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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have had my 1996 318i in the family for a while. I recently, being 17, inherited this car, and discovered some problems. The mileage counter is really dim, and gets dimmer on the right side of the piece. Also, I can't listen to music because no power comes into the stereo. Basically, I want to know if there is an issue with the circuitry, or if it is just the receiver. I bought a new aftermarket stereo to replace the stock one, but I haven't installed yet because I am afraid of frying it or something.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

· BMWCCA HPDE Instructor
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1) The dim odometer is due to a burned out bulb. Use this tutorial for help replacing them:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/101-Projects-90-Gauges/101-Projects-90-Gauges.htm

2) The lack of power supply to the stereo could be due to a bad connection, blown fuse, or bad head unit. Check the related fuse, then if it's okay, you can remove the stereo and test the connections with a multimeter for power. Note: Disconnecting the battery will require entering the stereo security code to make it functional again upon reconnecting the battery. If you do not have this code in your owners manual, it can be sourced only from the dealership. This will also apply to replacing the gauge cluster bulbs, since you need to disconnect the battery for that job, too. You aren't going to fry anything by installing an aftermarket stereo.
 

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You aren't going to fry anything by installing an aftermarket stereo.
Provided you wire it in correctly!:)

When you go to pull the OEM radio you'll see that it has a large mass termination connector on the rear that brings all the wiring into one location. Most automotive stereo shops sell an adapter kit that will mate with the connector on the car side of the harness and then you can wire up your new head unit to the wiring from the adapter. Don't cut the wiring in the car harness.
 

· BMWCCA HPDE Instructor
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C'mon man, you gotta think about this just a little. You want to check the fuse for your stereo, right? Where are the fuses? In the fuse box. What are you looking for in the fuse box? The fuse for the stereo... Use the diagram on the underside of the fuse box to locate the fuse for the stereo. If the fuse wire element is broken, it has blown and needs to be replaced. :)
 

· BMWCCA HPDE Instructor
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Look on the diagram on the underside of the fuse panel lid. It will list the relevant fuses for the radio, and also includes a diagram showing where those fuses are located. If it says fuses 9 & 44 are for the radio, check fuses 9 and 44. Don't know where fuses 9 and 44 are located? Look at the diagram... Starting to wonder if you can feed and dress yourself...:) This is basic logic here. Again, all of this stuff is available online by searching with google. Just search for "E36 BMW radio fuse location" and open a few links.

 

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Hey man, will ya respond?? What number am I looking for? Obviously 9,44, but where do I look on the fuses??where it says 15A, 30A, etc??
The "A xx" numbers refer to how many amps the fuse is rated for. I.e. the fuse that says "A 30" on it is rated for 30 amps.

At this point I would highly recommend getting someone who knows something about car electronics to help you before you burn the car down. They will be able to tech you much better in person them we can over the Internet.
 
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