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Thread: Temp Gauge replacement possible?? ('89 535i E34)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    7

    Default Temp Gauge replacement possible?? ('89 535i E34)

    Hi all, just joined, but have been lurking for a month. You guys are terrific! --I've already had several success with repairs due to the help I've found here. I've searched on "temperature gauge" and not found a similar problem. IF I missed it, I apologize for this new thread.

    All my gauges and cluster lights work fine ('89 535i E34), but I was driving and my temp gauge needle, in a "split second" flopped ALL the way to the right to the 5:00 position. NOT as if it was positioned there on purpose---it appeared to have just "fallen off" the spindle--much as if the hands on a clock lost their friction on the spindle and just flopped over. It remains there, cold or hot, running or not, key on or not. So, I conclude it must just be the needle that lost friction contact with the spindle. The car is running fine, and has been for 6 weeks since I bought it. The engine temp appears definitely to not be the problem, only the gauge itself.

    Now, I've seen several comments elsewhere that the temp and fuel gauges are NOT replaceable by mere mortals. And I certainly don't want to pop for an instrument cluster ($800 best I have seen). But NOW, I find that a store on eBay is selling this specific gauge (original BMW part numbers match), so I'm thinking that the gauge **IS** replaceable, if I get the cluster open. Is there anyone here who can definitively say whether or not, it is worth my time to order the gauge ($15-used, but guaranteed to work ---his store is: bmspartshop / Blue Octane BMW) and to pull the cluster (a 6-beer job if I ever saw one).

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions, comments or directions, and also sincere thanks to everyone who is in this community and is so very helpful. Cheers! -Morse

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    446

    Default

    The cluster is easy to remove & so is the gauge just don't forget to disconnect the battery. On the 535i just back out the two bolts that hold the steering coluum in place about 1 inch after removing the lower dash pad & padded plate. This will give you enough clearance to slide the cluster out the left side while you hold the steering wheel down & turn it to the left. Don't bother opening the back cover of the cluster. Just remove the 6 bolts & pull off the two knobs from the front. The front section with the gauges will now come off & you can just lift out the gauge.
    90 535im
    02 R1100S, 87 R100S
    76 R90/S,73 R75/5
    Alfa Romeos- 65 Giulia Spider Veloce
    & 66 Duetto 1600 Spider

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Just the kind of answer I wanted to hear, John! I just wanted to know if someone had a "real world" answer, and there you are. OK, I'll report back after I receive the gauge and install it. I may stretch it out to a 7-beer job if it is hot enough (Southern Cal). --Morse

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    9,093

    Default

    see the pics here under blown resistor, that shows you how to disassemble
    FIXES - INSTRUMENTS

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    7

    Default

    That is a great set of pix of the back side of the cluster, Shogun. Now that I can see all the bulbs in the cluster, I might as well change all those out while I'm at it. I'd bet the ones that are there have been in there a looooooong time. --Morse

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    7

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    I have found several places to get a 1.5w instrument cluster bulb---but that one (part# = 62 11 1 391 260) only fits a 1989 535i E34, BUILD DATE of 2/89 GOING FORWARD. Sadly, my 1989 535i E34 has a BUILD DATE of 9/88 (built in South Africa). I can't find the proper bulb for that build date ANYWHERE. Can't even find a part number. Does anyone have a source I could check? Failing that, could I do surgery on the incorrect one? I'm good at soldering and basic tooling and wrenching of parts, both plastic and metal. It seems that if I have to, since the bulbs themselves are the same, it might just be an issue of modifying the socket housing and/or the electrical contacts placement/orientation.

    Am I off track with my "whittling away" approach if I can't source the correct part number? Thanks to anyone who has info or an opinion or comment. --Morse


    Thanks!
    Morse Wheeler
    online@morsewheeler.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    9,093

    Default

    take the bulbs out and see what is written on the base. Then you know what is really needed.
    Also check at BMW Parts and BMW Accessories | Bavarian Autosport or Auto Parts at AutohausAZ - OEM Auto Parts - Discount Replacement Parts, Resources and Car Care Tips
    under bulbs, they have usually photos and part numbers so that you can identify them

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Thanks for the reply -- I did already check our friends that you list above, and neither has the bulb for my build. Also checked Auto Partswarehouse, Bimmer Specialists, even eBay and Amazon. The fact that none of "the usual suspects" has the one for my older build (9/88) indicates to me that they just might be unobtainable. I haven't pulled the cluster yet, as I wanted to wait till I had all the bulbs in hand, so when I do pull it, it may wind up that the ones that are actually there are the ones (for the builds 2/89 going forward) I am finding everywhere. In that case problem solved. If not, I guess I will try some hacking to see if I can make the obtainable ones work.

    It seems strange though---surely I don't have the one and only E34 built BEFORE 2/89. Well, thank you for your time and input. If I do have to hack, and it works, then I can come back and post for the next person who runs up against this. Cheers! --Morse

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
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    Problem solved and fixed ! It was the capacitors in the Instrument cluster after all. A couple of days after my initial problem with the temp gauge, I started getting wacky stuff happening all over the gauges--classic symptoms of the caps being bad (I know this due to all the great info posted here and on other forums). By the way, here is THE site with great pictures for this particular build, 9/1988 (gray back panel)--if your E34 build date is before February 1989, this is the definitive place to go to get the cluster out, open and the caps installed. My contribution is a clarification of the exact caps that were FACTORY installed in my car:
    Qty 1- 220uF 16V
    Qty 2- 22uF 40V
    Qyt 2- 220uF 10V

    I have borrowed Johan's beautiful closeup of the caps in question (I hope my upload works out) with my added labels (in red), as above. Like I said, he did a splendid job breaking this particular cluster down.

    BMW E32 - Dash capacitor replacement

    Name:  Untitled.jpg
Views: 544
Size:  97.5 KB

    Finally, again, I can't tell all of you what a valuable resource this is, and thanks again for all your contributions and questions !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Almost forgot --- I discovered that this particular cluster does NOT use any 1.5W bulbs at all -- that's why I could not find them (duh!). Anyway, I replaced all the bulbs while I was in there, and these are the correct part numbers:

    1.2W 12V ---- 62 11 1 368 299
    3W 12V ---- 07 11 9 905 358

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