Panel lights


Cost: $4ea bulb


Time: 30min-1 hour

This procedure works on the Bmw E34 and E32. If lights are missiong on your panels... you have to change them.

Failure syndromes:
- Obvious, panels not as bright in night time.


OBC bulbs replacement procedure:
  • Hex wrenches and needle noise pliers.
  • New bulbs and Radio code.

1. Make sure you have the code of the radio if you still have the stock Bmw radio.
2. Remove the radio. (It is held by two pentagonal screws, the pentagonal tool is available from your dealer for about $13.00, but a small hex wrench will do)

3. Insert your hand inside the radio opening and locate the OBC lever on the right of the opening, towards the rear. Pull the lever towards you and the OBC will pop out.
CAUTION: Right Hand Drive Bmw: PUSH the lever, don't pull...
4. Now you can see the 3 backlight bulbs. Change them all as you probably don't want to remove for every single bulb. Use needle noise pliers to remove the bulbs.
5. Place the OBC back on and push to get it engaged. Place the radio back on and insert the code.
This is what the bulbs look like (Thanks Hans L.)
Heat control panel bulbs:
1. Remove the radio as described above.
2. Place your hand inside the the radio opening and locate the A/C, rear window heater, recirculation buttons and push it towards the rear of the car.
3. Disconnect the connector and set the buttons aside.
4. Through the radio opening, push the tabs toward the steering wheel and remove the heat panel far enough to disconnect the heat cables.
5. Pry the cable tabs and set them aside.
6. Now you can remove the 3 or 4 screws at the back of the panel and gently remove the back cover. You will find one bulb only to light the whole thing.
7. Installation is reverse of removal.

Another procedure from: Stiegl

KNOW YOUR RADIO CODE - You'll need it when the job is complete!

Replacing the E34 blower fan and temperature control light bulb:

- Start by removing the small panel on the left side of the center console next to the
radio (I don't remember if this was necessary or not - bad memory).
- Open the tiny left and right panels on the outer edges of the radio and using an allen wrench loosen the screws to remove the radio - the allen wrench wont be an exact fit, but if the screws aren't super tight, it should do the job.
- Pull the radio straight out after loosening the screws. Disconnect wiring on the back allowing you to remove the radio.
- Reach inside the opening where the radio used to be and push out the 'plug' with the defrost/ac/recirc buttons on it. You may have to push down on the inside-top edge of the 'plug' while pushing it out to release it, as there is a spring loaded retainer integrated with the plug.
- Disconnect the wires leading to the 'plug' and remove.
- On left inside edge of the HVAC panel is a release lever. You should be able to feel it either through the hole where the plug used to be OR you may feel it throught the radio opening - I don't recall whether or not you can actually see the release lever - perhaps if you use a mirror and a flashlight.
I would describe the lever as being similar a spring-loaded clothespin - the kind you squeeze to open the 'jaws'. If I remember correctly, the lever stays in the opening and will not come out with the HVAC panel. By opening the jaws, you release the left side of the hvac panel, so youll need to pull the left side of the panel out while holding the jaws open (hope that made sense).
- Squeeze the cable release levers in back of the HVAC panel and remove the cables. (you may have to move the levers around to remove cables)
- On the right side remove and disconnect the temperature control plug by pulling the black release handle straight back, now pull the plug out.
- Remove the other electrical connectors on the back of panel. Using a small bladed screwdriver, release the back HVAC panel by depressing the 4 tabs and carefully prying the panel out.

Now remove the old bulb and replace it with your new bulb. Your now half done.

Now push the back panel back on carefully and reconnect the wiring plugs. Put the rest of the switches, plugs, panels, etc back in and your done.

Radio Bulbs from Ricky J

When I got my '90 535 this summer the radio/CD changer was a mess. There was no LCD illumination, one or two CD's worked out of the six, and every bump I went over interupted the changer. I thought a new head unit, changer, $500 and jerking the seats out again would cure it, but I tried to fix it first.
LCD - The LCD has three small bulbs behind it. I replaced them, and the display is as good as new! After pulling the top off the radio, pull out the cassette player. Remove the front. Remove the LCD board. Unsolder the 4 LCD mounting clips. VOILA, there are the three bulbs. I used three Radio Shack bulbs from Cat 90-2614 Lamp 680:T-1 (wire terminals)for $1.11 each. Solder in the new bulbs. I should not have done it myself, because the microsoldering was tough. A good radioshop would do a better job.
CHANGER SKIPPING - When I pulled out the changer, I noticed a 10/90 date on my 4/90 car. There were two inline fuses. The CD changer was added after the car was sold. I found the shipping screws still locking the changer frame to the "floating" guts. Needless to say, the fix was cheap.
CHANGER NOT PLAYING - I pulled the casing off the changer, and flipped up the bottom board. I slid the head-lazer unit over so the glass was visible from the bottom. I cleaned the glass with a Q-tip. The changer now works on 90% of the CD's I put in.

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