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Replacing Your BMW Rear Tail Lights
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your BMW Rear Tail Lights

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hours1 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 328i Coupe/Conv (2007-09)
BMW 328i Sedan (2007-09)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 335i Coupe/Conv (2007-09)
BMW 335i Sedan (2007-09)

Parts Required:

Taillight assembly, taillight bulbs, taillight bulb sockets, taillight electrical connector pigtail

Hot Tip:

Tape body so you do not scratch it

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty taillight lens. Replace faulty taillight bulb.

Complementary Modification:

Replace tail light seal

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the rear exterior lights on your BMW E90. These lights include the tail lights, license plate lights, and third brake light. Some of these lights are standard tungsten style bulbs and others are LED style bulbs.

When dealing with bulb failures or bulb out messages, always inspect the electrical connector and taillight bulb holder. The connectors can wear over time causing heat and melting. Once the electrical connector on the harness side or the taillight socket has melted, you will have a poor connection and rear bulb faults or failures. If you find the connector is melted, you can repair it by installing a new plug pigtail and / or replacing the bulb socket assembly.

The taillight on E90 models is split into two parts.
Figure 1

The taillight on E90 models is split into two parts. One is mounted to the rear fender (green arrow) and the other in the trunk lid (yellow arrow) or tailgate. The lens in the rear fender houses the brake, turn and taillight bulbs. The lens in the trunk or tailgate houses the backup and rear fog light bulbs. 

Fender taillight:
Driver side: Working in trunk, open carpet door to access tail light bulb socket.
Figure 2

Driver side: Working in trunk, open carpet door to access tail light bulb socket. (green arrow)

Passenger side: Working in trunk, open battery access door to access tail light bulb socket.
Figure 3

Passenger side: Working in trunk, open battery access door to access tail light bulb socket. Rotate knob (green arrow) 90° counterclockwise to release.

Then, disconnect electrical connector by pressing release tab and pulling off.
Figure 4

Then, disconnect electrical connector by pressing release tab and pulling off. (green arrow)

Press release tab on socket assembly toward fender and pull socket assembly out of tail light.
Figure 5

Press release tab on socket assembly toward fender and pull socket assembly out of tail light. Then store socket assembly in a safe place.

Next, remove three 8mm mounting fasteners.
Figure 6

Next, remove three 8mm mounting fasteners. (green arrows)

Then push tail light out of fender from inside trunk while supporting it from the outside.
Figure 7

Then push tail light out of fender from inside trunk while supporting it from the outside.

When installing new taillight lens, check that taillight seal (green arrow) is in good condition, replace if necessary.
Figure 8

When installing new taillight lens, check that taillight seal (green arrow) is in good condition, replace if necessary. If this seal leaks, water can leak into the trunk or taillight lens.

Trunk taillight:
Next, you will have to remove part of the trunk lid trim.
Figure 9

Next, you will have to remove part of the trunk lid trim. I suggest only removing the plastic rivets from the side you need to repair bulbs on, then pull trim away from trunk lid to access bulbs. Depending on the side you are servicing, remove four ( of eight total) plastic rivets from trunk trim using a trim panel tool. (green arrows)

This photo shows removing the center of the rivet using a trim panel tool.
Figure 10

This photo shows removing the center of the rivet using a trim panel tool. Be careful, these have a tendency to pop out once released and go flying away. Once rivets on side you are servicing have been removed, pull carpet trim away from trunk lid.

Then, disconnect electrical connector by pressing release tab and pulling off.
Figure 11

Then, disconnect electrical connector by pressing release tab and pulling off. (green arrow)

Press release tab on socket assembly and pull socket assembly out of tail light.
Figure 12

Press release tab on socket assembly and pull socket assembly out of tail light. Then store socket assembly in a safe place.

Working at rear of trunk mounted lens, loosen mounting fastener.
Figure 13

Working at rear of trunk mounted lens, loosen mounting fastener. (green arrow)

Then press tail light locking tab (green arrow) in toward lens and release lens from trunk lid.
Figure 14

Then press tail light locking tab (green arrow) in toward lens and release lens from trunk lid.

Then remove taillight lens from trunk lid by lifting inside of lens up and unclipping from outer edge of trunk lid.
Figure 15

Then remove taillight lens from trunk lid by lifting inside of lens up and unclipping from outer edge of trunk lid. When installing new taillight lens, check that taillight seal is in good condition, replace if necessary. If this seal leaks, water can leak into the trunk or taillight lens.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Kai Comments: hi where can i buy the taillight seal? mine is faulty, one end of the left inner tailight pops out even when i screw the assembly tight to the housing
April 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: From Pelican Parts. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Sergio Comments: Do you guys have a how to remove the trunk step by step process for a 335i coupe 2007?
July 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jerry Comments: When changing the brake light on the trunk is there a replacement bulb or do I have to purchase a entire lens assembly
May 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The entire strip. See this tech article:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/ELEC-Rear_Exterior_Lights_Replacing/ELEC-Rear_Exterior_Lights_Replacing.htm


Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Juss Comments: Hi is the mounting fastener a part that we can purchase? I might have misplaced mine and now the lamp doesn't stay attached.
Or do I have to buy the entire light,
Thanks !
March 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am sure we can get you one. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
DL Comments: I'm looking for a replacement bulb for the right rear fog light, but the PP catalog only has what looks like the entire lens housing with bulb included. Is it possible to replace the bulb only, or is this an all-inclusive part? Thanks!
March 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bulbs are available for incandescent bulb models.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.


See this tech article for how to replace them:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/ELEC-Rear_Exterior_Lights_Replacing/ELEC-Rear_Exterior_Lights_Replacing.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:21:41 AM