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Old 05-17-2008, 12:47 PM   #1
sthomas
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Early e36 light rewiring

Here is simple set of changes for you early e36 light wiring. As most of you are aware, the early e36's were hardwired for daytime running lights - unlike the later model ones which used a separate Canadian module. I believe this applies to all Canadian 1992 to 1995 e36's.

Please be careful, and check my instructions against the wiring diagrams or at least with a multi-meter. For all the connections I used those blue wire splicer/connector things (from Canadian Tire, etc.). To make sure I didn't short any wiring, I disconnected the negative terminal of the battery BEFORE I did this. As always, this worked for me - but I cannot be responsible for what you do!

Daytime running light delete - this change will allow you to control your headlights with the headlight switch - so that you can decide when they are on or off. You will need to run a wire from the head light switch, through the firewall and into the fuse wire box. This sounds hard but was really easy. First, unbolt the top of the fuse box - buy removing the 4 torq's screws and pull the top away from the base. You will see a big mess of wires. They push through the fire-wall in a bundle. You will also need to remove the panel under the steering wheel (inside the car) to see the other-side of the bundle of wires. Now you should be able to push a wire through. You will need to connect this new wire to pin 4 on the headlight switch. Don't cut the wire connected to pin 4 - just attach the new wire to it using a connector. The other end of the new wire should be in the fuse box. You will need to connect this to the headlight relay. The headlight relay has a few different wires going into the base (under the relay). You are looking for the wire that connects to the number 8 connector of the relay plug. This is #86 connector on the relay itself (just pull out the relay, and you will see the numbers written on the bottom of it). Warning - double check to make sure you have the right one!! This is the wire that activates the relay. You will need to cut the wire (but leave yourself enough wire to work with) that is currently going into 8 (relay 86). Wrap tape around the end that is heading out to the bundle (the one NOT going into the relay) as it is live when the car is running. You will not be using this wire. Instead, connect the new wire (the one you connected to the headlight switch) to the #8 (relay 86) wire. The original wire (which you cut and then taped) is powered whenever the car is running (which is why the lights are on all the time), but the new wire you ran is controlled by the headlight switch - so it's only powered when you turn the headlight switch on. This all sounds a little complicated, but it's very easy when you get looking at it. Before you put the fuse box back together, see Fog Lights with High-beams...

Fog lights with high-beams - currently when you turn your high-beams on, the fog lights will shut off. This is another easy one to change - so that your fogs will stay on whether your high-beams are on or not. This is a simple connection in the wiring in the fuse-box. You will need to cut the wire exiting the fog-light relay and connect it to a ground wire. The wire is the one connected to #4 on the fog-light relay plug (not the headlight relay) or connected to the #86 on the relay itself. You will need to cut this wire, and attach the end coming out of the relay to a ground wire. Tape the other end as it is live sometimes. Any ground will do - so pick any brown wire. I used the brown wire on the headlight relay - which is right beside it (use a connector - and do not cut the brown wire!). Make sure when you do cut the wire you leave yourself enough to work with to make the connection to the ground wire!

Fog lights on anytime - currently you have to have your light switch in On or Park to turn your fog lights on. One simple change fixes this. Pop out your headlight switch panel (it's held on by one screw underneath) and connect the wire on pin 8 to the wire on pin 9 of the headlight switch (not the fog light switch). Don't cut either of them! Just use a connector to connect the two together. If you unplug the connector it will have the pin numbers written on it (although it is hard to see). This change will bypass the switch, and give power to the fog lights all the time (while the car is running).

That's it. It took me about 1 hour to do this the first time. This was with a lot of double checking to make sure it was okay. I could probably do it in less than 30 minutes now that I know what I am doing. If you are out north of London, I'd be happy to assist you and help you eat the pizza and/or beer that you bring!

Shane
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:54 PM   #2
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Nice write up! You should snap a couple of pics of where the relays are & how you spliced in!
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:59 PM   #3
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Excellent write-up.

Just to clarify, what happens after the rewire when you turn the headlight switch to the first click? Is the diagram below correct?
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:38 AM   #4
sthomas
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The wiring above does not change the parking/gauge lights. For these cars the parking/gauge lights are always on. That is my next step. It does change the headlights to work per the diagram though.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sthomas View Post
The wiring above does not change the parking/gauge lights. For these cars the parking/gauge lights are always on. That is my next step. It does change the headlights to work per the diagram though.
Thanks. Have you looked at this thread?: http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52771
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayman View Post
Thanks. Have you looked at this thread?: http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52771
One of these threads should be stickied..
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:48 PM   #7
rayman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sthomas View Post
...The headlight relay has a few different wires going into the base (under the relay). You are looking for the wire that connects to the number 8 connector of the relay plug. This is #86 connector on the relay itself (just pull out the relay, and you will see the numbers written on the bottom of it). Warning - double check to make sure you have the right one!! This is the wire that activates the relay. You will need to cut the wire (but leave yourself enough wire to work with) that is currently going into 8 (relay 86). Wrap tape around the end that is heading out to the bundle (the one NOT going into the relay) as it is live when the car is running. You will not be using this wire.
Instead of taping up this live wire that is cut, how about using it to trigger angel eyes? I assume this should turn on AEs as soon as the ignition is started and that way the AEs could serve as a DRL.

Any thoughts?
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:08 AM   #8
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quick update:

I took the live wire mentioned above and ran it back inside the interior of the car to a toggle switch (from the Source aka Radio Shack). I then ran this switched power to the headlight area to power the halos. Now if I leave the toggle switch in the 'on' position, the halos light up with ignition. I'll leave it this way to serve as my DRLs since my headlights don't come on unless I use the headlight switch. In the event I want to go stealth, I can turn the halos off with the switch.

When I ran the switched power to the halos, I followed the stock wiring out of the fusebox (see diagram).
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:44 PM   #9
sthomas
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rayman - I'd be careful with that. That wire isn't meant to power anything directly - just to activate a relay. Perhaps you didn't mention it - but hopefully the halo's use a relay, which you are triggering with the extra wire. If not, I'd put one in...
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:19 PM   #10
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I realize this thread was started a while ago but first of all I have to give a big thanks to sthomas . . . what he posted at the start of this thread works perfectly on my 94 318i which had the lowbeam drl's (this should work for all 93-95 e36's)

just thought i would contribute some picks to make it even easier for anyone wanting to be able to have the option of turning off their drl's

1. fuse box layout

http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/atta...1&d=1237503138

http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/atta...1&d=1237503138

2. Under the fuses showing the new wire (blue one) going through the firewall

http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/atta...1&d=1237503138

3. Blue wire attached to the cut wire (the wire that leads to the number 8 connector of the relay plug)

http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/atta...1&d=1237503138

4. Splicing into the light switch using a self stripping tap connector (the wire connected to pin 4

http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/atta...1&d=1237503138

Seriously the hardest part about the whole process was unscrewing the fusebox . . . you'll need something like this to get at the two screws located close to the firewall

http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/atta...1&d=1237503138

sorry about the pic quality these were taken on my camera phone
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSC00244.JPG (290.8 KB, 1046 views)
File Type: gif bmw-e36-relay-layout-03.jpg.gif (92.1 KB, 954 views)
File Type: jpg DSC00246.jpg (238.1 KB, 902 views)
File Type: jpg DSC00245.JPG (209.9 KB, 897 views)
File Type: jpg DSC00248.JPG (225.9 KB, 895 views)
File Type: jpg DSC00249.jpg (239.0 KB, 877 views)
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:05 PM   #11
sthomas
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Nice update Vander.

Since this I have done the same on a 99 e36. SOOO much easier - just replace the high beam module with a US one. Man did BMW make it hard on the early cars!!
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:25 PM   #12
Pongs318
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is it the left wire on the far rigth on the picture
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:46 PM   #13
Pongs318
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just finish doing it and figure that it's not the # 8 wire it's #4 of the relay and 4 of the switch,across the white wire of the relay

Last edited by Pongs318; 04-01-2009 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:46 PM   #14
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Hey , quick question is there a way to rewire the high beam light and leave them at the same leve as the low beams. My lwo beams are terrible. i dont understand why they are so low. i usually turn the fogs on the highway (QEW) and still pretty brutal to see the lines at night. Ont he other hand the high beams are just ridiculus. they will blind anyine un front of me so can;t realy use them on a regular basis. Any ideas?
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:31 AM   #15
sthomas
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This is not a wiring issue. First, make sure your headlights are adjusted as far as their angle. There are adjustment knobs on the headlights.

However, they likely are you you are suffering from the plastic headlight issue. Euro cars got glass, and they don't wear-out like our do. The best solution is to buy a set of glass ones. There are lots of varying quality. Just search the net.
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