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  1. #1
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    Member No: 69761 lnaru is an unknown quantity at this point lnaru's Avatar
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    One brake light consistently fails

    3 weeks ago, I got this "Brake light fail" message on my onboard computer. Sure enough, the right brake light was a goner. I replaced the bulb and all was fine for 2 weeks.

    After 2 weeks, I get the same "brake light fail" message and the right brake light is not working? Before, I go and buy a new set of bulbs again, I would like to check if there is a problem with the circuit / fuse or something.

    Any help / suggestions is greatly appreciated.


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    sometimes the bulb carrier is going bad

    I had that problem on a 328 for whatever reason, maybe corossion from sea air. I had to eventually wrap some wire around the contacts and solder it on there as a "build up" so it can mate better._______
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  3. #3
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    I've had an intermittent brake light failer.

    It was broken wires under the trunk lid. On the left side there is a bunch of wires. Have someone press brake pedal and open and close trunk lid and try to wiggle the wires. If your brake light comes on and off it is in there and you have to take it apart and rewire.

  4. #4
    ---> ADS
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    right, not uncommon. clean the contacts

    I've not tried this, but if they are worn (more problems after cleaning), melting some solder on the contacts might be another way to build them up.
    ADS

  5. #5
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    Yup, that's how I fixed mine.


  6. #6
    robertplattbell
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    Re: One brake light consistently fails


    If the socket is not screwed in all the way, or the tab on the socket is bent back, it can arc to the tail lamp assembly. Over time, this will weld a hole in the contact on the tail lamp assembly.

    The contacts are galvanized steel (bad). When oxidized, it makes zinc oxide, a perfect insulator.

    If this is the case, you may notice a burned and arc'ed part on the assembly and/or socket. This may require removal of the assembly to investigate.

    I've tried to bend back the tabs, clean the contacts with emory cloth, etc., but once the thing gets a hole welded in it, the contact gets flakey and the only solution is a new taillight housing. They are about $90.

    As you know, use the correct bulbs, too. The bulbs for BMWs are found in the foreign bulb section at your parts store. Use the exact same number bulb, not one that "fits". The OBC check will go off if the wrong wattage bulb is used.

    I usally replace these in pairs, saving the old "working" bulb as a spare. If you replace one at a time, the car gets this "winky" look as the older (non-replaced) bulb is generally dimmer than the new one.

    Good Luck. Leave it to BMW to make replacing a light bulb an esoteric exercise.

    On the X5, to change a turn signal bulb, you have to remove the entire headlamp assembly (a $1200 HID unit, don't drop it). BMW uses "long life" bulbs and thus changing them is considered a once-in-the-life-of-the-car thing.


  7. #7
    robertplattbell
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    TSB on this as well as replacement kit


    The trunk lid wiring failure is well-known, and on the BMW ETK/TIS discs there is a TSB on this, as I recall. I do remember seeing the replacement wiring harness having a separate part number.

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