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Thread: Tailight Fix
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:06 PM   #146
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Illinois
Posts: 28
My Ride: 2004 325XI
Brilliant! I did the same last night and no issues to report. Thank you so much. My parents have a 2003 325XI and they spent a good chunk of change to have it repaired...as long as this issue doesnt pop up again all I have to do is decide whether or not to share the $5.00 fix with them
Originally Posted by ssm1991 View Post
Thanks for the compliment.

I did the right taillight before since it was the one giving me the problem. I saw your post so I did the left one today -- this time with pics.

All photos are for the left taillight. Process is the same for the right.

The only materials and tools you need are:
- a 0.25" blade receptacle (available in Radio Shack, Home Depot or any electronics shop)
- a 5" strip of size #18 or larger wire
- rubber or vinyl electrical tape
- utility knife
- pliers

1) Release the taillight housing and lay it on the trunk.

2) Release the connector by pressing on the sides then pulling. Take note of the circled tab. That's the point we'll connect to later.

3) Cut a 5" piece of wire and strip one end about a quarter of an inch.

4) Insert the stripped end into the blade receptacle and crimp using any pair of pliers. Try pulling out the wire afterwards to make sure it's tight.

5) At the connector, the ground wire is the brown one. It's noticably thicker than the other wires.

6) Using a utility knife, carefully strip half an inch of insulation on the brown/ground wire 2"-3" from the connector.

7) Strip half an inch of the other end of the new piece of wire and wrap neatly (mine wasn't too neat in the pic) around the exposed ground wire.

8) Wrap tightly with electrical tape.

9) Plug in the connector again and insert the blade receptacle into the tab.

10) YOU'RE DONE!! If you've been having that annoying intermittent bulb-out problems and all bulbs seem to be ok, this is I think a more permanent solution. Replacing just the connector like what's done at the dealer will just bring back that problem after a few years. The problem is that the connector pin for the ground is too thin to carry all that current to the bulbs reliably. So eventually the pin builds up electrical resistance and will melt in some cases. Running a parallel connection using a thicker connector will solve it. (I'm an electronics engineer by education btw)
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