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BMW E39 Tail Light Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Tail Light Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$150

Talent:

**

Tools:

8mm socket and ratchet or wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Taillight assembly, taillight bulbs, taillight housing, taillight electrical connector pigtail

Hot Tip:

Check seal to make sure water is not leaking into trunk

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty taillight lens, tail light bulb and housing.

Complementary Modification:

Replace tail light with after market versions

If you see the bulb warning display showing you have bad rear bulb you should check your tail light assemblies. You can remove the bulb housing and the bulbs to check for poor connections. You can also remove the tail light itself to replace a cracked lens or to check the seal to see if it is the cause of water leaking into your trunk.

Changing the Bulbs:
If you are working on the right side tail light first open the battery access cover by pulling on the top of it and flipping the cover down.
Figure 1

If you are working on the right side tail light first open the battery access cover by pulling on the top of it and flipping the cover down.

If you are repairing the right side tail light assembly open the CD Changer cover by pulling on the top of it and flipping the cover down.
Figure 2

If you are repairing the right side tail light assembly open the CD Changer cover by pulling on the top of it and flipping the cover down.

This photo illustrates the inside the trunk looking back at the right side tail light.
Figure 3

This photo illustrates the inside the trunk looking back at the right side tail light. There is an electrical connector (green arrow) that needs to be unplugged only if you are replacing the housing. There is also a tab (yellow arrow) that needs to be unlocked to remove the bulb housing.

This photo illustrates the right side of the trunk.
Figure 4

This photo illustrates the right side of the trunk. At the bulb housing mounting tab rotate it 90 degrees counter clockwise and pull back on the housing.

With the housing pulled back you have access to all of the bulbs.
Figure 5

With the housing pulled back you have access to all of the bulbs.

The bulb locations are as follows; tail light bulbs (green arrows),
Figure 6

The bulb locations are as follows; tail light bulbs (green arrows), brake light bulb (yellow arrow), turn signal bulb (red arrow), reverse light bulb (blue arrow)

To change the bulb, grab the bulb and push downward.
Figure 7

To change the bulb, grab the bulb and push downward. Use glove when installing the new bulb to keep it from getting dirty and shorten bulb life.

While pushing down twist the bulb counter clockwise a few degrees.
Figure 8

While pushing down twist the bulb counter clockwise a few degrees. The bulb will unlock and you can pull the bulb straight out. To install reverse the removal steps. 

If you are replacing the bulb housing perform the following steps:
This photo illustrates the base of the bulb housing.
Figure 9

This photo illustrates the base of the bulb housing. Unplug the electrical connector by squeezing the locking tabs on each side of the connector and pulling the corrector straight away from the housing.

Unhook the wiring harness from the tab (green arrow) on the bulb housing.
Figure 10

Unhook the wiring harness from the tab (green arrow) on the bulb housing. You can now install the new housing with the bulbs transferred over or replaced. Remember to install the wiring harness in this tab on the new housing so it does bot rub into the body.

Removing the Tail Light Lens:
Remove the four 8mm fasteners (green arrows) that secure the lens to the body.
Figure 11

Remove the four 8mm fasteners (green arrows) that secure the lens to the body. Although unlikely, be prepared to hold the lens in case it falls off after removing the 4 nuts.

Pull the entire lens straight back in the direction of the blue arrow to remove it from the body of the car.
Figure 12

Pull the entire lens straight back in the direction of the blue arrow to remove it from the body of the car.

There is a seal (green arrow) on the back of the lens.
Figure 13

There is a seal (green arrow) on the back of the lens. Make sure it is flat and seated properly on the lens. If it is not installed properly it may allow water to leak inside the trunk area. 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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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:05:35 AM