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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > DIY : 2007 E93 repair failed rear LED lightbar



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      11-25-2017, 12:17 PM   #1
UK_Nomad
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Thumbs up DIY : 2007 E93 repair failed rear LED lightbar

One of the neat details I like about the E93 are the LED strip lights at the rear

Unfortunately, both outer striplights were dead when I got my 2007 E93.
The conventional bulbs at the rear cost 1 each and are easy to replace, the LEDs are soldered on a circuit board - then put inside the sealed light cluster and sold as a complete unit. Not a problem - unless they stop working

BMW in their wisdom have decided industry standard LEDs (5mm diameter, never known to fail) are not suitable so have used their own design (4.2mm, tapered, often fail within 10 years)
Continuing their "it seemed a good idea at the time" theme, if / when a LED fails, the others near it stop working

Quick LED tests :
Check the car wiring to make sure the lights are getting 12 volts - if you find a blown fuse fix it and go straight to the pub !
The LEDs inside the back light cluster have 2 wires (brown & blue) which plug into the wiring harness inside the boot, disconnect the lights from the car and test using a 9 volt PP3 battery (see photo below).

Notes :
My LED failures didn't generate any dashboard warnings. Both my outer LED lightbars were out, also the central high-level LED brake light - but the dash showed no faults
The LEDs have "positive" and "negative" connections, you can't blow them up but they won't work if you fit them the wrong way around (or if you connect the test battery the wrong way)


Now you know you have a LED problem, there are a few potential solutions :
Pretend you've not noticed half the lights at the back of the car aren't working (not easy in the dark winter nights)
Fit a "good used" 2nd hand unit ( then demand a refund when you discover the LEDs in the new light cluster don't work)
Buy a new light cluster from a BMW dealer (cost was 180 each side when I asked !)
Get creative and fix your faulty LEDs. Read on if you decide to go this route

Total cost of the DIY repairs ?
LEDS 1.30 (including postage for a pack of 20, I used 6), "5mm high-intensity red", Glue.
Time for each light : 1 hour strip/rebuild + 1 hour finding the dud LED and soldering.

Note : If anyone local needs LED lights repairing, let me know and we might be able to work something out.
I also have some spare new LEDS, and plenty of original LEDS, I'm planning to rebuild my spare light with working LEDs and sell it at some point - PM me if you need one

Polite request - I can attach photos but they always appear at the end of the thread - how do I include photos within the text?
DIY instructions follow ( 1 photo per stage)

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      11-25-2017, 12:22 PM   #2
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Step 1 : use some kind of cutter ( multi tool or Dremel) to cut the red lens off the light cluster.
Cut as much as possible so the cover lifts off easily - you do not want to force it and crack it !
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      11-25-2017, 12:26 PM   #3
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Step 2 : remove the inside "cage" without breaking it (unhook the 4 "barbs" and use a decent amount of force)
You can then unclip the LED circuit board.
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      11-25-2017, 12:27 PM   #4
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Step 3 : identify which partcular LED(s) have failed. Options :
connect a 9 volt battery, short out each LED in turn, when you do the faulty one, the other 2 will light up (assuming only 1 has failed)
connect a 9 volt battery and measure the voltage across each LED, working ones show 2 volts, the failed ones show 6 volts.
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      11-25-2017, 12:31 PM   #5
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Step 4 : replace the LEDs, retest using your 9 volt battery.
Tip : a solder sucker is invaluable for removing the old LEDs.
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      11-25-2017, 12:36 PM   #6
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Step 5 : glue the red lense back in place, go to the pub and start spending the money you've just saved.
optional : fix the other side next weekend for another saving !



Feedback & comments welcome.
Is this type of guide useful ? What works best / what doesn't?
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      11-25-2017, 04:16 PM   #7
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I have this exact problem on my Z4. Thanks for posting I'm going to try the fix this winter

Edit: what kind of glue did you use to reseal it?
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      11-26-2017, 04:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E86Z View Post
I have this exact problem on my Z4. Thanks for posting I'm going to try the fix this winter
Edit: what kind of glue did you use to reseal it?
Hope it helps - it's crazy that you need to buy a whole new light cluster because a LED costing pennines has failed

Glue was a gamble, I used some by Bostic called "Hard Plastic glue" and it's been fine.
I did think about "Superglue" but that might not fill the bigger gaps between the lens & body.
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      01-09-2018, 05:38 PM   #9
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Bump as a couple of folk have asked about this fix (nice to know it's been useful)

LEDs.
These were a gamble but worked fine, search for "5mm high-intensity red"
- don't use ones marked "diffuser" (these spread the light - will they miss the lightbar?)
Each light cluster has 3 LEDs (12 in total for my E93).
I paid about 2 (including postage) for a pack of 10.

Glue.
Use any (I had some "Hard Plastic Glue" by Bostik, it worked fine).
Superglue? I didn't think this would fill all the small gaps, so I avoided it.

Time taken for each light : 1 hour strip/rebuild + 1 hour finding the dud LED and soldering.

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