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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > M Series > E36 M3 (1995-1999)

E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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  #1  
Old 03-21-2012, 06:25 PM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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Location: Middletown, CT
 
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Mein Auto: 1999 M3 Convertible
"Low Beam Failure" OBC Message????

Anybody ever seen this before?

I'm doing a Depo headlight upgrade. The "Low Beam Failure" message was not displaying BEFORE I started this project! Before I started the project I swear I checked the stock headlights and the high beams, low beams and fog lights were all working fine.

So I start working on installing and wiring the passenger side light and the high beam and low beam Depos won't both come on at the same time. I plugged the stock light back in to see if it was the Depo light and the stock light wasn't working properly anymore either. The low beam (I believe) was not lighting up.

I set my meter to continuity and tested the continuity of each of the contacts on the driver side (the side that's working) high and low beam plug. Perfect continuity and when I plug the stock or Depo lights in the high beams and low beams and fogs work fine.

When I checked the continuity on the passenger side plug (the side not working) there is no continuity on the plug with the white/blue wire and when I got in the car the OBC was displaying "Low Beam Failure".

I checked the fuse box under the hood and looked carefully at all of the fuses, including the fuses for the low beam lights. I found one blown fuse which took did away with one of the dash lights that was lit that I've been trying to diagnose of for about one month. The fuse was for the power side view mirrors which I hadn't needed to adjust.

So if my "Low Beam Failure" isn't a fuse and I'm 99.9% sure it's not then there must be a break/short in the wire somewhere right? I stopped off at my local auto parts store and described what I had done and without me suggesting it he told me the blue/white wire must be shorted/broken somewhere.

I started peeling electrical tape from the harness at the plug end and working my way back looking for a break/short. I made it all the way from the passenger side headlight to the driver side headlight and around the bend toward the fuse box and there's still no break or short.

So I took my tester and stuck it into the wire in various places along the way to my forward most point of progress and still no continuity anywhere in the chain. So now I'm down to about 2 1/2 feet of wire harness from the driver's side back to the fuse box. The wire harness looks fine and the wire is in great shape everywhere it's exposed.

I'm at my whits end? Now I'm starting to think it's not a broken/shorted wire.

Does anybody have any ideas what could be causing the "Low Beam Failure" message and the lack of continuity on the one pin on the low beam plug on the passenger side? I'm willing to entertain any and all ideas at this point. I'm mystified.
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2012, 07:18 PM
armando325i armando325i is offline
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Location: ireland
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Mein Auto: 325i
DEPOs is long known with this shi.t. this is the thing i say to every one whos about to buy depos production!, dont, better spend few mor bucks and get the real stuff.
ur case it is more likely the wrong bulbs into healights, wrong w so computer dosnt recognise, if not so, then wrong conection, what makes ccm think that there is a problem with ur bulbs.
wiring problem leave a side. the problem is depos!!! u ar not the first one on the world who has this problem!!!
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  #3  
Old 03-21-2012, 08:08 PM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 M3 Convertible
Thanks Armando,

You're right. Now that I purchased the Depos I have to say I'm very disappointed. The overall build quality is really poor and customer service is non existent. The plastic tabs broke off one light housing and they had to send me another housing. The connector pins from the harness are really weak. Very poor quality plastic used in the entire build. Too bad because they look good but this is definitely a case where you get what you pay for.

I'm certain I have the proper H1 bulbs in the lights but there is one smaller bulb that I'm not certain about. I believe I have the right bulb but there were a few to choose from so perhaps not. I bought the others just in case so I can try them. The funny thing is the bulb I'm not sure about is working fine on the drivers side as are the low and high beams and fog light.

The high beam (I believe) and fog is working fine on the passenger side but not the low beam but it's not the bulb because there's problem with continuity at the plug and throughout the wiring harness back to the fuse panel.

I did a bit of research since I made my post and apparently there is one or more relays related to headlight operation. I read a thread where somebody was having a similar problem to mine and it was a bad relay. I also read at Pelican Parts that BMW relays tend to fail quite often. Since the continuity in the blue/white wire is bad all the way back to the fuse box and the fuses are fine I'm thinking it may be the relay.

Installing a new relay will be cheap and easy and seems to make sense as the next thing to try after reading more threads on this top.

It is amazing how many people have problems with these Depo lights. Had I known this before I bought them I would have bought ZKW's instead.
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2012, 08:20 PM
armando325i armando325i is offline
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Location: ireland
 
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this depo production is real ****, and this is known all over the world, not only in US
my only sugestion is dont even think about depos, advertise ur own add, and someone will come back to u, with real oem euro lights
ps if u said ur old lights was 100% working, than leave ur releys a side. as i said itl be ur depo lights or conections,
same thing when u put not original tail lights, ur ccm will say that there is tail light failure, but actualy lights is fine, its just becouse one pin is missing from the light for ccm to recognised
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  #5  
Old 03-21-2012, 08:21 PM
armando325i armando325i is offline
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Location: ireland
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armando325i View Post
this depo production is real ****, and this is known all over the world, not only in US
my only sugestion is dont even think about depos, advertise ur own add, and someone will come back to u, with real oem euro lights
ps if u said ur old lights was 100% working, than leave ur releys a side. as i said itl be ur depo lights or conections,
same thing when u put not original tail lights, ur ccm will say that there is tail light failure, but actualy lights is fine, its just becouse one pin is missing from the light for ccm to recognised
CCM- check controle module-onbord computer facilyty
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  #6  
Old 03-21-2012, 08:33 PM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 M3 Convertible
The factory lights are behaving the same as the Depos on the passenger side and the bulbs are good in the factory lights. There's no continuity in the one wire so that suggests a broken connection somewhere in the chain and I checked the wire harness pretty much back to the fuse box so I think it's a bad relay since the fuses are all good.

According to what I've read in other threads Relay 6 is the low beam relay and this has solved the problem for some other owners. I don't have a manual. That's my next move and the fuse panel cover does not address the relays from what I can tell. Can anyone tell me where Relay 6 is located? I'd like to pull that relay and another just like it from one of the other positions and swap them and see if the passenger wire regains continuity and the lights work.

The other possible solution I haven't tried yet is an in line fuse. Some owners claim there is an in-line fuse that's part of the light system on the passenger side of the vehicle somewhere near the back of the engine compartment. This sounds like another very likely solution but I have scoured the engine compartment and I can't find an inline fuse???? I have a 98 M3. Does anybody happen to know exactly where this inline fuse is located so I can check that as well?

Thanks in advance for the help.
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  #7  
Old 03-22-2012, 08:27 AM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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Found a schematic on line for the e36 Relays in case this is helpful to anybody else. Also just ordered the Bentley manual.

Now I will identify the proper relay and do a swap with a similar relay see if that solves the problem.

http://www.dvatp.com/media/image/199...ions_large.jpg
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  #8  
Old 03-22-2012, 08:45 AM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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I just swapped the low beam relay with another just like it and that did not solve the problem. Now I'm down to an inline fuse I haven't found yet or a broken wire somewhere back near the fuse panel and possibly underneath the panel. The Bentley manual should tell me where the inline fuse is located. Assuming it's not the fuse I don't feel like pulling the fuse box up and replacing one wire the length of the harness if it's not necessary.

The parking light wire has voltage and continuity and it's adjacent to the low beam plug. I'm thinking of tapping the parking light wire for power and soldering a wire from it to the adjacent low beam plug to power the low beams.

Thoughts?

Pros? Cons?
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  #9  
Old 03-22-2012, 09:09 AM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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More research determines there is a "Check Control" module through which the low beams run but not the high beams. Another possible but probably unlikely cause of my problem. This part is almost $300 new so this will be one of the last things I check. I can get one used on line for about $50.

What do you guys think about soldering a wire from the parking light (which is working) to the low beam wire that's not working?

Seems like an easy, harmless and inexpensive fix to me?

Anybody have any concerns about that idea?
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  #10  
Old 03-23-2012, 01:37 PM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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Here's a good DIY thread on Depo/ZKW headlight installations for anybody that can use it.

http://www.bavtoys.com/e36guide.php
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  #11  
Old 03-23-2012, 01:50 PM
CTBimmerGuy CTBimmerGuy is offline
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This is just crazy! I went back and tested the continuity on the high beam and low beam plug on the driver's side where all of the lights appear to be functioning properly. I have continuity in three of the four plug wires...same as on the passenger side. Not sure exactly what that means. Perhaps the wire lacking continuity on each side is a ground???? Anyway they are consistent which is what one would expect. The fuses are all good and I swapped the relays and tested them and the headlight related relays are good. The bulbs in each of the depo light kits are all good. Now I don't think I have a broken wire on the passenger side where I was lacking continuity because the same wire on the driver's side also lacks continuity yet that light kits works properly.

When I wire the Depo harness up and plug the various colored pins in exactly the same order as I have them arranged on the driver's side the passenger side lights do not function the same way and the lights are not in synch. Sow now I'm at the point where I think the problem is that the Depo lights aren't properly inside the light kit...especially after doing some extensive reading and finding out how many people have huge problems with Depo light kits.

So I leave the lights on and start playing with the contacts plugging various contacts on different pins to try and determine which settings are right by observation. The best I can do is come close! I can't get the high beams, low beams and fogs to function properly on the passenger side no matter what combination of wiring hook ups I use. So now I think the light kit isn't wired properly internally so no matter how I hook up the passenger side wire harness I won't be able to get the right light sequence!

Based on my experience with these Depo lights all I can say is the build quality of the light kit is lousy and the fact they don't give you any instructions is frustrating. But even without instructions I wouldn't mind using my meter and doing some online research and buying the Bentley manual to figure out how to wire the kit if each headlight were wired correctly and consistently. At this point I've double checked my entire headlight related wiring system and the only thing I can say about the Depo light kit is it sucks!

I'm going to call American Express right now and see if it's too late to dispute the charges. I want to cancel payment on this kit and send them back at Depo's expense and spend the extra money to buy the ZKW light kit.

What a crazy experience this was!
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  #12  
Old 03-23-2012, 03:52 PM
armando325i armando325i is offline
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Location: ireland
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTBimmerGuy View Post
This is just crazy! I went back and tested the continuity on the high beam and low beam plug on the driver's side where all of the lights appear to be functioning properly. I have continuity in three of the four plug wires...same as on the passenger side. Not sure exactly what that means. Perhaps the wire lacking continuity on each side is a ground???? Anyway they are consistent which is what one would expect. The fuses are all good and I swapped the relays and tested them and the headlight related relays are good. The bulbs in each of the depo light kits are all good. Now I don't think I have a broken wire on the passenger side where I was lacking continuity because the same wire on the driver's side also lacks continuity yet that light kits works properly.

When I wire the Depo harness up and plug the various colored pins in exactly the same order as I have them arranged on the driver's side the passenger side lights do not function the same way and the lights are not in synch. Sow now I'm at the point where I think the problem is that the Depo lights aren't properly inside the light kit...especially after doing some extensive reading and finding out how many people have huge problems with Depo light kits.

So I leave the lights on and start playing with the contacts plugging various contacts on different pins to try and determine which settings are right by observation. The best I can do is come close! I can't get the high beams, low beams and fogs to function properly on the passenger side no matter what combination of wiring hook ups I use. So now I think the light kit isn't wired properly internally so no matter how I hook up the passenger side wire harness I won't be able to get the right light sequence!

Based on my experience with these Depo lights all I can say is the build quality of the light kit is lousy and the fact they don't give you any instructions is frustrating. But even without instructions I wouldn't mind using my meter and doing some online research and buying the Bentley manual to figure out how to wire the kit if each headlight were wired correctly and consistently. At this point I've double checked my entire headlight related wiring system and the only thing I can say about the Depo light kit is it sucks!

I'm going to call American Express right now and see if it's too late to dispute the charges. I want to cancel payment on this kit and send them back at Depo's expense and spend the extra money to buy the ZKW light kit.

What a crazy experience this was!
when u put back ur standart lights, what happens? im not expert in us type headlights, but have ben working a lot with eu type ones, and never expierenced that kind a problem. are u 100%sure that there is no problem with fuses?
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