BMW E28 5-Series LED Installation
Last Updated:  22 Jan 2006

Tail Lights  
Brake Lights - Main Position  
Brake/Fog Lights - Euro Position  
Check Control Bypass  



General Housing Arrangement

Clockwise from the top left on the interior side of this left-side E28 housing, the sections are as follows:
  1. Back-up light
  2. Turn signal
  3. Brake light
  4. Tail light
  5. Euro fog light
Note:
  • The demonstration housing in these pictures has already been modified - the part of the ground track between the brake light and tail light sections has been removed, as have part of the reflector areas. If I've sent one of these demo housings to you to help guide you during setup installation, modifications to the housing not specifically mentioned in these instructions are not necessary; in particular, the cutout in outer side of the tail light reflector is to ease removal of your array from the demo housing (it is possible to remove it through the bulb hole, though).

  • All references to "outer," "outboard," "inner," "inboard," "upper," "lower," etc. refer to the direction relative to when the housing is installed in the car.

  • Review all of the installation instructions for all of the setups you will be installing and perform all of the housing modifications before installing any of the setups.


Tail Lights

Items needed:
  1. Phillips screwdriver or a Phillips bit in a bit holder.
  2. Drill with 3/32" and 5/32" bits.
  3. Awl.
  4. Optional, depending on your housing:
    • Dremel with a #199 bit or similar
    • 6-8" half-round double-cut bastard or second file
Modify the tail light section:

  1. Draw or scribe a line straight across the two embossed plastic studs as depicted by the red line.

  2. Cut the head off the outer plastic stud, mark the stud's center with the awl, and drill a 5/32" hole through.

  3. Along the marked line, mark a point 2¼" inboard of the outer stud and drill a 5/32" hole through.

  4. Cut the head off the outer upper plastic stud, mark the stud's center with the awl, and drill a 3/32" hole through.

  5. Check for mold marks and/or register pins inside the housing, near the bulb hole; if present, remove with the Dremel and #199 bit.

Install the LED array:


  1. Insert the assembly through the bulb hole in an outward and upward direction.  Depending on the particular housing, some filing on the hole might be necessary.
  1. Pull the assembly up against the reflector wall.
  1. Fasten the inner and outer ends of the assembly very loosely with the 6-32x5/16" and 6-32x3/8" pan head machine screws, respectively, placing the purple wire's ring terminal under the outer screw.

  2. Once you've determined the assembly is properly fitted, with the assembly's base flush with the rear wall of the housing, tighten the machine screws with light force by holding the screwdriver by its shaft (not the handle) or by using the bit in the bit holder.

  3. Firmly attach the red wire's ring terminal to the positive track with the #8x3/8" sheet metal screw.

Back to The Top


Brake Lights - Main Position

Items needed:
  1. Phillips screwdriver.  Optional:  Phillips bit in a bit holder (without handle).
  2. Drill with 5/32" and 1/2" bits (a step drill is preferable for the latter).
  3. Dremel tool with straight bits and a #199 bit or similar.
  4. 6-8" half-round double-cut bastard or second file.
  5. 6-8" smooth mill file.
  6. Awl.
  7. Screwdriver with a thin shaft.
Modify the brake light section:

  1. Cut and remove the ground track as denoted by the red lines.  Smooth the cut ends with the mill file.

  2. Cut and/or file away the inboard curved rear wall of the reflector where it meets the top, side, and bottom, and in an arc as shown by the yellow outline.  Inserting the array will be easier if the top and bottom edges are filed flush with the inside of the reflector.

  3. Drill a 1/2" hole in the outboard rear wall of the reflector as denoted by the "+".

  4. Cut the heads off the three plastic studs, mark their centers with the awl, and drill 5/32" holes through.

Install the LED array:

  1. Insert the assembly through the cutout, holding it by the nutted screw "handle"...
  1. Loosely install a 6-32x1" machine screw in the inner upper position.  Insert the spacer for the outer lower position between the tapped hole in the LED baseplate and the drilled hole, with the beveled end facing up and with the bevel towards the curving part of the reflector.  Slipping the spacer over the shaft of a thin screwdriver so the spacer can "ride" down and then be moved over with the screwdriver can be helpful in getting it positioned.  Once the spacers are in place, loosely install the screw.
  1. Remove the nutted screw "handle" and the screw from the inner upper position, then slide the LED driver between the LED baseplate and the rear of the reflector...
  1. Loosely attach the inboard side of the LED driver using the 6-32x1/4" machine screw, then loosely attach the outboard side of the LED driver with the previously-removed nutted screw "handle;" once both are in place, tighten both screws with light force by holding the screwdriver by its shaft (not the handle) or by using the bit in the bit holder.  Insert the spacers for the upper and lower inboard positions with the beveled ends facing up and with the bevels towards the curving part of the reflector.  Once the spacer is in place, loosely install the remaining two 6-32x1" machine screws, placing the red wire's ring terminal under the upper screw and the black wire's ring terminal under the lower screw.  Tighten all three screws with light force by holding the screwdriver by its shaft (not the handle) or by using the bit in the bit holder.


Back to The Top


Brake/Fog Lights - Euro Position

Under construction...
Back to The Top


Check Control Bypass

Remove the black box to the left of the trunk lock assembly, remove the brown phenolic panel, and slide the inner assembly out.  To defeat the brake warning indication, solder an insulated jumper across the brake reed relay assemblies, as denoted by the "A" in the picture; to defeat the tail light warning indication, solder an uninsulated jumper across the tail light reed relay assemblies as denoted by the "B" in the picture.

Back to The Top

Back to The Main LED Page

Have any questions?  Email me! (remove the "SPAMSUX" part!)