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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2008, 11:22 AM
pcrispy pcrispy is offline
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Tail light bulb replacement

On the X3, how do you get into the tail light to replace a bulb? I looked closely at the housing and it would seem like you should be able to remove the entire tail light, swap the bulb, then put the housing back in place. However, I wasn't able to get the housing to budge when I did some investigating by hand. What's the trick?
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2008, 12:24 PM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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It looks like you are still under warranty. Take it into the dealer and have them replace it for you. See if they will do both sides as when one bulb goes the other is not usually far behind in my experience. Don't forget your new wiper inserts too!
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  #3  
Old 12-02-2008, 12:42 PM
pcrispy pcrispy is offline
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No warranty. I was just wanting to upgrade the back up lights with something brighter.
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  #4  
Old 12-02-2008, 01:14 PM
ahomata ahomata is offline
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You have to remove the back panel of the lamp. It can be released by squeezing the clips towards each other. Shouldn't be too hard and you can have a look at the owner's manual
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  #5  
Old 12-02-2008, 01:23 PM
pcrispy pcrispy is offline
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I will look at the owner's manual. Who ever thought!? I realize the concept of removing the lamp but I was trying to figure out how to get to the back of the tail light (sorry forgot to mention that since it is the backup light it is the section of the tail light that is on the hatch).
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  #6  
Old 12-02-2008, 01:32 PM
ahomata ahomata is offline
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Oh, the backup lamps are tricky ones. I believe you need the dealer's assistance.
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  #7  
Old 12-02-2008, 01:33 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcrispy View Post
I will look at the owner's manual. Who ever thought!? I realize the concept of removing the lamp but I was trying to figure out how to get to the back of the tail light (sorry forgot to mention that since it is the backup light it is the section of the tail light that is on the hatch).
Yes, getting at the tail lights is relatively easy and well described in the O.M. The back-up lights are another story. They tell you to take it to your dealer. Been raised in this forum before. You have to carefully pry the whole tailgate interior panel off. Don't think anyone has reported how that operation went for them - could you be the first?
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  #8  
Old 12-02-2008, 03:07 PM
pcrispy pcrispy is offline
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When quickly looking at it the other day I wondered if the interior panel was the way to go. I remember that I saw a few screws ( maybe torx) inside the pull handle cavities and somewhere else I think. I would guess that with the screws out the rest would be tabs like on the door panels. I had a door panel off recently to replace a slider that the motor cable attached to and the panel was a breeze. Hopefully this will be similar.

Assistance from the dealer, I'm not aware of that terminology.
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  #9  
Old 12-02-2008, 03:57 PM
MPBX3 MPBX3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Yes, getting at the tail lights is relatively easy and well described in the O.M. The back-up lights are another story. They tell you to take it to your dealer. Been raised in this forum before. You have to carefully pry the whole tailgate interior panel off. Don't think anyone has reported how that operation went for them - could you be the first?
No offense, but this is BS if it has to go to the dealer to change the back up lights.
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  #10  
Old 12-02-2008, 05:44 PM
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x3ronnie x3ronnie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPBX3 View Post
No offense, but this is BS if it has to go to the dealer to change the back up lights.
I agree.
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  #11  
Old 12-02-2008, 08:45 PM
Sonoman707 Sonoman707 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPBX3 View Post
No offense, but this is BS if it has to go to the dealer to change the back up lights.

BS it is... but what the Owner's Manual directs one to do.
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  #12  
Old 12-02-2008, 10:19 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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As with some other things that specify "to be installed only by a qualified BMW technician", it is not necessarily difficult at all. I suspect that because part of the latch harware is attached to the panel, if someone was careless in reinstalling the panel, there could be unfortunate consequences.

We just need to document the procedure for those that need to D.I.Y.

Such as:

- remove the 2 Philips screws in the recessed handles
- pry out the 2 plastic plugs either side of the center latch striker
- start prying off the panel, using your hands only, starting at the lower edge
- disconnect the wiring for the tailgate lamp
- complete the removal of the panel by prying it away from the top, and setting it aside
- remove and replace the backup bulbs, confirm their correct operation
- re-install the panel by reversing the removal steps
- confirm that the tailgate latches properly when closed

Just a guess, but I would say a 30 minute job for people who don't do it every day.
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  #13  
Old 12-03-2008, 01:08 PM
MPBX3 MPBX3 is offline
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Sorry but if BMW requires you to bring it back to the dealer then they should pay for it. In or out of warrenty.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2008, 11:20 AM
John320 John320 is offline
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Worth a look at an old discussion about the removal of the lift gate panel

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...tailgate+panel
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  #15  
Old 02-13-2011, 03:17 PM
kint kint is offline
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2007 x3

In case anyone is here looking for info about changing the bulb for the brake light for the 2007 X3 (as I was), you have to use some force to snap off the housing for the bulb. The instructions in the OM said something like "remove the housing and change the bulb," but it's hard to just pull it out - you have to apply pressure at an angle to snap it off. It's not like the turn signal bulb, which is easy to just turn off. After that, it takes a minute to change. I got a replacement bulb at the Pep Boys for $4.99 (actually, 2 for $4.99) .
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  #16  
Old 02-13-2011, 05:16 PM
PSUEng PSUEng is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPBX3 View Post
No offense, but this is BS if it has to go to the dealer to change the back up lights.
Not that i disagree, but with the newer E9X cars and others, you need to go to the dealer to change the battery....now THAT is BS....
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  #17  
Old 02-14-2011, 09:36 AM
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X3emist X3emist is offline
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Get some new clips before you do this

The clips are prone to breaking and or weakening. I had to make 3 $*(%^&&%$) trips back to the dealer after they replace mine due to rattling and squeaking from the plastic cover. The clips are scattered about all over the panel. You can easily break some of them in the process. Agreed, it is a stupid design which creates all sorts of issues for a simple bulb replacement.
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  #18  
Old 08-26-2012, 03:51 PM
Mopho Mopho is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
As with some other things that specify "to be installed only by a qualified BMW technician", it is not necessarily difficult at all. I suspect that because part of the latch harware is attached to the panel, if someone was careless in reinstalling the panel, there could be unfortunate consequences.

We just need to document the procedure for those that need to D.I.Y.

Such as:

- remove the 2 Philips screws in the recessed handles
- pry out the 2 plastic plugs either side of the center latch striker
- start prying off the panel, using your hands only, starting at the lower edge
- disconnect the wiring for the tailgate lamp
- complete the removal of the panel by prying it away from the top, and setting it aside
- remove and replace the backup bulbs, confirm their correct operation
- re-install the panel by reversing the removal steps
- confirm that the tailgate latches properly when closed

Just a guess, but I would say a 30 minute job for people who don't do it every day.
Good discription Supercourse, of taking off rear hatch panel, except the two push in plastic plugs by the latch have a pin in the center of them, and you need to take a small punch or awl to push in the center pin to unlock the clip, otherwise you will break it trying to pry it out.
This is true on my 2008 X-3 anyway, which at 49K is starting to have light problems. The left brake light on the liftback is out, no juice to the bulb and the right brakelight on the body is out on mine. No juice to sockets, means I have to take it in to the stealer. Bummer I have to pay $179 bucks an hour to change a couple of taillight bulbs, maybe more since there is something else wrong with the wiring.... or computer, or some other freeking thing. I'm checking the fuses next, but it's wierd the one brake light on the hatch and one on the body went out when I took it in for the last free oil change...
I called the dealer, they say even with my extended 100K warranty, the lights aren't covered, of course....
This Sucks, I think I'll sell this plastic X-3 piece of S--T and buy an older Bimmer I can work on...I have never had to take any car to the dealer to fix anything, being a retired bodyman and mechanic, but these newer computerized cars suck.
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  #19  
Old 04-12-2013, 05:58 PM
brunke brunke is offline
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taillight trick

Open the hatch. you need to remove the tall, narrow carpeted panel just inside the compartment. It is secured at the top with a spring loaded clip. You can just pull it out but it is easier to use a tool to release the latch. A butter knife works perfect. Slide it down behind the panel at the top and pull the panel to you. Pull the insulation blanket away and you can get to the bulb carriers. The taillight assembly is held in with 3 nuts from the inside.
Good luck and be sure to thumb your nose at the stealership on the way by!
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  #20  
Old 04-13-2013, 07:30 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Just replaced my rear shocks and just went through this. The vertical side panels need to be removed. They are held by 2 screws + 2 plastic rivets each near the top. Takes about 5mins to remove:

1. Remove philips screws that hold the panel to the car
2. Pry the panels carefully, and the rivets near the top will pop out
3. Dont loose rivets, they tend to pop into the roof liner when you install them incorrectly. Knock the roof liner if this happens to get them out =)
4. When re-installing, make sure the panel is tucked below vertical rubber weather seal
5. Use clean gloves or you will smear dirt on the liner

You will have access to external lights + internal lights. No need to take it to the dealer.

Last edited by bluskye; 04-13-2013 at 07:31 PM.
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