Crum­bling rear brake lamp

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Help! -

The bootlid-mounted brake light on my 2008 BMW 1-Se­ries coupé (123d) has started to fall to bits. I have a new one, but it seems you have to at­tack the boot lid with a grinder to get it to fit. It ap­pears you have to re­move a tag from the top of the cut-out and also cut a small notch at the bot­tom.

There is a trade ser­vice bul­letin from BMW, but ob­vi­ously the dealer will not pro­vide de­tails. There is in­for­ma­tion on a US web­site, but it just gives de­tails of what the bul­letin cov­ers, not the ac­tual job. Martin Mars­land Hav­ing pur­chased a gen­uine BMW unit, you would ex­pect it to ei­ther fit with­out mod­i­fi­ca­tion or to have been given the full de­tails of any mod­i­fi­ca­tion needed in­cluded with the lamp. This seems not to be the case and, as you say, there are quite a few ref­er­ences to this prob­lem on Amer­i­can and Euro­pean web­sites.

It seems there are two choices: ei­ther file off the small metal tab in the re­cess of the boot lid or cut the new lamp care­fully to al­low it to pass the tab. The BMW method is to file off the tab and then re­paint the ex­posed metal to pre­vent rust from form­ing. There is a very good de­scrip­tion of the job with pic­tures at this BMW 1 fo­rum:

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