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

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  #1  
Old 11-03-2012, 09:22 AM
Barrett Barrett is offline
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Location: Pennsylvania
 
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Mein Auto: X3
Tailgate brake lights

Am I losing my mind? The exterior light warning indicator came on, so I checked the lights and found the passenger corner brake light out and the drivers tailgate brake light out. I of course checked this forum, went ahead and replaced the passenger corner bulb, no problem, and opened up the interior trim panel to replace the other. I found the bulb to be good, in fact, the other one was then not working.
Thinking of a harness issue, I went to the dealer, with the trim panel still off, and described the problem.
They replaced both of the corner bulbs, did nothing in the tailgate, and the tailgate brake lights still do not illuminate.
They told me that the lights are working as they are supposed to, that " there are no brake lights in the tailgate, only on the corners"
Did I imagine the brake lights in the tailgate? Are there or are there not brake lights in the tailgate?
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2012, 01:32 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 X3 2.5i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrett View Post
Are there or are there not brake lights in the tailgate?
Other than the high-mounted brake light, of course, the dealer is correct.

The red part in the tailgate is designed for rear fog lights which are standard in Europe.

In North America, that red part (circling the clear backup lights) just serves as a reflector.
The bulb holders will be there, and some owners on this forum have retrofitted the rear fog lights.

Not to add further confusion, but be aware that what you call the corner brake lights are actually inboard of the tail lights (tail lights are really in the corner).

But the circuit board those rear bulbs are mounted on serves a purpose in having built in redundancy.

That is, if one bulb dies, you are not left with no tail light or no brake light on that side as the other bulb takes over that function until the dead bulb is replaced.

That might be why they replaced 2 bulbs for you rather than diagnose which was bad,
or maybe because it makes good sense to replace bulbs in pairs anyway.
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2012, 04:59 AM
Barrett Barrett is offline
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Location: Pennsylvania
 
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Thank you for the information, I really thought I was losing my mind. The fog light holder AND the bulbs are there in the assembly, which is I guess what convinced me that they were brake lights.
Thanks again!
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2012, 08:52 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrett View Post
.....The fog light holder AND the bulbs are there in the assembly, which is I guess what convinced me that they were brake lights.
You must have a 2007+ model.

The tail light assembly changed a bit in 2007 and used those inside bulbs as adaptive brake lights as well as the main brake light bulb.

Only come on under heavy braking so you can't visually check them in the driveway or garage.

In the 2004 - 06 models, the adaptive brake light feature uses the two outermost bulbs (tail light and standard brake light).

Seems like it was an improvement to spread the different situations over a wider area.

So, depending on your year, the dealer may have given you incorrect information.

It could have been your inner adaptive brake light that was dead, but as it happened it wasn't.
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2013, 04:48 PM
Insite986 Insite986 is offline
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Location: Atlanta
 
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I have a similar issue as barrett. Car is a 2008. When brakes are pressed, the passenger side lift gate brake light doesnt come on, but the drivers side does. Bulbs are new. I get 8 volts on the driver side & 0 volts on the passenger side. Dashboard lady bug is ON. What gives?
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2013, 07:22 PM
mama_jo's mama_jo's is offline
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Mein Auto: 2013 X-3 35
I had a brake light failure and got into this issue a bit with the dealer. i asked him how i could check the "adaptive" brake lights. he said it is impossible to check by yourself. they only come on during hard braking when the vehicle is in motion. So i guess you need to find a buddy to follow at night (not closely), and slam on the brakes. Normal break lights for our '08 X-3 are just the two outside bulbs and the center high-mount. I think the rear lights on this model look great with the LED technology!
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  #7  
Old 02-03-2013, 06:00 AM
Insite986 Insite986 is offline
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See that's the strange thing: one of them DOES come on with normal application of the pedal.

The strange thing is that it only gets 8 volts. This is probably related to the adaptive feature. Heavy braking would likely show 12v.

I would expect them to both come on simultaneously though. Odd that only 1 lights up.
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  #8  
Old 02-03-2013, 06:22 AM
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X3emist X3emist is offline
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Bad housing?

On our 06 I had to have the complete assembly replaced, ask about that?
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  #9  
Old 02-03-2013, 06:41 AM
Insite986 Insite986 is offline
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The assembly is actually okay; tested it with multimeter. The harness is not supplying voltage to the pin.
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2013, 02:50 PM
Insite986 Insite986 is offline
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Ok, figured it out. The liftgate brake lights do not come on under normal circumstances. If you have a normal brake light bulb out (not on lift gate), the liftgate brake light on that side will start lighting up to take its place. When the normal brake light is replaced, the liftgate light will stop coming on.

To test the liftgate bulbs, pull out the normal (corner) brake light bulbs and press the brake pedal.

I had a corner brake light out and didn't notice it; i only saw a single liftgate tail light on & suspected the bulb in the other lens. Those crafty germans....

I completely missed what supercourse was saying earlier; he is totally correct.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2013, 11:08 AM
Dkrawitz Dkrawitz is offline
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I could be wrong but I believe those lights you're refering to are LED's
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2013, 11:25 AM
mama_jo's mama_jo's is offline
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This is only my theory so don't blast me if I'm wrong. i could be totally wrong, but from my experience, US version cars have brake lights that are old-fashioned incandescent. only the indicator tail lights are LED. If you look closely at many new cars, you will realize that the light source that comes on with the brakes is not the LED, its a round bulb. I think.
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2013, 06:26 PM
Insite986 Insite986 is offline
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The tailgate light fixtures have led indicators that turn on with the headlights. There are also incandescent bulbs that light up under heavy braking or if a regular brake light bulb goes out.
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2013, 01:38 AM
Josemartinez Josemartinez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dkrawitz View Post
I could be wrong but I believe those led bulbs you're refering to are LED's
hello man I need to purchase some led taillights. Which is the best reliable source for purchasing them?

Last edited by Josemartinez; 02-09-2013 at 12:13 AM.
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