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E39 front turn signal replacement

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by letterman, Jul 20, 2009.

    • Member


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    The front driver's side turn signal on my 2001 E39 (530i) appears to have burned out. I went to Autozone, and they said that I needed to see the dealer for a replacement. Two questions:

    1) is that true? have you gotten a turn signal bulb anywhere other than a dealer?

    2) how do you access the bulb to replace it? The reason I ask this seemingly basic question relates to the first question above - is there something more complex about accessing these bulbs? Do I need to replace a whole assembly? etc., etc.

    Thanks for any insights.

    catbert guest

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    I'm pretty confident the bulb will have to come from the dealer. I had a similar situation & I learned that BMW uses a different two-post bulb that is unique enough that most parts stores don't find it profitable to stock them. When I went in, the dealer didn't charge me, he just handed it over the counter & waved me off. Hope you're luck is similar.

    Turn signal? Open hood. Squeeze tabs on turn signal/bulb holder (they break easily) and pull out.

    Good luck.


    (oOO \ (||||)(||||) / OOo)

    Mine: 2003 530i
    Mrs. Catbert: 2003 325xit
    Iowa - The Great State of Excitement

    vtx guest

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    Not quite right. I've had that too (interestingly, driver side as well), went to Checkers, they were able to give me a generic replacement - Sylvania 3357ALL/3457ALL BP, $12.31 for a pack of two at Amazon, works since.

    The only caveats are that mine is 540, not 530, and it is 2003 (with clear lens, but amber bulb) - hope it doesn't make any difference.

    Here's another way to find what you need:


    Enter your VIN, your part number may be different.

    As for changing - it is difficult the first time, and a no-brainer as soon as you figure which way to twist it. I'd have told you, but I forgot :)

    Disconnect the wires, twist out the assembly, take it out, take the bulb out of it, inspect for traces of corrosion (mine had to be replaced due to galvanic corrosion, beats me what could've caused it other than antifreeze spill when the radiator blew up), then reverse the process.

    Hope I didn't mix anything up, it's been a while since I did it.

    bricas guest

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    i believe bavauto has them both the amber bulbs and the "stealth" bulbs
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    BMWs use a euro type bulb and the difference from US DOT bulbs is the contacts are slightly different. On a Euro bulb the contacts are more like an elongated oval and towards the outside of the base of the bulb. DOT bulbs use round contacts and are a little further from the edge of the base. 99% of the time you can probably get away with using a DOT bulb. Where you mostly likely have problems is is when you use one as a taillight. It might trip the check control panel into thinking a bulb is burned out because the resistance is different even though the bulb is fine.

    I would say if you live close to a dealer you might as well get it from them, their price will be close enough (if not free as mentioned above) and will probably last longer than a US DOT bulb.

    M3Driver guest

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    I was told when we had our E39 528 not to use the cheap auto-store bulbs but get the bulbs from the dealer. Something about how they are manufactured (OEM will last longer). Seems like I also remember Mike Miller of Tech Talk recommending the same thing.....


    ViolinARC guest

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    Simple solution...

    Remove bulb, look at number on base of bulb, call a couple auto parts stores and go pick up your bulbs from the store that stocks them. I picked mine up at Kragens so I know for a fact that places other than the dealer stocks our bulbs...

    The one I had trouble replacing is the left passenger reading bulb...an odd bulb for sure. ;)

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