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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 01-29-2013, 05:21 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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1990 525i blown fuse, smoke in cabin

HI,

Today when I started my 525i, none of the instrument panel gauges worked, nor was there any display. Shortly afterward, I noticed smoke coming from the vents.

checked the fuses, and fuse #1 is blown. Looking at what it does, I'm surprised the car even started!! However, the fuses associated with #1 (17 & 20) are fine.

I could just replace the fuse and hope for the best, but wondering if maybe there is a deeper problem.

Anyone have any idea what may have caused it to blow in the first place?
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2013, 05:42 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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The fuse blows when the amperage in the cicuit exceeds the fuses rated burn. Usually caused by a dead short somewhere in that circuit.

I would be looking under the dash since you had smoke. If it isn't obvious you could hook it back up, I suspect it would heat again. Take it seriously though, smoke usually means a wire or wires that the insulation is burning off of. So look for a bare wire and burnt insulation.

You have some clues, you know what the fuse controls, you know the cluster wasn't working, you had smoke in the car. Good Luck
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  #3  
Old 01-29-2013, 05:56 AM
zfxpE34 zfxpE34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowsled7 View Post
The fuse blows when the amperage in the cicuit exceeds the fuses rated burn. Usually caused by a dead short somewhere in that circuit.

I would be looking under the dash since you had smoke. If it isn't obvious you could hook it back up, I suspect it would heat again. Take it seriously though, smoke usually means a wire or wires that the insulation is burning off of. So look for a bare wire and burnt insulation.

You have some clues, you know what the fuse controls, you know the cluster wasn't working, you had smoke in the car. Good Luck
I would not recommend placing the fuse back, until you've at least attempted the before mentioned advice.
You don't want to have to replace your e34 from fire, do you?
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  #4  
Old 01-29-2013, 10:34 AM
paperplane94 paperplane94 is offline
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Find the source of the smoke!!!

I don't think the original poster knows how many e34 burned down threads there have been lately.
Many were caused by the blower motor.


What does it say under the Fusebox cover for what fuse #1 controls???

Last edited by paperplane94; 01-29-2013 at 10:16 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-29-2013, 10:30 PM
paperplane94 paperplane94 is offline
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Heed the warning everyone!!! It is common for the cars to go up in flames if measures aren't taken.

Read this and take precautions now:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1389937
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  #6  
Old 01-29-2013, 11:10 PM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paperplane94 View Post
Find the source of the smoke!!!

I don't think the original poster knows how many e34 burned down threads there have been lately.
Many were caused by the blower motor.


What does it say under the Fusebox cover for what fuse #1 controls???
According to the cover, fuse #1 controls the instrument panel, instument cluster check control, onboard computer and brakelights. I did notice that I had had a brakelight alert on the dash a few weeks ago, but on checking, the lights are okay.

I've not had the blower motor on at all.

Not sure if it's related, but I have a leak in the boot when it rains heavily.

BTW, the smoke was coming through the vents and definitely smelled like burning wires. Hoping it's NOT the computer!!!

I will have to dig out the manual and see if I can get the dashboard off....
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  #7  
Old 01-30-2013, 06:33 PM
paperplane94 paperplane94 is offline
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^ Start from the bottom up.
Right by the pedals, remove the cover on top and look up into the dashboard to find what burned out.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2013, 06:32 PM
Microtesties Microtesties is offline
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If you feel there is little risk of a dashboard fire, I would suggest just replacing the fuse before getting into any serious labor. There's always the possibility the fuse just snapped, out of age, or some other factor. I'm definitely not suggesting you overlook the situation completely, just merely cover your bases before jumping to conclusions. Always (well almost always) replace the cheapest part first, and fuses are cheap.

Who knows, could be a freak accident caused by who knows what. Demonic possession maybe, in which case you've got bigger problems.
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  #9  
Old 02-03-2013, 04:49 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Finally had the time to have a proper look..

Before I did anything else, I decided to do a bit of clean-out (as you do!). While picking up the rubbish from the back seat area, I noticed the carpets were soaking wet even though we've not had rain for over a week. Investigation revealed masses of water under the back seat, carpet in the boot (sorry, trunk) had mold on it although there was little sign of water there. Given that the electrical bits had been immersed for a while, I wonder if this might have contributed to the problem.

Moving on to the original problem...

Did a visual check under the bonnet (erm...hood) and saw nothing untoward. So onto inside the car...

Tried to get the lower panel by the pedals off and managed to see a few things, but not much. Then took the side trim in that area off and much more was revealed. I couldn't see any burnt or pinched wires, although there was one wire that the electrical tape had started to come off. It did look rather like a rat's nest in there though. (Also found something that looks like it might be an second alarm...it doesn't work either!). Oh, and there were 4 wires that had been cut (not burnt!), but I couldn't see the other ends so I assume they were "replaced" by other wiring, maybe for that second alarm thing.

As there was nothing obvious, I decided to replace the fuse and hook the battery back up. No problem. Fuse did not blow.

Then I started the car. The intruments did their thing initially. HOWEVER, smoke was pouring out from under the instrument panel where I had opened it. I didn't want to keep running it to see if the instruments would go "dead" again so switched off the engine. The upside is that the fuse was still good!!

So now the big decision....keep going and rip the dash apart. Or throw $$ at it and call an auto electrician.

I suppose at this point I should mention that I am female (50+ years old), have a bad back and have problems with my eyes!!!
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2013, 10:18 PM
paperplane94 paperplane94 is offline
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Oh boy, the water is probably the first thing that should be taken care of.
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  #11  
Old 02-05-2013, 12:26 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paperplane94 View Post
Oh boy, the water is probably the first thing that should be taken care of.
Yeah, figured the water wasn't doing it any good!
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  #12  
Old 02-06-2013, 01:54 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Alarm/imob installers, Radio fitters and Farmers. Never let them into your dash. This is big. return the loom to standard and start again. No real easy way out of this IMO.
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  #13  
Old 02-06-2013, 02:01 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWFatherFigure View Post
Alarm/imob installers, Radio fitters and Farmers. Never let them into your dash. This is big. return the loom to standard and start again. No real easy way out of this IMO.
Great advice, but I wouldn't know where to start!!
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  #14  
Old 02-06-2013, 05:40 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Take off the lower trims and remove the speedo cluster. Might have to take out the radio too. Once you can see check for soldered in joints, taped up bits of loom and boxes with lots of black wires hanging free. You will soon see how the standard items differ from the aftermarket add ins. Make notes of what you take out and what wires were cut to fit that item. Decide what you still want installed and carefully repair the damage left by others. Solder and shrink sleeve all your joints. Take it steady and you will be fine. Practice soldering out of the car if you are unpracticed in the art. PM me if you wish.
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Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
E23 735i; E32 735iL (X 2 - 1 Alpine White and 1 Glacier Blue); E34 535i; E38 735iL; R50 Cooper; R55 Cooper Clubman.
Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i
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  #15  
Old 02-06-2013, 06:03 AM
cutter67 cutter67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gertrude12 View Post

So now the big decision....keep going and rip the dash apart. Or throw $$ at it and call an auto electrician.

I suppose at this point I should mention that I am female (50+ years old), have a bad back and have problems with my eyes!!!
electrical problems can even drive seasoned mechanics crazy. i would suggest taking it to a professional for this problem. having a car go up in flames is not a good thing
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2013, 05:53 PM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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What ever you are happiest with - go for it.
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Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
E23 735i; E32 735iL (X 2 - 1 Alpine White and 1 Glacier Blue); E34 535i; E38 735iL; R50 Cooper; R55 Cooper Clubman.
Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2013, 10:16 PM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I've decided to call a pro on this. I think it's a bit above me.

Finding a 'car sparky' specialising in BMW here in Zimbabwe might be a bit of a mission though! Although it will be expensive, I think the BMW dealer is the best idea.
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  #18  
Old 02-07-2013, 11:58 PM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Not always - ask your friends who they have used for auto electrical problems. I might have said use the dealer for problems with the base car but these seem to be problems brought on by the use of aftermarket parts. A dealer would have to start from the same place any competent shop will.
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Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
E23 735i; E32 735iL (X 2 - 1 Alpine White and 1 Glacier Blue); E34 535i; E38 735iL; R50 Cooper; R55 Cooper Clubman.
Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i

Last edited by BMWFatherFigure; 02-08-2013 at 12:00 AM.
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  #19  
Old 02-08-2013, 01:51 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Yes, well...competent and Zimbabwe are two words rarely heard together in the same sentence!!

I've asked several people, and not had a consensus yet. I thought the dealer because if parts are needed, they might be able to get them easier.

Not entirely sure the problem is aftermarket parts. There are only two that I am aware of...the second alarm that appears to be disconnected, and the radio that some yahoo stole the faceplate for.

I *think* it might have to do with the instrument cluster things. Previous to the smoke, the instrument panel had been acting oddly upon occasion...gauges would work, then not. The LED readout suddenly would display nonsense (kind of like *%&TGUIUCTC( sort of thing, if that makes sense).

Aside from that, the car needs an oil change, and hopefully the dealer has the thingie to reset the computer that keeps yelling at me that it needs an oil change!
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  #20  
Old 02-08-2013, 03:38 AM
cutter67 cutter67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gertrude12 View Post
Yes, well...competent and Zimbabwe are two words rarely heard together in the same sentence!!

I've asked several people, and not had a consensus yet. I thought the dealer because if parts are needed, they might be able to get them easier.

Not entirely sure the problem is aftermarket parts. There are only two that I am aware of...the second alarm that appears to be disconnected, and the radio that some yahoo stole the faceplate for.

I *think* it might have to do with the instrument cluster things. Previous to the smoke, the instrument panel had been acting oddly upon occasion...gauges would work, then not. The LED readout suddenly would display nonsense (kind of like *%&TGUIUCTC( sort of thing, if that makes sense).

Aside from that, the car needs an oil change, and hopefully the dealer has the thingie to reset the computer that keeps yelling at me that it needs an oil change!
i think you are making a good choice here. but dont feel bad even here in the states it hard to find a good "sparky" and dont be afraid to beat the dealer up either so often people just except the bill but they have room. get a estimate but they are going to hit you up for the time finding the problem at the beginning just give them 1 hour and tell them if they dont find the problem in one hour you are going somewhere else. you would be surprised how they seem to find the problem fast.

good luck
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  #21  
Old 02-14-2013, 03:36 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Further to the problem....

I took out fuse #1, started the car and no smoke!!! (Not surprising, really). Now to figure out what circuit might be causing the problem. Then I can tell the sparky "it's such and such. Fix it."
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  #22  
Old 02-23-2013, 04:17 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Okay. So I got the car back from the shop. Sadly, although this place specialises in "vintage" cars, they don't know much about BMWs since their specialist in them has passed away.

Anyway, they have stopped the smoking problem, but I don't have anything on the intrument cluster. They brought me back what looks to me like a cover for something or other. I've searched the internet for the part number that is stamped on the side of the cover, but with no joy. I thought if I could find what the cover was for, I might find out what was burning out.

The number stamped on the side of cover is 1377 390, so if anyone knows what it might be for, please let me know.

Will try to upload a picture.
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  #23  
Old 02-23-2013, 04:20 AM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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Hopefully this works!


Last edited by gertrude12; 02-23-2013 at 04:26 AM.
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  #24  
Old 02-24-2013, 10:57 PM
paperplane94 paperplane94 is offline
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Isn't that the old style connector for the instrument clusters???

Yes it is:


coding plug fits inside of this connector:




How the hell did that happen???
Definitely the source of the smoke though.
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  #25  
Old 02-24-2013, 11:06 PM
gertrude12 gertrude12 is offline
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No idea how it happened. I could state the obvious, I suppose, but I won't. At least now I know where it belongs, so maybe I can get it fixed. Sounds expensive......

All the workshop did was bypass it somehow, I think. No smoke, but no instruments either.

Thanks so very much for clearing up the mystery!!
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