BMW E36 Blog

Illuminating BMW E36 M3 logo!

15th February 2007

Illuminating BMW E36 M3 logo!

posted in Do It Yourself, Interior, Tips & Tricks |

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Hi Guys,


Today, I came to you with a very nice touch that you absolutely need to do to your M3 BMW. In the following procedure (which was originally written by barefootshifter (bimmerforums) . Thanks to him) you can illuminate your M3 (M///) logo that you have between the speed & rpm gauges. I have to admit that the procedure is a little bit difficult, but the result is fabulous. If you’re not convinced you need to do this work, just take a look at the end of the article with photos of the M3 logo after the job is done. I really like this, so … enjoy my friends…


Disclaimer: Use this procedure at your own risk!!

Ok I recently posted pics of my illuminated M logo; here’s how to create your own.


Step 1 Remove screws holding in gauge cluster. They are #20 torx head and are located here.


STEP 2 Pry out cluster using something flat and skinny–I used a putty knife. Be VERY careful as you don’t want to scratch the dash or gauge cluster!


Step 3 Pull the cluster towards you (the steering wheel should be in its normal position.)


Step 4 Unclip the 3 wiring harnesses in the back of the cluster. This gets a little tricky because the way the harness works. It has a clasp that locks in a down position and you have to depress the spot right in front of it in order to slide it up. I have pointed to the spot you need to press.


clasp OPEN


Now slide the cluster out to the right. There is no need to remove the steering wheel; it will come right out.



Step 5 removing the 4 screws for the back of the cluster will take a # 9 torx bit. The 2 top screws and the middle screw stayed in the shell and didn’t drop out.



Step 6 I found it easier to pry the cluster apart from one side.



Step 7 I used the lamp (bulb) for my fog light indicator because I always have them on w/ my headlights and find the green �idiot light� kind of annoying. I just soldered the wires on the the contact points and then soldered the ends of the wires to my light bulb. Here is how to remove the bulb: twist it counter clock wise. Notice the direction of the line on the bulb I’m removing in comparison to the rest of them.



Here are the soldered wires on the board.



All I did was solder the other ends of the wires to the bulb here.



Then as far as mounting the bulb, I just used hot glue and stuck it in place here.



Step 8 I found it easier to get to the strip of symbols if the gauges themselves were removed. So, all you have to do for this is twist the 3 ridged white things to the left. I had to use a pair of pliers on a couple of them.


Here they are closed then open




After that, just lift straight up on the gauges– I like to grab them here, on both sides. Of course, I also had to hold the camera.



Step 9 Now, with a razor blade pop out the corners of the plastic strip with all the symbols on it.



Then flex the whole thing inward by grabbing both ends. The middle should pop out as well.



STEP 10 I only wanted as much light as was necessary, so I only removed the M logo itself. It’s just painted on so any old paint remover will do the trick. I masked off the shape I wanted with tape.



Then I sprayed it with the stripper and waited a few seconds (be careful not to wait too long because the stripper can eat away the plastic.) Next, I washed it off with water and


Now, I couldn’t find the perfect M logo online so I had to modify one using G.I.M.P.(hell yeah for open source!!) Here is the M I made. You will have to resize it to fit properly.

I just printed it out once I got the size right and cut it to fit on the FACE of the plastic strip. Then I taped it on. I also left black around the M so it would blend better.



By holding the strip up to the light, you can see how it works.


Step 11 Because it is now made of paper, when the normal light given off by the bulb hits the logo the result will be an ugly washed out M in the middle of an orange cluster. I am also a photographer and happened to have a sample pack of filters used for coloring my flash. (Yes, this was before photoshop made such things as easy as �click�)


I found one that looked like it would match the BMW orange of the gauges and cut out a little square. Then I glued it here.


STEP12 In order to reassemble, reverse steps 1 through 9 … or so. When you go to reconnect the harnesses on the back of the gauges, make sure the clasp is “up.”
ok here it is all done.

Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual


Wait for more from . . . BMW E36 Blog


Best regards,

Tony Sticks.

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There is currently one response to “Illuminating BMW E36 M3 logo!”

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  1. 1 On August 31st, 2008, Louwtjie said:

    I am the proud owner of a 1996 M3 E36. The vanos on my car, single vanos, is not opperating propperly. It seems that it advance the cam but do not retard it again. Please help me to fix this problem.


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