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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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Old 01-19-2013, 10:33 PM
Hectorml07's Avatar
Hectorml07 Hectorml07 is offline
Location: California
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 700
Mein Auto: BMW E39 6 Speed
E36 brake light switch without breaking.

Not sure if anyone has posted this already or not but here it goes. Today I finally decided to swap out my brake light switch after my obc kept on telling me it was failing even though my brake lights were working. After reading some posts and going through youtube, everyone has decided that braking the switch is the way to go in order to put in the new one. Yes, that will work and you are replacing it with a new one anyways but there is a way that you can do this without breaking the switch itself and its quite simple. You will need to know what type of switch you have since there are 2 pin and 4 pin. My switch happens to be 4 pin.

Tools needed:
-Phillips Screw Driver
-10mm Socket
-Slip-Joint Pliers
-New Brake light Switch
-A couple of minutes

Step 1: You will need to remove the foot well panel that is held on by 3 screws, 2 of them are on each side of the steering wheel and the other one is beneath on the right side. After you remove the screws you will then need to pop off the panel carefully and not break the clip that is on the left side by the vent.


Continue by removing any harnesses, mine had 2 but you may have more since some have a light underneath.

Step 2: You can now get underneath by the pedals and look at what your working with. I made it easier for you all by simply taking out the bracket that holds the switch in place, that way you can see what I mean so you wont break the switch. If you decide to take out the bracket also it is just held in by one 10mm bolt in the rear of the bracket not real hard to take out (loosen up the bolt but don't take it out of its place, this will make it easier when you put the bracket back.) Note: Automatics will differ from manual transmission because manual transmission will have 2 switches in this bracket (clutch switch and brake light switch). Autos will only have one switch (brake light switch).

100 MEDIA IMAG0199
Here is the bracket I am talking about, I took out the clutch switch beforehand, so this is just showing the 4 pin brake switch.

This is what the bracket will look like after you take it out
100 MEDIA IMAG0217
As you can see the switch has some parts to it which include the red sleeve around the white little pin in the middle.

Step 3: Now what you need to do is slightly pull the red sleeve from the switch back. After doing that you will get the white little pin and pull it forward (extending it).
100 MEDIA IMAG0205

Step 4: You can now push the red sleeve forward as well. It will look like this. (If you decided to leave the bracket in place without unbolting it, at this time push in the brake pedal in order to extend the white pin if there isn't room.)
100 MEDIA IMAG0206
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Step 5: Here is where you will need your slip-joint pliers.
100 MEDIA IMAG0207 (1)

What you will do is get your pliers and just pinch the 2 tabs holding the switch in place. The switch should slide right out (WITHOUT BREAKING)

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Step 6: Out with the old in with the new! Get your new switch (if the red sleeve or white pin are not forward as I showed you above go ahead and do that in order slide it in without forcing it or breaking it) since its new it should already be with sleeve and white pin forward though, but if you sense that its not going in go ahead and do it.

The new switch should look like this.
100 MEDIA IMAG0215

Now simply slide the red sleeve back to lock it in place.
100 MEDIA IMAG0216

You can also slide back the white pin inside the red sleeve or leave as is, dosen't really matter since it will press in when the brake is applied, but i chose to slide it back also.
100 MEDIA IMAG0217
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Now you can put it back in and tighten the 10mm bolt that was holding it in place. Connect all your harnesses back and re-install the foot panel.

You are now done!

If there are any questions concerning this little DIY go ahead and ask away. It took me about 10 minutes to do this job, so it isn't that difficult.

I also managed to fix my yellow high beams after the brake light switch since only one was working
100 MEDIA IMAG0193

The end.

Last edited by Hectorml07; 01-20-2013 at 12:31 AM.
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