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E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

BMW forum 3 series car: E21, E30, E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35

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E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby steelgrey » Fri, 02 Mar 2007 19:43:18 UTC

Hi
The rear number plate holder ie the contacts have badly corroded on my e46 to the point that it bascially needs replaced, can you please advise me if I can replace this as the second number plate light is fine?

Any help appreciate and keep up the good work on the site.
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Postby redtwin » Fri, 02 Mar 2007 20:58:16 UTC

You can replace them both. The bulb fits in the clear plastic lense and its the bulb contacts that corrode. Don't waste your time trying to clean them as the spring clips that hold them in place appear to be a one use type deal and once you pop them out the spring lose their tension and they won't stay in again.

Buy new lenses from the dealer, the price is quite reasonable. Their price on replacement bulbs was shockingly low as well, so might as well get two new bulbs too.
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fao redtwin - replace plastic bulb holder

Postby steelgrey » Sat, 03 Mar 2007 13:28:50 UTC

Thanks Redtwin for the reply if I buy a new plastic holder do I have to cut the wires on the orginial and solder in the new plastic holder or do they plug in somewhere without solder. Take it you just undo the 4 screws just above rear no plate.
Thaks
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Postby redtwin » Sat, 03 Mar 2007 22:11:17 UTC

To change the lense just pop them out with a screwdriver, there is a small notch in the lense to facilitate this. No need to cut any wires.

The 4 bolts hold on the actual boot handle...no need to mess with that.
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby kanulondon » Sun, 17 Feb 2013 21:06:31 UTC

Sorry to bump such a pre-historic post. However has anyone else resolved this problem?

My rear plate lights are FUBAR'd. I don't even want to bother with the cleaning. I've seen many replacement units on eBay but as Steelgrey mentioned, don't I need to cut the existing wires? I can't see how the how lense unit pops out? The cover pops out yes, but how do you remove the corroded mechanism inside?

I've also seen the whole boot lid mechanism for sale, but I don't want that expense if I don't have to
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby brazilian » Sun, 17 Feb 2013 21:43:26 UTC

I had this on a 2002 sport and replaced the whole handle release/lamp holder with an OEM part wasnt all that expensive as I didnt colour code it just left it black same as the bumper trim

easy to do as well just dont close the boot!
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby kanulondon » Sun, 17 Feb 2013 21:53:40 UTC

Thanks for the quick reply. I've seen an OEM part on eBay I was thinking of buying. I had the boot lid piece off this weekend, however I couldn't see how to disconnect it without cutting wires?

Did you cut wires? Or did I miss something and it's plug and play?

I bought a can of Halfrauds Titan Silver Spray to fix some rust spots, so I was thinking I could spray the item to colour match?
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby barrelman » Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:02:55 UTC

I've just done mine on my 2004 e46 330d. I I just cut the wires. Pulled out the old rotten bulb holders. I bought some Led lamps from eBay. Then soldered some short sections of wire in and soldered to new lights with the some heat shrink around the soldered joins. Easy job. I've never soldered before just borrowed the soldering iron from friend. Really simple
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby kanulondon » Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:19:40 UTC

barrelman wrote:I've just done mine on my 2004 e46 330d. I I just cut the wires. Pulled out the old rotten bulb holders. I bought some Led lamps from eBay. Then soldered some short sections of wire in and soldered to new lights with the some heat shrink around the soldered joins. Easy job. I've never soldered before just borrowed the soldering iron from friend. Really simple


Excellent.

Do you have the link to the replacement unit you bought from ebay?

I've did some soldering when installing a Reverse Parking Camera on my better half's Rav 4. I can buy the wire runs and the head shrink.

I've seen a used boot lip part for £40, but would probably prefer to swap out lamps and replace with something better as it will surely happen with the replacement set
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby mazeppa » Mon, 18 Feb 2013 15:16:25 UTC

I managed to repair mine by soldering in a small length of wire to bridge the gap that was left by the strip of copper that had rotted away. Fiddly little job but it's still working 12 months later. I might try the led idea mentioned above if (when) it goes again.
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby kanulondon » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:58:33 UTC

barrelman wrote:I've just done mine on my 2004 e46 330d. I I just cut the wires. Pulled out the old rotten bulb holders. I bought some Led lamps from eBay. Then soldered some short sections of wire in and soldered to new lights with the some heat shrink around the soldered joins. Easy job. I've never soldered before just borrowed the soldering iron from friend. Really simple



So I pulled out the whole unit from the plug (which was hiding in the boot cavity). I disconnected and gave it a real good clean, came up nice but it still doesn't work (but weirdly no errors on my dash?)

I noticed all the wires 4 on the right hand side and 3 on the left hand side light. Happy to buy a new light bulb (anyone got any links?)

But how do I wire it all up? The colours didn't immediately make sense and why the imbalance?
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Re: E46 Rear Number Plate Light corroding - Help

Postby barrelman » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 23:34:32 UTC

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.co.uk/viewit ... 0835200340

I just soldered wires together keeping same pairings as on original and connected to the wires I'd soldered to these LED Lamps
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