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Old 02-19-2013, 01:40 AM   #1
buildabear
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Question Gas gauge and temp gauge going crazy

Can anyone help me please?

I have a 96 318ti and I went to start the car one day and noticed that my gas gauge stays on empty (except for when I initially start it up). Also, the temperature gauge goes back and forth randomly. Both the gas gauge and the temperature gauge started doing that the same day. Additionally, the clock next to the cd player went out. When I push the button that is used to change the time it displays the correct time briefly for a few seconds and then cuts off again. The clock screen is also the where I can check my gas mileage, but like I said it doesn't work.

(I'm a female so bear with me and my understanding...)

I'm assuming it's not a blown fuse since the gas gauge and temp gauge aren't stuck in one spot; the gauges move back and forth at random times.

I feel like the response to this is to take it to a mechanic and have them look at the wiring system but I thought I'd see if there was any other feedback in the meantime.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:15 AM   #2
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My 95 did that. Sorry your're having an issue. Tap on the console cluster (speedo, tach, gas) to see if the readings stabilize or die. I had read that the connectors on the cluster may go bad providing erratic readings. I don't know what solved mine, but I've not had the issue for some time now.


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Old 02-19-2013, 04:29 AM   #3
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yep, give it a few good taps and see if it'll help. Removing the gauge cluster is the next step.
Also, welcome to the Org.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:42 AM   #4
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try checking fuse 46...
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:13 PM   #5
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Yep, check your fuses. I've had my brake light fuse blow and it results in some weird stuff going on with the cluster.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:38 AM   #6
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I'm not familiar with our clusters (yet), but I am with the e30. Does anyone here know if the the e36 cluster is similar in design?

I know the e30 has a lithium ion battery on a circuit board that has a 20-25 year life span. I've had to replace it before. Two e30's I've owned at around 160k/20 year mark. The symptoms I always saw was the gas gauge beginning to pulsate or slightly wave, later giving way to a regular wave and near complete failure/unreadable. The '91 e30 I currently own with 67k still works ('89 production date) and it is just this year starting a very faint waving of the fuel gauge when a the 1/4 full mark. For you, if it's not a fuse, perhaps someone knows if our e36 clusters are similar to the e30's in respect to the battery and board. With the cluster out it can be replaced with a new board, giving it another ?? years. I recommend if you do pull it out, replace the bulbs as well, nothing worse than putting it back in and then soon thereafter seeing a dark spot on your tachometer.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:45 PM   #7
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My car started doing the same thing last month... both gauges are not working, and flicker on and of, while the water temp gauge seems to be working as a pressure one... very weird indeed. all fuses are good, removed the cluster and saw nothing wrong with it.... Anyone figure out the problem?
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:39 AM   #8
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I've got an intermittent gas gauge. Would turn off and after smacking the dash, it would bounce back.

What connector should I be looking at for this issue? Would it be in the cluster itself or the plugs going into the cluster?
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buildabear View Post
Can anyone help me please?

I have a 96 318ti and I went to start the car one day and noticed that my gas gauge stays on empty (except for when I initially start it up). Also, the temperature gauge goes back and forth randomly. Both the gas gauge and the temperature gauge started doing that the same day. Additionally, the clock next to the cd player went out. When I push the button that is used to change the time it displays the correct time briefly for a few seconds and then cuts off again. The clock screen is also the where I can check my gas mileage, but like I said it doesn't work.

(I'm a female so bear with me and my understanding...)

I'm assuming it's not a blown fuse since the gas gauge and temp gauge aren't stuck in one spot; the gauges move back and forth at random times.

I feel like the response to this is to take it to a mechanic and have them look at the wiring system but I thought I'd see if there was any other feedback in the meantime.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grrrwoof View Post
try checking fuse 46...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biolite View Post
Yep, check your fuses. I've had my brake light fuse blow and it results in some weird stuff going on with the cluster.
Just want to add my 2 bits to this issue -

Like the OP, my gas and temp gauges went haywire last night. Turned out to be the fuse, #46.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:31 PM   #10
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I'd like to add one link to help out with the crazy gauges problem. I found this on bf.c's Z3 section since they have a great FAQ database.

For a fuel gauge that is wacky on what fuel level it wants to display.:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...mp-Wacky-Gauge
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:08 PM   #11
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How interesting...bringing an older thread back to life....

I just had the fuel gauge/temp gauge swing issue happen to me when I shut the car off to load some groceries in the back. The car had been running fine with half a tank and was running fine, not overheating a few minutes earlier.

So I pulled over to take a look under the hood to see if anything was obviously amiss. Nothing visible, so got back in to restart it and see if it the gauges were still wacky. It wouldn't crank over. I took a peek in the fuse box, and found fuse 46 burned out. So I grabbed a quick replacement from the Fog Light fuse #15, also 15a. The car started back up again, but the gauge swings were still there. I decided to head home and see how it did. Made it fine, but every time I hit the brakes, the temp guage would go back towards the cold side.

I'll head out to fool around with it more later, check the brake light fuse, etc., but I'm wondering if this is a fuel gauge issue or if someone else here has found that it entails more than just replacing Fuse 46 or cleaning contacts in the instrument cluster?

Thanks,

vince
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Old 02-09-2016, 06:17 AM   #12
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Welp, I just have started to have the cluster gauge issues. Also, my car starts fine from a cold initial start. But after it's warm/hot, after the trip is done with, I go to restart the car, and it just has to crank over forever before the motor fires up. My conclusion at this point is that perhaps my sending unit is losing faith to make everything else work properly. The gauges fuel/temp spike uncontrollably along with the Trip/Outside Temp/Clock gauge. Might be something to tackle when I have the money to sometime in the Spring. Any other experiences or notations are welcome, thanks for any advice in advance
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:08 PM   #13
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I would check your battery terminals; make sure they are clean, tight and well grounded.
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Old 09-18-2016, 03:10 AM   #14
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I have the same car as OP and same symptoms.
Fuse #46 was blown and replacing it solved the problem.
Great help from the forum!
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:33 PM   #15
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Hello, my name is Frederic, and I had a #46 blown fuse. I love 318ti.org
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