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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't used this account in over 2 years, I don't know how updated my stuff is. This is a 2002 325i, sedan, manual.

OK, 3 months ago, I go to leave and my car is dead. So, I call a friend to jump me and had my keys in my pocket. Once I clamped the last clamp to the battery, my taillights came on and when I looked in my car, my dash lights were on; keys were in pocket. I had to work the next day and it was night time so I jumped it, drove to charge battery and then came home and unplugged the battery. The next morning, I connect the battery and everything was great. For 3 months I never had the problem again, so I couldn't diagnose it.

4 days ago, I start car and everything was fine, and then drove to gas station. When I parked at the gas station, I tried to roll up windows and my system just went nuts. When I was first trying to roll up window, my window was jumping like it was loosing power and getting it back, maybe a 1/4 inch at a time. At this moment, I realize something is wrong, so I turn my key and engine off. My head lights, dash lights, every light that was on and maybe more, just started doing the rave and strobing like crazy. So I pushed the clutch and started it, lights and stuff were still kind of being weird but for the most part everything seemed normal. So, I turn key off and the lights just go crazy again. For the past 3 days, if my key was not in the on position when the reconnecting battery, the rave would happen. I'm going to stop there. There was way more, but you get the idea. will explain more if needed.

Ok, as a guys that works on anything I can, I am use to the normal process. Something messes up, it stays messed up, and then it gets fixed. Something else might go bad as a result of that being bad, but it's all common sense. Bearing goes out, tire will wear unevenly. switch goes out, windows doesn't work, on the other hand; this problem has been a progressive problem.

1. My electrical system messed up, then fixed it self in one night. Lights wouldn't shut off.

(3 months later)

2.My electrical problem is happening again, and is not even acting like the first time. My windows are being weird and lights are strobing. For the next 2 days, every time I went anywhere, I had to leave my key in the on position so car doesn't strobe.

4.Today, I go to leave for work and it was 30 degrees so I went to turn on heat and heat will not work. The actual heater control face will not light up, and the buttons do nothing. At the same time, just my regular interior lights are on. They are not bright, but about half way to work (14 min drive) the interiors started strobing slowly and still not getting too bright.

5. At break (11:00), the sun was out, melted all the snow, and it was actually warm in the car from the sun, so I hooked battery up and wanted to see if I could figure anything out. Forgetting to put my key in the on position, as I was hooking up battery I thought, "I will have to hurry and put key in ignition to stop the strobing, but when I hooked up battery, nothing happened. So I opened door, and dash lights came on with the buzzing noise. So I got in and shut my door and the lights all shut off, like everything was normal. Stuck key in ignition and started car, everything seemed normal. tried to roll windows down, and nothing happens except my interior lights get brighter if I pull one up (any window switch)

So, right now

Key in ignition and engine on--------- everything seems fine.
key not in ignition with door shut---- everything seems fine.
Key not in ignition with door open---- all dash lights come on and taillights are lit up.
Whether on or off, the windows and heater will not work.
The heater will not even turn on, and window switches control brightness of interior lights

Related Notes:

OK, this is something I should have dealt with a while ago, but it never messed with anything so I left it. I have owned this car for 3-4 years and this has been a problem the whole time and nothing has ever happened. It makes me think its not the problem since it's been there for so long but...... Every time it rains, there is water in my magazine holder on the door. I think it comes in through the windows bottom outside seal and then between the bottom two pieces of trim on the door. Magazine holder being the bottom of the two pieces.

I went to school for cars but never finished. I took electronics class (E&E) but never took (AEP) Advanced engine protocol. I'm not good with electrical stuff when the car is running, but I have a basic understanding and a decent multi-meter. Just thought I would throw that out there.

I forgot to post the video first. I recorded a video of me doing some of this stuff and am going to put it on YouTube, will be back to link it.

Thanks to all!

Hope this can be fixed, I have no other option. It does not seem to be messing with my engine in anyway, and other than my dash lights staying on at times, it does not mess with the performance of the dash's gauges, they all work perfectly fine. Radio works fine. seat warmers work. driver mirror can still be adjusted. When car is on, headlights work perfectly fine,I hope taillights are too.

I can't think of anything else, once again, thanks for the replies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deEFGzQqMLQ&feature=youtu.be

If it sounds like I was kind of slamming my door, I was. There was one time where it seemed something changed when I shut it so I was trying to make it do something again.

Check engine light: I don't have a reader, friend does. Haven't checked it in a while but it's always the same 4 codes after I changed my O2 sensors. I should recheck.

Thanks
 

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Google “BMW E46 hidden OBC functions.” Test #9 will show you the voltage as seen by the engine computer (DME in BMWspeak). Check and report back the voltage when the:
- ignition switch is in the run position but with the engine off
- engine idling
- engine revving at 2000rpm.

Your alternator may be going bad.
 

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Related Notes:

OK, this is something I should have dealt with a while ago, but it never messed with anything so I left it. I have owned this car for 3-4 years and this has been a problem the whole time and nothing has ever happened. It makes me think its not the problem since it's been there for so long but...... Every time it rains, there is water in my magazine holder on the door. I think it comes in through the windows bottom outside seal and then between the bottom two pieces of trim on the door. Magazine holder being the bottom of the two pieces.
As mentioned, water and electronics do not play well together. Also keep in mind humidity in the car can and will condense on connections and cause problems. My guess is the LCM (Light Control Module) which is located on the rear of the ignition switch is getting wet.

If the car has a sunroof, the sunroof drains are most likely clogged and you may also have 1 or more compromised inner door vapor barriers or vapor barrier seals.

Probably need to replace the battery and clean out the sunroof drains if the car has a sunroof, clean out the area below the brake booster, make sure the lower windshield cowling is not broken or cracked, clean out the area near the hood hinges and the cabin air filter housing.

Be careful, if the LCM connections are getting wet, there have been known LCM fires due that may be related to water getting on the LCM connections.

See this thread as well: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=18224154
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First we are having the crappiest weather, and I have no garage. 2 days ago it was 25 and snowed 3-4 inches, today it's 57 and rained all day. If you remember yesterday, I said I can not roll both my driver side windows up. Front driver WAS down about 1/2 inch and rear driver down about inch and a half. On the way home today, they decided to work just enough to let me roll them up. If water is the problem, today made it 5x worse.

I have had a domino effect with moisture in my car over the last 4-5 months and I 100% bet this moisture, not water in door (maybe) is my problem. Here we go.

Mid-winter my car would take longer and longer to warm up. I couldn't figure out what it was, because I had just changed the thermostat so I changed the water pump and when installing it, noticed a little wet off to the side of the thermostat and it ended up being the seal for the thermostat housing. The coolant barely ever said it was low, and when it did it never took much to fill it, it was weird. It was dead winter, and I have no garage so I did what I could. It wasn't over heating, I just wouldn't have heat, so it took me a month and a half to finally break down and replace this water pump not really seeing how it could be the problem. In that month and a half the moisture problem on the inside of my car was crazy. There were days where I was scraping ice off of the inside of the windows. The heat wouldn't work on my 13 min drive to work, but if I was in it for 20-30 mins, the heat would sometimes kick in and start evaporating all this moisture, not to talk about the water in the floor mat that was just always there, snow.

Got cooling problem 100% fixed and I was good for about 2-3 months. Had great heat and I was always turning it up as high as I could and driving around with cracked windows so it would evaporate all the moisture, and I was getting there (except for constant water in magazine holder) I was close, and then all this happened and probably made the problem 5x worse than when I had ice on the inside, it's 57 now so it's not freezing.

Google “BMW E46 hidden OBC functions.” Test #9 will show you the voltage as seen by the engine computer (DME in BMWspeak). Check and report back the voltage when the:
- ignition switch is in the run position but with the engine off
- engine idling
- engine revving at 2000rpm.

Your alternator may be going bad.
I will look into that, never really messed with that stuff.

Water and electrics don't mix. Disconnect the door switches on the wet door. Get a $20 BMW Scanner and scan all modules for errors and post results.
There is only 1 switch on the door to test and the mirrors work fine. My whole point in posting that about the door is in case someone knows if there is some control module behind the door that could effect all this stuff, and then look into that. I'm really not too keen on tearing into stuff when I don't know the problem, and when it is being intermittent like this, I worry.

As mentioned, water and electronics do not play well together. Also keep in mind humidity in the car can and will condense on connections and cause problems. My guess is the LCM (Light Control Module) which is located on the rear of the ignition switch is getting wet.

If the car has a sunroof, the sunroof drains are most likely clogged and you may also have 1 or more compromised inner door vapor barriers or vapor barrier seals.

Probably need to replace the battery and clean out the sunroof drains if the car has a sunroof, clean out the area below the brake booster, make sure the lower windshield cowling is not broken or cracked, clean out the area near the hood hinges and the cabin air filter housing.

Be careful, if the LCM connections are getting wet, there have been known LCM fires due that may be related to water getting on the LCM connections.

See this thread as well: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=18224154
I think you are on to something here. As I explained above, I have had this moisture problem for a while to the point where I've just got rides to work because of how cold it says it was going to be and scrapping ice off of the inside just sucks. Water always builds in the magazine holder, and for 3 months straight if not more, I had a puddle of water that would just freeze and thaw. Then I would dump it every other day, then let the new freeze and thaw. but it's hard to thaw it when the high it 25 and your heat wont work.

Honestly what it sounds like I need to do is get my car in a garage for about a week straight. I need to let that car dry out and then approach this electrical issue with a dry mind. Down side is, I have no garage and no 2nd car for work. I'm going to work on making this happen very soon. I'll probably pull car in garage, open everything, disconnect battery and then unplug this LCM that you were talking about and just let the car dry.

If there is anything else I should do or try before I do this let me know. I'm shooting for this weekend.

Thanks all!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Well, that was easier than I thought, car will be in a garage Friday for a week. Downside is, I have to drive my car 2 hours to get there. Like I said in first post, this whole issue has never messed with my engine, dash gauges, head and taillights when the car is started, so hopefully this isnt a bad move, but I really have no other option. It's winter and spring with no heat, I have no way to dry this car out.

A couple of real quick things I love about my car, it's a manual rear-wheel drive, the turning (ohhhhh that turning. I try and explain it to people, but..) and last is you guys. I love how passionate you guys are. I use forums all the time, but have never been the one to take time out to help people this way. You guys are awesome, especially you JfoJ, you went all out with those links, Thank You.

I will be back when someone replies or ill be back 2 Fridays from now. I may not go out of my way to help, but I will make sure this thread gets finished so it may help others.


People always say, BMW's are expensive"

I reply, "so are Mustangs".

They say, "Yea, but that's a Mustang"

I say, "well this isn't a 740.

Then I usually get a, "what do you mean"

I say, Think about it 30 years ago, before they made low-line cars look like full size cars. You had a Dodge Omni and a Dodge Viper. Do you think they use the same quality (not strength) quality of shock on the Omni as the Viper. No, the Viper got some high end one and the Omni probably got one made in China that they wouldn't put on a Viper because people look at those. Bottom line, they show different amounts of love for different cars. BMW does not do that. BMW shows there 3 series just as much love as they do they 7 series. The 7 series might weight more and have a different absorption ratio in the shocks, but the quality will be the same, IMO. Honestly haven't looked into it, it's just after driving a 3 series, I don't feel like they cut corners to make a cheaper car, they just made it smaller with less cool stuff on it. It still has the quality that the 7 series does.

The shocks were just a reference point, don't read into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
As mentioned, water and electronics do not play well together. Also keep in mind humidity in the car can and will condense on connections and cause problems. My guess is the LCM (Light Control Module) which is located on the rear of the ignition switch is getting wet.

If the car has a sunroof, the sunroof drains are most likely clogged and you may also have 1 or more compromised inner door vapor barriers or vapor barrier seals.

Probably need to replace the battery and clean out the sunroof drains if the car has a sunroof, clean out the area below the brake booster, make sure the lower windshield cowling is not broken or cracked, clean out the area near the hood hinges and the cabin air filter housing.

Be careful, if the LCM connections are getting wet, there have been known LCM fires due that may be related to water getting on the LCM connections.

See this thread as well: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=18224154
First, I didn't see that link you left for me about this, just looked at it. It does seem like my choice to dry it out first is a good one, I just hope it can be saved. Seems like that guy(Tony) didn't even try to save it, which is probably the best choice, but I would prefer to not have 2 keys, or does it even work like that. Can you get an ignition switch that's made for the key you already have? Still going to try and save it though. So does this problem usually end up being a lcm or ignition problem, or is it all one unit?

Second, because I mentioned my CEL and O2 sensors, I thought you posted all those links in your signature for me, lol. When I was looking at that other post, that's when I realized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
As mentioned, water and electronics do not play well together. Also keep in mind humidity in the car can and will condense on connections and cause problems. My guess is the LCM (Light Control Module) which is located on the rear of the ignition switch is getting wet.

If the car has a sunroof, the sunroof drains are most likely clogged and you may also have 1 or more compromised inner door vapor barriers or vapor barrier seals.

Probably need to replace the battery and clean out the sunroof drains if the car has a sunroof, clean out the area below the brake booster, make sure the lower windshield cowling is not broken or cracked, clean out the area near the hood hinges and the cabin air filter housing.

Be careful, if the LCM connections are getting wet, there have been known LCM fires due that may be related to water getting on the LCM connections.

See this thread as well: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=18224154
You said the LCM is located on the back of the ignition switch, but I don't think that is the LCM. I unplugged it and plugged battery back in all the dash lights came on without key in ignition. Then I turned the key to the on position, my radio wouldn't turn on, but everything still acted the same, windows wont work and heater doesn't light up. Then, I plugged it back in and everything acted the same, but my radio would come on. Disconnecting the plug on the back of the ignition only stopped my radio from coming on. So I typed 02 bmw 325i e46 light control module in google and it was showing me the headlight switch module as the LCM. So I removed the Headlight switch and opened it up, and inside was the board that was posted in the thread you posted for me to look at.

So, in the other thread you posted to, that you shared with me was a picture of a board that OVERBOOST said was the LCM. You guys were talking about it being coated. That board is inside my headlight switch. The thing on the end of my ignition did nothing.

I have a video to post showing that I had the plug on the back of the ignition unplugged and all my dash lights and tail lights were still on, but I cant upload it right now. Once I seen that the board that OVERBOOST called the lcm was in the headlight switch I turned the headlight switch on and of, messed with the dimmer and pressed the fog lights and everything worked perfectly.

Those other people say they replaced the ignition and it helped, but if unplugging it does nothing, how would buying a new one help.

The Board that is in the headlight switch looks fine and seems to operate exactly like it should whenever I do anything. I unplugged the connecter on the back of the ignition and plugged battery in and the problem acted like I did nothing to it. I'm going to go out and perform this test 9 and post results.

I cant bring myself to just buy a new ignition if there is no proof that it is the ignition. I don't have the money right now to do that. if its the problem, ill replace it instantly, but I don't have the money to buy it just to eliminate that as a problem and then it not be that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Found the issue, but still need a little help. Which relay is it?

So, I have found the problem. I explain most of everything in the videos because I didn't want to type it all.

First, as into this problem that has happened to more than just me being an ignition problem, I don't see that ever being the case. I have made this videos to show you the ignition, and then in the next video you will see why. This is not an ignition problem it is an electric short problem, and there is almost no way for this to ever happen to the ignition, imo. Quick way to tell, plug battery in leave key out and if the problem is happening, unplug the ignition, if it stays on like mine did, then it obviously is not your ignition.

https://youtu.be/RMFX9aRKkMA

https://youtu.be/uK1NcSRP0TI

Here is the actual problem my car had. I possible it could be a short in many different things, but can't ever see it being the ignition. Anything is possible though.

https://youtu.be/bkRa39DfadI

Which relay is it
 

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Sorry about the confusion, I meant the LCM was on the rear/part of the headlight switch, when you get 40 interruptions every 5 minutes, sometimes things do not go as planned!

Looking at the video it appears something is back feeding the "ignition" and/or other parts of the car.

While you think there may be a short circuit somewhere, most short circuits tend to blow fuses. There may be a short feeding back somewhere in the car. Maybe someone did a repair incorrectly, maybe this is a flood car???

While you think there may be a bad relay, I am doubting this. As I recall the window relays are part of the GM5 module.

You can search www.bmwgm5.com and learn all about the GM5 module and what it does.

If you have a Bentley Manual I would start by identifying what terminals on the HVAC controller should be hot/have 12 Volts at all times and then see if you can find other terminals that are not supposed to be hot/have 12 Volts at all times.

Again, it looks like there is something feeding back 12 Volts in the car, could be a bad module, could be damaged/poor wiring, could be a prior improper repair, could be rodent damage, could be water damage.

I would unplug the LCM and see if the interior lights still come on when the window switches are activated, I expect is shouldn't.

The problem you have is not likely a "normal" or "common" problem, so it is going to take a lot of time to track down.

What if any aftermarket electronics does this car have installed?? Does this car or has this car ever had a remote start system installed?

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think you are correct about the GM5, and I will probably contact that person for help. Thanks

It does make sense now that I think about it. My car started doing the dash and tail lights thing, and then about 2 days later, something happened and my windows freaked out. I imagine while my heater head unit was shorting out, it is connected to something in that box and did something to mess with the window and lights part of it.

In the link you left, he said I can use the car while the GM5 is disconnected. My fear is that I will receive my new heater head unit here in a day or two, and when I hook it up, however it messed with or might have been related to the windows, being that the windows are still messed up, it might feed back and short out my new head unit (it's not actually brand new, it's just the new one.) I really need to to shut my heat off though. My heater core is getting full coolant without any air flow against, it can be good for all the stuff around it. I noticed when I open my driver door and hold it with my knee while driving, it allows more air to come through the vents and at least helps air be pushed past the heater core. Anyways, I'm guessing that if I unplug the GM5, it should prevent that from happening. I just need to hook it up, turn heat down and shut it off so the heater valve closes, then unplug it so it stays that way. Then I can plug the GM5 back in for when it rains until I have to send it to him. He seems confident he can fix it in 1 day so it wont be that bad. Just want an opinion on if you think that sounds correct or would work.
 

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The heater control/hot water valve is open by default, the heater controller sends a PWM signal to the solenoid to close it. Not sure feeding 12 Volts directly to the heater control valve is a good idea?

I doubt the problem is the GM5 module or even the HVAC controller, I expect either something, somewhere is water damaged and it is cross talking or back feeding power somewhere? Maybe the GM5 module or connector got water in it? The GM5 module has silicon conformal sealer/coating on it so it should be partially water resistant, but water in connectors can be a nightmare and cause these types of problems.

Windows do not work with the key off. So the interior light should not flicker.

Might try unplugging the FSU/FSR blower final side resistor or plug the HVAC controller back and and start pulling fuses. Once fuse will drop power to the HVAC unit would be my guess, but you might find another fuse that is pulled keeps the dash from lighting up. This would be then a big clue as to where to start looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK, I see what you are saying. That there is a chance that my HVAC controller might not even be bad, (That would suck a little being that I already bought one)

I have had to replace the final stage unit before. You said to unplug it, what am I looking for there? Plug the HVAC unit back in to where my car faulting, lighting up without key, and see if heater stops doing it when I unplug the resistor. If you think it's not my GM5, if the resistor is bad, when unplugged, my windows should just start working? Stuff like that or should I be looking for something else.

I didn't understand what you meant when you said, "Windows do not work with the key off. so the interior light should not flicker. The window buttons do not make the lights come on at any time. Only when the key is on, or when you turn key off and I don't open doors. If the key is off and the doors are open, the window buttons don't make the lights turn on. The programming that tells my windows when to work is still fine, it just controls my 2 lights instead, it doesn't work all the time. When I unplug the HVAC unit, my cars whole electrical system works perfectly when ignition is off, nothing can be activated. I no longer have to unplug my battery. If you are somehow implying that whatever is really shorted is using my ignition switch to affect my heater, windows and lights, wouldn't that be messed up too. Is it possible that my heater affected my windows and lights though my ignition? I'm not really sure what you meant by that.

"Once fuse will drop power to the HVAC unit would be my guess" You are saying hook up HVAC unit so my car is faulting and just pull every fuse one by one? If a fuse that has nothing to do with my heater, shuts my heater off and and makes my car stop faulting (dash and tail lights shut off) whatever that fuse controls could be the problem?
 

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So the issue you are having with your car is not the ordinary type of problem. It is clearly something above and beyond what is supposed to happen and things are not operating the way they should.

Now all this being said there could be something obvious like a blown fuse that could cause some crazy things to happen, but doubtful. I do recall if a specific fuse is blown, missing or misplaced the door ajar chime could continuously sound even if the door is not open or something odd like this. But these cases are few and far between.

First order of business, check all fuses for blown, missing or misplaced fuses.

Normal troubleshooting may not work with this set of problems as you have found. The ignition switch was a first stop for a number of reasons, while it is built pretty well, all sorts of strange things happen where a part breaks, comes loose or shifts and then a normal switch does something totally unexpected, but this seems to have been ruled out.

While the HVAC controller plugged in appears to power up the dash, not sure what is common with the dash, but it make it appears some circuit may be backfeed?? So I would probably plug the HVAC controller in and start pulling fuses one at a time and replacing them to see if anything changes when a fuse is pulled. Then note the fuse number and figure out if it is a standard HVAC fuse or something very different??

I have not been able to go back and follow the thread from the beginning again, been running around today, but I thought in the video when you were pressing the window buttons with no key in the igniton the interior light would flash?? Is this correct?? My comment was the window should not work with the ignition off, so what is going on here?

Do not forget about a bad ground possibly causing some of this chaos. Again, standard troubleshooting does not always apply, but keep in mind, adding a temporary ground to a device or checking and verifying a ground to a module may be important. The beauty is if there is a bad ground and you can add a temporary ground to a module and the problem is corrected, then you have quickly narrowed the problem, then you need to decide to cheat and add a permanent supplemental ground or find and correct the actual problem ground.

This is not going to be easy or straight forward. Maybe when you get the replacement HVAC controller this will tell you something. Either things are 100% better or no change. While no change is not what you want to hear or see, this may well be the outcome and it helps narrow things a bit.
 

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jfoj, well said as usual. Definitely not the usual problem. I think you are on to something regarding the backfeeding. I know that the cluster has diodes that “OR” the power from the car KL30, ACC, ON and maybe even Start so that it doesn’t blink off it something. The EWS also has diode. Not sure about the other modules, but, definitely not the general module. The window relay in the general module are connected to constant +12V as are the door lock relays. If one of the “OR” ing diodes fails (diodes almost always fail shorted) it would cause power to backfeed from ACC or ON or possibly KL30 to ACC or ON. I would suspect that there would be too much current draw and it would blow a fuse.

Don’t rule out the possibility that two wires have rubbed against each other and worn through the insulation or got pinch and broke through the insulation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So the issue you are having with your car is not the ordinary type of problem. It is clearly something above and beyond what is supposed to happen and things are not operating the way they should.

Now all this being said there could be something obvious like a blown fuse that could cause some crazy things to happen, but doubtful. I do recall if a specific fuse is blown, missing or misplaced the door ajar chime could continuously sound even if the door is not open or something odd like this. But these cases are few and far between.

First order of business, check all fuses for blown, missing or misplaced fuses.

Normal troubleshooting may not work with this set of problems as you have found. The ignition switch was a first stop for a number of reasons, while it is built pretty well, all sorts of strange things happen where a part breaks, comes loose or shifts and then a normal switch does something totally unexpected, but this seems to have been ruled out.

While the HVAC controller plugged in appears to power up the dash, not sure what is common with the dash, but it make it appears some circuit may be backfeed?? So I would probably plug the HVAC controller in and start pulling fuses one at a time and replacing them to see if anything changes when a fuse is pulled. Then note the fuse number and figure out if it is a standard HVAC fuse or something very different??

I have not been able to go back and follow the thread from the beginning again, been running around today, but I thought in the video when you were pressing the window buttons with no key in the igniton the interior light would flash?? Is this correct?? My comment was the window should not work with the ignition off, so what is going on here?

Do not forget about a bad ground possibly causing some of this chaos. Again, standard troubleshooting does not always apply, but keep in mind, adding a temporary ground to a device or checking and verifying a ground to a module may be important. The beauty is if there is a bad ground and you can add a temporary ground to a module and the problem is corrected, then you have quickly narrowed the problem, then you need to decide to cheat and add a permanent supplemental ground or find and correct the actual problem ground.

This is not going to be easy or straight forward. Maybe when you get the replacement HVAC controller this will tell you something. Either things are 100% better or no change. While no change is not what you want to hear or see, this may well be the outcome and it helps narrow things a bit.
There was really no change. When I hook up my old HVAC unit, it doesn't work and all my dash and tail lights come on, and when I got the replacement (at this time, the old one has been unhooked for at least a week) I hooked it up and the dash and tail lights didn't come on, I was happy. So, I turned my key on and the heater still wont come on and one of the button lights just stay on. Another thing I noticed is, when the old unit is plugged in with key on, the fan on the back of the HVAC unit does not spin, but when I hook the replacement one up with the key on, the fan starts spinning instantly. Hooking this replacement one up proves you are right about the actual problem, but it does seem like my HVAC unit is messed up also. It may not have put me any closer to the actual problem, but the HVAC units do act differently when plugged in.

That was Monday, today I hooked my old HVAC unit up and pulled every fuse one by one (except the big ones) First, at this moment, I was working out of the passenger door, so passenger door and the rear passenger door for more light was open. I plugged my HVAC unit in to activate the problem so I could start pulling fuses, and nothing happened. I was like :confused: so I walked around and opened driver door and nothing happened. So I tried closing driver door, nothing, then I shut the passenger doors, nothing, so, I opened them again, nothing. So, I closed every door and then opened the driver only, then the dash lights came on. Walked around and opened passenger door and dash lights stayed on. In the first paragraph, I said, "at this time, the old one has been unhooked for at least a week" I also said that my replacement one doesn't make my dash and tail lights come on, but I just told you how my old on didn't make my lights come on either. I wonder if I would have done the door thing with the replacement one hooked up, if the dash lights would have came on. I really don't want to play with/test that out simply because of the fan in the back. No matter the situation, when you hook old one up, the fan doesn't come on, and when you hook replacement one up, the fan does. There is obviously something different between the two, even if it's not the original issue but just a side effect.

I'm guessing the instrument cluster does more than just show you gauge readings because when I unplugged the instrument cluster fuses, I expected the cluster/dash lights to shut off, but the tail lights and the actual problem to continue, instead, when I would unplug a instrument cluster fuse and plug it back in, everything already messed up (nothing new) would shut off and come on and the car would do it's normal chime. I guess the instrument cluster is more than I thought and it's probably expected that this would happen.

Anyways:Every fuse listed completely eliminated the problem when unplugged, none of them only messed with this but left that alone, The chime was activated every time I plugged the fuse back in. Which has always been a thing, just never shown in the videos.

Fuse:
#10 - Instrument cluster

#28 - Heater

#34 - Instrument Cluster

#49 - Central Locking System
- Interior Lights
- Theft-Proofing System
- Window Lift Front
- Windscreen Washer System

#52 - Central Locking System
- Hand Lamp
- Headlight Cleaning
- Interior Lights
- Passenger Comp./Trunk Light
- Windscreen Washer System

As of now, my door locks do not work. Key fob doesn't work and the lock cylinder broke mid winter. I don't lock doors much so never checked the button.
-my hazards do not work
-heater doesn't work
-2 interior lights don't come on when they should and come on when they shouldn't, the rest work perfect.
-Windows do not work
-Windshield washers work fine, but when my car would do the crazy freak out and dash lights, head lights and all would flash, the windshield wipers would twitch with it, but only when it did the crazy freak out. When I hook heater up, and only the dash and tail lights come on, the wipers act just fine.

Opinion need before I go further. Thanks

Also, you said, "Do not forget about a bad ground possibly causing some of this chaos. Again, standard troubleshooting does not always apply, but keep in mind, adding a temporary ground to a device or checking and verifying a ground to a module may be important. The beauty is if there is a bad ground and you can add a temporary ground to a module and the problem is corrected, then you have quickly narrowed the problem, then you need to decide to cheat and add a permanent supplemental ground or find and correct the actual problem ground." Can you give more detail on that, if that is something I should try. I'm not knowledgeable or comfortable doing electrical stuff. Without detail on exactly what I should do, I will be scared the whole time and probably mess something up. I'm just not comfortable with this electrical stuff, and I know my car is full of it.
 

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So, I have found the problem. I explain most of everything in the videos because I didn't want to type it all.

First, as into this problem that has happened to more than just me being an ignition problem, I don't see that ever being the case. I have made this videos to show you the ignition, and then in the next video you will see why. This is not an ignition problem it is an electric short problem, and there is almost no way for this to ever happen to the ignition, imo. Quick way to tell, plug battery in leave key out and if the problem is happening, unplug the ignition, if it stays on like mine did, then it obviously is not your ignition.

https://youtu.be/RMFX9aRKkMA

https://youtu.be/uK1NcSRP0TI

Here is the actual problem my car had. I possible it could be a short in many different things, but can't ever see it being the ignition. Anything is possible though.

https://youtu.be/bkRa39DfadI

Which relay is it
"Tony" here. I understand your doubt about the ignition switch being the culprit, but I think the problem occurs where the harness connects to the switch pins. That said, my problem never occurred again, so I have to think that the ignition switch was causing my brake and dash lights to stay on with no key in the switch. Good luck figuring things out. It does sound like your problem is a lot worse than mine was.
 

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"Tony" here. I understand your doubt about the ignition switch being the culprit, but I think the problem occurs where the harness connects to the switch pins. That said, my problem never occurred again, so I have to think that the ignition switch was causing my brake and dash lights to stay on with no key in the switch. Good luck figuring things out. It does sound like your problem is a lot worse than mine was.
I do a lot of YouTube replies, and my stuff sometimes seems hostile. After rereading what I wrote below, because it starts as a reply I can see it a little, and don't want to write it over. I'm not being that way, this is a calm reply, it's just effected how I talk everywhere. sorry.

It can not be the ignition. The first video I posted, that you quoted, is called, "proof it's not your ignition". I actually did not film this video for this reason. I filmed this when I first started this thread, I just never posted it. It was just another video to show the forum something else. At the time of filming this, I did not realize what I am about to tell you. It was only when I was about to post the other two videos you quoted, that I seen this and realized it is proof that the ignition is not the problem.

If you think about your ignition from the key all the way to the ignition switch on the back, the only wires connected to the whole thing is just in the switch. If you have the switch unplugged, there is no electricity being sent through the ignition. Think about it, I had to. The problem is, people can't understand how if the ignition is off/unplugged, then how is the car getting electricity. The ignition is in the way of all these things getting electricity so if this stuff is getting electricity, then the problem must be the switch ( :idea: I just thought of something, it will be at the end) I show you in the video, that the switch is unplugged and my car is still getting electricity. I feel confident in saying, it can not be the ignition switch. After reading that, if you can explain how you still think it's the ignition switch, let me know.

How long ago did yours happen? This is how mine happened. At the very beginning of winter. It was our first snow and rain day so the roads were bad.

-I went to leave, tried to start car and battery was dead.

-Called friend to jump me, and right when the cables were hooked up, with keys in hand, my dash and tail lights came on.

- So, I drove my car to give battery a charge and then unplugged battery when I parked it. Got in a wreck because of that snow and rain, just to give battery a charge. That was Sunday night.

-On Monday morning at 4:30am I plugged battery in and everything was fine for about a month.

-Then the problem came back. The problem you were having is the problem I "was" having at this point.Still have it, but it has been halted.

It was cold and I have no good place to work on my car, so I let it go and was going to deal with it that weekend. Before that weekend, I went to the gas station and when I parked and tried to roll up windows, that is when they freaked out. (another light bulb :idea: ) My windows, door locks, lights and all of that "my problem is worse than yours" didn't happen until 2-3 days after the original problem came back. I'm starting to realize it is not related to the original problem, but a side effect or it's own problem. I had a bad moisture problem, don't know how much you read above, but I was scraping frost off the inside of my windshield for about 2 months during winter. So, it's possible that the moisture messed up 2 things in my car. There were times through the winter, before I realized that removing my heater will help the problem, that if it was a really wet day, when I would shut my keys off, my headlights, windshield wipers and other things that were not normally effected would just start twitching and strobing, not just staying on.

OK, I have one more thing to say, then I will end with the light bulb ideas.

I honestly, don't think it was your ignition. From what I can tell, this problem happened while you were having a crank issue, have you go that fixed. My point is, I explained above how I got this problem and it went away on it's own. Are you sure, that your car hasn't done what mine did, and you fixing your ignition and the problem not happening again is just coincidence? Honestly, how could it be the ignition after looking at that video? I am assuming that you didn't drive the car during winter, if so, your car had a better chance of surviving this, without it coming back. I on the other hand, not only did I have a coolant problem during middle of winter and was scraping frost off the inside, the whole time I have owned this vehicle (3 years) the driver door magazine holder has water in it after it rains. I have always had a moisture problem, and it was the worst this winter. I figured out the driver door water issue. Someone replaced the window motor (the old one was in the trunk when I bought the car) and tore the black stuff out that stops water from coming in through the doors panels.

I think this problem sometimes happens, the problem you had and I had/still have, but if the car is dried out fast enough, the moisture will dry and the problem will go away, but where it happened, it leaves behind something (like a mark, or a little corrosion on whatever this is happening on) and then from that point on, every time it happens again, that something builds like a stalagmite, until the point where even if it dries, it still has a connection. I think mine happened and dried out, and then when it happened again, never got to dry out and just went full bad. Then, I think, somehow, with that being bad, something close to it, burned too, or a wire touching another wire got so hot they melted together and created my window, locks, and lights issue. Not for sure.

Ok, the lights bulb idea(s). Cars/BMW's have a timer where if you shut ignition off and take keys out, some of the main things like lights, radio, and stuff like that stay on until a door is opened. That is a way that my cars stuff can still get electricity without the ignition. I wonder if that or something related to that thing is messed up. Talking about there being no way for the car to receive electricity though ignition when it is unplugged is what made me think of this. There are times where the car can receive it without the ignition, and the only way I can think is this thing that does this, whatever it is. The fact that it is really only my interior things that are effected by this problem is another thing that points towards this "thing". When it comes to the every once in a while the headlights, windshield wipers and stuff that were not normally affected would freak out, I'm assuming that was something else that is near this problem and was about to be messed up with the other stuff if it kept happening, but that's where removing my HVAC unit came into play. Removing my HVAC unit has helped put a stop to the main problem, even thought it is still there, it seems to be using my HVAC unit to mess with things. On the other hand; even with my HVAC unit unplugged, my locks, windows, lights, etc still wont work correctly. So, that says, whatever is using my HVAC unit to keep my dash and tail lights on, is separate from the windows, locks, lights and stuff, or at least not directly related. If they were then my window buttons wouldn't control my windows or lights, they would do nothing.

Writing this has actually helped me a lot.
 
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