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BMW Main beam warning light. A quick bulb change.

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BMW Main beam warning light. A quick bulb change.

Old 8th Nov 2017, 23:51
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BMW Main beam warning light. A quick bulb change.

Or so you'd think. On the bench, it turned out to be the only filament bulb in the instrument cluster. It was soldered to the PCB. I phoned BMW Colchester and finally got the information that one had to change the entire unit.

'Oh, how much is that?'

'Seven hundred and eighty pounds, Sir. Plust VAT. Oh, and you have to have it programed to your car.'

So, (yes, SO ) one does not get much change out of a grand for one tiny bulb.

Now I know I'm in quantum unreality.
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Old 8th Nov 2017, 23:57
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Shirley a man of your callyber (sic) and electronics experience as a youth can 'engineer' a replacement from a torch battery (or similar)?
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 00:24
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Thats the advantage of driving old wrecks. I spent £1200 on my Volvo V70 (nearly 2 years ago) and I thought that was going it a bit - I dont normally get into four figures!
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 02:48
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My timing belt just broke on my 1997 Toyota Camry 2.2.
It is a non-interference engine, so no bent valves, holed pistons.
A new belt, tensioners and water pump, delivered free.....$32 !!!
It is a boring, ugly non-sporty 4 door, but it works, gets decent mileage and parts are not expensive.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 04:48
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Ah yes... the European affliction.
I'm now cured, but had a bad, chronic multi-year case.
In no short order:
Alfa 33 Cloverleaf - two re-planed head gaskets, doors that didn't shut and brakes... who needs brakes.
BMW 325i - that'll be eight hundred kiwi dollars for a muffler thank you sir. But you look classy...
Landy disco series 2 with the BMW 5 diesel donk - another few grand on the air-springs, and we never really did work out what was going on with the XYZ switch on the auto-shift. That said the kids loved the fact we could drive straight over the top of traffic islands, as well as pass the plebs fitting chains on the ski-field road.
Volvo XC70 - without a doubt the most useless piece of shite I have driven. A$6000 on a new tranny. Air conditioning beaten into submission and eviscerated by the great sunburnt land - resulting in a baking drive back along the Hume Highway MEL-SYD for me, Mrs T and two little Ts. Bleedin' 45 degrees it were... Farewelled with a F#ck you to Sweden.
Ducati Monster MS2R 800 - Because I is a lad, and I could. Yes, by God it was red, with a fat white stripe down it's tank. A nasty, brutal thing that would bite ya hard if you weren't on your A game. And it sounded like Pavarotti yelling. Or a bag of hammers when idling. At least that's what it sounded like when the gear selector seized one night coming down the off-ramp from the Bradfield Highway at warp 9 with me mate from Auckland who was visiting on the back. A$1000 thanks Northside Ducati PTY.
So - the wifely magic wand was waved.
The Ducati turned into a little white Toyota Yaris 1.5. Which I must say, I actually love driving - very zippy. Needs some black Viper stripes tho
And the weekend car, a 4.0 litre Prado Landcruiser. Very sensible, very middle class Orstraylian, and able to blimmin drive straight through the Canning Stock route un-modified if it needs to. Got a 180 litre petrol tank it has - from SYD to ADL non-stop.
Some Aussies might argue why you would want to go to ADL, but that's for another thread...
Maintenance on both - next to nothing. Service and parts costs - the same. They just keeps going.
Sayonara European marques.
I have joined the great unwashed again, and am all the better for it.
Now, just to ask the Mrs about that MY18 Hayabusa Supersport...

Last edited by tartare; 9th Nov 2017 at 07:25.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 07:29
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I think a torch bulb would be more likely to replace the OPs dud than a torch battery ��
It may be a 12v bulb or it may be lower voltage. Either way it should be possible to source a replacement at minimal cost. A search for 'pea bulb' should bring some suitable results.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 07:45
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Of course I meant torch bulb . . .
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 08:42
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Now I know I'm in quantum unreality.
No - you are in BMW land.

I thought everyone knew about this thing with modern cars - 10 cents less for a bulbholder and 10 cents less for a turkish assembly worker to fit the bulb against two cents for a pick-and place machine to fit the bulb onto the PCB and a solder machine to solder it = big profits for fat Krauts. And bugger the poor deluded owner who has to pay through the nose to keep the bloody thing running.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 09:20
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I had my Audi A4 cluster replaced last year - cost over £1500. Only Audi could replace it. Before all this I sent it to several repair specialists, but they couldn't fix it (CPU fault).

As it's just a bulb in your cluster - give BBA reman or ECU Testing a call. I'll be surprised if they can't solder in a new bulb for you.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 09:29
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My little Japanese commuter car is almost twenty years old, I've owned for the last three years. It has a sub one litre engine, no ABS, no power steering, no aircon. No LEDs fitted, just good old fashioned light bulbs and I have a good stock of these; if you know where to buy, such as Classic car shows, they cost peanuts. It starts first turn of the key. I can carry out a basic service myself in less than thirty minutes and parts to do so, including oil, are about £23. I recently changed a growling rear wheel bearing - £5.99 off eBay. Because it has relatively small wheels (13"), even good quality tyres are inexpensive (not that it has enough power to wear them out). The most expensive thing I've recently had to replace is the exhaust system, which appeared to be the original 17 year old one. Including a new catalytic convertor it cost me just £110 all in and I fitted it on my driveway.

I love that damned car, it easily does 50 mpg on the cheapest petrol and I often leave my big Beamer at home so I can drive it. I've just reinsured it for £140 for the year.

So I reckon purchasing and running the whole show has cost me less than the price of the OP's one light bulb replacement. It's a government con to make us think that new cars are more economical than old ones.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 09:41
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Stick in an LED with a dropdown resistor.

About 5 / 8 years ago the filament bulbs started dying in and around the cluster. I needed to replace 10 of them. Dealer price $10 each . I managed to source 2 bags of 10 for $2 each from an electronics hobby shop that has since closed its doors . Turns out the bulbs themselves were identical and all I needed to do was break the old ones out of their holders and glue in the new ones.

Radiator sprung a leak so used some leftover bathroom silicon to grout the area where the fins joined the tank. Worked for a year but sprung a leak in the same place last week. Tried the silicon trick again but only lasted 2 days. Purchased a new radiator from a bricks and mortar store because my research suggested the manufacturer kept changing things around. My car, a series II, only had a production run of 9 months. The shop owner pulled out a few radiators and we found one that suited which was the next model up. On getting home, I pulled out the old radiator and found the bastards had redesigned the bottom fan shroud mount to be a clip-on rather than a bolt on. A bit of hacksawing, some drilling and a little cannibalisation from the old radiator saw the fan shroud (which had sagged over the years) fit perfectly. 3 hr job, and $300 in parts including the coolant.

Has now stopped me thinking about buying a new car for a little longer.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 09:55
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One thing that's always puzzled me about bulbs in cars, in most mainland European countries you have to carry spare bulbs and be able to fit them at roadside.....but a lot of cars (Focus, Golf, etc) need half the front end dismantled just to change the headlamp bulbs. How is that possible?
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 10:09
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Originally Posted by andytug View Post
One thing that's always puzzled me about bulbs in cars, in most mainland European countries you have to carry spare bulbs and be able to fit them at roadside.....but a lot of cars (Focus, Golf, etc) need half the front end dismantled just to change the headlamp bulbs. How is that possible?
Of course, it couldn't be that the manufacturers have their hands round your neck and can't wait to have another little squeeze when you have to have the thing towed in.
Could it?
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 10:13
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All BMW warning lamps should be renamed "Better talk to your bank" lamps! Applies equally to Mini parts too.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 10:17
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Originally Posted by jimtherev View Post
Of course, it couldn't be that the manufacturers have their hands round your neck and can't wait to have another little squeeze when you have to have the thing towed in.
Could it?
Almost certainly. I'm surprised more haven't gone down the road of the original Audi A1 and done away with the bonnet entirely, just a flap for a grille and behind it oil and water fillers plus dipstick. Anything else to the dealer as you need it on a hoist......
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 10:33
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Is that warning light absolutely required for the car to pass the relevant periodic inspection? If not, one could revert to the traditional method of checking the lights occasionally by walking around the car or observing the lights reflection on a wall or similar?

Not all BMWs are that bad though.

Changing a headlight bulb on mine (an 17 years old 5 series) is done within seconds; the most time consuming task is walking from the drivers seat to the location of the bulb after opening the hood. After that, it´s just twisting out the bayonet lock, pulling the old and inserting the new bulb and putting it back in. The AC air filters are about the same, just snap open the case, out with the old, in with the new, and close again.

Now, the engine air filter... taking the engine cover off, the right AC air filter case out and the air filter housing off takes less than an hour. But reassembling it... scraped knuckles, screws dropping into lower parts of the engine, mutually exclusive pins of which only one can be fit at the same time according to all laws of physics. Fun for hours, and best have noone else in the vicinity when attempting this.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 10:55
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Yes, G-C, off to a pal in a moment who has at least ten of everything. The problem is, the contacts are not only 20 mm inside a square hole, they are down out of line and the hole is made of white-ish plastic. I'm intending to wrap some 3mm copper wire around the bit of a 400watt iron and try to get in there. The alternative is to pull all the needles off their spindles and then split the board from the case. One of the worst jobs on watches is pulling the hands from the spindles. Second only to putting them on in phase with stepper motors. Many an Oh, Drat, uttered then and on the BMW, don't want any more plastic fragments from the ageing unit.

Right now, I think I'll manage by fingertip feel of the stalk and do it if it fails an MOT. We'll see.

My son had a wondrous display on his Chevvy. One of those that has the 90v tubes - which surprisingly are dimmable. All had failed except speed. I bought the car and battled to get the whole lot out. Gaining courage from someone in Norway, I split the daughter board from the main, some 50 connections using high temperature solder. I then soldered 158 dry joints.

Now, that's a strange number. It happens to be, IIRC, the number of parts in an 1100 gearbox, and the number of parts of every key in a roller action grand piano. Imagine, 88 X 158 bits just on the piano actions. T

Anyway, the display lit up like a Christmas tree. Probably the best I've ever seen. One was inclined to look admiringly at it as one was driving. I suppose I added to the misconception that hedgehogs are flat.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 11:02
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Is that warning light absolutely required for the car to pass the relevant periodic inspection? If not, one could revert to the traditional method of checking the lights occasionally by walking around the car or observing the lights reflection on a wall or similar?
Yes.
It is not to tell you that the lights are working. It is to warn you that you are on full beam
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 11:30
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Thank you, I misunderstood it then for one of the little red lights that come on when a bulb burns out.
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Old 9th Nov 2017, 11:45
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From the MOT inspection manual:-

Check that... on vehicles first used on or after 1 April 1986, the ‘tell-tale’ illuminates when main beam is selected
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