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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 12-04-2005, 04:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Electric problems on E36 - lights flashing!!

Hi All,
My E36 developed a strange problem yesterday and here are the symptoms:
- Central Locking stopped working
- when you open the front doors, indicator lights start flashing and stop flashing when you close them, no such thing when you open rear doors
- internal cabin lights don't work, dash lights (speedo, stereo, etc are okay)
- when you switch the fronts light on, the stereo display changes to 'PHONE' and stereo stops playing

E36 318iS first reg July 1998
1.9 16v 140bhp 4-door

Any ideas any one?

Thanks,
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Old 12-04-2005, 06:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Check fuse panel first for the obvious. Battery and connctions next then use a multimeter to check voltage levels at battery and alternator. The multimeter will also help you to find shorts and open circuits. Keep your fingers crossed that it isn't in the wiring harness.
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks,
i can check for the obvious but anything more than that i have skills nor tools, looks like i'll have to take it to professionals.

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Old 12-05-2005, 08:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Do you have an alarm system?
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Old 12-05-2005, 05:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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wow thats a tonne of problems with the electrical, i personally would take it to a pro , but both bimmerboy and green have good ideas, check the fuses, (although im positive none of those are similar, im sure not even the relays are all similar)
the alarm idea is a smart question for sure.

if i were to armchair-mechanic guess. id point the finger at the DME, a possible problem with it? but ultimately id take it to a professional, either to check out the alarm or the car itself to point the finger the proper way.
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bimmerboy328i
Do you have an alarm system?
Yes. But developed a problem of it's own a little while ago and stopped using it since. It became difficult to dis-arm it, arming the alarm was okay.

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Old 12-06-2005, 12:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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ahhh then i would get the alarm checked out first, it could be causing the lot of your electrical issues, dont forget your alarm is tied in with a lot of the cars electronics.
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Trunk harnesss

Hey i did not check what year is your car. but for many of the weird electrical symptons on the e36 they can be traced back to the known trunk lid harness recall problem.

Essentially the problem occurs at the electrical harness inside the rubber insulation between the car body and the trunk lid. After some time a har dplastic sleeving used on tha part of the harness cuts the wires apart. This leads to shorts that can cause light flickering, things not locking etc...

I just fixed my car problem of the doors popping back up after locking by simply pulling the harness out, sliding the sleeving out, then puting the wire back together, i had one wire that was simply cut in half.

So i would check that first. then also proceed to the basic fuse, relay inspection and also ccheck all ground connections, make sure they are tigh and clean.

hope this helps.
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Old 12-07-2005, 09:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I would check out your Alarm first.

And as Furious said, the alarm is wired into all of the body electronics, so it could be your main problem.
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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thanks all for this info.
i've booked it in for next week to have it checked by a specialist.
i've checked the fuses but will have a look into what victorgallas suggested.

will post an update as soon as have one.

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Old 12-15-2005, 06:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Here's what specialist found:
- some cables were unplugged in the 'boot lid' causing central locking to malfunction, even though no one touched the electric let along poking into boot lid for at least last two years!!!
- fuse 33 was cracked causing light related problems

But the cause for the cracked fuse couldn't be found in two hours investigation, which is worrying as the fuse can be cracked again.

Thank you everyone who participated in this thread.

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