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Light Module Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Light Module Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

Phillips head screwdriver, plastic prying tool, 10mm socket, ratchet

Applicable Models:

X3 E83 (2004-06)
X3 E83 facelift (2007-10)

Parts Required:

Light Module

Hot Tip:

Pry gently when removing switches so as to not mar the interior finish

Performance Gain:

Proper light function

Complementary Modification:

Replace headlight bulbs

Exterior lights and exterior light functions are controlled by the Light Module in the dashboard. Some of the exterior light functions include:

• Exterior bulb monitoring

• Bi-Xenon headlight operation

In addition, the LM keeps a redundant copy of vehicle data. This includes make and model of the vehicle plus current odometer and maintenance / service information. The same data is stored in the instrument cluster.

The headlight switch is located on the dashboard. Trim pieces in BMW X3, including the dashboard and switches, are made of hard plastic. Plastic clips or metal screws may be used to hold them in place. To avoid marring the trim, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

The headlight switch is located on the left side of the steering wheel. An indicator of a problem with the headlight switch would be non-functioning headlights with an illuminated instrument panel. You may also have a chime warning sound. The sound is similar to when you leave your headlights on when exiting the vehicle. The headlight switch is replaced as one unit. Once replaced, the switch requires programming using a BMW scan tool.

If your headlights do not work but the warning chime is not on, you may have a faulty Light Module (LM). Use this article to see how to replace and test the input power and ground as well as outputs to the headlights.

When replacing your LM, a used replacement is not an option. In the past, we use to be able to grab a LM from a donor vehicle with a matching part number. That however is no longer the case. Late model BMW's utilize an anti-theft system preventing swapping from vehicle to vehicle. This is due to the VIN being programmed in the LM. With that said, there are companies popping up that claim to be able to program a used LM to match your vehicle. I don't have any personal experience with this method, however it is worth a phone call or a web search to see if it is an option for your vehicle. At the minimum, if you buy a new unit, you will have to code, and program the LM. This has to be done using an advanced BMW scan tool, such as an Autologic.

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. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Start by removing the lower left instrument panel trim.
Figure 1

Start by removing the lower left instrument panel trim. See our tech article on lower left side instrument trim replacing. Once the trim panel is removed, you have access to the light module (LM). Start by unplugging the ribbon cable (red arrow).

Squeeze the release tabs (red arrows) and pull the ribbon cable straight out.
Figure 2

Squeeze the release tabs (red arrows) and pull the ribbon cable straight out.

Next, remove the two 10mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 3

Next, remove the two 10mm fasteners (red arrows).

Slide the LM down and spin in 180° to access the main connector.
Figure 4

Slide the LM down and spin in 180° to access the main connector. Press the button (red arrow) then open the lever (inset) to unplug the connector. Remove the LM from the vehicle.

For testing, start by checking the constant (terminal 30) power to the module (red arrows), these should be battery volts.
Figure 5

For testing, start by checking the constant (terminal 30) power to the module (red arrows), these should be battery volts. Then check the grounds (yellow arrows). If needed, separate the connector and plug it back in. Then identify the low beams terminals (blue arrows) then the high beam terminals (green arrows). Activate the low and high beams, confirm battery volts is getting sent to the bulbs. An example, if one bulb output is good and one bad for the low beam, the module is faulty, as both bulbs get power from the same place in the module. When testing, plug the connector in and backprobe the appropriate terminal. The connector shown and terminals identified were for our subject vehicle, a 2004 BMW X3. Be sure to use a wiring diagram to confirm you are testing the correct terminals.

Slide new LM into instrument panel, be sure to align the pins (green arrows) with the holes in the instrument panel.
Figure 6

Slide new LM into instrument panel, be sure to align the pins (green arrows) with the holes in the instrument panel. Reverse remaining steps to reassemble. Program the new LM using a BMW scan tool.

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Page last updated: Mon 7/24/2017 03:27:44 AM