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found other thread with answer

I had a problem where the Hazard Switch would not work nor would the Central Lock switch activate the door locks on my E46. Checking the fuses showed that they were all fine.

Since the fuses were okay and the key fob still worked the door locks I thought the problem was with the switches in the center console. Like most owners I was a bit reluctant about taking the console apart to get at the switch but I also did not want to pay the dealer $150 to take a look at the problem.

After much web searching I found this site which gives you photos and instructions on getting at the switch in question.

http://www.openbmw.org/downloads/

To access the switch you need only pull the shift boot up (pops up real easy) and remove two screws located under the leather boot. Next remove the rear ashtray and take out a few more screws. After that with a little tugging the center console will lift up enough for you to get to the switches. You just push them up and out. Dicsonnect the electrical connection and you now have the switch in your hand.

Once you have the switch out you can just clean it up with some "plastic safe" spray electrical contact cleaner. I used Craig Deoxit but yopu can use anything.

Reassemble the switch and put the console back together and everything works as good as new. Total time 40 minutes. If I had tto do it again I could do it in 10.

Learned two things form this adventure:

Do not drink beverages containing sugar in the car (if you insist on drinking don't spill it on this switch since the switch is not waterproof) and two is if you look hard enough you can find what you want on the net.

Final score: Me up $150 - Dealer 0

sdz
 

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I will add one note here, if you have bluetooth installed: when you get ready to reinstall the center console there are three components held in place by the two screws under the ashtray one of which is your bluetooth antenna. Make sure all the holes stay aligned because you cant reach the antenna to align the holes once the console is in place and ready to be secured. It isn't hard, just something to be aware of. Also be very careful with the wiring for the ashtray light when removing the console. Just my two cents worth.
 
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