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Pelican Technical Article:

Tail Light Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)

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:

Use this to remedy taillight bulb out messages on info center

Complementary Modification:

Replace taillight seal

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the taillight bulbs or taillight lenses on your BMW E60.

E60 exterior bulbs are monitored by the Light Module (LM), which also monitors adaptive headlight function (where equipped) and controls instrument panel dimming. LM is also capable of switching lighting functions in case of a fault. For example, in case of a taillight bulb failure, brake light bulbs are used as a substitute.

Bulb monitoring by LM is done both cold and hot (unlit or lit). In cold monitoring, LM sends brief current pulses to unlit bulbs to measure their resistance. The pulses are too short to illuminate bulbs but serve the purpose of evaluating whether an individual bulb or bulb circuit is defective. In hot monitoring, LM measures the current to individual lit bulbs to determine overload or a break in the circuit.

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. See our tech article on taillight wiring replacing.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The taillight on E60 models houses all of the rear lights.
Figure 1

The taillight on E60 models houses all of the rear lights. This photo shows the bulb holder removed, near the lens. The yellow arrow points to the turn signal bulb. The green arrow points to the parking light bulb (which can also be a brake light bulb under hard braking). The blue arrow points to the reverse light bulb. The red arrows point to the parking / brake light bulbs. In this tech article, I will be servicing the left side light. The right side is similar.

Working in the trunk on the left side, using a flathead screwdriver, twist the trim panel locks (green arrows) counterclockwise 90° then remove it (inset).
Figure 2

Working in the trunk on the left side, using a flathead screwdriver, twist the trim panel locks (green arrows) counterclockwise 90 degrees then remove it (inset).

Lift the trunk carpet panel up (inset) and hold it.
Figure 3

Lift the trunk carpet panel up (inset) and hold it. Then remove the trim panel cover from the trunk. Pull the side closest to the trunk opening away from the fender and rotate it toward the spare tire to remove it.

Then, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (green arrow).
Figure 4

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

Squeeze the release tabs on the socket assembly and pull the socket assembly out of the taillight.
Figure 5

Squeeze the release tabs on the socket assembly and pull the socket assembly out of the taillight.

Pull the socket assembly away from the taillight housing and remove it.
Figure 6

Pull the socket assembly away from the taillight housing and remove it.

Place the socket assembly in the trunk.
Figure 7

Place the socket assembly in the trunk. Replace the faulty bulb. Rotate the bulb 90 degrees to release and remove it from the socket. Install a new bulb.

To replace the taillight lens (housing), continue with the next two steps.
Next, remove the four 8mm mounting fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 8

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

Then pull the taillight out of the fender to remove it.
Figure 9

Then pull the taillight out of the fender to remove it. When installing the new taillight lens, check that the taillight seal (green arrow) is in good condition. Replace it if necessary. If this seal leaks, water can leak into the trunk or taillight lens.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:39:13 AM