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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-13-2007, 07:45 PM
arielb1 arielb1 is offline
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Write-up changing front driver turn signal bulb - red headlight on dash

BMW 2002 325i - Special Thanks To KRISL.

My contribution to this forum...thanks to many of you that help me LEARN

On the dash, a red headlight with the picture of a car. It was a signal something was wrong with the headlight, but it was the turn signal bulb that was going dead. This would come and go. At times it would go away when I select the left turn signal while driving. The left turn signal would blink very quickly compared to the right turn signal. The driver side turn signal was still working though. Well, I took out the bulb and changed it because when I hooked it to a multimeter, it would not register contivity. I purchased a 1156 LL bulb from Autozone. Two bulbs for $4.20, heck it was cheap. After I changed the bulb, the red headlight went away. Problem solved.

Proceedure

A. Open hood
B. Unscrew lefty loosy to release tension on the turn casing. Working from above, I used a phillips screwdriver.
C. Pull out the casing using your finger….don't scratch your paint with tools. If at all, wrap a flat screwdriver with protective tape. It should come out easily.
D. Once it is out, change the bulb.
E. When putting back the casing, be very careful. There are four line up marks. Line up the top part first where the screw comes down on the casing. Where the stem goes into the rubber grommet, I used a little oil in the grommet so the insert goes in smoothly. I did not have to force anything. It fit snug and easy to insert once all the points lined up.

thanks all
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Last edited by arielb1; 08-13-2007 at 07:49 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-13-2007, 08:22 PM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Another thing to mention is to be careful not to touch the glass of the bulb with your fingers. The oil on your hands will decrease the life of the bulb.
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  #3  
Old 08-13-2007, 08:25 PM
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I've added this to the wiki
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  #4  
Old 08-14-2007, 05:03 PM
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Also, if you clean the connectors while the bulb is out and also add a smudge of dialectic grease they tend to last longer. Used to have chronic issues on my 99 323 until I did that..
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  #5  
Old 02-20-2009, 11:28 AM
rmeyer001 rmeyer001 is offline
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Lightbulb 2001 Front turn signal replacement

I found that my 2001 CIC does not have a screw to release the turn signal housing, but a silver tab. I have noted it in the picture and hope this helps anyone else trying to replace the bulb. Everything else was the same as mine though. Thanks for the WIKI.
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  #6  
Old 02-20-2009, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rmeyer001 View Post
I found that my 2001 CIC does not have a screw to release the turn signal housing, but a silver tab. I have noted it in the picture and hope this helps anyone else trying to replace the bulb. Everything else was the same as mine though. Thanks for the WIKI.
Mine went out yesterday as described above and was wondering how this worked for the coupe. Thanks.
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  #7  
Old 02-20-2009, 11:17 PM
Synaps3 Synaps3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Also, if you clean the connectors while the bulb is out and also add a smudge of dialectic grease they tend to last longer. Used to have chronic issues on my 99 323 until I did that..
So I took this to my favorite mechanic thinking I would need a new bulb right? Exact same issue as this thread. Here's what he does:

Pulls the bulb and socket out, grabs a screw driver and scrapes the contact on the socket furiously for 15 seconds, puts it all back in and it works fine. "No charge."

He explained that the metal contact loses its push against the bulb and as the touch between the back of the bulb and the connector gets weaker, it causes corrosion. Basically your bulb is fine, just scrape off the corrosion and throw it back in tight with a little grease and it will be fine.

That guy is awsome. If any of you need Race prep on your track cars around the Seattle area I have just the guy for you.
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2009, 09:22 PM
sonspot sonspot is offline
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wow i cannt believe someone had to do a writeup, before buying new bulbs, some of us have the expensive bulb, turn on your signals and give the bulb a twist just to make sure your not having a bad connection. good work OP
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  #9  
Old 08-16-2009, 12:40 PM
Jermy1304 Jermy1304 is offline
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Okay, I had this EXACT SAME PROBLEM on my 2003 BMW Z4. The left front turn signal picked when it wanted to work. The problem was actually not the bulb but was that a clear varnish developed overtime on the conductive metal surface of the bulb and mount. Easy solution was to take sandpaper and rough up the metal around the headlight to make it more conductive. I also wrapped the sandpaper around a pencil and cleaned off the mount point as well. I put the bulb back in and it has worked perfectly fine for over 4 months so far.

I knew it was not the bulb that had burned out because the connection inside the bulb was still there.
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  #10  
Old 01-29-2010, 06:52 AM
liquidexistence liquidexistence is offline
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A little more clarification for the coupes

Just had to replace my bulb in an 01 330Ci Convertible. Bulb was a 7506 (I got the LL=long life) slightly larger than my thumb with a thick element and one lead on the bottom. When looking down the hole for the silver tab, the first tab you see is vertically oriented and not what you need to push on. Further down the rabbit hole is a horizontally-oriented, dished-out tab.. that's what you push down on. Be careful though, mine was quite brittle and snapped off (probably didn't help that it's 30deg outside). While depressing the tab, use your finger or another screwdriver to push the lens housing from behind and it should slide out easily enough.

Again, thanks to everyone on the board for all the great write-ups!

Adam
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  #11  
Old 06-29-2010, 08:04 PM
dpcowboy dpcowboy is offline
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Mine is a 2001 330i...it has the tab, not a phillips head screw to release the tension on the turn signal (amber) casing. Should I just push down on the tab?
Oh, and a horror story you will all love...A good friend does custom paint work and airbrushing, and he assisted me with taking all the little scratches and dings out of this 2001 330i (with 240k miles). We worked on the car for a day. It looked perfect. I detailed the car, and it really looked better than perfect. Two weeks later I notice a scratch, through the primer, down to the metal, about one inch long, in the middle of the driver's side door. It was a sad day.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:49 PM
igorbmw igorbmw is offline
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tab not releasing

mine is 321i 2000 bought in munich new (wife drives it) and it has vertical tab that i could not release to save my life. I am generally handy with cars and do a bunch of work myself. This thing humbles me and i am ready to take it to mechanic or take the fender off. Am i missing something; could this tab (white color btw) just welded itself to other plastic piece in there because of the heat?
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  #13  
Old 10-15-2010, 11:01 AM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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I'm still not sure how to release the left (driver side) amber lens to get the signal bulb out. I went to the dealer and asked the SA, and he was no help. He said I need a long flat head screwdriver, which I used at home and could not figure out what to do once I inserted into the access hole. I hate to resort to excessive force and bust something. Anyone here can give me some specific instructions for a 2001 330i?
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  #14  
Old 10-15-2010, 11:43 AM
igorbmw igorbmw is offline
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horizontal tab unlocked my turn signal assembly

Dave look at post #10 in this tread this worked for me
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  #15  
Old 10-16-2010, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorbmw View Post
Dave look at post #10 in this tread this worked for me
OK, I'll try that second tab....I don't want to break anything that is brittle. After all, this car is will be 10 years old Oct 18th.

Edit: I got it out, I got it out.
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 10-18-2010 at 07:21 PM.
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  #16  
Old 04-20-2013, 01:49 PM
Curran Curran is offline
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Thanks for posting this DIY. Very helpful. A very easy fix once you know how to do it. As I searched the interent for solutions I was amazed ay how many different ways BMW has come up with the house this light in different model years of the 325i.
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  #17  
Old 12-14-2013, 12:36 PM
Bredle Bredle is offline
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Effective, user-friendly instructions for a front turning signal bulb replacement. I should have visited this site first before standing out in the cold staring puzzlingly at my 2003 325xi. I eventually came to my senses and remembered that I had visited bimmerfest previously when trouble-shooting my 1990 325i. Thank goodness for the free help here!
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  #18  
Old 12-15-2013, 07:44 PM
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iskoos iskoos is online now
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I did this repair just a few days ago. Mine wasn't the bulb either and I knew that because it was a come and go situation. Bulbs don't do that. They either work or not.
Upon removal, I cleaned the metal contact where the back of the bulb touches but that wasn't the problem either. It came down to my connector that connects to the back of the bulb housing. One of the connector slot/grove (or whatever. Where one of the pins on the back of the bulb housing goes into) wasn't making good contact with the pin on the bulb housing.
What I did was to insert some thin aluminum foil to fill the gap. It works fine now. I will get a new connector the next time I order stuff for my car...
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