BMW E36 Blog

Footwell light for your BMW E36 . . . DIY!

23rd September 2007

Footwell light for your BMW E36 . . . DIY!

posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Interior, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks |

post rating
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First of all, I want to start this post by welcoming our new friend Sean C who filled his information recently in the Welcome BMW E36 blog readers! post. For those of you who didn’t read that post yet, please do and let us hear from you. Simply, just fill your information in the comments box at the bottom of that post and you’re done. Very easy isn’t it?

I think everyone of you guys will love today’s post as it will show you how easy it’s to install foot well lights inside your BMW. I know that many of you will try to do it because it looks great on your car. If you’re anxious to see the end result of this procedure, simply skip to the end of this post to see a photo of the car at night while the foot well lights are on. I hope you like this DIY and thanks for Jarozila who created the original write-up.

For those of you who like to fix their BMW car(s) by themselves, I recommend you to get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual which is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I got it and recommend you to get one for yourself as it will save you too much time and money while fixing your car.



Disclaimer: Use this info at your own risk!! I’m not responsible if this didn’t work for you :-).

The BMW parts I used were:

63 31 8 360 588 Lamp (2x)
61 13 8 377 072 Socket Housing (3-pin connector) (2x)
61 13 0 005 197 Bushing Contact (4x)

If you take out your dome light and take a look at the wires you will see a Brown/Red wire (power) and a Brown wire (ground). These are the wires to use if you want the new foot well lights to work with the dome light switch settings.

Using these wires the foot well lights can be set to come on with the dome light when you open the door and they fade out, or you can turn them on with the dome light.

I did not want to run wires from the dome light down the side pillar, so I thought I have to be able to find the wires when I remove the glove box. I found a Brown/Red and a Brown wire and I exposed the core to see if these would work – THEY DID.

It was then just a matter of connecting a few wires into these two cables, making holes in the panel under the glove box and steering wheel, and connecting the lights.

I really like how it looks and it will make it so much easier to find things if they drop on the floor. Was also easier to vacuum with the lights on.

This is where I found the red/brown and brown wires that looked like they went up the back and into the side pillar going up to the dome light.

This is a picture from underneath to show the new wires I connected. I also put in two wires to run over to the driver’s side. The two black wires go the the foot well light, the red & brown wires go over to the driver’s side.

This is the light inserted in the hole I cut on the passenger side.

Foot well lights off during the day with my car in an open car port.

Foot well lights on also during the day in the car port.

Here’s a picture of how it looks at night


Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual

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There are currently 12 responses to “Footwell light for your BMW E36 . . . DIY!”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On December 5th, 2007, Jarozila said:

    Glad to see that other people found this DIY useful. I accidentially clicked on the stars above and gave my own DIY three stars. DOH!!

  2. 2 On December 5th, 2007, Tony Sticks said:

    LOOL! It’s a great write up. Please feel free to participate in the BMW E36 Blog whenever you have DIY procedures that you think may be useful to other E36 owners.

    Here’s a link about how you can participate with your own articles:

  3. 3 On March 17th, 2008, squid 66 said:

    Fuel leaks on fuel tank e36 318is coupe, has any one ever taken fuel tank out, i have to due to breather line leaking on top of tank any tips is there access through floor.

  4. 4 On March 18th, 2008, Barney said:

    I just gave this 5 stars to offset Jarozila’s accidental 3-star rating. (c:

    Do you have any idea if the procedure is much different for an E36 convertible? Still the brown wire coming out of the dome light?

  5. 5 On March 19th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @Barney: Maybe Jarozila can answer?

  6. 6 On March 19th, 2008, Jarozila said:

    Hi Barney,

    I would assume so. What I suggest you do is take your dome light out and unplug it. Use a volt meter to check which wires have power – that is what I did to work out which wires I needed to tap. From memory, one wire will have constant power and another wire’s power will work in conjunction with the door. You will be able to work it out.

  7. 7 On July 17th, 2008, ffdfsdf said:

    isn’t it a bit disturbing at night? maybe even cast some reflections on the windows?

  8. 8 On July 18th, 2008, Jarozila said:

    Hi ffdfsdf,

    the way I wired the footwell lights is that they are off when you drive. The footwell lights work in conjunction with the dome light. When you open the door they come on and then fade out alone with the dome light. You can also have then turned on, along with the dome light, but you would probably not really want them on when you drive.

    Even with them on though there is no noticable reflection in the windows, as the footwell lights are tucked in under the kick panel out of sight.

    Hope this amswers your question.

  9. 9 On September 7th, 2008, Mike Feeney said:

    Thanks for a great site, i do a lot of journeys at night to visit my GF who lives 200km away
    So i got an E36 as its economical, reliable, comfortable and quick enough 😉
    will definately be using this Footwell lighting mod as my bottle of water, coke, whatever.. always goes missing somewhere under heavy breaking 😀

  10. 10 On March 5th, 2009, Cookie said:

    Hey Jarozila,

    great DIY, but i was wondering if you knew how to do that same thing, but have the well lights come on with the headlights…? also to have them with blue LEDs?


  11. 11 On March 8th, 2009, Sebastiaan said:

    Hi there!
    Just received all the stuff and connected the lights just as shown above….
    Result: the lights i connected come on when i turn the dome light off… and vice versa!
    so it works the opposite way!
    what have i done wrong? already tried changing the wires but it had the same effect.


  12. 12 On March 11th, 2009, Cookie said:

    Didn’t say u did anything wrong. I was just wondering if it were possible to connect the well lights up to the headlight switch, so they only came on when the headlights were on.
    Also, do you think festoon bulbs would work well for footwell lights???