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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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Old 08-03-2005, 09:34 PM
slamtry slamtry is offline
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Mein Auto: 325IC
tail light problems on E36

I am having a tail light problem. I got the old "Tail light failure" message on the OBC, so I took a look. Sure enough, the bulb was broken. I replaced it with the correct bulb, a 21 / 4 watt, dual filament "euro tail light" bulb from Kragen. Problem is, the error message still shows up on the OBC whenever I turn the lights on.

Is it possible that the OBC retains the error message until I reset it somehow? Or is it possible that, even though I have used the same - and correct - bulb, a micro-difference in resistance between the new one and the one on the other side might be causing the system to read a fault? I have read five pages of old posts on the subject of tail light failure without finding anything that seems useful. if anyone has any clues, now's the time to roll them out. Thanks for listening.

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Old 08-04-2005, 01:24 PM
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LmtdSlip LmtdSlip is offline
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Not sure. Try replacing the other lamp as well.

Or perhaps the replacement bublb has a problem.

I know that when my bulb burned out I simply replaced it with the proper bulb and the error code went away.

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Old 08-04-2005, 04:40 PM
Bmwcat Bmwcat is offline
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Light at the End of the Tunnel.

This is a very common problem on E36's. I struggled for a few days when I bought my car. Usually the bulb holder metal contacts get corroded after a while. I filed them a bit with a small file and sprayed themm with WD40. I havent had a failure message in 12 months. Oh, I never did replace the light bulbs!!
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