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From digest.v6.n428 Tue Mar 25 20:41:59 1997
From: "Scott Hillstrom" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 17:01:19 -0600
Subject: Fixing High beam Flash control on E30

My 85' 325e had a problem with the high beam flash mechanism, this is where you pull the blinker control arm towards you and until you release the arm, the high beams stays on, if you push it forward it will stay on when you let go. If those of you have bought an older E30, you may have this capability and not even know it. It's one of my favorite features of my BMW. Incidentally, my high beam flash will work even though the lights are not on (while driving).
Over a period of 12 years, the heat from the sun has warped the plastic on the turn indicator guts. It needed just a little face lift, and it now works just fine. I needed to remove the steering wheel, and the 4 screws that hold the bottom plastic of the steering column. After removing the plastic, there are two more that hold the turn signal switch, left side of the column (note: there are two ground wires attached to the bottom screw). Now the switch is free. When looking at the plastic casing for the switch mechanisms, the arm itself is attached to a yellow plastic piece that allows the arm to pivot in the switch. The two sides that the plastic pivots against has warped. If you push the two sides together (with all your might) and engage the flash it should work. (Note: as with most of the BMW greases getting hard. I though just cleaning the contacts would fix it

  • - but three weeks later I was taking it apart again). The only solution I could find was I needed to put a tiny nut and bolt through the top side of the unit (black plastic casing) and the yellow plastic that holds the arm. There is just enough room for a tiny nut and bolt. It took a steady hand and a #8 drill bit (there is room for larger) and I made a nice little hole. If you look closely, you can see where the yellow plastic piece has a plastic dowel that is inserted into the plastic casing - thus the center of the pivot. This is where I drilled, taking away the pivot all together. Then with the smallest nut and bolt I could find and the help of a flathead screwdriver to wedge the nut in place, I tighten the gap between the two pieces of plastic and created a new metal pivot (this did take a little patience and dexterity - but with thought of paying for a new switch, and just imagining how much it would cost...). I Gave it a try and it worked perfectly. Try not to tighten to hard - the plastic is old and it needs some room to let the arm pivot. It's been working great for a few months now. I did adjust the contacts inside the unit (you can see the contact move as you turn the high beams on, off and to flash) just to make sure they made good contact. Now for the best part - how long did it take? Well, how long will a battery last with the trunk and doors open, stereo on and constantly turning the high beams on/off while burning the headlights to check progress? 30 to 35 minutes. I jumped for joy, and my wife couldn't figure out how such a great "Mechanic" can fix a car and then need hers to jump start it in order to get it running again - WIVES! If I did not explain this enough in detail, e-mail me and I can sketch a few little drawings and fax if needed. Make a hard copy and then look at the switch, the rest should take it's natural, "I can do this" course. BTW, I just subscribed to the Digest - Thank you all for the excellent information
  • - the intermittent wiper motor problem solution was great! My turn to make a contribution. Scott Hillstrom email
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