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mekaneck 01-04-2013 01:02 PM

X3 rain sensor
Would anyone be so kind as to take a close-up picture of their X3's rain sensor (from the outside of their car, aimed at the rearview mirror area, with good lighting)?

I just got a new windshield installed (non-oem), and the rain sensor isn't working now. When I compare to my E46, the E83 is missing the small clear dot which I thought was for the light sensor. However the E83 light sensor works fine. So I'm wondering if the large purple area is really for the light sensor, and the small clear dot is the rain sensor.

I went so far as to make an extension cable so that I could plug the E83's wires into my E46's windshield sensor. Everything worked dandy. So it's either the windshield & lens, or it's the sensor that clips onto the lens.


al_macaroni 01-04-2013 01:35 PM

1 Attachment(s)
2008 e83 mirror

- unsure if photo will upload from app

Sent from my DROID X2 using Bimmer App

mekaneck 01-04-2013 01:38 PM

Awesome, thanks for that! Can you confirm you have both rain sensing wipers & automatic headlights?

That's exactly what my new windshield looks like.

al_macaroni 01-04-2013 01:40 PM

Yes, rain sensing and auto lamps. I have xenons and premium package.

Sent from my DROID X2 using Bimmer App

Supercourse 01-04-2013 01:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Can't get a good picture right now, but I'm sure the rectangular purple area is the rain sensor, and the small round light sensor in the rearview mirror doesn't have (or need) a lens in the windshield.

Not sure what the red dots are in my cell phone picture - had difficulty preventing the flash reflection from obscuring the picture.

I think the installer has to work carefully to successfully patch in a recycled or new rain sensor onto an aftermarket windshield.

A previous discussion may be of interest:

SonicBoom 01-04-2013 01:57 PM

I that how that works?? I always wondered. Kewl!!

mekaneck 01-04-2013 02:23 PM

Thanks guys. I had this same shop do my E46 a few months back and they did a great job (even though it was a non-OEM windshield with rain sensor). From the looks of their handiwork this time they did a great job again, but for some reason the sensor still won't work.

I'm still digging into it, but thanks a million for the pictures. I was concerned because I didn't see a clear dot like there is on my E46 (see picture below that I stole from another user, notice the dot below the bottom right corner of the purple sensor):

it's interesting that the sensor part numbers are identical between the E46 and E83, yet only the E46 windshields have that dot.

AzNMpower32 01-04-2013 03:18 PM

This may be a stupid question, but did they plug the sensor/wire harness back in? I also think there is a reinitialising process for the rain sensor whenever a new windshield is installed.

The light sensor is on the back (forward facing) side of the mirror itself, not attached to the windshield. On the passenger half of the mirror backing, there's a recessed area and a photocell inside. You can see it right underneath the toll transponder in al_macaroni's picture.

mekaneck 01-04-2013 04:13 PM

The sensor on the front of the autodim mirror is to disable the mirror dimming feature during daylight. The sensor for the automatic headlights is integrated with the rain sensor.

Yes, there is a "reinitialization" procedure that can be done to clear the learning memory of the rain sensor. I may try that if everything else fails, since I have to take it to the dealer for that. From what I understand, it's only rare cases where that needs to be done (and actually solves anything).

My next task is to swap the sensors (just the sensors, not the glued-on lenses) between my two cars, to see if that changes anything. If not, I'll go to the dealer for the reinitialization.

mekaneck 01-04-2013 09:09 PM

Oh, and yes they did plug the sensor back in. Definitely not a stupid question. :thumbup:

bluskye 01-04-2013 10:16 PM

I had "issues" with the rain sensor on my 330i when the windshield was replaced, see here.

Turns out, the lens on the sensor itself was cracked =|

As far as the dot on the glass's surface is concerned, BMW has changed that design over the years. The E90 simply relocated the real sensor chip to the middle of the square. You need to see where the actual sensor aligns to the glass. See my post for reference.

mekaneck 01-12-2013 07:51 AM

Just an update on this problem. I brought my car back to the windshield shop, and I talked them into letting me hook up my rain sensor to a new windshield (with my homemade rain sensor extension cord). The rain sensor worked just like it should on the new window, so the shop replaced the windshield for me again, this time free of charge.

I think that I might have been able to get the old windshield to work if I could have gotten the sensor re-initialized, but that would have cost me $125 at the BMW stealership.

Anyway, it's all working perfectly now. Thanks for the help.

mekaneck 01-12-2013 07:54 AM

Oh, and the dot on the windshield - It's not on the E83 windows, and I don't think it does anything on the E46 windows. So it had nothing to do with the problem at all.

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