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Old 09-28-2013, 03:54 PM   #1
yheitman
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Electrical problem

I am trying to help a friend of my daughter fix her 2000 323i lighting issue. She came to me because my wife has the same car but I haven't had these issues with my wife's car.

Her troubles started in the back end. She says she has never had a right rear turn signal since she bought the used car and a mechanic told her it was "a relay issue." The she began getting the tail light failure (both sides) on the dash. She had a friend change out all of the bulbs and he did some "work on the wiring" and the brake light failure light went away but she still didn't get a right rear turn signal. I'm guessing socket but what was the mechanic talking about when he said relay issue?

Then the other day she went to work and turned off her headlights. She got a call informing her her headlights were on and when she went out she found one headlight on and the switch was in the off position. The switch wouldn't shut off the light so she revved the engine and slammed the door and the headlight went out and has been working since.

Are these two issues likely related by some common junction? Is the headlight issue likely the switch or the lamp control module? She doesn't have the $300 that BMW wants to fix the problem. Can someone please help me out?
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:30 AM   #2
scottjoh
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Electrical problem

The problem is going to be a lot more than $300 if BMW does the work. The right tail light does not have a relay controlling it. It is controlled by a high side driver IC. The headlight is also controlled by a high side driver IC. These ICs are soldered down to the light control module or LSZ. For BMW to fix the problem they will need to replace the entire module and code it to the car so that the instrument cluster doesn't show that the mileage has been tampered. The module can be repaired for far less money, but, not through BMW.

Last edited by scottjoh; 11-20-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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Tail light problem could also be a problem with ground wires as well of the lighting board that bulbs mount to?

Could be the light control module as well.

Headlight stuck on, likely the light control module as mentioned.

If you are lucky the problems are just cold solder joints in the light control module, but Scott can likely give you a better idea as to what is going on.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:09 PM   #4
scottjoh
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Electrical problem

The tail light ground problem is pretty much on 2002-2005 cars. OP says it's a 2000 so wiring problems are less likely.

Cold solder joints on the electronics of the E46 are extremely rare. The soldering on every thing I've seen from the E46 is just impeccable. Most likely the light control module just went bad.

Last edited by scottjoh; 09-30-2013 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by scottjoh View Post
The tail light ground problem is pretty much on 2002-2005 cars. OP says it's a 2000 so wiring problems are less likely.

Cold solder joints on the electronics of the E46 are extremely rare. The soldering on every thing I've seen from the E46 is just impeccable. Most likely the light control module just went bad.
Is this the hard to find semiconductor that is in the E39 Light Control Modules?

I know the E39 headlight problems are pretty common due to a shorted or failed SCR or some sort of output driver in the E39.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:23 PM   #6
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Electrical problem

The ICs used in the E39 LCM for the headlights are not the same as those used in the E46 LSZ. There are easy to find replacement parts for the E39 LCM headlights that are improved (lower ON resistance) which will not get as hot as the original parts. The parts are high side driver ICs, not SCRs.

Last edited by scottjoh; 09-30-2013 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:36 PM   #7
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Have not seen many E46 with LCM issues like I have with the E39.

Is the E46 LCM a bit more robust or are you starting to see issues with the older cars popping up more often?
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:41 PM   #8
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I had an incident where water came inside the car and ran down the dash and killed my light control module so regardless of cold solder joint issues there are other ways it can short out.

I would check the ground wire in the tail lights, when I had that issue it was easy to diagnose as the grounding wire melted the connector on the taillight housing. I just had to yank the wire and secure it to another ground to fix it.

If you know someone else with an e46 you can just swap her light module out for a known good one and see if that resolves the issue. If so then you found your problem. When water damaged mine I was able to find one from a part-out on this forum for $100.
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:34 PM   #9
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Electrical problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrept View Post
When water damaged mine I was able to find one from a part-out on this forum for $100.
And you have the mileage tampered indication on the instrument cluster then.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Have not seen many E46 with LCM issues like I have with the E39.

Is the E46 LCM a bit more robust or are you starting to see issues with the older cars popping up more often?
The early E39's definitely had a lot of LCM problems. The high side drivers had high ON resistance and thus had to dissipate a lot of energy (P=IxR^2). Later on they changed to better parts with lower ON resistance which dramatically decreased the amount of power they had to dissipate because the power varies with the square of the resistance. E46 LSZ modules used really good high side drivers and the need to heat sinks was basically eliminated.

Last edited by scottjoh; 11-20-2013 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:16 AM   #10
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And you have the mileage tampered indication on the instrument cluster then.


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Umm no? There was no tampering with the cluster to replace the light control module.

Last edited by Surrept; 10-01-2013 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:36 AM   #11
yheitman
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Thank you all for responding. I have a question for Surrept. Since you just changed out the light control module and avoided tripping a reset I wonder if you could briefly describe the process of changing out the module. The owner, a young teacher, obviously turned to me because I do maintain the same make and model. I have never done a module swap (as my experience is mostly mechanical) so I hesitate to go under the dash as I'm getting too old to be a contortionist. So over all how would you rate the level of difficulty and can you relate the sequence to me?

Did you fix the leak before replacing the module because now that you brought it up she mentioned a wet carpet high under the dash. We spoke about possibly having a leak in her windshield.

Last edited by yheitman; 10-01-2013 at 11:52 AM. Reason: Needed to ask another question
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yheitman View Post
I am trying to help a friend of my daughter fix her 2000 323i lighting issue. She came to me because my wife has the same car but I haven't had these issues with my wife's car.

Her troubles started in the back end. She says she has never had a right rear turn signal since she bought the used car and a mechanic told her it was "a relay issue." The she began getting the tail light failure (both sides) on the dash. She had a friend change out all of the bulbs and he did some "work on the wiring" and the brake light failure light went away but she still didn't get a right rear turn signal. I'm guessing socket but what was the mechanic talking about when he said relay issue?

Then the other day she went to work and turned off her headlights. She got a call informing her her headlights were on and when she went out she found one headlight on and the switch was in the off position. The switch wouldn't shut off the light so she revved the engine and slammed the door and the headlight went out and has been working since.

Are these two issues likely related by some common junction? Is the headlight issue likely the switch or the lamp control module? She doesn't have the $300 that BMW wants to fix the problem. Can someone please help me out?
TIME OUT! THERE ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS TO CHECK BEFORE DROPPING $300.

The rear lights on the E46 are notable for cooking the ground wire to the tail lamp housings, and this cuts out lots of stuff, depending on many other factors. Generally, the lights on one side or the other will fail when the ground wire physically burns to a crisp. Due to the way lights are daisy-chained to one another, lights will get a ground through another light, until the donor light comes on, and this kills the light that is scabbing off of the donor.

Here's what you do.

Remove the covers off of the tail lamps, unplug the lamp connector, then remove 4 nuts that hold the lamp housings onto the back of the car -- you can do repairs without removing the housings, but it is far easier to work on this stuff with the housings out of the car, and it's worth the effort to pull 8 nuts to get the two housings off.

Look at the pins of the connectors on the car, peel back the rubber covers and locate the brown (BRN) wire and see if it is burned -- it will be melted, there will be little to no question that it is bad -- and then look at the connector pin of the same wire, then look at the same connector pin on the lamp housing. You can create a new ground connection without too much trouble, and for far less than $300 -- I repaired this wire on my kid's car with spare parts laying around my garage.

When lights are out on the rear of the car, the first thing to do is ensure the integrity of the wires inside the connector of the tail lamp housings. The second thing to do is make sure the light bulbs are good. Technically, good bulbs are first, good wires are second.
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:34 PM   #13
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Thank you all for responding. I have a question for Surrept. Since you just changed out the light control module and avoided tripping a reset I wonder if you could briefly describe the process of changing out the module. The owner, a young teacher, obviously turned to me because I do maintain the same make and model. I have never done a module swap (as my experience is mostly mechanical) so I hesitate to go under the dash as I'm getting too old to be a contortionist. So over all how would you rate the level of difficulty and can you relate the sequence to me?

Did you fix the leak before replacing the module because now that you brought it up she mentioned a wet carpet high under the dash. We spoke about possibly having a leak in her windshield.
I will take some pics for you when I get home if you like. But overall it's pretty easy. The hardest part is getting the cable attached to the module while the module is slid inside the dash a bit because it doesn't reach otherwise. It looks like an IDE connector on a PC motherboard if I recall correctly. I'm not quite sure why anyone would think this would affect the tamper dot. It has absolutely nothing to do with the odom besides lighting the cluster up as far as I can tell.

As far as the leak goes. It wasn't a leak. I should have been a bit more specific. It was during the winter and I was at work so the car wasn't garaged at the time. It musted snowed 2+ feet that day. I popped the door open to reach in and start the car to start warming her up and I accidentally bumped the wiper stalk. It forced the snow on the windshield to the left and it all came inside and hit right on the dash around the LCM switch. Obviously I brushed it off immediately and dried the area but the damage was done. It was only on the dash for a few moments too.

Almost immediately after driving the car home I had issues. Blinkers didn't work, low beams didn't work only high beams, and other dash light issues. I really just took an educated guess that melted water got inside and shorted it out based on timing and incident and luckily for me my guess was right.

Spotted a LCM on the part out section of this forum and offered the guy $100 for it. Simple swap and I was back up and running. (WITH NO TAMPER DOT)

Unless people are talking about some other module, which I doubt, swapping the LCM isn't going to cause that tamper dot to light up.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:15 PM   #14
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Little dot preceding the trip odometer.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...ed=0CEMQ9QEwBQ
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:26 PM   #15
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Little dot preceding the trip odometer.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...ed=0CEMQ9QEwBQ
Agreed. Without aligning the VIN and mileage, I'm not sure how you DON'T get the tamper dot.

Odometer Tamper Dot
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:08 PM   #16
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Maybe due to the shorting out? Are we sure we are talking about the same module. I am talking about the module that slides in and out of the dash that the Headlight switch is physically attached to. I didn't get the light. Can't explain it then if I'm supposed to.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:13 PM   #17
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Not sure if this link works but this is what I'm referring to.

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/99-00-E46-BMW-325i-LCM-8383230-lighting-control-module-61-31-Headlight-switch-/00/s/NzY4WDEwMjQ=/$T2eC16VHJHYE9nzpeCqeBQ942%29rbSQ~~60_57.JPG
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:28 PM   #18
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Not sure if this link works but this is what I'm referring to.

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/99-00-E46-BMW...bSQ~~60_57.JPG
Yes - that is the LCM in your picture and it will interact with the cluster (IKE) exactly as the post that cvx5832 submitted describes. That you don't have the dot is an anomaly, not what everyone else that's done this experiences.

BTW - edit your post and include [IMG]your_jpg_url[/IMG] and the picture should appear.
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:20 PM   #19
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Perform a cluster test using the Hidden OBC Menu in my signature and see if the Tamper Dot even works.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:16 AM   #20
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Well I wrecked that 330 anyway so it doesn't matter now. I'm uber careful with water on the dash with this one ever since that incident. It's just surprising to me. I'm well familiar with the tamper dot. I never got the dot when I swapped it out on that car, and not knowing it was supposed to go off I didn't think anything of it. I suppose had it gone off I probably wouldn't have cared anyway as I never intended to sell the car but still, strange. The only thing I can think of is due to water damage shorting the module out it somehow prevented the tamper dot from illuminating.
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