Clear tails + indicators upgrade

2003 - 2009, roadster, coupe, facelift
Mangozac
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Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Mangozac » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:36 am

Hi all,

Well I know all about the design fault with the 3rd brake light corners cracking and was always aware of some small stress marks in the corner of mine, however the other week during cleaning I noticed that one corner had come off completely, the other wasn't far behind, and additionally another crack had appeared along the bottom. It looks terrible and thus is time to get it fixed!

Image

Here's a shot of her rear to show the style of the other tail lights:
Image

So as most of us know there are two replacement varieties available - the standard red one (as I already have) and the clear one. According to RealOEM and on many other websites the clear one is actually cheaper! I've not done any other clear replacements (i.e. still running tango indicators) and honestly I don't see myself making the change any time soon, as if I was going to remove the ambers I'd have to do it all over, including the headlights, which is just too pricey.

In conclusion I think my best course of action is to replace the 3rd brake light with another red one rather than a clear. Has anybody else got he same colour and same rear as mine but done a clear 3rd brake light and can share pictures? What are people's thoughts - red or clear on Maldives Blue?

When I order the light I'll also grab three replacement 40N springs (part number 63256900698) and additional washers (as outlined in the serice bulletin to ensure that it doesn't happen again ;)
Last edited by Mangozac on Wed May 18, 2011 3:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: 06 E85 M Silbergrau
Previous: E85 3.0si Silbergrau, 03 E85 2.5i Maldives Blue.
Mods: Gaptech OTH+R, Dension Gateway 300 with USB, CDV-, clear side indicators, euro tails, stubby, MFSW retrofit, OEM Bluetooth/VR

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Hotride
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Re: Replacement 3rd brake light options

Post by Hotride » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:17 am

I think clear would look better, even without changing the others

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/3219030/2003-bmw-z4

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Re: Replacement 3rd brake light options

Post by Mangozac » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:45 pm

Oh what a slippery slope car mods are..... :D

Thanks for the link Levi, I do very much like the clear 3rd brake light on Maldives blue. It looks very fresh!

So I did some more searching and it turns out that a full clear kit (sans headlights) is not as expensive as I thought. Problem is, I don't like the full clear tail lights but I was thinking a tinting spray could be used to change them back to the red style with clear indicators (euro style). Will think some more on it and make a decision...
Current: 06 E85 M Silbergrau
Previous: E85 3.0si Silbergrau, 03 E85 2.5i Maldives Blue.
Mods: Gaptech OTH+R, Dension Gateway 300 with USB, CDV-, clear side indicators, euro tails, stubby, MFSW retrofit, OEM Bluetooth/VR

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Hotride
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Re: Replacement 3rd brake light options

Post by Hotride » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:42 pm

Yer I got the full clear set for about $200 delivered on ebay, which I was pretty happy about. dealer wanted like $90 just for the clear 3rd brake light

Tinting the rear lights is even easier then it sounds, literally took me 1/2 an hour and about 4 coats of spray and they look so much better imo.

Unfortunately I now really wanna de tango the headlights, but haven't found clear replacements at a reasonable price... yet

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Re: Replacement 3rd brake light options

Post by Mangozac » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:34 pm

OK I bi the bullet and ordered a full clear conversion kit from eBay. By the time it's shipped it will run be about $250 which isn't too bad. Then I just have the do the translucent red paint trick to get the brake lights looking euro style.

Watch this space!
Current: 06 E85 M Silbergrau
Previous: E85 3.0si Silbergrau, 03 E85 2.5i Maldives Blue.
Mods: Gaptech OTH+R, Dension Gateway 300 with USB, CDV-, clear side indicators, euro tails, stubby, MFSW retrofit, OEM Bluetooth/VR

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Mangozac » Wed May 18, 2011 3:40 am

Look what arrived today:

Image

It's great getting packages sent to work! :D

Well I know what I'll be doing this weekend - I've picked up some red tinting spray so I can do the tails in red with clear indicator style, but the clear stoplight and indicators can go on almost immediately. I also picked up the correct springs and matching washers from the local dealership last week to ensure that the cracking doesn't happen again. What's awesome is that the kit above includes the double sided tape to affix my french fries from the old lights!
Current: 06 E85 M Silbergrau
Previous: E85 3.0si Silbergrau, 03 E85 2.5i Maldives Blue.
Mods: Gaptech OTH+R, Dension Gateway 300 with USB, CDV-, clear side indicators, euro tails, stubby, MFSW retrofit, OEM Bluetooth/VR

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Hotride » Wed May 18, 2011 5:58 am

good effort. looking forward to some pics

FYI - i used clear contact to mask off the inner clear circle, and a scalpel to cut it out as its not a perfectly round circle.
but I'm sure a hobbyist like yourself wont have any troubles with it!

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Mangozac » Sat May 21, 2011 3:01 am

OK so I masked off the tails and hit them with some Tamiya PS-37 translucent red polycarbonate spray. It left a pretty matte, slightly orange peeled texture, so obviously I needed to hit it with some clear. I had a rattle can of acrylic clear coat so I used that. Unfortunately this has still left a pretty terrible orange peel texture in the clear (the wrinkled part in the centre is the clear contact masking the indicator):

Image

I guess I just need to do some more coats of clear - from some brief googling it seems that orange peel is the result of not spraying enough paint, so I suppose the cure is to do some very thick coats?
Current: 06 E85 M Silbergrau
Previous: E85 3.0si Silbergrau, 03 E85 2.5i Maldives Blue.
Mods: Gaptech OTH+R, Dension Gateway 300 with USB, CDV-, clear side indicators, euro tails, stubby, MFSW retrofit, OEM Bluetooth/VR

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JonW
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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by JonW » Sat May 21, 2011 3:42 am

Hi,

I purchased the same kit as yourself with the intention of painting the rear lamps but ended up only using the stop lamp and wing repeaters from the kit. I bought genuine tail lamps from Ebay Germany and sold the clear lamps on.

Image Image

JonW
Mods ~ Aero Kit, Heated M Sport Seats, Reinhold Remote, Euro Style Quad Rear Lights & a few others.

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by ZED_NOT_ZEE » Sat May 21, 2011 4:46 am

okay wait... am I missing something here?

couldn't you use red tint film instead of spraying (safer and can be removed if necessary). Or would it not look proper or be too difficult to cut the hole in the center?

This is the film I'm talking about: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/24-13-Re ... ccessories

And here's a link to someone else on the forum who did their entire tail in red:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20543&start=0

I was thinking about doing the turn signal part in red, and just leaving the white reverse lights instead like this. I know it's not as nice as the euro-look, but cheaper. :)
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Z4 3.0i SMG - Sport/Prem/Nav. Gray on Red (year-round beater)
e46 M3 SMG II - Cold/Heat/Lux. Black on Black (summer beater)
e36 M3 5-Speed - Cold/Lux. Black on Black (winter beater)
Suzuki GS500F - No options. Black/White (city beater)

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Mangozac » Sat May 21, 2011 5:37 am

ZED_NOT_ZEE wrote:couldn't you use red tint film instead of spraying (safer and can be removed if necessary). Or would it not look proper or be too difficult to cut the hole in the center?
Honestly if I were to do this again I would probably try that instead. I just did the spray on tinting because that's what a few others had done.

On the fourth coat of clear Dad saw what I was doing and offered some advice. It turns out that he's really good with the rattle can and after he did a pass most of the orange peel is done. A few days of curing, a 2000grit wetsand and some polish and they should look great.
Current: 06 E85 M Silbergrau
Previous: E85 3.0si Silbergrau, 03 E85 2.5i Maldives Blue.
Mods: Gaptech OTH+R, Dension Gateway 300 with USB, CDV-, clear side indicators, euro tails, stubby, MFSW retrofit, OEM Bluetooth/VR

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by ZED_NOT_ZEE » Sat May 21, 2011 6:14 am

Glad to hear it's going to work out for you. Post some pics when it's done... I haven't heard before this of anyone doing a partial red spray on the clears. Maybe I'll try going this route too.. or try the tint film, and if that doesn't work, then spray.
Z4 3.0i SMG - Sport/Prem/Nav. Gray on Red (year-round beater)
e46 M3 SMG II - Cold/Heat/Lux. Black on Black (summer beater)
e36 M3 5-Speed - Cold/Lux. Black on Black (winter beater)
Suzuki GS500F - No options. Black/White (city beater)

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Mangozac » Sat May 21, 2011 7:34 am

Will definitely post the results :thumbsup:

I'm following mainly the advice of Hotride, who did the same thing on his Zed: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=23232
Current: 06 E85 M Silbergrau
Previous: E85 3.0si Silbergrau, 03 E85 2.5i Maldives Blue.
Mods: Gaptech OTH+R, Dension Gateway 300 with USB, CDV-, clear side indicators, euro tails, stubby, MFSW retrofit, OEM Bluetooth/VR

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Hotride » Sun May 22, 2011 6:02 am

Sounds like spraying it on lightly might have been the culprit. I usually spray each coat till it looks just wet as long as the paint doesn't run your good.

I have done a lot of spray painting over the years. My last car was really low and the bumper used to get cracked crossing railway lines, gutters and things. :headbang: So I learnt how to repair/repaint pretty well having that car lol.

FYI - I tried tinting the lights with tint first - it doesn't work because the lenses are curved and the tint doesn't curve.

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Re: Clear tails + indicators upgrade

Post by Dev » Sun May 22, 2011 10:09 am

ZED_NOT_ZEE wrote: Image
ok, now that is a good look... lovely! :thumbsup:

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