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replacing 3rd brake light?

Posted by daniel 
May 30, 2009 03:37AM
how is this done? in my car it is definitely not through the trunk. it would appear that i need to remove the rear shelf, but i was told on another forum that that involved removing the back seat, the seatbelts, speakers, etc, just to get to the 3rd brake light. seems like overkill.


rkj
May 30, 2009 09:08AM
Daniel, There is supposed to be a way of- squeezing the sides (or something like this) to have the box come loose from its base. I swear I've done it once but I'll be dammed if I can do at will, anytime I go for it confused smiley maybe Ferdy has the exact combination. Rick
May 30, 2009 12:10PM
Makes it sound like it has tabs that lock into the carpeted fiber board on the rear shelf. I would try squeezing the base fore-aft or side-side to see if it will lift. If not, I guess you do have to do some "interior disassembly" to get it out safely.

But on the sunny side, if you get it out in one piece, you won't remember the half hour it took to get to it. If it breaks, well, beer time.

alan
May 30, 2009 01:32PM
there is carpet snugly covering the 3rd brake light housing, not allowing access to it. i guess it is possible someone put a late model shelf on my car.


May 30, 2009 01:46PM
If I remember correctly there are two studs welded to the sheet metal that the brake light housing goes over and two plastic nuts secure it in place. You would have to remove the rear shelf to get to them! A lot of work just for that. If you are just wanting to change the bulb that can be done from the trunk.
May 30, 2009 02:06PM
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wodcutr
If you are just wanting to change the bulb that can be done from the trunk.

i really don't think it can on my car.


rkj
May 30, 2009 04:32PM
No, it supposed to pop right off (can't prove that by me though). Daniel, do you mean the Po has changed something not allowing you access that lamp housing. My PO didn't get mine all the way back right, she sits a touch off kilter. sad smiley

Just remember, the lamp fits on to the base that Is bolted down, as I remember!
May 30, 2009 06:36PM
i think the PO changed it so the carpet covers the 3rd brake light, therefore making it very difficult to access the part that "pops" off.


rkj
May 30, 2009 07:08PM
Brilliant, are you trying to get in there for the bulb?
May 30, 2009 08:35PM
My 325i 4 door 1989 has stock carpet/molding that covers the 3rd light. HOWEVER, the bulb is accessible on my car from the trunk.
What is it exactly you want to do with it?
May 31, 2009 03:01AM
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Earendil
What is it exactly you want to do with it?

i want to change it to be a neon green strobe light that is wired to the foglight switch in the dash.

actually the bulb just burned out a few days ago, and before i drive across the country to oklahoma i want to replace it.


May 31, 2009 03:30AM
I read that and all I can think is how you are leaving the NW before I get a chance to say "hi".

Are you spending the summer out there, or will you be back?
May 31, 2009 04:27AM
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Earendil
I read that and all I can think is how you are leaving the NW before I get a chance to say "hi".

Are you spending the summer out there, or will you be back?

well you are going to go to the e30 picnic, right? you live right next to it. it would be silly not to.

and i am spending the summer there, but i will be back in august.


May 31, 2009 03:43PM
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daniel
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Earendil
I read that and all I can think is how you are leaving the NW before I get a chance to say "hi".

Are you spending the summer out there, or will you be back?

well you are going to go to the e30 picnic, right? you live right next to it. it would be silly not to.

and i am spending the summer there, but i will be back in august.

I don't know about how close I am. Certainly closer than Oklahoma, but not exactly a day trip. You live closer than I do right now :-)
May 31, 2009 04:37PM
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Earendil
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daniel
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Earendil
I read that and all I can think is how you are leaving the NW before I get a chance to say "hi".

Are you spending the summer out there, or will you be back?

well you are going to go to the e30 picnic, right? you live right next to it. it would be silly not to.

and i am spending the summer there, but i will be back in august.

I don't know about how close I am. Certainly closer than Oklahoma, but not exactly a day trip. You live closer than I do right now :-)

psh its only like an hour longer than i have to drive. it is possible i will have a hotel room near issaquah for saturday night. if i end up getting it i will let you know (ill find out in the next couple days).


May 31, 2009 04:41PM
I have a girlfriend in Kent who would love to see me in the off hours, if she isn't busy with family stuff.
Still, you might let me know in case she is too busy, or else I don't want to make the drive back down to south Seattle.
May 31, 2009 05:15PM
ok, well you should stay with her if you can. now you don't have an excuse since you have a place to stay overnight.


May 31, 2009 05:59PM
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daniel
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wodcutr
If you are just wanting to change the bulb that can be done from the trunk.

i really don't think it can on my car.
Getting back to the subject at head, I finally just checked my '91. It's absurdly easy to change from underneath in the trunk. The bulb holder pops out with a twist. It takes about half a second.

What year is your car? Is there something covering up the bulb holder?

Pulling up the carpeting on top looks like it would be a lot of work, possibly destructive, and still not accomplish anything useful.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
May 31, 2009 08:30PM
Nah, if it is anything like my 84, you just remove the speakers, the back seat (no biggie) and then the fiberboard base should pop out. The carpet is glued to the fiberboard. I think the speaker screws are what keep the fiberboard in place, I don't think they use pop buttons like the door panels, but you can tell by looking from the trunk.

alan
May 31, 2009 09:34PM
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alanrw
Nah, if it is anything like my 84, you just remove the speakers, the back seat (no biggie) and then the fiberboard base should pop out. The carpet is glued to the fiberboard. I think the speaker screws are what keep the fiberboard in place, I don't think they use pop buttons like the door panels, but you can tell by looking from the trunk.
OK, but once you've done all that, you still need to pull the bulb out from the bottom, in the trunk, so there's no point.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
May 31, 2009 10:45PM
I think the change over was 1987-88, the later cars had a different set-up. Sorry Daniel, I led you astray on this one. Rick
June 01, 2009 12:37AM
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Dave_G
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alanrw
Nah, if it is anything like my 84, you just remove the speakers, the back seat (no biggie) and then the fiberboard base should pop out. The carpet is glued to the fiberboard. I think the speaker screws are what keep the fiberboard in place, I don't think they use pop buttons like the door panels, but you can tell by looking from the trunk.
OK, but once you've done all that, you still need to pull the bulb out from the bottom, in the trunk, so there's no point.

there is a small, flat, black trim piece inside the trunk, but it is not directly underneath the brake light, and it doesn't seem to easily twist.


June 01, 2009 02:56AM
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daniel
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Dave_G
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alanrw
Nah, if it is anything like my 84, you just remove the speakers, the back seat (no biggie) and then the fiberboard base should pop out. The carpet is glued to the fiberboard. I think the speaker screws are what keep the fiberboard in place, I don't think they use pop buttons like the door panels, but you can tell by looking from the trunk.
OK, but once you've done all that, you still need to pull the bulb out from the bottom, in the trunk, so there's no point.

there is a small, flat, black trim piece inside the trunk, but it is not directly underneath the brake light, and it doesn't seem to easily twist.

You have trim pieces on the inside top side of your trunk? I'm pretty sure when you look up inside my trunk you see the metal frame, not unlike looking at the back of my trunk. But I haven't a clue how stock my trunk actually is, and I have very little experience with other E30's.
Can the trim piece be removed to unveil anything underneath? Based on what others here have on their cars, it seems more likely it is being hidden by that, then by the rear seat. Just wait for the weekend, and we can take a poll at the picnic ;-)
June 01, 2009 08:56AM
hm... anyone thought that two pictures might easily solve this ? one from '84, another from '91 ?
i also knew that the builb can be changed from the trunk (makes sense, too). perhaps you have an aftermarket 3rd light ? i'm not sure that in '84 they had it at all... at least on our contintent. my chassis number (1987) doesn't give me any parts for it. they only seem to exist from 1988:

[www.realoem.com]

i think first type from the diagram is for the break/wagon; second one is for the sedan/coupe (you can see how the bulb base goes out through the bottom) and the 3rd one - i have no idea what it is for.

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/01/2009 09:00AM by jaffar.
June 01, 2009 09:15AM
In North America the center brake light was required beginning in 1986. Since Daniel's car is a 1988, it's probably a factory unit. I don't know why he can't see the bulb in the trunk, though. Apparently they changed something between 1988 and 1991, or maybe a previous owner installed some sort of covering on the top of the trunk that hides the bulb access.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
June 01, 2009 10:23AM
No, no 3rd brake light on the 84, I was merely addressing how to take the rear package shelf out.

alan
June 02, 2009 06:41PM
The three shown in that picture are (from left to right) the M3 version, the sedan/coupe version and the Convertible version. As I recall, the earlier ones that are all plastic and not covered with carpet come apart from the inside and the bulb is replaced. You just have to pull the plastic housing cover off to access it. On the later ones like Daniel is describing it should be accessible from the trunk as others have suggested. That is what I remember, but I haven't owned an e30 in quite some time now.
June 02, 2009 06:45PM
Follow Up.

[www.realoem.com]

The lamp on the left in this picture is the earlier one that is accessible from the interior I believe.
June 02, 2009 06:46PM
Hmm, my first post didn't seem to work. Anyway, I believe the first Real OEM photo posted shows (from left to right) the M3 version, the later sedan/coupe version and the Convertible version.
rkj
June 04, 2009 09:23AM
I looked at mine yesterday, its an 88 like Daniel's, and the carpet does not go up around the housing at all. It looks like (I could be wrong on this) the older 86 style assy.

Like I said before mine is slightly off ( not straight) so as soon as I'm feeling up to it I'm in there eye rolling smiley
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