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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 06-17-2007, 09:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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help.. car is 'running live' without giving any power!! HELP!

i've posted this on many forums and no one ever responds except people that just say random stuff for a post count like 'IDK, THAT SUCKS'

i have a 87' 325e.. a lot of stuff is always running even without the key in the ignition.. car can be completely off for a long time and everything will always be running (can't tell if power windows always work too because they never did in the first place when i bought the car)
someone previously told me that my wires were 'running live' and that's what the cause is but that's all he said.. so that wasn't any help.

radio and the indicator LEDs that show if i need more coolant, brake fluid, etc. are always on without turning the car on in anyway. after a while i found that my battery died.. so i don't want to buy a new one until i get this problem fixed or id just be wasting more money on another battery.

someone please help me fix this problem!!

btw my friends dad said some kind of ignition relay/accessory relay is possibly stuck on? wtf does that mean?
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like your ignition switch is shot. The next time the power stays on reach under the dash and unplug your ignition switch to test. The grease turns green from corrosion and can conduct 12V even with the key off.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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sounds like starmavin saves the day again?
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Old 06-18-2007, 01:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Starmavin
Sounds like your ignition switch is shot. The next time the power stays on reach under the dash and unplug your ignition switch to test. The grease turns green from corrosion and can conduct 12V even with the key off.
thanks a lot.. from what you're saying it sounds pretty much like that could be it. the power always stays on as long as a battery is hooked up.. any help on where the ignition switch exactly is and what it looks like? that'd help me tons.. because im pretty clueless on it..
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Before you tear it apart, test it first, there could be another problem.

It's kind of easy to get to, you have to take off your steering wheel and column cover and on the opposite side of where you insert the key it'll be clipped on to the lock housing, it just pops off. It's a rather complex little switch and I do not advise taking it apart unless you have a spare there to be your back up if it's really bad. It has a tiny plastic push in twist lock that that goes through the switch and is spring loaded and once you are inside there are more small parts, and can be rather difficult to reassemble. Once you have it out hose it down with electrical cleaner and blow it out with compressed air, repeat until clean then squirt in some electrical grease.

If it's really bad, get another one. New they run about $55 - $75, there are at least 3 different ones depending on your year and if you have an air bag or not.

Last edited by Starmavin; 06-18-2007 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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alright.. so this morning i went out to take off the ignition switch.. i took off the brown part off near the steering wheel and left the end of the harness connected (im pretty sure it's not necessary to disconnect the end of the hardness too to test it, PLEASE correct me if im wrong.).. noticed that there was corrosion.. but it seems the radio and everything still ran live without any power to the car still even after ignition switch removal =/

help please?

Last edited by maciag; 06-18-2007 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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if this comes to any use.. if i pulled fuse 4 the radio would obviously go off and there would be no more power to it but the check control panel would have lit LEDs still.. also i dont know if this was installed into the car from a previous owner.. or if it comes with bmw's but there's an off and on ignition flick switch on the left side of the steering wheel.. and when i flick it off or on it doesnt seem to do squat or effect a single thing
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Old 06-18-2007, 05:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That sounds a lot like an alarm switch.

And Yes. Disconnect the ignition switch, thats how you test if it's the problem. Once its unplugged and you still have power to everything then that isn't the problem.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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here's the switch im talking about.. http://i13.tinypic.com/62qy90z.jpg <----- go there

i already tried taking off the ignition switch (NOT that weird after market flick switch that i found in my car, but the actual ignition switch on the steering wheel) and radio and everything still ran live.. i only took off the brown part on the steering wheel though not the end of the harness, i assumed it wasn't necessary to unplug the end of the harness also so i didnt.

do i test anything with that flick switch? maybe whoever tried installing whatever that is messed something up?
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Old 06-19-2007, 03:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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check under your car for underglow lights... i know it sounds stupid, but ive heard of people getting cars and finding random swtiches turning out to be someone installing the underglow on the car... damn ricers/
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by saltshaker185
check under your car for underglow lights... i know it sounds stupid, but ive heard of people getting cars and finding random swtiches turning out to be someone installing the underglow on the car... damn ricers/
nah.. theres nothin under there.. i dont think it has to do with anythin like that
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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alright, now this is probably going to puzzle everyone that's helping me.. because soon as i found this out it puzzled me..

my hazard lights are kinda stuck and hard to push back out once you turn them on but you gotta toggle with it for a little to turn it back off.. but i turned on my hazard lights to see if they even worked today.. soon as i did the problem went away while the hazard lights were turned on? wtf?? once i turned the hazard lights off the problem came back. i turned the hazard lights back on and traced where the aftermarket flick switch was wired to.. it was wired to a blank button right next to the hazard lights.. i pressed that button that the aftermarket switch was hooked up to (the blank button) and then turned off the hazard lights once again and now the problem is completely gone.. what in the heck? i had a temporary test cluster hooked up, but with that problem turned off temporarily with what i just did the cluster illumination lights always stay on..

this sounds like a giant puzzle to me.. someone please help me sort this out!!

Last edited by maciag; 06-19-2007 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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oh, btw someone just recently told me this if this helps..

'That "blank" button next to your hazard switch is actually the circuit breaker for your power windows. The way it is supposed to work is that when you press it and it pops out, showing a red bar around the edge, it kills the power to the power windows. Press it again and it should stay stuck in, and the power is supposed to be restored to the power windows.'
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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sounds to me that you may just need to start checking each power cable and making sure its set up to the one its supposed to... itll be a pain in the ass, but it looks like that may be the only way to fix it...
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