Help Support Bigcoupe.com

Tail light question

Post here for mechanical and engine topics such as fuel issues, transmission problems, rough idle, exhaust, electrical issues, etc

Moderators: ron, bfons, GRNSHRK

Post Reply
User avatar
panthercity
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 am
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Tail light question

Post by panthercity » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:11 pm

Image

I have a pretty simple question. My '85 635 Euro has gone through the federalization process and my confidence in how the rear lights are wired is in question. In the picture above the blue circle represents where the current brake light is located. Below the blue circle is the running light and the white reverse light is working fine. The red circle has a bulb that does not appear to serve any functionality. There is also a small side marker light not pictured.

That is a total of 5 bulbs not counting the side marker.
1)turn signal; 2)brake; 3) unknown; 4)running; 5)reverse

-I have found one youtube video where the "unknown" bulb was the brake light and my "brake" light was not being used as a brake light. This was a US spec car.
-The electrical diagram I have from Prospero's Garage shows only 4 lights in the rear lense...not 5.

My question is what is the correct location for the brake light on a Euro car and are they different between US spec and Euros? Do Euro cars use 2 bulbs for the brake light per side....and one of mine just isn't working?

Regards,
Tony
'85 635CSi Euro
Image

User avatar
hornhospital
Bigcoupe supporter
Posts: 2280
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:46 pm
Location: Silverhill, AL
Contact:

Re: Tail light question

Post by hornhospital » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:28 pm

The blue-circled bulb is the normal brake light. The second "brake" light is the Euro rear fog light. Does your fog light switch have two buttons, one of which does nothing? The Federalization process may have eliminated the switch, too, in addition to disconnecting the bulb.
Ken Kanne
'84 633CSi "Sylvia"; '85 635CSi "Katja";'87 325is "Odette"; '93 325is "Elvira"; '95 M3 "Ashlyn"

User avatar
Hefeweizen
Senior Member
Posts: 2212
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:24 pm
Location: Colorado Springs
Contact:

Re: Tail light question

Post by Hefeweizen » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:32 pm

If it is just on the left, it was/is the fog light. Usually comes on when you turn on your fog lights and is brighter than the regular tail light. In the regular US 6er you'll find nothing but an empty socket. I installed a socket and connected that to the brake light. See here http://www.house-calls.us/BMWBrakeLight.html
Rainer
85 635CSi (Silver, Daily Driver)
79 633CSi (Red Euro, Project)

"If you think a good European mechanic is expensive, try a bad one!"

User avatar
panthercity
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 am
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Re: Tail light question

Post by panthercity » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:53 pm

Thanks for the replies!

My fog lights don't turn on the Euro fog light bulb in the rear. As much as I'd like to return the car to its original Euro configuration, using the red fog light is certainly not an option here. I like the idea of wiring up the Euro fog light as an additional brake light. There are still bulbs in the those sockets that have probably been there from the factory.

Regards,
Tony
'85 635CSi Euro
Image

User avatar
Hefeweizen
Senior Member
Posts: 2212
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:24 pm
Location: Colorado Springs
Contact:

Re: Tail light question

Post by Hefeweizen » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:51 am

Glad you like the idea! It is not hard to run a wire over to the other socket. Same thing on the right side?
Rainer
85 635CSi (Silver, Daily Driver)
79 633CSi (Red Euro, Project)

"If you think a good European mechanic is expensive, try a bad one!"

kevmills67
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:51 pm
Location: California

Re: Tail light question

Post by kevmills67 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:06 am

hornhospital wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:28 pm
The blue-circled bulb is the normal brake light. The second "brake" light is the Euro rear fog light. Does your fog light switch have two buttons, one of which does nothing? The Federalization process may have eliminated the switch, too, in addition to disconnecting the bulb.
hornhospital is correct. You have your brake where the running light should be and the running light is where your brake should be. If you want it original, pull the metal clips out and swap them with the wires attached of course. Lower section was Euro fog lamp. Not used in US vehicles and it does not come on with the fog lamp switch. It was a separate switch which turned on the rear fog lamps.

kevmills67
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:51 pm
Location: California

Re: Tail light question

Post by kevmills67 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:10 am

panthercity wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:53 pm
Thanks for the replies!

My fog lights don't turn on the Euro fog light bulb in the rear. As much as I'd like to return the car to its original Euro configuration, using the red fog light is certainly not an option here. I like the idea of wiring up the Euro fog light as an additional brake light. There are still bulbs in the those sockets that have probably been there from the factory.

Regards,
Tony
To my knowledge rear fog lights are not illegal in US, just not required like in Europe. Some newer cars in the US have now incorporated rear fog lamps that are functional into their design and I have seen many people mis-using them. You can re-purpose the socket for brake or running light, I have actually used a two way bulb, rewired the socket and made it work for both.

User avatar
panthercity
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 am
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Re: Tail light question

Post by panthercity » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:58 am

Image
The picture above is numbered per my understanding from the responses so far.
1)turn signal; 2)brake; 3) Euro Fog Light; 4)running; 5)reverse

kevmills67 - Your post indicates that my brake light should be in position 4 and running in position 2. Is that correct?

I found 2 youtube videos of E24 brake lights in different positions :)

Here is one of a Euro car with a video labeled brake light test...but no one is in the car.. The brake light is in #2 position. Maybe this video is mislabeled and it is the running light at position #2.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETJESAm1SEA

Here is one of a US spec car with the running light at #4 and Brake light at #3.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3GMCYKtXq0
'85 635CSi Euro
Image

bpoliakoff
Bigcoupe supporter
Posts: 2469
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: scottsdale, arizona
Contact:

Re: Tail light question

Post by bpoliakoff » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:38 pm

My 81 euro has the factory fog light switch and under bumper fogs which is correct for a Euro before the June model year change. There is not a separate switch that I have found for the rear fogs and no modifications to the gauge panel or anywhere else that I have seen. I have been lead to understand the fogs do not turn on unless the low beams are on. I have had my tail lights totally modified by a fellow in CO and know the rear fogs are now functional. Bobbo has the same tail light modifications and will hopefully join in here.
81 Euro 635 M90 with motronic. Currently under a complete nut and bolt restoration. Pictures at
flickr.com/photos/bertsphotos.

kevmills67
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:51 pm
Location: California

Re: Tail light question

Post by kevmills67 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:22 am

panthercity wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:58 am
Image
The picture above is numbered per my understanding from the responses so far.
1)turn signal; 2)brake; 3) Euro Fog Light; 4)running; 5)reverse

kevmills67 - Your post indicates that my brake light should be in position 4 and running in position 2. Is that correct?

I found 2 youtube videos of E24 brake lights in different positions :)

Here is one of a Euro car with a video labeled brake light test...but no one is in the car.. The brake light is in #2 position. Maybe this video is mislabeled and it is the running light at position #2.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETJESAm1SEA

Here is one of a US spec car with the running light at #4 and Brake light at #3.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3GMCYKtXq0
I have 3 6's and have had a few more in the past. One the ones I currently have is a Euro. The Brake light on my US cars is over the reverse light, position 3 on your diagram and my running lights are position 4 on your diagram. (just went out and double checked) On the Euro however it is the same as you have diagrammed. My fog lamp switch on my euro is a depressor button, with the button pushed down, fog lamps come on with front fog lamps and low beams and will go out when you use your high beams. If you do not turn on the front fog lamps, I don't think the ones in the back will come on. I have left this alone on the current Euro. On others, I have used the space at position 2 as a running light and have also put two way bulbs in there that light with the running lights and light brighter when the brake is applied similar to the way US manufactured vehicles do. Since the socket for the bulb is molded into the plastic of the housing, I soldered the wires to the contacts on the bottoms of the bulbs, the metal tabs for the side (Negative) have always been installed on all of mine already.

In the first video, that is where the brake lights would be on the Euro and that is a Euro car in the video. I don't see anyone in the car either but maybe they have their kid standing on the brake and we can't see them.

The second video is how my US cars are set up.

GRNSHRK
E12 Based Guru
Posts: 2551
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 3:24 pm
Location: Sunnyvale (SF Bay Area) CA

Re: Tail light question

Post by GRNSHRK » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:39 pm

Bobbo has the same tail light modifications and will hopefully join in here
Gents, just saw this post, wasn't on the computer over the weekend [-X

While I have some input on this one and it is true that I had the same tail light assembly mods performed that Bert is referring to, in all honesty I'm gonna have to take a look before I can comment [-(

First off, after following many Euro models during our various events, I'm almost positive that the US and Euro rear lighting are not the same :-?

Second, in the series I Euro models, the fog lamp pullout switch actually has 2 positions, the first for turning on the front fog lamps and the second for illuminating the rear fog lamp (only left hand side, which I surmise is for LHD cars, RHD may be on the right hand side...) but the US version only has one click, for front fog lamps, as discussed here the US cars were not factory equipped with a rear fog lamp :-k

Can't speak for series II Euro models either :-({|=

Third, the modification that Bert refers to added a second brake light, which I "think" is in position "3", but will actually have to check tonight to verify [-o<

The mods also included higher wattage bulbs, which actually proved to overload the circuit, blowing fuses in the process #-o

That issue was not well thought out and required a different method of powering the extra brake light, addressed by the guy in CO that does these mods, Andrew Lamorte or something like that, is the guy that does this, advertises in the Roundel as well :roll:

I will also see if the User's manual or "Big Blue Book" identifies what each "panel" in the tail light assembly is supposed to be, from the factory [-o<

More to follow manana :-"

:mrgreen:
:mrgreen:
Bobbo
1980 633 CSi
Cypress Green/Pearl Beige
2011 F10 528i
2005 E46 330 Ci ZHP Cabrio
Image

You can never have too many BMW's

User avatar
panthercity
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 am
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Re: Tail light question

Post by panthercity » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:09 am

Hi Bobbo,
Thanks for the information. Yes, my fog light switch does have two positions.

Regards,
Tony
'85 635CSi Euro
Image

User avatar
MrE
Senior Member
Posts: 1794
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:37 pm
Location: Capital City, Australia

Re: Tail light question

Post by MrE » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:55 am

Hi Tony

This is what my setup looks like. Running lights at bottom, fogs at top.
ft_rt01.JPG
ft_rt01.JPG (125.49 KiB) Viewed 1910 times

And with brakes applied - the top section illuminates, equal brightness to the foglights.
ft_rt02.JPG
ft_rt02.JPG (116.26 KiB) Viewed 1910 times

The foglight switch on my instrument cluster is a two-position pullout switch - 1 stop illuminates the front foglights only, 2 stops illuminates the front & rear foglights.

Mine's an Australian-delivered, right hand drive, 10/86 build, so potentially quite different to yours in many ways. But at least the ones here are essentially Euro spec with some mid 80s Australian Automotive Design Rules compliance thrown in, though nothing as severe as what the US federalization process appears to have involved.

I know that in certain regions around the world 6ers were equipped with only one rear foglight, either driver's side or passenger's side, but most of the Australian vehicles I've seen seem to have both operating.
Image

User avatar
panthercity
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 am
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Re: Tail light question

Post by panthercity » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:16 am

Hi MrE,
I bet my rear fog lights are supposed to work as yours are described since I do have bulbs in both fog light positions. Mine came from Europe back in the day and has a 1/85 production date.

Regards,
Tony
'85 635CSi Euro
Image

Ronnie Wilson
Bigcoupe supporter
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:40 pm
Location: Liverpool uk

Re: Tail light question

Post by Ronnie Wilson » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:29 pm

Hi Tony

Don't no if this helps. But my car is a uk car 06/86

1st picture is the night lights.
IMG_0883.JPG
IMG_0883.JPG (1.84 MiB) Viewed 1872 times
2nd picture is the fog lights.
IMG_0882.JPG
IMG_0882.JPG (1.61 MiB) Viewed 1872 times
3rd picture is the brake lights.
IMG_0890.PNG
IMG_0890.PNG (1.97 MiB) Viewed 1872 times
Ronnie
Liverpool uk.
1986 635csi

GRNSHRK
E12 Based Guru
Posts: 2551
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 3:24 pm
Location: Sunnyvale (SF Bay Area) CA

Re: Tail light question

Post by GRNSHRK » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:18 pm

OK, coming back to this one, you guys are just gonna LOVE this one :lol:

And PLEASE keep in mind that this information is for a US version 1980 633 CSi [-o<

First, from the Owner's Handbook, they had it all F'ed up, as the photo and accompanying description do not match, not even close [-X

They show position 4 as a reflector when in fact it's the backup light, which is position 5 in the description :-?

So let's presume none of this is correct ](*,)

Now the second shot is from the Big Blue Book, which appears to be much more accurate and matches what panthercity posted =D>

I tend to trust the factory repair manual as well, much more :roll:

Now, for the mods that Bert was referring to much earlier in this thread, here is what I've got, again this is not stock, just meant as additional information, but please keep in mind that the person I referred to earlier can provide you with the wiring and sockets to do this, rework your existing lights, etc. \:D/

Again going from the panthercity photo, I have the following:
1: blinker (duh)
2: dual filament bulb, tail light AND brake light
3: brake light (presumed to be the original)
4: tail light
5: backup light

So with the lights on and when hitting the brakes, I've got all sorts of lights coming on :wink:

And I still think that the Euro setup is somehow different, :?:

Enjoy :roll:

:mrgreen:
Attachments
from the onwers handbook-sm.jpg
from the onwers handbook-sm.jpg (92.18 KiB) Viewed 1810 times
from the Big Blue Book.jpg
from the Big Blue Book.jpg (634.1 KiB) Viewed 1810 times
:mrgreen:
Bobbo
1980 633 CSi
Cypress Green/Pearl Beige
2011 F10 528i
2005 E46 330 Ci ZHP Cabrio
Image

You can never have too many BMW's

User avatar
panthercity
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:52 am
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Re: Tail light question

Post by panthercity » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:17 pm

I got a chance to take a closer look at my car today with new information learned here. It turns out that my Rear fog lights were never disabled during the federalization process. I replaced both blown bulbs and having learned how to operate them found they work as expected for a Euro car.
1)turn signal; 2)brake; 3) Rear Fog lights working on both sides; 4)running; 5)reverse

Another finding... Fuse 15 marked "unused" on US spec cars is for the rear fog lights.

Thanks!
Tony
Fort Worth (panther city)
'85 635CSi Euro
Image

User avatar
MisterFixit
Bigcoupe supporter
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:07 pm
Location: USA, Colorado, Golden

Re: Tail light question

Post by MisterFixit » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:18 am

Bobbo, Bert- Thanks for the plugs!

I will weigh in on this very soon, with upgrades.
It's quite late here and I have a 25th anniversary party tomorrow, so it may be a few days.

Andy
"Be Seen, and Not Hurt!"
Lighting Upgrades for 2002, E3, E12, E21, E23, E24, E28, E30, E32, E36, E39 - front & back
Headlight and Tail Light upgrades for maximum visibility. Headlight protection to keep lights intact.

User avatar
Brucey
6 Series Guru
Posts: 9859
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 7:17 am
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Tail light question

Post by Brucey » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:37 pm

seems that the light clusters are not all wired up the same!

I did what might be a slightly clever thing early on in my 6er ownership; I took a marker pen and I wrote the bulb ID/rating inside the lamp housing, on the silvery bits that are meant to be reflective.

I did this because if it isn't obvious which bulb is which with the lenses on, it is even more obscure once the lenses are removed, and it also acts as an aide memoir if you ever unplug the wires from the cluster.

BTW if you swap the bulb locations around, you may be committing a technical infringement of law; lamps need to be marked (on the lenses) with the correct markings in order to be legal. The markings are specific to each location on the lens unit and they are nowhere near all the same even if they are coloured 'red' between brake lights, tail lights, and fog lights.

If you swap bulb ratings even, it can be an infringement.

cheers
~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 13 guests