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I'd been having the same problem with the passenger rear bulb indicator on my '03 330i. Followed the instructions on this thread and I think the problem's now solved! One suggestion... for the tap to the brown ground wire I used a simple "tap splice connector" from Ace Hardware. Very easy and clean.

Thanks for a great website with great members!
 

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Thanks for the compliment.

I did the right taillight before since it was the one giving me the problem. I saw your post so I did the left one today -- this time with pics.

All photos are for the left taillight. Process is the same for the right.

The only materials and tools you need are:
- a 0.25" blade receptacle (available in Radio Shack, Home Depot or any electronics shop)
- a 5" strip of size #18 or larger wire
- rubber or vinyl electrical tape
- utility knife
- pliers

1) Release the taillight housing and lay it on the trunk.

2) Release the connector by pressing on the sides then pulling. Take note of the circled tab. That's the point we'll connect to later.


3) Cut a 5" piece of wire and strip one end about a quarter of an inch.


4) Insert the stripped end into the blade receptacle and crimp using any pair of pliers. Try pulling out the wire afterwards to make sure it's tight.


5) At the connector, the ground wire is the brown one. It's noticably thicker than the other wires.


6) Using a utility knife, carefully strip half an inch of insulation on the brown/ground wire 2"-3" from the connector.


7) Strip half an inch of the other end of the new piece of wire and wrap neatly (mine wasn't too neat in the pic) around the exposed ground wire.


8) Wrap tightly with electrical tape.


9) Plug in the connector again and insert the blade receptacle into the tab.


10) YOU'RE DONE!! If you've been having that annoying intermittent bulb-out problems and all bulbs seem to be ok, this is I think a more permanent solution. Replacing just the connector like what's done at the dealer will just bring back that problem after a few years. The problem is that the connector pin for the ground is too thin to carry all that current to the bulbs reliably. So eventually the pin builds up electrical resistance and will melt in some cases. Running a parallel connection using a thicker connector will solve it. (I'm an electronics engineer by education btw)
What if the brown wire completely came off the wire connector and is just hanging loose? how would i re insert it since it doesnt have the little metal part at the top of it, since it totally burned.
 

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So I was wondering if anyone had part number for the parts i would need get my taillights working again. I tried realoem.com but nothing.... I need a new connector and a new brown wire... the brown wire completely came off the connector so how could i fix this a plug it back into the new connector when i get it? people have said the heat shrink it but what tools do i know for that? Thanks here are some pictures of waht im talking about
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<a href="http://s529.photobucket.com/albums/dd333/ajv85483/?action=view&current=IMG00974.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i529.photobucket.com/albums/dd333/ajv85483/IMG00974.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
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<a href="http://s529.photobucket.com/albums/dd333/ajv85483/?action=view&current=IMG00973.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i529.photobucket.com/albums/dd333/ajv85483/IMG00973.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
<BR>
<a href="http://s529.photobucket.com/albums/dd333/ajv85483/?action=view&current=IMG00975.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i529.photobucket.com/albums/dd333/ajv85483/IMG00975.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
<BR>
 

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Just posting some additional info since on my search for "taillight connector" I couldn't find the part number.

If your connector is melted and needs replacement here are the part numbers:

Part # and Description List Price
12-52-7-519-956 Housing $3.60
61-13-1-387-144 Plug $0.72

The housing is the tail light connector housing and the plug is what you attach to the ground wire and put into the housing.
Is this for a 6 pin or an 8 pin... i need the one for a 6 pin... thanks
 

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Is this for a 6 pin or an 8 pin... i need the one for a 6 pin... thanks
That's for the 8 pin. I looked through realoem and Tischer and can only drill down to the taillight housing assembly, but not to the 6 pin mating connector.

I'm guessing here but the 6 pin connector looks like item 6 here: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=BM33&mospid=47709&btnr=61_1280&hg=61&fg=15

and the pin connector looks like item 8 here: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=BM33&mospid=47709&btnr=61_1349&hg=61&fg=15

To be 100% sure, email the good folks at Tischer (Mileone Parts) and they can help you out. [email protected]
 

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What if the tab on the light bulb holder doesnt exist. i have a 2000 that the light bulb looks different. any suggestions for a different ground that would work and take off the annoying bulb-out on my dash?

Thanks for the compliment.

I did the right taillight before since it was the one giving me the problem. I saw your post so I did the left one today -- this time with pics.

All photos are for the left taillight. Process is the same for the right.

The only materials and tools you need are:
- a 0.25" blade receptacle (available in Radio Shack, Home Depot or any electronics shop)
- a 5" strip of size #18 or larger wire
- rubber or vinyl electrical tape
- utility knife
- pliers

1) Release the taillight housing and lay it on the trunk.

2) Release the connector by pressing on the sides then pulling. Take note of the circled tab. That's the point we'll connect to later.


3) Cut a 5" piece of wire and strip one end about a quarter of an inch.


4) Insert the stripped end into the blade receptacle and crimp using any pair of pliers. Try pulling out the wire afterwards to make sure it's tight.


5) At the connector, the ground wire is the brown one. It's noticably thicker than the other wires.


6) Using a utility knife, carefully strip half an inch of insulation on the brown/ground wire 2"-3" from the connector.


7) Strip half an inch of the other end of the new piece of wire and wrap neatly (mine wasn't too neat in the pic) around the exposed ground wire.


8) Wrap tightly with electrical tape.


9) Plug in the connector again and insert the blade receptacle into the tab.


10) YOU'RE DONE!! If you've been having that annoying intermittent bulb-out problems and all bulbs seem to be ok, this is I think a more permanent solution. Replacing just the connector like what's done at the dealer will just bring back that problem after a few years. The problem is that the connector pin for the ground is too thin to carry all that current to the bulbs reliably. So eventually the pin builds up electrical resistance and will melt in some cases. Running a parallel connection using a thicker connector will solve it. (I'm an electronics engineer by education btw)
 

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on the back of the light fixture there is a tab where you can attach a female spade connector and ground it to your chasis. Just drill a small hole and connect a wire to it and your done. any questions Email me at [email protected] I can email pics to explain:craig:
Hye chris./.. can you help me out maybe show some pictures of what you're talking about.. I need to ground both of my taillights...
 

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hey, just wanted to thank ssm1991 for the great fix idea.

I originally printed the TSB and was getting ready to order the 15+ individual pieces for the "Dealer fix".

DUH!!! What an easy and cheap way to PERMANENTLY fix this problem!! Thanks for saving me time and money. In fact I already had the two connectors in my toolbox.... Free DIY's rock!!!!!!
 

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No need to go with any homemade solutions guys. This is from another thread, but it's about to get serious for BMW:

For many of you on the board with a long history of tail light problems, be sure to SAVE YOUR INVOICES. It looks like you can get your money back once the recall starts. Better is the fact that BMW might actually stop having us fix our own cars with parts from Radio Shack . . . . Geesh, have they no shame?

It's time to stop with the "homemade" fixes. This is a serious safety defect and BMW knows it.

Just a quick update on this problem. Among my circle of friends we have five post-update E46 sedans. Four of them have had tail light, turn signal, brake light failures all caused by BMW's screw up when they updated the tail lights: not enough grounding wire(s). See the BMW service bulletin SI B 63 03 06 on this at the link below:

http://www.bmwtis.com/tsb/bulletins/...p/B630306g.htm

Since the ne'er-do-wells at "Screw The Customer" BMW NA Customer Service (an oxymoron) have never heard of Ralph Nader, we're going to give 'em a little help. The nice folks over in Washington D.C. have these things called Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and EVERYONE selling cars here has to meet them for ten years after a car or truck is built. That means if our lights have design defects (they do), BMW is under potentially criminal liability to fix the things with a safety recall at NO cost.

BMW's service bulletins basically say, "Only fix the cars under warranty; screw everyone else for whatever you can get away with so you can buy a bigger boat." WRONG ANSWER BMW!

The ball is in motion on this; more later. For now, BE SURE TO SAVE ALL YOUR RECEIPTS IF YOU HAD YOUR STEALER RAPE YOU FOR $400 (per side) TO FIX BMW'S LIGHTING SCREW UP.

I expect to see something in a few weeks so hang in there
 

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Hye chris./.. can you help me out maybe show some pictures of what you're talking about.. I need to ground both of my taillights...
No need to go with any homemade solutions guys. This is from another thread, but it's about to get serious for BMW:

For many of you on the board with a long history of tail light problems, be sure to SAVE YOUR INVOICES. It looks like you can get your money back once the recall starts. Better is the fact that BMW might actually stop having us fix our own cars with parts from Radio Shack . . . . Geesh, have they no shame?

It's time to stop with the "homemade" fixes. This is a serious safety defect and BMW knows it.

Just a quick update on this problem. Among my circle of friends we have five post-update E46 sedans. Four of them have had tail light, turn signal, brake light failures all caused by BMW's screw up when they updated the tail lights: not enough grounding wire(s). See the BMW service bulletin SI B 63 03 06 on this at the link below:

http://www.bmwtis.com/tsb/bulletins/...p/B630306g.htm

Since the ne'er-do-wells at "Screw The Customer" BMW NA Customer Service (an oxymoron) have never heard of Ralph Nader, we're going to give 'em a little help. The nice folks over in Washington D.C. have these things called Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and EVERYONE selling cars here has to meet them for ten years after a car or truck is built. That means if our lights have design defects (they do), BMW is under potentially criminal liability to fix the things with a safety recall at NO cost.

BMW's service bulletins basically say, "Only fix the cars under warranty; screw everyone else for whatever you can get away with so you can buy a bigger boat." WRONG ANSWER BMW!

The ball is in motion on this; more later. For now, BE SURE TO SAVE ALL YOUR RECEIPTS IF YOU HAD YOUR STEALER RAPE YOU FOR $400 (per side) TO FIX BMW'S LIGHTING SCREW UP.

I expect to see something in a few weeks so hang in there
 

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Hye chris./.. can you help me out maybe show some pictures of what you're talking about.. I need to ground both of my taillights...
No need to go with any homemade solutions guys. This is from another thread, but it's about to get serious for BMW:

For many of you on the board with a long history of tail light problems, be sure to SAVE YOUR INVOICES. It looks like you can get your money back once the recall starts. Better is the fact that BMW might actually stop having us fix our own cars with parts from Radio Shack . . . . Geesh, have they no shame?

It's time to stop with the "homemade" fixes. This is a serious safety defect and BMW knows it.

Just a quick update on this problem. Among my circle of friends we have five post-update E46 sedans. Four of them have had tail light, turn signal, brake light failures all caused by BMW's screw up when they updated the tail lights: not enough grounding wire(s). See the BMW service bulletin SI B 63 03 06 on this at the link below:

http://www.bmwtis.com/tsb/bulletins/...p/B630306g.htm

Since the ne'er-do-wells at "Screw The Customer" BMW NA Customer Service (an oxymoron) have never heard of Ralph Nader, we're going to give 'em a little help. The nice folks over in Washington D.C. have these things called Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and EVERYONE selling cars here has to meet them for ten years after a car or truck is built. That means if our lights have design defects (they do), BMW is under potentially criminal liability to fix the things with a safety recall at NO cost.

BMW's service bulletins basically say, "Only fix the cars under warranty; screw everyone else for whatever you can get away with so you can buy a bigger boat." WRONG ANSWER BMW!

The ball is in motion on this; more later. For now, BE SURE TO SAVE ALL YOUR RECEIPTS IF YOU HAD YOUR STEALER RAPE YOU FOR $400 (per side) TO FIX BMW'S LIGHTING SCREW UP.

I expect to see something in a few weeks so hang in there
 

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Do i have to post the reply 3 times?:pimpin:

Thats some nifty information you've got there, but I just want to say ... if its broken, fix it!!! No reason to pay $400 per side just to have it done "right". If you understand a problem, there could be [and usually are] many "right" ways to fix it . I know one that is less expensive, time consuming, and stressful as the 400 per side fix!! Thats why I chose to do it.

Still , if a recall comes of this I will show up at my dealer for a OEM fix, without a doubt. The link you provided to the tsb is broken .. looks like it was shortened on you. If you look at that, the parts list is pretty crazy. And all it does is make a few additional connections. In comparison, this quickfix was just too simple NOT to do!!! :woot: I would have done it even if my lights didnt get the "bulb out" error, because it would prevent the original problem from happening in the first place. Not to mention the safety risk of melting/fire/or a dark rear end!
 

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Do the dealerships know about this if I stop by? My brake light is doing the same thing...was just gonna do the quick fix, but not if they will do it for free! lol
 

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yes, they definitely know about it. First ask. Then if necessary, tell them: BMW service bulletin SI B 63 03 06

I have read reports of it being done at no-cost. But then, there are people like the poster above that paid a hefty amount for it

here is the "real" fix, in a DIY style post: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1076114
Note how much it sucks compared to the simple fix above, which also solves the problem 100%

As I said (and will now stop saying), I decided to do it myself the simple way instead of wasting time sitting at BMW waiting for them to tell me what else is "wrong" with my car.
 

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very short bump lol


your goal is to connect the wire to the bases of the light bulbs. So assuming your taillight bulb assembly is the same as sedans (open), follow the metal piece that goes between all the bulb bases (and to the brown wire). You need to connect the lead from the brown wire to that metal piece somewhere.
 

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you guys are awesome! I went to the dealership and spent $100 on parts to fix this... before using any of the parts i gave this a try and it worked! Saved me $100!
 
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