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The Tire Rack - Performance Specialists

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This install takes 10 - 20 minutes.
Click on the images for larger views.

Step 1: Getting the required items together

This install requires:
  • Turn Signal Bulb(s)
  • Long Philips Screwdriver
  • A BMW M3 (E46).
  • 10 - 20 minutes of free time.

Step 2: Releasing the light assembly

  • Open the hood.
  • Note the access hole at front edge of the fender (see image).

Access Hole Location

Step 3: Releasing the light assembly

    For 2001 and early 2002 cars:
  • This is a little tricky - there is a spring loaded clip which you need to depress with the screwdriver.
  • Insert the screwdriver through the access hole, tilting it slightly toward the front of the car (see image).
  • You may have to poke around but once you hit the clip you will be able to feel it spring up and down.
  • Once on the clip, press it down with the screwdriver and tilt the handle of the screwdriver toward the back of the vehicle in the same motion - if done correctly, you will see the lens move forward.
  • Pull the lens the rest of the way out with your hands.
    For late 2002 and on cars:
  • BMW made an inline change to the way the front turn signal housing is secured.
  • In place of the clip outlined above, the housing is secured with a phillips head screw accessible via the same opening.
  • The screw pushes down a plastic "basket" to keep the turn signal housing in place.
  • You do not have to remove the screw completely, rather just turn it enough to free the housing.

Getting at the Clip (01-02)

Clip Location on Removed Lens Assembly (01-02)

Retaining Screw Location (02-03)

Retaining Screw from Side (02-03)

Step 4: Removing the socket

  • Locate the socket at the rear of the lens assembly (see image).
  • Rotate counter clockwise to release it from the lens.
  • Pull the socket out of the lens assembly.
  • Set lens assembly aside

Location of Socket

Socket and Bulb

Step 5: Removing the bulb

  • Press down gently on the bulb.
  • While depressed, rotate the bulb counter clockwise to release it from the socket.

Empty Socket

Step 6: Replacing the bulb

  • The bulb has three tabs along its base.
  • The bulb will only fit into the socket one way (no chance of a screw up!)
  • Rotate the bulb to align it with the recesses in the socket and gently push it in.
  • You will feel the bulb hit bottom and depress the bottom of the socket - at this point rotate it about a quarter turn clockwise, until it stops.
  • Make sure the bulb is in place by giving it a gentle tug upwards.

Step 7: Replacing the socket into the lens assembly

  • Line up the tabs on the socket with the tabs on the opening in the lens assembly (see image)
  • Rotate the socket clockwise to lock it in place

Empty Socket

Step 8: Reinstalling the lens assembly

    For 2001 and early 2002 cars:
  • Note the location of two tabs on the lens assembly and two corresponding slots on the side of the headlight assembly (see images).
  • Line up the tabs in the slots and slide the assembly back (see image)
  • Slide the assembly in until it is flush with the vehicle (you will feel it snap into place).
  • You're done!
    For late 2002 and on cars:
  • There is a clamping mechanism on the assembly which this screw tightens, which keeps the assembly in place.
  • You have to line up the two pieces of the "clamp" so that they both slide underneath the "basket" when you replace the assembly.

Location of Slots

Location of Tabs

Sliding Things Back Into Place

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