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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 10-17-2011, 11:11 AM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
 
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Fun with Rear Foglight Switch

So I managed to complete this project last night (I didn't take pictures, so )
I basically wired up a garage door opener to the rear fog light switch.

Here's what you need:
Euro-style fog light switch: P/N 61-31-1-387-054-BOE

--This has the front and rear switches. For my 6er, this is basically all you need to start using the rear fogs, as they were installed and wired, but there was just no switch. Turns out my E36 M3 was not wired for rear fogs so the harness behind this switch has just 2 out of 4 pins. Thus, this switch was not doing anything.

Garage Door Opener: There's tons of these things out there. This is the kind I had. (One button model)


Make sure you sync it up with your garage door so it can operate it. I just got a 1-button opener, anything more is overkill for this project.

Soldering Iron
Solder
Wire. I have a ton of aluminum core? small gauge insulated (probably necessary) wire from my Computer Engineering days at VT.

Little metal tube things for makeshift connectors.


I took the big red ones in the bottom right corner and melted the plastic off to get the metal tubes inside. Not the best method, I know, but it was all I had. They fit over the metal prongs on the switch pretty well, and they fit inside the plastic harness that the front fogs were wired into as well.

Random tools. I assume you have screwdrivers and other tools that anyone who owns 12+ year old cars will have. Turns out the tool I used the most was a set of tweezers I have from my grooming kit.


What I did:

Inside the plastic case on the garage door opener is a Printed Circuit Board with all the electronics. I found the push button switch that operates the transmitter and flipped the PCB over. On the solder side there were 4 solder joints for this switch. Using the tweezers (you can use a bit of wire, or a coin; anything that allows low current to flow through will work) I connected two joints at a time until my garage door opened. These two joints are the ones to connect for the switch.

Solder two strips (2 inches is long enough) of wire to the joints, one each. I used green and white, but you can do whatever. It's probably a nightmare if you don't have insulated wire.

Solder the other ends of the wires into the insides of the tubes described earlier. Make sure you tested for proper fitting. If they're too big then you won't get it into the wiring harness. If they're too small they won't fit onto the prongs on the fog light switch.


Remove the light switch assembly from dash. It's pretty easy to remove, just two screws. Mine were different lengths so I made sure to remember which one went where. Not sure if they're all like that.

Unplug the fog light wiring harness and pop out the switch itself.

Now the hard part. Route the two tube-ended wires into the wiring harness so that the tubes are lined up with the bottom of the harness. I don't think polarity matters here, it's just the momentary connection the transmitter is looking for. Make sure it works by plugging the harness into the switch and testing it. If it works, unplug it and put the switch back into the assembly and plug it back in. Test again and reassemble! Be sure to tuck the transmitter's PCB above the light switch assembly and under the vent. There's just enough room for it there. Also make sure the wires are tucked in such that they don't get pinched or pulled when you put it all back.

This part took me forever because it's a cramped workspace, the wiring harness does not have a lot of extra room and my connectors kept getting pushed out. Eventually I was able to crimp them into the harness without damaging everything and put it all back in.

Now, the fog light switch is actually an on/off switch, so you have to make sure you don't leave it in the on position or it will drain the transmitter's battery. I found that you don't even need to push it all the way into the on position, just pushing it close got it to trip the transmitter's circuit.

Thanks for reading.
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Quote:
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
2005 X5 4.8is Le Mans/Black/6spd Steptragic SOLD 3/2016
1999 M3 Cabrio TiAg Metallic/Dove Grey/Black 5 Speed Manual FS
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1997 328iC Schwarz II/K/K 5MT SOLD 5/2012
2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2011, 01:09 PM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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Location: Fort McMurray AB
 
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Nice write up fora useful project.

Well done Sir.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:40 PM
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johnf johnf is offline
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Location: Bremerhaven, Germany
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Mein Auto: 1996 318is
I have a silly question, and I ask only out of curiosity. Why didn't you use the BMW/AMP round, female connector contacts?

BTW, I've now had that dual button fog light switch on order for four weeks. I have been told it's on factory backorder and its third, expected delivery date. I hope it comes soon. I want to put the car back together for its annual Licht-Test.

Last edited by johnf; 10-17-2011 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:44 PM
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petriej petriej is offline
Cruising 280 Top Down
Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 6,089
Mein Auto: '99 M3 Cab & '05 X5 4.8is
To be honest, I didn't have them, nor did I really set out to do that when I ordered stuff. I had never opened that part of the car before I ordered the switch so I didn't know the harness would be missing the contacts.

Like my father taught me, do the best you can with what you have.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
2005 X5 4.8is Le Mans/Black/6spd Steptragic SOLD 3/2016
1999 M3 Cabrio TiAg Metallic/Dove Grey/Black 5 Speed Manual FS
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1997 328iC Schwarz II/K/K 5MT SOLD 5/2012
2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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