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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-19-2013, 03:05 PM
Djmenace4 Djmenace4 is offline
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Car won't star and instrument cluster is not working

First off, I own a 2003 325I 5 speed with 189,000 mi. The instrument cluster is not working all of the sudden. Checked all fuses and all are good. This car was running fine a few weeks ago when I went out to start it. I have another car that I drive to and from work so the Beamer doesn't get used much. Anyhow, I read some of the posts on this issue and they say it could be a bad panel which it was working fine. some said to disconnect the battery for about 10 minutes and reconnect. I did that and now the car won't start, thus my second issue. WTF!!! I know these cars are touchy but dam! Please help, anyone.
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2013, 03:54 PM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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How old is your battery?.
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2013, 04:35 PM
Djmenace4 Djmenace4 is offline
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Battery is about 6 mos. old. Whats messed up is all I did was disconnect the battery for 10 min. to hopefully get my instrument cluster to work and now the car won't start. How can just disconnecting the battery cause all this to happen?
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  #4  
Old 02-19-2013, 10:22 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Car not that touchy if it made it to 189K.

Erratic behavior that manifests itself in various ways at various times.
New battery can show defects in short order if it's a bad one. Time to try another in that spot or chance getting it tested for free at your friendly Autozone, or whatever.
Do this to eliminate this possibility if something else is the problem.
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  #5  
Old 02-20-2013, 01:48 PM
Bear77 Bear77 is offline
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Mein Auto: '04 325iT
Probably a bad alternator. Sounds like what happened to my '04 last week.
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  #6  
Old 02-20-2013, 03:54 PM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear77 View Post
Probably a bad alternator. Sounds like what happened to my '04 last week.
Yup, that's what I was going to say next.
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  #7  
Old 02-20-2013, 11:50 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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- Complete DIY for how to test a BMW battery & alternator (1) & a diagnostic procedure to test for overnight parasitic battery drain (1) & how to find all the fuses (1) & how to choose a good aftermarket battery (1) and a simple battery replacement DIY (1)
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2013, 06:39 AM
Djmenace4 Djmenace4 is offline
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Alternator is not the problem. The car will turn over just won't fire off. It may be the fuel pump. I removed the back seat and got no sound out of the fuel pump. All my fuses are good. But my original problem with the guage cluster is not fixed. I have no guage cluster movement or display. the airbag light and seatbelt light are the only things that light up. everything else is dead.
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  #9  
Old 02-21-2013, 07:01 AM
new_kid new_kid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djmenace4 View Post
But my original problem with the guage cluster is not fixed. I have no guage cluster movement or display. the airbag light and seatbelt light are the only things that light up. everything else is dead.
I won't be surprise if this turns out to be issues with your PCM (Power Control Module). May be going bad and needs replacing.

Just a thought.
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  #10  
Old 04-21-2013, 11:12 AM
Djmenace4 Djmenace4 is offline
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Well, still no guage cluster working. I pulled it out and unplugged it then plugged it back in to make sure the connections were good. The only lights that work are the seatbelt light and the ABS. I had the battery tested and the battery was good just needed a good overnight charge. After doing that the car still didn't start and my cluster is still out. Any more ideas that I can do to get this thing running and my cluster working? Spring time is here and I would love to be driving it around with the roof open and windows down.
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  #11  
Old 04-21-2013, 12:11 PM
prenderm28 prenderm28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djmenace4 View Post
Well, still no guage cluster working. I pulled it out and unplugged it then plugged it back in to make sure the connections were good. The only lights that work are the seatbelt light and the ABS. I had the battery tested and the battery was good just needed a good overnight charge. After doing that the car still didn't start and my cluster is still out. Any more ideas that I can do to get this thing running and my cluster working? Spring time is here and I would love to be driving it around with the roof open and windows down.
what did you do when you "just disconnected the battery" and reconnected it?

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  #12  
Old 04-21-2013, 12:32 PM
Bam.pilot Bam.pilot is offline
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Is it turning over at all? If its not turning at all, and tge fuel pump is not turning on can it be the starter? Just got my firt bmw so sorry for not being much help.
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  #13  
Old 04-21-2013, 01:27 PM
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DPP528 DPP528 is offline
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The airbag and seatbelt light being on makes me think it could be a bad ignition switch. Does the engine crank over repeatedly, or does it just tick when you turn the key? It could also be the fuel pump relay if the car turns over.
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  #14  
Old 04-22-2013, 05:22 PM
Djmenace4 Djmenace4 is offline
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Got it started, finally. I went in the glove box and double checked all my fuses and found the one to the fuel pump was not pushed in all the way. I pulled it out and pushed it back in and made sure all the fuses were in all the way. Behold it started right up. Now for the instrument cluster problem. I hoped that the car starting would get the guages to work but no luck. Also I noted that my A/C did not kick on. All it was blowing was warm air. I'm sure this is all connected> So now to this issue, anyone have any ideas on this?? Like I said the seatbelt light and ABS is all that lights up, everything else is dead.
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2013, 09:03 AM
bavariangirl26 bavariangirl26 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djmenace4 View Post
Got it started, finally. I went in the glove box and double checked all my fuses and found the one to the fuel pump was not pushed in all the way. I pulled it out and pushed it back in and made sure all the fuses were in all the way. Behold it started right up. Now for the instrument cluster problem. I hoped that the car starting would get the guages to work but no luck. Also I noted that my A/C did not kick on. All it was blowing was warm air. I'm sure this is all connected> So now to this issue, anyone have any ideas on this?? Like I said the seatbelt light and ABS is all that lights up, everything else is dead.
Were you able to figure out what was wrong with your instrument cluster not working? I have the same exact problem you do (even down to my fuse not being pushed all the way in, so it wasn't starting either for a bit). I started my 3 series up one day and had no functioning gauges or lights, except my ABS when I would start my car. I have been searching for some time what to do but have no luck. My car is not under warranty, so I am a little reluctant to bring it to the dealer to check it out. But I want to get it back on the road. Its driving me crazy! Any help you can offer me would be awesome.

Thank you!
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2013, 10:23 AM
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hexy27 hexy27 is offline
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Disconnect your battery....both the positive and negative cables. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and then short the cables together with a piece of metal like a combination wrench, NOT the battery terminals, just the pos and neg cables. After you have shorted the cables you can reconnect the battery and the cluster may now come back to life. You are basically rebooting the car's computer......I had a friend who brought me his E46 to fix the same issue and this did the trick with zero issues since and it has been going fine for over three months.
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2013, 12:25 PM
Miguelamado26 Miguelamado26 is offline
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Hello everyone, yesterday my car was running fine (04 330i) and suddenly the dashboard went out and all dials froze. Car kept running fine, got home and noticed the ambient sensor hanging beneath the front fender and the tip of it was destroyed. This morning the car will not start, battery should be fine since all interior lights are ok, stereo and AC ok (by the way, AC blows also only warm air), ignition cranks fine but car will just not start. Any ideas?
Thanks.
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  #18  
Old 11-08-2013, 09:10 AM
scottjoh scottjoh is offline
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Car won't star and instrument cluster is not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguelamado26 View Post
Hello everyone, yesterday my car was running fine (04 330i) and suddenly the dashboard went out and all dials froze. Car kept running fine, got home and noticed the ambient sensor hanging beneath the front fender and the tip of it was destroyed. This morning the car will not start, battery should be fine since all interior lights are ok, stereo and AC ok (by the way, AC blows also only warm air), ignition cranks fine but car will just not start.
Ok course the AC blows only warm air. The AC system requires power from the engine to cool the air and your engine isn't running. The instrument cluster issue is strange. Could be an ignition switch problem. Next I would read engine fault codes with any code reader. That may give you a clue like cam position sensor. If that doesn't lead you anywhere then a BMW specific code reading computer (ie INPA, GT1, PA Soft) will be necessary to make sure the DME, IKE and EWS modules are all working properly.
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  #19  
Old 02-17-2014, 03:55 AM
Lex Hawkins Lex Hawkins is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 330i
The A/C is not working because the signal to kick on the compressor comes from the instrument panel. Once the instrument panel problem is repaired, the A/C will work.
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  #20  
Old 02-17-2014, 07:58 PM
scooter123 scooter123 is offline
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Mein Auto: 05 325xi 5 speed
Quote:
Originally Posted by hexy27 View Post
Disconnect your battery....both the positive and negative cables. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and then short the cables together with a piece of metal like a combination wrench, NOT the battery terminals, just the pos and neg cables. After you have shorted the cables you can reconnect the battery and the cluster may now come back to life. You are basically rebooting the car's computer......I had a friend who brought me his E46 to fix the same issue and this did the trick with zero issues since and it has been going fine for over three months.
wow this is ingenious!
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  #21  
Old 08-23-2014, 08:02 PM
Alika808 Alika808 is offline
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The above procedures (shorting out the positive and negative battery cables for at least 15-20 minutes) it doesn't fix the cluster issue. I replaced the cluster from known working cluster and fixed the cluster problem. Also, the A/C works after replacing the cluster. The only issue i have now is the donor cluster have higher mileage that the broken one.
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  #22  
Old 08-24-2014, 05:22 AM
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iskoos iskoos is offline
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Plus now you have the annoying odometer temper light (orange dot) lit up
I had the same issue with my car about 7 years ago. Same symptoms. Cluster didn't worked except a few lights. I disconnected the battery and the car stopped working. The battery was okay, car was turning over but no start. This issue finally went away after a few tries. But the instrument cluster never worked neither did the A/C. I had to replace the cluster through the dealer and the issue got solved. No temper light since it was done at the dealer.

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  #23  
Old 09-14-2014, 02:02 PM
BooneB BooneB is offline
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Cluster Lights out Engine won't turn over

I have the same problem. I might have dumb questions because I am a female and don't understand some terms very well. My question is: When you say you replaced the cluster. What does that refer to? The cluster connector or the whole cluster panel? and am I correct in guessing cluster means dash panel. I am trying to diagnose my teens car so any help is appreciated. Before this happened I tried to reset the moon roof and it didn't fix the problem. The next morning my son told me his dash lights were out..we were able to drive it around the block but it was acting strange jerking accelerating strangely..so we parked it.. When we tried to turn it on to check it it would not turn on.
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  #24  
Old 09-14-2014, 10:47 PM
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iskoos iskoos is offline
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Yes, cluster means the dash panel that has all the gauges. If your issue is same as mine, I don't know another fix other than replacing the cluster. But as I mentioned, the correct way to do it is to get a new one, replace it and then recode it to match the VIN. If a used cluster is used and not coded properly, then the odometer temper light (orange dot next to the odometer) will come on indicating the original cluster is replaced. But it is just a warning light. Everything else will work if the replacement cluster has no issues.
Of course all the above is based on that your cluster has the problem nothing else...
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  #25  
Old 09-15-2014, 06:27 PM
BooneB BooneB is offline
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Thank You..

New to this I'm hoping to reply correctly..Thank You..Now to find a decent priced panel..
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