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  1. #1
    Established Member Two Rings Longwolf's Avatar
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    Oct 27 2005
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    Gainesville, FL

    Xenon bulb explosion!

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    Explosion seems like an exaggeration, but that is what it did. My buddy stopped by today with his B8.5 S4, asking for my help with a burned out xenon headlight. After taking the airbox out, and pulling the bulb, we find that the xenon bulb has shattered/exploded.

    Have you guys seen anything like this before? Very odd. And at $55 a pop, I hope this is an isolated incident. And lucky us, we get to remove the head light and try and vacuum out all the shattered glass from the head light.
    Christian Longwolf, Gainesville, FL
    '13 Audi S5: the daily hammer
    '17 Audi A3 eTron: the grocery getter
    '07 Honda S2K: the weekend toy
    '87 Porsche 951: the other weekend toy
    '87 Mercedes 420SEL: the airport car
    Past Audis:
    A4s: '03 A4 1.8t, '00 A4 1.8tq, '98 A4 1.8t, '97 A4 1.8tq
    B3s: '90 Coupe Quattro, '90 90s
    B2s: '87.5 CGT 2.3, '85 CGT, '84 CGT

  2. #2
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Apr 30 2014
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    Phoenix, AZ

    Not sure if it’s an urban legend or not but I hear that if you touch the bulb with your bare fingers it can cause this to happen. Not sure how true it is...


    -DaGerman

  3. #3
    Senior Member Four Rings HazeMyth's Avatar
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    Jul 17 2015
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    Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by DaGermansRS7 View Post
    Not sure if it’s an urban legend or not but I hear that if you touch the bulb with your bare fingers it can cause this to happen. Not sure how true it is...


    -DaGerman
    It's slightly true. If you have oily hands and handle xenons without gloves, the spots where your oil from your fingers is will get hotter. It usually will result in a burn spot on the bulb and a reduced lifespan on the bulb entirely, but I've seen a couple actually break like this, too.
    2013 Audi S5
    2011 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport
    2003 Evolution VIII (Cammed, etc)
    2004 Subaru STI - Stg. 2 (Sold)
    IG: @MrHazeMyth

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Three Rings NuVega's Avatar
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    Las Vegas, NV

    What brand are they? $55 is pretty low if they are OEM, not saying that's the problem, but if it's aftermarket the glass could be of lesser quality too.
    - 2014 S5 3.0T Prestige - : Plain ole S5 w/ a few cosmetic mods...

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Four Rings JamesRS5's Avatar
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    Feb 27 2014
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    Dubai

    It looks like an OEM bulb. There’s a lot of energy going into these things when they first ignite, I guess when they fail they do it with catastrophic style.
    I accept a Stage II tuned S5 is quicker than an RS5
    Doug convinced me
    He's also the reason I don't come here much

  6. #6
    Senior Member Two Rings
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    Jan 10 2008
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    Roy, WA

    What was said above. Are they OEM? Your hands don't have to have oil from working on things just natural oils from the skin can cause the hot spot. If I think I've bumped or touched the bulbs I will wipe the bulb with a lint free cloth and 99% Isoproply Alcohol, don't use the more common 70% stuff. Also, don't dry your lint free cloths in the dryer with any kind of fabric softerner, it will leave chemicals on your cloths.
    2003 RS6
    2001 tt AMU
    1974 911
    2006 CTTS
    2013 S5

  7. #7
    Senior Member Three Rings ip428's Avatar
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    Jan 01 2015
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    ATL

    I had the same thing happen to me, they were aftermarket so I just bought a new set of bulbs and replaced them.
    B8 A5 6MT Prestige/Black Optic/3M/ABT/Rieger/B&O/Airlift/Rotiform/AWE/IE/ECS/034/Eurocode/Unitronic Stage2/SPC/CF Splitter/Euroimpulse/CF Trunk Lid/ etc etc
    MK4 Jetta - Lowered Daily

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  8. #8
    Established Member Two Rings Longwolf's Avatar
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    Oct 27 2005
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    Gainesville, FL

    The bulb was OEM, as far as we can tell. It is branded Phillips rather than Audi, so finding a replacement was not too difficult. $45 - $65 online from various sources, and $178 from Audi.

    Here are some places to pick it up (reference for future people searching AZ):
    Amazon $52:
    https://www.amazon.com/PHILIPS-4300K...s=philips++d3s

    Factoryxenon.com $39+S&H:
    http://factoryxenon.com/shop/new-oem...amp-germany-2/


    This is the OEM bulb. I am somewhat confident that this was OEM as my buddy bought his S4 with only 15K miles on it, so if a bulb failed before then, it would have been replaced with OEM from the dealer under warranty.
    Christian Longwolf, Gainesville, FL
    '13 Audi S5: the daily hammer
    '17 Audi A3 eTron: the grocery getter
    '07 Honda S2K: the weekend toy
    '87 Porsche 951: the other weekend toy
    '87 Mercedes 420SEL: the airport car
    Past Audis:
    A4s: '03 A4 1.8t, '00 A4 1.8tq, '98 A4 1.8t, '97 A4 1.8tq
    B3s: '90 Coupe Quattro, '90 90s
    B2s: '87.5 CGT 2.3, '85 CGT, '84 CGT

  9. #9
    Established Member Two Rings BladesBravo's Avatar
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    Aug 25 2009
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    46899
    Location
    Seattle

    Bumping this post because I just had the same issue!

    2013 S5, 30k miles (best way to estimate bulb usage?) on factory bulbs, never opened the housing or anything. Maybe 20 mins into a drive on the highway (lights were on since the drive started) no big potholes and the bulb out light comes on. I drove for a couple of days with the light out and finally went to replace them today. After wrestling with the housing (no big or jarring movements) I found the same looking bulb.



    $178.00 from the local Audi/VW parts counter , list price on the invoice is $201.14 for a single replacement.
    I was able to shake out most of the loose pieces but think I'd cause more harm than good if I tried to disassemble anything

    Anyone else seen this?
    2013 Misano Pearl Red S5

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Three Rings NuVega's Avatar
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    Feb 06 2010
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    54578
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    Las Vegas, NV

    Faulty bulbs that slipped by quality control, I don't hear too many stories of the HID bulbs shattering too often so it must be very isolated, or like I mentioned they were defective from the start and it was just a matter of time.
    - 2014 S5 3.0T Prestige - : Plain ole S5 w/ a few cosmetic mods...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Three Rings ip428's Avatar
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    Jan 01 2015
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    306950
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    ATL

    haha, happened to me a couple months ago, i just bought new ones and kept it moving.
    B8 A5 6MT Prestige/Black Optic/3M/ABT/Rieger/B&O/Airlift/Rotiform/AWE/IE/ECS/034/Eurocode/Unitronic Stage2/SPC/CF Splitter/Euroimpulse/CF Trunk Lid/ etc etc
    MK4 Jetta - Lowered Daily

    IG: @infamous_m0
    ACNA Member

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Four Rings NaiveTurtle's Avatar
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    May 20 2013
    AZ Member #
    115500
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    Vancouver, WA

    Happened to me about 6 months ago, bought a new set of Phillips Extreme with 150% brightness. Great upgrade with a great color.

    I'm with JamesRS5 above, when they fail they do so catastrophically.
    2008 GMG World Challenge 6MT []S5 Ibis White Matte Metallic Purple/Black Alcantara
    [Mods - GIAC 91 Tune | GMG WC Sport Downpipes | GMG WC Sport Cat-Back | GMG WC Front & Rear Sway Bars | AP Racing 6-Piston Front BBK | 20x9.5 HRE P40's | Accuair B8 Sport Kit]
    2004 Ocean Blue Metallic A4 Avant
    Instagram: @NaiveTurtle

  13. #13
    Active Member Two Rings S5_SID's Avatar
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    Apr 07 2018
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    2011 S5 Quartz Gray Cab
    Location
    Orange County, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by NaiveTurtle View Post
    Happened to me about 6 months ago, bought a new set of Phillips Extreme with 150% brightness. Great upgrade with a great color.

    I'm with JamesRS5 above, when they fail they do so catastrophically.
    How is the color on those bulbs?
    Keep Deep Sea Alive!
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    2011 S5 Cabriolet • Quartz Gray Metallic • 3.0T •B&O•Sport Seats• Peelers•Carbon Inlays•Mods to come...

  14. #14
    Veteran Member Four Rings NaiveTurtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S5_SID View Post
    How is the color on those bulbs?
    It's great. I think they're 5500K.
    2008 GMG World Challenge 6MT []S5 Ibis White Matte Metallic Purple/Black Alcantara
    [Mods - GIAC 91 Tune | GMG WC Sport Downpipes | GMG WC Sport Cat-Back | GMG WC Front & Rear Sway Bars | AP Racing 6-Piston Front BBK | 20x9.5 HRE P40's | Accuair B8 Sport Kit]
    2004 Ocean Blue Metallic A4 Avant
    Instagram: @NaiveTurtle

  15. #15
    Established Member Two Rings Longwolf's Avatar
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    Oct 27 2005
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    Gainesville, FL

    Quote Originally Posted by BladesBravo View Post
    Bumping this post because I just had the same issue!
    $178.00 from the local Audi/VW parts counter , list price on the invoice is $201.14 for a single replacement.
    I was able to shake out most of the loose pieces but think I'd cause more harm than good if I tried to disassemble anything
    Anyone else seen this?
    I hope you didn't pay that dealer price when the same exact Phillips bulbs are $50 online in the links I posted. Also, looks like you have the twin of my car; '13 Misano S5!
    Christian Longwolf, Gainesville, FL
    '13 Audi S5: the daily hammer
    '17 Audi A3 eTron: the grocery getter
    '07 Honda S2K: the weekend toy
    '87 Porsche 951: the other weekend toy
    '87 Mercedes 420SEL: the airport car
    Past Audis:
    A4s: '03 A4 1.8t, '00 A4 1.8tq, '98 A4 1.8t, '97 A4 1.8tq
    B3s: '90 Coupe Quattro, '90 90s
    B2s: '87.5 CGT 2.3, '85 CGT, '84 CGT

  16. #16
    Established Member Two Rings BladesBravo's Avatar
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    Aug 25 2009
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    Seattle

    I did pay dealer price :| already bought the replacement before seeing that the old one exploded and before seeing this post. I did save your linked Phillip's for the next time one goes.

    And yes to the twin Misano S5! The best option by far


    2013 Misano Pearl Red S5

  17. #17
    Senior Member Three Rings wangshuo1989's Avatar
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    Jan 09 2016
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    Seattle

    Quote Originally Posted by BladesBravo View Post
    I did pay dealer price :| already bought the replacement before seeing that the old one exploded and before seeing this post. I did save your linked Phillip's for the next time one goes.

    And yes to the twin Misano S5! The best option by far


    Add mine as well, 13 Misano S5 :) And looks like you also live in Seattle!
    2013 S5 Misano Red, DSG, B&O, Sport Diff, MMI+
    2018 XC90 Inscription, B&W sound, Convenience Pkg, Air suspension

  18. #18
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings deAutoLED.com's Avatar
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  19. #19
    Established Member Two Rings BladesBravo's Avatar
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    Aug 25 2009
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    Seattle

    Quote Originally Posted by deAutoLED.com View Post
    Those are so bright , looks like some of those crazy DIY flashlights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vgNh3fLxJc



    Quote Originally Posted by wangshuo1989 View Post
    Add mine as well, 13 Misano S5 :) And looks like you also live in Seattle!
    Woo, All the best S5s!
    Just hit 2 months up here and so glad I got a place with AC, lol
    2013 Misano Pearl Red S5

  20. #20
    Stage 3 Forum Advertiser Four Rings ECS Tuning-Audi's Avatar
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    Oct 02 2006
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    Wadsworth,OH

    ^OMG I want one of those DIY flash lights now.

    Back on topic, I've seen this happen in numerous cars (not just Audis) with factory installed bulbs... including the bulbs in my daily, it seems like one of the guys previously said a to be a little QC slip somewhere in the food chain. Now that being said, for replacement bulbs, I'm a big fan of Morimoto (LINK) bulbs, very high quality, great color options from 4500k to 6500k and a fantastic price point.

    -James

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