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odometer gears and econometer

Posted by nomis3613 
February 20, 2009 05:50PM
Hi,
I'd like to fix a couple of gremlins lurking behind the dashboard and I was hoping you could help me out with what I should expect when I pull it.

The odometer takes a lot more than 100m for the dial to go from 0.6 to 0.7 so I think the gears are busted. I'm planning on buying new ones from odometergears.com. Does anyone know what size gears I need so I can order beforehand? My car is Australian, which basically means Euro spec with right hand drive.

The economy meter sits on "using no fuel" up until about 3000 rpm, then suddenly swings to "gas guzzler. Once the dash is off, I can check it with a voltmeter, but just wondering if anyone has had the same syptom and whether the fault is likely to be the guage/sending unit/whatever?

Many thanks,
Simon
February 20, 2009 07:28PM
Quote
nomis3613
Hi,
I'd like to fix a couple of gremlins lurking behind the dashboard and I was hoping you could help me out with what I should expect when I pull it.

The odometer takes a lot more than 100m for the dial to go from 0.6 to 0.7 so I think the gears are busted. I'm planning on buying new ones from odometergears.com. Does anyone know what size gears I need so I can order beforehand? My car is Australian, which basically means Euro spec with right hand drive.

The economy meter sits on "using no fuel" up until about 3000 rpm, then suddenly swings to "gas guzzler. Once the dash is off, I can check it with a voltmeter, but just wondering if anyone has had the same syptom and whether the fault is likely to be the guage/sending unit/whatever?

Many thanks,
Simon

Simon,

Contact the odometergear.com folks directly about the gears.

The other problem sounds like SI battery failure or a problem with the cluster printed circuit board.
If the SI batteries have never been changed, it's a good place to start.
February 20, 2009 07:36PM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX
Simon,

Contact the odometergear.com folks directly about the gears.

The other problem sounds like SI battery failure or a problem with the cluster printed circuit board.
If the SI batteries have never been changed, it's a good place to start.

Thanks Peter. Going by my experiences with the rest of the car, it is highly likely that it has circa 1989 batteries!

Can someone please point me towards a How To for replacing the SI batteries? Also, what batteries should I use and where can I get them from?

Thanks,
Simon
February 22, 2009 02:08PM
Nomis, Get ready to replace the SI batteries, but before you do so, have you fiddled around behind the instrument cluster recently?
I ask becuase I had this exact same problem, with those exact same conditions. For me though, it turned out to just be a loose connection to the instrument cluster. I figured this out AFTER I replaced the SI batteries though :-)

Of course, if they have never been replaced, they will probably go out on you shortly, and cause all kinds of ghostly problems.

As a side note, loose connections to the instrument cluster can be somewhat satisfying. It allows for the occasional slap to the dash to get things to start working again. Really impresses the passengers winking smiley
February 22, 2009 02:14PM
Oh yeah, and here :-)
[www.pelicanparts.com]

There aren't any pictures with these instructions, but I believe I still have some around my computer that I took while I was doing the battery swap*.
If you open her up and need a point of reference, email me.

Cheers,
~Tyler


*also known as "hack job"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2009 02:14PM by Earendil.
February 22, 2009 05:33PM
Thanks for the link Tyler. Now that I think about it, the Service Indicator is more like a random number generator so yeah it's probably the batteries. And thanks for the tip about the connector!

Simon
February 23, 2009 07:55PM
[home.comcast.net]
This pages could be helpful to you.
Chan.
February 23, 2009 11:54PM
Of Note, I did NOT need to remove my steering wheel to get the Instrument cluster out of my '89 325i. I won't pretend to be an expert on minute differences in international cars, but I would guess this is true for most if not all E30's.

It make look impossible, and it is very much like a puzzle. But it is very possible to get the entire cluster out as one piece, without forcing anything. The hardest part is reaching back and unplugging things with the cluster only partially removed.
February 24, 2009 02:02AM
Quote
Earendil
Of Note, I did NOT need to remove my steering wheel to get the Instrument cluster out of my '89 325i. I won't pretend to be an expert on minute differences in international cars, but I would guess this is true for most if not all E30's.

It make look impossible, and it is very much like a puzzle. But it is very possible to get the entire cluster out as one piece, without forcing anything. The hardest part is reaching back and unplugging things with the cluster only partially removed.

Thanks Chan and Tyler. From the pics, removing the wheel doesn't seem to be much extra work, but I'll have a go at getting the cluster out without removing it first.

Cheers,
Simon
February 24, 2009 02:07AM
Quote
nomis3613

Thanks Chan and Tyler. From the pics, removing the wheel doesn't seem to be much extra work, but I'll have a go at getting the cluster out without removing it first.

Cheers,
Simon

Its not hard, you just have to pry the two ears on top down carefully and tip it forward to pull it out. I have done it numerous times. I don't think you have an airbag, but if you do, you may set a fault by pulling the wheel. I don't know why but it set a fault in mine and it was difficult to find someone who knew how to clear it for me at the time.
February 24, 2009 07:00AM
Quote
Earendil
Of Note, I did NOT need to remove my steering wheel to get the Instrument cluster out of my '89 325i
Really? Wow, when I pulled the instrument cluster out of mine I first tried doing it that way and it appeared nearly impossible. When I finally decided to pull the steering wheel, I had so much more room to work with it made the job more pleasant. I'd like to see how you did it. For the me the hardest part of the job is pulling the cluster out far enough to disconnect the cables at the back. You'd think they could have put just a little more slack in them! eye rolling smiley

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
February 24, 2009 07:08AM
Quote
Andy 90 325i
I don't think you have an airbag, but if you do, you may set a fault by pulling the wheel. I don't know why but it set a fault in mine and it was difficult to find someone who knew how to clear it for me at the time.
I have an airbag, and I have pulled the airbag without setting a fault. It's a pretty easy process: disconnect the battery (wait 15 minutes), pull the orange connector under the steering column, remove the two screws behind the steering wheel that hold in the airbag, and disconnect the wire behind the airbag.

What did set a fault in mine was when I made the mistake of driving it up the road with the airbag disconnected. Don't do that! It was going to cost a bucketful of money to have BMW reset it, so instead I pulled the overhead display out and covered over the bulb.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
February 25, 2009 01:35AM
Quote
Dave_G
Quote
Andy 90 325i
I don't think you have an airbag, but if you do, you may set a fault by pulling the wheel. I don't know why but it set a fault in mine and it was difficult to find someone who knew how to clear it for me at the time.
I have an airbag, and I have pulled the airbag without setting a fault. It's a pretty easy process: disconnect the battery (wait 15 minutes), pull the orange connector under the steering column, remove the two screws behind the steering wheel that hold in the airbag, and disconnect the wire behind the airbag.

What did set a fault in mine was when I made the mistake of driving it up the road with the airbag disconnected. Don't do that! It was going to cost a bucketful of money to have BMW reset it, so instead I pulled the overhead display out and covered over the bulb.

Yeah, it was a long time ago so I don't remember what I did wrong (probably didn't wait long enough) but I know I didn't start it or turn the key on without the wheel on. The problem with your fix is that the SRS system is no longer active. If there is a fault it will not operate in an accident. I know that some prefer it this way give the system's age, and some are simply indifferent, but I just wanted to point that out.
February 25, 2009 07:37AM
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Andy 90 325i
The problem with your fix is that the SRS system is no longer active. If there is a fault it will not operate in an accident.
Hmm, are you positive about that? I thought I checked into that at the time, and determined that it was just a bulb that was turned on, while the air bag system was still operable. I can't remember for certain, so I'll need to go back and double check. But intuitively it seems that for BMW to have the system disabled in my case would be more difficult to engineer than simply turning on a bulb, and also be less desirable (i.e. you would still want the system to operate if at all possible, even in the presence of a fault.).

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
March 05, 2009 10:57PM
I think the reason is that if there is a fault, there is no way for the system to determine what it could cause. While it seems like you would want it to be operable if possible, on the other hand, you wouldn't want it going off at 80mph on the highway for no reason. My understanding is that the ABS and SRS systems always disable themselves if there is a fault present.
March 06, 2009 07:52AM
Hmm, perhaps we will never know for sure. There's good reading on this in this article from Pelican Parts: http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/Mult-Air_Bag_Lamp/Mult-Air_Bag_Lamp.htm From that article:
Quote

Many people have told me that the airbags will not deploy when the airbag lamp is illuminated. This is an area of much controversy, as I have also been told by more than a few people that their airbags did deploy when the light was on. From this non-specific evidence, I would hazard to guess that the airbag system does indeed continue working when the light is on. However, the light is obviously there to warn of a potential fault in the system, so you should check it out immediately if it does happen to light up.
Given that it will cost me at least $80 to buy an SRS reset tool, I'm inclined to believe that the airbag would in fact deploy, even though there's no way to be 100% certain other than getting into an accident. Knowing exactly what caused my light to come on (turning on the ignition with the airbag disconnected), I know that there is no actual fault in the system. The main danger is that if a fault ever does occur, I won't know about it.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
June 07, 2009 06:59PM
Hi,
Thanks everyone for all the helpful info, it's taken me a while to get around to it, but finally I pulled the dash. I was thinking it would be a scary job but thanks to you guys it was fairly easy!

The SI batteries looked less than 20 years old, with no signs of leakage and they had "92 - 02" stamped on them. They each measured 3.3v, which is ok, right?

What is normal behavior for the SI guage. Mine comes on when you start the car, then stays on until the first time it is revved to 2 800 rpm. Is this normal?

Also, the econometer stays dead until 2 800 rpm, then swings fully to the right. Everything appeared ok to me, but I didn't know what to look for. Any suggestions please?

Should the pad wear warning light come on with all the others when the key is turned to ignition before starting? Mine doesn't but I checked the bulb and it is fine.

Thanks,
Simon
June 08, 2009 08:57AM
Your SI batteries need replacing so your econometer will function properly. I just bought a reconditioned SI board on ebay for $40. If you send them your core back they will pay you $20 for it. As for your brake lining light it should not be lit when the key is in the run position, but when you turn it to the starter position it will light up to let you know the bulb is good. That is only if you are not getting any faults from the sensors.
June 08, 2009 05:51PM
Hi Wodcutr,

Thanks for the reply. What makes you think the batteries need replacing? (I'm not disagreeing with you or anything, would just like to know what makes you think they're stuffed)

Simon
June 08, 2009 11:42PM
If the econometer is not working as it should it is generally caused by the SI board not working properly. When was the last time you did a reset? Did it take? Has any of your indicator lights moved down like they should? If the SI board is working then it could be something else, but from my experience dead SI batteries cause a lot of different problems in the cluster.
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