BMW E36 Blog

Fixing BMW E36 Odometer LCD . . . DIY!

28th August 2008

Fixing BMW E36 Odometer LCD . . . DIY!

 

This DIY (Do It Yourself) is a contribution from David Mc. I’ve found it on the Bimmerfest forum and I asked David for permission to publish the DIY on the BMW E36 Blog. He was so kind to allow me to republish it here. The procedure shows how the odometer LCD can be fixed. I’ve written previously about how to fix the BMW E36 odometer backlight, but this is how to fix the LCD, not the light, so pay attention to the difference.

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

This is the problem A?a??a?? only the top half of the odometer and trip meter is displayed. It is a backlit LCD device but the two blubs illuminate the odometer and service indicator respectively.

Since only the top half of the odometer is displayed the problem is obviously with the LCD and not the bulbs. Commonly this is an intermittent but annoying problem.

Begin by removing the cluster A?a??a?? the first step is to disconnect the battery, then undo the two torx screws on top of the housing and use a credit card to loosen and wiggle the cluster out of the dash. As soon as it is clear, reach behind the cluster and undo the three electrical connectors by first depressing the tabs then sliding the retainer up until the connector is released.

Make sure that you face your work surface with a towel to avoid scratching the cluster, then after removing the five torx screws from the back of the rear housing, carefully separate the gauges from the SI board.

Mark out the area of interest. A?a??a?? I used white tape and then cut carefully with a piece of hacksaw blade. You could use a Dremel or even a hobby knife heated with a torch for this job.

There is a fair bit of clearance between the cover and the board but I would suggest extreme caution as you cut down the side of the housing toward the board as there are a couple of tracks that run across the board at this point and a slip here could cause big problems.

I worked carefully and completed the cut within about half an hour using a hacksaw blade A?a??a?? my modelling saw would have made life much easier if only I could remember what I did with it.

After removing the cut section carefully dress the edges of the cut area with a small file to remove burrs, then use a small paint brush and low pressure compressed air to clean the debris from the board.

Notice that there are also couple of little gold colored torx screws which secure the SI LCD to the board. Check that they are snug but do not over-tighten them. The idea is to make sure that all the electrical connections are firm, not to cause fractures in the board by over-tightening the components.

I used a hot pencil tipped soldering iron to reflow all of the SI board pins, then carefully replaced the cut cover section using 5 minute epoxy. Apply the epoxy carefully to the cut edges of the housing. Then once its back in place use a rag soaked with turpentine to remove the excess.

All that was left was to install the cluster back into the car, reconnect the connectors, battery and re-enter the radio code and it was up and running!

A heck of a lot cheaper than a new or even a used cluster and I didnA?a??a??t have to worry about recoding or it displaying incorrect mileage.

 

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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posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

29th March 2008

Fixing BMW E36 Trip Odometer LCD . . . DIY!

 

I have mentioned in my previous post Turning Your BMW Lights On Automatically At Night . . . System Testing that while I was trying to get the auto light inside my E36 to work, I’ve burned something. Actually, what I have burned was the Trip Odometer LCD light. At first, I thought this is something really serious and that I have to pay some serious bucks to solve the problem, but after some research, it turned out that it’s actually a bulb in the cluster that needs to be replaced. Piece of cake, right? So, I followed the steps in Installing Silver Gauge Cluster Rings for your BMW . . . DIY! post to remove the gauge cluster. It’s a really good DIY (Do It Yourself). Anyway, please follow these steps for a quick guide on how to do this nice fix.

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

Take a look at my Trip Odometer LCD light. It’s not working and my cluster looks really bad and ugly. Isn’t it?

To start the fix, you will need to remove the gauge cluster. You can start by removing the screws that hold the gauge cluster. There are two of them at 11 & 1 clock. Take a look at these:

When you remove the screws, simply push the bottom of the cluster to the back a little bit and it will move. After that you will need to pull it slowly and carefully. The ultimate target is to slide the gauge cluster from behind the steering wheel like this:

You will notice that there are some wires that are connected to the cluster and they will prevent you from sliding the cluster out. There are three of them, one on the right and two on the left. Take a look at the following (it’s the one on the right)

Before removing it, please disconnect your battery. I didn’t disconnect it and a warning sound started out. I don’t know what this sound was, but it was really annoying. So, I say unplug your battery to make sure the process goes as smooth as possible.

IMPORTANT: If you have the OEM radio from BMW, do NOT disconnect your battery unless you’re 100% sure that you have the PIN code that can unlock your radio.

Removing the three wires is a real pain and they need a lot of attention, but. eventually you can do it. When you unplug these wires, you will be able to slide the gauge cluster out. Now turn it and look at the back, here’s the light that needs to be replaced.

Using a flat screwdriver, you can remove that light. Now, here’s a thing that really shocked me. I had the light that I’m going to use as a replacement right here and these lights are usually just pull-out and put the new one instead PERIOD. Surprisingly, this was not the case here. The light was stuck and not going to be pulled out easily as I previously thought, so I had to remove it from it’s plastic cavity to find out that the light bulb is connected to the light connectors. Take a look:-

God damn it! So, I thought, ok lets cut the old bulb wires and solder the new wires instead, but to my surprise AGAIN :-( , it didn’t hold. So I finally was able to squeeze the new bulb inside the plastic cavity in a way its wires will be connected to the steel connectors. After that, I tested the bulb and it worked.

Alright, now the nightmare has ended! So, I put everything back in the reverse order and here’s the result. A clear trip odometer LCD . Awesome!

So, what do you think? Isn’t that a cool fix or what?

 

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

BMW E36 Blog: The ultimate BMW E36 information source.

 

Want to receive exciting tips & information about BMW E36 cars? Enter your Email:-


 

 

posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized | 17 Comments