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Dodgy headlight switch

Discussion in 'Z3 Roadster & Coupé' started by Barry Gadd, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. Barry Gadd

    Barry Gadd Zorg Addict
    British Zeds The M44 Massive

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    Last night tried to switch off the headlights but they remained on......even with the ignition off.
    Eventually by rotating the knob (dash illuminator control) I managed to get the lamps to go off.
    Anybody noticed this?
    I guess it's time for a replacement switch (they seem to be fitted to E36 316 series too)
    Is it difficult to remove the switch?
    Thanks
     
  2. GazHyde

    GazHyde The Gaz Monkey
    Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator British Zeds

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    I don't think they are that difficult to remove. I know mine really needs replacing because when I turn the instrument brightness down it flickers and occasionally turns them off altogether.
     
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  3. David Cullen

    David Cullen Zorg Legend
    Supporter The M44 Massive

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    Check your relays first, I think its relay 12 replace it and see if switch works
     
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  4. Brian4

    Brian4 Zorg Guru (IV)
    British Zeds East Anglian Crew

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    Hi Barry
    Switches are easy to replace type z3 headlight switch into google and one of the topics will show how. you can then replace the bulb in the tell tale which also will have blown ages ago.

    I'm sure BrianH did a write up about this a while back.
     
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  5. Aceman

    Aceman Moderator
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    Barry if you need a switch give me a shout I have one spare.
     
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  6. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
    Dutch Zeds The M44 Massive

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    This could be of use, I read this a few years ago now.

    I haven't had this problem but it's common. I see it more often than not when someone has pinched the wires for the lighted shift knob and shorted them to ground.

    The rheostat portion of the light switch generally goes open circuit. You can either replace the light switch or you can solder a jumper across the rheostat pins and run with the dash lights at full intensity.

    Soldering in a jumper is the cheap fix and if I were faced with that problem thats what I would do. I always run with my dash lights turned up full anyway.
     
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  7. Barry Gadd

    Barry Gadd Zorg Addict
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    Thanks for the replies. I'll check the relay first but it seems like a dodgy switch to me.
     
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  8. Lee

    Lee Zorg Guru (V)
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    I can confirm they are easy to remove. Phillips screwdriver and an 8mm nut under the chrome cover.

    Note: the headlight switch is on the same relay as the illuminated gear knob (I know this because it caused a fire)

    @hard top mention soldering on the back of the switch, this is very simple to do and the way I fixed mine.
     
  9. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
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    Found this:

    Remove this nut (8mm)

    [​IMG]

    Screw that needs to be removed is the hole at the top of the hole left by removing the knob (knob is screwed on as well)

    [​IMG]

    Now the whole thing pulls out. It's kind of tough to get out though.

    unplug the wires and you'll have this;

    [​IMG]

    Push in the tab here and on the other side of the spindle.

    [​IMG]

    Now remove the metal covering by using a knife and prying it off (it pops off)

    [​IMG]

    Solder a jumper here:

    [​IMG]

    Re-assemble and see your gauges at night.
    Of course the dimmer doesn't work but that's not a concern for me.
     
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  10. Lee

    Lee Zorg Guru (V)
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    Just in case you get confused that’s from a left hand drive zed. So the vents on the other side. Good find @hard top i could of done with that a few months ago.
     
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  11. Barry Gadd

    Barry Gadd Zorg Addict
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    Thanks for a really helpful description of how to remove the switch.
    I'm using the headlight switch very carefully at present and it seems to be hanging on OK but I will remove it and check it out very soon.
    Regards
    Barry
     
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  12. Barry Gadd

    Barry Gadd Zorg Addict
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    I finally got underway with checking the headlight relay plus switch.
    I checked both using a test meter and the relay switches on and off as per normal.
    The switch also switches as per the BMW wiring diagram so I'm not sure why the headlights wouldn't switch off.
    I did notice a significant amount of white powder coming from inside the switch and removed as much as I could by tapping the unit in various positions until no more came out. I then used switch cleaner hoping this will help.
    The headlight indicator bulb (capless 1 watt ish) had blown and I'm now waiting for ebay replacements (£1.49 for 10 !!!)
    Any ideas what the white powder is and where it is coming from?????
    ( I did read a post on another site where white powder was being blown into the car but this is from the aircon unit fitted to BMW 2007 cars.
    My Z3 is 1998 and doesn't have aircon)
     
  13. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
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    I would have thought that was caused by some sort of corrosion?
     
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  14. Barry Gadd

    Barry Gadd Zorg Addict
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    The tiny capless bulbs arrived and I fitted one into the headlight indicator socket. Re-fitted the headlight switch and the headlight switch now works fine (I hope I'm not tempting providence here.....)
    I've still no idea what the white powder was that came out of the switch but maybe the goodly squirt of switch cleaner did the trick.
    Thanks again for the photos above.
    Once you remove the cap at the top of the switch knob then unscrew the knob itself you can see a small self-tapping screw which holds the switch body to the fascia.
    The rest is easy.
     
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