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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-10-2009, 12:33 PM
fireman5000 fireman5000 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 540I
Light bulb above the license plate needs replacement

I have a 2001 540I.

How do I change the bulbs that illuminate my license plate on the rear of my vehicle?
I cant see anywhere were I would be able to take the small plastic cover off to get access to the bulb.

Is the cover supposed to just pop off?
Is there a special tool needed to get the small cover off?
What kind of bulb is it?

Any help on how to get to the bulb and then replace it would be great.
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2009, 12:47 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Slide it to the left or the right and pull down.

It tells you in the manual. . .

Go to Sylvania's website and get the part number.
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2009, 12:59 PM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Both sides slide to right to open the flap. Use a flat screwdriver or key in the slot.
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  #4  
Old 05-10-2009, 01:12 PM
Brandon540/6M Brandon540/6M is offline
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its amazing that when you find that lil book in your glove compartment, it tells you how to change all the bulbs in your car
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2009, 05:39 PM
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RRsE39 RRsE39 is offline
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The manual will tell you the wrong direction, at least mine did.

I think the manual says to the left but its actually to the right. I almost broke mine until I just tried it the other way and it popped right off, I spend like 15 mins trying to figure it out.
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  #6  
Old 05-10-2009, 06:42 PM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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the secret is WD40 .. spray it on for two minutes .. then place a flat headscrew driver and push towards the right .. how do I know ... cause I just did my plate bulbs ...
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  #7  
Old 05-10-2009, 07:23 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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Hmmm, the page from the manual below says to push it to the right. And if the lamp assembly seems to be stuck...LUBRICATE, LUBRICATE, LUBRICATE (like Kaptom540 suggested). The license plate light assembly can get stuck from the cycle of washing/dust/dirt/grime/rain. Because the bulb assembly is at the top, even the cleanest of e39s can have dirt turn into a pseudo cement and make it difficult to remove.
The owners manual is the first step toward enlightenment
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 05-10-2009 at 09:25 PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-10-2009, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
The manual will tell you the wrong direction, at least mine did.

I think the manual says to the left but its actually to the right. I almost broke mine until I just tried it the other way and it popped right off, I spend like 15 mins trying to figure it out.
+1! Same exact thing...I struggled for 10 minutes until I broke mine, and glued it back together. Friggen Germans, and their supposed perfection! Hmmph... They should fix that damn manual or have included an update.

Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 05-10-2009 at 08:53 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2009, 01:42 AM
AlohaMark AlohaMark is offline
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Have you looked at using LED replacement bulbs? I just ordered some from a web sight called superbrightled.com.
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2002 525i sold
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2005 Boxster S, sold
2001 M3, European Delivery, sold
1999 323Ci, sold
1984 323i, UK spec, sold
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2009, 10:04 AM
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E92-Lighting E92-Lighting is offline
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we have all your lighting needs, every bulb for every car, not just bmw
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2009, 05:01 PM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaMark View Post
Have you looked at using LED replacement bulbs? I just ordered some from a web sight called superbrightled.com.
take at look at these LEDs

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...&highlight=led
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2009, 05:04 PM
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RRsE39 RRsE39 is offline
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Ive used superbright leds for years and they have great quality LEDs.

Im still on my same pair of license plate bulbs in my MDX from over 2 years ago.
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2009, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
Hmmm, the page from the manual below says to push it to the right.

In my manual it says press to the left.


Anyway moral of the story is, its to the right NOT the left.


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  #14  
Old 05-11-2009, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrcompton View Post
In my manual it says press to the left.


Anyway moral of the story is, its to the right NOT the left.



Thanks, you beat me to it...I was going to scan the page from my 2001 manual!
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  #15  
Old 05-11-2009, 05:30 PM
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^^^

haha
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  #16  
Old 05-12-2009, 06:23 AM
fireman5000 fireman5000 is offline
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In response to Brandon540- Ha. Thanks. Wouldnt have asked if I had the manual...
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  #17  
Old 05-12-2009, 12:13 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireman5000 View Post
In response to Brandon540- Ha. Thanks. Wouldnt have asked if I had the manual...

http://www.bmwtips.com/OwnersManuals/manuals.htm


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  #18  
Old 05-13-2009, 10:52 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I consider the license plate the government's property ... so I've been waiting for THEM to replace the bulb in my Bimmer!



Bluebee
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  #19  
Old 05-13-2009, 11:51 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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I found you can push to the right all day and you wont get it. Use lube and pry gently under the left had side lip.

E-92 Lighting..are you a supporting vendor? I guess not which means you know better. You will just get this thread locked. Please consider beconing one.

Bill
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  #20  
Old 05-13-2009, 12:49 PM
Tony E! Tony E! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I consider the license plate the government's property ... so I've been waiting for THEM to replace the bulb in my Bimmer!



Bluebee
lol.....good one.
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  #21  
Old 05-13-2009, 03:02 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I consider the license plate the government's property ... so I've been waiting for THEM to replace the bulb in my Bimmer!



Bluebee
Hey Bluebee...you really should open up the one that is not illuminated. The bulb may not even be blown...it could be corrosion on the brass or metal parts.

If it's only corrosion...just take a screw driver or sand paper and scape off all the green build up and see if that fixes the problem.
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #22  
Old 05-13-2009, 03:59 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is online now
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I am finally going to replace my buggered up and reglued license plate light next week....I was ordering an M5 rear stabilizer bar from Tischer BMW, and figured I should replace that dicked up part!
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  #23  
Old 05-15-2009, 12:24 AM
AlohaMark AlohaMark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaMark View Post
Have you looked at using LED replacement bulbs? I just ordered some from a web sight called superbrightled.com.
UPDATE:

Just installed the LED bulbs I got from superbrightled.com in the license plate area. I ordered these

Product: 3610-x4 LED Festoon bulb $ 1.89 (each)
Options: Cool White 3610-CW4 0.95

and I got the error message for check license plate bulb!! They look nice but I don't think I can deal with the error message.
__________________
2006 550i/A, Alpine White, Black Leather, Sport Package, Logic 7 Sound, Comfort Access, BMW Star Spoke 124s Staggered
MODS: MTech LED Angel Eyes, 30% Ceramic Tint, Child Seat



2002 525i sold
2007 328i Coupe-Leased, turned in
2005 Boxster S, sold
2001 M3, European Delivery, sold
1999 323Ci, sold
1984 323i, UK spec, sold
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  #24  
Old 05-15-2009, 06:30 AM
Waveho Waveho is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaMark View Post
UPDATE:

Just installed the LED bulbs I got from superbrightled.com in the license plate area. I ordered these

Product: 3610-x4 LED Festoon bulb $ 1.89 (each)
Options: Cool White 3610-CW4 0.95

and I got the error message for check license plate bulb!! They look nice but I don't think I can deal with the error message.
To cancel the error message for the LED light, buy a pair of 1 watt/100 ohm resistors (this worked for me, but I took an educated guess; other sizes may get less hot) and 4 tiny alligator clips. This works great, and no error messages. I've checked and the resistors do get very hot, but over a year and they work fine. Here's the pic of the connections:
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'98 540i 6-spd Sport, Jet Black II(sold)
'92 325i 5-spd 4dr, burgundy(sold)
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  #25  
Old 05-15-2009, 11:13 AM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaMark View Post
UPDATE:

Just installed the LED bulbs I got from superbrightled.com in the license plate area. I ordered these

Product: 3610-x4 LED Festoon bulb $ 1.89 (each)
Options: Cool White 3610-CW4 0.95

and I got the error message for check license plate bulb!! They look nice but I don't think I can deal with the error message.
There is a good write up by Bill another forum member .. check it out ..

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...highlight=leds

wow those are cheap compared to what I had paid for my SMD LED lic plate bulbs .. but I paid for no error message for flickering ..
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1998 Arctic Silver, OEM M-Tech Bumpers, Koni FSD/Eibach Pro Kit, MKII Motorsport 18x8.5 and 18x10, M5 Style Mirrors, ACS Style Trunk and Roof Spoiler, OEM Hella 4300k Headlights, Slim HID 3K Fogs, Euro Hella Celis Taillights, OEM M5 Kidney Grill, 35% tint, Magnaflow 14815
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