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Thread: Tail light replacement in Los Angeles area

  1. #1

    Tail light replacement in Los Angeles area

    Hi - has anyone had their tail lights replaced in the LA area yet? I've got neon out on both sides now (one upper and one lower). Backup plan is to take it to Peter Pan in SF, but would prefer to have it done locally.

    Best price I can find is from ECS Tuning at just under $2,500 per side. Ugh.
    Tyler
    60658 Silver
    Los Angeles

  2. #2
    It isn't a hard job, you just need a shop who know what they're doing with all the plastic panels. I haven't had first hand experience with ECS, but logically they should be able to do it no problem.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  3. #3
    Thanks Andrew. ECS Tuning is just the cheapest I've found online for the parts. I use GT International for most Z8 repairs so they would be my go-to spot locally if its a relatively straightforward job.
    Tyler
    60658 Silver
    Los Angeles

  4. #4
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    6
    Hi I have 61979, an 03 Z8 with 115k miles on it. Awesome car and I love it. Have dealt with or come to live with most of the common Z8 issues but the taillights are vexing me. Each unit has had one bar out since about the day the warranty expired. When I first inquired (2007) they were $1400 each plus labor, but since one bar was still working i put it off. Checked back periodically and for a long time was told none available at all. Last 6 months I see my left one is intermittently not woking at all. BMW says $3094.83 each Germany Only. My local independent garage is doing my catalytic converters today and the staff there found LED retrofits for $1000 the pair on eBay. Obviously fly-by-night, which I say because, despite the ad saying 10 pair avail, they won't sell unless I send my old ones first, so of course they have no stock, just do 'em on the fly if at all. But I've seen LED retrofits for other BMWs. So my question is, does anyone have experience or opinions about LED retrofits for the Z8 taillights?

  5. #5
    I find the idea intriguing. The pictures I have seen of the LED Z8 taillights show discrete red LED dots, by this I mean it does not look like one continuous bar of light as with the neon originals. If they could string the LED dots together more closely so as to simulate a continuous bar of light, that would make the concept much more attractive. I wonder if that would be possible?Bill

  6. #6
    $1,000 vs. $6,000 sounds quite tempting even if the look is not exactly as intended, especially if for a (somewhat) daily driver or at least a car that is being used and driven regularly as opposed to one that is investment quality and barely if ever used. I would think that the eBay vendor would be able to send some high resolution pictures in order for you to take a look in order to make a decision. Tyler, not sure what your use of the car is, but if you intend to drive a lot and the led lights look ok, it might be a good short/medium term solution in order to save $5K. At the same time I would personally hate it if it would look "wrong" and take away from the beauty and the lines of the Z8. Tough call without seeing how they look.
    Skip Hammerman

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

  7. #7
    I ended up purchasing the correct ones from mybimmerparts.com for $2,660 each including tax and shipping from Germany, ouch. I saw the eBay lights (item# 201606071742) and was indeed tempted but it would have been a $1k + installation gamble. I'll certainly keep the old units in case someone comes out with a quality LED retrofit as that is probably a better long term solution.
    Tyler
    60658 Silver
    Los Angeles

  8. #8
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    6
    I decided to pass on the eBay offer (I'm not going to leave the back half of my car in pieces while waiting who knows how long), but the owner of my independent garage, who did a retrofit on what looks like a 2002 (or similar) project car he has said he'd research it and figure out a way to do it. He demo'd the 2002 and they are uber-bright and not discrete-looking but totally different thing-round fixtures of course instead of the linear ones on the Z8. I think there are a couple sources for "kits" out there, and I've noticed new LEDs come in all kinds of forms (including light strips) that they didn't until recently, so I'm hoping he can find something to make it work. I appreciate the above comments relating to purity of design and giving up the neons bothers me a little, but with over 100k on the clock, my car is certainly not investment grade. Besides, as all the sturm and drang on this and many other fora where Z8 problems are discussed, using neons in this application though novel was a bad idea. I like how the manual says how great they are and how they should last the life of the car.

    On the other hand, if widely spaced dots or some even worse abortion results in a goofy look, well I can't have that either. If Scott comes up with a good fix and I put them in, I'll post a photo.

  9. #9
    DSC Off bclaude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    85
    I think that the German Z8 club has done us a disservice by insisting on a neon design for the new Z8 tail lights. We are now stuffed with the most expensive and least reliable tail light on the planet. Most modern cars have LED tail lights with continuous strips that look just like our neons except that they actually work. I posted on this a couple of years ago suggesting that it is very difficult for us to find a one off solution independently. Instead the problem is so significant for the Z8 community as a whole that we should band together and fund the development of a LED retrofit project. If a large enough group of us were to contribute say $100 to a development project the numbers would quickly add up to get a vendorís attention. A vendor would be much more interested in doing the work if it was with the understanding that this website would point to him as a vetted LED retrofit solution with proper photos and testimonials. Together we have so many failed Z8 tail lights sitting on our garage shelves that we could contribute them to inventory and eliminate the drawback of having to send our own failed lights for retrofit, not knowing how long the job may take. My (replaced) neon light do work and I understand that having original neon on the car when I sell it may (in a way that defies pragmatism) have a positive influence on the value of my car. If a good LED alternative was available I would take my neons off my car, store them in a safe place for the day I sell the car and use the LEDs for as long as I personally own it. Any interest out there?
    ------------------------
    Regards,
    Bruno

    2003 Stratus/Crema

  10. #10
    You can put me down for $100.00. Does anyone have broken units they can contribute?

    Bill

  11. #11
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    834
    I am in. 😎
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  12. #12
    Count me in also.
    I appreciate your efforts.
    Ted

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