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-   -   Instrument cluster: no tach, speedo, temp and gas gauges (http://www.318ti.org/forum/showthread.php?t=44855)

chevale 05-22-2020 03:32 AM

Instrument cluster: no tach, speedo, temp and gas gauges
Hi all:
I've tried to replace bulbs in the headlights and fog light pull buttons and for this, I've pulled instrument cluster bezel and instrument cluster.
After I've re-assembled everything back (was not able to change those bulbs, btw) there is no tacho, speedo, gas and temp gauges working.
I found that fuse 23 was blown. After replacing and starting the car it was blown again.
Any pointers?

1996 328ti 05-23-2020 12:49 AM

Pinched wire? Broken pin? I found those connectors becoming very brittle.

J!m 05-29-2020 12:26 AM

Yes probably not fully seated.

And I’ve changed those bulbs twice so far (another is out now) and it is accessed by removing only the cluster.

chevale 05-29-2020 12:40 AM

Thanks for the replies. I drove about 5 km without the cluster, then plugged it in and it started to work!
I am a bit nervous as I didn't found what the problem was, but as long as it works, I am good.

StoneWheelRacing 01-01-2021 09:02 PM

Cluster Swap
Sorry chevale but as a new member I don't know how to start a new thread so I need to tack onto yours.

My son scored a super clean E36 M3 dash cluster which I installed into his 1998 E36/5. Crystal is like glass and it still has the factory warning decals on it! I installed it but I need some advice.


OEM cluster 62.11-8 371 562
Donor M3 cluster 62-11-2 492 986, Realoem says 9/96-3/07

The mileage block would not swap due to the alignment lugs being opposite. M3 block was black, original was white. I haven't driven it yet but the Tamper Dot has not shown up so far. If it does I'll use the existing posted repair. I read that E36's don't have a tamper light but that's not confirmed.

Sans the tach error the cluster works well except for the mpg gauge which swings all the way to the right and stays there. QUESTION; In cars with factory installed mpg gauges would it normally do that upon cold start?

I purchased and read J!m's swap book that shows how to hook the mpg gauge up but the car already has wiring in those pins. According to a 1999 BMW Ti electrical book that I have, the the mpg wiring is already in the car. It's in different pins than in J!m's book but for sure its the mpg wires. See below.

Flow - DME pin 42 > green/red wire >-X6031 pin 3 > green/red wire> A2W blue connector X17 pin 13.

Two weird things, if this car didn't come with an mpg gauge then why is it shown in the '99 ti electrical book and actually wired in the car? Whats also weird is the manual says pin 13 in cluster connector X17 is an output not an input.

QUESTION: Anyone have any thoughts on this?

P.S. I tried to physically trace the flow though the OEM dash from pin 13 to what it goes to in the cluster but its a very complex integrated circuit board.

J!m 01-02-2021 12:47 AM

If that ti has an on board computer I think they run the feed to the cluster as well.

You may still have to move pins...

StoneWheelRacing 01-03-2021 03:56 AM

Cluster Swap
The car does not have an on-board computer.

Whats in the car now for what the BMW TI schematic say is the mpg circuit is:

From DME pin 42 on green/red wire to connector X6031 pin 3 from there on green/red wire to A2W (cluster) blue connector X17 pin 13. I'm not sure why its there because the car did not come with the mpg gauge.

I'm thinking I would need to compare TI's X17 plug breakout to the M3's X17 breakout to learn if they are different. OR since we are swapping the engine soon I Just wait to put the 6cyl wiring harness and DME in.

My fear is before we change the harness with the gauge burying itself forcefully to 0 mpg it may burn up

J!m 01-03-2021 12:10 PM

I guess you could pull the pin to be safe, but I agree you should work up your wiring and then you will see what to move or not.

StoneWheelRacing 01-06-2021 01:50 AM

Cluster Swap
I put a '97 or a bit newer M cluster into a '98 E36/5 manual. The M part number came up on Realoem as available between 8/97 -2007 so most likely its a '98 model year cluster and getting lucky for once it matches the Ti's model year. Obviously the cluster is not used after '99 but I'm assuming parts were still made for it up to ~2007.

I know some say not but I had to pull the steering wheel off. DISCLAIMER: I am a factory trained mechanic and have owned my own repair shops. I don't recommend anyone who has no experience working around airbags attempt to pull the wheel and airbag. Again, do this at your own risk.

I did not want to unhook the battery so I pulled the airbag fuse (#42?) and removed the bag standing to the side to be safe in case of static electricity or some other anomaly. Two Torx bolts hold it on. Two electrical plugs, yellow with two pins and a single spade on the back. Both pull off but do it gently and be sure ground yourself somehow while doing so. Don't touch the pins.

I then gently removed the white plastic steering wheel warning plate with a small flat screwdriver so not to break it. It has four small dowels that push into the rubber of the steering wheel. Note how the air bag wires go through or around it first.

I removed the steering wheel bolt, wasn't to tight, normal right hand threads. The wheel and stub shaft were already marked for alignment. The clock work plugs can be tough but the black plug had a push tab release and the white plug just pulled apart.

There are two black recessed Torx screws at the top of the cluster facing down. Remove those and push in at the bottom of the cluster. It will flip forward. The three plugs, black, blue and white, have a flip type lock mechanism similar to the DME plug. Inspect them with a bright light and you'll see the part of the plug mold itself that needs to be depressed so the retainer part can hinge upward. Don't pry on the retainer part at all, just push the small "serrated" tabs centered in between the flipping retainer and it'll start to release, then you can pry on it. Its hard to describe and sorry but I didn't take pictures.

I tried to swap the mileage chip but the alignment lugs were mirror image of each other so I had to use the M chip. The Ti has 130k and the new cluster has 120k so I expected a tamper light. I read that Ti's don't have tamper lights but expected the M cluster to have one and for it to turn on.

I discovered a few light bulbs out, i.e. fog light indicator, temp gauge illumination bulb. Swapped those and plugged the cluster in again and started the car. The mpg gauge buried itself to 0 really fast. This concerned me so I traced the circuit. As a surprise, even thought the Tis didn't have mpg gauges this car is wired for it. See earlier posts below for details. I spoke to Kevin in OK and he said the gauge buries itself all the way to the right upon start up until he gets a speed speed signal. Thanks Kevin.

I ran the car on jacks to get a speed signal (salty roads). The mpg gauge settled at about the 40 mark. All dash and idiot lights work properly. As expected the tach reads about 400 RPMs low. The mileage tamper light is out (so far). The mpg gauge doesn't move off 40 when I rev the engine it but I think, like the tach, its expecting to see a signal for a 6 cylinder from the DME.

I had thought to drop the steering column away from the dash as opposed to pulling the steering wheel. If any of you have replaced a toilet seat you'll know why I couldn't drop it.

Hope this helps somebody.

J!m 01-06-2021 12:01 PM

Very detailed response.

I am not certain only pulling the air bag fuse is enough to be “safe” but it is certainly better than just ripping into it blindly. The battery should be disconnected and then wait five minutes before starting disassembly.

The TMU (mileage tamper) light will stay out as long as the chip stays in the cluster. I purchased a new cluster (back when you could still get them) from the dealer and the display showed “CodE” and nothing worked. (New clusters need to be coded to the car). I swapped the chip in from another OBD-2* M3 cluster and everything worked but I got the TMU light at that point.

The light indicates a mis-match between the cluster mileage and the DME mileage. I always advise keeping them together. Even if the original cluster is bad, swapping the chip into another cluster will keep the light out.

*The chip should only be swapped within the the same diagnostic version. In other words, don’t put a 95 chip into a 97 cluster or vice-versa. Check 96 clusters carefully, but rule of thumb is: small “M” logo with traction light is OBD-2, and larger “M” without traction light is OBD-1.

Edit- I wanted to mention the light bulbs behind the headlight and fog light (if equipped) switches will be burned out and should be changed while the cluster is out. They are always on and only last a few years.

BRADESTAR 01-06-2021 10:15 PM

I don't know about the M3 cluster's tamper light. I used a Z3 cluster for a swap and it doesn't seem to care what DME is with it. I've used 2 different unknown 328i DME's and it just shows the Z3's mileage with no tamper.

I go with Jim's theory on the airbag. That way a jackhole (like me) can toss'em around with little regard..... it's those gun looking charges on the seat belts that freak me out. When I'm working on a seat and notice I'm staring right down a barrell.

J!m 01-07-2021 01:00 AM

I wasn’t totally clear in my response-

If you put a cluster in, with its original chip, it will display cluster mileage and not light the TMU. Change the chip in the same cluster, and the light will come on.

Put another unmolested cluster in and the light will go out (and mileage of THAT cluster will be displayed).

It seems to me the TMU only goes on when the cluster itself has been tampered with. I guess they didn’t figure you’d put in another complete cluster from a lower mileage car.

StoneWheelRacing 01-09-2021 03:58 PM

Cluster Swap
Good stuff!

Was worried it may turn on once we get a few miles on it and had read it might be a worse issue if just let go. I'll leave it be.

Yes on the light bulbs. Went to Keeler BMW and purchased both assemblys for behind the head/fog switches. $15 apiece, yikes!

Gray bulb is fog lamps, black is headlight. Colors will make sense once you see them. Must be an amperage thing.

Switch knobs screw off using right hand thread. Don't force it, use needle nose to hold the shaft. The headlight shaft has a hole in it to use a scribe or o-ring pick.

On another note: Being in the auto industry for a quite a while but domestic only, every time I work on an E36 I'm amazed at how well engineered and perfectly simple things are done. (Except removing the starter).

Even the most complex looking item ends up being a push of a button, i.e. removing fog light assemblies. In my case the cluster swap seemed daunting as hell electronic wise but ended up being super easy.

J!m 01-09-2021 10:18 PM

I do the switch bulbs with the cluster out. No need to disassemble the switches.

StoneWheelRacing 01-10-2021 11:54 PM

I only mention the knobs as I believe you need to pull the small panel to access the bulbs with cluster in or out.

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