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Old 05-17-2008, 12:47 PM   #1
BMWCC 4928, BMWCCA 349578
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 621
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!

2002 540i M Technic
1993 325is RIP
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