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Tech Article

BMW E30 3-Series Bumper Side Plastic Extension Light

Last Updated: 05/02/2019
   
Parts Group: Bumper side plastic extension light
This article discusses the bumper side plastic extension light units for the E30 with the main focus being on differences between early vs. late years. If you're not here for the technical analysis but would rather buy a used unit from us, guaranteed to work and fit, then please select the link below:The information herein is based on our company cars.

In the US, the 1984 and 1985 E30 had classically rectangular side marker lights, embedded in each bumper side plastic extension. These bumper components had a rectangular hole, with a body nut at the frontmost side of the hole, and another at the rearmost side. These were sunken so that the light, when installed, was flush with the surface of the bumper side plastic extension.

The light assembly consists of several separate parts:
- a base, into which some wiring and metal light bulb holders are integrated
- a 4W light bulb
- a gasket that fits around a channel at the front of the base to keep the unit waterproof
- a colored lens (amber for the front, red for the rear)
- a tiny black washer for each of the two screw holes, to keep the unit waterproof

A fillister-head a.k.a. convex-head Phillips screws goes into each of the two screw holes, compressing the lens onto the gasket onto the base onto the body nut.

The colored lens is identical in structure, front vs. rear; only the color is different. Every other part (as in, the base, the light bulb, the gasket, the washer) is identical, front vs. rear.

It's a simple, moduler design. I consider it elegant. Throughout its production run, through 1988, the E28 (5-series, 1st generation) used identical parts as to the lights, though the actual bumper side plastic extensions are structurally different.

Starting in 1986, the E30 changed these lights to be much more elongated, and a design that is structurally very different but again identical between front and rear, aside from the fronts being amber and the rears being red. In 1988, the bumper shocks were shorter, bringing the aluminum bumper impact surfaces in closer to the body of the E30. This affected the bumper side plastic extensions too, though the lights remained unchanged. These identical lights, front and back, were also used in the E32 (7-series, 2nd generation) and E34 (5-series, 2nd generation).

In the US, starting in 1989, several structural changes were made to the bumpers and lights for the E30 ... except for the convertible, which continued with the same style of bumper side plastic extensions and lights as on the 1988 models, except that the bumper side plastic extensions were now painted body color.
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