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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 02-13-2006, 01:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tail light indicator came back on, but bulbs fine.

I posted something earlier on this on another disrelated thread. I have an indicator light on my dash that came on intermittently. This was the rear, passenger light cluster indicator. Seems there was a bad bulb or something. I inspected and found three bulbs in both clusters that appeared to be the incorrect ones. I replaced all of them with correct bulbs (I think) and the problem siezed for about two weeks.

But lo and behold, yesterday the damn dash indicator came back on and off and back on again. It does't stay on, which means it's not a bad bulb. I reinspected all the bulbs in both clusters and they are all fine, same type (different brands though). Most of them are Phillips brand, two are the original german ones, and two are Sylvania. But all are the correct 21w bulbs.

Why would this indicator keep coming on and off? Should I just replace all of the damn bulbs with one brand or what?

Ideas?
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Old 02-13-2006, 03:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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it normally means that the bulb is about to blow,,,could be a few weeks,,but it will happen

it happened to me,,everytime i looked they were ok
then the dash lights stayed off,,,and all seemed ok...then the dash lights came on again,,but bulb was ok....in the end,it really did go

so i assume the computer can measure the resistance and tell that it is about to blow
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had this problem with my E39 528. I found no solution, and so just ignored the stupid light.

We have truly great cars with truly pesky electricals.
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Storme. I like your advise better than M3OUND's (No offense). But I hate to think that I have to live with this light coming on and off all the time. I wll try replacing the German bulb as that seems to be the oldest. Cross your fingers. If that doesn't work, then I'll systematically start replacing the Phillips bulbs, as they are older than the two Sylvania ones I just put in. I'll post tomorrow and let you know!

(PS, Storme's the man! That's like the 4th good advise you given me today!)
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have had the same problem on the front turn signal bulbs. After doing some troubleshooting I found that the tabs that stick up from the bulb holder become shall I say not tense enough to make full contact with the bulbs. This may be your solution or may not, but just take a pair of needle nose pliers and pull them back up just a tad.
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jakksfor20
I have had the same problem on the front turn signal bulbs. After doing some troubleshooting I found that the tabs that stick up from the bulb holder become shall I say not tense enough to make full contact with the bulbs. This may be your solution or may not, but just take a pair of needle nose pliers and pull them back up just a tad.
Good advice! I replaced the last two bulbs in that cluster last night and it still shows the indicator light on my dash. I was going to remove the cluster and check the leads to the wiring harness as well as clean the contacts on the bulb housings. I will try your technique with bending the contacts. Thanks.

Anyone else?....
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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always glad to help...

thats what these forums are for


jakksfor20's advice is very good as well
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Solved! I removed the cluster and checked the leads to the wiring harness. Lo and behold, number 3 lead was corroded. I scraped it off with a mini screwdriver and also cleaned out the connector with a small paper clip. I gently bent the bulb connectors with a screwdriver and Vio'la! No more stupid dash light. Of course, it's only been 15 hours, so I'm not getting my hopes too high. But at least I think I found the problem...
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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great news.....and now your getting used to corrective maintenance......its a shame other car drivers dont do it
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree. My theory has always been: "Do it yourself is possible, then if all else fails, take it to a professional". For one, I love working on cars. I like the satisfaction pride of knowing that I did it. And secondly, I hate paying people to do something I could do myself. I'm cheap.
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Old 03-05-2006, 06:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by storme
great news.....and now your getting used to corrective maintenance......its a shame other car drivers dont do it
Its not a shame. I would love to do something of this sort since facing a similar problem but just don't know how to go about doing all of the details stated above!!!
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Old 03-06-2006, 02:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Its not a shame. I would love to do something of this sort since facing a similar problem but just don't know how to go about doing all of the details stated above!!!
Niether did we until we just opened up the hood and started doing it. Besides, that's what this forum is for. Ask questions, you can do it too...

Good luck!
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