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Instrumentation

Discussion in 'E31 (1991-1997)' started by wbmunroe, Jul 29, 2015.

    • Member

    wbmunroe

    Post Count: 38
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    Instrument cluster has now gone completely dead. However, it's only the gauges. My odometer is working fine, tracking miles. Trip meter I & II both reading accurately. Even the low fuel light will illuminate when necessary. Yet, NONE of the needles are moving. No temp gauge, tach, speedo, or fuel. I checked the fuses, and replaced them just in case... No joy!

    Everything worked sporadically when I purchased the vehicle back in April. On the trip to Oklahoma from Orlando, they seemed to have a mind of their own. They would read for 20, 50, 100 miles at a time but then shut down at any given time for a few miles. Now that they've gone completely, and haven't read for the last 1-2k miles, I am lost as to where to look.

    Currently putting my faith in the ECM to tell me speed (hitting reset on the Avg setting) and utilizing the Distance to Empty as my fuel marker (along with the trip meter).

    Anything else that may be the culprit??
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Did you get an electrical troubleshooting manual with wiring diagrams for your car? Charlson might have some ideas - I wonder if E31's have service interval boards similar to E30's with batteries - I _think_ later E30's might have had capacitors instead of batteries, but an issue on E30's was dead batteries and ensuing wonkiness - I'd guess E31's would be different and not have that issue, but, just a guess.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

    Post Count: 2,416
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    Ok it sounds like the issue your having is quite a common one. There is a module called EKM which sends the information to the cluster on how the gauges should read. The other is the cluster itself has failed. So without really knowing the system and having the proper testing equipment you won't be able to see which one it is. So the best thing to do is replace both which I will warn you now is very expensive. You can go used as long as the cluster and EKM are from the same vehicle you can not mix and match with these. The problem with going used is the mileage will be off and can be corrected with aftermarket software but this can get into some legal stuff about changing the mileage.
    • Member

    wbmunroe

    Post Count: 38
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    If the odometer and trip meter are reading/functioning properly, it would lead me to believe it is the just the gauges. If that is the case, is it possible to just replace the gauge cluster, or do I have to replace the EKM as well?
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    If you get a brand new cluster then you can just replace the cluster.
    • Member

    wolfebrian2120

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    hey wbmunroe, don't know if your still having the issue but you might want to ask some of the guys on bimmerforums. They actually have a pretty good knowledgebase on the E31. Also they are pretty active on the forums and will help you out if they know something. Its where I go for all the gremlins that pop up with my E31. If I were you I would start with the cluster and see if you can test to make sure they are working appropriately. I am pretty sure the EKM is one of the modules under the dashboard drivers side. I haven't read of anybody having issues with that one. Usually people just have problems with the capacitors going in the general module.

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