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Electrical woes............ :-(

Posted by Flyboy 
November 30, 2010 12:46PM
Hi All, well it seems that my trusty 318i electrics are really starting to fall apart now, and when it comes to things electrical, well lets just say, better i refrain from going anywhere close, that dark science of neutrons and electrons and all that stuff not visible to the eyes of us mere mortals, is like hoodoo voodoo to me.

It all started with the horn going bananas after a trip, after shutting the car down, the horn would not shut up, even with the car turned off, I had to eventually slide underneath the front valence and disonect the wires from the horn units to get them to shut up.

Then the instrument and console lights started playing up, kept blowing the fuse, 21 or 23, I don't remember, but replace the fuse and all was good again for a day or two, then they stopped working all together, not even blowing the fuse, just nothing, nada.

So for the last year or so I have been driving with no horn or instrument or console lights, because climbing into wires scares the crap out of me, and to poor to get a sparkie out.

About 2 weeks ago it added its latest party trick to its line up, one afternoon after work, climbed in to drive home, and on turning on the ignition key, instead of getting all the usual idiot lights, all that comes on is the charge light, nothing else, and the starter is dead.
Check the fuse box, sure as nuts, number 10 is blown, pop in a spare and all is good, all lights on, starts right up, driving to work the next day the whole panel dies, tem, fuel tacho, fuel consumption, every thing except the speedo.
Get to work, whip the bonnet open, sure as God made little green apples, #10 fuse, blown.

Anyway this is intermitent so I replace fuse as required every day or three.
Sunday I try and start the car, starter gives one kick, then dead, check idiot lights, only the charge light...damn, plug in new fuse, all idiot lights back on, but at only half thier normal brightness, and starter is still dead.
With the car swiched on, while thinking about this, I see whisps of......you guessed it, smoke from behind the console somewhere :-o
Promptly shut down.

Well, I don't see my way clear to climb into that wiring harness, scares the crap out of me, been through the wiring diagrams, can't find anything obvious.
So now I am relegated to driving the Renault Scenic.....with balaclava on :laugh:

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
November 30, 2010 08:51PM
It is probably some bad ground wire for the last item. I almost did my car in with forgetting to connect the ground to the engine. Caused a high current in some much smaller grounds for other stuff and some smoke came out of a wire bundle near the battery. The other problems may be an easy fix if you can find a pinched wire somewhere that has intermittently been touching some worn bare spot in the insulation.

Might be time to get some help from some one not intimidated by a lightening bolt from your battery.

Bob in Everett
rkj
November 30, 2010 09:59PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
It is probably some bad ground wire for the last item. I almost did my car in with forgetting to connect the ground to the engine. Caused a high current in some much smaller grounds for other stuff and some smoke came out of a wire bundle near the battery. The other problems may be an easy fix if you can find a pinched wire somewhere that has intermittently been touching some worn bare spot in the insulation.

Might be time to get some help from some one not intimidated by a lightening bolt from your battery.

Bob in Everett

Wiring issues can be daunting for sure :teeth: but in a lot of cases if you start at the item in question and work backwards you can usually get to the source of the problem thumbs up
November 30, 2010 10:26PM
Yes, I know, you guys are right, I do understand the theory, and that heaps of patience and strong character is involved in tracing a problem, I just get so frustrated when I pour over bunches and bunches of wiring loom and find nothing obvious, last weekend I had the instrument cluster and glove box plus a good few kick panels and ventilation ducts out to get the the main loom that runs from left to right behind the dash. (RHD)
I unwrapped the whole loom, jeeez there is a million wires in there, found all to be good, taped it all back up, and chucked in the towel, that took me the better part of the whole weekend.

I was also thinking along the lines of a chaffing, where a loom comes through the firewall, where mybe the rubber grommet is perished and the firewall has chaffed through, I have had the fusebox out to check the underside, all looks good, I am blessed that I stay at 5500' above sea level, the climate is very dry, so we do not suffer the same damp problems and gremlins that I read about so often on here.

I know about the problems that can be caused by a bad earth, but my main ones are fine, the two big thick cables, from the battery to the body, and from the body to the motor, are good.
I was thinking maybe behind the dash, there is a stud or bolt where all the ground wires come together and bolt to the body there, maybe that nut has come adrift and the eye terminals are loose, giving earthing problems, I am yet to find it though, it seems to be hidden away in the most furtherest, highest point behind the dash.
Oh well, I will let you all know what I find.

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 01, 2010 09:05AM
Quote
Flyboy
Then the instrument and console lights started playing up, kept blowing the fuse, 21 or 23, I don't remember, but replace the fuse and all was good again for a day or two,...
If it was fuse 21, have a look at the wiring to the trunk (boot) light. The feed wire runs along the left side trunk lid hinge. That wire is prone to chafing over a sharp edge where the wire comes out of the hinge assembly and jumps to the vehicle body. When you open the trunk lid that wire rubs on that sharp edge, eventually cuts through the insulation, and grounds out, causing a short that blows fuse 21.

Quote

Check the fuse box, sure as nuts, number 10 is blown, pop in a spare and all is good, all lights on, starts right up, driving to work the next day the whole panel dies, tem, fuel tacho, fuel consumption, every thing except the speedo. Get to work, whip the bonnet open, sure as God made little green apples, #10 fuse, blown.
A blown fuse #10 is almost always caused by the wires to the reverse light switch chafing where they go down through the gear shift lever opening in the transmission tunnel. Pop the shift lever boot up and you'll see two wires going down through the rubber boot below that. One wire is hot when the ignition is in the run position, leading to the reverse switch up on the side of the transmission. The switch closes when you shift to reverse, feeding power on the return wire to the reverse lights. If either of those two wires are rubbing on the transmission tunnel and have worn through their insulation, they'll short out blowing fuse #10. That's a very common failure.
December 01, 2010 11:03AM
Electrical Cons: May take some time, and will feel like you are making no progressive until 2 seconds before you fix it.
Electrical Pros: Cheap as shiet to fix. Can be done on a road side in the middle of nowhere smiling smiley

I had an issue for a while where at random times my car would shut off while driving for no apparent reason. It would usually start immediately afterwards with no problem. This meant that I could never really trouble shoot it! Turned out it was the relay for the ECU among other things. So every so often it would click off/on really quickly, but slow enough that the ECU dies and with it the car. Once I figured it out though, it was like $5 and 5 seconds to fix!
No, that isn't directly helpful. I just felt like sharing smiling smiley

And Ferd, as always, you rock.

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/01/2010 11:04AM by Earendil.
December 01, 2010 12:17PM
Ferdi, I wish you had posted earlier, you must stop letting work interfere with your time on the forum, got home took the bull by the horns and started tearing into pulling the dashboard out, I am going to fix this if it kills me. Anyway I tear in to it and it is just beemer spares flying all over, eventually I have 80% of everything forward of the steering wheel lying on the back seat, as it starts getting too dark to carry on, I push the car back into the garage, lock up and come inside, to read through the forum and see if I have any responses, and stumble across Ferdi's gem.
And what do you think the first thing was I found this afternoon when I STARTED striping?
I give you two guesses, but you only going to need one.................. :crying:

And I will put folding money on the table that Ferdi is spot on with the trunk lid wiring too, about 5 years ago I swiped an armco barrier with the left side, actually, swipped the barrier, turned 180 degrees and went backwards over two armco barriers to land up on the oposite side of the freeway facing in the wrong direction, but that is another story, anyway, the left front fender and both left doors needed replacing as well as work to the left rear quarter panel, to get it back into shape, for this the complete left side of the car was stripped, including the trunk lid........mmmmmmmmm :thinking:

But, ok I still need to justify spripping the dash out to make me feel better, I guess the mystery of the continous blowing horns ain't been solved yet, so I guess that is a good reason, aso have to make sure how far those reverse wires burned, and I have a heater that won't warm up, so I guess I need to pull the core and flush it before winter, should be easier without the dash......
Anyway, I have a few cracks on the dash, so I want to try and fix them, any ideas would be welcome right about now, a good second hand one with no cracks strats at around two grand, six grand from the agents, so that is not going to happen.
Most dash and bumper repair places don't want to touch them because of their age, saying they start to crack along side the repair after not to long.
Will do a thread on the repair and let you know how it worked out, once I decide how to tackle it.

Once again, Ferdi, you are one of the UBER GENIUSES

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
Attachments:
open | download - Reverse light wiring 318i.JPG (167.4 KB)
rkj
December 01, 2010 12:58PM
Yes, Ferdinand is a Gem thumbs up Along with a few others here... I once had an E30 here for signal lamp problems; I got so fed up with looking for a cure (after many days searching and testing) I sent the car down the street to my electrical shop (I haven't stumped Joe yet in many years of working together), he found in the main harness where it went through the firewall a wire stripped of insulation (we figure on assembly when they were pulling the harness through) that had finally caused problems.

Few things can be so frustrating as electrical troubles, you almost have to "not think too much" when trying to fix them.

Good Luck, sounds like you're well on your way to electrical health smileys with beer

Rick
December 01, 2010 01:17PM
Hi Rick, yep, must agree with you, there are many here who astound me everyday with thier know how when it comes to Beemers, I shall not attempt to name them for fear of skipping someone.
Unfortunately a look at the power distribution box in the wiring diagram and it seems it is fuse 23 that runs the dash lights not 21, so maybe not so easy on that one.
Yesterday I towed the car down to the auto electrical shop, so this morning they phone me and inform me, "lots of work" "this is bad" and quote me three and a half grand just to remove the dash, thats before they even touch the electrics..... HUH ?????? Nine hours labour, 350 bucks an hour...still not sure how that equals 3500 bucks????
Surely it cannot take nine hours to remove a dash, I got home and jumped into it, and I worked for about an hour and a bit, another hour and the dash is out.

But for that sort of money, it is do it myself, of die trying, or buy a bicycle, so I hitched it up and towed it back home this afternoon.

Oh and Lord alone only knows what they did, but I guess in thier half assed attempt at a quick diagnosis , they managed to melt the fuse in the fuse box, not sure if that socket is going to work again...Grrrrrrrrrr :mad:
Rather do the work yourself, and know it is done properly, no matter how intimidating, these monkeys simply dont give a rats ass about our classics.

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 01, 2010 05:40PM
Quote
Flyboy
Ferdi, I wish you had posted earlier, you must stop letting work interfere with your time on the forum...
Work has been stupid busy lately.

I haven't even gotten around to sharing this year's Targa Newfoundland stories with you yet, or last week's Rally of the Tall Pines.


Quote

started with the horn going bananas after a trip, after shutting the car down, the horn would not shut up, even with the car turned off, I had to eventually slide underneath the front valence and disconnect the wires from the horn units to get them to shut up.... I guess the mystery of the continuous blowing horns ain't been solved yet,

The horn operates via two circuits. One circuit goes through the electromagnet in the K2 Horn Relay, then through the horn switch(es) in your steering wheel, and from there to ground. Pressing the horn button(s) on the steering wheel closes the circuit and energizes the magnet in the Horn Relay. It is possible that there could be a short to ground somewhere between the relay and the horn buttons on the steering wheel, thereby keeping the relay energized. However, this circuit should only ever receive power when the ignition is in the Accessory, Run, or Start position. With the ignition Off, there should be no power available to energize the Horn Relay.

When the magnet in the K2 Horn Relay is energized, it pulls a switch closed inside the relay. That switch, when closed, feeds power to the two horns. The power source for that circuit is Hot at All Times. So it sounds like the relay switch was stuck closed. That can happen. As relay switches get old the contacts can weld themselves together. Either replace the K2 relay in the fuse box, or try taking it apart to clean the contacts on the switch inside the case.

Quote

the instrument and console lights started playing up, kept blowing the fuse, 21 or 23, I don't remember, but replace the fuse and all was good again for a day or two, then they stopped working all together, not even blowing the fuse, just nothing, nada.

Unfortunately a look at the power distribution box in the wiring diagram and it seems it is fuse 23 that runs the dash lights not 21, so maybe not so easy on that one.

Power to the console lights comes from fuse 23, through the headlight switch, to the bulbs, then to ground. Any short downstream of the bulbs, while not good, really shouldn't affect their operation. To blow the fuse, the short has to be upstream of the bulbs, between the fuse and the bulbs.

It is possible that there is a short somewhere in the wiring leading from the fuse, via the headlight switch, to the various bulbs. But, more likely, the problem is in the headlight switch itself.

If it was just an intermittent short, the console lights would stop functioning because fuse 23 has blown. The fact that the lights have stopped working, but the fuse in NOT blown, makes me think that something has come loose inside the headlight switch and it's buggered.

My console lights suddenly died altogether. I eventually traced the fault to a blown dimmer rheostat inside the headlight switch. I fixed that by soldering a jumper wire across the dimmer switch so the console lights now only ever come on at full brightness. I've never seen the need to turn down their brightness anyway. I'd rather be able to make them brighter, if anything. So the loss of the dimmer function doesn't bother me at all now.
December 01, 2010 08:26PM
Thanks Ferdi, I will check out the headlight switch this afternoon when I get home from work, I have to pull it out to get the dash out anyway, as always, these are things I would never suspect, because I don't know how the system works, but you explain it in such simple terms, it makes clear and perfect sense, so I can hone in on the problem, so I guess there is my motivation to remove the dash, to trace the wires from the headlight switch to the fusebox anyway. ;-)

Just off topic for a second, my central locking has given up the ghost ages ago, and I traced it down to a burnt PC board in the central locking controller, down in the foot well, so I will look for one of those as well, although it does not really worry me, as I am mostly solo in the car, and the other doors generaly stay locked.
But I am having issues with my drivers door lock, not locking, although the key turns, I read a thread on here that mentioned the little ball bearing wearing a groove in the barrel and then the lock stops working due to the ball rolling along the groove and not engaging the arm.
My question is, would it be possible to fill the groove with something like Pratley Steel or other hard two mix epoxy, to restore it to functionality, a lock is going to be hard to find, and I don't really want seperate keys, anyone experimented with this?

P.S, Having done a bit of rallying myself, I follow your stories with great interest, waiting for the next one.

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/01/2010 08:29PM by Flyboy.
December 02, 2010 10:16AM
Quote
Flyboy
my central locking has given up the ghost ages ago, and I traced it down to a burnt PC board in the central locking controller, down in the foot well, so I will look for one of those as well, although it does not really worry me, as I am mostly solo in the car, and the other doors generaly stay locked.
The central locking controller PC board has a fuse mechanism which blows if the lock motors are drawing too much current. It's a spring blade soldered to a big resistor. If it gets too hot, the solder melts, releasing the spring blade and breaking the circuit.

You can try resoldering it, but you really should find out why it let go in the first place.






Quote

But I am having issues with my drivers door lock, not locking, although the key turns, I read a thread on here that mentioned the little ball bearing wearing a groove in the barrel and then the lock stops working due to the ball rolling along the groove and not engaging the arm.
My question is, would it be possible to fill the groove with something like Pratley Steel or other hard two mix epoxy, to restore it to functionality, a lock is going to be hard to find, and I don't really want seperate keys, anyone experimented with this?

It's a bit of pain pulling the door lock out of the door. You have to get inside the door panel to pull the big C-clip out to release the lock cylinder. That's part #20 in this diagram.

Once you get the lock cylinder out of the door, the rest is relatively easy. Just follow the steps in this article to take the cylinder apart. If your epoxy experiment doesn't work, and you find a replacement cylinder, that article also explains how to swap the lock tumblers from one cylinder to the other so you can keep you original key.

Quote

P.S, Having done a bit of rallying myself, I follow your stories with great interest, waiting for the next one.

This September's Targa Newfoundland stories can be found here: [www.mco.org]



I'm still working on the rest, but the first few installments of last week's Tall Pines Rally stories, and videos, are here: [www.mco.org]


rkj
December 02, 2010 12:07PM
A little side note on the door locks, mine got so stiff this summer they would not not work with the keyless thingy. I sprayed (with everything in place) down the lock knob stud (just dribbled it down with the knob pull off) and then anywhere I might get a shot at the lock mechanism, got the glass all covered with the stuff and the locks started working like a charm with a little use. I think they were all dry and stiff. I use a product called Corrosion block, it's a marine spray that is claimed to work even out in the salt air, lubing and protecting moving parts. I can say from experience it works really well and doesn't turn sour like the majority of wd40 type sprays do.

Just a thought
December 02, 2010 12:47PM
Hi Rick, yep, I know what you mean, I am planning on pulling and lubing all my locks, I can only imagine the gunge in there after 475 000Km, you guys are really fortunate with the stuff you can get off the shelf, not so lucky down here, I would sell body parts for a crate of Seafoam and selected colours of VHT paint.
As a hobby and a little sideline, I rebuild/restore classic motorcycles, and I wish I could get my hands on some VHT Yamaha engine case silver.

Well I got home a little to late to do any work this afternoon, so no updates, but I want that dash out tomorrow, but it looks like I will have to pull the seats, and the carpet, to properly follow the burnt reverse light switch wires, to make sure I get all the burnt sections out.
But thanks to all your guys encouragment and advise, I am feeling a lot more up beat about the job, and am sure I will have the car running and most of the little niggles sorted by Monday and I can start driving it again.

All of you guys are really the best, many many thanks.

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 05, 2010 02:50PM
Ok, so this weekend was spent up to my eyeballs in wieres, wires and more wires, dash removed, poked and prodded all over the place for two days and now it is finally all together again, well sort of, good enough to drive tomorrow anyway.
I had planned on attending to a whole host of things while the dash was out, but never got around to any of them, ever get the feeling you are like a dog, franticaly chasing your tail.

Well the good news it, the car now starts fine and no smoke from any wires, I replaced a bunch of them down at the gear lever, just as Ferdi said, I have half guilty suspicion that this little episode was self induced, there were indeed wires to the reverse light switch pinched, but a whole bunch of otherones too, now I remember doing a clutch overhaul about six months ago........:rolleyes:

I had to bypass Fuse 10 in the fuse box, as the idiots at the auto electrical shop, let the fuse burn and melt so badly, that terminal is now totally destroyed and can never be used again.
I just cut the wires off the bottom off the board and connected them to an inline fuse holder, and went looking for a switched power source to connect the other end to....landed up being the wire that feeds the little motor on the washer bottle, so now my Fuse 10 lives outside the fusebox, but it is in a weatherproof case.

Also got the horn, halfway working, you can hear the relay click in and out when you push the horn buttons, so now I just need to check if I didn't chop any wires downstream of that to the units, I don't think it will be too hard to get them working.

The bad news is, I never got around to anything else because I was to pre-ocupied trying to get the dash and console lights working, well I have officially thrown my hands in the air in defeat, I can't get them to work.

There is power to all the bulbs, so that is good, but not 12V though, as I remember, only very little, maybe the rehostat as Ferdi mentioned, but I dont think so, because even with the switch disconnected and I take power straight to the Grey and Red wire on the switch, which powers the dash and console lights, still no lights, strange thing is, the radio now has backlight, but only the radio, I stripped and checked the light switch, found some melting inside, and repaired it so all the little contacts slide on the board as they should.

I found, during the million and a half readings I took with the multimeter that I get good earth on the body, where the dash bolts up, but none on the steering column, so I ran an extra earth wire between the two, strange though, as the turn signal and wiper stalks take thier earth right from there where they bolt on, and they work fine.

So that is where I stand at the moment, ran out of daylight today, so will just be driving the car minus a passenger seat and glove box tomorrow, as I never got around to getting them in before dark.

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 06, 2010 10:55AM
Sounds like you didn't do to bad, especially as you were describing electrics as voodoo a couple of days ago.
rkj
December 06, 2010 12:13PM
Quote
Flyboy
Ok, so this weekend was spent up to my eyeballs in wieres, wires and more wires, dash removed, poked and prodded all over the place for two days and now it is finally all together again, well sort of, good enough to drive tomorrow anyway.
I had planned on attending to a whole host of things while the dash was out, but never got around to any of them, ever get the feeling you are like a dog, franticaly chasing your tail.

Well the good news it, the car now starts fine and no smoke from any wires, I replaced a bunch of them down at the gear lever, just as Ferdi said, I have half guilty suspicion that this little episode was self induced, there were indeed wires to the reverse light switch pinched, but a whole bunch of otherones too, now I remember doing a clutch overhaul about six months ago........:rolleyes:

I had to bypass Fuse 10 in the fuse box, as the idiots at the auto electrical shop, let the fuse burn and melt so badly, that terminal is now totally destroyed and can never be used again.
I just cut the wires off the bottom off the board and connected them to an inline fuse holder, and went looking for a switched power source to connect the other end to....landed up being the wire that feeds the little motor on the washer bottle, so now my Fuse 10 lives outside the fusebox, but it is in a weatherproof case.

Also got the horn, halfway working, you can hear the relay click in and out when you push the horn buttons, so now I just need to check if I didn't chop any wires downstream of that to the units, I don't think it will be too hard to get them working.

The bad news is, I never got around to anything else because I was to pre-ocupied trying to get the dash and console lights working, well I have officially thrown my hands in the air in defeat, I can't get them to work.

There is power to all the bulbs, so that is good, but not 12V though, as I remember, only very little, maybe the rehostat as Ferdi mentioned, but I dont think so, because even with the switch disconnected and I take power straight to the Grey and Red wire on the switch, which powers the dash and console lights, still no lights, strange thing is, the radio now has backlight, but only the radio, I stripped and checked the light switch, found some melting inside, and repaired it so all the little contacts slide on the board as they should.

I found, during the million and a half readings I took with the multimeter that I get good earth on the body, where the dash bolts up, but none on the steering column, so I ran an extra earth wire between the two, strange though, as the turn signal and wiper stalks take thier earth right from there where they bolt on, and they work fine.

So that is where I stand at the moment, ran out of daylight today, so will just be driving the car minus a passenger seat and glove box tomorrow, as I never got around to getting them in before dark.

Later, when I have some time I have a few suggestions regarding your post, but for now I must congratulate you on a fine electrical outing flyboy; you've got a pair! (and a real name?)

Anyway, nice going, electrical work ain't for everybody but sooner or later we all have to do some.... Cheers, Rick
December 06, 2010 12:45PM
Thanks Rick/Michiel

It was a long frustrating weekend, but I had no option, you gotta do what you gotta do, but it felt good to hear it fire up again.
Without the help and input from all the good folk here, I doubt the job would have been done now, after all the drama of pulling the dash, it turns out nothing needed replacing there, so I could have saved myself 4-5 hours there, but at least I had a good look under there, and all looks good, so some peace of mind gained if nothing else. All the burnt wires were under the carpet under the passenger seat.

It just irks the dang out of me that I can't get the dash and console lights working, I have poured over that wiring diagram a million times, all seems good, and as I said, there seems to be power to the bulbs as checked with the multimeter.

Could it be possible, on the off chance that a surge during a short circuit blew ALL the bulbs?? Highly unlikely, I know, but possible.
This is now my major issue, I know I will get the horns working this weekend, and maybe even get to pull the heater radiator to flush it, to restore the heater in the car.
I also need to get the interior fan working on all speeds again, again, it is not a worry, as I know what I need to do there, with regards to cleaning the resistor pack behind the firewall.

Slowly, slowly I will get my e30 back to tip top condition.

Oh, and my other great worry is the camshaft, which is worn down and now the rockers make a racket, so the camshaft, rockers and lifters need replacing, problem is, I can't source an aftermrket cam here, or rockers, and the dealers are out of the question.

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 06, 2010 01:08PM
I remember the dash went out on my previous E30 when the rear ash tray wires got damaged under the central console/parking brake. I never repaired it (though it was an easy job).
December 06, 2010 01:16PM
Quote
Flyboy
The bad news is, I never got around to anything else because I was to pre-ocupied trying to get the dash and console lights working, well I have officially thrown my hands in the air in defeat, I can't get them to work.

There is power to all the bulbs, so that is good, but not 12V though, as I remember, only very little, maybe the rehostat as Ferdi mentioned, but I dont think so, because even with the switch disconnected and I take power straight to the Grey and Red wire on the switch, which powers the dash and console lights, still no lights, strange thing is, the radio now has backlight, but only the radio, I stripped and checked the light switch, found some melting inside, and repaired it so all the little contacts slide on the board as they should.

Do you have wiring diagrams for your car? You managed to find the Grey/Red wire, so I'm assuming you must have access to some wiring diagrams. Otherwise, you should grab the diagrams for your car from this site: http://shark.armchair.mb.ca/~dave/BMW/e30/

In the meantime, so we can all share the same chart, here's the page for the Dash Lights, showing how the circuit feeds through the headlight switch.



Power comes via Fuse 23 to the headlight switch on the Grey/Green wire. When the headlight switch is in the Park or Headlight position power flows out of the headlight switch on the Grey/Red wire, which you've already found. It branches from there to all the various dash lights.

A relatively easy spot to check for power would be at the Ash Tray light. That socket is easy to get to without having to take the entire dash apart again. With the headlight switch on, you should be able to measure 12v between the Grey/Red wire and a GOOD body ground. If not, then the problem is somewhere upstream.

Now look at the wiring diagram again. From the Ash Tray light, follow the Brown/White wire to where all the bulbs' Br/Wt return wires are spliced together, then connect back through a single Br/Wt wire to the headlight switch dimmer rheostat, and from there on the Brown wire to ground.

You can see that if that dimmer function in the headlight switch is buggered (like it was on my car), then none of the panel lights will see a good ground. You should be able to use your multi-tester on the resistance setting, to measure the resistance between the Brown/White wire at the ash tray light socket and a good body ground. Try turning the headlight switch to see how (or even whether) the resistance varies.

On my broken headlight switch everything worked except the dash light dimmer function. I had no dash lights. I measured infinite resistance (open circuit) regardless of how much I twiddled the headlight knob.

In my case I could have bought a new headlight switch. But mine worked otherwise, it was just the dimmer function that was blown. The cheap solution was to solder a jumper wire from terminal 11 to terminal 8 on the headlight switch, from where the Br/Wt wire enters the headlight switch to where the Br wire leaves the switch. That effectively bypassed the burnt out dimmer switch altogether. Presto. Dash lights now always come on at full brightness.
rkj
December 06, 2010 06:06PM
Quote
Ferdinand
Quote
Flyboy
The bad news is, I never got around to anything else because I was to pre-ocupied trying to get the dash and console lights working, well I have officially thrown my hands in the air in defeat, I can't get them to work.

There is power to all the bulbs, so that is good, but not 12V though, as I remember, only very little, maybe the rehostat as Ferdi mentioned, but I dont think so, because even with the switch disconnected and I take power straight to the Grey and Red wire on the switch, which powers the dash and console lights, still no lights, strange thing is, the radio now has backlight, but only the radio, I stripped and checked the light switch, found some melting inside, and repaired it so all the little contacts slide on the board as they should.

Do you have wiring diagrams for your car? You managed to find the Grey/Red wire, so I'm assuming you must have access to some wiring diagrams. Otherwise, you should grab the diagrams for your car from this site: http://shark.armchair.mb.ca/~dave/BMW/e30/

In the meantime, so we can all share the same chart, here's the page for the Dash Lights, showing how the circuit feeds through the headlight switch.



Power comes via Fuse 23 to the headlight switch on the Grey/Green wire. When the headlight switch is in the Park or Headlight position power flows out of the headlight switch on the Grey/Red wire, which you've already found. It branches from there to all the various dash lights.

A relatively easy spot to check for power would be at the Ash Tray light. That socket is easy to get to without having to take the entire dash apart again. With the headlight switch on, you should be able to measure 12v between the Grey/Red wire and a GOOD body ground. If not, then the problem is somewhere upstream.

Now look at the wiring diagram again. From the Ash Tray light, follow the Brown/White wire to where all the bulbs' Br/Wt return wires are spliced together, then connect back through a single Br/Wt wire to the headlight switch dimmer rheostat, and from there on the Brown wire to ground.

You can see that if that dimmer function in the headlight switch is buggered (like it was on my car), then none of the panel lights will see a good ground. You should be able to use your multi-tester on the resistance setting, to measure the resistance between the Brown/White wire at the ash tray light socket and a good body ground. Try turning the headlight switch to see how (or even whether) the resistance varies.

On my broken headlight switch everything worked except the dash light dimmer function. I had no dash lights. I measured infinite resistance (open circuit) regardless of how much I twiddled the headlight knob.

In my case I could have bought a new headlight switch. But mine worked otherwise, it was just the dimmer function that was blown. The cheap solution was to solder a jumper wire from terminal 11 to terminal 8 on the headlight switch, from where the Br/Wt wire enters the headlight switch to where the Br wire leaves the switch. That effectively bypassed the burnt out dimmer switch altogether. Presto. Dash lights now always come on at full brightness.

Yes, these grounds are all so important on our cars, I've even run a jumper ground right off the battery to test circuits out with. I know that sounds redundant but I get like that (no questions) when I'm running down systems! The headlight switch often do fail, remember that little screw when you're taking it out, you don't have to unscrew it all the way as I remember.

What motor are you running; M40 or 42. In our 318ti we had the M44, what a delight that was smileys with beer If I had the M40 I think I'd be looking for the later motor to change over to, even if it was a long term project.

Rick
December 06, 2010 09:17PM
Hi Ferdi/Rick
Thanks again for the feedback guys, yes I do have a bunch of wiring diagrams for the car, I have the Haynes, Bentley and the big zillion page, 500mb factory manual as well as a separate wiring diagram PDF which is about a 5.8meg file, but not the one you have posted up here, copy saved ;-)

Ok, I understand what you are saying, I did basically everything you suggest on the red and grey wires and all checked out good, everything is getting power, now I just need to do the same on the brown and whites.
According to this diagram, they come together at splice S307, now my wiring diagram, although it has a section showing the various splices and their locations, is missing that page (8000-5), I seriously don't hope the dash has to come out again to get to it, I will have a serious sense of humour failure.
I understand the logic, but was working with the grey/red and brown, not brown/white, obviously I would not get a circuit, because the grey/red is connected to the brown earth through the brown/white and thus the rheostat, so as I understand it, if I remove the light switch all together and by bridging grey/red to grey/green at the plug and bridging brown/white to brown that should complete the circuit and light should shine on marble head.
Which would validate the integrity of the wiring and isolate the switch from the loop, if I then plug in the switch and no lights, I know 100% that my switch is faulty, probably the rheostat, as was the case with your car, which I can just bypass with a jumper wire between brown and brown/white.
Damn, ain't it amazing when the penny drops. smiling bouncing smiley

Rick, I have the M40 motor, and what a sweet little mill it is, it is seriously bullet proof, IIRC it is the same bottom end as the M10 motor which is the same bottom end that BMW used in their Formula 1 cars back in the day, stroked down to 1500cc and turbo charged, I will keep my eyes open for a cam though, as I would rather buy a later model 3 series than do motor swaps, I would like to keep the little 318i as original as I can, as a daily driver, because of her excellent fuel consumption and because it is such a pleasure to drive in stock form.
I would like a fire breathing 3 series as a weekend and occasional driver though, and because we never got the e30 M3 in this country a 333i is what I want, because of the limited numbers built, they are worth a fortune in pristine condition and are collectors items or what was called here the 325is Evo II which ran with the Alpina 2.7 litre motor.......................one day :rolleyes:

Quote

BMWs have been assembled in South Africa since 1968, when Praetor Monteerders' plant was opened in Rosslyn, near Pretoria. BMW initially bought shares in the company, before fully acquiring it in 1975; in so doing, the company became BMW South Africa, the first wholly owned subsidiary of BMW to be established outside Germany. Three unique models that BMW Motorsport created for the South African market were the E23 M745i (1983), which used the M88 engine from the BMW M1, the BMW 333i (1986), which added a 6-cylinder 3.2 litre M30 engine to the E30, and the E30 BMW 325is (1989) which was powered by an Alpina-derived 2.7 litre engine.



Ok, hijack off, I will see if I can find that splice and check as you have said, and will let you know how it goes.
Once again, many, many thanks guys, I really do appreciate all the help you have taken time to give.

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E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 06, 2010 10:04PM
Quote
Flyboy
so as I understand it, if I remove the light switch all together and by bridging grey/red to grey/green at the plug and bridging brown/white to brown that should complete the circuit and light should shine on marble head.
You got it!

Quote

Damn, ain't it amazing when the penny drops. smiling bouncing smiley
Yes, light bulb turns on!

DC circuits, with simple on/off switches should be relatively easy to diagnose if you have a good circuit diagram and think about it methodically. I'm completely lost though when there are integrated circuits and logic chips involved.

The real bugger is if it's only an intermittent fault that always seems to work perfectly whenever you have the time and inclination to try to solve it.
December 06, 2010 11:55PM
SUCCESS smiling bouncing smiley smiling bouncing smiley .......yay, dash lights all working now, turns out the rheostat has departed this world for a better place, Ferdi, I owe you a truck load of ice cold frosties. smileys with beer
Now I am starting to love my car again, ain't it strange when you work on the car and repair a bunch of things, after that it seems like the best car in the world.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 07, 2010 09:17AM
Quote
Flyboy
SUCCESS smiling bouncing smiley
I owe you a truck load of ice cold frosties.

Awesome!

Save the frosties for when I come to visit you someday. Or better, invest the money in a new camshaft.

I wish I could help you with your camshaft issues, but I'm out of my depth on that one.

You should send an email to Bavarian Autosport just to see what they would charge you for a new one. Shipping to South Africa might cost a bit more than what we pay here. But I've always found these guys to be extremely helpful in sourcing parts. They have an online catalogue of parts at [www.bavauto.com], but it's not a full catalogue. If the parts you need aren't listed there, don't worry. Send them email and I'm sure they can provide whatever you need.
rkj
December 07, 2010 10:39AM
Quote
Flyboy
SUCCESS smiling bouncing smiley smiling bouncing smiley .......yay, dash lights all working now, turns out the rheostat has departed this world for a better place, Ferdi, I owe you a truck load of ice cold frosties. smileys with beer
Now I am starting to love my car again, ain't it strange when you work on the car and repair a bunch of things, after that it seems like the best car in the world.

I love that feeling thumbs up smileys with beer thumbs up
December 07, 2010 12:57PM
Ferdi, you welcome anytime, the day you set foot on South African soil, you better give me a shout, I will show you South African hospitality like you have never seen, we will drink cold beer under the hot African sun and you will marvel at the big five in all their splendour, in bush so beautiful, you have only imagined it in your dreams.......you to Rick.

I made a point of leaving the airport late this afternoon, so I could drive home in the dark and enjoy my dash lights...hahahahahahaha how stupid is that? :rolleyes:
Although I found a few lights still out, like the heater control in the center console, I will just check the little bulbs that plug in there, also the lights that illuminate above the light switch, I will just check that bulb to, but these are easy to sort out.
Question, should the rear window de-mister switch be illiminated, or only when it is selected on?
This weekend I will fit the new horn units and sort out the interior blower fan, so it works on all speeds, not just 4.
If time permits, pull the heater core and flush it, so when winter comes, the heater is working.
Then I can put my passenger seat and glove box back....yay.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
December 07, 2010 01:22PM
Quote
Flyboy
Rick, I have the M40 motor, and what a sweet little mill it is, it is seriously bullet proof, IIRC it is the same bottom end as the M10 motor which is the same bottom end that BMW used in their Formula 1 cars back in the day, stroked down to 1500cc and turbo charged, I will keep my eyes open for a cam though, as I would rather buy a later model 3 series than do motor swaps, I would like to keep the little 318i as original as I can, as a daily driver, because of her excellent fuel consumption and because it is such a pleasure to drive in stock form.
I would like a fire breathing 3 series as a weekend and occasional driver though, and because we never got the e30 M3 in this country a 333i is what I want, because of the limited numbers built, they are worth a fortune in pristine condition and are collectors items or what was called here the 325is Evo II which ran with the Alpina 2.7 litre motor.......................one day :rolleyes:

I once drove a 316i M10 in a Touring, I was quite surprised with how smooth and how willing that engine was. Don't know if M42's were delivered in SA, I really like that one.
December 07, 2010 01:52PM
Quote
Flyboy
Ferdi, you welcome anytime, the day you set foot on South African soil, you better give me a shout, I will show you South African hospitality like you have never seen, we will drink cold beer under the hot African sun and you will marvel at the big five in all their splendour, in bush so beautiful, you have only imagined it in your dreams.......you too Rick.
That's very tempting. I sure could use some hot African sun right now. It's damn cold with snow on the ground here in Ottawa.

Quote

I found a few lights still out, like the heater control in the center console, I will just check the little bulbs that plug in there, also the lights that illuminate above the light switch, I will just check that bulb to, but these are easy to sort out.
Surely just a couple of bulbs burnt out. The one in the heater control may even just have slipped out of the little hole it sits in.

Quote

Question, should the rear window de-mister switch be illuminated, or only when it is selected on?
That switch has a bulb and a couple of resistors built into it. The bulb should light up with all the other panel lights, and adjustable brightness via the headlight dimmer rheostat...

When the rear window de-mister switch is activated, power feeds through the other resistor inside the switch so that the bulb lights up brighter to indicate the de-mister is on.

If the bulb is lighting up only when the de-mister is activated, then you know the bulb itself is good. On my car the switch operated like that for a while, with the bulb only lighting up when the de-mister was on. It bugged me, so I opened up the switch and discovered that the solder joint on one leg of one of the internal resistors had come unattached. I resoldered that, and now the bulb in the switch works properly again. It comes on when the dash lights are activated, and comes on brighter when the de-mister is activated.

Quote

This weekend I will fit the new horn units and sort out the interior blower fan, so it works on all speeds, not just 4.
What model year is your 318i?

I've seen illustrations of other cars where the resistor pack is accessed via the engine compartment hatch on the firewall, in where the blower fan sits. But on my older 1986 325e, the blower fan resistor pack was accessible from inside the car, under the centre left side of the dashboard, up high on the heater box.

I went to all the trouble of going in through the engine compartment hatch, yup, I see the resistor pack in there, but then couldn't figure out how to pull it out. Turned out, in my case, it comes out from under the dash. Unplug the electrical connector, depress a couple of plastic release clips, and it slides right out.

Quote

If time permits, pull the heater core and flush it, so when winter comes, the heater is working.
Does your car have air conditioning?

My 86 325e didn't have A/C. That was a bugger. When I needed to replace my heater core, everyone said it's an easy job. It slides right out. Ya right. It's only easy on cars with A/C, because the heater core sits way down low in the heater box and it DOES slide right out.

To my dismay I discovered that in cars without A/C the heater core sits much higher up in the heater box. When I tried to slide it out it only came out a couple of inches and then bumped up against the steering column. I had to drop the steering column, and remove the pedal cluster as well, before I could pull the heater core out far enough to remove it. What should have been a simple job ended up taking me all weekend with lots of cussing and swearing.

Is your car right-hand-drive? If so, you're laughing, cause then the job should be dead simple whether you have A/C or not, as you already have the steering column and pedals out of the way.
December 07, 2010 01:56PM
Yes Michiel, we did get the M42 motor here, although never in the e30, but n the next model up, the e36, it is just an M40 bottom end with a fancier more modern head, with twin cams. I must agree it is a nice motor.

But I am thinking that the 8.8:1 comppresion ratio of the M40 is just begging to be force fed..........

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E30'S AREN'T BUILT, THEY'RE CAUGHT IN THE WILD!!!



When in doubt, use full throttle,
it may not improve the situation, but it will end the suspence.
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