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E21 rear lights - overhauled, far brighter, safer

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I am getting a lot of push on another forum (Bimmerforums) to photograph and post the mods I invented for E21 three series tails.

I ought to post it here, too, I thought.

Basic overhaul is to restore the reflectors to renew the "shiny" for maximum light output, modify light bulb setup to double the number of bulbs lighting for tails and brakes, and change to high output bulbs for even more light.

Conversion doubles the apparent size and triples the output, and effectively eliminates the possibility of a dark tail light due to bulb failure.

The converted tail lights are just the back portion, lens stays with your car. It is plug and play, and is safe for the lenses, wiring, fuses, etc.

Been doing rear light improvements for all kinds of old BMWs for years and years, just decided to post here for the really nice old cars, and help you keep them away from wrecks and out of the junk yards.

Attachment shows the double brake light conversion to one tail light, it looks totally stock but way brighter. Double tails shows a similar improvement. I just think it's a good idea to put bulbs where BMW 'forgot to'.

Hope I can help out. Anyone who has been hit in the rear will want a set of these - or anyone who doesn't want to be hit!

How much for a pair? good question - how's $50 sound (exchange) for the restoration and conversion, plus bulbs and shipping? You send them in, I'll work my magic and send them back in less than a week.

Comments? Suggestions? Need my shipping address and PayPal?





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Bump - is there no one with an E21 three series on this forum who thinks their rear lights are dim?

Wish they were brighter? Want to know how to modernize and upgrade your lights to make your car more visible day or night, and help avoid being crunched in back? High output bulbs available, they are brighter, same watts as stock. Nickel plated base, naturally.

Pictures above show the improvement with upgraded tail and brake lights.

OK, then let's talk about the two versions of E21 tail lights - four versus five reflectors. Any Euro cars with working rear fogs? Want some? Wonder why there is an empty / dark spot in your light than never lights up? Want to put it to work? Want double tails, double brakes, AND working rear fogs? It's all possible...

Anyone have any questions at all???

Thanks for engaging in the conversation!

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Do you have a solution for square 02's? If so what are the details?


Yes, possible for squares and for roundies, too.

Here are some details:

First step is cleaning and restoring the lenses and reflectors for maximum reflectivity and transmissivity (great words, eh?). Have to be careful with the square / plastic, not so much with the round, it's metal. Reconditioning (cleaning and retensioning) contacts is good too.

Second step, install high output bulbs in the sockets, increase tail light output 67% (same wattage) and brake/turn/reverse light output 33% (+ a few watts). Bulbs all have nickel base, perfectly kosher.

Third step, add a custom bulb in the brake light sector, for two lights in one socket. Makes the car look bigger, closer, lights are brighter, and of course far more reliable. - no single point failure weakness!

This last step is a no brainer for me, is what I did with my 1972 (roundie), and currently am doing with about any German car of similar vintage. It adds a second, low wattage filament in the brake light socket. The socket is designed for the brighter bulbs used for brakes, turns, reverse lights. This turns your brake light into a second tail plus brake light, increases tail light output to 14 cp, versus 6 stock, and the size more than doubles!

The mechanics in the square lights is very similar to those in E12, E21, E23, E24, and plenty of other cars, I have plenty of experience doing this conversion from single to dual (or even triple) tails. I wanted to do a dual brake light as well, but there's no place in the reflector with a red lens that will take it. Still, you can have brighter brakes, turns, and reverse lights, and bigger, brighter tails.

There are other options for brakes, but I hesitate to post them publicly; I don't want to seem a 'Dr. Frankenstein.' pm or email me for details on further possiblities.

Perhaps an LED conversion is in my future??

Thanks for asking!

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