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From Fri Sep 11 23:40:51 1998
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 02:41:08 EDT
Subject: <E36/5> Lets light up the trunk in my '97 318tis

The following, how to, describes how I added additional trunk lighting to my '97 318tis. While you have it apart you could also double up the brake lights following Bob Collins instructions. If you are going to do that, you might as well also add the rear fog function.

Trunk Light

I initially performed this modification on my '86 325es, and have recently performed a similar (in concept) version on my '96 328is.

Check it out here.

You will have to create an ~1 inch by ~2 3/8 inch rectangular opening in the area just below each rear lamp assemblie to accommodate the added two trunk lights. You will also have to tap into a hot at all times + wire red/white and the switched ground brown/white from the trunk light switch.

The following is just a guide. Read it completely prior to attempting this modification. As always, feel free to do it your way. Here we go:

   Pieces/parts E36:
        2 each Lamp Assembly 63 31 1 378 089 $5.37 each retail
        2 each Lamp 07 50 9 063 577 $1.30 each retail
        4 each red (22-18ga) 1/4 inch female tab connector NAPA 784287 $0.95/8
        4 each blue (16-14ga) 1/4 inch female tab connector NAPA 784294 $0.95/8
        2 each red (22-18ga) 1/4 inch female/male daisy chain tab connectors NAPA 784288 $0.95/4 or
        2 each blue (16-14ga) 1/4 inch female/male daisy chain tab connectors NAPA 784295 $0.95/4 
        6 ft 18 ga. red hookup wire. I used NAPA # 785302 (18ga), 45 feet $4.29
        6 ft 18 ga. brown hookup wire. I used NAPA # 732401(16ga), 100 feet $11.40 

You will also need tywraps and the parts for the means of tapping into existing circuits that you use. I remove a small ring of insulation and attach/solder the new wire to it. I seal the junction using Star brite liquid electrical tape. This is available from NAPA in a 4 ounce can # 765-2950 for $5.99.

Liquid Tape

On the ti remove the two rear main lamp assembly covers. If your not sure on how to do this, it is in your owners manual. Make up a template out of paper or whatever to accommodate the lamp assembly ~1 inch by ~2 3/8 inch size. I used vinyl shim stock. You do not want the hole any larger than this, so make the template accordingly (which means, make it smaller than the desired opening).

Trunk Light

While holding it in place, mark the four corners adjusting for the drill size you will use. I used my automatic prick (center) punch. Drill the four marked points. Connect the drilled holes. I used a stainless steel scribe. You now have the opening marked. Drill a series of holes along the inside edge of the marked lines. Holding a 1/4 inch wood straight edge along the line keeps the drill from wandering out of the area. Cut between the drilled holes using the diagonal cutters and/or a razor knife. Hand file the opening to the ~1 inch by ~2 3/8 inch size, test fitting the lamp assembly as you go. This will ensure a nice fit.

I paralleled the existing trunk light wiring. I picked up the switched ground brown/white wire which goes to pin 3 of the connector which plugs into the passenger side rear lamp assembly. The hot at all times red/white wire is pin 4 of this same connector.

Tap in to these wires and run them to the added passenger side trunk lamp using the daisy chain connectors. Take care not to short the hot at all times wire to ground or remove the fuse associated with the tap in point. In my case that was 10A (red) fuse # 33. Add wires to the daisy chain connectors and run them over to the drivers side. Pull up the lower trunk weather stripping, starting at each side of the lower portion of the opening. Run the two (three if your adding the fogs and doubling up the brake lights) wires in the cavity created by removing the weather stripping. Replace the weather stripping. Connect the wires to the added drivers side lamp assembly.

Replace the fuse if you chose to remove it. If the added lamps light up, its a good sign. If they don't, check the fuse if you didn't remove it or reread the above. Press in the trunk lid lamp switch. If the lamps go out, good job! Install the rear lamp assembly covers. If your wondering if the lights really go out when you close the trunk, you can open one of the fold down rear seats, and check. From the ti digest: Pulling out the trunk lid lamp switch also shuts off the lamps. This feature is handy when parked for extended times with your trunk open. FLY BMW (Marlborough, CT)

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