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-   -   Final Stage Resistor Replacement DIY- Right-hand drive (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=794644)

Docremus 09-28-2010 03:56 PM

Final Stage Resistor Replacement DIY- Right-hand drive
Before I start, I'd like to point out that this DIY was carried out on my RHD 2002 325i SE by me in Essex, UK in August 2010. I am NOT a mechanic so my technical terms may be incorrect and my tools are basic.

This is the second time I have replaced the FSR because the first replacement failed after 6 months. First time, it took me 3 hours just to remove the top torx screw on the stepper motor. Second time round I had the entire job done in 45 minutes so I had time to take pictures.

Ok friends............here goes.

Tools you will need:

Philips Head screwdriver
Torx T-20 Driver

Notice I have cut the handle down on the torx driver so that it is just under 6 inches long so that it can fit inbetween the steering column and the top torx screw on the stepper motor. (This will become clearer later in the DIY)


First, remove the two philips head screws that secure the coin compartment.


Next, remove the three screws that secure the panel under the dashboard.


Then pull out the pin in the centre of this stud that secures the panel to the gearbox tunnel and then remove the stud completely.


Next, this rubber stop behind the clutch pedal looks like it is screwed in with a philips head screw. It isn't, just grip it in your hand a pull it away.


Once these fixings have all been removed, grip the panel just under the steering column and gently pull it downwards. There are two retaining clips at this point that will release and the panel will come away. Remove the wiring to the reversing sensor bleeper (1), The interior footwell light (2). Slide the light grey cover backwards on the multi-plug (3) and remove the multiplug. The panel is now free and can be removed from the car.


Next take a good look where you are going to be spending the next little while. A good tip is a cushion over the sill, this will help to avoid severe bruising to your back.


The next step is to remove the stepper motor. Laying on your back across the sill and pushing yourself as deep into the footwell as possible, using the torch, look up and to your right and you can see an airvent pointing down toward you, just above that is the stepper motor positioned behind the A/C controller on the dashboard. It is held in with two torx screws. The bottom one is easy to remove. The top one is a different story, the shortened torx driver will fit neatly in-between the screw and the steering column. Seat the driver in the screwhead and patiently remove the screw.
TIP: This took me three hours first time round. When I replaced it, I screwed it back finger tight, just incase.


Once the screws are removed, reward youself, then slide stepper motor away revealing the multi-plug connected to the back of the Final Stage Resistor.


Grip the plug and give it a little wiggle and it will come away. Tuck it up out the way.


Next, you can see the retaining clip thet holds the FSR in the housing, push it aside while gripping the FSR and wiggling. A bit of perseverence, and it will release. Slide it out of the housing and you'll be holding the little b*****d in your hand.


With the old FSR out, time to replace it with a shiny new one.


Old and the New. First time round, I replaced the original with an aftermarket part purchased on ebay. That failed after 6 months, I may have been unlucky, but my tip is to get a genuine one if possible for the sake of another 25.


As you would expect, refitting the new one is a reversal of the removal proceedure taking care to fit the muti-plug on the back of the FSR securely. I would recommend NOT tightening the top torx screw on the stepper motor too tight, just incase you have to replace it again. Turn the ignition on and fire up the A/C BEFORE you refit the dash panel to check everything is connected properly, then prepare to bask in the glory of cool air and a fan that works when it is told to.


Make sure all fixings on the dashboard panel that was removed earlier are refitted, pay careful attention to the two clips that hold the panel around the steering column - Make sure they are seated properly. Refit the three wiring plugs back into the interior light, parking sensor bleeper and multi-plug. When everything is back in place, check knuckles for damage.


I hope this DIY helps all the RHD drivers out there. A big thank you to e46fanatics members whos' previous FSR DIY's gave me the confidence to have a crack at it myself.


SMAX 12-29-2010 01:06 PM

Thanks for that very specific DIY ....I may have followed my American friends and taken out the glove compartment!.......may have to replace my FSR soon ..so thanks again

karl heinz 01-13-2011 03:55 PM

Fantastic write up there Docremus. :clap:

I tried this back in August, 2010 and it brought back bad memories !!

I couldn't get the FSR out before my back gave up but I did manage to clean up the contacts and soak the lot in WD40. So far it has worked OK, everything back to normal.
The problem was the Torx screws ....good tip on shortening the driver.

Great pictures but I don't think that you can get such a clear view of the FSR from head position between the pedals !! I had to take pictures and view the camera just to see what was going on.


karl heinz

karl heinz 01-13-2011 04:02 PM


karl heinz 01-13-2011 04:05 PM


alex1985 01-16-2011 04:44 PM

I cant get the S***** second screw out......it is in such a bad place.......Gave up after 3 hours of trying... could see it with a mirror though.

SMAX 01-17-2011 02:29 PM

FSR replacement
Well I thought it was a great write-up and clear pictures.....bought my BMW FSR ....and did the Torx screwdriver modification .........It was HELL to even find the upper screw ......... in the end I took it to the Dealer ...the replacement cost about US$15 ...and fortunately they determined that the dryer needed replacement .......this is not a DIY that I will attempt again .....I am 6ft 4in ....yet could not wedge far enough under the dash

alex1985 01-17-2011 06:54 PM

Well said.

I'm one inch shorter than you and I have the same problem. I just can't fit in that tiny space to get a good view of that second T20 screw.

I took it to my mechanic and he did it in 30 min. Cost me an extra 50 but it was an insurance to a permanent back injury I'd say.

He lifted the car up about a meter and it was much easier to see things by then.

I'm loving my heater now. No more drama.....:clap:

Docremus 02-25-2011 03:41 PM

Thanks for the positive comments. Like I said, first time round it took me nearly 3 hours JUST to undo the top torx screw, but thats the worst part of the job, it was the most awkward job I've done on ANY car I've owned - BMW or otherwise.

benny beemer 05-21-2011 02:03 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I am very much stuck in the middle of this DIY...


slide stepper motor away revealing the multi-plug connected to the back of the Final Stage Resistor
How is the stepper motor housing removed? I have removed both torx screws and it does not want to budge! Which way does it "slide"?

I assume a lot of people are familiar with this DIY. Please help!

Scottyalex1909 06-03-2011 06:48 AM

Just did this following your guide, yours is by far the easiest I've seen. I didn't have a set of torx but used an allen key instead, worked great on them and got the top screw out easy! When I put it back together I left the top screw out as it just wouldn't locate though. Again thanks for the guide, saved me a lot of time

doofa 06-09-2011 04:25 PM

this may help
2 Attachment(s)
Hey there beeny, looks as if you have missed removing the screw at the top the stepper motor bracket. I had the same problem. It is not visible unless you have a pencil neck and small head. (A engineers mirror on a stick works well though)

Attached are a few tips.

The PDF shows the stepper motor bracket removed to show where the hidded screw would reside. (don't confuse this with the upper resistor screw as I first did). there are 2 screws for the housing and another 2 for the resistor.

My ressitor was hot to touch, and required to be disconnected for a few minutes before removal

The second pdf shows a pic of the removed resistor and the soldered joints to fix. This worked with mine, and resolved the ongoing flat battery syndrome. This may work if the internal resister circuit is not already fried. In my case it was a dry solder joint, so all terminals were resoldered and extra solder was added to lessen the load on the failed connections.
As ususal, perform at your own risk and common sense...cheers

younGun392 08-14-2011 06:26 PM

The got through with this today. Morale of the DIY: don't laugh at other fanatics' attempts at getting a screw undone in three hours because it may just take you four! I read that the screw on the top side of the stepper motor is a pain in the **** but I would have never assumed this. Anyway, all set and done and am currently making the most of having my A/C back in the 40 degree weather!

SMAX 08-14-2011 07:13 PM

Guys ..as i mentioned in an earlier post ....getting that FSR out can be a challenge ...I salute all you guys who were able to disconnect/change it yourselves ........ I have not regretted having a dealer change it ..... Life in the tropics is a great deal rosier when your AC works like a dream

Scottyalex1909 10-16-2011 06:13 AM

I've just replaced this again for the 2nd time, didn't listen the first time and bought off eBay, when I got the FSR out it had fused on the connector pins. Changing wasn't bad with the use of a 3/32" hex key (Alan key) but could of been avoided if I'd of listened and bought one from a trusted supplier

brayling 10-20-2011 09:33 AM

Brilliant write up, just done mine in an hour, would have taken all day without this post. Ta very much top stuff, very easy to read. being a novice myself I completely understood ya ha

even managed to get all the t screw's back in using the tape to head method and I'm 6ft 4"

again great post!

macka_smacka 10-25-2011 02:51 PM

Great write up just found this after following LHD E46 guides lol. i too had to cut my torx down lol.

My blower has stopped working and thought id try the resistor as all my fuses are fine. Luckily my dad has an e46 too, i tried my FSR in his and it still worked. I tried his in mine and no go :(

Today i stripped the fan hosing down and checked for voltage etc, there was no voltage at the motor so i thinking its not the motor either ?

the control unit will display fan speed and i can adjust it also switch Air con on.

Im a little lost as to where to investigate next. Anyone got any ideas ? all help will be greatly appreciated.



TheDarkTemplar 12-08-2011 07:12 AM

Great write up. Have to say, have only just read through all the other diys, all for LHD cars and got a little confused as didn't exactly know whether the side will be the same. Thumbs up anyway, great pics and detail. Will be doing this on Sunday.

TheDarkTemplar 12-12-2011 01:25 AM

Finally got around to replacing the flipping resistor. The whole job took me about one hour and everything went according to instructions posted at the top, apart from the OBC connector in the footwell. Could not disconnect it so ended up cutting the wires. As I was in a hurry(it was getting dark and cold), I did it without disconnecting the battery and blew a fuse for the instrument cluster. Replaced the fuse, instrument cluster is back to normal. However, this morning I discovered that the button on the left hand stick, that is meant to cycle through the various displays in the dashboard does not work anymore. Any idea if there is any other fuse for that, or have I managed to fix one thing and break another?

Tatenda 53 06-22-2012 11:29 AM

E46 fsr
Very clear instructions but I am unable to remove multiplug. I can slide the light grey plastic piece forward but can't figure how to remove it.

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