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Lighting Forum
Angel Eyes, DDEs, lighted rings, Clear Turn Signals, LEDs, Xenon, HID, or Bi-Xenon. If it lights up and you want to discuss it, post here!

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Old 02-18-2013, 06:16 PM   #301
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Maine
Posts: 17
My Ride: 2001 330xi
Fix did not work

OK, so I did the basic ground fix on my 2001 330xi, even though the connectors both seemed fine. I've been getting the tail light indicator on the dash, the right turn signal is fast and not working at the back, and the xenon headlights have been flickering; usually the right goes out and stays out; sometimes the left goes out as well, so this cannot stand.

The car is fully stock; no funky light mods. I took a 12-gauge wire and spliced it into the brown ground wires on each side. My tail light assembly does not have the tab shown in the major DIY on the subject, so I tapped a small screw into the ground strips in the assemblies and ran the beefier ground there.

It did not work. I have lost one of the covers to a license plate light, and now in a Maine winter it looks gnarly, green and corroded. Do I need to replace this light fixture? I also have not checked bulbs for the side marker, or, for that matter, throughout the tail light housing, as these latter all seem to work.

Any ideas?

Last edited by TotheMountains!; 02-19-2013 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:57 AM   #302
Don B
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Ireland
Posts: 935
My Ride: 325i (RHD)
Had the light bulb out error on the dash for a while, and the
turn signal ligh no longer works, the brake lights flash quick
when the turn signal is used.

Will this DIY did my issue?
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:21 AM   #303
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Location: Armadale, Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 193
My Ride: 1999-323i
If any of your check lights are on for car rear in the dashboard...check the wiring inside the rubber corrugated loom that runs from the body under rear window into the trunk (boot) lid. I'll bet there is broken wires in there. I opened mine up and found about 4 broken wires after checking everything else. Jusy pel it back carefully and you'll see them. Rejoin and bingo your OK! You might get a surprise. I did a DIY on it with some photos a while back...but havn't got the time at present to find it for a link! Sorry guys (and girls)
Cheers, Colin
1999-323i Steel Grey, black leather, CD stacker, tinted windows, reversing radar, sunroof and Pirellis on M-Sport 17" alloys, 245 mm wide on rear and 225 mm wide on front.

Colin Boucher
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:53 AM   #304
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Location: Maine
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My Ride: 2001 330xi
Thanks Colin! I have seen your post on the subject and will seek it out. I am ready to fix the flickering bugger once and (hopefully) for all.
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:08 PM   #305
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
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My Ride: 2001 330XI
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)

I had to post to say thank you for this. These instructions were simple and this solved my problem I've been trying to figure out for some time. I really appreciate the detail and the photos to help a novice DIYer like me.

One thing I did, since I have a 2001 without the grounding tab, is I modified the blade receptacle by prying one of the sides open with a small flat head. That way I was able to easily connect it to the grounded metal bar that you called out in another reply to this thread. It kept it clean and made it so I didn't need another wrapping of e-tape. Using some needle-nose pliers you can re-close the side you opened so it holds the bar tightly.

Again, I can't thank you enough for this solution.

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Old 10-04-2013, 08:43 PM   #306
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Location: Fayetteville, NC
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My Ride: 2005 325i
Red face Thank you!

I was afraid to see what the dealer would charge to fix this. Have had this problem on and off for MONTHS. Amazing quick fix. Thank you.
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:00 AM   #307
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Location: northampton, pa
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My Ride: 323i
My 323i has the 6 wire harness. I tried grounding it, but still no brake/tail light
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:47 AM   #308
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Location: Nashville
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My Ride: e46, e36, e30
dizzygreg, this thread is in regard to "Had the light bulb out error on the dash when bulbs are known good". Tail and Brake light failure sounds like voltage problem. Remove Lamp unit and validate continuity in all leads, both directions. Colin (04/24/13) notes a good place to look if voltage or ground not found. Anyone good with a multimeter and/or test lamp (preferred) can easily diagnose.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:51 PM   #309
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NY
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My Ride: E46 328i
Originally Posted by Juliopinto03 View Post
This was very quick and really worked. For some reason I didnt have that prong sticking out to add the secondary ground, however I just firmly tucked it underneath and it worked fine.

It also stopped my HID's from flickering.
Old thread but I did exactly what juliopinto did because I didn't have the prong sticking out either...so I stuck the wire under neat & taped it in place with the electric tape & no more light coming on the dash.... Nice Fix!!!
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