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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 02-23-2009, 11:11 PM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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DIY: Cleaning under the 3rd/Center brake lamp

Have you noticed that the glass under the 3rd or center brake lamp gets progressively dirtier, misted up and maybe even with insects inside? Here's a quick DIY on how to take the LED lamp assembly off a 2006 325Ci for cleaning. Other 3 Series models will have a similar setup. There are two parts to remove: the front cover and the lamp assembly, see figure 1.
  1. Front cover is held in place by two nylon push pins and two clips. As shown in figure 2, slip you index fingers under the center of the cover, spread them out to the corners where the pins are and then carefully pull the pins out. Lift the cover down just enough for the pins to clear their holes, then slide the cover away from the lamp assembly so the clips clear the assembly. See figure 3 for placement of the pins and the clips. If you pull the cover down too much, the clips will break.
  2. Spread the two latches holding the lamp assembly to the rear glass, like figure 4. The assembly will drop in your hands, just held by the cable, which you can separate at the connector if desired. The glass can then be cleaned, just be careful with the metal brackets that hold the assembly in place: see figure 5.
  3. Reconnect lamp if necessary. Open the latches, center on metal brackets and close. Replace cover by centering pins in their holes, tapping them in, then pushing the corners for the clips to engage the lamp assembly. Done.

Thanks for all the positive feedback. Hope this DYI proves useful to all.
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Last edited by jcourcoul; 02-26-2009 at 07:37 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2009, 11:47 PM
e46_platform e46_platform is offline
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nice write-up!
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2009, 07:20 AM
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Hmmm....this would fix my lighting bug that I have, but I think I'll let 'em stay until the meet.

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  #4  
Old 02-24-2009, 08:07 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Originally Posted by Gryphon View Post
Hmmm....this would fix my lighting bug that I have, but I think I'll let 'em stay until the meet.

Just like the corpse I have in the headlamp. Can't imagine how the damn bugs manage to crawl in there....

BTW, I found a dead mosquito in my center brakelamp, so I really had two corpses in the car.
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2009, 08:57 AM
bmw-hoya bmw-hoya is offline
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Great DIY!
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2009, 09:05 AM
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Excellent write up. Do you want me to add it to the Wiki?
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2009, 09:47 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
Excellent write up. Do you want me to add it to the Wiki?
By all means, that was the intent in the first place, if it passes the standards of the Wiki. Giving back what little one can.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:25 AM
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iskoos iskoos is offline
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It is great that somebody thought about this. No bugs yet but there are lots of unnecessary dirt in mine as well.
Great DIY and thanks for sharing it but would you mind adding some more pictures(not upclose ones) to make it easily understandable? A lot of black objects and black background in the pictures making it a bit confusing to orient myself. I kind of lost my orientation. If no more pictures available, maybe you can add some arrows.
Definitely not trying to be picky. Just trying make this DIY better.

Thanks
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  #9  
Old 02-24-2009, 10:25 AM
dfoster99 dfoster99 is offline
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Great post. I have some kind of a pod in mine. I am not sure if it's going to hatch some mutant species or what, but I will sleep better at night when I follow your advice and get rid of it
Anyone else have unusual items lodged in their third brake light? So far we have a mosquito, a lightning bug, and some sort of alien pod.

Last edited by dfoster99; 02-24-2009 at 10:29 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2009, 10:37 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Originally Posted by iskoos View Post
Great DIY and thanks for sharing it but would you mind adding some more pictures(not upclose ones) to make it easily understandable? A lot of black objects and black background in the pictures making it a bit confusing to orient myself.
Heh heh, sorry about that. Got hit by a moment of 'midnite inspiration', hence the dark shots. I'll get a couple of extra (daytime) shots in there.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
By all means, that was the intent in the first place, if it passes the standards of the Wiki. Giving back what little one can.
Done
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2009, 12:23 PM
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jcatral14 jcatral14 is offline
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Thanks for posting. I had my tints removed and a little bit of the soap solution ran in the assembly. I was trying to pry it open but couldn't figure out how and was afraid I would break something. Now I know. Thanks
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2009, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jcatral14 View Post
I had my tints removed and ....
Just about inspection time?

As an aside, I'm getting ever closer to medical support for me getting tint.
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Last edited by Gryphon; 02-24-2009 at 09:03 PM.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2009, 09:49 PM
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Very well done indeed! It was clear, concise and effective. Dido on the pics, but you've got that taken care of. Thanks for contributing. (although I have a vert)
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:57 PM
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Thanks for posting this. People need to see it and it's very easy. Everyone should do this before taking their car to get the windows tinted!!
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  #16  
Old 02-26-2009, 07:39 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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FYI, I've adjusted the pics so the orientation is explicit now. Hope that takes care of any issues. Sorry about the night shots, but am too lazy to repeat + shooting a black interior in bright sunlight is an exercise in frustration.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:45 AM
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jcatral14 jcatral14 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryphon View Post
Just about inspection time?

As an aside, I'm getting ever closer to medical support for me getting tint.
Haha, no, I had to get the car inspected for the first time in Jersey. Car was from Delaware.

All my cars never had tint so no problem for me. I would like to get a really light tint but hate the aggravation with tickets and cops. Tell me more about this "medical support"
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  #18  
Old 09-17-2010, 06:09 AM
Whoad_way_down Whoad_way_down is offline
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Thanks for the help. I don't have much of a bug infestation but I do want to complete a task on my NTM car. I am installing a third brake light flasher. I have been rear ended and it isn't much fun. So, protect me and protect my ride.

http://www.3rdbrakeflasher.com/index...roducts_id=181
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2010, 06:48 AM
marlin1881 marlin1881 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryphon View Post
Just about inspection time?

As an aside, I'm getting ever closer to medical support for me getting tint.
With your ZHP, you should have tint already, correct? What does NJ have to say about that? OK? Not?
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by marlin1881 View Post
With your ZHP, you should have tint already, correct? What does NJ have to say about that? OK? Not?
It is now a moot point. We just dropped all inspection here in New Jersey except for emissions. Makes me sleep better at night knowing we will have even more dipsticks with unsafe cars on the road. Love the Gov. and his budget cuts!
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  #21  
Old 09-17-2010, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by marlin1881 View Post
With your ZHP, you should have tint already, correct? What does NJ have to say about that? OK? Not?
Ha, this post was for the Xi. I have some scarring on my one eye that makes me a bit light sensitive, NJ is not interested, they said wear sunglasses.

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It is now a moot point. We just dropped all inspection here in New Jersey except for emissions. Makes me sleep better at night knowing we will have even more dipsticks with unsafe cars on the road. Love the Gov. and his budget cuts!
Yeah feel free to read through my couple of blurbs about dealing with DMV these days, first they wanted to fail me for low washer fluid and then they pass me without even having a front plate. Gotta love it.
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