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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 08-21-2003, 10:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have a 1986 BMW 325 that I bought about a month ago. So far, I am absolutely loving the car, but there are a few nagging problems I need to get fixed. The most pressing on my mind is the odometer. It is stuck at 131k miles. The previous owner said that it broke about a year ago, but he doesn't drive it much, so he figures the actual mileage of the car is now about 140k. Having a working odometer would greatly help me schedule maintenance and service. Until I get it fixed, I am assuming I'll drive it about 15,000 miles a year and keep adding it to the mental total, but I'd really, really like to fix it. The instrument cluster is VDO.

The bad news is I know nothing about how to fix a problem like this. Is it something that can be fixed simply by replacing a gear in the odometer, or will I have to swap out the whole intrument cluster?

I should also mention that the tachometer doesn't work either. Sometimes it works for a few seconds in third gear, most of the time it just sits at 0, and when it's getting near time to upshift, it goes flying like crazy towards 4000. If it's part of the same problem as the odometer, I'd love to fix it at the same time, but if it's not, I could care less; I know when it's time to shift by sound anyway.

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Does anyone have any idea where I can start looking for answers to these problems? Should I try to find a replacement cluster, replace a gear, or just take it to a shop and let them fix it for a premium price?
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Old 08-21-2003, 11:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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welcome incremous!

you have a good looking car your odometer problem is probably a gear behind the gauge, i'd just reccommend you get a brand new (working) cluster with around the same mileage. the gear is not really an easy fix and would cost almost as much as a used cluster which run around $40. the power modules also probably need replacing inside the cluster and might be causing the tach to not work right, but like i said earlier, it would be much easier to just get a new cluster. you should try to get a VDO cluster from a 86 or later model e30, but a motometer cluster should work too if thats all you can find (although alot of people say a motometer wont work, ive tried it and it worked for me).
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Old 08-22-2003, 04:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice. I'll be on the lookout for any old E30s I can find.
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Old 09-12-2003, 05:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would be sure about the cluster to use as a replacement
I re-did mine to put in some white face plates
and had a few VDO and Motometer clusters to try out
the VDOs worked fine but not all the gauges worked with the Motometers
check yards and Ebay for clusters
and while your at it rewire in some new NiCad batteries to your cluster
get a kit from a local electronics shop that has a battery case and long wires
mount it were you wont have to take out the cluster again to replace the NiCads

by the way... I took out the 7k tach and put the 5k one back in (for 1986 325e)
the 7k didnt read accurately
with the Dinan chip and 3.46 LSD it burries the tach redline at 120mph in 5th
guess I'll never burry the speedo up to 145mph ghead
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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yea also got that problem but nothing affcted on car thx for help
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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same problem here odometer stopped but nothing affected on car stopped at 179,000
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