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Electrical gremlins in the ix

Posted by Earendil 
January 10, 2011 05:08PM
I'm trouble shooting a few ghost issues. I'm open to pointers!

First, when running at night with the headlights on, the lights will sometimes dim a bit for a second then come back. I believe this is actually effecting the whole car powerwise. My first thought was voltage regulator, but in the two times mine has failed, it just failed outright without pre-failure symptoms. Second thought was that either the live or grounded lines from the alternator were losing proper connection, forcing the system to operate on battery power for a second or two. Anyone ever seen this?
Outside of running the car with a multi meter attached to the system, I'm not exactly sure how to diagnose this one.

There is a second and potential related problem. With the headlights on, the left front blinker stops working, and you get a quick blinker like the bulb is dead. Doesn't always happen, but happens more often than not. Everything is OEM component light wise. I'll check the wiring to make sure it all looks good. Has anyone seen this before and is there a known failure point? Or is this the result of some previous owners hack n slash, and I'm SOL on a quick and easy fix?

Lastly, the rear middle high tail light isn't getting power, or isn't powering A known good bulb. Common failure point for it?

Thanks for any pointers! smiling smiley

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

January 10, 2011 06:22PM
My first thought with something like this would be a bad ground somewhere. Is there much rust on the car? Sometimes a rusty ground connection can wreak havoc with the electrical system.

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Dave
'91 325iX
January 10, 2011 06:53PM
Quote
Dave_G
My first thought with something like this would be a bad ground somewhere. Is there much rust on the car? Sometimes a rusty ground connection can wreak havoc with the electrical system.

The car does not have much rust. The battery ground point and the point to the oil pan are both looking solid. Far more solid than my own car grinning smiley
I'll pull out the Bentley to find the ground points, make sure they are all looking good.
Could a grounding issue explain the blinker though?

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

rkj
January 10, 2011 06:54PM
Quote
Dave_G
My first thought with something like this would be a bad ground somewhere. Is there much rust on the car? Sometimes a rusty ground connection can wreak havoc with the electrical system.

When you first get an older 325 it's a good idea to clean the grounds first off. Check the signal lamp socket (when it fails) at the bumper; wiggle it and see if it comes on. That's a common loose point, can be just a dirty bulb/socket thing or just the socket in its housing thing.

The regulator usually does just fail without too much warning but they don't always act the same.... it's electrical!

Rick
January 10, 2011 08:40PM
My iX had a similar problem with the blinker; it would blink fast sometimes and it was just in need of having the bulb base and the socket.

When my regulator went, it dies slowly with flickering lights; especially the dash lights. It finally go to the point where it did the dimming thing. Replaced it and it was good to go.

Still, as Rick points out, it's a good idea to double check all the ground points; especially the one on the back of the alternator/regulator and the one that connects the engine block to the chassis(left side near the motor mount).

Check the wire for the third tail light where it passed through the trunk lid. It could be chafed through or broken.

This is fun, I get to relive my iX through you :mmbeer:
January 10, 2011 10:24PM
I had the same problem with my blinkers, turned out to be the flasher unit, it has to be the one with the seperate earth wire, I just put a normal generic in and then the problems started, changed it out for the electronic one with the earth wire and never had a problem since.

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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.
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