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Electrical Fire in the Zed

Discussion in 'Z3 M Roadster & Coupé' started by Lee, May 27, 2014.

  1. Lee

    Lee Zorg Guru (V)
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    Afternoon chaps,

    On my drive home I noticed a strong electrical burning smell. Thinking it was another car i carried on.

    When i noticed smoke coming out the right hand vent I immediately began to panic!

    I got home without any further incident and took the vent and headlight switch out.

    The headlight switch had shorted itself causing all my dash lights to fail too.

    Has anyone else suffered this?

    10414494_10152012394536571_3221403492344595370_n.jpg
     
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  2. HornelZ3M

    HornelZ3M Zorg Addict
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    Wow you were very lucky you found it when you were in the car, imagine if it had started when you were out of the car. Has any new lights been changed for instance angel eye headlights.
     
  3. Lee

    Lee Zorg Guru (V)
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    No mate, I run a completely standard headlight setup.
     
  4. GazHyde

    GazHyde The Gaz Monkey
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    Wow, I'm glad you caught it at that stage :eek:

    The only other dash fire I've heard of would be @Sailorbaz who is rebuilding an M which had one. I can't remember if he said if he knew the cause though.
     
  5. oldcarman

    oldcarman Zorg Guru (V)
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    Go out right now and buy a lottery ticket!! You just dodged a killer bullet for sure. Hopefully it's only the switch and lights but I'd get the wiring checked for sure! Glad it wasn't worse. JIM
     
  6. Lee

    Lee Zorg Guru (V)
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    The burn marks all seem to be within the switch so fingers crossed its only the switch that's gone faulty and scorched the side of the block connector.
     
  7. EnthuZiaZT

    EnthuZiaZT Zorg Guru (V)
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    Wow Gary your not having any luck at the moment, what with brake problems and now this. Don't you think fate is trying to tell you something? Like buy a fire extinguisher.

    Mike
     
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  8. Brian H

    Brian H Zorg Guru (V)
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    Hi Lee,

    The smoke will have come from the rheostat in the headlight switch, a common cause for this to short out is the illuminated gear knob wiring, the wiring for the gear knob can get caught up then short out. As you have found out you now have no dashboard light, I am afraid the rheostat cannot be replaced/repaired on its own so you only option is to replace the whole light switch, be sure have a close look at the gear knob wiring before you put on a new one.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
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  9. GazHyde

    GazHyde The Gaz Monkey
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    Not me this time Mike :)
     
  10. Lee

    Lee Zorg Guru (V)
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    Funny you should mention this, while i was inspecting all the wiring i came across a split in the gear knob wiring that was shorting on the metal shaft. I removed the two cables and put some fresh heat sink round them. Then went on to inspect the headlight switch. So that makes sense, i can see how it all happened now. Cheers Brian.
     
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  11. Brian H

    Brian H Zorg Guru (V)
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    As our cars get older this problem will arise more and more, to all you owners with illuminated gear knobs lift up the gear lever cover and check to see the two wires are not trapped.

    @Lee, when I said your only option was replacement this was not exactly true, you can solder a wire inside the headlight switch which essentially shorts out the rheostat circuit, doing this no longer allows dimming if the dash lights but it is a cheap fix.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. t-tony

    t-tony Zorg Expert (I)
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    Is there anything to suggest this could happen on an Auto selector Brian, bearing in mind the illiminated selector postion?

    Tony.
     
  13. Brian H

    Brian H Zorg Guru (V)
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    I think you should be ok Tony, never heard of an auto with this problem.
     
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  14. t-tony

    t-tony Zorg Expert (I)
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    Cheers for that Brian, at least that's something I won't have to worry about.
     
  15. EnthuZiaZT

    EnthuZiaZT Zorg Guru (V)
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    Sorry Lee, Got a bit confused there! Hope it didn't do too much damage.:nailbiting:
    Mike
     
  16. Lee

    Lee Zorg Guru (V)
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    Luckily all it had done was burnt the smell into my nostrils! I took the switch out my other Zed and picked up a replacement off a guy breaking a compact for £10.

    The old one i have brought into work to try that mod out and see how it works.

    Lee