Erratic indicator "click"

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BonBon
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Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 18:24

When indicating, the lights are working ok - but sometimes the first few clicking sounds are erratic where it seems to be missing a few beats (although the arrows are lighting at the usual frequency).
Is it a matter of some servicing (WD40 etc) or is the mechanism reaching retirement?

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Robert T
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Robert T » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 18:49

The flasher relay is a sealed unit - it can be replaced, but not serviced. Odd that it sounds to be intermittent, but actually produces the correct flashing - from the wiring diagram, it looks like the cluster lights come on when the external bulbs are illuminated (some systems illuminate the cluster lights when the external bulbs are extinguished) - do external lights look like they are also flashing correctly (a wall or mirror will help you to see - I use my garage wall if I'm being lazy). It could be a bad earth, so I'd try re-seating it before replacing - it is in the fusebox at the back of the engine compartment.

One thing that does puzzle me is that the sounds appears to come from the instrument cluster on mine - so if the flasher unit is under the bonnet, how does the sound get to the driver? Does the cluster have some kind of sounder in it? The cluster lamps show some kind of electronic circuit associated with them. Would be worth listening to the relay inside the flasher unit as well, but you'll need and extra pair of hands (or ears) to do that - mind you, yours is LHD, so you might be able to reach. :wink:

Cheers R.
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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 19:23

Interesting post.
I assume the flasher relay is OK as the arrows in the instrument panel are working as they should when I indicate. (Is the relay trivial to identify in the fusebox?)
I was sure that the clicking was coming from a "mechanism" in the indicator stalk and there was erratic contact.
Not sure where the problem lies now. I'll do some snooping.
Last edited by BonBon on Tue 09 Apr, 2013 20:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Robert T
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Robert T » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 20:01

Just been out in the car, so I took a minute to open the bonnet and check. The flasher relay is the taller black box in the fusebox. You can hear and feel it operating if you put your finger on it. There is definitely a sounder of some description in the instrument cluster somewhere, which sounds like another relay, but which I expect does not actually switch anything - it doesn't appear to be identified on the circuit diagram, so trying to work out which component it is may take a little doing. I actually have to replace a bulb (odometer backlight) in my instrument cluster, so I might get a look then to see if it is something that can be cleaned/replaced - I expect it is another sealed unit though. The good news is that it is not likely to affect the operation of the indicators or hazard warning lights. :)

Cheers R.
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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 20:21

Cheers - much appreciated.
Just had a listen with a short hose. You seem to be right - a relay inside/behind the instrument cluster :king:
Looking forward to hearing what you find in the cluster. Take a pic....

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Robert T
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Robert T » Tue 09 Apr, 2013 21:02

I haven't bought the bulbs yet, so it may be a little while before I get anything posted up.

Pingu might remember whether he saw anything when he had his apart - I can't see enough detail on his photos to make out anything that might be a relay/sounder.

Cheers R.
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Southernboy
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Southernboy » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 12:49

The instrument cluster can be disassembled...there are torx screws to be removed from the back cover, and then it can be lifted off. This does result in the paper label across the joint being broken, or you can use a fine blade to cut through it before separating the back cover. Inside there are 3 "twist lock" fixtures which operate a spiral type locking nut. If these are released, the front plexiglass section can be separated from the "works"...I have done this once or twice, and have never seen anything remotely like a flasher unit. That doesn't mean there isn't a part there which as Jonttt suggests makes a noise only without being a switch...that may well be the way it is. I can't see the purpose of a relay in the instrument cluster, since this would need to be a unit attached to a printed circuit board, and be an unnecessary hassle to replace vs the relay in the fuse box, which does make sense as a place to fit such a device from a service / replacement point of view. It would seem that the way forward is to replace the relay in the fuse box first,and determine the outcome of your issue there-after. If it persists...you may be looking at a problem in the contacts in the actual shift column arm switch, which may need a burst of Herchells contact / electrical cleaner...or ultimately a problem with the relative area / parts in the instrument cluster.
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Mike Fishwick » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 13:12

The indicator relay can be unsealed quite easily, as with any similar relay. Inside there will be two small relays, and perhaps their contacts are dirty - drag a piece of thick white paper through them whle closed, until the paper comes out clean. I have done this on several indicator realys used on BMW K-Series motorcycles, and it usually works.
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Robert T
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Robert T » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 13:25

Southernboy wrote:That doesn't mean there isn't a part there which as Jonttt suggests makes a noise only without being a switch...that may well be the way it is.
Jonttt suggested nothing of the sort! :wink:

There is definitely something inside that instrument cluster that makes the tick-tock sound you hear when the indicators are on - AFAICT this is only an audible reminder to the driver and even if it died, the indicators would still work as the actual flashing is done by the flasher relay in the fusebox. As BonBon's indicators are working just fine, it would appear that his flasher relay is working fine.

All we need to determine is what makes the tick-tock noise inside the instrument cluster and can it be serviced... if it serves no purpose other than to make a noise, a cheap surface mount relay would be my likely candidate, but relays come in all shapes and sizes and it could be socketed, or it could be some custom sounder component that BMW use in all their cars (have you noticed how all BMW indicators tend to sound the same, regardless of model?).

I might not get too far in determining exactly what the component looks like as I don't intend breaking the seal on mine if I don't have to, but armed with a knowledge of where the sound comes from and Pingu's excellent photo, we should be able to get close. :)

Cheers R.
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Southernboy
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Southernboy » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 13:56

:bow apology Rob....must've "clicked" the wrong synapse there....might have to visit my GP sooner than I thought... :wink:
The inside of the cluster is a single printed circuit board...with all the bits soldered to it...somewhere in there is the "cliquey" thing.... :D ...and yes, all BMW indicators sound the same...a little too loud...like a drunk...they could at least halve the number of clicks, and have it only click on the light on and skip the light off click...that would make it less invasive to good music and conversation.
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by gookah » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 16:04

I'd like to know how to change that horrible lights-on warning gong..sounds like a cross between a cow and a donkey. arrr arrr arrr...... :head:
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Brian H
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Brian H » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 17:58

Car manufactures spend a fortune on small items such as the sound of an Indicator, It would not surprise me if the relay is just there as a driver aid.

Having looked at my cluster I can confirm that the clicking sound is next to the white connector (with my hand on the back I can feel it), looking at Pingu's photo there seems to be a small siemens relay in the corner.

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picture pinched from pingu :D
Last edited by Brian H on Wed 10 Apr, 2013 19:46, edited 1 time in total.

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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 18:16

Found this info related to the E32 - Is it the same?
The clicker relay is shown shaded gray on pg 6312-02 at http://www.e38.org/e32/e32_89_etm.pdf
It is a coil connected between the Left and Right turn lamps.
You can locate these wire colors (BLU/GRN and BLU/BRN ) and connect any small relay, and it will click when you turn Left or Right. But not when the Hazard flashers are on.

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Robert T
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Robert T » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 18:29

That's great, Brian. :thumb:

That does indeed look like it could be the monkey and it also looks like it is NOT surface-mounted, which would make it easier to replace. It looks like it will be a sealed unit though, so cleaning it likely impossible.

BonBon, the Z3 ETM doesn't show a relay or a coil anywhere that I can see on the three pages that relate to the indicators. It does show an extra lamp though for both turn signals together, which would seem to be impossible, as they are a good 6 inches apart! It marks this as "except S50", which seems weird. I know on mine both telltales operate (along with the tick-tock) when the hazards are on, so maybe this mystery bulb is replaced by a relay? If I get time later, I might paste the three pages together and post it as pic for you to see.

Cheers R.
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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Thu 11 Apr, 2013 09:25

I was just at my indy who told me that if he/I open the cluster to access the flasher relay without special "lab" tools - when closed, the dials will get screwed up.
He advised to wait 'til it dies and get a new cluster.
Makes sense?

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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by gookah » Thu 11 Apr, 2013 10:40

BonBon wrote:I was just at my indy who told me that if he/I open the cluster to access the flasher relay without special "lab" tools - when closed, the dials will get screwed up.
He advised to wait 'til it dies and get a new cluster.
Makes sense?


:roflmao:
lots of people above must have 'lab tool's' then, or screwed up dials.....
Time for a new Indy perhaps.
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Thu 11 Apr, 2013 10:47

I spoke to him again and he said his main concern was the plastic bits cracking as they are all brittle. I know what hes talking about as all the ears have now been broken or cracked when venturing in to change bulbs. (...........some broken by my predecessors).
The sun here ages the plastic..... :sunny

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Robert T
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Robert T » Mon 15 Apr, 2013 20:58

Well I did the odometer bulb this evening. The cluster needs a reasonable amount of pulling to get it out - two "suckers" really helped with this. Once out the connectors come off easy enough - they have a latch on the back that lifts upwards popping the connector out. Once I got the cluster in my lap, all the bulbs are laid out before you and most of them are labelled on the reverse. All the bulbs can be replaced from the rear without the fear of damaging anything. The large backlight bulbs look awkward to get at, but I think a pair of long nosed pliers would soon shift them. The others all release with a quarter turn with a small flat blade screwdriver in the slot on the rear. I did take some photos, but I don't think they will be much good as there wasn't much light in my garage. I put it all back together and had a quick test before reseating the cluster. You can definitely hear the indicator sounder inside the cluster, but there was nothing on the outside that indicated which component it was - it resonated a lot, so I couldn't even tell which end it was - the rear cover would have to come off to get anywhere near it, sorry. :(

All was going swimmingly up until this point. Upon turning the key to position II I noticed that the service indicator was now showing red and orange lights and the Oil Service indicator was illuminated. Pants. Back into the house for the laptop and cable and a quick reset later and we are back to 5 green lights. Just need to watch that I haven't upset its cycle. The only thing I can attribute this to is being without power for half an hour or so. Strange as it didn't do this when I had the battery off to do the seat bushes, but then batteries can die inexplicably.

I checked my wiring and there is no sign of any chafing inside the cluster area. I thought there might be as I have had the instruments die on me a couple of times in the past, and start working again very quickly. I will have a look from the other side when I do the headlight knob bulb.

Cheers R.
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Southernboy » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 06:17

Jontt...did you disconnect your battery before removing the cluster? I have had my cluster out for literally a day or two without any reset needed..I think the indicator "clicker" might be muffled with a thin covering of foam next time I get to taking the cluster out....as you say, it resonates very loudly.
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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Tue 16 Apr, 2013 13:48

I guess I'll live with it until it dies......somewhat like our 15 year old dog who was born around the same time as my Z :roll:

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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Thu 07 Apr, 2016 18:41

While this does not make sense to me - but it seems the health of the indicator relay 1388533 in the fuse box impacts the clicking of the "mysterious relay" that is inside the cluster. :shrug
Changing out the relay under the bonnet fixed the return of the erratic clicking inside the cluster.
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Last edited by BonBon on Wed 15 Jun, 2016 15:53, edited 1 time in total.

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lebigmec
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by lebigmec » Thu 07 Apr, 2016 19:27

BonBon wrote:I guess I'll live with it until it dies......somewhat like our 15 year old dog who was born around the same time as my Z :roll:
Looking at the dates of your original posts, I'm now wondering which lasted the longest, your indicator relay or the dog? :?

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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Thu 07 Apr, 2016 19:46

Funny you should ask. Our dog (a Canaan breed) was put down 6 weeks ago shortly after his 18th birthday.
We're now left with an 8 year old Pincer.

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lebigmec
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by lebigmec » Thu 07 Apr, 2016 21:18

BonBon wrote:Funny you should ask. Our dog (a Canaan breed) was put down 6 weeks ago shortly after his 18th birthday.
We're now left with an 8 year old Pincer.
Sorry to hear about your dog, but that was a fantastic age.

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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by bentley-boy » Fri 08 Apr, 2016 08:51

That must be really hard for you, my two went at 15+ and 16+ and still very much missed, that was 14 years ago.

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Southernboy
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Southernboy » Fri 08 Apr, 2016 09:16

...... Speaking of dogs, my neighbour has two pugs - he calls one Freddy and the other Mercury... I asked if he was a Queen fan - he chuckled and said they were named because they're "man's best friend".... :lol:
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BonBon
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by BonBon » Wed 15 Jun, 2016 14:38

Well I've changed out a couple of (second hand) Indicator relays in the fuse box under the bonnet. But after a few days the issue of erratic clicking from the "mysterious" relay inside the cluster returns (it only starts clicking inside the car after about 10 clicks)...
Can anyone guess if perhaps a "New" unused flasher unit inside the fuse box would help the inner cluster relay??
(BTW -the indicators work fine and flasher lights inside the cluster work as they should)

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Southernboy
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Re: Erratic indicator "click"

Post by Southernboy » Wed 15 Jun, 2016 16:00

From what I have been told, there is a "click" device inside the instrument cluster, perhaps if you remove the cluster, and open it up, then connect the wiring again, and use the indicators, you can trace it to the specific component - possibly there may be a small issue with connectivity. Or if you know of someone in electronics who can check it for you. If it's going to be a major job, possibly ask Andy aka Spurs fan if he can loan you a matching cluster to test in your car first ?? That's if he has one.
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