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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 10-28-2008, 03:59 PM   #1
3050rpm
 
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Brake light circuit fault message

Twice in the past two days the check light has come on saying "Brake light circuit failure." I had seen "bulb" failure before, but not anything involving circuit. Anyway, I took a look and found a tail light, not a brake light, was out, and replaced it. Message disappeared, I drive around just fine. Today it comes on again, and I go to the same light I changed yesterday, took it out of its socket, reinserted it, and again error message disappears. Any idea what's going on?
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Old 10-29-2008, 06:47 PM   #2
JEEwing

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First off it's a common problem. It can be traced to one of two things, both of which are, again, common on E36's: Wiring on left trunk hinge. It's wrapped in a plastic conduit but the constant use of the trunk wears the wires insulation off to a point where wires begin to touch. Other problem is with the break light switch located under the brake pedal. This is an easy swap out and can often be attributed to the 'break light failure' warning.
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
3050rpm
 
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3050rpm View Post
Twice in the past two days the check light has come on saying "Brake light circuit failure." I had seen "bulb" failure before, but not anything involving circuit. Anyway, I took a look and found a tail light, not a brake light, was out, and replaced it. Message disappeared, I drive around just fine. Today it comes on again, and I go to the same light I changed yesterday, took it out of its socket, reinserted it, and again error message disappears. Any idea what's going on?
Yeah I have a 95 325is that had this warning light come on ALL the time... I got sick of people in the passenger seat pointing it out to me so I popped the trunk and checked it out myself... Turns out I had a little bit of corrosion on the contacts of the little black plastic piece that holds the lightbulb in the taillight enclosure... I went to the dealership and bought a new one for 5 or 6 bucks haven't seen the message since
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:16 PM   #5
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Right, corrosion can creep in (better that than wiring or other electrical problems!), so periodic inspection and cleaning is something to add to the check list...
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