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Discussion Starter #1
This post is a work in progress, and over the next few days I plan to verify a few more things.


So, you like the look of the newer LED tail lights but you've been told they don't work without the official retrofit kit with ballasts. Well, whoever told you that was very possibly WRONG!! If your car has a LCM II (e39s before MY99 that didn't replace the LCM), you would benefit from the retrofit kit as it's about the same price as a new LCM (LCM IV). However, if you have an E39 with an LCM III or newer, you can simply code your LCM to be the ballast that everyone charges a crap-ton for.

This swap requires:

- drilling new mounting holes in the car's light buckets
- hammering a little bit for clearance of the new light (different shape)
- inserting pre-crimped wire leads into a plug
- soldering some wires (please don't cheap out and use some universal crimp connector)
- Light Control Module coding via GT1, SSS/Progman, NCS expert,BMW Scanner v.1.40, or Autologic (there may be others)

NOTE: if you don't have the coding tools the regional sub-forums are tools of great value, and you can often find the computer coding tools you need.



Chassis Bashing:

The blue line is where you'll need to bash (2 minutes with a hammer for me) and drill *note*, I forgot the arrow pointing to the other lower mounting hole I drilled):









Fit comparison (after bashing) - OEM US facelift Celis lights:


vs. pre-facelift OEM hellas:




Electrons in motion (bench testing):



Not really sure why everyone asks the proper voltage for these lights, it's only printed on them.....(NOTE: LEDs are current driven devices, and to get the driving current we use P=V*i, or 1.2W/12V = ~108mA):




Unfortunately, all my power supply could muster was about 10.2V which was just enough to illuminate the LED tails, albeit under driven as seen below on the multimeter (only ~33 mA).





Take some adderall or something so you don't mix this up:


More wire prep, this time on the Celis plug (IIRC, this is also the right):



Planning to solder my Celis wires for the right side, and comparing WDS wire colors to actual - WDS was right, I just wanted to be careful:



Feeling cramped:

In-car workstation (400W inverter hooked directly to the battery to power the 40W soldering station):



Left tail light just before shrink wrapping the solder joints and re-looming the remaining wire:




Final testing - if you're wondering about the varied tail light intensity, the tail lights are just sort of propped up at different angles, i assure you they're the same (the pre-facelift lights are not actually on, that is just the camera's flash bouncing off the tail light lens)





They are installed now, my LCM IV is coded and everything is A-OK.

I did confirm that the LCM acts as the ballast via voltage measurements (I plan on corroborating that by measuring current, too...when it's not dark outside), 11.8-12.2V @ idle while the battery was at 14.2V.


I'll post up wiring later, it's rather simple, you do need to cap one of the original tail light wires as it's not needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
No ballasts. No resistors. Just some solder and lcm coding.

 

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Very, very nice Matt! Clean and very sraightforward instructions, too!

-Josiah
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Update: checked current to the led tails: 79-81mA


I sometimes forget that I have gt1/dis and sss/progman. Those two programs do a great job at carrying out all the coding with the push of a button. That vs. sorting through NCSexpert german shorthand....


Long story short - gt1/dis is best for lcm3 cars. For cars with replaced lcms (lcm4), sss/progman is the ticket.
 

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Good work, Matt. You bring a tonne of knowledge to this forum. Thanks
 
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Great work, Matt!

Is this your break from baby duties? :haha2:
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Great work, Matt!

Is this your break from baby duties? :haha2:

No sir!

I try to keep him beside me when I work inside! Starting early with forming a mad scientist....if only he'd pay attention instead of trying to eat his reflection on his Tummy-Time Play Mat........
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
A question came up on Bimmerforums, and I'm adding it here to go into which wire you rid of/cap. It involves a touring, but the method for determining which wire is the same, and I believe the actual wire to be capped remains constant through the E39 production, although the color may differ!!!


You lost me Matt. I was just wondering where you went in the system(Which ever you used) and what you told it to do/ignore. My LCM is the newer one I think. Build date 03/99. I have a Dual stage airbag and newer style connectors on my seats if that has anything to do with it :)
:/

I'll try and describe my thought process :)

I knew that the Facelift (FL) Celis lights only had one +12V source for the tail-lamp section; however, the pre-FL cars had two +12V sources - one for each bulb. So, after seeing that, I basically, I just rooted around in WDS until I found wiring diagrams for the LCM for both pre-FL and FL cars. Comparing the two LCM pinouts, I decided to "cap" or eliminate the +12V source that did NOT show up on the FL wiring diagram.

WDS link: http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/release/en/index.htm

WDS Navigation:

- Body
- Lighting
- Light Check Module
- Tail Lights

I have attached screen shots of the touring wiring diagrams and a link to the diagram's symbol/color key.

In your case, you would compare the pre-FL touring pinouts to the FL diagram. Notice that pins 2, 5 and 13, 17 are used for the pre-FL wiring. However, the FL car only uses pins 2 and 17. So, you would find, on the diagram the wire color and cap the wires associated with pins 5, and 13 of the original lights.

The wire colors are on the diagram usually as XX/YY where XX is the abbreviation for the main wire color and YY is the stripe that runs the length of the wire. here's a key to the colors (also in WDS):

http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/release/en/e39old/symbols.htm



Hopefully that helps everyone. If it makes any difference, the wires you cap are the same for the touring example I gave here, as they were for my MY1998 sedan.
 

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Update: checked current to the led tails: 79-81mA


I sometimes forget that I have gt1/dis and sss/progman. Those two programs do a great job at carrying out all the coding with the push of a button. That vs. sorting through NCSexpert german shorthand....


Long story short - gt1/dis is best for lcm3 cars. For cars with replaced lcms (lcm4), sss/progman is the ticket.

no way man, if you really want to take advantage of the upgraded firmware of the LCMIV you need NCS. there are a lot more FSW_PSW entires in regard to hot/cold checks of the various lamps etc that you cant modify with a GT1 or SSS.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
no way man, if you really want to take advantage of the upgraded firmware of the LCMIV you need NCS. there are a lot more FSW_PSW entires in regard to hot/cold checks of the various lamps etc that you cant modify with a GT1 or SSS.

Yes, if you can find translations, and as a non-german speaker, I'm rather hesitant to 100% trust google's translations, if I can even understand them.

I do know what you're getting at. LCMIV can be coded for individual bulb checks - checking left and/or right headlights vs. simply having one parameter for both headlights. I've trudged through the FSW_PSWs alot.



However, For simple tasks of retrofitting lights, it is far easier to just click a few buttons in SSS/Progman that does a pre-determined coding routine that is fool-proof.


In fact, to determine what parameters were changed, I used NCSdummy and compared the FSW_PSW from before and after SSS/Progman coding.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
does anyone know if the pinout is the same for the euro tails??


WDS has euro vehicles listed in their database - see the link in my post. That would give you a definitive answer. I used a multimeter to determine the pinout of my tail lights, in addition to WDS.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
UPDATE!!!!!



found this, forget soldering, BMW makes a pre-wired adapter connector

Part# 63120025517

RealOEM.com * BMW E39 M5 Body skeleton
(look all the way at the bottom)




6

</TD></TR><TR onmouseover="mouseover('06');" onmouseout="mouseout('06');" onclick="select_position2('06');"><TD id=select_2 valign="middle">Adapter lead, rear light, left</TD> <TD id=select_1 align="center" valign="middle">
63 12 0 025 517
</TD><TD id=select_1 colspan="2">
</TD><TD id=select_1 class=lite_text align="center">... — '00, September</TD> <TD id=select_1 class=lite_text align="center">1</TD> <TD id=select_1 align="center">0.023 kg / 0.051 lb </TD><TD id=select_1 align="center">
€19.40
$27.85
</TD></TR><TR onmouseover="mouseover('06');" onmouseout="mouseout('06');" onclick="select_position2('06');"><TD id=select_2 valign="middle">Adapter lead, rear light, right</TD> <TD id=select_1 align="center" valign="middle">
63 12 0 026 771
</TD><TD id=select_1 colspan="2">
</TD><TD id=select_1 class=lite_text align="center">... — '00, September</TD> <TD id=select_1 class=lite_text align="center">1</TD> <TD id=select_1 align="center">0.024 kg / 0.053 lb </TD><TD id=select_1 align="center">
€19.40
$27.85
</TD></TR><TR class=separate_row><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px" colspan="9">
</TD></TD></TR></TBODY>
 

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