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Thread: Taillight Saga

  1. #1
    Z8 Novice
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    Taillight Saga

    Does anyone have any update on BMW production of taillight replacements? I'm in the US and have European taillights. I see there are LED replacements on eBay. Has anyone had any experience with them (do they work acceptably)? My Z8 has been parked now for almost two years waiting on a solution and I'm determined not to go another summer without it. I've been in contact relentlessly with BMW Europe and US and can't get any information.

    Any info would be appreciated.
    Terry H

  2. #2
    I thought the US ones are available at a bargain basement price of $2600 each as I have a quote from the dealership. Now the quote is from August of 2012 so maybe there aren't any at this time. One half of mine works so I have not decided to change it as I am still legal and safe.
    Skip Hammerman

    2002 BMW Z8 - Meisterschaft GT, PP installed, CDV delete
    2013 BMW X3
    2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

  3. #3
    Since so many cars went back to Europe and took off the US taillights I'd think there'd be a bunch available there, it may be worth scanning EBay Germany, or asking the guys at the club.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  4. #4
    The Other Red ZAchterbahn's Avatar
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    As far as I know there is no supply issue with US tail lights. I just had mine replaced at Classic BMW in Plano, Texas.
    BMW AG Classic division is working on Euro tail light replacements. As reported representatives from the BMW Z8 Club e.V. met with BMW Classic at the Techno Classica Show in Essen, Germany, a few weeks back. It is our understanding that production is currently at 4 sets per week. Stay tuned for further developments.
    ZAchterbahn
    2001 Z8

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ZAchterbahn View Post
    As far as I know there is no supply issue with US tail lights. I just had mine replaced at Classic BMW in Plano, Texas.
    BMW AG Classic division is working on Euro tail light replacements. As reported representatives from the BMW Z8 Club e.V. met with BMW Classic at the Techno Classica Show in Essen, Germany, a few weeks back. It is our understanding that production is currently at 4 sets per week. Stay tuned for further developments.
    PM sent please check.
    Skip Hammerman

    2002 BMW Z8 - Meisterschaft GT, PP installed, CDV delete
    2013 BMW X3
    2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

  6. #6
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    Terry,

    On this moment they are delivering to the people whose order is in back-order....starting with the earliest victims :-) I hope for you that you ordered the tail light 2 years ago because than you are one of the first receivers!
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  7. #7
    My understanding is that the neon gas leaks from the tubes over time causing the units to fail. Anyone ever try to work with a neon sign producer to attempt to recharge the tubes in the tail lights?
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  8. #8
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    I've not been able to place an order for European lights because BMW-AG repeatedly passes my messges to BMW-US and their response is that they cannot place orders for european BMW vehicle parts. Does anyone have a contact for purchasing the European parts? I'm not adverse to putting in the US lights but would have to buy 2 instead of 1 to do so (and they are pricey).

    Also, is there a general opinion regarding whether or not putting in the LED lights will hurt the car value (not original)?

    Thanks for the response all. I love this car......just need to get it back on the road.
    Terry

  9. #9
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  10. #10
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    My "new" euro tail light was fitted today so I have ( for now....knock on wood ) no problems anymore.
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  11. #11
    Z8Mania
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    Congratulations!

  12. #12
    That's good to know, does that mean that the backlog is now taken care of?
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  13. #13
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    That's good to know, does that mean that the backlog is now taken care of?
    Guess so Andrew. I understood that they found a container full of parts of the tail lights....I suppose that if these are used we are back at square one But I think they have to figure out something because they have another 35+ years to go. I did not leave the broken light in the shop because I can imagine that BMW starts an exchange program where they rebuild old units to LED or something.
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  14. #14
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    I followed your advice Ton and am working through the supplier at the above link for the taillight. As of last week, there is still no availability of the euro lights. Must be still clearing the backlog. I spent the day yesterday removing the taillights. I'm going to give it another month and if there is still no availability will go with the LED modification.
    Terry

  15. #15
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    I understood that they found a container full of parts of the tail lights
    Terry,

    On the Z8 event I heard the following rumor: the container with parts was flooded a few weeks ago with the "great German flood" As I said: it is a rumor but maybe BMWNA could give some more information
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  16. #16
    DSC Off bclaude's Avatar
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    Terry,

    Have you done the LED modification? If you have can you tell us more about it?

    Thanks!

  17. #17
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8DinanS2's Avatar
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    Does anyone have a tail light that is not working? I found a shop here in Los Angeles that manufactures and repairs neon lights and they are willing to give it a try to fix our lights. Does anyone have one not working that I can give them for repair?

  18. #18
    Great find, and hopefully someone has one that we can get to your resource quickly.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  19. #19
    DSC Off 1mean3's Avatar
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    I have a unit that was replaced when I purchased my car. It has (1) of the two neon elements out.

    What's the plan?

  20. #20
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8DinanS2's Avatar
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    I'll take a light to the neon sign manufacturer/repairer and see if he can repair them. He thinks he can. We'll see. Why through the entire light out if its just in need of a recharge and sealing? Could you send it to me? What happened to the other neon tube if you don't mind my asking?

  21. #21
    DSC Off 1mean3's Avatar
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    Z8DinanS2,

    I have the taillight unit because when I bought my car (at a BMW dealer) I used the Z8 pre-purchase checklist that had been assembled by Andrew and others on this site and one of the items of note was "check tail lights" as their failure was a known problem.

    I was assured by the dealer that they were good when we came to terms but when I arrived to inspect & close the deal I noticed that one of the tail lights had a tube out. I believe they didn't know it and they made it right by ordering and shipping me a new one so all was good.

    I'm in the technology business and fully understand neon lighting but honestly never considered the cause of the failures. I would think the vibration these units are exposed to be an issue.
    Regarding repair. It appears to be more of an issue in opening the units than the repair of the neon tubes and/or driving electronics. There's no magic in that taillight; it just wasn't designed to be serviceable. I'm sure any neon guy can repair a tube or ballast but getting to it and then properly resealing the assembly will be challenging to do properly.

    Are you looking for a donor unit to be sacrificed in the pursuit of a possible repair solution or a loaner to be examined by your shop?

  22. #22
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8DinanS2's Avatar
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    Hello Imean3

    I seel I misunderstood. I thought a tube was literally out of the lamp. Now I understand. Yes, I am looking for one a shop could get into and see about repairing. Seems a shame to throw away entire unites if they are repairable...and the cost is ridiculous for new ones.

  23. #23
    Team Z8 Charles's Avatar
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    PM Paul Peck (Routineer). The issue isn't the tube, it is a switch in the unit I believe and matching the voltage. That is the difficult part to obtain.
    Charles Guerin
    AH61406 - Titanium Silver/ /Black

  24. #24
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8DinanS2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles View Post
    PM Paul Peck (Routineer). The issue isn't the tube, it is a switch in the unit I believe and matching the voltage. That is the difficult part to obtain.
    Interesting. I thought the common understanding was that the neon case had overtime escaped and the system needed to be refilled and sealed. Is that not the issue?

  25. #25
    There are three distinct issues, gas seepage over time is one, the relay switch and ballast is another, and as Jürgen once showed me, the very poor way the contacts are soldered at the end of the tubes in the third, so in a nutshell we're bedeviled by issues when it comes to these tail lights.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.