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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 04-30-2007, 04:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Gauge lights off, and OBD1 lights fading dim to on



i'm using someone's sig here....
but basically, I was driving home from IHOP with my gf and some pals, when the lights from my cluster go off. My headlights remained on, and so I turned on the map light. That light worked fine and wasn't fading so I know it's not a battery issue. All I can see on my dash is the mileage lit up. That light and the clock light (OBD1) are fading dim to bright at random. I checked the breakers but nothing seems to be out.

Any ideas?
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My suggestion is that you check the bulbs.

Also, OBD1 is an on-board diagnostics standard that is used to monitor engine and emmissions operations. I believe you are referring to your on-board computer, or OBC.
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you're right... the OBC.

If it were the bulbs then what would explain the mileage and clock's synchronized fading in & out?
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i doubt it'll be the bulbs since all of it went out at once! there might be a fuse for all the lights in the cluster, try and find/check that! good luck.

edit: yeah there definitely is a fuse for it, possibly more then one. check that man.
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not saying its the bulbs. I am saying check the bulbs.

It sounds like you have lose or shorted wiring somewhere in the circuit. These are a pain to diagnose. And yes, double-check the fuses. I know you said you checked, but since you say that nothing "seems" out, I would go and check again to gain the certainty that nothing is out.

Do the needles work?
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I just rechecked them all.
Every fuse is in order.

what needles?
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Old 05-01-2007, 04:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i think he means the Rev needle and the speedo needle. does your whole cluster not work or just the lights?
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Old 05-01-2007, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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yea bulbs are starting to go bad....for some reason, most of the bulbs on the e36 fade before dying...
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Old 05-01-2007, 04:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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yes the needles work.
it's just the orange backlight is out

and the fact that light bulbs fade before they burn out doesnt make sense.
the mileage readout light and the clock light (the one below the ac/heater controls) fade light to bright at the exact same time. Some how they are linked and that connection in general is fading.

this is confusing the hell out of me.
Where should I got to get this checked then? It seems as if it's beyond my DIY grasp.
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Old 05-01-2007, 04:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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well the only place i know that these are all linked is that 'dimming switch' by your steering wheel. maybe its gone faulty. does it still dim or brighten up stuff when u turn the little wheel?
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Old 05-01-2007, 05:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Get a new car. Or check the dimmer switch.
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by drz
Get a new car. Or check the dimmer switch.
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Old 05-04-2007, 10:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Believe me, the dimmer switch was the first thing I checked.
Last night I went to go pick up my gf and low and behold it was all lit up.

When I started the car heading back home they were off again. But this time I realized that the guage lights and the AC/Heater lights went off. So I highly doubt it's a bulb problem.

Maybe I need to replace every fuse?
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Old 05-05-2007, 12:08 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Keep the fuses. Replace the car
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Old 05-05-2007, 12:23 AM   #15 (permalink)
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well the whole lights thing on your dashboard will be connected together. so it does make sense that if one goes out so does the other. i've run out of ideas. i hate electrical problems, the worst thing that can happen.

im starting to agree with drz - new car?
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