Scary crap yesterday.....worked on the 633, put a new wiper switch in. After testing it prior to buttoning up the steering column everything worked hunky-dory. Put the column together, started the car, turned on the headlights and it killed the entire electrical system. Turn off the lights, I could hear a "ping" as the breaker reset, and everything came back. Car started and ran. Turned on the turn signal...no signals. Flash the brights (headlights off) and it killed the system again. What the crap???? Carefully took the column apart again. I couldn't find a thing wrong. No pinched/shorted wires, no connections messed up. Even with the turn signal hanging from the plug connector in the column it was still killing the system when you'd flash the high beams, or turn on the headlights, either low or high beam. I spent most of the day tracing wires and found nothing that would contribute to the problem. After much futzing around I found a loose relay/breaker/something up under the carpet behind the clutch pedal area. It was plastic case and didn't appear to be shorted to anything, but putting it back in it's little clip/holder seemed to solve the problem. Lights/switches all work now, and I drove it around for a while with no problems.
I don't know for sure if that relay thingy was the problem, but it seemed to be....I'm trying to do a wire color trace to see just what it is. I don't want the threat of it dying while out toodling around, especially since it's not my car. Eddie is learning to work on these by himself, but he's still relying on me to make sure it works first time, every time. If it strands him, there'll be a trust issue with the car that I may not be able to overcome. Eddie is a college professor, and is a great friend. I don't want him mistrusting my work.
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito)
Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"