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      01-07-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
///Chris
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Bulb is good but still not working .. Please Help!

I began getting a "Left taillight malfunction" warning. The warning comes and goes but the light simply doesn't work. I determined that it's the highest light in the headlight assembly - the same one as the brake light but it comes on with all the lights and half the brightness of the brake light.

The bulb is good and it works when I apply brakes, so obviously I know it's good. But when I let off the brakes, if the lights are on, the right side stays illuminated but the left doesn't.

Anyone have any idea how to fix this?? It's a 921 bulb, not one of the LEDs.

Last edited by ///Chris; 01-07-2012 at 05:34 PM.
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      01-08-2012, 02:02 PM   #2
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It may be the socket. My passenger side turn signal socket was burnt. Take out the bulb and take a look on the inside to see if the contacts are burnt or rusted/rotted. By the way, they are cheap to replace, about $8 at the dealer. NO CUTTING OF WIRES REQUIRED.
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      01-08-2012, 02:09 PM   #3
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and it might be a dual filament bulb. your brake light is still functioning but your running light has burnt out?
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      01-08-2012, 02:11 PM   #4
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It may be the socket. My passenger side turn signal socket was burnt. Take out the bulb and take a look on the inside to see if the contacts are burnt or rusted/rotted. By the way, they are cheap to replace, about $8 at the dealer. NO CUTTING OF WIRES REQUIRED.

Thanks for the reply. I did look at the socket and it looks like new. Plus the bulb/socket works when braking, so I have no idea what's going on.
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      01-08-2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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and it might be a dual filament bulb. your brake light is still functioning but your running light has burnt out?
Correct ... I replaced the bulb (with a 921 - according to the dealer); and still, it works as a brake light but not as a "running light" (thanks, couldn't figure out what to call it - running light though)

I also tried switching the lights with the other side, which works properly, and still the running light doesn't come on so I'm wondering if there's a fuse just for that side's running light somewhere?

And finally, the warning light no longer comes on but the running light is still out ... so I'm thoroughly confused
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      01-08-2012, 02:18 PM   #6
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For the hell of it, try switching bulbs around.
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      01-08-2012, 02:19 PM   #7
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Correct ... I replaced the bulb (with a 921 - according to the dealer); and still, it works as a brake light but not as a "running light" (thanks, couldn't figure out what to call it - running light though)
Oh, wow, that is weird.
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      01-08-2012, 02:20 PM   #8
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Ok, did you mod the lights in any way? If so then there is your problem.
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      01-08-2012, 06:36 PM   #9
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Nope, they're bone stock ... here's a pic:



It's the top part that doesn't light up (except when I brake), but it won't come on when I unlock the car, whereas the driver side does
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      01-08-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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do you have a multimeter or circuit tester? see if there is voltage at the socket. maybe the terminal inside the socket is a little bent back or something that is prevent contact.
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      01-08-2012, 09:38 PM   #11
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Buy a whole new light assembly its 20-30 bucks. It'll save you the headache
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      01-08-2012, 09:41 PM   #12
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There was a service bulletin out for a faulty bulb holder. But I think your problem is with the lines? They can't be replaced. At least to my knowledge.
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      01-09-2012, 06:43 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the help.

So I went to the dealer and the service dude comes out like he's in a huge hurry and I'm a big waste of his time and takes one look at it and says condescendingly, "Your light's not out, that's a European fog light" and he walks away.

Anyway, I get him back and show him it's definitely not a fog light and he says I'll have to bring it in .. so I guess I'll try replacing the fixture and hopefully that fixes it cause I'm definitely not gonna let BMW charge me probably $400 to fix a "European fog light"
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      01-09-2012, 07:35 PM   #14
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There was a service bulletin out for a faulty bulb holder. But I think your problem is with the lines? They can't be replaced. At least to my knowledge.
soo does that mean the dealer will replace the bad unit even though most of us are out of warranty?
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      01-09-2012, 07:55 PM   #15
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soo does that mean the dealer will replace the bad unit even though most of us are out of warranty?
No, that would be a recall. Bulletins do not apply and if you are out of warranty you pay.

Its most likely a bad bulb holder or worst case a bad FRM. Can you get me the part # off of the sticker on it? There is a white sticker on the bulb holder, I can tell you if its a newer or older style. Can you turn on the lights take a pic and show me which one you are seeing on and off on both sides.
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      01-09-2012, 08:59 PM   #16
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No, that would be a recall. Bulletins do not apply and if you are out of warranty you pay.

Its most likely a bad bulb holder or worst case a bad FRM. Can you get me the part # off of the sticker on it? There is a white sticker on the bulb holder, I can tell you if its a newer or older style. Can you turn on the lights take a pic and show me which one you are seeing on and off on both sides.
Nail on the head.
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      01-09-2012, 11:11 PM   #17
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Buy a new bulb and plug it in, or plug it into the right tail lamp. and see if the code goes away. If that doesnt work check your light bulb fluid.
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      01-09-2012, 11:22 PM   #18
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sounds like a two stage bulb and one is out.
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      01-10-2012, 07:45 AM   #19
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Buy a new bulb and plug it in, or plug it into the right tail lamp. and see if the code goes away. If that doesnt work check your light bulb fluid.
I really hope this is a joke
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      01-10-2012, 08:32 AM   #20
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I'd be willing to bet it's that service bulletin. I had mine done too.
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      01-10-2012, 08:40 PM   #21
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No, that would be a recall. Bulletins do not apply and if you are out of warranty you pay.

Its most likely a bad bulb holder or worst case a bad FRM. Can you get me the part # off of the sticker on it? There is a white sticker on the bulb holder, I can tell you if its a newer or older style. Can you turn on the lights take a pic and show me which one you are seeing on and off on both sides.
Here are pics: you can see it out when the brakes aren't on then it comes on with the breaks
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      01-15-2012, 04:27 PM   #22
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Something is not right. That light on the left upper part of the taillight is NOT supposed to come on with just the lights on. That is the brake light. I'm still guessing there is something wrong with that bulb holder.
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