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Old 01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 221
withidl is on a distinguished road
Adding Rear Fog Lights to a BMW X5

Contributed by: withidl

Adding Rear Fog Lights to a 2001 BMW X5

Based on several posts regarding installation of rear fog lights, I

researched installation on my 2001 April build. Bottom line is that the
LCM (lighting control module) ROM (read only memory) on pre September
2001 builds is not programmed to recognize the rear fogs. My dealer,
who worked with me on this project at no $$$, displayed my LCM rear
fogs functionality on their computer BUT the items were “grayed” and
“faulted” on the display which meant that the LCM did not have the
software to fully recognize them. The dealer discussed the software
issue with their BMW Technical Service Rep who advised that the
European X5’s LCMs, although the exact same part number, have different
software in their ROM which BMW would not provide to my dealer (and it
may not work with the American circuitry). Post September 2001 builds,
although not wired from the switch to the LCM, nor wired from the
trailer module to the rear fogs, do have their LCMs programmed to
recognize the rear fogs as per “Jeff’s” pervious posts (on Bimmer.org).

So, I gave up on the rear fogs but decided to “convert” them into
additional parking / brake lights basis other posts I have read, and
this succeeded VERY WELL INDEED! I no longer have “dead lenses” to go
along with my “dead pedal”.

The following is what I did, “by the numbers”, which may be helpful for any who wish to duplicate my effort:

NOTE: On vehicles with the “adaptive” brake lighting this may not work as it might confuse the LCM.

1. Less than $20 was spent do accomplish this.

2. First purchase 2 each of the same sockets and bulbs used for the
backup lights from your dealer (sockets cost me $4.42 each, bulbs $2.47
each, times 2 + tax = $14.88). Then purchase about 10 feet of 18 gage
wire (color to suit you fancy, mine was white and I already had it on
hand, but wire is cheap).

3. Now remove from the lower tailgate black plastic end cap the red
reflector strips (screw driver under the large end unclips them) and
the little square black plastic plugs (they unsnap) to expose the
screws that allow for the removal of this end cap. Unscrew these screws
and slip the end cap off.

4. Next remove the center plastic by prying up along the end closest to
you. It unsnaps at 4 equal distance places along the edge and then
lifts up. Pull it toward you and its out.

5. Now all of the screws that hold down the remaining black plastic
perimeter can be removed so that it and the foam underneath it can be
removed to expose the wiring and back of the lenses.

6. In the back of the rear fog lenses you’ll have to remove the 2 cast
red plastic “plugs” so that the sockets and bulbs can be inserted. The
plugs are held in place by 3 thin pieces of plastic which an Exacto
knife can cut out. Be careful not to loose the pieces into the lens and
make sure ALL of the plastic is cut away or it can interfere with the
socket connectivity as it initially did with mine by not allowing for
full contact for current flow.

7. Now install the sockets with bulbs (about a 1/8th twist locks them into place).

8. The dealer should be able to provide you with 2 each female “pins”
for the 2 connectors at the backup light / rear fog light lens (mine
did at no charge).

9. Unplug the wiring connector, remove the white cover (side prongs
“alternately” unclip and it lifts off), determine which way is “up” and
insert the female “pin” into the 3rd and only vacant slot (they should
click into place when fully seated). Replace the white cover and
reconnect the connector. Run the “pig tail” along with the other wires
as far as it will go (mine were about 18” long).

10. Now remove the 3 Torx screws in the silver colored center mounting
for the tailgate release motor (but don’t remove the Torx screws that
hold the motor), unsnap the closest left and right release motor cable
attachments and the mounting will lift out exposing all of the tailgate

11. Cut the approximate 10’ of 18 gage wire in half. Remove the rubber
“boot” wiring conduit between the tailgate and the body by peeling it
out of the sheet metal (it pushes back into place readily). Lift the
cover over the spare tire and then run a small wire through the rubber
conduit. Tape the two 18 gage wires side by side to that wire and
push/pull them through into the spare tire compartment (remember which
is the left side and which is the right side). “Butt” connect the wires
to the left and right “pig tails”.

12. In the spare tire compartment where the 18 gage wire was pulled
through you’ll see several large wiring harnesses running along the
rear of the compartment. Run the 18 gage wire along with the harnesses
(use nylon “ties” to secure) until you get to the tail light lenses on
the left and right sides. I removed the black plastic “moldings” which
the spare tire cover/floor attaches to so that I could better access
the wiring harnesses. The “moldings” are held down by 10mm plastic
nuts, 3 on the left side and 2 on the right side (a long socket
extension is required to access a couple of the nuts).

13. At the inside of the parking / brake light lenses unplug the
connector. As a point of reference you’ll see a brown wire on both the
left and right connectors (ground). The wire on the left connector
which is furthest from the brown wire should be black with a BROWN
tracer (stripe); this is the left parking / brake light wire. The wire
on the right connector which is furthest from the brown wire should be
black with a DARK BLUE tracer (stripe); this is the right parking /
brake light wire. Remove the white plastic cover (side prongs
“alternately” unclip and it lifts off). Using a pointed instrument (I
used the tip of a compass) carefully press down on the very small
raised tab on the end of the brake / parking female “pin” while pulling
it back, it will slip back a little and re-catch on the connector and
you will again have to carefully press down on the tab to pull it free
of the connector.

14. Now, after you have routed your 18 gage wire to the parking / brake
light connector, you’ll solder the 18 gage wire to the female “pins”
you’ve removed. Strip a small amount of insulation (1/8" to 3/16") from
your 18 gage wire end and position it onto the “neck” of the “pin” such
that the insulation of your wire and the insulation of the “pin’s” wire
are aligned. The bare end of your wire should be over the crimped end
of the “pin” BUT NOT INTO THE “PIN” ITSELF. I used aluminum metal duct
tape to hold the two wires together while I soldered them since the
aluminum tape would not melt from the solder’s heat.

15. CAREFULLY solder your wire to the crimped area of the “pin”. If you
get too much solder on it carefully file off the excess since it must
be at a minimum to allow for re-insertion into the connector.

16. Remove the aluminum tape, re-insert the “pin” into the connector,
re-attach the connector cover and re-connect it to the parking / brake

17. Turn on your lights and confirm they are working.

18. If all is well secure everything with nylon ties and put everything
back together (you did leave bread crumbs behind ........ didn’t you?).

The rear parking / brake lights use a single filament. For parking
brightness the LCM passes an approximate 3.5 volts to the filament.
When the brake is depressed the LCM passes the full 12 volts to the
filament increasing brightness three fold. The rear fog, now parking /
brake lights will operate in unison with the regular parking / brake


Info from Jeff @ RF on getting rear fogs working via the LCM:

You have to order the new

switch assembly that has separate buttons for the front and rear fog
lights. You then connect the rear fog light button pin on the new
switch to the same pin on the light control module (LCM) that you would
do as if you were retrofitting , for example, a 2001 E39. This alone
will cause the yellow light on the console to light up, but it won't
energize the plugs on LCM like it does for the E 39. This is because
the LCM for the X5 is coded (re: programed) differently. What
activating this rear fog light switch will do is energize the sole open
terminal on the trailer lighting control module (TCM) located in the
electronics bay (where the battery is located) to 12 volts. Of course
it goes without saying that you have to have the trailer hitch option.

The nice thing about this is that you don't have to run wires from the
LCM at the passenger side A-pillar to the back. There is already a
telemetry connection between the LCM and the TCM. Then it is just a
matter of ordering the proprietary wire connectors and bulb sockets,
which are the same ones used for holding the reverse lights.

The total cost of this project was
around 100 dollars or so.

It is pin number 45 on the
LCM, which is located in the smaller middle connect plug. It is the
same pin as described for wiring up an E39 sedan. See website
jadeturtle.com/bmw. I don't know the pin number on the TCM, but there
was only one pin not connected to a wire and that was it.

See Using Rear Fog Light Switch to Control Angel Eyes article to reference how to pin the fog light switch





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