View Full Version : Instrument cluster probs.

11-28-2005, 02:34 PM
Hi Folks,

Just bought a 92 325i and am having probs with the istrument cluster. When I picked the car up last week, I had instruments, ie tach and speedometer. Everyso often, the cluster would lose power, for a period of time and then come back on, with chimes etc., as if I had just started the engine. Also I had no dash lights.

When I took it for the safety, I asked the guy to look at it. He pulled it out and put it back in and now it is worse. I have no power at all, the srs light is on, my cruise doesn't work and the wiper speeds are high and intermittant only.
Just joined today and could really use some help in terms of advice and a good BMW guy in London On.

Thanks, Lenny.*mw*

11-28-2005, 02:42 PM
lenny i'm having the same problem, started happening after an accident 3 weeks ago. I was hit on the passenger rear door which i dont expect to be the cause of this problem, but it may be. I have checked numorious sites regarding this problem, seems that one person tried to even replace the instrument cluster and still had the problem. Tonight, i am reseating all the fuse, meaning i'm gonna pull out each fuse and place it back in, also gonna clean out the ecu just incase its dirty that may cause this problem. I have removed my instrument cluster and checked inside and didn't see any visual of any blown anything. I'm guessing this may be to a short somewhere. I'll let u know if i found out anything.

11-28-2005, 02:53 PM
Thanks, let me know how you make out......

11-28-2005, 03:29 PM
if it's not the actual cluster it is more then likely a freyed wire or a loose/corroded Ground wire.
-somwhere *sad* anybody know where the grounds are inthe engine bay?

Lenny, getting the cluster out is really easy.
maybe make sure buddy Properly reclipped that stuff back on!?

also I think if you take out cluster with wheel still on you get SRS light!?

maybe undo the panel under the wheel & look for anything overt,
at least you feel like you did something

11-28-2005, 03:39 PM

I think he took it out with the wheel still on. I have the repair manual, so I know how to get the cluster out . I think the guy removed the abs bulb while he was in there. I was thinking bad wire or ground as well simply because I did have instruments intermittantly before the safety.

I really appreciate the info guys!!!! keep it coming!

11-28-2005, 03:46 PM

I think he took it out with the wheel still on. I have the repair manual, so I know how to get the cluster out . I think the guy removed the abs bulb while he was in there. I was thinking bad wire or ground as well simply because I did have instruments intermittantly before the safety.

I really appreciate the info guys!!!! keep it coming!

you could always get a cheap test light, turn the key to on with cluster out
& see if the clips are gettin power.!?

if not it's in the wiring, if they are its probably the cluster

A.K.A. Blackout
11-28-2005, 05:18 PM
Just to let you guys know that I had the same issue last year. It happened when I brought my car out of storage, and it went away. Then this year it happened again, but this time it stayed dead. I had to get a new instrument cluster, which I got from the stealer that set me back a grand, and they take your old one. Not sure what causes it, but supposedly it is a common thing with E36's.

11-28-2005, 05:25 PM
Thanks guys....

Appreciate the info

Justin e36
11-28-2005, 07:46 PM
This is a common problem with e36's as AKA Blackout mentioned. It's the telltale sign that your instrument cluster is dying. Usually means a resistor inside is dying. You'll need to replace the entire instrument cluster.

11-28-2005, 11:53 PM
ok guys, i tried everything, took apart the dash, there seems to be not a single sign of any loose connections, the 3 plugs for the cluster is also fine. ECU is perfect and clean, and also the fuse box is perfectly. Any luck for anyone else?

11-29-2005, 02:55 AM
Usually means a resistor inside is dying. You'll need to replace the entire instrument cluster.

I really wonder if a OldSchool resistor changing tv repair guy could fix that type of stuff..??

I took a monitor in once (before they were cheaper to replace) guy had like a laboratory of electrical flux capicitor type monitoring devices

11-29-2005, 10:33 AM
Hey Guys,

Thanks for all your advice and help. It is really cool how total strangers can come on here and get advice and help. Circuit brds etc are my thing, so I think if I could get a hold of a used cluster, to put in my car, I could probably repair the problem with the existing one.

Any one know of a E36 instrument cluster that needs a new home?

Cheers Lenny:idea:

11-29-2005, 01:36 PM
Oh man, i just called manchester auto salvage parts in calgary, cluster is $350. You guys think this is a good deal? i know a brand new one goes for around $1200, but i thought it would only cost like $200 or less since i've seen them for sale here for that price. You guys think i should buy that for $350?

11-29-2005, 01:39 PM
Oh also, i decided the problem is actually the cluster, I honestly spent all night trying to figure this out, and funny thing was, i was gettin so frustrated, i just gave the cluster a good ol' slap and it started working good for couple hours, sad thing is it started to reset this morning again. I am running out of things to check. I'm gonna wait til my door gets replaced since i was just in a accident and see if that fixes it all, if not im gonna have to buy that used cluster.

11-29-2005, 04:49 PM
350 aint bad for a cluster. I wouldn't drive too long with a broken cluster, and 150$ aint that huge of a deal. You can wait, and eventually you'll find one for less, but it'll likely be in toronto, so 200-250+ shipping aint worth it

12-01-2005, 01:00 AM
ok guys, i think i might have a place to start from, today i got a warning that my tail light was out, so while i was replacing the bulb and while i was doing that my dash started freakin out and started reseting it self. So got me thinking, maybe i should check all the tail light plugs, 2 of them seemed that the plastic was melting, anyways, i took each one out and started re seating each plug for the bulbs. I doubt this is gonna fix my problem, but the dash hasn't reset since, mind you its only been couple of hours. I'll know tomorrow when i drive to work, i'll keep you guys posted.

12-01-2005, 02:21 AM
Same boat for me, my dying cluster is starting to piss me off. Id rather it just stay dead then to come on, and go off whenever it feels like it.

12-01-2005, 02:13 PM
ok wasn't the tail lights, it reset again first thing in the morning when i was driving. gonna check the under the dash fuse box today and see if i can find anything there.

12-07-2005, 02:16 AM
ok guys, i think i might have an idea, the very far right wiring harness is most likely be the problem. i tugged on every wire on each harness and it seems that the right one caused it to reset, i can't pinpoint exactly which wire it is, but i'm gonna do some more testing tommorrow after work when i have some more light. I followed the very right wiring harness all the way down, and i touched a metal that was just burning hot, then i noticed that the wires sat right beside this metal piece, i couldn't see what the metal piece was, but for sure has to do something with the heater. Anyways, i think my wires touched this metal and probably melted some wires and no it is shorting there. I'll check tomorrow and see if i can find any melted wires. Let you guys know tomorrow

12-07-2005, 11:44 AM
Hey guys if you end up having to buy a whole new cluster, try ebay, there's alot on there and they're cheap. You could even get an m3 cluster (which is what I plan on doing) for less than $200

http://cgi.ebay.ca/1995-BMW-E36-M3-INSTRUMENT-CLUSTER-GAUGE-325-328-323_W0QQitemZ8019518506QQcategoryZ33675QQrdZ1QQcmd ZViewItem

theres alot of others too, enough to go around lol

12-07-2005, 12:21 PM
but those are in miles, i can only find one used e36 canadian cluster.

12-07-2005, 12:26 PM
sorry, took a closer look at the us cluster, it also does have km. I guess i'm gonna have to get a m3 cluster also.. heh.. thanx

12-07-2005, 10:09 PM
no prob man, the m3 cluster is cooler anyway it has the red needles, and also has the little ///M badge on it. Plus it shows a higher redline, so if u get a chip, cam whatever it'll be nice, thats why I want one. If u put white guages faces with those red needles they look sweet too.

12-08-2005, 12:18 AM
ok guys, i first thought it was my stereo, i had an older kenwood excelon and i thought that might be the cause since sometimes when my cluster goes out, for some weird reason it would come back on as soon as i take my stereo face plate off. So i bought a brand new sony deck and rechecked all the wires, but its still resetting. So i'm runnig out of options, i'm so sure that my cluster is ok, it looks like a short somewhere, i'm going back outside now to try again and find a solution

04-06-2010, 02:07 PM
This "Cluster" issue is killing me too, I've got no response from guages, the lights are on but no respose from the needles, does this appear to be the same issue?

I heard somewhere that the cluster is linked in some way to your rear running lights, sure enough over the weekend I replaced the rear running light and Yeah! I had a cluster with working needles again, started the car the following day had all my rear lights working but NO guages in the dash responding?

Does this sound like the same problem, Im going to attempt to poke around under the dash tonight, thanks all for any advice.