BMW E36 Blog

BMW E36 Interior Auto Dim

23rd July 2008

BMW E36 Interior Auto Dim

posted in Interior, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized |

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I’m sure this title has caught your eye and now you’re all anxious to know how you can make your car’s interior auto dim with light…The procedure is very simple and all you have to do is to get in your car and turn your lights on, then watch it because you already have it. The BMW E36 keeps amazing me every single day.

Today, I have discovered that there are 2 light sensors in the BMW E36 which are supposed to auto-dim your car’s interior according to the light intesity. I’m not sure if it’s going to work in my car or not. I will have to check it today, but I thought I would post it here first in order to give you something to keep you busy :p

Anyway, that’s enough … let’s give details:

The BMW E36 has 2 interior light sensors. One in the gauge cluster at the end of the speedometer. I’m sure many has wondered what is that thing looking like a lense there. It’s the auto-dim gauge cluster sensor. Take a look:

It’s supposed to make the gauge cluster light become more intense as it becomes darker outside.

Now for the other sensor, it’s located in the Digital climate control unit and it controls the light intensity of the climate control unit and the OBC (On Board Computer). So, if you don’t have the digital climate control (like me)… now it’s a good time to start crying 😈 . Take a look:

For me, as I said before, I didn’t try any of this yet, but I will check it today and make sure it’s working in my car. Please try it in your cars and lets see if it works.

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There are currently 22 responses to “BMW E36 Interior Auto Dim”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On July 23rd, 2008, Max said:

    Guys i have a question. Can I mount !8 inch m6 rims on my e36?? Does anybody know???

  2. 2 On July 23rd, 2008, Dennis said:

    Hehe nice Tony!

    I have thought about the sensor a couple of times, if i drive in bright daylight (we have to drive with light on all the time in denark remember),
    i have noticed when i drive in a tunnel or under a bridge the interior lights became more intense. Thought it was a kind of illusion (didnt think any 95 cars had sensor.

    But now i know 🙂

    btw good writeup on the sparkplug replacement, i have now replaced coolant, sparkplugs, motoroil, gear and differential oil all by myself.
    tomorrow im gonna replace my back wheelbearings, hope its as easy as changing the other things.
    Have any of you guys tried to do valetimings, it looks pretty easy if you follow the guide at pelicanparts.

  3. 3 On July 23rd, 2008, Jm3k3rd3mik said:

    FOR MAX – you can put 18 inch M6 on your E36 but before must see all about the new rims: ET for example,
    how max will be the rubber. I have 245/45/17 and its excelent, but if i put 255/45/17 dosent work
    because the rubber touching in the mudguard. I hope you can understand me. Keep in touch !!!

  4. 4 On July 24th, 2008, Max said:

    FOR Jm3k3rd3mik. OK So i can put them on but i have to be carefull not to put on a rim that is 2 wide right? Do you have 17″ m6?? So i can put on a 245/45/17 m6 rims without problems?? Thanx.

  5. 5 On July 24th, 2008, Valery said:

    Always thought my dashboard was crazy, well I feel better ! I had noticed this sensor but thought It was a spot for some kind of luxury pack option or else. BMW ROCKS !

  6. 6 On July 24th, 2008, jm3k3rd3mik said:

    FOR MAX. I have a friend that have a M6 and i put one rim on my e36 and look crazy but is to big on 18inch for e36, the best is on 17inch, is my opinion. Its looks like a monstertruck :P. Add on messenger on yahoo with: jm3k3rd3mik and we can talk about and send you some pictures.

  7. 7 On July 25th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @Dennis: Wow! that’s great to see you doing these procedures yourself. It’s really cool!

    Where is that DIY that you talked about on pelicanparts? I couldn’t find it!

  8. 8 On July 27th, 2008, MadChicken said:

    The sensor in the gauge cluster makes the gauge cluster light and the OBC light more intense when there’s more light in the car. It also makes them auto dim when it becomes darker outside.
    The sensor on the digital climate control is for the same thing but ONLY for the digital climate control, not for the OBC. It’s tested on my 1996 BMW E36 yesterday 🙂

  9. 9 On July 28th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @MadChicken: You’re right! I’ve tested it and the OBC light intensity is controlled by the sensor in the gauge cluster. Also, the sensor works in the opposite way of what I’ve anticipated. When it gets darker, the light gets dimmer, not brighter in the OBC. Thanks for the note!

  10. 10 On July 28th, 2008, MadChicken said:

    No problem 🙂 BTW very nice blog, keep up the good work!

  11. 11 On July 28th, 2008, Dennis said:

    Hi Tony!

    Sorry thought i already posted it 🙂

    Today i also replaced ALL my wheelbearings (with a little help from my friend, who’s a mechanic)! Only thing i need now is to order my new 18″ wheels, just have to decide which ones 🙁

    So for the last 4-5 days i have:
    Replaced brake pads
    Replaced brake rotors
    Replaced wheel bearings both front and back
    (With some help from a friend, don’t think it would be something i would do without having a professional by my side)
    Refilled motor-, differential- and gearoil
    Replaced oilfilter
    Washed and oiled my K&N Airfilter
    Replaced microfilter
    Replaced spark plugs
    (with some help from this guide:
    Adjusted the valves
    (With help from this guide:
    installed new short shift kit
    (with help from this one:
    New shift bushings
    New wiper spraying nozzles with heat.

  12. 12 On July 29th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @MadChicken: Thanks. I will 🙂

  13. 13 On July 31st, 2008, Mihai said:

    Hi Guys,

    Please be so kind and advice me with an information.
    Can I replace my OBC with digital climate control? I have a E36 model year 1994.
    Thanks in advance.

  14. 14 On August 1st, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @Mihai: I don’t understand your question. Are you asking if you can upgrade your analog climate control (the one with the knobs) to the digital climate control? If yes, I think you can do it, but I don’t think it’s going to be an easy task.

  15. 15 On August 3rd, 2008, Mihai said:

    hi Tony Sticks ,
    Yes this is what i mean. to change digital climate control insteado ofthe original (OBC). Or with an OBC with the full tuch butons.(to show the consumption and the rest.)

  16. 16 On August 4th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @Mihai: I’m afraid I don’t understand. Are you asking about upgrading your OBC or Analog Climate Control?

  17. 17 On August 8th, 2008, MadChicken said:

    Mihai, I can’t understand too. You want to upgrade your climate control or you want to upgrade your on-board computer (OBC)? You can upgrade your analog climate control to digital climate control but like Tony said – it won’t be easy, because there’re a lot of differences between them. You can also upgrade your OBC from standart OBC to 18 button OBC (with all the functions) but you need additional wires and stuff… Anyway, both of the things are possible to do. Good luck 🙂

  18. 18 On August 9th, 2008, Mihai said:

    Hi MadChicken,
    Thanks for your reply,
    I want to change the obc too. It is possible this?
    I want to have the 18 button OBC to show me the fuell consumption and all the others functions.
    It’s hard to make this change?

  19. 19 On August 9th, 2008, MadChicken said:

    Yes, you can change the OBC to 18 button, but you need additional wires for the new functions that you don’t have. You can get the 18 button OBC + the required wires on e-bay 😉

  20. 20 On October 27th, 2008, acp750 said:

    Hi, I have a 97 318is, I think there’s something wrong with the auto dim feature, because sometimes the OBC and dashboard glow very bright and sometimes very dim during daylight(no shadows or changes in natural light), is there a way to fix this? is it normal?

  21. 21 On October 28th, 2008, Valery said:

    Mine does the same man. It looks like half of it is perfectly illuminated, and the other half dim. Someday it is just working perfectly, could it be a voltage issue, like the battery kind of so so … ?

  22. 22 On November 23rd, 2010, stoyan said:

    Hi guys, i have a question: i have a clock and i know that i can put there an OBC instead of it, so if i want to upgrade to the OBC with 18 buttons, do i have to install any additional sensors for it or just need to run some wires to have all the functions working properly ? Thank you in advance.