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electric gremlin

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by mac townsend, Jan 16, 2009.

    mac townsend guest

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    1984 325E. 221M + miles. Car is a theft recovery...bad guys stole it to rip out the stereo the then young owner had installed. I ended up with it after it passed thru several other hands and am little at a time repairing the damage done as money and time and energy is available (I am not young, except in my longings<G>)

    the present problem is the LF turn signal. She no work UNLESS the headlight switch in on. RF and rears work fine.

    Bulb's good (check with VOM, and even by sticking it into the RF socket).

    When I light the car (with my new keyed ignition...better than the screwdriver I used when i got it!<G>) the orange dash light usually flashes and I reset it on the overhead leaving the "Brake Lights" warning light glowing. (most of the time, that is. sometimes this does not happen and all seems fine). (one of the rear tail lights does not light, brake lights all do. it is not the bulb I suspect it might be internal in the fixture. but the warning of a brake light out is bogus (as are all of the warnings this useless piece of wretched excess provides!)

    I flip right turn on, signal works no change in any dash or warning light. left turn, bam (or SHAZAM!--and I remember Captain Marvel comics!). the "rear lights" and "license plate" light warnings come on (even with headlight switch all the way in so LP shouldn't be on!). If I reset it, subsequent use of the RF signal does not usually cause warnign light.

    If I turn on the headlights, the turn signal works. If they are off, it doesn't.

    I crawled underneath the bumper today and pulled the plug...it looked ok, not damaged or cut into by a dpo (damn previous owner...and there is a LOT of that on this car). I unplugged it and it can't be put in backwards, so I plugged it back in and tried it...glory be, it worked.

    10 min later as I was leaving my ';garage" (a rented place 3 miles from home) the same old same old started again.

    looking at the circuit diagram has been of no help to me -- probably because I don't fully understand what I am looking at either on the car or in the book.

    where do I look? (lucky it works at night with the lights on as then it is even more useful)
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    mooseheadm5

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    You likely have a bad ground somewhere. Start looking at the left tail light fixture and work your way back to the switch. The clue is the brake light warning, and the other warnings going off. I would bet that one or more of those lights does not glow at the correct brightness. Also make sure that you have the correct bulbs. They should be the nickel base euro bulbs in the correct wattage (which is listed on the fixture itself.) My bet goes on bad ground, though.

    mac townsend guest

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    I've cleaned the sockets on both rear fixtures. The plastic clips on the fixture are broken on one, so I used small screws and nuts to hold the metal part of the socket to the plastic part until I can go foraging at the local pick and pull. The plug in for the whole fixture looks reasonably good, proper clean scratch marks...and I hit it with CRC contact cleaner.

    the bulbs used are 1156 bulbs (single filament, 10-25w, 12v) . Likely a mix of brass and nickel base....is there that much difference (brass>Ni) to trigger a fault in a 25 year old system?

    Where is the main ground for the rear lights actually located? Under the rear seat or ? I don't want to tear up the lining in the trunk unless I have to.


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    mooseheadm5

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    Do not use 1156 bulbs. They are incorrect and can cause some issues. I think the ground for the lights is under the seat, but I will have to check.

    mac townsend guest

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    if 1156 is wrong, WTF are the correct bulbs? SAE # pls? TNX!

    and BMW 700...I autocrossed one of those dudes 45 years ago in Albany, NY area. belonged to someone else but shared the ride. never won sheeit, but had fun. surprising grunt for the small lump. Have not seen one since. God Bless!
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    mooseheadm5

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    7506 is the correct bulb with a nickel base and the proper wattage. This may not be the cause of your problem, but the 7506 is the correct bulb. The tail lights use a lower wattage bulb, and don't put in ones that are too bright or they will melt the fixture.

    mac townsend guest

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    7506 comes us as identical to 1156 in every search I can figure to do.

    ??
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    mooseheadm5

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    And yet, they are not the same always. 1156 bulbs are not that strictly controlled for wattage and are not necessarily made well. The European 7506 bulbs are the ones to use. They are usually made by Osram/Sylvania or Phillips.

    mac townsend guest

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    OK. Will look around.

    I see one fixture is labeled 10w (the tail light fixture ?) (the others 21 w)

    would you know the # for this one? on my car this socket holds an 1156.

    oh...BMW 700? used to be wonderful autocross cars back in the sixties. got to drive one once. pretty much extinct now. As I recall, it could be quicker than an Abarth 750 (because it was lighter...again, old memories<G>)

    update:

    replaced the 3 brass based 1156 with osram/sylvania erro bulbs (from NAPA...the parts guy had worked at a Volvo store and knew exactly what I was getting at).

    used a piece of 3/8 plastic tubing, slit, with scotchbrite piece inserted, to twist in the bulb sockets,. polished them up a fair bit. did front turn signals as well. pulled back seat and seat back to disconnect and polish the major ground back there.

    tuned key...no flashi9ng orange light. started. no flashing orange light. left turn signal. no flashing orange light. the overhead warnign panel remaoned dim.

    Cool, I thought. So I put the tools away, cleaned up a but, locked the shop, and fired it up to leave.

    Farking orange light. But this time it went out when I hit the brake pedal...as did the overhead. left turn OK. Sigh.

    went on to other errands...but the warning panel is still coming up although the lights themselves seem to work dandy. Sometimes a tap of the brake pedal cancels it all, other times it does not and the left turn signal results in "rear lights" and license plate ligh overhead warning coming on, even with the headlight switch off.

    at this point I think the thing to do is realize that BMW did not spec wiring and such that it would last 40 years -- the car is 25 now -- any more than GM or others did (I have a wiring issue on a 02 Olds)...and just drive the beast.

    is there a sensor item than can be refreshed.replaced?

    ViolinARC guest

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    Take a step back...

    +1 on the possible bad ground or possibly a bad LCM? I was having a lighting and alarm issue on my '89 750iL and it turned out to be a bad LCM (Light Control Module). All the grounding solder had cracked and failed causing intermittent operation...no trouble codes were thrown though.

    Your best bet is to have the LCM tested and then if that proves to be unsuccessful, go wire by wire...

    Also, when I changed out my tail lights for cheap aftermarket ones on my 2000 540i, every lighting code in the book occurred until I replaced them with OEM and the proper ballasts. Sometimes it can be a simple matter of incorrect resistance and our cars go nutz! Did any of the original owners replace those components with el cheapo parts?
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    mooseheadm5

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    The orange light will always come on when you start the car if you are not pressing the brake pedal. You have to press the pedal to get it to go out. You must run a 10W bulb in the tail light or you will melt the fixture, so I hope you found one. Still think there is a bad ground somewhere.

    There is no LKM on an E30. It's old skool.

    mac townsend guest

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    I did not think there was a LCM.

    and the orange light/brake pedal behaves as you describe.

    I replaced/check/cleaned ALL the bulbs and cleaned all the sockets and replaced a rear window heater switch...suddenly all seemed to work 98% of the time. the other 2% I just chalk up to old electronics talking to itself. trying to track this down is to drive one crazy. It works, drive the S.O.B.!<G>

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