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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-13-2014, 02:01 PM
iCatch22 iCatch22 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1992 BMW 318is
318is electrical issues

Just traded my civic for a 92 318is 5 speed 2 door. Has 143k on it. Zero rust, runs flawlessly. But has some major electrical problems. Ive fixed some of them already. But still having issues. Firstly, the power windows do not work. The sunroof works great but windows, not at all. I have researched and haven't gotten very far. How would I go about testing the switches? That would be my first thought, because obviously I have checked the fuses. My other issue is the windshield wipers will not stop. They are on constently with the ignition on. I read it could be the wiper module but it seems my car doesnt have one? I tore apart the glove box and the driver side under panel dash and see no reminisce of the module. So thats got me baffled. Any suggestions people?
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2014, 09:28 AM
iCatch22 iCatch22 is offline
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anyone?
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  #3  
Old 08-14-2014, 09:45 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Pop the window switches out and check for voltage at the switch with the key on. If there's voltage there (12v) both in and out with the button pushed, the fault is further down the line. If no voltage, the fault will be between the fuse panel and switch. Assuming you have voltage at the switch, but none beyond it when the button is pushed, the switch is bad. Since both windows are dead, I'm figuring you've got problems elsewhere.

You've got a wiper control module, whether you see it or not. The wipers won't work without it. For the 1992 and early 1993 models the wiper relay and the wiper control module are in the left footwell area. The relay is in the left splice panel under the footwell speaker grill. The wiper module is in the left footwell, under the footrest.
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  #4  
Old 08-14-2014, 09:49 AM
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Check your switches with an ohm meter. The switch module is just snapped into the center console. Pry it out carefully and use the ohm meter function on your DMM to measure the switch resistance. Should be near zero ohms when the switch is activated and open circuit when it's not.
If just one window wasn't working and the other was I might suspect a switch, but the odds of both switches being simultaneously bad is pretty low.
The Bentley manual has full schematics for all E36s in the back section. Go to the useful links sticky and click on the this one went missing link. You can download a PDF version.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2014, 05:09 PM
iCatch22 iCatch22 is offline
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switches tested good. There is power to them and out of them. The window regulator is getting power too! I switched the switches around and the driver side regulator clicks only when pressing up. Nothing happens on down. And nothing at all happens with the passenger side. What should i check next?
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2014, 09:38 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Check for voltage at the motors, both up and down. If you have power there, make up a set of jumpers and put direct power to the motor itself.
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buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot

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1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
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  #7  
Old 08-26-2014, 10:58 AM
iCatch22 iCatch22 is offline
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I tested voltage at the driver side switch and got about 10.95v on every wire constantly except ground obv and except for the purple/yellow. p/y only had 4v going to it. All wires dropped voltage when pressing up on the window switch. Nothing happened when pressing down. Started to test the switch and the window started moving. Found out that when the purple wire and brown wire on the switch are touched together the window roles down. So i can rule out a bad window regulator/module. All wires tested 10.95 volts except for brown (ground) and grey/red? nnot sure what that wire does. So the switch must be bad right?
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  #8  
Old 08-26-2014, 07:33 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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use a test light to the window motors. if it lights then you have a bad motor. you could probably whack it (gently) with the butt of a screwdriver to see if it moves any. but if you have power to the switch, chances are you need motors.

you could unplug the motor and use the testlight to jump the pins of the connector as well, which if it lights would confirm the power/ground circuits are operational and the window motor is not.




df
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2014, 03:38 PM
Tech12 Tech12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
use a test light to the window motors. if it lights then you have a bad motor. you could probably whack it (gently) with a screwdriver handle to see if it moves any. but if you have power to the switch, chances are you need motors.

you could unplug the motor and use the testlight to jump the pins of the connector as well, which if it lights would confirm the power/ground circuits are operational and the window motor is not.



df
Can't argue with that, a simple 3 watt test lamp is usually the best way to test this type of circuit.
Contrary to opinion given by several internet sites, YOU WON'T DAMAGE YOUR VEHICLE BY USING A TEST LAMP FOR THIS & it makes things a lot easier than using a Multimeter. Especially if your not experienced with electrical fault finding, although I've got expensive meters I still rely on a test lamp for a lot of fault finding.

Old school it may be, but still a very effective fault finding tool when used properly.


Andy

Last edited by Tech12; 08-31-2014 at 02:09 AM.
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2014, 09:14 AM
iCatch22 iCatch22 is offline
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SOLVED: So I went on a limb and figured the switches were both bad because bypassing them made the series work again. I installed the new switches and they work perfectly. 2 bad switches go figure.
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  #11  
Old 09-04-2014, 09:45 AM
Tech12 Tech12 is offline
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Nicely done & thanks for taking the time to let us know.




Andy
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  #12  
Old 10-01-2014, 11:06 AM
iCatch22 iCatch22 is offline
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I know it's been awhile but I fixed my wiper issue as well. Just thought I would post it here maybe it could help someone. Turns out the wiper control module was the problem. Replaced with a known good one and the wipers work normal again. So i would suggest, if you have the same issue with your wipers I had (key on, wipers dont shut off) then replace your wiper control module
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  #13  
Old 10-01-2014, 11:45 AM
Tech12 Tech12 is offline
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Thanks buddy, all good info.






Andy
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