E46 Fanatics Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
2002 330Ci
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for the long post but if you manage to read the whole thing, just know that I appreciate you :)

So the other day while I was driving, about a minute after I left where I was the yellow brake light and DSC light comes on. That had me concerned but not the basis for this post.

About 30 seconds later my speakers start going in and out and the clock under my odometer starts flickering. About 10 seconds after that all my gauges go batshit.
The gas and temperature gauge went all the way to the right (way past the edge of what their max is) and the speedometer and rpm meter go about 90 degrees to the right.

Naturally this freaks me out so I immediately pull over worried my car was overheating or theres some kind of short or something and I kill the car.
All the gauges, instead of going back to 0, go back to about half way. I run the test thing by holding the trip meter and running test #2, all indicators go through their motions and looks ok. I think maybe its a glitch or something and I decide to drive a little bit up the road to at least make it to the parking lot of a grocery store so Im not in the middle of the road, but I'm still worried about my engine temp and since the gauge is pretty much useless I plug in my OBD thing and go to the app so I can watch the temp but that thing is going full retard as well. Sitting at 90 then all of a sudden drops to -14 (I live in Florida) then a minute later jumps to 180. Obviously I cant rely on this thing either so I haul ass to the parking lot cus I just want to stop and figure out whats going on.

I stop, pop the hood make sure there arent obvious signs of overheating (there wasnt) , unplug the battery and put it back, drive a little to the other side of the lot, all of the gauges go to normal but my entire driver side headlight assembly went out. I'm really worried about my electrical system at this point when I add this to two other pieces of information.
1. I have been dealing with some kind of parasitic draw for a while now, nothing serious enough to demand my immediate attention but if I leave the car to sit for anything more than 24 hrs, the battery is dead.
2. My rad fan failed without me knowing a few weeks ago and I guess the pressure got too high and it cracked the part of the rad that connects to the expansion tank, coolant ended up spraying everywhere, including all over my headlight ballast and most likely the alternator and everything around it

Is it possible there was some kind of short in the headlight ballast thats screwing with my electrical system? I dont really know how to deal with electrical issues but I pulled the headlight, removed & opened up the ballast to check for water damage and, aside from some coolant on the connectors, everything looks fine on the inside. Plugged it into the other side and still doesnt work, just makes some weird clicking noise for a few secs then nothing. I havent driven it aside from getting home after the incident which I'll probably do today to see if theres any more problems after I get the headlight back in
 

·
Registered
2002 330Ci
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited by Moderator)
After some troubleshooting I found out it was a blown HID bulb that was somehow causing the problem. I dont know if it shorted or what but after unplugging all the connections to the light all the symptoms went away. I was going to just ignore it unless the weird electrical stuff happened again, figured I would go ahead and start trying to fix the headlight first so i dont get a ticket so I went ahead and started switching components from the other side of the light to find out what the issue was.

Last thing I checked was the bulbs since I didnt think both bulbs would go out at the same time if it was just a blown bulb. After I swapped the ballasts and it still didnt turn on but the gauges went bananas before I even started the car I pulled the HID light as a might-as-well-check-it thing and it was completely shattered. Swapped in the one from the other side and the whole assembly turned on and all gauges went to normal. The bulb must have been shorting the system somehow without blowing the fuse (I'm not an electrical engineer though so beats me)

Also since I unplugged the assembly a few days ago and left it unplugged it seems my parasitic draw problem went away, normally when I get in the car to leave my battery is at like 11.9v but now its consistently at 12.4 (cigarette lighter thingy shows me the voltage). It might still be there though I'm not sure I gotta wait until the next time I leave the car to sit for more than a day. Ill look up the tool and bookmark it though for future reference
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,210 Posts
I don't see anything about the regulator went bad.

so it seems the left headlight got the coolant and damaged and this affected other electrical system. IF after unplug the headlight and everything back to normal then just deal with the headlight -- fix or replace it.
 

·
Registered
2002 330Ci
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
that other post is a bot no?? reads like a fucking scam
He capitalized the word "oak". I concur with your deduction

I didnt intend to look that shit up anyway lol

I don't see anything about the regulator went bad.

so it seems the left headlight got the coolant and damaged and this affected other electrical system. IF after unplug the headlight and everything back to normal then just deal with the headlight -- fix or replace it.
I dont think the coolant caused it, think it was just a coincidence. But yea I'm gonna get a new bulb, trying to find a phillips one that isnt counterfeit but not having much luck there unless I want to pay $120 a bulb. I'm just curious how a blown bulb can mess up my entire electrical system like that at this point, but as of right now I'd say this issue is solved.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top