Dotcom1970

Rear Light Cluster Problem (Pre LCi)

18 posts in this topic

So, I've started to get a random warning about my rear right brake light being faulty - the warning comes on and off, mostly when it's raining outside, but also in the dry.

 

I've checked the bulbs and they are fine, and even swapped them side to side.

 

However, what I finally noticed tonight in the dark, is that when the lights are on, the right side brake light is dimmer than the left side.  Again, swapping the bulbs and holders makes no difference, the problem is with the right hand side cluster.

 

When I got the car, a previous owner had had an aftermarket towbar installed and then removed, and the control electronics had been chock-blocked into the right hand rear loom.  I removed all this and insulated the cables, as it had just been cut under the bumper!

 

Annoyingly, I do have the Bruce Miranda boxes to enable the LCi rear light assemblies to be fitted, but haven't yet sourced the actual light assemblies themselves yet, as they are bloody expensive :(

 

I'm thinking that perhaps one of the previous chocked cables is causing a resistance problem, hence the light being dimmer but would welcome any advice.

 

 

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Problem with my offside rear too. When I washed the car AGAIN today I see that a biggish spider has taken residence inside it. Bloody cheek.

Sent from my Vodafone Smart ultra 6 using Tapatalk

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I fitted a towbar with similar wiring to my last E60.

 

If you have removed all traces of towbar wiring and reinstated insulation then that won't be your problem.

 

Check the earths from your lights onto the bodywork, there will be towbar earths too so that may have been disturbed.

 

The rear side lights use 21w bulbs but are only fed enough power to make them illuminate to the equivalent of a 5w bulb. When you stamp on the brake it sends more power to the same bulbs to make them illuminate more to the full 21w. This is all controlled by a box of wizzardry in the boot floor.  Strip out your spare wheel well down to the control modules and check for water ingress.

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9 minutes ago, 535iAR said:

The rear side lights use 21w bulbs but are only fed enough power to make them illuminate to the equivalent of a 5w bulb. When you stamp on the brake it sends more power to the same bulbs to make them illuminate more to the full 21w. This is all controlled by a box of wizzardry in the boot floor.  Strip out your spare wheel well down to the control modules and check for water ingress.

 

Why would the left side be much brighter then, unless of course the problem is with the left hand side....

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Box of wizzardry in the boot has thrown a temper tantrum and is only affecting one side....

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4 hours ago, 535iAR said:

Box of wizzardry in the boot has thrown a temper tantrum and is only affecting one side....

 

That's what she said...:lol:

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I've had this.

 

The fix is to add a supplementary earth wire from the metal straps that form the wiring for the lamps directly to the earth tags underneath the lamps. If you look at the plug from the loom onto the lamp cluster, you'll more than likely find the earth connection is burnt.

 

On LCI cars, a new cluster is available from BMW with the supplementary earth wire fitted complete with terminal to push into the earth block: if the car's pre-LCI (which I see that it is) it's a DIY job with a small drill, a soldering iron and a length of at least 1.0mm2 brown wire to the aforementioned earth tags.

 

Did that on mine and both lights are now of equal intensity. If you want, I can post a picture of the mod I did to mine tomorrow.

Edited by e60neindanke
Added additional information.
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31 minutes ago, e60neindanke said:

Did that on mine and both lights are now of equal intensity. If you want, I can post a picture of the mod I did to mine tomorrow.

 

That would be perfect - many thanks :D

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Okay, as promised, here's photos of the mod I did.

 

As found, the cluster and the connector were both burnt badly around the earth return contact. As I binned both the items and replaced them, sorry - no pictures. The first picture shows both the supplementary earth wire exiting the cluster, and the replacement spliced into the loom to replace the brittle and burnt piece. You can follow the wire down from the cluster to the earth block below; both sides of the car have similar blocks and they use a small crimp terminal available from your dealer.

 

E60_cluster_supplementary_earth.jpg

 

This picture shows the supplementary earth wire attached to the steel straps that form the connections in the cluster. You can solder easily to these, but you must file the plating off first.

 

E60_cluster_supplementary_earth_solder.jpg

 

I provided appropriate retention of the additional wire with small cable ties, but due to a lack of the correct size grommet I didn't fit those to the cluster housing.

 

It's just a few minutes' work - I took my time to do as good a job as I can manage, but the bonus is equally-illuminated lights at the rear.

 

Hope this helps :)

pidgeonpost and Paggers like this

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Not had this problem as yet on my e61 (perhaps it is an e60 only problem) but neat solution for if it does ever arise.

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Isnt this a product recall? Im sure i had this work carried out by BMW for free a couple of years back?

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7 minutes ago, ROB163 said:

Isnt this a product recall? Im sure i had this work carried out by BMW for free a couple of years back?

 

Wasn't recalled on my pre LCi, battery terminal fire risk and brake booster vacuum hose oil contamination were the only two recalls I had.

 

1 hour ago, e60neindanke said:

 

E60_cluster_supplementary_earth.jpg

 

 

Whats the box with the green screw terminals at a jaunty angle beneath the light cluster?

 

Is that a bypass relay for a towbar electrical socket? 

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In response to @ROB163 - it would seem that the recall applied only to LCI cars. I spoke to someone who said they'd done a number of E60s, but on further investigation pre-LCI cars don't qualify.

 

And @535iAR  - the box at the jaunty angle is indeed the bypass relays for the (non-factory) concealed towbar. It goes 'beep' when I indicate and am towing: oddly, that seems to be enough - no supplementary turn signal lamp in the dash is actually provided now, unlike my E34. The white blob of glue probably held it in place once, but not any more!

 

See http://www.rydertowing.co.uk/products/towing-relays-monitors/smart-bypass-relays/tf2218-7h

Edited by e60neindanke

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1 hour ago, e60neindanke said:

And @535iAR  - the box at the jaunty angle is indeed the bypass relays for the (non-factory) concealed towbar. It goes 'beep' when I indicate and am towing: oddly, that seems to be enough - no supplementary turn signal lamp in the dash is actually provided now, unlike my E34. The white blob of glue probably held it in place once, but not any more!

 

See http://www.rydertowing.co.uk/products/towing-relays-monitors/smart-bypass-relays/tf2218-7h

 

Thought it was.  Yes that type of box (I fitted similar to my E60) provides an audible beep when trailer is connected and you indicate, some have an additional output to wire a dash lamp. But all you need is a beep, but buried in the boot you are never going to hear it!

 

I'm very familiar with the Ryder towing stuff, I used their website back in 2008 before fitting my last E60 with a towbar. I had never come across the need for a bypass relay when fitting a towbar before the E60, but things have moved on again.  With cars like the F10 with LED bulbs you need bespoke kits that talk to the canbus and sometimes need coding to the car to make them work.  Boo!

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2 hours ago, e60neindanke said:

In response to @ROB163 - it would seem that the recall applied only to LCI cars. I spoke to someone who said they'd done a number of E60s, but on further investigation pre-LCI cars don't qualify.

 

Intersting, mine is pre LCI :ph34r:

 

i dont think main dealers have a clue half the time

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33 minutes ago, ROB163 said:

 

Intersting, mine is pre LCI :ph34r:

 

i dont think main dealers have a clue half the time

 

Oh well, at least I know the standard of workmanship and it wasn't that expensive in terms of bits...

Edited by e60neindanke

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1 hour ago, 535iAR said:

 

Thought it was.  Yes that type of box (I fitted similar to my E60) provides an audible beep when trailer is connected and you indicate, some have an additional output to wire a dash lamp. But all you need is a beep, but buried in the boot you are never going to hear it!

 

I'm very familiar with the Ryder towing stuff, I used their website back in 2008 before fitting my last E60 with a towbar. I had never come across the need for a bypass relay when fitting a towbar before the E60, but things have moved on again.  With cars like the F10 with LED bulbs you need bespoke kits that talk to the canbus and sometimes need coding to the car to make them work.  Boo!

 

Ah, but petrol E60s are so quiet you can hear the beep! ;)

 

I suppose you need this sort of electrickery when you consider that the E60's stop lights act as an extra pair of tail lights when you're not braking - similarly, the rear fog lights. I noticed that Ryder make a special relay box for the modern incarnation of the S-type Jag - a car some towbar manufacturers say can't have a towbar fitted to...

 

Does CANBus really make a difference in terms of weight and wiring, I ask myself?

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Canbus is a pain in the @rse for towbar wiring.  Fitting a towbar to my dads F10 meant picking up a pair of canbus wires in the drivers footwell and running a twisted pair back to the Westfalia box (like your bypass relay) in the boot.  You cannot piggy back connections to the wires going to the light clusters in the F10 like you can in the E60.

 

I couldn't hear the beep in the cockpit of my E60 as I fitted the bypass relay under the spare wheel well in the foam tray that holds the pdc box of wizardry.  I could if I stood outside the car by the boot and locked it when trailer hitched up.

 

You are spot on about the need for it with the E60 rear bulbs all being the same.  Each side has three side lights which are 21W bulbs, one for brake, one for fog and one for side light only.  By putting the circuits on one at a time you could work out which was which and conenct the bypass relay to it.

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