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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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  #1  
Old 09-03-2007, 11:30 AM
e36lvr76 e36lvr76 is offline
Estoril Blues
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 36
Mein Auto: e36 m3
Exclamation Brake Light Circuit Issue/Tail Light Failure

About a month ago my OBC started giving me the Brake Light Circuit failure issue every once in awhile. I purchased a new Brake Light Circuit and installed it. Things seemed to be going fine for about a week until I had to use my headlights. The Brake Light Circuit failure came back almost immediately. So I searched the forums and found that people were saying to clean all the contacts for the bulbs. I lightly sanded each contact and lubed them with WD-40. The first time that I started the car up and turned the headlights on, the OBC read Tail Light failure. I've checked to make sure that all the bulbs were re-attached properly, but the error message still occurs. Any Ideas? This problem is driving me crazy!
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2007, 11:44 AM
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320what? 320what? is offline
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are any of the lights cracked with moisture inside which can affect the contacts?
are any of the bulbs nonOEM?

I had this problem, and sometimes it pops up and dissapears again... no fix yet. Just kinda ignoring it for now... but answering YES to above questions I heard would mean that the problem wont go away till those are adressed...
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2007, 12:09 PM
e36lvr76 e36lvr76 is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Thanks for the quick reply. I have not changed out any of the OEM bulbs. The bulbs all appeared fine when I was sanding the contact points. I did not notice any cracks or moisture in them. I was actually hoping for some kind of corrosion on the contacts in order to explain the original Brake Light Circuit error I was getting. The only issue that I found was a small hole that was burned into the metal plate that one of the brake lights makes contact with. I read that someone else on the forum had this issue. I think they told him that the hole was fine. I've attached a picture so you can see what I'm talking about. Should I try to solder a patch over the hole?
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2007, 01:04 PM
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no, in terms of moisture, i meant the in the lens of the light, not the bulb itself. MIne for example is cracked on rear right, and there is tiny bit of moisture. It is on the side of the car, not back of the car, so its hardly noticiable but i think thats whats causing mine to be wierd from time to time. Someone also once told me that the brake light switch overheats easily if you stomp on brakes many times and keep your foot hard on them or smth, so i remember since then, i was more careful with brake pedal, i.e. not stepping on it too hard on stops more then necessary, and i had no problems since.. wierd, but "kinda" worked for me for now..
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2007, 05:33 PM
Bmwcat Bmwcat is offline
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OK, here's the deal. I have fixed this 8 or 9 times so far. You did all the right things. One more step: the metal contacts on the plastic bulb holders get flattened out over time. I used needle-nosed pliers and GENTLY bent those silver tabs back outwards so they can make good contact with the other contacts. This should do the trick..
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2007, 07:59 PM
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PJBIMMER PJBIMMER is offline
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Location: Las Vegas, NV.
 
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Did you change the brake light switch that is on top of the brake pedal? I had the same problem I replaced the switch and that fixed it.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2007, 08:48 PM
e36lvr76 e36lvr76 is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Mein Auto: e36 m3
Thanks for all the help guys. Bending the metal contacts on the bulb holders seems to have fixed the Tail Light Failure issue. Now only time will tell if the Brake Light Switch Error is fixed.
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