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Tail Light Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Tail Light Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$20 to $200

Talent:

**

Tools:

8mm socket, Phillips screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

Parts Required:

Taillight assembly, taillight bulbs, taillight bulb sockets

Hot Tip:

Tape body so you do not scratch it. Wear gloves when handling bulbs

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty taillight lens. Replace faulty taillight bulb.

Complementary Modification:

Replace third brake light bulbs

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the tail lights on your BMW Z4. The tail light is in the rear fender and includes all of the bulbs for the rear lights. When replacing the bulbs, be sure not to touch them. Wear a glove or use a clean rag/cloth to keep it clean.

If you have intermittent rear light problems, inspect the bulb sockets and the pigtail. 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 can occur. If you find the connector is melted, you can repair it by installing a new plug pigtail and/or replacing the bulb socket assembly. If you have a water leak in your trunk, check that the lens is sealed well and it is not the source of the water leak. Also inspect the third brake light for water leaks.

To avoid marring the trim or paint, if you need to pry anything work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying.

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. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The procedure given below is for earlier Z4M models. Other models are similar.

The taillights (red arrows) on Z4 models is mounted in the rear fender.
Figure 1

The taillights (red arrows) on Z4 models is mounted in the rear fender.

There are four bulbs.
Figure 2

There are four bulbs. Turn signal (yellow arrow), stop and parking light (red arrows) and reverse light (blue arrow).


Working in trunk, rotate knob 90° counterclockwise to loosen.
Figure 3

Working in trunk, rotate knob 90° counterclockwise to loosen.

Once loose, lift bulb panel off tail light (red arrow).
Figure 4

Once loose, lift bulb panel off tail light (red arrow).

You now have access to the main tail light bulbs.
Figure 5

You now have access to the main tail light bulbs. There is one side marker bulb I will show you how to access in the following steps. Turn signal (yellow arrow), stop and parking light (red arrows) and reverse light (blue arrow). The inner fog / parking light bulb is tough to get to. The interior trim panel has to be removed, or the tail light. I find it easier to remove the tail light to get to it.

To remove a turn or stop bulb, wear gloves or use a clean rag and twist bulb socket 90° counterclockwise; once unlocked, remove bulb from socket.
Figure 6

To remove a turn or stop bulb, wear gloves or use a clean rag and twist bulb socket 90° counterclockwise; once unlocked, remove bulb from socket. Reverse steps to install new bulb.

To remove reverse light bulb, pull the socket with bulb (red arrow) straight out of tail light.
Figure 7

To remove reverse light bulb, pull the socket with bulb (red arrow) straight out of tail light. To remove a bulb from socket, wear gloves or use a clean rag and pull bulb straight out. Reverse steps to install new bulb.

To remove the tail light from vehicle you have to disconnect the electrical connector.
Figure 8

To remove the tail light from vehicle you have to disconnect the electrical connector. Disconnect electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrow) and pulling off.

This step is not necessary, but makes getting the lens in and out easier.
Figure 9

This step is not necessary, but makes getting the lens in and out easier. Remove the three tail light trim panel (blue arrow) Phillips head screws (red arrows). Leave the trim panel in place. With the trim panel unscrewed, you can move it to the side or lift it as needed.

Then, remove three 8 mm mounting nuts (red arrows).
Figure 10

Then, remove three 8 mm mounting nuts (red arrows).

Then push tail light out of fender from inside trunk while supporting it from the outside.
Figure 11

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

Once out, you can access the final parking/fog light bulb (red arrow).
Figure 12

Once out, you can access the final parking/fog light bulb (red arrow). To remove bulb, pull the socket with bulb straight out of tail light. To remove a bulb from socket, wear gloves or use a clean rag and pull bulb straight out. Reverse steps to install new bulb. 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. Reverse steps to install new lens.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Vasily Comments: Hello,

I have encountered a difficulty during the removal of the light tail. I hope you can give me an advice on how to resolve it.

I can't remove the electrical connector. I press the release button, but the connector doesn't move. It feels permanently attached. I can only guess why, maybe from oxidation.

I will very much appreciate your advice,

Thank you,

Vasily
June 15, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if stuck, try wiggling it. If that doesn't do it, you can try an electrical terminal cleaner to free it up. If still stuck, you may have to cut and replace it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jeanne Comments: Can you help as to where we might be able to purchase replacement bulbs for the Z4 upgrade bulbs for clear lens for the 2003 BMW Z4 3.0? We need to replace the rear red brake bulb silver in color and are having trouble locating them. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
November 2, 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: Fri 11/17/2017 03:11:42 AM