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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

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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  #1  
Old 03-04-2013, 02:50 PM
Dkey Dkey is offline
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Tail light question

This is my first post, so bear with me. My '93 325i was rear ended and among other things, I needed to replace the driver side tail light. I pulled one from a '96, and after some metal cutting, I installed it. However, I notice the wiring harness is wired different from the original '93's. Can anybody point me to where I can find a diagram for which wires are for what in the '93 and '96, so I can resplice them. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2013, 03:09 PM
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A couple things here.

1. why did you need to cut any metal? A sedan taillight is a sedan taillight across the whole range from the first E36ers to the last.

2. For the wiring schematics for all E36ers go to the previous page, then click on the "Useful Links" sticky. It is the first or second link there.

3. Welcome to the 'Fest, now post pictures.

Ed.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2013, 03:25 PM
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Thanks. Although they appear the same from the outside, the mount standoffs are different, and the bulb holes in the frame are slightly different. Here's the pic of the back of the tail lights....the '93 is on the right.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2013, 03:34 PM
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Must be aftermarket lights or something, since the mounting holes and bulb holes never changed throughout the entire E36 production run. You should never need to cut metal when swapping taillights from one E36 to another. The only difference would be the presence or absence of the check control feature in the harness plugs, but that doesn't affect fitment, and the only difference is an extra pin in the plug.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 03-04-2013 at 03:35 PM.
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2013, 03:42 PM
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Those taillights look to be very different sizes, the left one looks like a coupe. Can you flip them over and snap a pic?

Any errors in this post are purely Swype's fault, not mine.
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  #6  
Old 03-04-2013, 03:56 PM
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Bingo. I think Chad's got it. I didn't look at the photo initially. The left one definitely looks wider, like coupes have. No wonder it didn't fit on the OP's sedan.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 03-04-2013 at 04:02 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2013, 05:57 PM
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I have the 18 button OBC, so I figure i have the check wire too. The harness has the same amount of wired pins, but the blank pin is in a different spot. The backins are different, but im confident i can splice the wires ( im a mechanical engineer that works at an electrical engineer's heaven). My buddy is gonna bring me his Bently E36 book, so I can peruse it. My other buddy that pulled the new tail light for me said it was from a sedan (4 doors, like mine). Anything i'm missing? Thanks for the responses guys...i've been lookin at these forums for awhile, but just joined up cause i want to finally mint up my beema that i bought as a project car (that is actually my daily driver, haha). Ive attached the pic of the tail lights flipped over.
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2013, 06:36 PM
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Yup, you bought a coupe taillight my friend. They're shorter and wider than sedan lights. Ain't gonna work.

Any errors in this post are purely Swype's fault, not mine.
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2013, 06:38 PM
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Regardless of whether or not you can splice wires, the housing will not fit your body. Even if you hack the metal up so you can physically secure it, it's going to be a lot wider than your car allows for, and will look terrible. Better to just spend $55 and get a nice pair of new taillights from DDM Tuning that install correctly. Even if your friend claims the taillight came from a sedan, he's wrong. Or if he did pull it from a sedan, that sedan must've had a coupe taillight bolted to it somehow, because it simply isn't the right part.

Otherwise, I'm sure you can find someone with a sedan parts car and they'll probably give you a US spec taillight for practically nothing.
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Last edited by ZeGerman; 03-04-2013 at 06:41 PM.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2013, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
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Better to just spend $55 and get a nice pair of new taillights from DDM Tuning that install correctly.
Well, we are talking about DDM here, there's no guarantee those will install correctly either.


Any errors in this post are purely Swype's fault, not mine.
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2013, 06:45 PM
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Eh, DDM tails a pretty well vetted at this point. Mine have been flawless. Unlike HID headlights, E36 taillights are pretty simple creatures.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2013, 08:19 PM
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I got it in there, and doesn't look bad at all. Just needed the electrical diagram. The only metal that needed cutting was the part u cant see.
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:46 PM
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Can you post some pics so we can see what fitment is like from the outside?

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  #14  
Old 03-05-2013, 10:58 AM
Dkey Dkey is offline
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I should note, it doesn't look too bad, because the body is still messed up, so in comparison it's not to shab. It will definitely look out of place once I finish fixing the body, so I will be on the lookout for another tail light. I now have the Bentley book with the wire diagrams, but does anybody have a pic of their driver side tail light wire harness from a '96? That way I can see the color of the wires going in and where they are in the 8-point connector, in order to match them up with the colors called out in the wire diagram.
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2013, 02:44 PM
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As you can probably tell, we want to see pics before we help any further
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this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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  #16  
Old 03-06-2013, 11:04 AM
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If I was to post of pic of this mcgyvered rear end of my car, I think you'd all kick me off this forum for besmirching the look of bmw. But I'll post one later on.

Btw, do both tail light assemblies need to be hooked up for the brake lights to work in one assembly?? My tail light and blinker work in the one I have hooked up at the moment, but not the brake light. Thanks for any help you can provide, and I will post a pic, but I could really use some info now, b4 I have to drive home with only my center-eye brake light.
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  #17  
Old 03-06-2013, 11:05 AM
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No, they don't. They're independent. Are you getting a brake light circuit error?
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Quote:
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
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this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:08 AM
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Nope, just the 'brake lights failure'
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:11 AM
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I'll recheck the bulbs, but they looked good... Possible ground maybe. Or certain 'bulb holsters' have to go into specific holes to even get a circuit?
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  #20  
Old 03-06-2013, 11:12 AM
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Probably just the bulb or holder then.

Any errors in this post are purely Swype's fault, not mine.
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  #21  
Old 03-06-2013, 12:57 PM
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Yes there is about 3 different types of sockets that go into each side, and this also varies between coupes and sedans. Each body style has its own set of bulb sockets that are individual.

You can mismatch a couple to get them to work but it won't be a good connection. Take the part numbers from each socket, go to realoem.com and figure out which one goes where, or if you even have the right ones for that matter.
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