Unofficial BMW E24 website

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Unofficial BMW E24 website

Unofficial BMW E24 website



Practice

Tail Lights Restoration

I

f you hadn't noticed, the 6ers have a deserved reputation for rather dim tail lights... particularly in bright light.

I had the necessity to remove the tail light lenses in order to track down a brass base tail light that was suspected of causing some erroneous check panel faults.

I noticed that the reflector area of the tail light assembly was, in some cases, completely gone; and in other places was faded or partially missing. Still other areas of my right tail light had dirt on the bottom of the reflector area...no doubt the symptom of a bad tail light seal (another item to add to the 6er shopping list).



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BMW E24. Tail Lights Restoration

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BMW E24. Tail Lights Restoration

I have the chrome spray paint, masking tape, and masking paper I need for the job.

I removed the light bulbs (there are only 2 sizes, you can't mix them up) and shoved bits of masking paper in the holes. As long as the inside of the light bulb socket is covered, don't worry too much about getting all of the outside of the socket covered.

After cleaning in and around the reflector areas well, I used the masking tape to mask off the detail area immediately around the reflectors making sure to cover all chrome and seals. I also masked over the electrical connectors since they didn't require the repainting.



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BMW E24. Tail Lights Restoration

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BMW E24. Tail Lights Restoration

A couple of quick coats of the spray paint and they were done.

After about an hour of drying time, I removed the masking and replaced the bulbs and tail light lenses.

Evaluating the result of the repainting, the lights don't really seem brighter per se. Before the repainting, the light being emitted was essentially limited to the center of the reflector area where the bulb was. After the repainting, the light emitted was about the same brightness, but it was now being reflected and refracted as it should to fill the entire light area. They may not be brighter, but they are certainly more visible... so its definitely worth the small amount of time and coin to do it.

Source: E24 by Newling & Claasi

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Also, you can add another bulb to the empty socket and put a permanent jumper to the other brake light. Twice as bright when you hit the brakes then remove the dim running light bulb and replace it with one that is twice as bright.
The wires and fuse can easily handle the extra current being drawn.
// Christopher Trace


Good idea and I will let you know how mine worked out. // Bluesman


Another approach to brightening the tail lights on an e24 is to line the reflectors with the shiny aluminum tape used to seal HVAC ducts (not the old-style dull gray duct tape). Even more of an improvement than paint (which is excellent already), although more persnickety to do neatly. Cheer on your site!


// Gary Ketner


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