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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 04-23-2006, 10:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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break light enclosure question

Hey Guys,

Someone smashed my driver side break light enclosure, so i went on ebay and bought a new enclosure and transfered all my bulbs to the new enclsure and hooked it back up. Now my break light doesnt work. I have a 95 318iC so its the two door coupe.

I was wondering whether getting a break light enclosure for a 4 door could make a difference. I was looking at the pins on the break light enclosure and noticed it was different than my other working enclosure. Do you think that could be the culprit?

I ended up buying another enclosure and installing that and it didnt work either. The pins were also different on the new enclosure. At this point, im debating whether i should just cough up the money and buy OEM tail light enclosures or try once more on ebay for a 2 door break light enclosure.

Just for the hell of it I unplugged my working enclosure and plugged in one of the ones i got on ebay into it and it didnt work either. I think i can safely say its the enclosure but im not sure. Is there a fuse/relay that could be affecting this?

BTW, I had also replaced my break switch because I initially thought that was the problem.

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks,
Vic
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Old 04-23-2006, 11:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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if you have a coupe then you need the tail light enclosure from a coupe. they are a different size from the sedans and not inner changable. good luck.
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Wonderboy
if you have a coupe then you need the tail light enclosure from a coupe. they are a different size from the sedans and not inner changable. good luck.
Then i must have gotten the coupe enclosures because they fit the way they're supposed to. SO what do you think the cause is since its not the enclosure? Relay fuse for the left side?

I just think its weird that when i tried to plug it into the working one, it didnt work either..
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Old 04-23-2006, 01:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic318ic
Then i must have gotten the coupe enclosures because they fit the way they're supposed to. SO what do you think the cause is since its not the enclosure? Relay fuse for the left side?

I just think its weird that when i tried to plug it into the working one, it didnt work either..
are they oem lights? if not, thats ur problem....Ebay is notorious for selling crappy BMW aftermarket parts...
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SpeedInfusion
are they oem lights? if not, thats ur problem....Ebay is notorious for selling crappy BMW aftermarket parts...
I believe they were, it was just your stock light enclosure. It wasnt one of those aftermarket "ricey" lights. Just your plain old vanilla replacenment for the stock enclosure...
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Old 04-24-2006, 08:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Check your fuses. Maybe when u smashed it.. something short circuited
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Check your fuses. Maybe when u smashed it.. something short circuited
Where are the fuses located? are they in the backpanel that you remove to get at the enclosure? I noticed some tube like things that could be fuses, but its pure speculation.
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The driver nd passenger side each have a different number of pins, I think the drivers side has 7 and passenger side 8. dont know why, i thought the drivers side should have one more for the rear fog light but i guess not.

Since you tried more than one enclosure and neither one worked there is something wrong with the car rather than the lights, probably a fuse, when someone broke it they mite have dislodged some wire or something.
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Old 04-26-2006, 07:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by vic318ic
Where are the fuses located? are they in the backpanel that you remove to get at the enclosure? I noticed some tube like things that could be fuses, but its pure speculation.
Fuses are in the engine bay on the drivers side. Large box with lid. fuse numbers and names on bottom of lid.
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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4 doors have different ones... and yes the fuses are just like the above stated... there is a key to which ones are which on the cover.

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Old 04-27-2006, 03:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Id check the fuses and from the sounds of it, that is where the problem lies... 4 doors do have different ones but i dont think theres a difference in wiring that wouldnt make them work if they fit... if the fuse isnt the problem try a volt meter and make sure they are getting power... then maybe its a cheap enclosure? not sure...
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Old 04-27-2006, 08:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Id check the fuses and from the sounds of it, that is where the problem lies... 4 doors do have different ones but i dont think theres a difference in wiring that wouldnt make them work if they fit... if the fuse isnt the problem try a volt meter and make sure they are getting power... then maybe its a cheap enclosure? not sure...
I checked the fuse box and found that position 46 corresponded to the brake lights and cruise control. Does that mean that one fuse controls all the break lights, even the workign ones? Which to me wouldnt make sense if it was a blown fuse, wouldnt that mean all my break lights wouldnt work?

Either way i removed the fuse and looked at it, everything seemed fine. Im not sure what distinguises a blow fuse from a regular one though. I removed what seemed to be a spare fuse from the lid of the fuse box (same color fuse/volatge) and placed it in the position i removed the original from. It still didnt work.

Another interesting phenomenon is that my cruise control doesnt work anymore either. So there def might be a fuse issue if they're both from the 46 position. Then again, when i was messing with removing my break switch it could have jostled the cruise control switch right next to it on the clutch.

What i'll do for the hell of it is remove the working tailight and plug it into the left side cabling. If it works then its a connectivity problem with the break bulb. If not, then i'm still left hunting the source of the problem.

-Still trying to get it to work.

Out of all this though, i have to say that removing the break switch is probably the most pain in the ass part to remove/add (especially if you dont break the red tab off). You're in such an awkward position with absolutly no room to really get leverage. The second time i replaced the switch was a lot easier with my previous experience.
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Out of all this though, i have to say that removing the break switch is probably the most pain in the ass part to remove/add (especially if you dont break the red tab off). You're in such an awkward position with absolutly no room to really get leverage. The second time i replaced the switch was a lot easier with my previous experience.
need to do that soon... ive been getting the brake circuit failure warning... just too lazy to replace it...
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