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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 09-08-2004, 02:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey guys...I know there are a few known issues with brake lights, but I just discovered what may be a new one (was to me, anyway). I had been having an issue with an intermittent brake light (the right side), and thought I just needed a new bulb socket, and/or a whole new right-side tail light assembly. I bought new bulbs upon the advice of the local dealer--the exact same brand and part number from Sylvania I would guess many of you have tried--but still had the issue. It seems BMW uses the bulbs with that same part number (Sylvania 7506 P21W) *but* the pins on the base of the bulbs are different for how the BMW bulb sockets are made (the alignment of the pins on the base, that is). The wrong bulbs will fit and seem secure in the sockets, but will only work some of the time.

So, this coming from my Bimmer specialist mechanic in town who had been staring at the car for the past several hours trying to figure out what was wrong...lol He's seen this problem before, which even the BMW parts guys don't seem to know about often enough, so it finally dawned on him to try the BMW marked bulbs (still same part number) and the lights suddenly worked perfectly again.

Anyway, thought I'd throw this $1.50 option out to anyone with brake light problems. It's better than being told outright by someone who hasn't tried this easier fix, or doesn't know of it, that you need to pay over $100. for a whole new light assembly or for switches. The above is just my experience, but hopefully it saves you guys some headaches.
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Old 09-08-2004, 03:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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ugh, Don't remind my of my brake light escapades...
2 switches, 4 bulbs, polished *EVERYTHING*, re-bent pins and sockets... oh god
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Old 09-08-2004, 04:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Spook I have some extra bulbs I think laying around, if you want to maybe meet up, you try them. Let me know.
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Old 09-08-2004, 09:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I appreciate it, and I might take you up on that...I want to be sure I have at least one extra laying around...hehe
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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break light issue 2001 bmw 330i

i just bought the car at the auction and noticed tonight that the break is on on the left tail light and the break light bar is illuminated. the right tail light acts normal but neither the left or right tail light will turn on when my blinker is activated. any suggestions.
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