Pulled this amazing and well detailed DIY off of a poster ‘schnitzer323ci‘ on e46fanatics, see his original thread here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=437178 otherwise continue on!
I ordered a set of the new DOT approved Eagle Eyes LED tails… these are great lights for guys who don’t want to drop close to or more than $1000 on OEM couple LED tails + LCM reflash….
Before you start make sure you have 2-3 hours to dedicate to installing these. They come with resistor boxes and assorted wiring attached to them so you have to hide all this stuff. The ONLY way to do it right is to remove the black trunk panel and both sides of the carpet lining (this can be folded back out of the way actually).
Also before you start, just unplug your factory lenses and plug in the new led ones to test to make sure everything functions and you get no bulb out lights on the dash. Nothing worse than completing an install and finding that the units were faulty to begin with… yes it’s happened to me more than once. So here’s what you are starting with:
Now first thing to do is to remove the tail lights you have on the car currently… there are just 3 nuts on the back, very easy. Next pull out the trunk bottom carpet with the contoured black bottom thing. Then pull back the trunk’s side carpets. If you have a friend you can have him hold those out of the way but I just put something heavy in front of them so they wouldn’t come forward. Now you can start removing the long black plastic liner on the back side of the trunk (shown in the bottom of the picture at the very back of the trunk). There are 4 screws underneath covers, and 5 push pin retainers.
It really helps to have one of those interior clip/panel removers to pull all the clips off, but it can be done with a screwdriver and some patience. After you pull off the plastic panel you can start putting in the new lights.
FYI… mark all the clips with a sharpie or something so you remember which ones go to which. Don’t try to install the lenses with all the guts hanging off the back of them… it will make your life very hard and frustrating.
Also you have to use the black trim things off your current lights and move them to your new ones. These are a b*tch to remove if you have never done it before. The easiest way I could do it was to insert a small flathead screwdriver between and pry up gently. You could try spraying WD-40 on the fins that clip and then sliding it off… but I don’t know how well that would work. I went with the screwdriver. Getting these off your old lights and onto your new ones is probably the toughest part aside from pulling all the panels off the car. You can see the black trim I am talking about on the outside of the trunk on the left side of the picture.
When you are installing the lights don’t put that third nut on the bolt until you are ready to install the black panel back into the car. You can see I only have 2 of them on in the pic… the other you have to put on after the black panel is on.
Once you have the lights in you can reattach all the guts to the back of them. Just match up the plugs you marked in the beginning, that little cubby underneath the lights that you see all the wires going into in the pic below. All 3 boxes are in there and fit nicely.
Now plug in the lights and test all the functions again. Also try to attach the interior trunk light to the back of the light. This takes awhile to tuck all the wires in a way that it doesn’t interfere with the light. But better to do it now than when all your panels are going back on and in the way. Once you get everything where you want it… time to put those panels back on. This is self explanatory so I won’t go into that.
below are a bunch of my completed install pics. As for a complete review… I am VERY happy with the lights. They are every bit as bright as the OEM ones and function just as well so far.
Passenger side interior:
Driver side interior:
Poor light output (in a very dark garage with no flash):