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Thread: R/C/R LED Taillights for facelift E46 Sedans (from Khoalty)

  1. #1
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    Jan 1970
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    Bridgeport, CT
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    13,487

    R/C/R LED Taillights for facelift E46 Sedans (from Khoalty)

    The product.

    The product is a set of LED taillights for facelift E46 sedans, in Red/Clear/Red style. This product is relatively new, as LED taillights for E46 sedans up until recently have only existed in Eagle Eyes format (pre-facelift style), with turn signals at the top and the rest of the housing consisting of brake and running lights. The lights that I purchased have the brake lights at the very top, then turn signals, and the bottom section is running lights and adaptive braking capable.



    Here is the general layout:



    Here's a picture head on, with running lights and brake lights on:



    Night picture with turn signals and LED reverse light bulbs on (my gawd those reverse lights are bright -- LED bulbs for reverse lights not included -- turn signals are also LED bulbs, also not included):



    Night shot with only running lights on:



    Side daylight shot:









    Installation notes.

    This set of lights comes with everything needed to make the car driveable after installation. Included are both left and right taillights + resistor boxes with wiring harness, trunk mounted lights + resistor boxes and wiring harness, turn signal bulb. I do not remember if reverse bulbs were included, unfortunately.

    The resistor boxes are supplied to correct bulb-out errors that would appear on your instrument cluster if no resistors were provided. LED lights tend to give bulb out errors as the resistance that the system is checking for isn't the same as what the lights have. These resistor boxes are pre-assembled and have wiring harnesses provided with them, so all you have to do is plug and play. They are keyed, so you can't plug them in incorrectly.

    For E46's with the known ground wire issue in your harness, you will have to get creative, as there are no tabs to tap the additional ground wire into if you have performed the ground wire fix. What I ended up doing was cutting off the connector to my additional ground wire, and wrapping the exposed wire around the ground post of the connector for one of the resistor boxes, then connecting it to the light assembly to hold it in place. I do not yet have any pics of this, but I know for a fact that this works because my driver's side ground in the connector is completely burned out. If this didn't work, my left side lights wouldn't work. Please keep in mind, this is not a fault of the manufacturer or the seller of these lights; this is a recall item issued by BMW. It is recommended you install your factory lights before getting this recall item taken care of.

    The instructions for the install consisted of two pieces of paper; one page was for installing the tails, and the other was for installing the trunk-mounted lights. The instructions are (poorly) translated from an Asian language (my guess is Chinese) to English, and took me a long time to decipher a couple of things before somehow getting an idea of how to hook something up. The pictures sometimes required you to really analyze them before doing anything as it wasn't always obvious as to what had to be done. The whole setup is faily easy to figure out if you really just lay out your components and use common sense to hook everything up.

    I noticed that stock taillights come with a back plastic screw-on cover, with a frosted panel for the trunk light to shine through. This nicely finishes up the rear of the taillights. With this set of DEPO lights, there is no cover, and the OEM cover does not fit it, so the end result is a mess of wires that is easily seen with the trunk open. There is plenty of space to tuck the wires into the crevice underneath the taillights, but even tucked, you still see wires, no matter how neat it is. To me, this element isn't acceptable, but for the price I will not complain too loudly about it. The end result is still worth it, in my opinion.

    The tails attach using the same mounting points as OEM. They are VERY bright lights when they're on. When the lights are off, it looks nearly OEM, the only difference being that you can see the individual LEDs in the housing. To the untrained eye, you wouldn't have any idea that this didn't come from the factory like this.

    Turn signal bulbs are included, and Khoalty was thoughtful enough to supply amber bulbs of the correct size to suite the clear turn signal housing. I had a hard time finding these bulbs in the auto store, so I was glad to see that they provided bulbs. I swapped these bulbs out to the LED ones I was using before. I don't understand why the turn signals weren't made into LED, to be honest. It's kind of out of place for there to be an LED taillight housing with halogen turn signals. I know this is how many OEMs do their LED tails, but it makes no sense to me. This housing is no different; the brake lights are LED but the turn signals and reverse lights are halogen. Oh well.

    Another gripe of mine is that the lights are only available in R/C/R. Personally, I'm not too much of a fan of Clears, so I would have like the option of Ambers or R/S/R (Red/Smoke/Red). R/S/R isn't available anywhere that I could see, only in the form of an entire taillight smoked. Once again, I won't complain too loudly about it, because that can be changed via other means such as smoking or lamin-x.

    All of the LED bulbs illuminated beautifully. There are some pics on the internet of the lights on, and they vary very slightly from what I have. In those pics, I noticed that the rows of LEDs don't quite flow as well as one would like, and that it doesn't look quite OEM. The tails I received, as you can tell from the pics above, seem closer to OEM than some of the other pictures online, so I can tell that the design was changed ever so slightly from earlier revisions of the product. This is tough to describe without comparing pics. As a note, in one of the above pics, it looks like the left side of the running lights (they're split down the middle) is brighter than the right. It's just a result of the way the camera captures the light. When viewed head on, the lights are all illuminated evenly, even the trunk lights.

    I'm also told that these lights are a newer revision with respect to the functionality of them. What this covers I'm not sure of, but whatever it is, it sure seems to work great.







    The vendor.

    The vendor in this instance is Khoalty. There isn't much to report in this arena (a very, very good thing), other than that the fine folks at Khoalty have went above and beyond to help me understand what I'm getting, as I originally had questions as to what exact product I was getting (RCR versus Eagle Eye, versus coupe, etc.) One person at Khoalty has went above and beyond and went as far as reorganizing the web page to make it more understandable based on my questions I had from it. Pictures were requested, that they plan on using on the site. This shows that Khoalty seems very interested in what their customers have to say and take everything they're told as far as feedback goes into consideration.

    Shipping did take quite a while, which I learned was due to the fact that the lights were shipped from Canada. I'm not sure why, but after all was said and done, it took about 2 weeks to receive my product.

    The price was top notch. One issue I raised to them was that the price of the only other place I've seen carry these lights (Umnitza). They were asking for over $360 for this same set of lights. Khoalty had it for $190 shipped. Epic Win.







    Summary.
    If I had to do it again by buying the same product from the same vendor, I would. Enough said.
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Connecticut Valley Chapter
    Patroon Chapter
    Imolarot / Naturbraun

    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
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    15,119
    Good review, thanks.
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"


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  3. #3
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    The Ocean State
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    like to see how they look next to my Eagle Eyes...

    Good review BP
    2008 GT Silver 997.1tt.......................2004 TiAg ///M.........................2003 Imola ZHP

  4. #4
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    Noice!


  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Location
    Bridgeport, CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by cakM3 View Post
    like to see how they look next to my Eagle Eyes...

    Good review BP
    Well... you can have that opportunity. Let's do something!
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Connecticut Valley Chapter
    Patroon Chapter
    Imolarot / Naturbraun

    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Knoxville, TN
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    880
    Wow. These look great.

    How have they held up - I am going to pick up a set.

  7. #7
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    So far so good.
    My only functionality complaint is the lack of LED turn signals, but that's by design. Not gonna knock them for that.

    Also don't like how the backsides don't have a cover to hide the wires. Oh well; the lighting makes up for it.


    Sent from my iPhone 4S from Tapatalk
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Connecticut Valley Chapter
    Patroon Chapter
    Imolarot / Naturbraun

    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2011
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    Valparaiso, IN
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    I've never cared for led turn signals, while I do like led brake lights. I feel like turn signals shouldn't be jarring, since you'll likely be sitting right behind someone with them on for a min or two. What I really like is how newer vw's have an ever-so-slightly slower blink rate. Just makes you feel a little calmer waiting at a light

    Brake lights on the other hand, need to be jarring since their purpose it to wake someone the heck up when you're stopping.

    So, this seems to be a great combo for me.


  9. #9
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    Jan 1970
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Looks good. What bulbs did you go with for the reverse lights?

  10. #10
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    Ryan,
    Turn signals are just as much of a safety item as brake lights. If you blasting down the left lane and someone flicks it on in the right lane, you'll definitely slow down if they're LED because of the more pronounced presence.

    I don't think it matches well that there is a halogen light in an otherwise LED housing. Looks halfarse to me in a way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomar06 View Post
    Looks good. What bulbs did you go with for the reverse lights?
    I used the bulbs I was using a my brake lights previously. They are the white turn signal bulbs from LEDAutomotive.com. Bright as hell.


    Sent from my iPhone 4S from Tapatalk
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Connecticut Valley Chapter
    Patroon Chapter
    Imolarot / Naturbraun

    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

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