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.
Married daughter's 1990 325ic (husband is in the President's sand box)and Friday evening the low beams quit working. Saturday I went over and checked the lights, yup, no workee, but the high beams were fine, in fact the low beams came on with the high beams but not in low beam only mode. I checked the fuses (good) and tapped the low beam relay, still no workee, so I took a volt meter, pulled the electrical lead off of the sealed beam unit on passenger side (easier to access) and with ignition switch to on I checked the voltage, and it was fine. I then put the electrical led back on and Voila I had low beams. OK, is the passenger side wiring tied to the drivers side (I do not see this in the wiring diagram) and did I clean the electrical lead and solve the issue (I do not think so). Any one care to jump in (and , yes the low beams are still operational).
Had a problem with my lows. When I switched to high, then back, the lows wouldn't come on unless the dimmer switch was agitated correctly. Took the steering wheel off and removed the dimmer switch. Sprayed some really good contact cleaner in it, and now all works correctly.
Thanks for the response, my next event (if this occurs again) is the switch, (thorough cleaning).
I'm almost 100% sure its just the headlight. On the later E30's they had a dual element sealed beam for the lows. One element for the low and one for the high in the same housing. This is why it looked like the low beam worked when you kicked on the highs. A sealed beam 5 3/4" headlight can be bought for about $8.
Ditto... Seems strange that both low beams would go out at the same time but stranger things have happened! AJ is right though about the dual fillament outer bulbs. The outermost lights are high/low and the inner ones are high only. So on high you will have 4 elements burning and on low only the outer 2 should be going. Sounds like you just have low beam elements burnt out on the outer 2. Just check continuity across all the prongs on the back of the bulb. Should be 3 of them. One is ground the other two are the two separate elements. One will have continuity to ground and the other won't if one element is bad. Like AJ said any good auto parts store should have the dual element bulbs, but look for Hella if you can find them or Sylvania. Tell your Daughter we'll keep her hubby in our prayers and thanks for lending him to us.
Thanks for the input. I just looked at the wiring diagram and can see the dual element wiring and how it works. I too believe that to have both lamps go at once is a one in a million happening and as the daughter said it happened as I switched from bright to dim lamps it is or was in the switch/multi-function lever. I will pass on your sentiments to my son-in-law, he is a MP Deputy Brigade Commander at Camp Victory (Baghdad international)and his comments are, "We are making a bit of progreess, but do not believe it is worth the effort and sacrifice".
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.