Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Messages

Advanced

intermittent turn signal.

Posted by Bob in Everett 
November 29, 2012 11:04PM
Now I have an electrical gremlin of my own. The left turn signal is bonkers . It occasionally works normally but then will stop flashing the indicator and corner lights but the relay clicks really fast. The emergency flasher will flash all the lights. The AM radio has a short burst of static if the signal is operating normally and then stops flashing the bulbs and starts running the clicker relay fast. Must be a loose connection somewhere. Have not been into the dash for many months so no excuse there. The right one always works normally. Checked the bulbs and cleaned their contacts. Replaced the rear bulb but not much difference. Still intermittent.

Anyone have a suggestion?

Bob in Everett
November 30, 2012 09:53AM
Turn signals are supposed to be intermittent! :stickpoke:

Perhaps there is a short circuit somewhere, check the wiring.
Take a look to the wires that run to the bumper and side repeaters, just guessing. Or the loom that runs the bottom of the car to the rear lights.
The flasher relay doubles the rate whenever the current drawn is off the values it is supposed.
So does the overhead panel near the mirror.
Corroded ground connections can do all kind of trouble, check all of them and renew if necessary.

Good luck, keep us posted.
November 30, 2012 09:27PM
Bob, mine played up with similar symptoms a year or two ago, in my case I dropped the lower steering column cover and replaced the flasher unit and it was good after that.
But it has to be the electronic flasher unit, not the el cheapo ones that work off load.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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, 2012 10:28PM
Since it is an intermittent problem, testing it probably would not be conclusive. I suppose it is a dealer item to buy a replacement. My parts bin probably does not have a spare one of them either.

Bob in Everett
December 01, 2012 01:10AM
Bob, no it should not be a dealer only part, any auto parts store, like autozone should have them, just ask for an electronic one.
They are more than the standard ones, but not hellishly expensive.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 03, 2012 07:16PM
Before buying a new flasher, you'll need to pull the old one anyway so might as well open it up and take a closer look at it.

It could be the relay contacts have built up a burnt layer and simply need to be cleaned up a bit. Or, it might be cracked solder joints that just need to be re-flowed.

This is what my flasher relay looked like when I opened it up.



The relay clicking open and closed puts quite a shock load into the solder joints that anchor it to the circuit board. Both of those circled square pins were cracked loose from their solder joints. And the contact pointed at by the arrow showed signs of having been overheated. I just took my soldering iron to re-flow those connections and the flasher has been fine ever since.
December 03, 2012 10:37PM
The flasher relay actually works. The emergency flasher function goes through the same relay and that part works ok on all four corners. The right turn signal works and the left is intermittent. So it appears that the switch on the stalk is the culprit. I have obtained a similar one from a salvage car but my car has the airbag steering wheel. This I do not have instructions for removing in the Bentley manual. Reluctantly, I may have to have some professional help with this one.

Bob in Everett
December 04, 2012 08:44PM
Bob, a buddy of mine who used to be a BMW tech now runs a company that replaces airbags post collision. Let me query him and I will get back to you.

alan
December 04, 2012 08:48PM
Bob, give me a day, I can get the answer for you insofar as the air bag is concerned.

alan
December 05, 2012 04:16PM
OK,

1. disconnect car battery
2. step on brakes a few times to bleed off and electricity in the system
3. remove air bag (screws in back), d/c air bag pack
4. remove steering wheel and switch out turn switch.
5 reverse above steps.

DO NOT RECONNECT BATTERY BEFORE EVERYTHING IS BACK TOGETHER OR YOU WILL GET A FAULT LIGHT WHICH HAS TO BE RESET AT THE DEALER!!!!

ALAN
December 05, 2012 04:50PM
And for safe measure, keep your head to the side just to be on the safe side.

alan
December 05, 2012 07:52PM
That is the part I am afraid of. Seems to me there are some wires from the bag to the column that must be just right or will get tangled when turning the wheel.
I have an estimate from a shop to change the stalk for about $85 so maybe I will let them do it.

Bob in Everett
December 08, 2012 05:28PM
Well, my plan to have the repair shop do the work did not turn out so well. I discovered that I had the non-obc turnsignal stalk as I was heading out the door to the shop. I went anyway and discussed it with them. They checked the connector and it was the same so we went ahead with the work. Now my SRS light is on (airbag system). The mechanic had the tool to reset the light but it does not reset. Since all my radio presets work, it appears he did not disconnect the battery.

Turn signals work. Now I have a flashing red light on the check panel that flashes for a while then stays on steady. I suppose I could remove the two bulbs in the panel. It appears that one flashes and then the other stays on. I guess I will have to check that without the cover on it.

Bob in Everett
December 08, 2012 07:06PM
Turns out that there are 4 different part numbers for turn signal stalks for 1990. All the permutations and combinations of airbag and OBC require a different part. Who knew that it could be so complicated.

Bob in Everett
December 09, 2012 02:40PM
Wow, the reason you ALWAYS d/c the battery is so you don't get an accidental bag deployment which can be expensive at best, fatal at worst. Connector arcing can deploy the bag.

alan
December 09, 2012 07:29PM
Another reason to disconnect the battery is to be sure that power is not applied to the SRS system by turning on the key before the system is completely assembled. I talked to another BMW mechanic and he said that he would have not disconnected the battery either. Just would have been careful to not turn the key on until the system was reassembled. By having the power off, the fault code can be avoided and the concomitant trip to the dealer to have the code reset. Since I did not have the right part number of turnsignal stalk, the fault cannot be reset. I have to obtain the correct part and go through the whole process again.

Bob in Everett
December 10, 2012 10:22AM
Quote
Bob in Everett
Another reason to disconnect the battery is to be sure that power is not applied to the SRS system by turning on the key before the system is completely assembled. I talked to another BMW mechanic and he said that he would have not disconnected the battery either. Just would have been careful to not turn the key on until the system was reassembled.
I'm not sure about this because, although my car 1990 325is is supposed to have an airbag, a previous owner swapped steering wheels to a non-airbag model so my car is now non-airbag. However, to pull the steering wheel off you need to turn the ignition key to release the steering lock. It's not possible to remove or re-install the steering wheel with the steering column lock engaged.


Quote
Bob in Everett
By having the power off, the fault code can be avoided and the concomitant trip to the dealer to have the code reset. Since I did not have the right part number of turn signal stalk, the fault cannot be reset. I have to obtain the correct part and go through the whole process again.
I'm not believing that part either. The only difference between the OBC turn signal stalk and the non-OBC turn signal stalk is one switch at the end of the stalk. Pushing the switch inward, toward the steering column, cycles the OBC through its various display functions. There shouldn't be any relation to the air bag.
December 10, 2012 09:14PM
The specifics about the airbag and the turn signal would be interesting to find out for sure. I plan to buy the correct stalk and replace it myself then try and get the error indication turned off. It is pretty annoying to drive at night with that light flashing for a few minutes before it goes steady.

Wish I knew where to find out more about the SRS system integration.

Bob in Everett
December 10, 2012 09:48PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
Now I have a flashing red light on the check panel that flashes for a while then stays on steady. I suppose I could remove the two bulbs in the panel. It appears that one flashes and then the other stays on. I guess I will have to check that without the cover on it.
Unfortunately you will find when you open it up that the SRS bulb is permanently soldered directly to the circuit board -- it's not removable! (I discovered this when I stupidly reconnected the battery while my steering wheel was off.)

You have three options:
1. Learn to live with the pretty red light.
2. Open it up and stick some electrical tape over the bulb area.
Both of these options will leave you with a non-functional air bag.
Or:
3. Get yourself a Zymexx SIR3 tool. That is the ONLY reset tool that I've ever found that will work. The regular Peake, etc. won't do it. And even then, there's some jury-rigging that needs to happen to get it to reset the SRS light. There's an excellent write-up here: [forums.bimmerforums.com]

The only place that I've ever seen the Zymexx tool for sale is from the Bimmerforum user Shogun in Japan (he's in that thread). I got mine from him, and it worked like a charm to reset the light. Good luck!

(Good luck finding a dealer that will reset an E30 SRS light. I'm not sure that's even an option any more.)

I also don't think the turn signal switch has anything to do with this. I'm using a non-OBC stalk with an OBC, and other than not being able to control the OBC remotely, there's no problem.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
December 11, 2012 12:01PM
i am some what surprised as disconnecting the battery and bleeding off any residual charge is a major safety issue when dealing with airbags. Around here, a guy was killed a few years ago when he was doing a steering wheel repair, he head was in the way as he is doing something in the steering wheel inners and the bag goes off breaking his neck.

As was pointed out above, sometimes you have to insert the key to move the wheel. See if there are any independent airbag service outfits in your area, they can help you. You just have to reset the system once the repair is complete.

alan
December 11, 2012 04:22PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
suppose I could remove the two bulbs in the panel. It appears that one flashes and then the other stays on. I guess I will have to check that without the cover on it.
Quote
Dave_G
Unfortunately you will find when you open it up that the SRS bulb is permanently soldered directly to the circuit board -- it's not removable!
That got me wondering. With the airbag removed in my car, how come I don't have a flashing SRS warning light in my overhead check panel?

Here are photos from the last time I had my check panel apart.

There is a screw-in bulb for the seat belt warning light, but three empty sockets below that.


Flipped over, the sockets don't look any different than the one for the seat belt warning light.


Nonetheless, I would NOT recommend simply removing the airbag warning bulb. Any time that warning light is lit, you have to assume the airbag is in an unreliable state. It will probably not deploy when you need it.

You should also NEVER assume that a lit warning light indicates the airbag is safely disabled. The warning light merely indicates that the airbag system has some undefined issue that needs to be checked out before you can trust it to function normally.

Have it reset properly. After that, no lit warning light either indicates that the air bag system has passed its internal diagnostic check, or that the warning light bulb has burnt out.

You should occasionally press the 'CHECK' button on the overhead check panel to confirm that ALL the warning lights still function and none have burnt out.
December 11, 2012 05:44PM
Quote
Ferdinand
There is a screw-in bulb for the seat belt warning light, but three empty sockets below that.

Flipped over, the sockets don't look any different than the one for the seat belt warning light.
Hmm. That's definitely different from mine! I'm guessing it may be a Canadian/U.S. thing.

Quote

Nonetheless, I would NOT recommend simply removing the airbag warning bulb. Any time that warning light is lit, you have to assume the airbag is in an unreliable state. It will probably not deploy when you need it.
Yeah, this.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
December 11, 2012 05:50PM
Ferd. are you the original owner of the car? If not, I bet a previous owner just pulled the bulb (or someone who worked on the car).

alan
December 11, 2012 07:57PM
Quote
alanrw
Ferd. are you the original owner of the car?
Nope, I'm at least the 3rd owner.
rkj
December 12, 2012 05:59PM
Are these older air bags something one wants to be in front of, seems like a libabilty to me.
December 12, 2012 06:55PM
Quote
rkj
Are these older air bags something one wants to be in front of, seems like a libabilty to me.

New, old; it doesn't matter. If you are not sitting directly in front of it, as in driving or being a passenger, the force of an air-bag on the side of the head is enough to break your neck. This is why children and small persons should not be in the front seat, even if they are sitting properly and properly restrained.

Air-bags save countless lives...but they have also taken too many sad smiley
December 12, 2012 08:53PM
After all this discussion, I am coming to the conclusion that the technician did not make the exchange correctly by not disconnecting the battery. His use of the tool may not have been as proficient as well. He mostly works on newer cars. I am going to print out the article and take it to the shop and see if he will try it again.

Thanks for the info. It helps a lot. I did not know that there is a separate connector under there. I will have to look under there to see it myself.

Bob in Everett
rkj
December 12, 2012 10:48PM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX
Quote
rkj
Are these older air bags something one wants to be in front of, seems like a libabilty to me.

New, old; it doesn't matter. If you are not sitting directly in front of it, as in driving or being a passenger, the force of an air-bag on the side of the head is enough to break your neck. This is why children and small persons should not be in the front seat, even if they are sitting properly and properly restrained.

Air-bags save countless lives...but they have also taken too many sad smiley

You know Peter, I'm sure you know what you're talking about. However, you're not making me feel any better about driving a car with air bags (the 5er has them all over the stinkin place!), but you'd think by 1998 Bmw would have had the air bag technogly down, right?

Rick

1988 325is/5
December 13, 2012 07:44AM
Quote
rkj
Are these older air bags something one wants to be in front of, seems like a libabilty to me.
People always worry about old air bags exploding in their faces prematurely, but I challenge anyone to document a case of this ever happening. It seems to me that if this were a real threat, we'd have heard about it by now. Instead all we hear about are people afraid of it.

On the other hand, I can offer an anecdote of one old air bag functioning perfectly well. My track car (a Miata) is also driven on the street now and then, so I keep it registered, and in my state in order to pass its annual inspection I'm required to keep the air bag. It's a 1990, i.e. the first year that air bags were installed in all U.S. cars (IIRC), so it's about as old as an air bag can be. A couple years ago I missed the apex badly in Turn 2 at Mont Tremblant, tracked out onto the grass, and slid down the hill about 100 yards before smacking nose-first into the Armco at about 60 MPH. I can report that the 20-year old air bag deployed exactly as designed. Of course, between the 6-point racing harness, racing seat, helmet, and head-and-neck restraint, the air bag was entirely superfluous, and I don't think it even reached my face. But it definitely deployed as intended. (BTW, I was fine.)

FWIW, I keep the air bag in my E30. As a volunteer firefighter and EMT, I've responded to countless accident scenes and have seen first-hand the good they do. Of course there are horror stories too, and rare occasions when they do more harm than good, but IME on balance they are a Good Thing. YMMV

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
December 13, 2012 03:32PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
After all this discussion, I am coming to the conclusion that the technician did not make the exchange correctly by not disconnecting the battery. His use of the tool may not have been as proficient as well. He mostly works on newer cars. I am going to print out the article and take it to the shop and see if he will try it again.

Thanks for the info. It helps a lot. I did not know that there is a separate connector under there. I will have to look under there to see it myself.

The problem is that he did not d/c the battery so the monitor circuit detected something had been disconnected and sent an error message to the srs computer. Now that the computer has the flag, it has to be reset by code machine which he should have. Many of these machines are retro capable.

alan
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 32
Record Number of Users: 3 on September 29, 2015
Record Number of Guests: 116 on November 11, 2017