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slj7q 09-26-2010 09:25 AM

All Three lights on rear passenger side are off - please help
2003 530i
All three lights (left-turn signal light, brake light, ) on rear passenger side don't work. Left-turn signal beeps very fast but rear passenger side turn signal light is off.
I've replaced all three bulbs by using rear driver side bulbs (which are working good) but still don't work. Center stop light is OK.
Is this a light bulb problem or other part (switch?) problem?
Thanks for your help!


MatWiz 09-26-2010 09:54 AM

Trivial question, but did you disconnect and reconnect the plug with all the wires going into the rear set?


slj7q 09-26-2010 10:34 AM

I just did. It's still the same. Thanks.

nyclad 10-20-2010 04:35 PM

I'm having the same problem. My rear passenger lights (brake, turn and back up) go out while driving. At first, it seemed like a fluke, then I parked the car at work, and the problem went away when I drove home from work. A few days later, it happened again. I replaced all 4 bulbs (turn, stop, brake, and rear marker) and no effect. Oddly enough, I slapped the rear fixture out of frustration, and it worked...for a few days at least. I checked the flat connector by the rear passenger lights in the battery compartment, and it seems secure.

So somewhere in the rear passenger lighting fixture, something is a bit loose, what what? Any ideas?

bluebee 10-21-2010 02:27 AM

Dunno if it's related (you didn't mention the trunk lock or license plate light which are classic for the loom fraying) ... but check your trunk loom anyway.

- FRAYED WIRING: a badly designed trunk loom wiring harness certain to chafe causing all sorts of light and fuse blowing and locking problems (1) (2)

nyclad 10-22-2010 01:14 PM

I hadn't had a chance to check the trunklid wiring yet. I'll have to do that this weekend (first weekend in a while that's supposed to not rain/drizzle!)

Anyways, something odd happened last night. On the way out of the parking lot, my friend was following me out and noticed that same passenger rear light group (no brake, no tail, no turning) was out. He let me know, and I stopped real quick, got out and slapped the light, and it came back on. Driving on, my friend noticed that when the passenger turn (yellow) signal came on, it alternated with the passenger tail light. When the pass rear turn signal came on, the pass tail light went off, then came back on when the turn signal blinked off. I was able to confirm this when I arrived home and stared at the passenger rear lights with the blinkers on. Oddly enough, AFAIK, the rest of the lights worked properly all the way home. When I turned the car off, the cluster had the CHECK BRAKE LIGHTS, CHECK TURN LIGHTS, CHECK BACKUP LIGHTS.

Due to the odd nature of the alternating turn/tail lights, do you guys think there is some sort of control module (I can't imagine there would be such a thing for somethng as simple as rear lights) that died? Or maybe low voltage problem? :confused:


QSilver7 10-23-2010 07:32 AM

My suggestion would be to do as Bluebee suggested. CHECK THE WIRING LOOM that bundles/connects all the wires going to/from the trunk up toward the LCM. I had a CHECK REAR LIGHT warning (last week) on my 540iT and one of the bulbs on the passenger side was not working. After checking the bulbs (swapping them etc) which proved that both worked...I tackled checking the loom (on the Touring it was in the far right tailgate hinge)...there it was...obvious as day...a broken wire (white with a burgundy/brownish stripe). I had to get my needle nose pliers to reach into the abyss to pull the half that was way back up into the roof area of the loom. I spliced the wire back together and all is good again.

Here's a pic of Doug's e39 sedan's trunk loom...and in the "orange box" he found the same white wire broken:

Since you have an means that you have the LCM III which has a "replacement lighting" feature that will use another bulb in the rear tail lamp assembly if there's a malfunction of another:

bluebee 10-23-2010 08:56 AM


Originally Posted by QSilver7 (Post 5567383)
a broken wire (white with a burgundy/brownish stripe)

I added this very useful information to the trunk-loom-wiring thread.

I attempted in that thread, to PREDICT and DIAGNOSE which failed wire would cause which lighting & locking problems.

Toward that goal, we provided wiring diagrams and a summary (see below) of what each wire innervated, and, if broken, what item specifically enervated.

There's only one white striped wire. Does our description appear to back up what you experienced?

QSilver7 10-23-2010 01:40 PM

Bluebee...just an FYI...I'm not sure if the wiring harness for the Tourings is the same as the sedans. I suppose a look see in the WDS would solve the mystery...but I say that because our rear tail light assembly (in the Touring) is split between the side fender and tail gate. One of the bulbs for the rear tail lights is in the fender...and one is in the tailgate. I had lost the bulb that is in the tail gate...and when I reconnected the white came back on.

Touring rear tail light versus Sedan's rear tail light: #3 and one of the #2 (tail light bulbs) is in the tailgate on the Tourings vs

bluebee 10-23-2010 06:43 PM


Originally Posted by QSilver7 (Post 5568059)
Bluebee...just an FYI...I'm not sure if the wiring harness for the Tourings is the same as the sedans.

Good point. It's probably different because the only white striped wire in the sedans apparently innervates the ZV locking system, while your ennervation was with the lighting.

Drat. I was hoping that we could 'predict' problems based on which wire was broken so that we can diagnose when we see that problem, which wire to inspect.

Oh well, back to the OP ... if you're gonna do anything, check your loom as it only takes five minutes and MANY people have this problem, and, ah ... ummm ... is your E39 perchance blue?

PS: I don't even know what a 'touring' is ...

QSilver7 10-24-2010 05:23 AM


Originally Posted by bluebee (Post 5568577)
...PS: I don't even know what a 'touring' is ...

A "Touring" in Bimmerspeak is a station wagon/sport wagon. :D

Next time you are using any of the part databasess (BMW ETK,,, etc) take note that in the BODY have the choice of SEDAN or TOURING. The sedan is obviously the 4 door body...and the touring is the 5 door wagon.

JimLev 10-24-2010 05:47 AM

So did SLJ7Q ever fix his rear light problem? If he has a sedan, and not a touring, he could have a bad ground connection (all those brown wires in the "shoe" that bolts to the body just below the tail light. I also remember hearing about a problem with the metal strips in the light assy itself.

MM007 11-20-2012 10:29 AM

Where can I buy a new passenger tail light for a 2003 BMW 530i, and not pay the BMW dealer price ?

JimLev 11-20-2012 10:39 AM


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