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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 06-30-2004, 01:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ok, I'm posting this question in an attempt to avoid paying a shop by the hour to track down my problem.

I've got a 1986 325 with the 2.7L engine. I'm not particularly a BMW fan, but I know they're good reliable cars. I picked this one up for a mere $900 (which was the main reason for my ownership) and it only had 115,000 miles on it.

My problem is this. I've got a short in the electrical system, verified by running test leads from the negative battery terminal to the unattached ground cable. It shows 12. something volts, which I've read signifies a short. I don't have any blown fuses (which is confusing), so I started removing fuses to try to narrow down the short. Well I was finally was able to eliminate the short by pulling fuses 21, 27 and 28. Which, according to the Bentley manual is the radio circuit (the only thing all 3 have in common). I've had the dash nearly completely removed and have a grey w/red striped wire that shows as grounded. But the Bentley book shows this wire in a variety of functions (mainly lighting). I've pulled the light switch connector, radio connector, multi-function clock connector and various other connectors in an attempt to track it down without luck. I can eliminate the grey/red wire short, but not the system short.

I can't seem to find a wiring diagram that shows the radio circuitry, so I'm not sure where to go from here.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I'm inclined to continue replacing the alternator brush/regulator rather than pay high dollars to a repair shop where it could take hours or days to track down.

Thanks...
Dino
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Old 07-03-2004, 09:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally posted by DC118us@Jun 30 2004, 02:22 PM


I'm inclined to continue replacing the alternator brush/regulator rather than pay high dollars to a repair shop where it could take hours or days to track down.

Thanks...
Dino
Is it that you feel that the shop is not worth the dollars it is charging you to find the problem? If it were such an easy fix anybody could fix it. You obviously didn't factor any repairs into the cost of ownership, just that $900 price tag. At our shop it's $85 per hour @ actual time + material, with an initial approval of up to 4 hours for electrical work. You would probably be better served driving a Grand Am or some other throw away car.

PS: I would carry a fire extinguisher in the car.
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Old 07-05-2004, 09:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you have the power antenna, try unplugging it. Sometimes the shut off doesn't work and it will try to put down the antenna down all the time.

Good luck.
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