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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 03-18-2009, 11:20 PM   #1
aa240sx
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2000 323I dashlights not working. help!

This is weird. I actually posted on this subject a couple days ago and can't find it here anymore. anyway, just wanted to update everyone who might have seen that post:

Issue- My instrument cluster lights are not working. Not the indicators or warning lights but the lights that illuminate the needles. I thought maybe it was a burned out bulb so I picked up a used instrument cluster for 80 bucks. Welp, the same thing is happening to the used cluster. Everything works on both clusters, but the lights that illuminate it.

Is there anything else I can try to diagnose this issue? i did check the fuses and the key located beneath the fuse box indicates 3 different fuses that affect the cluster. i checked each fuse and they are all fine.

This is definitely vexing!
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:31 PM   #2
busyguy360f1
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ALL of the other interior dash lights work then? Only the cluster lighting is out? Did you check the fuses with a Digital MultiMeter? Has any other work been done on the car lately?
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:51 PM   #3
aa240sx
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Hi,

I have a multi-meter but am not familiar with how to use it. As far as work or modifications, no. Nothing has been done to it. It's a base model 323I with your typical bmw business CD. doesn't even have steering wheel controls for the radio or cruise control.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:53 PM   #4
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Oh, and all interior lights work. Also, the dimmer switch does work when I turn on the headlights, however, they only illuminate bright/dim the mileage display, radio display, and temp display.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:42 AM   #5
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okay - I've looked into the the dimmer switch to see if that could be the issue. right now, the dimmer switch is dimming the mileage display, radio display, a/c temp display, and hazard light and the actual headlight switch too. however, i just realized that the power window switches aren't lighting up either, nor is the door lock switch in the center console. are these even supposed to light up? I have manual 5 speed, so there's no light on the shift knob. also, i used to have some sort of courtesy light. it was super faint, but it sort of lit up the whole dash area too. that's not working either. any ideas on this one?
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:45 AM   #6
busyguy360f1
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To use the DMM, set the range selection to 20V DC (or whatever DC Voltage range that is closest to 12), ground the black lead of the DMM to a metal bolt or bare metal in the car, and poke the red lead of the DMM into both sides of all fuses, one by one with ignition ON, EXCEPT any labeled SRS or Airbag, to ensure 12-14V on both sides of each fuse. There could be a fuse that blew in such a way that it is not obvious by looking at it while plugged in, or there could be a fuse that is blown not labeled as illumination or dash lighting, that is affecting the circuit. Your original gauge cluster likely had some kind of short that knocked a fuse or something else out, preventing power from going through to the proper circuits in the cluster wiring. I would recommend leaving the second cluster installed during the fuse testing/replacing process, since it is unlikely that it has the same problem as the original cluster, if it is indeed the cause.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:47 AM   #7
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^^I was writing this as you put up your last post. Probably not the cluster at all if there are other lights not working as well...

Fuse somewhere or some control module is my best guess.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:47 AM   #8
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I'll try checking all the fuses but by your statement 'fuse somewhere' there could only be one fuse box right? the one in the glove box is the only fuse box on an e46 correct? also, I should mention that my ambient red lighting doesn't work either (these are the two tiny LED lights that sit within the cabin lights located above the rear view mirror. Yes, this car is so basic, I don't even have map lights. I have had this issue for nearly two years and just ignored it, but now I really would like to be able to see my speedo when I drive at night.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:53 AM   #9
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Now that I have had some time to think about it overnight, I have to believe that the general interior lighting of an E46 sedan must be split up through several lines. As of now the interior lights that are not working are:

what doesn't work
1 - Ambient Red Light (located between two interior dome lights just above the rear view mirror) 2 LED's
2 - Power Window switches (not sure if these actually are backlit?)
3 - Power Lock switch (not sure if this is actually backlit too?)
4 - Instrument Cluster backlight

what does work
1 - dome light
2 - mileage display light, radio light, display for temperature

Again, the dimmer switch seems to work on the mileage, radio and temp displays just fine. I'm going to try the fuse approach again checking every single fuse in the box. If that doesn't solve anything, I will then see if there is any short along some of the wires that lead to the faulty lights. The assumption here is that maybe I have a bad ground on a wire somewhere.

I've never modified this sedan and am the original owner.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:49 PM   #10
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bump, this just happen to me yesterday.

didi you solve your problem yet aa240sx?
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:27 AM   #11
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im having the exact same problem in my 2001 330ci. anybody out there figure this one out?
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:25 PM   #12
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BUMP

Anyone know how to resolve this matter?
I'm having the same problems now too
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:15 PM   #13
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I'd like to know also. Here are some things I have tried but did not work. Fuses 43, 7, 34 I think, for the instrument cluster. No go. Disconnect battery momentarily, no go. Removed DICE and then disconnected battery and reconnected, no go.

I was driving when my iPod stopped playing through the radio. Then my wheel buttons stopped controlling the radio. Occasionally dash would dim by itself and then come back. Turns signals do not indicate properly, as there is a delay or nothing, or they stay on long after the actual signals stop. Delay in door displays. No backlight for the dash and no overhead ambient lighting. Overhead console lights do work. Occasional lock issues happen, but they are rare. AC doesn't keep constant speed and doesn't cool. All of this started occurring at the same time.

I did one of the power on tests, where you push the dash button for 15 sec and then turn the car on, but not start the car. It did test 2.0, all lights lit. All gauges slowly went to full and then back. It stopped on 2.0. Not sure if that is the last test or what it means.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:50 AM   #14
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first let me say: Hi to all you guys since i'm new on this forum (posting anyway).

I have exact same problem; No backlight, dimmer works on the steering and BC.
also I have a humm from my tweeters as soon as I turn the lightknob over, the humming changes in pitch as I turn the dimmer.

The problem arose after installing a parrot bluetooth handsfree kit, but the parrot kit and radio function perfectly, so this could also be a coincidence.

Did anyone figure this out yet?

since I have a EURO-spec car (Holland) do I even have the tamper dot? I've not come across any posts on european forums that talk about the tamper dot, and they are all changing their LCM(/LKM) modules.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:50 AM   #15
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I solved my problem!

don't know exactly which wire, but most probably one wire was making a short against the chassis.
I just pulled out all the components for the parrot bluetooth and radio, connected them while not installed and the backlight came back on!

My guess is that one of the wires got stuck when installing the radio which stripped the jacket a bit and then made a short against the chassis. So I would suggest pulling out as much wiring harnesses as you can before you order a new LCM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:24 PM   #16
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anybody have any luck trying this? any other ideas?
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:49 PM   #17
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same here... i had alota electronic gagets on the car.

I started taking everything off and proof, the light came back..

I guess there was a loose wire somewhere touching Ground.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:12 PM   #18
Evilzed
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I have the exact same problem I've checked with a multimeter all fuses , changed the module and still no instrument lights or backing lights on windows or radio did anyone come up with a fix for this ??

2001 318i e46 auto
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:39 PM   #19
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It's most likely the k-bus. Jbeurotech has some excellent threads on diagnosing and correcting the problem. The backing lights for the dash will stop working and you could lose steering wheel controls for the radio. Aftermarket radio components have been known to cause k-bus issues (DICE). When disconnected, it should bring the k-bus back up. When one module is "corrupt", it will bring the whole k-bus down and cause these symptoms. Search for jbeurotech's k-bus diagnosis threads.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:54 AM   #20
Evilzed
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Thanks for your reply , I'll have a look when I come off shift in two days , I'll let you know how I go , it's frustrating using a iPhone for dash lights lok , my steering wheel lights and controls all work , ie cruise and stereo ??
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