New Tail lights electrical fault - E36 1998 316i SE

Hi,
I have brought some new tail lights for my saloon E36. They are replicas of the originals but have smoked indictor and reverse light sections instead of the usual orange and white.
I thought this would be a very simple straight forward fit as the use the original bulbs, bulb holders and wiring connections.
The passenger side cluster is fine, but the drivers side causes the 10amp fuse that controls the side lights, fog lights and instrument panel, to blow when the parking or full lights are turned on. Therefore the drivers side rear lights and instrument panels wont work. The indicator and brake light functions continue to work though on the drivers side.
i have now put the old lights back in, and the problem has gone away, but before I send the faulty unit back, i wanted to check if this can be rectified simply? The bulbs for the rear side and fog lights are still fine, but im curious as to what is causing this short circuit to happen?
Could it be that the socket for the wiring plug has not been manufactured correctly, and is not meeting the contact plates that pass the power to the bulbs correctly, or a soldering fault? Or, is the bulb not meeting the contact plates correctly on the new unit, and this is causing a short?
Any help on this would be much appreciated
Many thanks, Justin
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It sounds like a fault in the tail light part of the fitting. A visual inspection and checking with the continuity tester of a DVM should find it.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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London SW

The other problem is that people behind can't see you have hit the brakes, so they drive into the back of your car and break the lights.
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Ah - that should sort it. You'll have to get a new unit then.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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London SW

That could be a problem, but that we don't know that by the description of his problem set.
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Something is wrong with the assembly that causes the fuse to blow. It has a short somewhere. Take all of the bulbs out of it, then put them in one at a time until the fuse pops again. That is what you need to fix. You must be capable of doing a visual inspection of the faulty unit to determine where the fault is coming from. You might need to be able to do an electrical inspection as well. But clearly the problem is on the assembly side, not the car side, because the car works properly with the original assemblies installed.
My guess is that you have a bulb socket screwed into the wrong hole. Or, screwed intothe right hole but not aligned properly. Since the fuse blows for the tail lights, then I have to assume the turn signal, brake lamps, and back up lights are all set properly, and the running lamp is the problem. If you look at the sockets and lamp holders, you will be able to see guide pins that force you to orientate the lamps properly, and you will see metal contacts that feed power to the lamps. If you are able to defeat teh guide pins and set the holders into the sockets wrongly, then the contacts can connect power directly to ground, which will blow the fuse.
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Hi, Thanks for the advice. It seems after alot of trial and error, the far right stop/fog light was not connecting with the unit properly. Originally I was installing the light cluster first, then putting the bulbs in, so i could not see exactly how they were connecting. However, when testing the unit while it was seperate from the car, i found that one of the pins of the bulb holder was able to slide underneath the contact plates of the light cluster, which was causing power to ground.
So, i carefully installed the bulbs first, checking connections one by one and could eventually confirm they all worked, then i installed the light cluster with the bulbs already in it.
It all works now! Thanks again for the advice
Justin
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On Mon, 02 Jul 2007 04:44:39 -0400, "TIMBERSNAKE"

Am I alone in wondering if this if going to cause you or the subsequent owner grief when that bulb blows and needs to be replaced?
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