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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a small issue with my rear tail-lights and the bumper sidelights intermittently not working. The headlights and fogs are ok.
Here’s the story/history; When the car was 3-4 weeks old, I switched on the headlights early one morning and noticed the rear tail-lights and side markers did not come on. Cycling through the functions of the headlight switch (off--headlights on--fogs on—then off again) a few times made them come back on. It was easy to notice because a window on my house is directly in back of the car, and using the rear view mirror I could see the reflection (or no reflection) of my rear lights in the window. I was unable to reproduce the problem. I switched the lights on-off about ten times and nothing---they worked perfectly. I could never make it happen again. Another 3-4 weeks have passed without a problem and then it happened again this morning. Again, cycling the headlight switch made them come back on and again I was unable to reproduce the problem. Again I switched the lights on-off about ten times and nothing---they worked perfectly. I even jiggled the switch a little to see if it was intermittent (all the while I was looking in the rearview mirror at the taillights) and nothing (wrong) happened.
At this point I’m 99.9% sure it’s something intermittent in the headlight switch. Being an Electronic Engineer with 30 years experience, I know when a switch contact is intermittent (especially on something new) it may correct itself simply by more use and then I can avoid having the dealer screw around with the car. I’m going to wait for it to happen again before taking it in to the dealer. The next time it happens I will operate the headlight switch very carefully while observing ‘exactly’ what makes the rear lights work again.
My question is this; (From all you guys who install the Euro switch mod) Is the headlight switch easily replaced without taking the dash apart and possibly causing other problems or cosmetic damage? As you can see, I’m trying to avoid a warranty visit to the dealer if at all possible.
Thanks in advance.
 

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Re: 02 Passat---Intermittent Rear Tail-Lights ?? (E36BMW)

The switch is very easy to take out:
1) With the switch in the "off" position -
2) push in the knob
3) turn clockwise (until it stops, close to 12o'clock/north-south-position)
4) pull out the switch.
The harness (is that the correct term?) is rloosened and removed by pressing the tabs on the sides (left and right) of the contact.
Once the switch is out, you can borrow a switch from someones Passat, Golf IV, Jetta IV or New Beetle - they are all the same.

Edit: BTW, you might want to check the contact in the taillights, sometimes they can be a bit loose and thereby cause blinking/not working taillights - I had that problem on my Golf.

Edit II: I kan't spel



[Modified by Orjan, 5:18 PM 12-4-2001]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: 02 Passat---Intermittent Rear Tail-Lights ?? (Orjan)

Thanks Orjan. I'll give it a look-see. At-least now I know they don't have to pull the engine
to replace the switch (...a little humor here).

[edit] No, it can't be the light bulb contacts. On an 02 Passat, that would mean all four tail light bulbs and all four side marker bulbs would each have bad contacts---highly unlikely since they aren't wired in-series like X-mas tree lights...they're parallel wired to switched power. Its the headlight switch...no-doubt about it

Thanks again


[Modified by E36BMW, 8:37 AM 12-4-2001]
 
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