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Tail Light Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Tail Light Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, plastic prying tool, 10mm socket

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

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 taillight seal

BMW E53 models have two separate tail light lenses. One is mounted in the rear corner of the fender, the other is mounted in the tailgate. Each one has bulbs, seals and a lens housing that are serviceable. When working on the bulbs, do not touch the bulbs glass. Premature bulb failure may occur. When replacing the lenses, protect the body of your X5 with masking tape to prevent scratches.

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.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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 you are 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 tail light on E53 X5 models is split into two parts.
Figure 1

The tail light on E53 X5 models is split into two parts. One is mounted to the rear fender and the other in the tailgate. The lens in the rear fender houses the brake (yellow arrow), turn (red arrow) and taillight bulbs (purple arrow). The lens in the trunk or tailgate houses the backup (blue arrow) and rear fog light bulb (green arrow) (if equipped).

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

Fender tail light: Working in the trunk, open the carpet door to access the tail light bulb socket.

Fender tail light: Locate the bulb you need to replace.
Figure 3

Fender tail light: Locate the bulb you need to replace. The turn signal (yellow arrow), brake light (red arrow) and tail light (blue arrow) are in the designated locations.

Fender tail light: Then, remove the socket by rotating it about 90° counterclockwise to remove it.
Figure 4

Fender tail light: Then, remove the socket by rotating it about 90° counterclockwise to remove it. Then remove the bulb from the socket and replace it with a new one.

Fender tail light: To replace the taillight lens, disconnect the electrical connector (yellow arrow) by pressing the release tab and pulling it straight out.
Figure 5

Fender tail light: To replace the tail light lens, disconnect the electrical connector (yellow arrow) by pressing the release tab and pulling it straight out. Next, remove the two 8mm mounting fasteners (red arrows).

Fender tail light: Then push the taillight out of the fender from inside the trunk while supporting it from the outside.
Figure 6

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

Fender taillight: When installing a new taillight lens, check that the taillight seal (red arrow) is in good condition.
Figure 7

Fender tail light: When installing a new tail light lens, check that the tail light seal (red arrow) is in good condition. Replace the seal if necessary. If this seal leaks, water can leak into the trunk or tail light lens.

Tailgate tail light:
Tailgate tail light: Next, you will have to remove part of the tailgate trim.
Figure 8

Tailgate tail light: Next, you will have to remove part of the tailgate trim. Lever the center plastic panel out. Start at the left side and work your way toward the right (red arrows) until it is detached.

Tailgate tail light: This photo shows the plastic panel (red arrow) removed.
Figure 9

Tailgate tail light: This photo shows the plastic panel (red arrow) removed. You now have access to the bulbs behind the foam (yellow arrow).

Tailgate tail light: To replace a bulb, remove the socket (yellow arrow) by rotating it about 90° counterclockwise to remove it.
Figure 10

Tailgate tail light: To replace a bulb, remove the socket (yellow arrow) by rotating it about 90° counterclockwise to remove it. Then remove the bulb from the socket and replace it with a new one.

Tailgate tail light: To replace the lens, start by removing the two 10mm fasteners at the end of the tailgate (red arrows).
Figure 11

Tailgate tail light: To replace the lens, start by removing the two 10mm fasteners at the end of the tailgate (red arrows).

Tailgate tail light: Disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it straight out.
Figure 12

Tailgate tail light: Disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it straight out.

Tailgate tail light: Next, remove the final 10mm mounting fasteners (red arrow).
Figure 13

Tailgate tail light: Next, remove the final 10mm mounting fasteners (red arrow).

Tailgate tail light: Then remove the taillight lens from the trunk lid by lifting the inside of the lens up and unclipping it from the outer edge of the trunk lid.
Figure 14

Tailgate tail light: Then remove the tail light lens from the trunk lid by lifting the inside of the lens up and unclipping it from the outer edge of the trunk lid. When installing a new tail light lens, check that the tail light seal (yellow arrow) is in good condition. Replace the seal if necessary. If this seal leaks, water can leak into the trunk or tail light lens.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Etta Comments: I need the bulb socket for the back up light, where can I find this piece
November 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Mon 2/27/2017 02:41:44 AM