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Technical_   Exterior_  Clear Sidemarkers

Clear Sidemarkers For Your E30
87 325i Cabrio

  • small flatblade screwdriver
  • drill with 1/4" bit
  • hot glue or silicone
  • Dremel or hotknife
  • sander
  • measuring device
  • patience
  • Heineken

1) Go to AutoZone/equivalent and purchase clear reflectors (I bought a 4-pack of 1" x 12" made by Cooper Automotive --- 4.99.)

2) Remove the sidemarkers from yoru vehicle and measure them out (you'll notice that my measurements are quite accurates because I used a digital caliper, but if you don't have one then an accurate measuring device will do).

3) Since there are 4 seperate reflectors, you can use one per sidemarker.

4) Tape off reflector to correct size for cutting. See photo:

Click to enlarge

5) I used a Dremel tool with cut off wheel to cut the reflector down to 5.65" in length. I don't know how else you would do it. Although the reflector is sturdy it is somewhat brittle, so be careful.

6) Once you've got the correct length, you only need to remove a minute amount of material from the top and bottom of the reflector to get it down to 0.93" (it's already at 1.00"). For this I used a sander to gently remove the material until it fit.

7) Now you've got the length and width correct. There is a black plastic cover in the back of the reflector which prevents light from shining through; you want to carefully remove this with a small flathead screwdriver.

8) You've got your lens complete! Now to remove the old amber and red lenses from the assemblies that came stock on the vehicle. First I tried prying the old ones out, but soon I realized that I would break the black bezel before I ever did that, so hmmm, how would I do this? I ended up using a 1/4" drillbit and putting numerous holes in the lens itself, and voila! It just started breaking right out of there clean. Whatever is left in there you can just pry out with a screwdriver until the surface is uniform (no chunks of old lens remain). This is the most time consuming part of the process, so be patient. Once you have all 4 done, you're ready to glue them in.

9) To glue mine in, I used a hot glue gun that I had handy, but silicone sealer or the likes would be fine. CAUTION: Be careful how much glue you use when installing, because if it is real sloppy then you'll be able to see some glue around the inner edge inside the lens.

Click to enlarge

10) Don't forget to change the bulbs! Part number is #194. You'll need orange bulbs up front (readily available at any autoparts store) and red for the back. (Yes, they make red #194's. They were originally made for people who wanted red lights in their interior but they work fine in your sidemarkers. The bulbs I bought were called Mood Lights, but whatever.)

11) Install and go!

Clear sidemarkers as seen on my '86 325   -FK
Click to enlarge


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