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From Mon Feb 9 09:26:10 1998
for <>; Mon, 9 Feb 1998 09:26:06 -0800
by (8.8.8/(98/01/20 5.9))
id MAA18439; Mon, 9 Feb 1998 12:26:04 -0500 (EST)
[1-800-745-2747 The Concentric Network]
Errors-To: <>
by (8.8.8)
id MAA06927; Mon, 9 Feb 1998 12:26:01 -0500 (EST)
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 11:25:11 -0600
From: Jeffrey Wagner <>
Subject: Re: <E36> M3/4 UUC Oil temp Gage


I got this info back from another guy with a failed attempt. I thought is was interesting:


Here's my story: I did Euro delivery -- before I left the States, I faxed three
or so tuners to inquire about this and rear fogs. I took the car to Hamann
Motorsports the day after I picked it up.

Hamann did the rear fogs OK but spent all day at the oil temp and couldn't get
it to work. The tech said they had the parts, a sending unit and a Celsius
gauge that fit into the instrument cluster -- I don't know if it was just the
Celsius gauge or the entire tach + Celsius gauge. The tech spoke limited
English so I didn't ask about the wiring harness and how they physically

connected the wires. I'd assumed it'd be a straight connection between the
sending unit and gauge but turned out it wasn't.

He got across to me the connections weren't the problem; the problem was wiring
had to run through one of the car's computers and they didn't know how to
program the damn thing to handle the signal. When they hooked up the Celsius
gauge all that happened was it would behave like the fuel economy gauge. BTW,
they couldn't get a Fahrenheit gauge although there is one illustrated in the 3
Series Supplementary Owner's Manual that came with my car so it's possible BMW
AG makes it for some markets.

He tried calling a buddy at the factory but because it was early afternoon on
Friday, the factory had already closed. I could have waited until Monday but
was due in Berlin that night, a 7-hour or so drive, so I told them to forget
about it. If they had been able to do it, cost in USD would have been about
$750 if I remember right. In retrospect, I would have called Hamann early
the following week after the tech had talked to the factory and, if it looked
possible, gone back, even though I was several hundred km away. The other
work Hamann did, installing rear fogs, was high quality.

I don't like the VDO option either, for various reasons -- aesthetics, not
wanting to lose that little compartment where I put my cell phone, and all
really want is oil temp. I don't track the car but do like to rev it, but not
before I know the engine is good and warm.

Another option is Alpina's digital cockpit. It's four gauges with red LED
readouts (oil pressure, oil temp, voltage and rear axle oil temp) that mounts
right in front of the instrument cluster. The photo I've seen looks like a very
clean install; it doesn't obstruct any of the cluster's idiot lights and looks
very high tech, complimenting the rest of the instrument panel. KSK Distributing in Burbank, Calif. (818-843-2620) sells the digital cockpit in the
States. KSK sent me a high-quality color photocopy from the Alpina catalog. I
haven't tried Alpina's Web site but perhaps there's a pic of it there.

I hope to see this in person next week when I'm in Southern Calif. Don't know
that I'll go through with it: it's expensive -- KSK's price sheet said $1,483
for the E36 M3 up to 9/95 production and this was a year ago and doesn't include
install, which KSK said was about 5 hours; it looks like a permanent install;
and it's more info that I want. When I see it I'll ask if the lighting for the
readouts dims with the rest of the cluster; if I remember right, VDO's gauges

Finally, for what it's worth, about a year ago I called both Dinan and a smaller
tuner, Bavarian Professionals in Berkeley, Calif. Dinan didn't have a clue.
Bavarian had converted a 5-series wagon (oops, touring; it was on the cover of
the Roundel a few years ago) to M5 status, replete with oil temp gauge but the
tech told me they'd just dropped in an entire M5 instrument cluster and, like
Dinan, would have to start from scratch to find out if it'd be possible to just
install a oil temp gauge for the fuel econ one or if I needed an entire Euro M3
instrument cluster which I presume they'd then have to mod, swapping the km
speedo for a mph one, a liter fuel gauge for a gallon one, resetting the

odometer, etc. I didn't take the next step to actually ask them to try price
this out. I might once I see the Alpina offering.

If it makes any difference, I've had my car just over two years and after about
the first six months got used to ignoring the fuel econ gauge. Other than that,
the M3 is wonderful -- my only regret was not buying it sooner.

Hope this answers your questions! Pls keep me updated on your attempt to
substitute the fuel econ gauge.

  • Mark

Again, I still want to do this (although I'm not going to spend $750!). And I sure the hell don't want to send it through the DME. Let me know if you get anywhere.



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