Instrument Cluster Compatibility question for 1995 E36 318i
This is my first post on the forum. I'm wondering if anyone's got any experience with this...
I took my 1995 E36 318i to a nearby garage because I was having some strange eletrical problems... power windows, power locks, sunroof, and instrument panel weren't working.. but everything else was. they ended up testing the BCM - body control module and got everything working again except for the instrument cluster. So they told me I have to replace the instrument cluster because it's dead... apparently there was a power surge that blew out those systems and left the cluster fried. Anyways, the price for a new/re-manufactured one from BMW is ~$500.
Well, I've been shopping around for instrument clusters and found one on Ebay for $75 +s/h
The description says it will "fit" any 92-99 BMW E36 3-Series... but I'm wondering how can that be? I tried contacting the seller, but they haven't gotten back to me. Are instrument clusters in all E36 3-series from 92-99 compatible with each other? My old cluster looks almost exactly like the cluster in the picture except in mine the last tic on the speedometer reads 160mph while the listed one reads 140 mph.
I spoke with the mechanic at the garage and he seemed very skeptical about it. He says the tiniest difference would cause it to be incompatible with the BCM, i.e they'd be unable to communicate.
Has anyone had experience replacing their E36 Instrument Clusters? Were you able to replace your old 160mph cluster with a newer E36 cluster that has a 140mph speedometer? Would I be advised purchasing a used one or a new/remanufactured one from BMW?
You can adapt a cluster to many different years through "coding". Still, I probably wouldn't bid until you find out its part number (which is printed on it) so that you can look up it's compatibility. I am not sure if the seller knows because some of the text is incorrect or contradictory.
You know, when I was reading your post I was thinking:
"$500?! Why not just call Bavarian Auto Recycling and get a refurbished cluster?"
Then I clicked the link and the auction you found is actually being hosted by BavAutoRecycling! They are a reputable company and actually have representatives that post on some other BMW forums.
I can't offer a definite answer on this question. I do find it hard to believe that the cluster went unchanged from 92-99. BMW is known for making changes in the pin layout for thier electrical connectors even in things as simple as window switches.
The number for BavAutoRec is posted in the auction, just call them for an answer on this. Ask them if they have a direct swap for a 318. I've bought parts from them before, they are helpful.
Let us know how this works out for you!
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