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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 10-12-2007, 08:58 AM   #1
PHX325
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Tailight Fix

Ok I posted this problem at the beginning of the week. My passenger side taillight is giving false indication that the bulb is out when it's really not. I got a lot of good replys but really still dont know what the hell to do. I hate this indication on the dash.

This is the best reply I got but I still dont know what to do
"On the intermittent tail lamp bulb-out, it's a common issue since the ground pin (brown wire) on the connector is too thin to carry all that current in the tail lamp bulbs. Some connectors melt eventually. Do yourself a favor and just do this $2 DIY: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=418836. I did it and the bulb-out indicator hasn't come on since. You don't have to cut and take out the brown/ground connector. Just splice into the brown wire and run a parallel connection to the ground plane tab."

Does anyone have a more detailed DIY or a step by step way to help me remedy this problem? Photos of the completed project would be nice.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:20 AM   #2
vze3t229@verizo
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Taillamp

Go see your dealership, there is a bullitin about this situation. It is your ground on your wiring harness that will need to get fixed.
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:33 AM   #3
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I went to the dealship ..... they replaced the bulb when I took it in under warranty (before I realized it was a known issue) I took it last week to get serviced now they want $248 to replace the tailight assembly(now that its not under warranty). I mentioned that I brought it in for this exact reason and they said they have no record that they worked on it. I need to look for my paperwork
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:23 AM   #4
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Ground it

on the back of the light fixture there is a tab where you can attach a female spade connector and ground it to your chasis. Just drill a small hole and connect a wire to it and your done. any questions Email me at Crisbautista97@gmail.com I can email pics to explain
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:50 PM   #5
ssm1991
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHX325 View Post
... This is the best reply I got but I still dont know what to do ...
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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Last edited by ssm1991; 10-12-2007 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:34 PM   #6
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Holy **** ssm1991! This is perfect...Thanks for all your help and for taking the time to take the pics. I'm sure others will benefit from this as well..

Thanks again!
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:39 PM   #7
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AWESOME write-up. I might do it just to avoid problems in the future.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:18 PM   #8
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I'm all done light is gone. Took all of 5 mins...Thanks again!
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:43 PM   #9
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I'm having the same problem with my car. I will try this and hope it goes away.
My passenger side taillight indication comes up when ever I start the car. If I turn on the headlight, after 5 seconds, the indication goes away. If I don't turn on the headlight, the indication stay there.
Hope this will make it go away.

Thanks.
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:25 PM   #10
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Nice DYI!

I posted the steps a few weeks ago because I had the same issue and creating another ground fixed it for me as well.

(I connected the extra ground from the same location in the tail assembly but directly to the ground bolt...a little easier and you don't have to shave off the insultation on the ground.)

Doesn't this forum rock!
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:44 AM   #11
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I will be trying this way to fix the problem this coming weekend.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:23 PM   #12
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I would solder the wire to the main ground wire in the harness.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:33 PM   #13
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Excellent Write-up! Definitely re-post this in the DIY forum! Good information for sure!

Edit: Already moved!
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Old 12-04-2007, 02:26 PM   #14
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This is a great post/thread. I've been having this problem for months. Tried about everything, including moving bulbs from one side to the other, and lightly sanding the base of the bulbs. Last night I found this group/forum and read this thread (and another similar). Went out this morning and added a ground wire to the side (passenger) giving me trouble. So far, no false warning light appearing on the panel. If it later happens on the driver side I will add a ground wire to that side. Interesting: bad grounds have been a problem I've experienced on BMWs on E12s, E21s, and E30s; mainly showing up on the instruments.

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Old 12-10-2007, 08:44 PM   #15
Razkal
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Quote:
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)

Thanks so much for posting this. I had this problem since I picked up my 330i, and I looked into everything. This weekend I saw that the ground wire connection had corroded and that the plug itself had a hole in the #3 spot. I pulled the wire out of there, re-made the connection and plugged it into that spot on the tailight - so far so good. No errors!

Thanks again!
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:08 AM   #16
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Just posting some additional info since on my search for "taillight connector" I couldn't find the part number.

If your connector is melted and needs replacement here are the part numbers:

Part # and Description List Price
12-52-7-519-956 Housing $3.60
61-13-1-387-144 Plug $0.72

The housing is the tail light connector housing and the plug is what you attach to the ground wire and put into the housing.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:24 PM   #17
canaca
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I have a simmilar problem, I just purchased the car and the warning lights are telling me the tail lights are out .... mine does have LED Tail Lights, I dont think they are after market couse I been told the 2004 come with LED tails.

do I need to go to the dealer and have them reprogram or flush the LCM ??? what is that anyways ??

my 325 Ci Convertible model car is from Oct 2003 Manufacture date

Appreciate all your help in advance
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:33 PM   #18
M0nk3y
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canaca View Post
I have a simmilar problem, I just purchased the car and the warning lights are telling me the tail lights are out .... mine does have LED Tail Lights, I dont think they are after market couse I been told the 2004 come with LED tails.

do I need to go to the dealer and have them reprogram or flush the LCM ??? what is that anyways ??

my 325 Ci Convertible model car is from Oct 2003 Manufacture date

Appreciate all your help in advance
Last time i remember, no E46 came with LED tail lights........

Ive never had that problem when i got my aftermarket LEDs.....

You might try reflashing the LCM......

Btw, i had my melted connectors replaced by the dealer, even though my car isn't under warrenty.........Last time i took it into the stealership to have my seals replaced, i discovered 4 door dings and both sides on my car which weren't there before hand. (I detail my car every weekend) $300 fix free..........

Last edited by M0nk3y; 01-17-2008 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:32 PM   #19
FMANALOPR
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I know it may sound stupid but I have a 330 coupe & having the same problem off burnt signal but bulb is fine,,,,, in fact when I use it it blinks together with the stop light so please help!!!!
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Old 01-28-2008, 09:41 PM   #20
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do i have to disconnect the battery or anything?
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