Instrument Panel Lights On the A/C Controls and On the Trip Computer Are Not Working

Dear Sir/Madam:
I own an E36 1992 325i. Yesterday, I reattached the fiberglass panel under the glove box (on the fron passenger side) by bolting the 2 bolts
(from the dealer) to reattach this panel. While doing this, I noticed that I bumped into a few relays located there, causing the alarm and other electricals to glitch. After reattaching this fiberglass panel, I notice the following problems: 1. The instrument cluster / dashboard lighting for the Air Conditioning Controls are out (not lit) 2. The trip computer (I have the fully-featured one) is not working- no lights to the trip computer and no power to it either 3. However, all of the rest of the instrument cluster / dashboard lighting works fine and has no problems.
I checked the fuse box (the one under the hood / boot of the car) and all of the fuses appear OK- None of the fuse filaments appear burnt. I am also not sure which fuses position number in the fuse box is the one that is affected by problem #1 and #2, as listed above. I did not check the relays because I am not familiar with them.
My bottom line questions are the following: 1. What is causing this problem on my E36 1992 325i? 2. Is it caused by the fuse being in the wrong position? If so, which fuse position numbers and what rating fuse (in Amperes) should the fuses be in to fix problem #1 and #2? 3. Could the problem be caused by a bad relay (which I inadvertently bumped into and damaged? If so, which relay under the glove box would I have to replace?
I would greatly appreciate any help, guidance, ideas, and information from anyone familiar with the electrical of the E36 BMW, regarding this issue. Thank you in advance.
Sincerely,
Kevin Shen
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The first thing I would do, Kevin, is to remove the screws/panel that you installed when the malfunction occurred.
The relay panel behind the glovebox does lots of stuff, and since everything worked before you got there, I would guess that something you did has dislodged one or more of the relays.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks, Jeff. Do you think that I may have accidentally broken anything or have burnt out anything (such as my trip computer or any dashboard lighting circuitry)? Or rather, as you had suggested, do you think that I may have simply only dislodged one or more of the relays on my car?
Jeff Strickland wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think your troubles are limited to the relays. My guess is that you dislodged one or more. It's possible that you've managed to break one, but in my E36, damage isn't as likely as knocking them loose.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jeff, may I ask, are you a professional BMW mechanic? I am just curious.
Jeff Strickland wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No, I am not a BMW mechanic. I have been behind the glovebox in my E36 to gain access to the microfilter, and I've seen the relays and stuff they cram back there. Obviously, your car can be different than mine because yours is not the E36 chassis, but these kinds of things get started in the engineering department, and carry forward from one chassis to the next. The arrangement of the relays may change, but the idea that mounting them behind the glovebox does not change.
A heavy dose of logic says that if things were okay until you put the screws in, then they went south, odds favor the screws and related activity as the problem. If I had your problem, I'd be taking the cover off again and looking to see where the screws might be going. Of course, the relays and the cover are very close to one another, and the cover itself could knock a relay or two out of their socket. You will see this when the cover comes off.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jeff,
Thank you. You know your E36 BMW's! I am going to do what you suggested me to do and hopefully I will get everything fixed. I will tell you how I did, after doing this.
My 1992 325i (4-door) is on the E36 chassis.
In the model year 1992, BMW sold the 325i 4-door and the 325is coupe BOTH ON the E36 chassis for the U.S./North America market. But during this same year, 1992 (and in 1993), BMW sold the 325ic convertible on the E30 chassis (because the E36 convertible's design was still in the works at that time) for the U.S./North America market. Subsequently, the E36 3-Series converible was released in the 1994 model year and the E36 M3 was released in the 1995 model year (after a hiatus of 3 model years- 1992, 1993 and 1994) for the U.S./North America market.
Thanks again for your help and your suggestions.
Regards,
Kevin Shen
Jeff Strickland wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jeff,
I took out the glove box on my E36 325i and went in to reseat all of the relays (passenger side). I also checked and reseated the relays beneath and behind the steering wheel (driver side). After doing what you had suggested, I am still having the same problem as I originally have (only the A/C console on the dashboard still does not light up and the trip computer still does not work). What other ideas do you have, if any? Thank you in advance.
Regards,
Kevin Shen
Jeff Strickland wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Well, the trip computer (On Board Display) has 4 light bulbs that have been known to burn out.
You originally stated that all was okay until you reinstalled the kick plate with longer screws, right? If the problems began after the screws went in, then I have to think the link is there. If you had problems before the kick plate was installed, then I missed a key part of the problem.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.