05 e46 325i Possible electrical fire? - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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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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Old 04-30-2011, 03:07 PM
_des_ _des_ is offline
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05 e46 325i Possible electrical fire?

I'm a car dealer and I recently sold an 05 BMW 325I. Two weeks later she calls and says the car caught on fire!

She still drove the car back to the lot, but did not have full coverage insurance on it. So I'm SOL. The customer is going to be responsible for it but I'm helping her by giving her my pricing for parts.

My question is, is this a common problem? The fire appeared to have started behind the passenger side headlight directly behind the headlight. It burned the clutch fan, radiator support, overflow, washer resivor, bottom of the hood, grill and headlight. It is repairable but may be expensive. I did alittle research and discovered that it is more regular on a 540's.

Was their ever a recall or something
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:12 PM
TerraPhantm TerraPhantm is offline
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Were the headlights factory? And if so, were they HID or halogen?

HID igniters have very high voltages running through them (25kV for the initial arc) so if the fire started behind the headlight, it's probably due to the igniter. I've never heard of a stock igniter catching fire, but if for some reason the dust cover was loose and water got in the right spot or something, I suppose it's possible. An electrical fire is more likely with aftermarket headlights, since the connectors used for the "HID kits" aren't really designed with safety in mind
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:27 PM
_des_ _des_ is offline
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Thanks for the quick response.

The headlights were factory and they were Halogen bulbs. All wiring was still to factory spec and nothing looked to have been tampered with before we sold the car. Its very difficult to determine of something was changed from the time we sold it to them until now.
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:31 PM
TerraPhantm TerraPhantm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _des_ View Post
Thanks for the quick response.

The headlights were factory and they were Halogen bulbs. All wiring was still to factory spec and nothing looked to have been tampered with before we sold the car. Its very difficult to determine of something was changed from the time we sold it to them until now.
Hmm halogens... that makes figuring out a cause tougher, especially over the internet not being able to see the car. It definitely isn't common for electrical fires to occur in these cars. In fact the only ones I've ever really seen were due to aftermarket components like cold cathode angel eyes. It very well could've just been a freak accident - Something like a dried up leaf sitting too near a heat source. I feel sorry for the owner, but ultimately something like this is a risk she chose to accept by not opting for full coverage
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:36 PM
_des_ _des_ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
Hmm halogens... that makes figuring out a cause tougher, especially over the internet not being able to see the car. It definitely isn't common for electrical fires to occur in these cars. In fact the only ones I've ever really seen were due to aftermarket components like cold cathode angel eyes. It very well could've just been a freak accident - Something like a dried up leaf sitting too near a heat source. I feel sorry for the owner, but ultimately something like this is a risk she chose to accept by not opting for full coverage
I'm going to double check. They appear to be factory headligts, but maybe they are "replica" like depo headlights. Its really not our fault nor is it her fault but if she would have had insurance this would be much less of a headache for both of us. I'm still adding up the price of little things to fix it and the $$$ are getting up their quickly. I'm more worried about electrical things such as chassis wiring harness &/or Engine harness.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:49 AM
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noexceptions325 noexceptions325 is offline
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Hate to bump a dead thread but I just bought an e46 with this exact same issue, figure it was important to document another case of this happening... passenger side headlight caught fire.. luckily the woman had a fire extinguisher

I bought a complete new harness for under the hood.. but im concerned that it might not fix the problem. Ill post cool fire damage pix as soon as my camera and vehicle are in the same state lol
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:39 PM
nopmibob nopmibob is offline
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My E46 had a fire too, while parked. Under hood, melted front end. Was an 05. happened in 2017 /w 95k mi.
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