I went on a strange quest to convert almost every bulb on the Z3 M Coupe from incandescent to LED. I think the results look great. Note, I’ve also bypassed the dimmer rheostat, so I cannot attest to any dimming capability or effectiveness. I am also keeping the headlight low and high beam 9006/9005 for now as they work well enough for me.
All the previous how-to guides are now a bit dated, or missing pictures. Below is a running list of LED’s you can use to convert your M Coupe, M Roadster, Z3 Coupe, or Z3 Roadster.
Note: To avoid hyper-flashing turn signals, you’ll either need to spend $200+ on this funky computerized flasher relay, or spend $5-50 modifying your existing flasher relay. See how-to below.
|Front Turn Signals||1157 LED Bulb – Dual Function 27 SMD LED Tower – BAY15D Bulb Amber – 2 Pack||1|
|Rear Turn Signals||1156 Boat and RV LED Light Bulb – (18) SMD LED Tower – BA15S Retrofit Base – 325 Lumens Amber- 2 Pack||1|
|Rear Brake Lights||1156 Boat and RV LED Light Bulb – (18) SMD LED Tower – BA15S Retrofit Base – 325 Lumens Red – 2 Pack||1|
|Rear Parking Lights||67 LED Light Bulb – (12) SMD LED Tower – BA15S Base Red||2|
|Front Bumper||194 LED Landscape Light Bulb – 5 SMD LED Tower – Miniature Wedge Retrofit – 95 Lumens Natural White||2|
|Side Turn Signals||194 LED Landscape Light Bulb – 5 SMD LED Tower – Miniature Wedge Retrofit – 95 Lumens Amber||2|
|Backup Lights||1156 LED Light Bulb – (51) SMD LED Tower – BA15S Base with Lens Natural White – 2 Pack||2|
|License Plate Housing||194 LED Landscape Light Bulb – 5 SMD LED Tower – Miniature Wedge Retrofit – 95 Lumens Natural White||2|
|Third Brake Light||To be continued.|
|Rear Coupe Cargo||6451 LED Bulb – 6 SMD LED Festoon – 42mm Warm White||2|
|Interior Overhead||3710 LED Bulb – 6 SMD LED Festoon – 38mm Warm White||1|
|Interior Overhead Map||BA9s LED Bulb – 5 SMD LED Tower – BA9s Bulb Warm White||2|
|Gauge Cluster small bulbs||B8 LED Bulb – SMD Instrument Panel LED Warm White|
*note that you can probably get by with 4 to illuminate parts of the dials, the rest are individual warning/error bulbs. You also have to slightly bend the tabs to make a secure fitment in the cluster.
|Gauge Cluster Primary bulbs||194 LED Landscape Light Bulb – 5 SMD LED Tower – Miniature Wedge Retrofit – 95 Lumens Amber|
*note, you may prefer warm white
|HVAC||T1-3/4 Wedge Base Socket – Wired 74 Socket|
*note, must cut and solder in. One housing must be shaved down to fit the vertical position.
|HVAC, Cigarette Light, Headlight Switch||74 LED Bulb – 3 SMD LED – Miniature Wedge Base Amber|
*two for HVAC, one for cigarette light, one for headlight switch
** you may prefer warm white vs amber
|VDO Gauges||194 LED Landscape Light Bulb – 5 SMD LED Tower – Miniature Wedge Retrofit – 95 Lumens Amber|
* you may prefer warm white vs amber
Hazard / Flasher Relay
When you switch over to LED lights in the turn signals, you’re going to get hyperflash when signaling. You may like that, or may not. You have a few options to solve this. The modify solution is described below.
- Install bulbs with built in resistors, or install resisters at the bulb
- Buy a ‘smart turn signal-direction indicator lights flasher ecu’
- Modify your existing 7 pin relay with a suitable diode
How-to: Modify your 7 pin hazard / flasher relay to work with LED
credit goes to this post (and this pdf), but I will repeat it here for internet longevity. If your relay does not look like the one above, well then you probably pulled the wrong relay out from under the hood, or its not an original bmw relay.
Required Parts, Skills and Tools
- 1 original 7 pin relay
- Z3 E36 Z3 M Relay for hazard-warning lights K16
- 1 diode. I sourced 10x of these from Mouser electronics
- Mouser #: 863-80SQ045NRLG
- Description: Schottky Diodes & Rectifiers 8A 45V
- soldering iron, solder
- small flat head screwdrivers 2x, 1x small drill bit, 1x small pliers
2 questions :
1- Does the relay mod work if only part of the blinkers are updated to LED ?
2- What brand and model of headunit are you showing in the photos ?
I think the modification should work if you only change out some of the bulbs since typically introducing an LED bulb into any turn signal circuit causes a rapid flash, but I didn’t test this specially. The head unit is a Joying unit. It’s held up well, but updating software is tricky over time. https://www.joyingauto.com/joying-newest-carplay-7-single-din-4gb-64gb-android-10-0-car-media-player.html
Cool work. Thanks for including all the links for reference.
Did you modify your flasher relay, and do you have any diodes left? I’m looking to update my M coupe to LED flashers but the 8A 45V diode referenced is now obsolete.
I’m pretty sure that I have three left. They’re “somewhere” in my garage. Still working fine.
🙂 Would you be willing to part with one of them if you find them?
I don’t know anything about Schottky diodes to figure out an alternate one.
Hopefully you have my email and can contact me there.
Andrew, there was an update in your web page for the LED, quantity and location have neat white text in white blocks, so barely visible unless we zoom.
Thanks Jean, updated so you can read it 🙂
Question on the relay modification to avoid the LED hyperflashing :
I modified the relay, everything works fine except my hazard don’t work.
So I checked and the flashers all work when I use the flasher stack, so it is not the LED.
I then installed a non-modified relay (I have 2 stock/non-modified relays in spare) and the hazard are working, so the hazard button works.
Did you have the same issue ?
Hmm, not that I can remember. Is there a fuse that’s popped? Did I send you a diode?
I checked the fuses and the are good.
You did not send me a diode but I bought the same part number as what you listed on your webpage.
I wonder if I did not damage the relay, I have 2 spares and 4 more diodes so I will mod another relay.
I’ll give you some news when I try another relay, may take a few weeks, I have a lot to do on the Z3 while in my garage for the winter.
Another question, you said to buy 18 mini led to replace the mini bulbs, I just replaced the 18 but the 2 light brown mini bulbs are left to replace, does that mean there is no replacement for the light brown mini bulbs in the gauge cluster ?