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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 03-15-2011, 09:57 AM
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Scottji Scottji is online now
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Link to TSB/SIB re rear taillamp issue?

I have the rear tail light faulty ground issue which I'm considering taking on in the next few weeks. There are DIYs galore, but I can't seem to find a good link to the TSB/SIB from BMW ("Poor Connection at Rear Lamp Connector", # 63 03 06). All the links to it from the Wiki and from other pages I've found are broken links, and I've perused google for a while to no avail.

Anyone have a link to the TSB, or know where I can get it?
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2011, 03:26 AM
nkc1031 nkc1031 is offline
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I had the same issue with my tail lights and the BMW dealership fixed it free of charge. It was covered by a recall I believe. In addition to just replacing the connector/harness they also added an additional ground wire to prevent the problem from happening again. I'd suggest giving your local dealership a call to see if you can get it done for free, it's worth a shot.

Hope I'm talking about the right thing and that this info helps.
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2011, 06:53 AM
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Here's a good DIY on it with pics...
http://bmw.tech.officelive.com/Taill...r20022005.aspx

...and here's another one....
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...59&postcount=5

Last edited by jburns; 03-16-2011 at 06:56 AM.
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  #4  
Old 03-16-2011, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkc1031 View Post
I had the same issue with my tail lights and the BMW dealership fixed it free of charge. It was covered by a recall I believe. In addition to just replacing the connector/harness they also added an additional ground wire to prevent the problem from happening again. I'd suggest giving your local dealership a call to see if you can get it done for free, it's worth a shot.

Hope I'm talking about the right thing and that this info helps.
Thanks, maybe I'll call the dealership. Supposedly, it's a 5-min fix, so it might not even be worth dropping it off at the dealer, I'm pretty sure I can fix it myself, I was just hoping to review the TSB from BMW before diving in.
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  #5  
Old 03-16-2011, 07:31 AM
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CDirks CDirks is offline
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The TSB is as follows:

SI B 63 03 06
Lights

November 2009
Technical Service

This Service Information bulletin supersedes S.I. B63 03 06 dated February 2007.

[NEW] designates changes to this revision

SUBJECT
Poor Connection at Rear Lamp Connector

MODEL
E46 (3 Series) sedan from 9/01 to 3/05 production

SITUATION
Some customers may complain that one of the rear lights is inoperative.

CAUSE
Minor corrosion at the 8-pin rear lamp connector creates high resistance causing damage to the connector housing.

CORRECTION
Repair the damaged wire(s) and replace damaged connector housing. Install additional ground wires to both left and right rear lamps.
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  #6  
Old 03-16-2011, 08:42 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDirks View Post
The TSB is as follows:
The text you posted looks like the introductory paragraphs on the first page of the SIB. The full document includes part numbers and detailed repair instructions.
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2011, 09:51 AM
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Thanks all for the tips. Thought I'd share the epilogue: The job seemed simple enough, I ended up just tackling it without reviewing the TSB. The harnesses themselves looked good, and only my drivers' side harness was a little dark around the ground wire connector, so I didn't even bother with the passenger side. I did the short-cut DIY -- took a short piece of 18 ga sprinkler wire, stripped a 1/4" section from the middle of the ground wire a few inches down from the connector, looped my spare wire to the exposed ground and taped it up, crimped a blade/disconnect style connector to the other end and hooked it up to the ground tab on the housing. Took 5 minutes, total cost was about .25 for the connector.

My phantom taillight warning was pretty sporadic before I did this job, so I won't know for sure if it's fixed until I drive a few days without seeing the light, but it seems like it should have solved the problem.

Thanks again!
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2011, 11:35 AM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottji View Post
I did the short-cut DIY -- took a short piece of 18 ga sprinkler wire, stripped a 1/4" section from the middle of the ground wire a few inches down from the connector, looped my spare wire to the exposed ground and taped it up
Twisted wire connections don't tolerate vibration well. You'll probably have to redo the repair at some point in the future.

It would be a good idea to add the ground wire to the other tail light assembly, because without the additional wire, it's still at risk of burning up.

Last edited by G. P. Burdell; 03-17-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-17-2011, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
Twisted wire connections don't tolerate vibration well. You'll probably have to redo the repair at some point in the future.
Interesting -- Is that why BMW recommends using a "comb" style connector & housing? I taped it up pretty good, hopefully it'll stay for a while.
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2011, 02:34 PM
NoMercy346 NoMercy346 is offline
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does anyone still have the pdf with the official TSB?
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2011, 04:43 PM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottji View Post
Interesting -- Is that why BMW recommends using a "comb" style connector & housing?
Yes. There are several comb connectors located throughout your car; they're used like bus bars to tie dozens of ground wires to the ground studs all over the interior and engine bay. A comb connector is an easy way for a BMW dealership technician to make a splice from parts and tools that are readily available in the shop; the terminals that slide onto the comb are crimped onto the stripped wire ends with an open-barrel crimp tool. In truth, any properly crimped or soldered splice can work in this application, and it will last much longer than two wires that are twisted together.

If you're looking to learn more, I can heartily recommend the Automotive Electrical Handbook by Jim Horner. It's a great primer on good wiring practice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottji View Post
I taped it up pretty good, hopefully it'll stay for a while.
I hate to tell you this, but in addition to the twisted wires being unable to tolerate vibration, electrical tape doesn't tolerate heat very well. The adhesive will turn gooey when the weather warms up, and the tape will unravel and fall off soon afterward. It's the reason why I use very little electrical tape in the car.
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  #12  
Old 03-18-2011, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
I hate to tell you this, but in addition to the twisted wires being unable to tolerate vibration, electrical tape doesn't tolerate heat very well. The adhesive will turn gooey when the weather warms up, and the tape will unravel and fall off soon afterward. It's the reason why I use very little electrical tape in the car.
Dang. Well, let's see how long it holds. I can always go back and do it the right way later. I'm not too broken up about it since the job took 5 minutes and cost about .50 cents.

Thanks for the book recommendation.
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  #13  
Old 03-18-2011, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. P. Burdell View Post
electrical tape doesn't tolerate heat very well.
I know this to be true from past experience, but I was curious about what kind of temps I'm looking at, so I checked the data sheet for the tape I used --

Looks like it'll hold up to 176* F. Not sure how hot it gets in my trunk, but 176 sounds pretty warm.

Time will tell.
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  #14  
Old 03-31-2011, 03:28 PM
aao1234 aao1234 is offline
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Thanks Jburns

Thanks for the second link which shows a picture of the tail light ground that I am to connect the newly spliced ground to. I am going to try a Hybrid combination of the 2 methods. Wish me luck.
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  #15  
Old 04-01-2011, 05:30 AM
genuity genuity is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburns View Post
Here's a good DIY on it with pics...
http://bmw.tech.officelive.com/Taill...r20022005.aspx
^

OP, just do the TSB fix and don't go cheap unless you want to do it twice. Parts are cheap and the fix is not quite what you think about just hanging an extra ground off the existing ground wire.

TSB fix takes existing vehicle ground and ties to the middle part of the 3 comb piece. One wire links from one of the 2 available points on the comb to your tail light ground and the other wire goes from the last available comb point to either the ground on the carrier of the tail lighting unit or if you are running aftermarket LEDs, then to somewhere on the chassis.
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  #16  
Old 04-01-2011, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genuity View Post
^

OP, just do the TSB fix and don't go cheap unless you want to do it twice. Parts are cheap and the fix is not quite what you think about just hanging an extra ground off the existing ground wire.

TSB fix takes existing vehicle ground and ties to the middle part of the 3 comb piece. One wire links from one of the 2 available points on the comb to your tail light ground and the other wire goes from the last available comb point to either the ground on the carrier of the tail lighting unit or if you are running aftermarket LEDs, then to somewhere on the chassis.
Too late for me -- I did it the "easy" way. I have a feeling I'm going to be re-doing it this summer at some point. Oh well.
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  #17  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:58 PM
Totte Totte is offline
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I also had this problem with the ground connector going bad in both tail lights, but I never saw any reason to splice in an extra length of wire. I simply pulled the ground wire out of the slightly burned connector (easy because of the slight damage to the plastic), cut off the metal connector and crimped on a new spade connector, that would fit on one of the bigger ground connectors... The existing wires were easily long enough for this.

Total costs - two new spade connectors and about 5 minutes. No tape used
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  #18  
Old 01-26-2013, 01:09 PM
amt7565 amt7565 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburns View Post

The first method is what I tried to my Right tail light about 2 years ago and it fixed the problem. Now, just last week, the left tail light also exhibits the same problem. I just used the second method (shorter version), but it did not fix the problem. All lights inside the module seem to be working otherwise.

Could anything else be the issue?

Thanks for any insight.
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