View Single Post
Old 12-28-2019, 08:52 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Posts: 24
iTrader: (0)
Default Dimmer / Headlights 1999 318ti & CEL

Ok. This problem has me a bit frustrated. The dash instrumentation lights don't light up, making driving in the dark amazingly frustrating as I have to drop the vanity visor to get the light on to shift.

Some jerkoff smashed the windows on the drivers side after it was delivered but before it was paid off so it wasn't insured. I found the windows, which much ado they had to get shipped 5000 kms from Ontario to BC, then the courier company shattered the driver's side window and a replacement has been shipped.

However, the lack of drivers side windows likely caused corrosion in an already old (1999) dimmer switch. It is the kind with the knob that you pull out one click for running lights, two clicks for high beams. The lights that came with the car are either old are crappy and need to be replaced. The beams are oddly pointed so driving on high beams is like driving with regular headlights and they are horribly dimmed, so I would guess the previous owner did a DIY nightmare (hence getting a perfectly running 318ti for $2K CAD)

The previous owner also installed a decent stereo deck into it probably because he/she didn't want to deal with cassette tapes any more, but it doesn't seem to fit in the spot where the stock one goes, I'm guessing it's the wiring harness for it is in the way.

I went through the entire fuse list in the manual and checked every fuse that has to do with the instrumentation panel and they are all fine. The entire instrumentation panel all goes through this stupid dimmer switch (you twist the same one that you pull for the headlights) so I'm guessing it's the rheostat got fried from having no windows in the rain.

The CEL light is permanently on, I bought an OBD2 reader that can wipe out and read codes with a dictionary, so I can clear the CEL code, drive it around the block and see which codes come back up and make necessary fixes.

Unfortunately, these dimmers are rare and the cheapest one I can find is like $80 bucks. I dont particularly feel like running around scrap yards and taking apart dashes hoping to find one that works, as apparently this is a common problem.

Anyone know what the wiring looks like and where it goes? I may just yoink the whole dimmer and replace it with toggles, those won't fail. I'm guessing I'll need one toggle for running headlights, one for high beams, and one for 100% dimmer strength or nothing.

Also re the headlights - I may as well just buy extra bright LEDs. Anyone know what type of replacement bulbs I will need and how hard/easy it is to correctly aim the beams?

Finally, are there any common 318ti 99 problems that cause the CEL to be always on? The car runs like a dream, no knock, runs quiet, growls when it goes from grandma mode into beast mode lots of low end power. I guess the OBD2 scanner will tell me what the errors are.

On an unrelated side note: My Jeep started acting really funny, I bought it used the oil was like black when I got an oil change and replaced it all with synthetic. I figured it was the plugs, and the mechanic said it definitely was the plugs, one was broken and the gap on them was all screwed up. Replaced the plugs, it runs great but now it stalls. I'm hoping a OBD2 reset will fix it, because my hunch is the engine is still trying to compensate for the bad plugs.
mr-canada is offline   Reply With Quote