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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 07-10-2009, 06:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Reverse lights

The reverse lights on my bmw 320i auto e30 are playing up. There seems to be a loose connection. When the car is in the reverse position and i push the gear lever forward slightly the reverse lights come on and when i push the gear lever back slightly they turn of. So if you just simply put the car in reverse sometimes the reverse lights are on sometimes they arnt. Any ideas?
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Possibly a bad switch; my E30 had a similar issue and a new switch sorted it.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Some resources to get you started

Visit realoem.com and enter the last seven of your VIN. That will help you with part numbers and diagrams. There is a gearshift section.

For wiring, visit Free Phone System Manuals Voice Communications 800 593-6000

and download the appropriate 3-series electrical troubleshooting manual for your car's model year. That will help with the wiring and component locations.

If this site's search comes up a bit empty, here's a link to another forum thread about reverse switch issues:

my reverse lights quit...

Welcome aboard and adios for now,

RM

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Old 07-10-2009, 11:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My old e30 had a similar problem. The switch is a PAIN to get to...I would recommend trying some other things first.

The thing that FIXED it for me was the connector under the shift boot. The wire for the reverse lights goes through that rubber shift boot (under the leather boot) and down into the tranny. Right before it goes through the shift boot there's a connector...I would guess this connector is loose (or maybe there is a short somewhere close to here) that may be why when you have the shifter in certain positions that they work.

I just disconnected it and hooked it back up. They've worked perfectly ever since.

Give that a whirl and see if it helps...if nothing else, it'll only take you 10 minutes and it's one less thing to troubleshoot.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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RealOEM.com * BMW E30 320i Gear shift parts,automatic transmission
Is it part number 8 (the switch box that controls th reverse lights)
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Working in tandem with the shift lever and shift gate. Attached is the ETM schematic for the back up lights.

Adios for now,

RM
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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hmmmmmmm

do you have to remove the whole centre console to pull apart the switch box?
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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According to the Bentley repair manual, you don't have to. However, to get you through the entire procedure, invest some money in a Bentley 3-series E30 manual (ISBN 0-8376-0325-0).
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would also first check under the gear shift boot
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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How do i check under the gear shift boot, how do i get to it?
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:20 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Anyone?

i need to get htis sorted for the wof
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Second repair resource (factory repair manual)

This used to be hosted at ee1394.com, but that site has been out of commission for some time. Finding it can be a bit of a challenge as it's a 110MB download.

It's a pdf file, bmw-e30-repair-manual-v7. Section 25 has the repair procedure for the gear shift mechanism, and unlike the Bentley manual I cited earlier, they want you to remove the center console.

Adios for now,

RM
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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thanks for your help. On closer inspection realised when in park the shift rod didnt slot into the park gap on the shift gate. Adjusted the gear shift rod and lever so the actual gearshift was forward more. Now when in reverse my gearshift sits forward enough to make contact with the reverse light switch. So it was nothing to do with the switch just the position of the shift rod.
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