Instrument lighting on '03 - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 18 Old May 12th, 2007, 9:33 pm Thread Starter
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Instrument lighting on '03

I don't ride much after dark, so I am not sure if I have an issue or not. There is no back light on my clock or gear indicator. Since I have never noticed it before, I am assuming it used to light up. Can someone tell me if they are supposed to have a back light?
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post #2 of 18 Old May 12th, 2007, 9:47 pm
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probably some of your bulbs are out
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post #3 of 18 Old May 12th, 2007, 10:15 pm
 
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You've got some lamps burned out. I'd replace them all once you get in there. I think there's 5 total, if I'm remembering correctly. About $4 a pop. Available at the dealer.
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post #4 of 18 Old May 12th, 2007, 11:24 pm Thread Starter
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Actually, there is 17 of 'em. Found on a dealer web site at $3.90 each.
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post #5 of 18 Old May 13th, 2007, 12:53 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_BMW
Actually, there is 17 of 'em. Found on a dealer web site at $3.90 each.
I'm just talking about the lamps used for back-lighting. No need to replace every lamp in the dash. That's a bit over-kill.
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post #6 of 18 Old May 13th, 2007, 6:19 am
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It is just 5 bulbs...I just replaced them recently with Sylvania 2720's from WalMart/Advance etc. You just need to replace the backlight bulbs and not the idiot light bulbs since they haven't been used as much over time.

The 2720's are 1.2 watts vs. 1.7 watts so some of the glare will be reduced and overall, as reported here, you won't notice the difference. 2720's are in 2 packs so you'll need 3 packs with a spare for about $2.80/pack(2).

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post #7 of 18 Old May 20th, 2007, 9:48 am Thread Starter
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I have not been successful at finding a "2720" lamp. Would anyone happen to have a different number?
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post #8 of 18 Old May 20th, 2007, 11:26 am
 
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The shifter number & clock should be lit all the time, must be faulty lamp.
On mine the dash backlight does not light up until it senses dusk or a semi-dark enviroment. Any chance you do not have it dark enough to allow the photocell to turn the dash lights on to verify the rest of lamps for general illumination??
Easy test, put in garage or start it in the dark.
Mine is a 2005 I assume yours is setup the same with on at dark, off at daylight.


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post #9 of 18 Old May 20th, 2007, 11:59 am
 
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Mine is a 2005 I assume yours is setup the same with on at dark, off at daylight.
No Chris, bad assumption. The dash was redesigned for the '05 LT.
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post #10 of 18 Old May 20th, 2007, 12:15 pm
 
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Originally Posted by Dean_BMW
I have not been successful at finding a "2720" lamp. Would anyone happen to have a different number?
Umm...did I mention that your local BMW dealer carries the proper lamps?
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post #11 of 18 Old May 20th, 2007, 12:28 pm Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by messenger13
Umm...did I mention that your local BMW dealer carries the proper lamps?
I, of course, knew that I could get them from BMW, but when you live in the sticks, it's nicer just to be able to run down to WalMart. Actually, I was hoping to find a LED replacement that was suitable.
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post #12 of 18 Old May 20th, 2007, 1:41 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_BMW
I, of course, knew that I could get them from BMW, but when you live in the sticks, it's nicer just to be able to run down to WalMart. Actually, I was hoping to find a LED replacement that was suitable.
Check out the AutoLumination web site. The triple head LED #74 (in red) are what I used on my '00 backlighting. Several others have used the same buld with great results. Looks great, no glare, and did I say, looks great. $4 each, a little less when I get around to doing the next group buy.

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post #13 of 18 Old May 22nd, 2007, 9:47 am Thread Starter
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My resolution:

I never found a 2720 bulb. I did find 2721 and 2723, and neither of them seemed to have the correct base. I also compared the original bulb base to the #24 bulb and found that a #24 base was too big.

The #74 bulb seems to work best. It was easier to gain access to the bulbs that I had anticipated, so I decided to just go back with incandescent bulbs instead of LED's (I was going to have to order the LED's and wait). I do not know what the wattage of the #74 bulb is, but it was rated at 14 volts. When I held it up beside the original bulb, I really couldn't tell much difference in the brightness.

Conclusion: If you are a long distance from a dealer, or need to replace your instrument panel lamps quickly, go to the auto parts store and buy #74 lamps.
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post #14 of 18 Old May 22nd, 2007, 11:44 am
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I just replaced a couple with the #74's also. It's all I could find locally. NAPA couldn't even find 501 or 2720 in their books.

As far as LED's go they're getting better but in most cases incandescents seem to provide better uniform light. There are some very bright LED's but the beam is too focused for many applications. Having said that, I did order some of these in white & will report back when they're installed.

I don't think they'll provide enough light scattered to the sides but we'll see. If not I will replace the idiot lights with them, as those are straight forward firing. Here's a link with a better photo of the actual bulb.
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post #15 of 18 Old May 22nd, 2007, 8:27 pm
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I have two of the bulbs out also and was wondering what was the easiest way to get to the bulbs for changing. How much of the tupperware has to come off for access?

Tommy
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post #16 of 18 Old May 23rd, 2007, 12:13 am Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bikertz
I have two of the bulbs out also and was wondering what was the easiest way to get to the bulbs for changing. How much of the tupperware has to come off for access?
Just remove the windshield and then take 7 screws out of the piece of plastic over the back of the instrument panel (one is behind the dash light).
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post #17 of 18 Old May 23rd, 2007, 6:56 am
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IN a previous thread, JSPen replaced his stock dashboard bulbs with red leds. I'm planning on doing the same mod.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4251



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post #18 of 18 Old Jun 1st, 2007, 1:35 am
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Originally Posted by Rick
I did order some of these in white & will report back when they're installed. Here's a link with a better photo of the actual bulb.
Well as promised here's my report:

The bulbs arrived quickly from the seller in Singapore, with good communication from him as well. First thing I did was test all 8 of the bulbs I got and all worked. Nice & blindingly bright!
Didn't think to take a before photo, but after changing the 3 bulbs on the right I took a photo that shows what a difference they make. Most noticably, the gear selection/clock baclkight is brighter & easier to read for me. The color is much whiter, which I like. I replaced all 5 of the backlights, and the turn signal indicators because I have found them to be rather dim in the sunlight. This left me with 1 bulb left and it went in the reverser indicator spot. Why? It was the only other one I could get to easily. I would like to get some more bulbs & finish off the idiot lights but might wait until I have another reason to take more panels off. I can't get my fat fingers in there to the rest of them. Overall I'm happy with the bulbs.


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