DIY for Rear Tail light Ground Short Problem - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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Old 06-06-2010, 02:50 PM
323ci_bimmer 323ci_bimmer is offline
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Location: Canada
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26
Mein Auto: 2000 323ci
DIY for Rear Tail light Ground Short Problem

I recently experienced that annoying faulty ground wire issue on the rear tail light that SO many E46 owners are familiar with. I looked up the parts to fix my car and discovered that the BMW replacement wiring harness
patch is $570 and the bulb carrier is $42 totaling $612 in parts alone.
Since BMW has not accepted responsibility for this issue in the form of a re-call I decided to fix it my self using parts from Canadian Tire. Thought others might want to see a cheap way ($9.52) to fix their faulty rear tail lights.

First: Take the bulb carrier out and remove the wiring. You will see that there is damage to the number 3 wire (the brown ground wire). Using a wire cutting tool trim the number 3 probe on the bulb carrier so the ground stops shorting. Do not cut the brown ground wire. It is important to leave it untouched so if BMW ever does a recall on this issue the wiring is untouched and BMW will replace it for you.

Second: Remove the rear tail light lens. Use a razor blade and trim the tab off the lens as I showed on the photo labeled "lightbackfix.jpg".

Third: Cut a 15 inch length of wire (14 gauge wire) and crimp round closed wire ends on each end. Don't use small wires, that is the original problem!

Fourth: Using a short bolt and nut (make sure the bolt is not long enough to short onto the lower electrical plate) fasten one end of the wire to the top hole on the ground plate of the rear light carrier as shown in the photo labeled "lightfix.jpg".

Fifth: Tuck the wiring behind the shields in the trunk and attach the other end of your new wire to the negative terminal of the battery as shown in the photo labeled "batteryfix.jpg".

Six: Re-assemble everything and test to make sure everything is working. If you did this correctly your lights will work like original and the dash indicator will show your lights are fine.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:33 AM
FLAB2012 FLAB2012 is offline
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Location: mansfield
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: BMW 530DSE E60
Bmw e60 530de

Hi to all lovers of beemers my first vist to the site how can you remove the cover to rear break lights I cannot remove the lining which is only fixed with two screws then it is simple to remove the bulbs
Any help would be appreciated
Regards to all lovers
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Old 01-26-2015, 04:45 PM
Eric19 Eric19 is offline
Registered User
Location: Cincinnati
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: X5 4.8i
Had this issue on my 04 X3. worked like a charm.
Thank You for the great post.
This site has saved me a lot of monetary pain and suffering
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Old 02-01-2015, 09:30 AM
cfm cfm is offline
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Location: Ky
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 15
Mein Auto: 2004 330i
323ci bimmer.
Thanks fro the great detailed tutorial. My usual mechnanic is not returning my calls (and I don't owe him any money), Do you if Flaboy 2012 received information to his query or where such information may be posted? It looks like I need to replace baye ballasts and power units for my low beams. I was quoted at an auto electric shop $1200. Probably much more at the dealer.

Thanks for any help you can provide on this latter issue.

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