PIAA things.

There is a small mistake in the above linked article...

*...The North American HB2 is essentially identical to a European H4, but the HB2 has tighter tolerances on the base fit and filament location dimensions so that it can be used in a mechanically-aimable headlamp...*

Leads you to believe that the European headlamps with H4 bulbs are not aimable.

All Euro headlamps - no matter whether they have H1 or H4 or H7 bulbs are all mechanically or optically aimable. They have to be, because that's the law there! People in North America basically aim their headlamps by driving up to the garage door, and eyeball the aim. That's illegal in Europe - some people do it, but sooner or later they get nailed, because they can't align them adequately with such a method. Most European garages have a optical headlight aiming machine. Mechanical machines sometimes seen in Canada or USA are poor by bad, and are prone to giving poor results in aiming the European headlamps.

A little bit more info...true JDM lamps are illegal in Canada, and USA. You may from time-to-time come across people who fit JDM lamps into their Japanese cars. That's illegal in Canada, because they do not have the E markings on them, plus they're designed for the RHD cars, meaning the low beam cut-off is on the wrong side! The lamps will blind everyone on the opposite side of the road.

Lennon
08-27-2004, 11:33 PM
So in other words... someone here knows their shit. *th-up*

sonic07
08-28-2004, 12:15 AM
Originally posted by Gamite
The beam pattern is different on the euro lights.

the US ones look like this:

____------- ____-------

and the euro ones look like this

_/_/ (so to speak)


Hey you're right I was wondering why my inpro headlight was like that but I pass by so many cops never say anything about it ... but I did aim it down quite a bit.

thinair
08-28-2004, 02:47 AM
just a note, the 94 euro spec M3's were shipped with euro (e code) ellipsoids. They were not forced to run US spec lights.

King Luis
08-28-2004, 03:54 AM
Originally posted by Gamite
The beam pattern is different on the euro lights.

the US ones look like this:

____------- ____-------

and the euro ones look like this

_/_/ (so to speak)

you just totally lost me.......in plain english...whats the difference between the lights???i know it is the pattern but how exactly???
that diagram just screwed me up

RevShoT
08-28-2004, 11:27 AM
technically my projector beams are illegal correct?

its really funny driving at night cause i get people all the time flashing their high beams at me, then i flash mine and OWN their asses, ive even have people the drive infront of me pull over on the side of the road to let me pass them cause my lights were too bright!

325iSBimmer
08-28-2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by Gamite
The beam pattern is different on the euro lights.

the US ones look like this:

____------- ____-------

and the euro ones look like this

_/_/ (so to speak)

exactly.
heres a better diagram of the ellipsoid beam pattern
euro (http://www.geocities.com/e36rulz/test.pdf)

The euro lights were illegal in NA in the early to mid 90's but then they changed it a made it legal. Hence why the new BMW's have the same style euro lights.

the reason why they were illegal is because of the beam pattern. The part of the beam that shoots out to the right is designed to help illuminate signs at the side of the road, but since the sharp cut off of the H1 bulb and the ellipsoids it can cause you to blind other drivers if the lights arent aimed right. In eurrope the e36 actually came with motorized leveling devices on the headlights and from a switch inside you could move them up or down a few degrees for either driving on long country roads or for seeing closer in front of the car.

hope this helps a bit

thinair
08-28-2004, 12:28 PM
the levelling on the euro cars was to compensate for trunk/trailer loads, not to adjust them up on country roads, that is what high beams are for.

bmwm5lover
08-28-2004, 03:43 PM
ive been yelled at numerous times for my light because they are too bright/ too high or w.e. They are the euro ellipsoids. I wouldnt be surprised if they were illegal

Lennon
08-28-2004, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by bmwm5lover
ive been yelled at numerous times for my light because they are too bright/ too high or w.e. They are the euro ellipsoids. I wouldnt be surprised if they were illegal

Who yells at you? Passer byers?

thinair
08-28-2004, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by bmwm5lover
ive been yelled at numerous times for my light because they are too bright/ too high or w.e. They are the euro ellipsoids. I wouldnt be surprised if they were illegal

Maybe you should aim them down. Euro or not, you shouldn't be blinding the car in front of you.

EstorilM3
08-28-2004, 07:07 PM
*...The euro lights were illegal in NA in the early to mid 90's but then they changed it a made it legal. Hence why the new BMW's have the same style euro lights...*

No, here is the low-down....

OK...two different countries here - Canada, and USA.

European lamps were always illegal in USA, and remain so today. There does not appear anything on the horizon in USA legislation to make them legal.
On the contrary, the NHTSA (USA body - not Canadian) has been receiving a lot of corespondance about the deficiencies or apparent deficiencies of the HID lamps. Some in the public are complaining that the cut-off of the beam pattern is too sharp, and when the car wallows over road bumps it blinds the on-coming traffic. So, the people blame *European* headlamps.

This, despite the fact that the US (or DOT) lamps are NOT the same as the European ones even though from the outside they look the same. These are the same US DOT spec lamps BMW fits to their cars sold in Canada. Canadian BMW's are not sold with true European headlamps. Never have, and probably never will.
You can blame BMW for that!

True European lamps have a still sharper, and more defined cut-off than the US spec lamps. That is because the reflector in the Euro lamps is slightly different, and made to more exacting standards.
The average American driver thinks some of the new lamps found on modern European cars are the same as the Euro ones (except for the bulb), but that is NOT the case. The two lamps, like I said, may look the same, but are very different in the way they throw the light.
It is also noteworthy that if you bring in a North American spec BMW (or any other Euro car) to Europe, and try to certify it, you will have to replace the headlamps (and parking/signal lamps, but that's another topic) before it it is deemed legal for use over there. Ellipsoids or Free Form lamps - it does not matter - the two places have different lamps!

Now, as far as Canada is concerned, Transport Canada has always allowed true Euro spec lamps into the country from Day 1.

It was up to the manufacturer to determine if they would fit their cars with Euro headlamps or not. Some did - like some Volvos, and Saabs. I've even seen an occasional Mercedes with Euro headlamps. I don't know if M-B brought them in that way or if the owner retro-fitted them.

Transport Canada governs how the car will perform when brought in by the importer or manufacturer like BMW of Canada. Transport Canada also requires individuals who are importing a car from other places to make sure the vehicle complies with their regulations.

Now, once the car is registered (that is, you get a sticker, and a licence plate), then the Provincial Ministry of Transportation dicates what one can do, and cannot do to a vehicle. In Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act spells out the details. This is the case for all the Canadian provinces with the exception of Quebec whose Ministry of Transportation references Transport Canada rules. Why they reference Trasport Canada I have no idea, but apparently they do!
So, every province in Canada allows true European headlamps.

*...the reason why they were illegal is because of the beam pattern. The part of the beam that shoots out to the right is designed to help illuminate signs at the side of the road, but since the sharp cut off of the H1 bulb and the ellipsoids it can cause you to blind other drivers if the lights arent aimed right....*

Yes, that's the reasoning used by DOT in USA in banning the true European headlamps. The cut-off was the issue. BTW, it does not matter whether you have a headlamp with the H1 or H2 or H4 or H7 bulbs or whether they are ellipsoids or Free Form, they ALL have a cut-off.

*...In eurrope the e36 actually came with motorized leveling devices on the headlights and from a switch inside you could move them up or down a few degrees for either driving on long country roads or for seeing closer in front of the car...*

True.
In fact, all cars in Europe must have the ability to adjust the aim while on the fly. The driver can adjust them by simply twirling a little knob-thingy on the dash, and the lamps will move up or down a bit. Not too much, but enough to compensate for the uneven load in the car due to passengers or cargo.
This driver actuated adjustment is done due to vehicle loading, and NOT so that you can see better in front of you or not.
Better visibility for you may be a by-product, but that is not the purpose of the thing. The purpose or the reason for teh driver adjustable lamps in Europe is so that you don't blind the oncoming traffic.
Badly aimed headlamps are a sore point for the Europeans, and have been known to cause fatalities when people who are blinded drive off the road. European secondary roads are anything but straight unlike the North American!

More modern cars in Europe as well as North America have the automatic levelers. I believe, the EU has passed a law recently requiring ALL new cars that are sold in Europe to have self-leveling headlamps. This, ironically includes some American cars that are sold there, like the Corvette, some Cadillacs, and some SUV's.

Incidentally, you can buy the headlamp leveling kit (manual type) for your E36 at your *friendly* BMW dealer!!! They all sell them - some don't even know that 'till they look at the Euro model CD parts catalogue. It's there, and it costs a bloody fortune!!!

EstorilM3
08-28-2004, 07:09 PM
Originally posted by RevShoT
technically my projector beams are illegal correct?

its really funny driving at night cause i get people all the time flashing their high beams at me, then i flash mine and OWN their asses, ive even have people the drive infront of me pull over on the side of the road to let me pass them cause my lights were too bright!

You projector type headlamps are legal in Canada.
Just aim them better so that you don't blind others.

RevShoT
08-28-2004, 07:33 PM
i have them aimed as low as they can go, dosent seem to matter though i still get the high beem flip!

EstorilM3
08-28-2004, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by RevShoT
i have them aimed as low as they can go, dosent seem to matter though i still get the high beem flip!

That's odd!:confused:

There could be a number of different reasons for it...

- are you using bulbs that are 55W? Higher wattage is stupid, and irresponsible in Euro type headlamps.
- have you aimed your headlamps correctly in the right-to-left direction? If the cut-off is too far to the left, you will be blinding on-coming traffic.
- are you using decent lamps, such as Hella, Bosch or ZKW's?
There are cheap copies floating about on the Internet whose optics may be sub-standard.
- is your car's suspension shot, i.e. too soft? If so, the car is lurching too much when accelerating, braking or cornering. This will cause undue glare.
- the mounting points in the car's body have moved - possibly due to a collision damage that wasn't fixed right.
- are you BS's me? There IS a reason why people are flashing their high beams at you.

I've got ZKW ellipsoids with 55W bulbs - aimed correctly, and have NEVER had anyone flash their high beams at me.
You must be doing something wrong....

Oh, if you have aimed the lamps to the lowest possible setting, you are not using them as intended. I don't know how many feet ahead can you see on the low beam - maybe 20 at most? That's woefully short for even the city speeds.

BTW, NEVER flash your high beams at oncoming traffic at night. It's highly dangerous, and you may be risking a head-on collision if the other driver gets blinded even for a few seconds.
Let it go if they're flashing at you - just keep looking to your lower right to avoid getting blinded yourself.
You may also flash at a cop coming your way, and he will not take that very lightly!

Mystikal
08-28-2004, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by RevShoT
i have them aimed as low as they can go, dosent seem to matter though i still get the high beem flip!

Do you have Depo/Inpro assemblies? I wouldn't be surprised, they're of terrible quality.

RevShoT
08-29-2004, 12:06 AM
i couldnt tell u what brand they are, i bought them over ebay.

as far as distance goes, i can see better with my low beams on vs. high beams,

my suspension in the front is shot, and bounces a lil causing my beams to flash high in the air or right at another drivers eyes, good reason for the flick,

whatever bulbs came with my lights is what im using

as for Jay
WTF!!!!

why u puttin me down all of a sudden?
wtf did i do to you, ur really startin to piss me off

Mystikal
08-29-2004, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by RevShoT
as for Jay
WTF!!!!

why u puttin me down all of a sudden?
wtf did i do to you, ur really startin to piss me off

I said Depo/InPro ellipsoids are cheaply made. I never made a reference to you at all. :huh?:

RevShoT
08-29-2004, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by Mystikal
Do you have Depo/Inpro assemblies? I wouldn't be surprised, they're of terrible quality.

wouldnt be supised?!?!

that sounds to me like your implying i like buyin cheap shit and your makin fun of me cause u think i bought cheap head lights

Jon@Bimmersport
08-29-2004, 11:21 PM
no hes implying that if they are depos or inpros, that is the problem. because theyre made of terrible quality.

sonic07
08-29-2004, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by Mystikal
Do you have Depo/Inpro assemblies? I wouldn't be surprised, they're of terrible quality.

The Inpro are ok .... I got mine last year I installed it my self 20 minutes per headlight fit perfectly and never look at it again since then. The lenses are tempered glass. One thing that the angel eyes are not as bright as I want it to be but all I got to do is change the bulbs for the angel eyes. They're made in Germany. I tell you they're a lot better than the original made in U.S.A. Now I can see the road in the night and the light projection hit the ground at exactly 25ft. from front of the bumper.

Mystikal
08-30-2004, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by RevShoT
wouldnt be supised?!?!

that sounds to me like your implying i like buyin cheap shit and your makin fun of me cause u think i bought cheap head lights

No, you're making that up in your head. I'm saying that if they are causing poor beam patterns they likely are not Hella or Bosch assemblies.

:rolleyes:

sonic07
08-30-2004, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by Mystikal
you're making that up in your head.
:rolleyes:


..........LOL ..................:D

///Greco540
08-30-2004, 11:53 AM
Not that anyone should care but I would read your higway safety act for your given province as it may vary from province to province. It is not so much the pattern that makes the assemblies illegal but the fat that they are missing key elements that are required by our highway safety code.

Take for example the E39 headlights. Yes the amber side marker is not that "cool" and the Euro version sports a clear reflector. There is no difference in beam pattern whatsoever, so what makes them illegal then? The european versions are lacking a side marker on the headlight that comes on and stays on while the headlights are in use. As the actual sidemarkers only turn on when there is a turn signal activate, by LAW you are rquired to have an illuminated side marker on your car. Your DOT/SAE approved headlights have this side marker functional, the Euro ones don't.

EstorilM3
08-30-2004, 01:17 PM
Originally posted by ///Greco540
Not that anyone should care but I would read your higway safety act for your given province as it may vary from province to province. It is not so much the pattern that makes the assemblies illegal but the fat that they are missing key elements that are required by our highway safety code.

Take for example the E39 headlights. Yes the amber side marker is not that "cool" and the Euro version sports a clear reflector. There is no difference in beam pattern whatsoever, so what makes them illegal then? The european versions are lacking a side marker on the headlight that comes on and stays on while the headlights are in use. As the actual sidemarkers only turn on when there is a turn signal activate, by LAW you are rquired to have an illuminated side marker on your car. Your DOT/SAE approved headlights have this side marker functional, the Euro ones don't.

*Assemblies* are one thing, headlamps themselves are another.
Once again, the European *headlamps* are legal in Canada.

The beam pattern between the two lamps looks the same to the naked eye, but once you put them on the optical alignment machine, the difference is obvious - Euro lamps have a more defined cut-off (less light spillage beyond the cut-off, and no hot spots to speak of). It's just the way it is...

Gamite
08-30-2004, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by thinair
Maybe you should aim them down. Euro or not, you shouldn't be blinding the car in front of you.

that's true, I've always blinded the guy in the lane to my right, and my headlights arent even aimed properly (they're parallel to the ground)

One thing I've noticed that helps better with the euro's is that it illuminates the road signs better than the US.


if anyone high beams me, I just high beam them back (the more power to me!) :P

sonic07
08-30-2004, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Gamite
if anyone high beams me, I just high beam them back (the more power to me!) :P

...lol... yeah and pop 150w halogen off road bulbs on high beams ... yahooo... bright day light ...

RevShoT
08-30-2004, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by sonic07
The Inpro are ok .... I got mine last year I installed it my self 20 minutes per headlight fit perfectly and never look at it again since then. The lenses are tempered glass. One thing that the angel eyes are not as bright as I want it to be but all I got to do is change the bulbs for the angel eyes. They're made in Germany. I tell you they're a lot better than the original made in U.S.A. Now I can see the road in the night and the light projection hit the ground at exactly 25ft. from front of the bumper.

are your head lights in that pic?

the low beam is supposed to be on the outside light and the middle beam (the one u have on in that pic) is the high beam

R_JAY
08-30-2004, 01:59 PM
Originally posted by RevShoT
are your head lights in that pic?

the low beam is supposed to be on the outside light and the middle beam (the one u have on in that pic) is the high beam I believe those are the city lights:rolleyes:

RevShoT
08-30-2004, 02:00 PM
awww yeah that could be it too

i dont have those

but wait his fogs are on too...

dun u have to have your lights on for your fog lights to come on?

R_JAY
08-30-2004, 02:04 PM
Not on my car. I can turn my light switch to the middle and my headlights go off but I can run my fogs. Some cars are different though.

RevShoT
08-30-2004, 02:10 PM
hummm yeah my wiring is ****ed up lol

i gotta fix that sum time u guys are probally right

sonic07
08-30-2004, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by RevShoT
are your head lights in that pic?

the low beam is supposed to be on the outside light and the middle beam (the one u have on in that pic) is the high beam

yup that's the car and the headlights. what you see there on the picture is actually none of the lights are on. The inpro has another special socket on the same housing as the high beam that only turn on the mini 194 bulb (usually use for signal light), so I hook up that light with angel eyes and fog lights together. The low beam also can be worked with the angel eyes and the high can be turned on with all the lights turned on. So the picture there what you see is NONE of headlight is ON. NOT low beam and NOT high beam.
you can wire it with all kinds of configuration you want.

RevShoT
08-30-2004, 03:35 PM
awww got cha!