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robant251 11-14-2012 12:25 PM

Spurious messages
The computer on my 1998 328i convertible has started displaying intermittent messages telling me I either have a tail light or brake light which has failed when, in fact, there is no problem with any of the lights.I have been told this sometimes occurs when a reasonably new bulb is paired with a reasonably old bulb and the computer wrongly thinks the older bulb has failed.With this in mind I have replaced both bulbs with new items but still have these messages. Can anyone please help?
Bob Riley.

ECSTuning 11-14-2012 12:51 PM

Bob check the bulb sockets for corrosion. I've seen numerous cases where a little build up still allows the power to flow to the bulb but doesn't allow the car to see the bulb.

johnf 11-14-2012 12:56 PM

The check control measures the current drawn by each bulb, individually: the measurement of one bulb should not influence the measurement of another.

You may be suffering intermittent connections from corrosion between the bulb holders and the sheet metal strips they twist into. Have you tried cleaning them?

jitsjaf2009 11-14-2012 01:28 PM

I found it was the socket seating that was dirty on mine and drove me "nutz" for awhile...changed lamps, checked springs etc....finally cleaned socket seating and been fine since...go figure???!!!???

dc_wright 11-14-2012 02:22 PM

If you are getting the Brake Light failure message then what John F, jitsjaf, and ECST indicated should fix it whether it's the tail or brake light. If the message is Brake Circuit failure then you need to look at replacing your brake light switch which is another known failure item on E36s.

mfisher0000 11-14-2012 02:39 PM

Same thing happened to me. I replaced both bulbs and cleaned the sockets and it cleared the message. I've also read that a weak or failing battery can cause this message.

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