E46 Fanatics Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello convertible owners (and anyone else that might be able to help).

About two months ago I swapped my red third brake light (the OEM neon piece) out for a clear one that I purchased from a member of this forum. Everything was fine until two weeks ago, when the brake light indicator lit on the dash. Low and behold, the "new" third brake light was no longer working.

I then ordered a new clear replacement from Circle BMW, and rather than drive a week with no third brake light, I decided to put my original light back in the car. Unfortunately, the original light didn't work when I put it back in the car. I then replaced the fuse, unhooked/waited 10 min/rehooked the battery to try to reset the error, and none of these actions fixed the problem. At this point I was convinced that I had two burned out lights (even though the original worked fine just before I removed it.)

Now the new light has arrived, and it won't work either. I'm baffled by this, and the last time I had an electrical problem, I left the stealer $600 lighter.

Any ideas?
 

·
I'm hot 'cause I'm fly
Joined
·
4,467 Posts
make sure you didnt accidentally snap any of the clips that connect the wire to the brake light. sometimes they can crack and not hold tight or brake off completely. That will result in the peice sliding off a little (maybe not completely off, but enough to stop the flow of electricity to the light). I had this happen when i switchout out trunklids. One of the connectors that connects the wires to my key mechanisim broke and did just this. I had to tape it on so it would stay.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,987 Posts
I just had an almost identical problem, only my third brake light on my convertible stopped working as did my license plate bulbs.

I would wager that you have a bad ground on that harness. Get out your multimeter and strip off a piece of insulation of your hot/ground wires. Test with the wiring (both hot/ground) in place. It will fail. Now test with a ground directly to metal, or your negative battery terminal which is conveniently near by. If this passes you need to re-ground that harness. I simply ran my own ground wire to the negative post on the terminal. Kind of a ***** but it works now.

Recently my trunk release has also stopped working so I need to go back in and find out what's up. Dismantling the trunk is such a ***** that I've been putting it off for a couple weeks now - although my third brake light and license plate bulbs function properly now, and I no longer have the third brake light out message. Do a search on my name, I made a post about this maybe a month ago. PM me if you need help.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,987 Posts
SeinnaCic said:
Thanks Gordon. I appreciate the post and PM information that you sent.
:thumbup:

Please post a follow up when you fix it - so people that use the Search feature can find it in the future. Best of luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The dealer fixed the problem today. Apparently the wires leading to the third brake light, as well as the the ones leading to the license plate illumination, were broken inside the body of the car, near the connection to the boot lid (the intestine-looking rubber conduit). Some of the main body of the car had to be disassembled to get to the problem area. This appears to be some sort of design flaw, and it was unrelated to the ground fault issue described above.

I'll try to get more information from the dealer today, as this problem is appears to be in the design, so that, over time, all of the convertible owners, and possibly the rest of you, will experience this same problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just got back from the dealer - and all of you should read what I learned:

The flexible rubber tube which "protects" the wires as they come out of the car body and connect to the trunk is way too flexible for long term usage. All of the wires within that rubber connector (which for the convertible owner would include the third brake, the license plate, and the reverse indicators) were worn out/broken. The dealer repaired all of these wires - which had been bent/straightened so many times in the normal course of opening and closing the trunk that the insulation was worn through, and once they were all repaired, then they used a heat shrink material to fortify the wires beyond the insulation's capabilities.

My car was built in October of 1999, and I've put 62K miles on the car, so I've probably opened and closed the trunk a few more times than some of you, but your car may eventually have this same problem.

If I had not had this problem fixed at the dealer ($200) and had only read about it here on the board, I would probably pull back that flexible boot on my car and check the condition of all of the wires, then repair any that needed it, and then use the heat shrink material on all of the wires now, to avoid this problem in the future.

Let me know if you need more information about this problem. I am fanatical about the cleaning and repair of my car, so this is not a problem created by me ~ meaning that you will probably have this same issue down the road.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,987 Posts
I hinted at a design flaw in another similar thread. It's unfortunate because if the wires aren't failing at the boot but "in the body" then it will be a ***** to trouble shoot.

I fixed my third brake light/license plate bulb issues, but now my trunk release doesn't work (the button near my clutch doesn't even illuminate).

I need to check and see what's going on when I get a chance, but if the wiring is failing somewhere that is not fairly easy to get at...I will find a different solution.

Design flaw (or product selection flaw) indeed.

Thanks for the update.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
My rubber conduit caused the internal trunk light to not work. It would go on and off as you moved the conduit around. My dealer had to open it and repair it.

I also had a problem where the trunk lock worked only when I inserted and twisted the key. For that one, they had to rewire the thing all the way from the General Module back to the trunk. They couldn't find the short.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
660 Posts
Is this problem only for convertibles, or all e46's? I've got nearly 100K on my car, but no problems (yet?).
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,987 Posts
egruber said:
My rubber conduit caused the internal trunk light to not work. It would go on and off as you moved the conduit around. My dealer had to open it and repair it.

I also had a problem where the trunk lock worked only when I inserted and twisted the key. For that one, they had to rewire the thing all the way from the General Module back to the trunk. They couldn't find the short.
Do you know exactly which pin(s) I tap into at the general module?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
I have a 2001 Cic and I have been on this and other boards scouring for an answer to this exact problem (my car seems to think the trunk is open and the license plate light are out.) I figured it would be something like that (a short in the system) and have been systematically disassembling my car.

I completely removed the entire locking system and checked all the wiring to and from all the bulbs, removed the entire rear seat cushions, and un-installed the after-market alarm system I bought when the old girl was brand spanking new. The inside of my car looks like I'm about to pick up MadMax for a date!

Thanks for the heads-up on the rubber hose thing. I will check that tomorrow. If that's the case shouldn't there be a factory recall on that harness???

Thanks for the 411 :)
-Elphie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Good Morning everyone! I called both the dealership I bought my car at 6 years ago and the stealership I use to take my car to. Neither would do anything about this problem exact refer me to service. This seems to me like a class action lawsuit ready to happen... Here is a picture of mine:

<img src="http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t164/comova/misc/wireharness.jpg">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I had the same problem with my droptop a couple of weeks ago and I fixed it by extending all the with new wires. It was a *****! Adding 13 new wires, soldering the ends together then heat shrinking the ends.

Stealership wanted $3000 to do it! I told them it was bullshit.

It's done and all my rear lights work now.

Thanks for BUMPING this Thread!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,624 Posts
I had the same problem with my droptop a couple of weeks ago and I fixed it by extending all the with new wires. It was a *****! Adding 13 new wires, soldering the ends together then heat shrinking the ends.

Stealership wanted $3000 to do it! I told them it was bullshit.

It's done and all my rear lights work now.

Thanks for BUMPING this Thread!
That's why we're here :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I hinted at a design flaw in another similar thread. It's unfortunate because if the wires aren't failing at the boot but "in the body" then it will be a ***** to trouble shoot.

I fixed my third brake light/license plate bulb issues, but now my trunk release doesn't work (the button near my clutch doesn't even illuminate).

I need to check and see what's going on when I get a chance, but if the wiring is failing somewhere that is not fairly easy to get at...I will find a different solution.

Design flaw (or product selection flaw) indeed.

Thanks for the update.
I vote for a design flaw too. My 01, build date 6/00 had the same issue with the trunk harness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
hey
i have a same problem.
my license plate light bulbs were out for long and the 3rd brake light + trunk release work just fine.

i already took the trunk liner apart and get access to the wiring behind that.
i also checked the trunk wiring rubber thing to see if any of the wires inside it broken or anything but everything seems in good shape to me.

what's the power wiring for the license plate bulb (color...)?
and what's fuse #?
i'd need to check
thanks
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top