BMW E36 Blog

Repairing BMW E36 A/M Gearbox Light . . . DIY!

24th August 2008

Repairing BMW E36 A/M Gearbox Light . . . DIY!

posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized |

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This DIY (Do It Yourself) is for you BMW E36 owners with automatic gearbox. It was contributed by Bernard Gutnick (thanks Bernard). The procedure shows in very simple steps how you can fix the light inside your A/M gearbox switch. I think this same procedure can be used to replace the bulb inside your window switches as well, but I’m not sure if it’s the same bulb. Have fun…

Disclaimer: Use this info at your own risk!! I’m not responsible if this didn’t work for you :-).

If the A light bulb is burned out due to constantly being on, you can replace it rather than spending $70 on a new switch.

1. Gently pry up the window/window lock/window button carefully from the top with a tiny screwdriver.

2. Put hand in and push AM button up until it pops up. Disconnect yellow connector.

3. Put small screwdriver in switch and gently pry up the two side clips. Leave in screwdriver and do same for other side.

4. Light and switch unit can be removed. Gently pull up circuit board.

5. You’ll see the black burned out bulb ( A or M or both ).

6. Now the tricky part. You have to cut the bulb out but only one at a time. Replace it with a Radio Shack RS 272-1092 12vt Micro lamp

7. It’s important to try to get the wires to be the same length as the original and with the lamp in the same position. Take your time. When soldering, only put on a very small drop as it has to fit back into the black housing. 1/16 inch of solder is enough. Use pliers to protect the bulb. Try to get the wire length and shape to be equal to the other one.

8. When you are done, carefully put the wire into the slots of the black housing, and put the cover back on.

9. Reconnect yellow connector. Light will appear when car is started. Congratulations! You just saved $68 in 30 minutes!!

Note: the car will still work with the switch removed. I think it defaults to Automatic, but I am not certain.



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

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There are currently 3 responses to “Repairing BMW E36 A/M Gearbox Light . . . DIY!”

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  1. 1 On August 25th, 2008, Daniel said:


    Is the same bulb applies to the window switches?

    Daniel 🙂

  2. 2 On August 26th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @Daniel: That’s the problem, I’m not sure about that!

  3. 3 On September 9th, 2008, Bernard Gutnick said:

    I dont know if the light bulbs are the same. However, they are probably 12vt. The only concern is the radio shack light bulbs are not as bright as the BMW light bulb.