While the electrical system of the 2002 is no Lucas catastrophe, it's still 60's level technology and has its fair share of shortcomings. I'll refrain from labeling it 'poorly designed,' but the headlight circuit is one of the primary 2002 electrical systems that has lots of 'room for improvement.' Also, with the popularity of adding additional fog and/or driving lights to these cars, this makes for the perfect time to rewire and improve this whole system while adding such upgrades.
A quick note on 2002 wiring
Generally speaking, Germans are clever, organized people, and this shows in the 2002 wiring. Here are some of the more subtle but clever points to keep in mind when looking at the 2002 wiring diagram:
1.) The SOLID RED wires all go straight to the battery. These are the ones to be careful with. Don't short one and blow up your battery! Everything electrical component on the car can be traced back to one of these red wires for its ultimate power supply (usually via the ignition switch).
2.) All SOLID color wires are UNFUSED. Screwing up and shorting one of these wires will likely damage something.
3.) The SOLID GREEN wires go to the ignition switch and are hot (+12V from the battery) when the key is in the 'Start' and 'Run' positions.
4.) The SOLID PURPLE wires go to the ignition switch and are hot (+12V from the battery) when the key is in the 'Accessory' and 'Run' positions.
5.) All 2-color or STRIPED wires are FUSED and therefore safer; shorting one of these will just blow the corresponding fuse.
6.) The SOLID BROWN wires are always ground. Every electrical component on the car eventually terminates to ground via one of these brown wires (You probably already knew this one!)
A relay is a device used to switch a high-current load (e.g. a big bright headlight) based on a much lower-current input signal (often a switch). The early roundie 2002 low beams use a relay like this, however the high beams have no relay and draw their power instead through the light switch on the dashboard; something that is NOT good for the longevity of that switch. Plus there's also the safety risk associated with having that high current path in the interior cockpit. Here's the 'proper' current path for the low beams, traced in blue, from the battery, through the relay, to the fuse, to the headlight, and finally to ground:
In comparison, here's the path for the high beams from the battery, through the switches, to the fuse, to the headlight, and finally to ground:
Not as pretty, right? All that high current for the high beams goes through the ignition switch, main light switch, and high beam/turn signal stalk! Note that on later (I *think* all square-tail) models, even though they added and additional high beam relay, BMW still just routed both the high and low beam current through the switches in a similar manner! Why the Bavarians didn't just use a second relay in the same manner as the roundie low beams were done I'll never know, but no matter, that's what the FAQ is here for!
No that we know what we do and don't want, here's how to go about fixing things. The simplest method, and what I recommend to everyone whether upgrading anything else or not, is to add in a relay for the high beams. This can be done easily with essentially NO modification to the existing wiring harness, just a reconfiguration of the old low beam relay and a new SPDT relay, as follows:
If it isn't obvious to you, the way this works is as follows:
- Fresh 12V supply is taken straight from the battery to provide the power for both low and high beams.
- The existing wiring from the main light switch (yellow/white for low beams) and stalk (white/blue for high beams) are used as the inputs to control the relay coils.
- The relay outputs then hook up to the rest of the existing wiring to the fuse panel and then to the lights themselves.
- The low beam relay coil is grounded THROUGH the high beam filaments, so that the low beams turn OFF when the high beams come ON. (This is the right way to do things, for both legal and practical reasons).
Depending on your exact year, you may need to run a new large (say 10) gauge wire (preferably RED!) from the battery for the 12V supply, and if you do NOT have a later model with the factory high beam relay, then you will need to find the connector #89 where the high beam white/blue wire meets the white wire, disconnect these, and run new leads for both from that junction up to your new high beam relay:
If you're planning to upgrade to H4 or similar higher output headlights, most would advocate replacing the existing wiring to the lights themselves with new, larger gauge wire. While this is generally a wise idea, if your existing wiring is in reasonably good shape my above circuit should still also work without overtaxing anything. This is because the overall run of the wiring (from the battery to the lights to ground) is now much shorter than the original path that went all the way up through the switches and back again. I like this because it helps to keep the wiring cleaner and easier to sort out again in future, but if you're at all nervous, by all means error on the side of caution and run big new wires in place of the original ones!
Additional fog and/or driving lights
Now that we have the main lights all sorted out, it's time to move on to adding those beautiful auxiliary lights on to our 2002s! Here there are basically two options: fog lights and driving lights. But which ones do you want? Fog lights, as the name implies, are intended for driving in foggy or other poor-visibility conditions and provide diffuse, low down light that is not reflected off the fog/rain/snow etc. and back up into your eyes. Driving lights, on the other hand, are more like high beams and are aimed higher and are meant to provide additional illumination down-road in the dark when weather conditions are more favorable and there is not any oncoming traffic to worry about blinding. Unless you live in a crappy climate in Europe where fog lights are truly warranted, I think that most 2002 drivers are better suited with driving lights.
An additional bonus that I like to leverage with auxiliary lights is that, if done correctly, you can also use them all the time at lower intensity as daytime running lights (DRLs)! I accomplished this by using a DPDT relay to power my driving lights in SERIES (which makes them about 30-40% of full brightness) whenever the car is on, and then switching them to PARALLEL (100% full brightness) whenever the high beams come on. This also means I don't even need to run a separate switch for them, as they just use the existing high beam switch.
Whatever the case, we are fortunate enough to have a connector provided by BMW up in the nose specifically for the addition of such driving lights. It's the #9 connector on the white/purple high beam wire most wiring diagrams:
If you don't care about DRL functionality, then you can simply add in a relay, again run a new red wire straight from the battery to supply the power, and use this connector to trigger the relay coil, and you're done! But if you're like me and feel that higher visibility = greater safety (shout out to all Colorado, Inca, Golf, Mint,Verona, and Tiaga cars!), then here's the circuit to wire them up to double as DRLs:
I didn't draw it because I already had one, but for this you CANNOT take your +12V power straight from the battery, otherwise the DRLs would stay on even when you turn the car off, and quickly kill you battery. So you need to find/make a source for switched +12V power instead. For this I recommend adding another relay that is powered straight from the battery but that is triggered (on squaries) using the green wire that originally powered the headlight relays (which is now unused and available after upgrading those relays), or (on roundies) you can run a new spur of green ignition wire from one of the unused terminals on the back of side of fuses 3, 4, or 11:
Now, you will have a relay that provides power only when the ignition is on that you can use for all sorts of things, such as the power source for these DRLs!
You should also add a new fuse (I use 20A) somewhere in your fog/driving light circuit in order to keep everything properly protected!
When it's all done, here's how it works: With the ignition on but the high beams off, the current flow is through the lights in series as follows:
But when the high beams are switched on, the relay switches the path and the lights are instead powered in parallel, thus:
Well, I hope that some of you find all of this helpful, and are able to use this knowledge to make your cars brighter and more enjoyable! Feel free to comment or PM me if you find any errors or have further questions!
P.S. A quick note of thanks to @Ireland Engineering, @Nijn, and @323IJOE all of whom have created wonderful colored versions of the 2002 wiring diagrams! I'm not sure whose specifically I used shots of here in this write-up, but you all deserve thanks for your efforts!
Written by Chris Blumenthal Friday, 30 September 2005 Retrofitting an Electronic Flasher Relay
By Chris Blumenthal
Most 02 pilots have experienced turn signal problems. The dreaded indicator light "no-blinkie" and flash-only-once syndromes are among the most common. Another symptom is the fast-flashing indicator. Most of these problems seem to be traceable to excessive resistance in the turn signal/hazard flasher circuit. The '02 turn signal/hazard flasher circuit is notoriously sensitive to bad connections (both - and +) and poor quality bulbs causing too much resistance in the circuit.
About 6 months ago, my instrument panel turn signal indicator started working intermittently and finally got to the point where it would only flash once when I first applied the turn signal, even though both front and rear bulbs were flashing as appropriate. I went through my whole system, cleaning up the contacts and grounds, and replacing a couple of brass base bulbs with the supposedly preferable "silver" base bulbs (available from the dealer and aftermarket sources from manufacturers Sylvania/Osram or Philips [others?]). When this didn't fix the problem, I replaced the flasher relay. This fixed the indicator problem, but the flashing (both the indicator and bulbs) was about twice as fast as the original and normal speed... not quite as fast as when there is a burnt-out bulb, but way too fast. Reminded me of the turn indicators you see on the typical death car or '63 VW bus. This just wasn't right for a dignified '02.
The only direct replacement relays that I could find were marked "XS," with the X overlaying the S. It is my understanding that these relays are made by Siemens. A quality manufacturer for sure, but all of the OE relays I have seen were made by Hella. I have since tried a few different, used Hella relays lent by friends, but all have exhibited the original indicator blink-only-once problem. My conclusion: something beyond the normal and obvious is screwed up in my flasher circuit, probably in the wiring. I guess I could have lived with the fast flash problem, but it really bothered me.
A few months ago, I happened across Zenon Holtz' web site. Zenon is an '02 brother from the Great White North (well, not so white in BC...) who has a nice BMW related web site, including a discussion (under "tech/troubleshooting turn signal problems") of using a generic, 3-prong turn signal relay in the '02. This got me thinking about using an electronic flasher unit in my '02. I knew from non-'02 related experience that electronic, variable load (resistance) flasher units are available for a pittance (<$5). Besides the low price, the other benefit of using for a generic electronic flasher relay is that external conditions do not determine flashing speed, which is electronically and internally regulated by the relay assembly. In fact, the "variable load" designation means that the flasher will function with different wattage bulbs, variations in circuit resistance, etc.
Get a 3 prong flasher unit with terminals marked "X," "P" and "L." There are different spec units available. Littlefuse makes a unit designated "EFL 300" that is appropriate- if you cross reference to that, you will get the right part. The X terminal is the +12V input, the P terminal output drives the flasher indicator in the instrument panel, and the L terminal drives the load (bulbs).
In the '02, the typical flasher wiring is comprised of a 4-wire circuit, including the following: brown (ground, of course), black/white (instrument panel flash indicator), green/violet (+12V) and green/yellow (load- bulbs). The brown ground wire is not used with the electronic flasher. The configuration of the male spade connectors on the flasher unit is very similar to a headlight connector. A female headlight connector with pigtails (available at most any auto parts store) works fine as an adaptor between the 3-prong electronic flasher unit and the '02 flasher connector. Note, however, that for a few bucks, many auto parts stores can provide a more precisely fitting plug intended specifically for turn sign flashers.
Just solder .25" male spade connectors to the pigtails (use shrinkwrap to cover your solder connections, of course) and plug into the '02 connector. Connect the "L" terminal to the green/yellow wire, "X" to the green/violet wire, and "P" to the black/white wire.
So, why do this? (1) Endless, cheap source of flasher units; (2) flasher is unaffected by and insensitive to slight variations in resistance in the old '02 wiring; and (3) nicely paced, perfectly timed flashing (again, regardless of slight variations in resistance in the circuit).
Although these flasher relays works with variable resistance, this setup will alert you to a burnt-out bulb by increased flashing speed like the original, non-variable load '02 flasher. Note: I am not advocating this as a solution for poorly maintained '02 flasher circuits. Use good bulbs, and keep your grounds, connectors and bulb contacts clean!
If you have any questions, feel free to post them to the Message Board!
Updates provided from http://www.bmw2002faq.com/topic/85984-signal-flasher-upgrade-easy-to-do-what-a-difference/
Written by Trent Tilton Friday, 30 September 2005 How to swap a 320i (e21) Alternator onto a non-tii BMW '02s How to swap a 320i (e21) Alternator onto a non-tii BMW '02s
By Trent Tilton
1977-79 320i Alternator. These can be bought new or found at the junkyard. You might want to get new alternator bushings at the same time. Most recommend urethane bushings as they will outlast the stock rubber ones by a considerable margin. Instructions:
Remove stock 45 AMP Alternator - Remove 3 prong wiring harness and the 10mm bolt that holds the red wire. Remove bottom 13mm nut and bolt from the tensioning arm. Remove the top 13mm bolt. Remove Alternator, and list it on fleaBay (RARE! Original! BMW Alternator! ).
Remove the square voltage regulator located next to the relays on the drive side engine compartment.
The 320i alternator is internally regulated, so 2 wires only need to be hooked up. The wiring is very easy. The thick red wire goes back on the 320i alternator, on the "B+" post - this wire does the charging. Cut the BLUE wire off the stock 3 prong harness and connect it to the "D+" terminal on the alternator.
Hook up the ground wire (brown) just like it was on your stock alternator
Bolt up 320i alternator in the reverse of the removal procedure of the stock one.
Tighten the fan belt just enough so that you can take the belt between the water pump pulley and the alternator pulley and twist it 180deg. Don't overtighten it because you will kill the water pump bearings. If it squeaks under load (when lights, etc., are on), snug it up a little more.
Enjoy brighter lights and fewer charging problems! Take her for a night drive!
If you have any questions or comments, please post em on the Message Board!
How to build your own LED (round tail) tail lights for around $100!
Preface: There are a few things you need to know before starting this project!
1. Light output- Yes these are really bright, but no they do not look as bright as the original bulbs when compared side by side, although they are much much brighter. The reason for this is the way the light gets spread around in the tail light bezels. With the stock tail lights, they use regular bulbs and the brightness of the bulbs is directly affected by how shiny the surround they are in is. By bouncing the light around in the housing, it gives the appearance of being pretty bright! However, LED’s do not use this concept. LED’s have a set degree (angle) of light output which is determined by the size and type of LED bulb, and can vary anywhere from 20*-360*. For this reason, they generally do not light up surrounding areas inside the tail light housing like the standard bulbs do, and it can make them seem less bright, but with the proper type of LED for your application they will much look much brighter than the stock assemblies like these do.
2. Time it takes to build these – Believe it or not, it takes and extremely long time to make these by hand. I timed how long it took me to build my final tail light assembly, from the time I pulled the stock tail light off the car, to the time the led’s were built and re-installed and working inside the car. It took approx. 14 hours solid of work, for all of the lights in the one tail light, and that was after I developed the most efficient way to put them together, and didn’t have mistakes or issues to go back and fix. It will eat up a weekend and then some making these… so be aware!
3. Cost- Although it cost me way more than $100 to develop get these the way I wanted them, if you buy wisely, you can build them for about $100 or less. It is easy to spend way more than that if you go crazy and buy super expensive led’s, and buy all your resisters from radio shack etc. This write up also assumes you already have a specific arrangement of tools. If you do not have a tool listed, and cannot borrow one, you’ll need to consider that cost as well. I will give the sources I used to purchase my materials along with the prices of everything so you can see what you’re getting into before you start.
If you are ok with all of the above then you are ready to start building!
STEP 1: CLEAN WORK AREA
You are going to need to set aside a work bench, table, or something solid to do this work on, you are going to have a lot of little things flying around that you will need to be able to keep up. Also be sure your lighting is good. It’s really frustrating to work on this stuff with poor lighting (I bought this little $7 fluorescent light at Wal-Mart for this reason).
STEP 1.1 -PLACE TO STORE EVERYTHING!
You are going to find you have a lot of stuff that is going to need to have a place to live while you’re working on this project. I found these little plastic drawers at Wal-Mart for $2 (MADE IN US!) they are great for storing little bits and pieces of stuff like this. I also have some file cabinet space for all my wires, big tools, and oem style wire connectors.
STEP 2: GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES AND PARTS NEEDED
I have gathered a list of parts and supplies that you will need for this project, I recommend getting all of them before starting this, so you will have less lag time waiting for things to arrive or having to stop what you’re doing and running to town.
144 Red 5mm Superflux LED’s (for tail and brake lights) ~$40 for (200 pieces)
32 Red or yellow 5mm Superflux LED’s (for turn signals) ~$15 for (50 pieces)
78 White 5mm Superflux LED’s (for reverse lights, trunk lights) ~ $20 for (100 pieces)
I purchased my LED’s from Niktronix on eBay, they have super fast FREE shipping, he’s based in the USA, and they have great customer support. You can get 100 of the same type of leds for half the price ($10 instead of $20), but they ship from CHINA and take several weeks, and lets face it if I can support someone in the US instead of China ill pay more!. I recommend getting the 5mm “Piranha” Superflux dome type leds. They are the brightest leds for your bucks (and the best suited for this type of application). Anything much brighter would need more complex boards made for them. I recommend getting more than you need, just because shit happens…
The cheapest thing you will need is resistors for your tail lights. We are going to need:
46 220 Ohm ¼watt resisters w/ 5% tolerance – for brake, tail, turn, trunk lights (>$5 on eBay)
18 68 Ohm ¼ watt resisters w/ 5% tolerance – for reverse light (>$3 on eBay)
You can buy these resisters at your local radio shack, but with the quantity you need, it will cost way more than getting them on eBay. At Radio shack they are $1.09 per 5 resisters…that’s a lot of cash. Get them on eBay, they will be much much cheaper and just as good.
220 Ohm Resister link (BE SURE TO GET 220Ohm NOT 220K Ohm)
68 Ohm Resister link (BE SURE TO GET 68Ohm NOT 68K Ohm)
SOLDER, WIRES, HEAT SHRINK & EVERYTHING ELSE:
RadioShack brand .022” Silver bearing rosin core solder ($6.99)
This one roll will be WAY more than enough, I’ve barely used half of it and I’ve made a ton of stuff!
Pull-a-part is your friend here. You can go to any pull-a-part and get as much wiring stuff as you want for $7. This is the most cost effective way to get the wires you’ll need for this project, but you can also get some circuit board small gauge (22) wire from RadioShack, and that helps thing go easier.
Pull-a-apart wires and OEM connectors galore - $7
RadioShack 22 Gauge wire rolls (75ft) – (optional $7.99)
A Necessary item if you are soldering any wires. It comes in a million different sizes, but the two sizes I used were 11/64th and 10mm.
Harbor Freight Heat shrink
2 8ft rolls of 11/64th ($3.58)
1 5m roll of 10mm ($2.99)
Perf Board looks like this:
You will need some unless you want to make your own out of cardboard, or use something else (non conductive) to mount the leds on. (seen it done)
RadioShack sells it for $3 per 6x8 sheet, you’ll need two. ($6)
Glue sticks- you will need quite a few, I got a 25 pack at Wal-Mart for $3
Here is a list of tools I recommend having for this project, although you may find that you can use other thing to replace what I have listed (i.e. normal drill instead of drill press etc.)
• Side Cutters
• Wire Strippers
• Soldering Iron
• Hot Glue Gun (or silicon epoxy)
• Heat Gun
• Drill Press or Drill
• Test leads
• Precision screw drivers
So there you have it! $110.56 for everything listed here that you’ll need!
NOW ON TO THE ACTUAL PROJECT!
STEP 3: MAKE A TEMPLATE
Your first step is to make a template out of cardboard that sits far enough down in the tail light bucket for the leds to clear the tail light lens. This will take some time. Be sure to watch out for the mounting hole in the corner of the tail light section, and plan accordingly.
After the templates are made you can transfer them to your PCB (Perf) board and cut them out. I used side cutters for this, but it may be easier to use a dremel cut off wheel. Be sure to mark top and bottom, as the board won’t always fit in the space as nicely if upside down (ask me how I know).
STEP 4: DRILL OUT PCB HOLES FOR LEDS
This step is quite annoying, but you have to do it if you want to use this style of PCB board. You’ll need to lay out all the leds on your board in the pattern you want them in, and mark the holes on the bottom where the legs stick through.
You’ll notice the legs don’t push all the way through, that’s why we have to drill them out.
I'm lucky and happen to have a drill press on my desk for this very reason, if you don’t not have a drill press, this will be a bit of a faff. I'm not sure what size the drill I used was, but you’ll only need to drill them a tiny bit larger.
LEDs sit flush now
STEP 5 PAINT N’ TEST
After drilling the holes, I chose to paint the boards with some “chrome” paint to make them look more professional, but you don’t have to. DO NOT USE ALUMINUM TAPE ON THESE BOARDS INSTEAD OF PAINTING! I tried using this because it was so reflective, but it messes up the current flow and the leds WILL NOT WORK.
While yer paint is drying, now is a good time to test your leds to make sure they all work before you put them permanently on the board. I use a 3V button cell battery to test them (available at any AutoZone)
To test each LED you need to know which legs are positive, and which legs are negative.
In this picture we are looking at the side of a red LED. On the left side is the thin anode (+) and on the right is the thicker cathode (-). MEMORIZE THIS! It is crucial to getting them put in the right spot on your boards. Touch the corresponding sides to the 3V battery and it should light up.
On other styles of LED’s, they usually will have one leg longer than the other, the long leg is usually negative.
STEP 6 LAY ‘EM UP
Now that you’ve tested all the leds for this board, we can put them on knowing that they will all work if we do everything correctly. Now we can put the leds where they are going to stay. These leds have four legs on them; we will only be using two of them (one + leg and one – leg). This helps make things half as complicated when we are connecting everything. The reason there are four legs is so they can be used on high vibration applications where they need the extra strength, but it doesn’t affect the light output or longevity. I found the easiest way to set the up on the board was to make the positive leg face the inside (closest to the turn signal) of the board like so.
I just cut the extra legs off with side cutters
We are doing 9 rows of 4, each row independent of the other. Be sure to put all the leds in with the same orientation as shown above. The pattern of the legs should be + - + - + - + - , with the positive starting on the inside, negative ending on the outside of the board.
On the back side we will push the first positive to the side, and then push the legs down, so that each positive is attached to the negative next to it. Leave the last negative to the side as well.
Do the same thing for the next 8 rows..
The back should now look like this
And your board will look like this!
Test fit constantly
STEP 7 SOLDERING TIME!
Now that you have all of the positives and negatives where they need to be, now you can solder them together. Make sure the legs are pushed all the way through before doing this! Also – the legs of the LEDs are sensitive to the heat from the soldering iron, try it keep it touching the leds for as short a time as you can, it will roast your led if you heat it up too much (never had this happen, but they say if you leave the iron on it for 5+ seconds, it will kill it). In order to solder them together, all you need to do is roll out some of your silver bearing solder, lay it on top of the two legs you are soldering together, touch your iron on both the solder and the legs, and watch it flow and connect the two. Leave the legs on the ends alone for now.
Once you’ve done that, you should have something that looks like this>
STEP 8 RESISTERS
Next you'll need to gather up 9 of your 220 Ohm resisters (THIS IS FOR RED LEDS IN ROWS OF 4 ONLY). They are the ones that have the following stripe pattern – red red brown gold(may not be gold if yours have a different tolerance)
If you did not use the same led pattern I did (don’t have rows of four) you can figure out what resisters you need by going here.
Look at the specs for the leds you bought and fill it out accordingly.
Where you put the resisters is up to you, but you need to consider a few things first.
• The resisters cannot be touching any other connections.
• You must position the legs in a way in which you can attach a wire, again without touching anything else
The way I have this layout set up is so you have plenty of room on the outside portion of the board for your resisters. You will need to have one leg of the resister connected to the negative led leg you have left on the outside of the board. With this PCB board, you will need to leave 3 holes between each leg of the resister for it to fit properly. Tuck the resisters leg under the legs leg so you can keep track of where it needs to be.
I usually leave the remaining leg sticking straight up, it is the leg you will be soldering the wire to. Solder your legs to the negative led legs after trimming them to the appropriate length.
Should look something like this now
Now that half of the resister is soldered to the led it will be a little easier to work with. Bend the remaining leg down and place it somewhere that will not contact anything on the board and trim to about ¼ inch. This is the leg you will be soldering your wires to. I used the small gauge RadioShack wires for this. Cut 9 pieces of wire about 2-3 inches long, and strip a small bit on one end to connect it to the resister.
Now “tin” your wires to prepare them for soldering to the resisters. Put your tinned wire on the board next your resister leg, with the wire facing the middle of the board (this will make it easier to fit in the tail light bucket). Solder them together! Check all connections to assure they are soldered together properly and will not come loose! Should look like this when you’re done
Next I go ahead and hot glue this section of wires since they can move easily. Let it dry completely before you move on to the next step.
Next you are going to bundle these together, cut them to an equal length, and strip the other ends of these wires in a way that you can twist them together in pairs of three (see pic)
I know it looks ghetto, but next you are going to solder them together into to one solid wire. Get your handy dandy pull apart OE bmw wires and choose which wire color you want to use, I chose brown with white dashes.
Cut these 3 wires to be about 8 inches each, so you’ll have plenty to work with when you pull it through the tail light. Solder them to your wire bundles.
Again, pull on and bend the connection to make sure it is solid. Now slide a small piece of your 11/64’s heat shrink over the part you soldered, and shrink it!
STEP 9 WIRE UP POSTIVE LEGS
We are going to follow the same process above to hook up wires to the positive legs. On this side, however, we will not need resisters. Simply cut your small gauge wires, strip them, solder them to the positive legs on the leds, join them together, and solder your 3 long wires ( I used blue with white dashes) to those bundles and your good!
STEP 10 TEST YOUR BOARD
This is possibly the most fun step. Take your two long wires, strip the ends of all three wires, twist them together and clamp on to them with your test leads. If you hook them up backwards you won’t hurt anything, they just won’t light up. In this picture the brown is -.
Hook the other end of your test leads to a 12V battery and watch your board light up!
I used mine to light up the hallway (and the dog)
Exciting isn’t it? All that hard work paid off!
STEP 11 SEAL UP YOUR CONNECTIONS
Now that all the wiring is done, you can either use hot glue or 5-minute epoxy to seal up all your connections and to ensure everything stays where it should. Hot glue is much better to use for this, because if you have an issue you can melt it and fix your problem, and it’s easier to apply.
Once that has cooled, I used my 10mm heat shrink tubing on the base of the long wires so that they are protected when you come up through the tail light hole.
Now a sharp eye will notice that I have removed the original tabs that used to push on the bulbs. The reason for this is because I don’t want that tab rubbing against my wires that are running through there, and I have no interest in using these buckets for OE bulbs again anyways. You can keep them if you want.
STEP 12 REPEAT FOR BRAKE, TURN, REVERSE AND TRUNK LIGHTS.
I'm not going to go into detail on the process for the remaining light, because you do the exact same thing. You will use your 220 Ohm resisters for the brake, turn, tail and trunk lights, one resister per row of 4 leds (or one row of three for the trunk light). You will use the 68 Ohm resisters for the reverse lights, one for each row of 4. I'm attaching all the picture I have from building the remaining boards below, and will comment if there is something you need to watch out for.
At this point you may notice that your white leds do not have the same type of anodes and cathodes inside them.
Looking from the side this is what you’ll see
So how can I tell which on is positive and which is negative? Look on the bottom of the LED
The left side is smaller, positive, and the right side is wider, negative. Be sure to double check all connections before hooking them up the legs to each other, it is really easy to mix them up.
After seeing all of that, you’re now ready for the last steps of this project (hopefully)
STEP 13 SECURE BOARDS IN TAIL LIGHT BEZEL
Assuming you’ve made all the boards at this point, you’re now ready to put them in their place in the bezel. I used hot glue for this as well. You are going to want to push them as far down in the bezel as possible; making sure the board is flat when you’re done.
After doing this, I would test them again to make sure all the connections are still good!
STEP 14 READY YOUR CONNETIONS FOR CAR INSTALLATION
At this point, there are several directions you can go. You can attach spade connector to your wires and plug them right up to your OE wiring harness, or you can ditch all the crappy spade connectors like I did, and replace them with a modern style (5) wire connector. You can grab these all day at your local pull-a-part. I found some that have 5 wires going in, 5 wires going out, giving me the number I need! I used one 5 wire connector for the positive wires, and one five wire connector for the ground wires.
Regardless of which you decide to do, you will need to cut the wires that are running out of the back of the tail light bucket to be the same length. After doing that determine which is positive and negative. I did this by striping the wires, twisting the like colors together from each board, and using the test leads to determine which ones which. I then tied a zip tie to the negative on all of them so I didn’t get confused.
I then soldered the each like colored bundle of 3 wires together, neatly connected them to a wire coming off of the 5 wire plug. It doesn’t matter which on connects where at this point.
Once in the car you can choose how you want to connect them to the original wires, I soldered them all. Here’s how it looks before I tucked it away.
You’re now ready to install it in the car! But wait! You want to actually be able to see the pattern of the led boards you made, and get all the brightness instead of just some of it? No fear! You can turn your led light from looking like this behind unmodified lenses;
FINAL STEP MODIFYING TAIL LIGHT LENSES
Like I said, this step is optional, but you will be much happier with your lights if you do this. What we are going to do is remove all of the reflectors in these lenses, so that LEDs have less plastic to penetrate through.
Here is a side by side of a before (left) and after (right)
There are little plastic welds that hold these reflectors in, just use some side cutter to snip them off for the brake and reverse portions, and pry with a small screw driver, then lift out with some needle nose pliers.
You will notice some sealer around the tail light portion… This is the most difficult to remove, but a heat gun will help quite a bit (just don’t get it too hot!) Eventually it will come out. Now is also a good time to unscrew that little flat head screw on the edge of the turn signal lens to take the chrome bezel off and shine it back up.
Install these along with your new LED tail light buckets and you’re done! (with one side at least )
The weird thing is, in these pictures the lights look like a blob of light on the back of the car, but when your standing there looking, they look like the pattern I made the LED boards in. Guess I need to get a better camera.
This video is probably your best proof..
And here is a comparison video of how the led turn signal blinks vs. the stock (LED on the left)
I know it’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding to complete them! DON’T GIVE UP!
If you have any questions or comments, please email me @ email@example.com
European turn signals use only a single wire to power their lights while US turn signals use 2 wires. When you to go install your European turn signals on a US car you are faced with a dilemma. Do you use just one wire to power the European turn signal or do we modify the European turn signal to accept both wires. The answer is you modify the turn signal to use both wires!
Trying to use only one of the US wires to power the European indicators doesn't work because the flasher relay that runs the indicator is load sensitive and one wire wont pull enough load to make the indicators "blink" correctly.
There are multiple solutions which include using a Uhual Tap-a-light (NLA) or drilling a hole and mounting a second light bulb in the bracket. However a simpler solution exists. There are double filament adapters that fit into single filament holes and add the double filament and double wiring needed.
For about $4 you will be able to plug in the correct US bulb and wire the bulb to US spec.
Although the adapters squeeze right into place, i did add some epoxy to hold them in place. Be careful though, the body of the adapter must make metal on metal contact with the bulb holder as this the electrical ground for the light circuit. Adding a dedicated ground wire is also not a bad idea since the light, by default, grounds through the body screws by making contact with the brass rivets holding the light assembly together.
As you can also see i broke off and removed the spring loaded filament contact as it is no longer needed and just gets in the way.
I've design new artwork for the back of the fuse box. There are a few things to note:
1) When printing, remember to set the print size to "Actual Size". Print to A4 paper.
2) If prompted for password just type: faq
3) Remember to use a suitable cardboard. I used a heat resistant, waterproof 350gsm paper.
4) Use proper safety when using X-Acto knife or other blades.
Download PDF File Here (Dropbox)
About the artwork:
On the original cardboard there are 6 terminal blades that do not have their own space but only an incision made on the cardboard. BMW design the cardboard this way so that the board fits tight in its place. I've made provision for this option so instead of cutting around these 6 locations, just make incision using a sharp blade (follow the printed pattern). See sample images here:
Factory cardboard (Thanks to Hal for supplying this image)
If you have any questions or need help just PM me.
As many of you know, the original ceramic fuses used in our car are a bit troublesome. The small contact areas mean that they are extremely sensitive to corrosion, and although the fuses are covered by a clear shield, they are still very exposed to the elements. I had enough of turning my fuses in the sockets and scrubbing at the contacts every other month. This, in addition to restoring the connections throughout the wiring harness, will greatly improve the electrical system in your car. You will notice brighter lights, more stable gauges, and for those of us running EFI, a more stable voltage in the system.
Notes: This guide uses a fuse box from a 1976 USA car. Your fuse box may be slightly different, but the same process still applies. Be sure to disconnect and remove the battery before doing any electrical work in order to eliminate the possibility of component damage or personal injury.
The first step is to remove the fuse box from the car. It is held in place with one sheet metal screw, and simply lifts out. Be careful to not damage any of the wires as you pull the fuse box from the cutout in the fender. You will likely only be able to pull the harness out a few inches; take note of where the connectors attach (they can be attached more than one way, but only one way will work), and be sure not to miss any of the individual connectors. If the connectors are difficult, you may pry on them GENTLY using a flat head screwdriver. Make sure they come off evenly so that they do not bind.
With the box out and on your workbench, take a picture to note which way the color coded insert goes.
Remove the card. Be careful; it is very delicate and tears easily. While it is out it is not a bad idea to laminate the card in order to insulate it and protect it. I don't know of anyone making replicas, but one of us should. In addition, it would be a good idea to determine which years and models had which cards; there is some variation.
Remove the fuses, and take a picture of the contacts before doing the work so you can see just how big the difference is later.
Begin by giving the fuse box a good cleaning with some mild soap and water, just to get out any dirt or grime that is present. Don't bother trying to clean the contacts now; you'll be wasting your time.
Sneak yourself a bowl from the kitchen, and steal the vinegar out of the pantry. Any kind of vinegar will do, but a white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) will be a wise choice. While you are in there, grab the baking soda and salt as well.
Begin by placing the fuse box in the bowl, sprinkling some salt on it, and pouring in the vinegar.
Stir it up, and shake the fusebox around in the mixture for a few minutes. The acidity of the vinegar and the abrasiveness of the salt will quickly work together to remove the oxidation from the surface.
Let it sit for a while in the salt-vinegar mixture while you prepare a baking soda neutralization bath for later on. Mix about a table spoon of baking soda and a cup of water. The concentration of the solution is not crucial.
Once the neutralization bath is made, we can go back to the fuse box. After sitting for this long, much of the oxidation has already been removed. We can do better though. Grab a chunk of steel wool, and start scrubbing.
Halfway through, the improvement is obvious.
With the scrubbing done, it is time to rinse the fuse box multiple times in water (deionized is preferred, although tap water will do just fine), rinsed in the baking soda bath, and then given one final rinse using water to remove the baking soda. Thoroughly dry the part using compressed air (or set out to dry if you don't have compressed air available).
Now it is almost time for re-assembly. Grab your di-electric grease. If you really don't have any available, vaseline will do, but you are really better off using the grease as it is far more durable.
Get your fuses. ONLY USE OEM GERMAN FUSES. Mercedes has fuses available for a fair rate; I grabbed a bag on ebay for cheap. They are the proper, high-quality ceramic units. Not only will they operate far better than anything else, they will outlast other fuses and look correct in the fuse box. Now take your nice, new fuses and throw them in the acid (vinegar) to remove any oxidation that has collected on them while in storage. You WILL notice a difference. Remember to neutralize them afterwards!
This looks better.
Tighten down the prongs so that they hold the fuses VERY snug, but do NOT deform the tangs. Bend the curved section of the tang, do NOT bend the whole tang as you will weaken the base. Make sure they all look about even, and coat either end with grease. Insert the correct fuses into the correct slots, being absolutely certain that the bases are sitting properly in the holes at the bottom. When the fuses are all installed, smear some more grease across the bridge in the fuse in order to coat the exposed copper section.
Reinstall the card on the back, and cover the nice, clean connectors with more di-electric grease.
Go back to your car and using a flat head screwdriver (as shown) deform each connector in the socket SLIGHTLY. Too much will damage the connector and prevent the male prong from entering easily. Only do enough to give the connector a fresh surface to bite onto.
Re-install everything and pop on a new cover while you are at it and enjoy your improved electrical system. For that finishing touch, find some compressible water-proof foam to replace the seal between the fuse box and the shell that has completely rotted away. This will greatly improve the life of the fuses and the performance of the electrical system. Short of converting to blade fuses, this is the best thing you can do.
PRO-TIP: If you can soak the connectors in the vinegar bath (and then neutralize using the baking soda solution), even without scrubbing, you will improve the connection. This is a good way to quickly clean many connections in the car.
Marchal is a French manufacturer of high quality automobile lights founded in 1923. From its inception Marchal was very active in motorsports, especially in the 1950s through the 1980s. Marchal lights and sponsor decals can be seen on many winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rallye Monte Carlo. There are many Marchal lights made during the 60s and 70s which are appropriate for BMW 2002s. The lights are exclusively made in France. Labels inside the housings give the exact week and year of production. Model numbers are always molded into the glass, and usually ink-stamped or labeled inside the lights.
Marchal had seen great commercial and racing successes, mostly with Ferrari, in the 50s and 60s with their famous 'FANTASTIC' 660 model as shown above. However, this design, with its distinctive raised center nipple, was looking a little old fashioned by the late 1960s. Light bulb technology also changed dramatically with the introduction of IODE Quartz H1, H2, and H3 bulbs. In 1965 Marchal offered the 'new' H1 bulb in their 'old' Fantastic 660/760 (fog) & 662/762 (long distance) models. Also in '65 the 610 and 612 designs were introduced.
Above is a page from a 1965 Marchal catalog introducing the new 610 & 612 models. It also extolls the virtues of the new H1 bulb technology offered in their old 'Fantastic' 660/760 662/762 light range. The bulbs were not called H1 yet, since H2 and H3 bulbs had still to be invented. Strangely, the new 610/612 did not make use of the new IODE H1 bulbs. Even as the 610/612 models were being rolled out, Marchal was already busy working on replacements. A flood of new lights taking advantage of new bulb technology were introduced in the late 1960s. Some lasted only a year or two in production, but other successful designs were manufactured for a decade. Today, all of these lights can continue to provide modern function and period-correct style for your BMW.
SMALL LIGHTS - 5.75 inch diameter
610 & 612 (5.75") clear or yellow
1965 - Sticking with the '600' theme Marchal released the the new 610 (fog) and 612 (spot). These were the first polished stainless steel housings offered by Marchal ( as opposed to the previous use of chromed metal). They were very slim. This was achieved by applying the silvered reflector surface directly to the inside of the lamp housing. A stainless band, joined at the bottom by a tiny bolt, held the glass lens, with a more subtle 'nipple', and the stainless body together. This band design was copied by Cibié for use on their super-thin Cibié 45. 610 & 612s in good useable condition are very rare since the reflector coating tended to bubble and separate from the housing.
612 spot light.
710 & 712 (5.75") clear or yellow
1968 - Continuing with the use of polished stainless steel, instead of chromed metal, this was a successful new housing design that stayed in production in some form until the 1980s. The band was gone, replaced by a metal trim ring that pressed into place, and is removed by prying with a flat screwdriver. The flat glass was also new and the 'nipple' was gone, replace in the center by the words 'Starlux'. Most importantly, the light was designed around using the new H1 IODE bulb. 710 is for fog, 712 denotes a spot (long distance) lens. A new logo had been added into the glass as well; a modern and stylized version of the Marchal cat head. However, the twist-off H1 bulb holder was over -engineered.
710 fog and 712 spot light, note 'Starlux' script and the first appearance of the cat head logo.
810 812 & 819 (5.75") clear or yellow
1969 - The stainless housing and push-on bezel remained, but the lens and bulb holder were completely new. The nipple was back in the glass, this time topped by a gold anodized aluminum cat logo. This is glued on to the glass, and often falls off due to heat. The biggest improvement was the use of the compact H3 bulb, held in place by a simple and easy to use retaining clip.
This model was used in 1975 on the Le Mans class-winning, Marchal-sponsored BMW 2002 of the Heidegger Racing Team. H3 Bulbs are easy to find, inexpensive and as bright as 95 watts. Use a 150mm soft vinyl cover. Hard plastic covers were introduced in 1975. Later production housings are chromed plastic or black plastic. 810 (fog/cornering) 812 (spot or long range) 819 (driving).
810 fog and 812 spot
819 'driving light', a combo of fog and spot light characteristics. This was a new concept for Marchal and referred to rather fancifully as 'Grand Ambiance'.
MEDIUM LIGHTS - 7 inch diameter
780 & 782 (7") clear or yellow
A larger version of the 710 & 712 models. Same complicated H1 bulb holder. Yellow glass had the 'cat head' molded into the glass. The clear lenses got an aluminum cat head stuck on.
782 spot light in yellow.
782 spot light in clear with aluminum cat head.
880, 882 & 889 (7") clear or yellow
Again, simply a larger version of 810, 812 or 819 models. Uses the same H3 bulb with a simple and effective clip. Stainless steel housings. Uses 190mm soft covers. Hard covers became an available option in 1975.
880 fog lights in clear glass, paired with hard covers made of slightly pliable hard plastic.
882 spot light in yellow. The black sleeve on the end of the wire covers a female bullet connector for use on your car's wiring.
LARGE LIGHTS - 8 inch diameter
1969. To compete with the enormous Cibié Super Oscar (8.5" diameter) Marchal introduced a range of large 8" lights. The first design featured a very deep reflector and housing. H1 bulbs were used. Housings were painted metal. Bezels were chrome. Used a 200mm soft cover.
722/702 (8") clear or yellow long distance SPOT light
Note H1 bulb holder. This was soon to be replaced by H2 bulb holders, see below.
722/702 clear SPOT light. Aluminum cat head. Note the new H2 bulb holder which allowed for a shallower reflector and housing. Painted housing, chrome bezel.
720/700 (8") clear or yellow fog light
720/700 FOG light with clear glass and aluminum cat head. Painted housing and chrome bezel. Factory wiring with male spade connector.
720/700 FOG light, yellow glass option.
702 (8") clear or yellow SPOT light.
709 (8") clear or yellow DRIVING (grand ambiance) light
Clear 709 driving lights (grand ambiance). H2 bulbs. Marchal shield in center, no cat.
900, 902, 909 (8") clear or yellow
Introduced in the mid 1970s. By the 1980s some had black crinkle-painted metal housings and trim rings. Bulbs are the H2 type. Use a soft vinyl or (more common by the late 70s) hard plastic 200mm cover.
900 clear FOG light. Aluminum cat, painted or chrome housing. H2 bulb.
Marchal offered a round or rectangular rear fog lights. These high intensity lights were designed for maximum visibility on foggy days to avoid rear collisions. The round light model 642 has a painted metal housing and bezel. The rectangular light model 644 has a grey plastic or chromed plastic housing.
RECTANGULAR FOG LIGHTS -
850 fog/cornering. Available with yellow or clear glass.
GENERAL MARCHAL NOTES:
All the model numbers are molded into the glass lenses and differentiate spot/pencil beam (longue porte), fog/cornering (brouillard) or driving (grande ambiance).
Lights ending in '0' are FOG/CORNERING
Lights ending in '2' are SPOT/PENCIL BEAM (long distance)
Lights ending in '9' are DRIVING (grand ambiance)
Fog lenses were not always yellow glass and long range driving lights were not always clear. Until 1993 French law required all headlight or auxiliary lights to be yellow. This meant on French roads either the bulb or the glass had to be yellow.
Marchal became part of the Valeo industrial conglomerate, ironically along with main competitor Cibié. Today Valeo supplies lights and electronics to virtually every car maker in the world. The Marchal name was licensed to a Japanese company. Some 1950s designs are reproduced in China. Most of the lights I've detailed above for BMWs are not reproduced, so you will likely come across original items.
700 series lights. Usually spot lights up top and fog lights at the corners. Note the bumper bracing.
709 driving lights. 8" diameter, H2 bulbs.
Big 700 series lights, covered until nightfall on a muddy Rallye Monte Carlo.
819 - Marchal called models ending in 9 'Grand Ambiance' lights ( driving lights)
Rallye Monte Carlo
The latest 900 series big lights for this entrant in the Tour de France Automobile. This tough rally was a circuit of France on paved and unpaved roads and also race tracks.
700 series spot/pencil beam lamp. Note the 702/722 designation molded into the glass.
882 spot/pencil beam. 7" diameter, H3 bulb.
The three sizes of soft covers. These are all the 'two color' design (red and black). The 'one color' design just had the black cat and flag.
In the late 1970s plastic housings were introduced. Chromed plastic or black plastic was offered.
Same basic housing, trim ring, and H3 bulbs, but different lenses for different purposes. 810 fog/cornering, 812 spot/pencil beam.
880 fog/cornering. 7" diameter, H3 bulb.
Rallye of Poland entry showing off for the crowd. The covers in the center are an old design from the 1950s.
1975 Le Mans 24 hour race. Heidegger racing won its class against all odds. Victory for the 2002! Thanks to Marchal lights?
Marchal's first 'modern' design of the 1960s. 612 and 610. Short production run, old bulb technology.
882 spot/pencil beam. 7" diameter, H3 bulb.
This is the 'one color' soft cover design. The 'two color' option added red SEV Marchal lettering.
810 fog/cornering. 5.5" diameter, H3 bulb.
Is Dirand scrubbing off speed or out of control? Note broken headlight. This is a track stage of the 1970 Tour de France Automobile.
Big 700 lights braced to the bodywork.
Big spot lights protected by 'one color' covers. Smaller fog/cornering lights shielded by 'two color' covers. 24 hour race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. What are underneath the headlights, added indicators or signal lights?
German entrant in the Rallye Monte Carlo. Spot lights up high - check. Sump guard - check. Sunglasses - check. Helmets......
Snowy conditions on the Rallye Monte Carlo.
710 design (H1 bulb) replaced by 810 (H3 bulb) design.
Big 700 series lights. Silver-painted housings, chrome bezels, yellow glass.
810 design replaced the 710. The metal housing and bezel remained the same.
This 1969 Rallye Monte Carlo entrant from Switzerland used the older 'Fantastic' models. Note the custom light bar. 662/762 spots up high, 660/760 fogs on the sides, as shown below:
Beautiful Marchal 'Fantastics'. Introduced in 1955 but updated in 1965 with new H1 bulb holders in an attempt to keep them competitive.
880 fog cornering lights with clear lenses. 7" diameter, H3 bulbs and hard plastic covers from 1975 on.
Hard plastic cover for 810, 812, 819 lights introduced in 1975, with typical crack.
812 light uses blue wire from the factory. 712 light uses a thinner gauge white wire.
909 fog/cornering. Same housing and bulb as above but an updated lens with cat logo.
When the big 700 series was first introduced the housing was much deeper. This is an 8" diameter 722 spot light with the early deep housing. Also note this early 8" light uses an H1 bulb holder. This was soon replaced by H2 bulb holders and a much shallower housing.
810 fog lights and 702/722 spot lights. The placement of the fog lights up high on the inside is not ideal, but the bumper brackets offer better support for the heavier spot lights.
859 driving light kit from the late '70s or early '80s
859 driving lights
FAQ member 'Conserv' took this beautiful photo back in 1977 of his '76 with the latest Marchal rectangular fog lights installed.
This page of a Marchal catalog show the light beams of each lens style...
Early 'Fantastic' 660 fog lights. Design was introduced in 1955 and remained in production with updated 660/760 lens until 1969.
Note custom through-the-grille bracket. This glass design is the original 1955 660 lens. It was replaced in the 1960s by a lens marked 660 /760 which had less of a shield motif and more of a 'starburst' design.
Norwegian entrant in the Rallye Monte Carlo came equipped with big 700 series lights.
FAQ member Jam3422 installed Marchal 712 long distance lights on his exquisite '71 ti.
Thanks for looking, please post photos of how you installed Marchals on your BMW.....
The 2002ti of co-drivers Prevoteau and Devaux. Event is the 2nd Grand National Tour Auto, France 1971. They finished 2nd in class 18th overall.
Drivers Depnic and Belly drove this 2002ti in the 2nd Grand National Tour Auto, France 1971. First in class, 13th overall.
Nice combo of 200mm soft and 150mm hard covers.
FAQ member 'Pitopop' has super-rare French yellow AMPILUX headlights with matching yellow 709 driving lights. Gorgeous! And the setting's not bad either.....
FAQ member '2761876' installed NOS 819 (driving / 'grande ambiance') 5 3/4" diameter lights using mounts that bolt to the bumper bumper brackets. Protection from road rash is courtesy of NOS 6" vinyl padded covers.
1971 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.
......also the 1971 24 Hours of Spa
The three cars above are entries into the Nürburgring 96 Hour Race (!!) on August 17th 1971.
Marchal's largest light offering, big 8" diameter 722 fog lights. Nürburgring 1971.
810 fog with soft covers and original boxes.
812 spot lights with soft covers.
710 fog and 712 spot.
712 spot lights in clear glass with '2 color' soft covers.
24 hour race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. Marchal 8" lights, can't tell if they are fog or spot. Note the rear wheel lifting and the tiny diameter tubing of the roll bar.
2800cs at LeMans 24 hour race, 1972. Headlights are Marchal also.
Spa 24 hour race. Lighting courtesy of early design Marchal 700/722 series 8" spot lights and 780 series 7" fog lights down at the corners.
24 hour races require plenty of good lights.....and an exhaust pipe that exits before the rear tire. I bet that sounds good.
Rallye Monte Carlo entrant with 8" 700 series lights.
Rallye Marathon de la Route, France. German team of Eisenschenk and Stoffel.
Rallye Monte Carlo.
Rallye Monte Carlo. Note the BMW 1800 press vehicle.
1. Basic Description of 02 Charging/electrical System
The 02 charging system converts mechanical energy into electrical energy when the motor is running. Your 02 requires electrical energy to (i) start the motor and run the ignition system, and (ii) operate electrical accessories (e.g., lights, wipers, heater blower, and stereo). Whenever output of the alternator exceeds the demand of the system, that output is available to recharge or maintain the battery’s state of charge.
The charging system is comprised of the alternator, voltage regulator, battery and associated wiring. The original factory charging system includes a separate voltage regulator and alternator.
• The voltage regulator controls the voltage output, and thus the overall power output, of the alternator.
• The battery stores and produces electricity by electrochemical means, and supplies power to your electrical system at times when the demand exceeds alternator output, such as when starting the motor, when the motor is not running, or when the operating demand on the system exceeds the output capacity of the alternator. The battery also acts as a buffer to absorb excessive electrical fluctuation in the system, which protects sensitive electrical components (like the diodes in the alternator).
Figure 1: High level diagram of 02 charging system (obviously, not to scale…)
2. Basic Electrical Troubleshooting; Use of DMM
A. SAFETY FIRST!
• Always remember to think of safety first. Before you attempt any electrical system troubleshooting procedure, you should become familiar with basic car repair and use of tools and workshop equipment. If you have any doubt about the meaning of, or your ability to perform, any part of these procedures, seek assistance from and/or have this work done by a qualified mechanic familiar with 02s.
• CAUTION: CAR BATTERIES CONTAIN SULFURIC ACID. ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION WHEN WORKING ON OR NEAR A BATTERY. BATTERIES PRODUCE HYDROGEN GAS (EVEN “SEALED” BATTERIES); DO NOT CAUSE SPARKS, SMOKE OR OTHERWISE USE A SOURCE OF FLAME OR HEAT THAT MAY IGNITE THE GAS AND CAUSE AN EXPLOSION. Your work area should be well ventilated to disperse any hydrogen gas that might be vented by a battery..
• NOTE: car batteries are source of significant electrical current; some are capable of delivering in excess of 1000 Amps. That's enough current to melt a wrench shorted across the battery terminals, or between a good source of + to ground. With this in mind, you should never wear metal jewelry, watch bands, rings, necklaces, etc. when working on your electrical system; DO NOT USE WRENCHES, SCREWDRIVERS OR OTHER METAL TOOLS (e.g., removing or installing cables on the back of an alternator) ON A LIVE SYSTEM- remove the ground cable from the battery first and secure it away from the battery post.
B. Using a Multimeter.
• You will need a digital multimeter (DMM) in order to perform automotive electrical troubleshooting procedures. The good ol’ 12V test light is still available, but is really of limited utility and these days, costs a significant portion of the price of a DMM. You should be able to find a DMM for <=$15. Most auto parts suppliers have an inexpensive model in this price range that will be adequate for basic troubleshooting. Make sure to get a high impedance model, at least 10 megaohms- look at the spec sheet- most DMMs supplied for automotive testing purposes should meet this spec. If you can afford it (should be less than $25), get a DMM that is “autoranging.” This means that the DMM will automatically adjust itself to the scale of the measurement you are taking. For purposes of this discussion, you will be most interested in the voltage and resistance (ohmmeter) testing functions of the DMM.
Figure 2: DMM and typical testing examples
3. Signs of Trouble – Symptom/Cause Chart
Item Symptom Possible Cause Possible Solution
1 Battery won’t maintain charge, but alternator output to battery OK. Battery defective or battery water low • Replace battery • Add battery water as recommended by manufacturer.
2 Multiple bulbs in car burn out, and/or battery needs water, frequently Alternator output too high Replace regulator
3 Charge indicator light on while ignition switch is off Current is flowing from the alternator through charge indicator light to ground; alternator no-op (likely, faulty diode) Replace alternator
4 Charge indicator light does not come on when ignition switch is on (drive position) Charge indicator bulb defective, or wiring in D+ circuit defective. Replace charge indicator bulb; check continuity of wiring in D+ circuit (between ignition switch, instrument panel, voltage reg. and alt.)
5 Charge indicator light remains on while motor is running; voltmeter reads low; battery discharges. Battery tests OK. System is drawing more power from battery than from alternator. Alternator, voltage regulator, wiring or drive belt loose/defective. • Tighten or replace drive belt • Check charging system wiring, clean connections and/or replace defective wiring. • Replace voltage regulator • Replace alternator
6 Lights dim at low RPMs; Battery tests OK. Alternator output low; alternator, voltage regulator, wiring or drive belt loose/defective. • Tighten or replace drive belt • Check charging system wiring, clean connections and/or replace defective wiring. • Replace voltage regulator • Replace alternator
8 Repetitive alternator failures Excessive load on system: Battery shorted; or too many accessories (e.g., high wattage headlight bulbs, stereo amps, etc.) • Replace battery • Reduce load on system by not operating all accessories at once • Replace alternator with higher output unit
9 Squealing from front of motor, particularly when accelerating and/or when motor is cold. Loose, defective or contaminated drive belt Tighten belt at alternator, or replace belt
10 Unusual noises or vibration from alternator area (e.g., shrieking, whining, rattling, knocking, etc.) Worn alternator mounting bushing and/or bearing Replace bushing or alternator (if bad bearing)
4. Troubleshooting 02 Charging System Problems. If you have any of the charging system problems described above, take the following steps to isolate the problem(s). Note that a full test of the capacity of the charging system requires load testing of the alternator and battery, which is not possible using only a DMM. Many retail auto parts suppliers and virtually all battery shops will have such testers and will generally test your charging system at no charge. Note: never operate you alternator with the battery disconnected- the battery absorbs current surges caused by sudden changes in system load, and prevents your alternator from self-destructing (keeps the diodes from frying). These tests are basically go no-go in nature, and will help you isolate major problems, some of which may require further investigation.
A. Test battery voltage, with ignition switch (“Key”) in off position, all accessories off; use DMM in volt meter setting. Put red probe on positive terminal and black probe on negative terminal. A fully charged, open lead-acid battery will read about +12.6V; a sealed, lead-acid battery should read about +12.9V when fully charged. In any event, if your battery shows <+12.6V when it should be fully charged (e.g.., after you have been driving the car for 15 or 30 mins), either your battery has a problem or your charging system is not up to snuff.
– if battery voltage reads OK, but you are having other problems like hard starting, slow cranking, etc., you have other mechanical or electrical problems not related to the charging system.
– if battery voltage is below +12.6V, test system voltage as per item 4( B ) below.
B. Test system voltage (alternator output), with motor running at least 1000RPM. Use DMM in volt meter setting. Put red probe on positive terminal and black probe on negative terminal of battery. Turn on headlights and heater blower. Unless battery is markedly discharged, reading should be between +13.5V and +14.5V.
– If output is lower than this range, test output at alternator. Put red probe on B+ terminal on alternator (see illustration below) and black probe on alternator body. If voltage reads in +14V range, alternator is OK; test resistance of charging circuit wiring per item 4(C.) below. Otherwise, use voltage regulator bypass test per item 4(D) below. If no or low output with voltage regulator bypassed, alternator is likely defective and should be removed and bench tested at a shop, and/or replaced. If output is markedly higher than +14.5V (say, over +14.7V), your voltage regulator is defective and should be replaced.
C. Test charging circuit wiring. If voltage at alternator is OK, but system voltage tests low at your battery, you will need to test for continuity and excessive resistance in the charging system circuitry. For resistance testing, polarity is not important- it doesn’t matter which probe is at which test point. The resistance reading in these tests should not exceed 1 or 2 Ohms. THESE TESTS ARE CONDUCTED WITH MOTOR NOT RUNNING, KEY OFF.
The B+ terminal on the alternator is connected to the positive terminal on the battery, and the body of the alternator must be well grounded to the car chassis. Typically, the alternator body is grounded by a short, stout wire on the back of the alternator to a bolt on the engine block First, use your DMM in the ohmmeter setting, and put one probe on B+ and the other on the positive terminal of the battery and observe the reading; then put your probes between the alternator ground post and the engine block.
If the reading in any of these tests exceeds a couple of Ohms, you will need to remove the wires at the connection points and clean the connectors, or replace the wires. It is not unusual for (i) connectors to be corroded at the connection with the wire (some are poorly crimped on and there will be corrosion inside the connector), (ii) the ground wire between the alternator and block to be too small, or (iii) any of the wires to have partially broken strands, or the like. Just for good measure, also check to make sure you have a good ground between the battery and the chassis and engine block. Correct problems and retest.
D. Test voltage regulator. To test the voltage regulator, you will need to first test for the presence of +12V on the D+ circuit (see illustrations). Remove the plug from the regulator, turn your Key to the run position, and use your DMM on the voltage setting, with the red probe on the connector for D+ and the black probe on a chassis ground (you can use the negative terminal on the battery).
If you do not have +12V on this circuit, then verify that your charge lamp is working (turn Key on; the red
charge indicator in the instrument panel should light; if not, then the bulb likely needs to be replaced. The instrument panel must be removed for this purpose. See other FAQ writeups for instructions. If the reading is ~+12V, then you can proceed with the voltage regulator bypass test. This temporarily eliminates the voltage regulator from the charging circuit. You will need to use a small jumper wire between the D+ and DF connectors in the regulator plug, per the following illustration. If charge indicator light goes out with this jumper in place and system voltage tests OK as per item 4( B ) above, then your regulator is defective. Note: do not operate charging system with regulator bypass in place more than momentarily for testing purposes.
Figure 3: alternator bypass test
Figure 4: The back of an actual 02 alternator.
Questions on any of this material? Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cleaning up shop today and found the digital file for this diagram. We have a giant one laminated here at the shop. Don't bother emailing the address/company on the page, we've tried to reach them but no response (out of business?).
Hope you all enjoy this, could be very helpful for some people.
Cibié is a French automobile lighting manufacturer founded in 1919. It is pronounced like you are saying C-B-A. There are many Cibié models that are period correct for 1960s and 70s BMWs. In 1969 Cibié was merged with Paris-Rhône, then in 1978 merged with Ferodo and Marchal. These 4 previously competing French auto parts companies formed Valeo in 1980.
Cibié Super Oscars ( also called 200 series ) - the largest light at 8.5 inches in diameter. 5.5 inches deep. Concave glass lens has a 7" diameter. This is a big light and benefits from bracing rods to prevent shaking. Chrome trim ring is stamped 'SUPER OSCAR CIBIE' at the top.
Steel housings are painted industrial gray, though often painted by owners to match the car color. Made in France. Some made under license in Spain and Belgium. Reproductions are available but are easy to distinguish from originals.
Hard white plastic covers have black molded lettering. Original old covers have 'projecteurs Cibié iode' molded into them. Newer or reproduction covers just say CIBIE.
Cibié Oscars ( also called 180 series ) - 7 inch diameter. 5 inches deep. Concave glass lens is 5.75 inches in diameter. Painted metal housings. Chrome trim ring is stamped 'OSCAR CIBIE TOP' at the top.
Three versions of covers. #1 Hard white plastic. #2 black painted metal 'chip pan' grate design with rubber straps. #3 Metal black painted covers with small round plastic 'windows' and rubber straps.
Cibié 45 - 7 inches round. Only 2 inches deep. 6.25" flat glass lens. Polished stainless steel housings and trim ring. 4 lens designs ( 2 fog and 2 long range). The 4 designs came in clear or yellow glass, for a total of 8 options.
2 designs of covers. #1 very hard 'white-ish' plastic with 'Cibié Racing Team' sticker. Very easy to break and very rare. #2 hard while plastic with molded black letters 'projecteurs cibié iode'.
All the above lights use replaceable bulbs. H1 H2 or H4. These bulbs are easy to source and inexpensive.
Cibié 35 - glass lens in yellow or clear. Stainless steel housing and trim ring. White plastic covers.
Cibié 95 - black plastic housing
7" round 'Euro Code' (H4 bulb) Part # 70-28-02 or # 66-70-059
7" round 'Z Beam' (H4 bulb) Part # 70-34-02 or # 66-70-062
7" round 'BIODE' ( two H1 bulbs) Part # 66-70-044
5 3/4" round low beam (H4 bulb) Part # 36-70-039 or # 36-70-050 or # 57-28-02
5 3/4" round high beam (H1 bulb) Part # 36-70-038 or # 57-30-02
REAR RED FOG (high intensity rear visibility):
Round - Cibié 40 - red plastic lens. 5.25" diameter black plastic housing. Chrome trim ring stamped 'CIBIE 40'
Rectangular - red plastic lens. Chromed plastic housing. 5.5" x 2.5" part # 30-70-037, or kit # 30-70-052
The term IODE refers to the Iodine Quartz bulbs used in the lights. Cibié lights use replaceable H1 H2 or H4 bulbs.
Written by Lars Floden and Rob Shisler Tuesday, 13 September 2005
The first step towards upgrading your points-based ignition system is to figure out which Pertronix belongs in your distributor. If the distributor has ever been replaced, you have to make sure the distributor matches the Pertronix you are ordering. Years BMW Model Pertronix # 1969-72 2002 excluding Bosch dist. # 0-231-115-045 1847V 1972-73 2002 with Bosch distributor # 0-231-180-003 1847V 1972-73 2002 with Bosch distributor # 0-231-180-008 1843 1972-73 2002tii 1847V 1974 2002 Tii, 2002 1843 1975-76 2002 1847V 1977-79 e21 320i (in case you're running one on your '02) 1847V
If you have about an hour you could install it that quickly after you get it. Follow the directions in your manual on how to get the old stuff out and then you can start putting the Pertronix in.
The instructions that come with the Pertronix are generally very good, so we suggest that you just follow them for the most part. There are, however, three trouble spots that some people run into. The first is a small solder spot that appears to be in the way in one of the brackets. Just work with it a little and you should be able to get it positioned well.
View of Pertronix magnet and sensor installed
Second is the rubber grommet that you have to put through a hole. Needle nose pliers and a small screwdriver help here.
Good time for a general tune-up with new cap and rotor
The third thing is the magnet piece that goes over the shaft. The top of it needs to be flush with the top of the sensor. It has some areas that need to line up and some people have had problems with it. You still use the same rotor and cap, but you may want to replace them if you haven't in a while.
Pertronix leads go to postive and negative side of coil
The Pertronix upgrade is easy, quick, and very rewarding, especially if you are running some elderly points. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them to the Message Board!
COPYRIGHT 2002, BMW 2002 FAQ, Rob Shisler and Steve Kupper. All Rights Reserved.
I'm often asked about the proper wiring for the typical Blaupunkt radio in the early BMW models and am including a diagram showing the proper locations for all electrical wiring. Earlier and later radios have a slightly different configuration. If anyone has specific questions please contact me through PM or through our website: Vintageblau.com
The wiring process for a vintage Blaupunkt radio is generally a simple procedure. Besides the antenna wire and speaker cables, the only other wires are the positive and negative wires, possibly an automatic antenna cable if it applies to your vehicle model. Where these wires attach to Blaupunkt radios changed over the years though.
No matter what model vintage radio you install, it is important to ground it properly in order to ensure its proper function. Bad grounding will result in sub par performance and a lack of reception. For the typical 1970's models the rear tab (as shown in the image below as #2) is designated for attaching the ground wire. The positive (hot) wire should be attached at the +12V tab and an inline fuse is highly recommended as well.
The 1970's Blaupunkt radio shown in the diagram is a mono Porsche 911 Frankfurt unit. The two speaker holes (as shown in the diagram as #7) take typical banana/push plugs. We recommend using our original speaker plugs for correct fitment. These mono output radios are designed to run either one or two speakers. Speakers should be 8 ohm through the late 1970's. Using 4 ohm speakers will damage the radio over time. Speaker wattage should be kept relatively low and factory specs are always best. For those customers requiring a more powerful system, an amplifier can be installed, allowing for more powerful speaker installation. If you have any questions regarding the specifics for your radio application, just let us know. We are always happy to help.
The speaker plugs for a vintage Blaupunkt radio can be one of two versions. The version with two equal round pins were used throughout the 50's, 60's and early 1970's. About 1974 these were changed to the "pin and spade" type that only allow you to insert the plug one way, thus specifying positive and negative output. Mono radios use one plug, while stereo units require two.
Most Blaupunkt radios beginning about 1965 have an input port commonly referred to as the "DIN input". These input ports allow for external devises such as an external tape player, external short wave receiver or an external traffic decoder to easily be plugged into your vehicles stereo system. While a chrome front shortwave receiver or original equipment external tape may have a decorative quality as an optional accessory to the dash of a vintage car, they generally aren't very useful these days.
The good news is that this port can be used for modern external devices as well such as MP3 players, iPod's, tablets and cell-phones. This allows you to listen to music from your external device through your vintage cars vintage stereo system. Just pull out the rear white cap and plug in the external device cable. Then plug in the small male end into your cell-phones headphone jack, you can now listen to your stored music.
The cables we sell never have to be unplugged from the back of the radios and can stay in place permanently. Other companies only provide cables that have to be unplugged from the rear of the radio when not in use, which is seriously inconvenient. We also have our cables custom made with superior materials in regards to the plugs and wiring.
For further information, restored radios and radio parts please contact us: Vintageblau.com
Congratulations! You have purchased a unique electronic tool specifically designed for tuning of the BMW Model 2002 - by a 2002 enthusiast! This unit is100% hand built.
To use the tool - First make sure the car is in the NEUTRAL position (and/or Park for automatic cars). No key in the ignition, all accessories off (FAN OFF).
Locate the diagnostic port under the hood (Driver’s/Left side close to firewall). Simply plug the diagnostic tool into the port; the plug is polarized so you cannot connect it backwards. Once plugged in, you will see some entry text that confirms the tool is properly connected.
To start the car: turn the red ignition switch up, the red LED must turn on, next press on the start button. Again, make sure the car is in NEAUTRAL.
While the car runs, you can navigate thru the display menu with the “select mode” button:
1-Tach mode (default power-up mode)
3-Dwell angle mode (display shows dwell since it cannot show “w”)
4-Oxygen sensor mode (needs to be activated, see below)
Note: The start button can be used alone, without the ignition on, for when you would like to make the motor rotate in small increments to adjust the valves, etc... It is preferable to disconnect the coil if you want to do so.
Dwell angle is useful principally for original point and condenser system. Pertronix and Hotspark units throw their own dwell values.
Pertronix: tested on one car at 65 deg.
Hotspark: 20 deg.
Point and condenser: (factory suggested) 59 to 65 deg with 0.016” gap
User selectable features:
-Selectable Tach mode
-Selectable 02 sensor mode
To change the user selectable feature, you must open the unit and locate jumper J8 “opt” on the PCB, and temporarily short J8 with tweezers while the unit boots-up.
Disconnect the unit from the car (if it was connected already!!)
Open the unit (4x Philips screws)
Using a pair of tweezers, short both pins of J8 (picture above)
Connect the unit to the car while J8 is shorted
The unit will display SET UP
Remove the short on J8
The unit is now in set-up mode. Lower right dot on the display must be flashing during the process.
-To change the 02 sensor mode, press the “select mode” button.
The display will show the new setting:
Off=02 sensor mode deactivated (default)
nb=02 sensor mode activated, narrow band 0-1v
lb=02 sensor mode activated, wide band 0-5v
-To change tach mode, use again J8
Display will show the new tach setting:
4cyl=4 cylinder mode (default)
6cyl=6 cylinder mode
8cyl=8 cylinder mode
Once the change is made, simply disconnect the unit from the car, new setting is automatically saved already.
All units are shipped with an extra pin taped inside so you can wire on permanently a 02 sensor on the factory plug on the car.
The 02 sensor input is located in the center of the plug on the tool, position #5 on the factory 02 diagram. NOTE: early model 2002’s do not have the diagnostic plug.
Disclaimer: This unit is intended to be used on an unmolested, undamaged stock wiring harness. If you have ignition upgrades and extra ignition current consumption, the unit may not work as designed.
-turn all accessories off
-make sure the car is in neutral
Any accidents, mishaps and/or damage involved with this are the user’s responsibility. The supplier of this product accepts absolutely no responsibility for any such occurrences.
Voltmeter: manually calibrated within 10mv, readout 0-18v 12 bit a/d converter
Tachometer: 100% digital 0.5% error 200rpm min 5000 rpm max (4 cyl)
Dwell meter: 100% digital ±1 degree accuracy from 200 to 2000 rpm
Narrow band: 12 bit accuracy a/d converter 0-1v from non-linear 255 points table
Wide band: 12 bit accuracy a/d converter, 0-5v linear, 0v=10 afr, 5v=20 afr
Reverse polarity protected on all pins
100% designed from scratch for this purpose, by Patrick Allen, it is not an adaptation of another circuit or anything currently found on the market. I own 100% of this design, including the software.
Please add and update this list as you see fit.
front turn signal bulbs - P25-2 dual filament bulb
rear turn signal bulbs - P25-1 single filament bulb (21w)
brake light bulbs -P25-1 single filament bulb (21w)
side marker bulbs -
rear running bulbs - #67 single filament bulb (~10w)
- #89 single filament bulb which is brighter (~10w)
reverse light bulbs - P25-1 single filament bulb (21w)
headlight bulbs - par56 7"
fog light bulbs -
licence plate bulbs - 6428 (12 volt 3w festoon type 28mm long)
dash bulbs - 2821 (3w) 9 total
heater control bulbs - 2721 (1.2 watt)
dome light -
fasten seatbelt bulb -
Here is another list that covers many details. Sometimes I refer to it myself when I do not remember some numbers. --Larry
Appendix: Bulbs That Fit 2002s
Lamp Type________________________________ OSRAM_________ Philips_____ US____MOL Ф__Lighte
Head lamp-PAR56/7”_________________________ H6024__________ H6017___ H6024__--_____ --
Front turn/park-21/5 watt (P25-2)_________________ 7528__________ 12499____1034†, 1157‡__--_______ 440/35
Stop lamp-21 Watt (P25-1)______________________ 7506__________ 12498_ 1073†, 2396‡ ______ 460
Rear turn-21 Watt (P25-1)______________________ 7506__________ 12498_ 1073†, 2396‡ _______460
Tail lamp-5 Watt (P5-1)_________________________ 5007 __________12821_____ 89‡___________ 50
Reverse lamp-15 watt (10 Watt)_____________ 7533(5008)_________ (12814) _____1003* _____ 125 (5008)
License plate-5 watt festoon base________________ 6418___________ 12844___ N/A____ 36mm (nom)__ 45
Rear side marker_____________________________ 3893___________ 12929_____ 1816l___________ 35
Inside lamp-10W festoon 41mm__________________ 6411____________ 12866____C5W_ 41mm (nom)_ 100
Instrument panel-wedge base____________________ 2821 ___________12256_____ 194____________ 22
†: longer life, less light
‡: longer life, more light, more current
*: short life, but who cares?
l: slightly larger, longer life
Ф:MOL― Maximum Overall length
e: Light output for OEM in lumens
I have known of my bouncing timing mark for sometimes and have learned one of the root causes is ignition distributor shaft axial and/or rotational play. So I called well known distributor rebuilder and told me rebuild time is approximately 5 weeks including shipping both ways. I would have sent it to him if it was Winter season here in Ohio, but to do it now means I won’t be driving my "Ultimate Driving Machine" for 5 weeks. So I decided to take on the task and repair it myself.
I knew the distributor shaft has 0.040”axial play. The distributor is original to my 1976 BMW 2002 and part numbers stamped on distributor housing are: 0 213 170 164 // JFU 4
So, proceeded with setting engine at TDC (distributor cam aligned to distributor notch) then removed the distributor.
Here are steps for disassembly:
Remove contact breaker, capacitor, vacuum regulator and tabs holds distributor cap
Next, note indents on distributor body where contact breaker resting on (3 places)
From vacuum regulator opening, insert screw driver and pry contact breaker plate up at each indent locations.
Other option for plate removal per FAQ member ('76Mintgrun'02) feedback is "rotate the plate counter clockwise to release it from the indents in the housing."
Disengage two springs from cam base posts and rotate springs outward. Force cam upward with two screwdriver until retaining clip is out of groove (do not remove felt inside cam hole before cam disengagement)
Move the cam upward. There was one trust washer under cam. Note a washer and O-ring clip under felt pad
Clamp up helical gear wheel in a vise (use piece of leather to protect gear surface) and drill out pin with 3mm drill.
Remove helical gear, trust washer(S) and fiber washer (make note of trust washers stack up)
Pull out shaft with counter weights assembly. Again make note of trust washer(s) and fiber washer located underneath shaft counter weight plate. On mine fiber washer was absent under main plate, which explained excess axial play.
Clean all the parts with your favorite cleaner. Remember to take a lot of pictures at each dis-assembly stages. Measure trust washer(s) and fiber washer for each group and make notes.
12111350261, 07119943082, 12111351440, 12118630239 & 12118630245 (not all parts are shown)
For assembly I used following instructions:
axial play should be less than 0.005”
post assembly completion . Use engine oil and Bosch distributor lube grease for assembly.
Soak lubricating felt in engine oil, roll it and slid it inside housing. (on mine felt pad was also missing)
Lubricate shaft assembly, counter weights, springs. Slide trust washer(s) and fiber ring over the shaft (rest against bottom of counter weight plate)
slide shaft assembly onto the housing and push it down all the way.
Slide cam trust washer and then cam over the shaft. Secure the cam with washer and ring. replace felt pad and add couple drops of engine oil on top od felt pad.
Slide over fiber washer(1st) and then rust washer(s) to bottom of the shaft. Secure helical gear onto the shaft and push new pin halfway in.
Check axial play with shim set. Hold distributor body firm in one hand and pull down on helical gear with other hand. Should not be able to slide in more than 0.005" shim stock over fiber washer. Once clearance is confirmed, press cone grooved pin all the way in.
Lubricate contact breaker plates (bottom plate top surface and top plate bottom) with Bosch grease. Secure small "U" clip with ball bearing to contact breaker plate, then set it inside housing. Make sure its mounting holes are lined up with housing clearance holes.
Install capacitor, vacuum regulator and tabs holds distributor cap. Set contact breaker to specs. Add cam grease to cam lobe , install distributor accordingly, secure distributor cap. Turn engine on and follow procedure for setting engine timing.
Written by Mike Self Friday, 30 September 2005 Refreshing the '02 Flasher Relay
By Mike Self
Courtesy of BMW CCA
If your outside turn signals work, but the inside indicator doesn't (or is intermittent), the problem may be curable by a simple procedure to refresh the flasher relay itself. The problem is that the contacts that operate inside the relay itself rely on a small brass spring, which weakens with age. By carefully bending this spring back into shape, you can save the expense of a new flasher relay to fix the simple problem of the exterior lights flashing but the in-dash indicator not.
After making sure bulbs, contacts and grounds are clean fore and aft...
1. Unclip flasher unit from its home under the dash near the hood release.
2. Without disconnecting the unit from its wiring harness, carefully pry off plastic cover
3. Engage turn signals, and watch the two sets of relay points inside the flasher box. Big set--outside lights; little one, dash light. Watch as little point set only works one or two times, then quits.
4. Carefully bend the brass spring that tensions the points until they operate reliably. To get it just right, put a load on the electrical system by switching on headlights and heater blower. When interior light flashes all the time the signal is engaged, you've got it.
5. Snap cover back on, reinstall flasher box.
Happy flashing! (so to speak)
If you have any questions, feel free to post them to the Message Board!
COPYRIGHT 2002, BMW 2002 FAQ, Rob Shisler and Steve Kupper. All Rights Reserved.
Written by Rueben Antman Friday, 30 September 2005 '02 Flashers System Maintenance
By Rueben Antman
Many common signal and flasher problems can be dealt with with some simple maintenance of the electrical system itself. Often this is prodded by some little electrical quirk that one is trying to get rid of. In my case, the "B" light on my dash was not blinking when I had my turn signal on. Because I knew I had a good flasher relay, I was able to eliminate that and just deal with the rest of the system.
This is based on what I found on my '72 2002, but hopefully these tips will apply to all '02ers.
The first thing I did is replace all my bulbs with OEM bulbs purchased from the BMW dealer (OSRAM is the manufacturer I believe). These are nice because they have the nickel plated bottom instead of the copper bottom (which tend to be more prone to corrosion as I understand it). I'm sure you can get ones that are just as good elsewhere and pay less, but I wanted to completely eliminate the bulbs as the culprit.
Beginning with the taillights, I cleaned all the contacts on the light housings that the bulbs come into contact with by using some electrical contact cleaner and some fine grit sandpaper. This freshened them up and removed some of the gunk and buildup. On my car, the contacts are actually two doubled-up metal contacts that sit right on top of each other. So I also slid some sandpaper in between them to make sure the connection between them was clean. I also made sure that the turn signal wires were hooked up correctly. Turns out they were already correct, because they went a little haywire when I reversed the wires. You live, and you learn
Moving next to the front of the car, I made sure that the wiring on the turn signal units were correct. Correct means that the blue wire goes to the larger turn signal bulb, and the grey wire goes to the smaller parking light bulb. The wiring on my right side was reversed. Once I corrected the wiring, the blinker light on my dash magically began working when I signaled to the right. My left side wiring was already correct, but it didn't start working until after I cleaned the rear bulb contact.
An important note for testing the front turn signals: the screws that hold the lens to the car are also the means of grounding for the lights. So if you try to test your turn signals while the signal housing is not attached to the car, you'll get erratic behavior due to lack of proper grounding. This plagued me for a while until it dawned on me.
This has little to do with the signals directly, but its important in general for all electrical issues: I didn't have the correct cable for the negative battery connection. My old cable was a single braided cable that attached only to the engine block. The proper (OEM) cable is a braided cable that splits into two, one piece that goes to the engine block and the other smaller one that attaches to the side of the battery tray for the chassis ground. I ordered one from my local parts shop and installed it. It didn't actually make a difference in this case because I had already taken other steps to properly ground my fuel/temp gauge anyway, but I'm glad that I did it nonetheless for the obvious other benefits of having proper grounding on the car. (Thanks to those on the board who clued me in to the proper cable).
So, in summary, whether or not your blinker works properly can be a combination of things, or can be just one thing. But by covering all your bases you're bound to fix the problem somewhere in there. This happens to be the combo that worked for me. It's really important to make sure the wiring is correct on both the front and rear housings. Once you've eliminated these basic issues, you can tackle the sticky stuff like the flasher relay and hazard switch itself.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them to the Message Board!
So long as you know which bulb performs which function...
colors refer to the wire that connects--first color is basic wire color, second (if persent) is the tracer stripe.
left taillight assy:
turn signal: blue/brown
back up: 2 x blue/white
brake: 2 x green/red
right tail light assy:
turn signal: blue/violet
the solid brown wires on both sides are the ground wires, and connect to the terminals on the tail light housings that are not part of a bulb socket.
Written by Chris Blumenthal Friday, 30 September 2005 '02 Hazard Circuit Primer
By Chris Blumenthal
The hazard switch circuit is probably the most complicated circuit in the 02. Here is how it works, in a nutshell:
The flasher relay contains two solenoids/flasher circuits. One drives the turn signal and hazard flasher bulbs, and one drives the flasher indicator bulb in the instrument panel. The flasher relay has four terminals:
31, brown wire ground
49a green/yellow wire load (to turn signal bulbs)
49 green/violet wire power (provides +12V to relay, and ultimately to the lights)
C black/white wire blinker light in instrument panel.
(Please note, this is based on a '73, but should provide general guidance on all 02 hazard switch problems)
All of these wires except for terminal C run to the hazard flasher switch, where there are corresponding terminals (marked the same). The flasher relay is powered (on terminal 49) from the hazard flasher switch (+12V originates in a switched circuit from the ignition switch through the fuse block).
There are two scenarios of operation for the flashers:
1. Turn signals. Ignoring the wiper function, the turn signal switch is not the source of power for the turn signal circuit, and acts only to complete the circuit from the flasher relay to the turn signal bulbs to the flasher relay. The switch completes the circuit and provides the load from the bulbs/ground to the relay (on terminal 49a). In summary, +12V flows through the hazard flasher switch to the relay; when you toggle the switch left or right, power flows through the switch down the respective right or left turn signal circuit to ground. It is the presentation of the load at the relay (by toggling the switch left or right) that makes the relay function (opening and closing intermittently, causing the turn signal bulbs to flash).
2. Hazard flashers. In this scenario, when you push (or pull, as the case may be) the hazard flasher switch, essentially the same thing happens as described above, except that the hazard switch routes the load from both sides of the turn signal circuit at the same time, thereby causing all four corners to flash.
The bottom line is that the flasher relay is the crux of this whole system and obviously neither the hazard flashers or turn signals will work without a functioning relay. However, there are other reasons why either the hazard flashers or turn signals might not work. This is intended only to give an overview of the system and how it works. Hope this helps and good luck!
If you have any questions, feel free to post them to the Message Board!
COPYRIGHT 2002, BMW 2002 FAQ, Rob Shisler and Steve Kupper. All Rights Reserved.
Written by Charles Elliot Goldstein Saturday, 01 October 2005 How to Relocate the Battery to the Trunk with e30 Parts By Charles Elliot Goldstein
e30 battery cable and plastic protective sleeve (or length of old garden hose)
e30 engine-compartment distribution block
e30 starter cable
e30 battery cable grommet or regular large grommet
NAPA or similar small marine battery box
4' - 1/8"x3/4" aluminum angle
6 - 3/4" long stainless steel machine bolts, washers, and nylocks.
approx 30" 2 gauge side-post terminal battery cable
approx 15" 2 gauge top post battery ground cable Tools:
Dremel with cut-off wheels and grinding stone.
Drill with bits the size of the SS bolt you choose.
Step one: Pick a spot to drill a hole for the battery cable to enter the engine compartment. I chose that weird angled surface right above and behind the clutch pedal, where it touches the firewall when depressed. Now, this is where you can decide whether you want to cut an oval hole like I did to fit the oval e30 grommet, or make it easy on yourself and use a regular round grommet. I needed to borrow a sheet metal auger bit from a machinist friend; I guess they cost alot of money so you might want to consider that. Now, if you're taking the e30 grommet road you'll want to hold up the e30 grommet from both sides of the firewall and make sure there is room to cut. If you have a late car there isn't much choice; it's pretty crowded. Hold up the grommet and trace around the shape and try and find the center points of the radius' as best you can. Now buy, borrow, or steal a sheet metal auger bit that's slightly smaller than the waist of the grommet. Drill pilot holes for the auger bit. Cut the radiuses with the auger bit and use the dremel to open up the two holes where they cross each other, so you have an oval the same shape as the e30 grommet. Good job, this was the hardest part.
Cable enters engine compartment just under main harness.
Other side of the firewall.
Step two: Whip out the aluminum angle, and cut four pieces to surround the base of the small marine battery box. Drill holes in each piece for the SS machine bolts, one at each end. Now, measure the width of the strap that is included with the battery box. Use the dremel cut-off wheels to cut a slit in the center of the two longest pieces of aluminum angle for the strap to lace through and get a strong hold on the battery box once the aluminum is bolted to the trunk floor. Now say to yourself, "I like long sentences."
Pretty, secure, AND solidly mounted...
Step three: Center the battery box in your trunk with the ports for the battery cable facing towards the rear of the car. Surround the base of the box with the four pieces of aluminum angle so it is tight, this will prevent the box from sliding when your driving around the city like a mad-man. Drill holes in the trunk floor to match the aluminum bolt holes, being aware of the diff hanger reinforcement underneath the trunk floor. Bolt down the aluminum angle with the battery box strap laced through the slits. Rob sez: If your battery does not SNUGLY fit the battery box, you should probably fit a seperate battery tie-down inside the box for the battery itself!
Step four: Run the e30 battery cable through the rectangular hole above the drivers-side rear wheel well and slide the plastic protector sleeve over that portion of the cable. If you didn't snag this sleeve from the boneyard, you can use a piece of old garden hose, which is generally extremely tough stuff. Some (RobS.) would recommend running the entire length of cable inside some nice tough garden hose just for safety's sake. Now take the cable through the back seat bulkhead down by the seat belt reel/mounting point. Then go through that little tunnel in the seat rail and up and over to the grommet in the firewall.
Using all (more or less) stock BMW parts, the job is complete...
Step five: Mount the e30 distribution block. I chose to bolt it onto the washer bottle holder right above the brake booster (my car is a '76). The holes line up perfectly with the distribution block mounting bolts. If you are using your washer system or you have an early car, you might want to mount it on the drain gutter sheet metal, you know what I'm talking about. Bolt the tapered lug end of the e30 battery cable to the distribution block and then remove the stock starter cable and engine block to battery ground. Take the e30 starter cable and run it from the tapered lug end of the battery cable at the distribution block to the starter (relay). File the non-recessed side of the side-post terminal end of the cable you bought so it's nice, flat, and shiny. This is going to rest against the block and provide a block to chassis ground. You might want to scrape the rust off the block where the stock ground cable was bolted on. When I did this, the bolt that was in the block fit prefectly through the side-post terminal end, and the washer fit perfectly inside the recess in the terminal end, so just bolt that end of the cable to the block. Finally, find a nice spot for the other end of the new block ground. I chose to bolt to the common chassis ground point right next to the relays. If your car doesn't have this, then take off an upper strut bearing nut and sand off some paint around the bolt, then bolt it there with the strut bearing nut.
Congratulations! You should feel a subtle but noticeable change in your handling balance as well as have more room up front for sidedrafts, fuel injection, or just general wrenching! If you have any questions, feel free to post them to the Message Board!
Also check out Zenon's Hawker battery installation for under the back seat. FYI you can also put an Optima red-top batt under the rear seat, laying on its side.
Written by BillWilliams
Tuesday, 04 October 2005
As 2002 owners, upgrade lighting systems that include additions of driving lights and auxiliary gauge panels, upgrade of sealed beam headlights to H4s, and dash lights to PIAA 5w super whites, the stock relay and switch configuration also needs upgraded.
There are options in upgrading the relay and switch system. One option is to purchase an upgraded harness (#30815 - For H-4 halogen lights, #30816 - For H-4 halogen lights w/HB5 bulbs) from a supplier like Painless Wiring (http://www.painlessperformance.com/catalogframe.htm). The other option is to purchase components and build the harnesses. The home built system costs about half of the packaged unit but requires a couple of hours of fabrication time plus some basic knowledge of soldering and insulating connections.
For clarification, the early model 2002s low beam circuit does not have a relay but it is fused in the stock fuse block on number three and four. The high beam circuit does not have a relay or a fuse.
This procedure includes instructions to add two relays to the early model 12v 2002s for high and low beams. Some suggest the addition of relays will improve light output by 10% -15%.
Listed below are the needed parts. The part numbers listed are Susquehanna Motorsports (610.944.3233 or http://www.susquehanna.com/susq) part numbers. Note: Susquehanna’s web site has a good tips section on wiring schematics, which I took much of my information from, and the site has a section on wire selection. Dave at Susquehanna is a wealth of knowledge and very willing to help.)
Parts List: From Susquehanna Motorsports
2 - relays #87483 ($10.16 each)
2 - relay base kits #87123B (includes the crimp connectors #87272) ($2.56 each)
2 - H4 adapters #66490 ($7.85 each)
From Radio Shack or other supplier
1 role - friction tape
7 colors of 14 gauge primary wire (fewer colors may be used, careful tagging of the wire is crucial. You may notice in the schematic and photo, I only used five, wish I had used seven)
Shrink wrap tubing
Dielectric grease (Permantex 67VR)
Connections to 12v power and to ground. (The type connections depend on owner's preference and particular configuration.)
Soldering iron (I prefer the new butane units available at Sears or Radio Shack)
Crimpers - this a specific tool to crimp the connectors used on the relay base ports. Radio Shack #64-410
Wire cutters and strippers
Needle nose pliers
Jewelers screw driver or small pic.
Helping Hands Wiring Vise from Radio Shack helps to hold the wires while soldering, convince your wife, or bribe your kid to help.
Determine mounting location for relays. This location will determine the lengths of wire needed.
Cut the three wires on the H4 adaptors halfway between the male and female ends. Now you will have four adaptors, two female adaptors and two male adaptors. You will not use one of the male adaptors in this procedure.
Assemble the harness for the right headlight assembly:
(I chose to ground the headlight assemblies on the driver’s side inner fender well. They can be grounded at other places. The ground point chosen determines the length of ground wire.)
Solder lengths of wire to the three leads coming from the female H4 adaptor. The leads from the connector are yellow, white, and brown. The brown wire (on the left side of the connector) is the ground. The yellow wire on the top of the connector is the low beam. The white wire on the right side is the high beam.
Insulate the solder connections with shrink-wrap tubing.
Wrap the harness with friction tape.
Assemble the harness for the left headlight assembly. This procedure is exactly like the right harness, but the wires are shorter. Hold off on wrapping the harness. You may want to include the next step in the harness too.
Assembly of the harness that will switch the relay:
This next step is assembling the two wires that “switch” the relay on and off.
On one of the male H4 adaptors, remove the ground connector from the plastic base. This is done by inserting a small jeweler’s screwdriver or pick in the top of the base and bend back the small barb that holds the connector in the base and pull out the connector. This is easy as long as you insert the screwdriver in the correct place.
Now you have an adaptor with two brass connectors not three. Solder lengths of wire to the yellow and white lengths of wire that were on the H4 adaptor. Remember the wire you solder to the yellow wire, it will terminate on the low beam relay point 86 and the wire you connect to the white wire will terminate on the high beam relay point 86.
Insulate the solder joints with shrink-wrap tubing.
Now you can wrap this harness with the left headlight harness in friction tape.
Connections to the relays:
Ensure you know where you will install your relays in your car so you will have sufficient lengths of wire in this step.
Cut the wires the proper length to terminate into the relays and to reach whatever ground point you will use.
Note on grounding. As 02 owners know, grounding is important and we often have to remove things as we work. I chose to terminate my wiring to the one of the screw holes that holds the stock tii air-box on, but you will need to determine your grounding point. I also used separate ground wires for the four grounds you need, one for each headlight assembly and one for each relay. I terminated these on the body with short pieces of wire, ring connectors, and spade tips. Then I used insulated spade tips and short pieces of wire to terminate to the relays and placed insulated spade tips on the ground wires coming from the headlight assemblies. You may not want to go through all of this for the ground, your choice, just get good grounds.
Now, it is time to connect this nest of wires to the relay bases. Take your time and get rid of any distractions. As a review, connections to these relays are:
30 – from battery power
86 – from switched power
85 – to ground
87 – to headlight assembly
87 – to your other headlight assembly
Crimp the spade tip connections on the wires; you should have 10 wires to connect to the two relay bases.
Mark one relay base, high beam and the other low beam.
You are making the connections into the relay bases by snapping the connectors into the bottom of the bases. Later the relay will push into the top of the base. Before you snap any of the connectors into the base, set the relay into the base and somehow, make note of which hole in the base corresponds the number on the relay, take your time and get a good system going. This is important.
Disconnect the battery!
Connect the three wires from the right headlight assembly:
connect the wire from the low beam to the low beam relay base, point 87,
connect the wire from the high beam to the high beam relay base point 87. and
connect the ground wire.
Plug the H4 adaptor into the headlight.
Connect the three wires from the left headlight assembly;
connect the wire from the low beam to the low beam relay base, point 86,
connect the wire from the high beam to the high beam relay base point 86.
Plug the new male adaptor into the female plug previously connecting the driver’s side headlight. You may use dielectric grease on the metal connections. Tape the connection to ensure it stays together.
Connect the ground wires, from point 85 on both relay bases, to a ground point.
Connect battery power to point 30 on both relay bases.
Installing the relay bases and relays:
These bases “gang” together so only one screw is needed to secure the relays to the car. If you reference the picture of my installation, the third relay is to my driving lights, it wires in the same manner as the headlights.
Install the relay bases to the car with a sheet metal screw.
Then check the lights and hope for no smoke! If smoke comes out, you cannot put it back in.
Please verify all of these directions and connections; I am neither an electrician nor a technical writer.
Written by Zenon Friday, 24 March 2006
There seems to be a lot of confusion around coils and resistors so here is my attempt to clarify.
compiled from so i am upgrading to pertronix..... and other sources
The original stock "black" Bosch coil, with an external resistor, is actually a great setup - superior to a "Blue" coil and equivalent to a "Red". I have seen the specs from Bosch that prove it but cannot find them now. You can trust me, though. ;-)
With a Pertronix, you have to run the resistor with either the stock or red coil but must bypass the resistor with a "blue" coil. If you run without a resistor with a coil that requires one, you run the risk of frying the Pertronix because it may not be able to handle the higher current draw. You can also overheat the coil itself. If you use a resistor with a blue coil, you'll get much weaker sparks but your points will last longer.
There seems to be a lot of confusion around coils and resistors so here is my attempt to clarify.
Why did BMW use an external-ballast-resistor coil, anyway?
On all North American '02s (at least from '72-on), BMW fitted the "heavy duty" ignition system that was apparently an option for carby '02s in other markets and standard on tiis and turbo. According to the factory specs and part numbers, the tii and carby external-resistor coils are the exact same part.
Essentially, the "external resistor" coil is just a coil that is designed to work properly when supplied with about 9 volts. It is then used with the external ballast resistor so it can safely operate continuously when supplied with the usual 13-14V available when the engine is running. Since a coil's current draw is directly related to the amount of spark energy it might deliver, more current is naturally better except that a coil's current has to be limited to an amount that would not make it overheat in continuous use and/or burn out the points prematurely.
But why bother with the external resistor? For normal running, it would be electrically equivalent, cheaper, and more reliable to use a coil designed for the actual system supply voltage and ditch the resistor entirely.
The answer is that the whole point of the external resistor setup is to be able to maintain or even boost spark energy during starting, when the system voltage is often pulled way down (under 10V with a marginal battery) by the starter motor and the sometimes very uneven, way rich or lean mixtures are much harder to ignite.
By using a coil designed for a lower supply voltage, the designers could then essentially "over-drive" the coil during starting by bypassing the ballast resistor and feeding the coil directly with whatever the battery had to offer. But because the resistor is only bypassed during cranking, the coil would not have much chance to overheat and the points life would not be too adversly affected by a few seconds here and there of switching the much higher current.
On earlier '02s with a ceramic-block ballast resistor, there is a relay near the firewall that does the bypassing based on a signal from the circuit that energizes the starter solenoid. On '74 and later, they simplified the design and eliminated the relay, instead supplying battery voltage directly to the coil via a second, smaller spade terminal on the starter solenoid (which is itself a relay anyway). Also on '74 and later, the obvious ceramic resistor was replaced by a sneaky, "special" resistance wire that runs in the harness from somewhere over the engine to the coil's positive terminal - it has clear insualtion and a moulded marker at the coil end with the resistance value on it (by now those are usually just a blob of crispy rubber). All resistors for all years were 1.8ohms, according to the factory manual.
Just had a quick look at my manual again and noticed some damn footnotes beside the coil and resistor specs. Seems earlier actually had 0.9ohm resistors but I cannot tell when the cutoff was. If so, that also means the coils were probably different. I still stand by my contention that the stock ignition system with an external resistor coil is the equal of a "red" coil. The only thing is that if you add a red coil or a later "stock" coil to an early car with a 0.9ohm resistor, you will have to replace it with a 1.8ohm or add 0.9ohm.
Some final notes:
If you run a blue coil and do not bypass the ballast resistor, you will only get full power when starting and much less spark energy when running. A blue coil is actually a downgrade from stock since there is no more "boost" ability during cranking. But, on a well tuned car with a good battery, it may never matter.
As mentioned above, if you run a stock or red coil without the resistor, you run the risk of overheating the coil, burning out your pertronix, or going through a lot of points. I have heard some people say red coils work just fine without resistors but I have a hunch they have later cars that have the sneaky resitor wire and they are running them correctly without realizing it.
Other aftermarket coils? I dunno - you have to look at each one's specs. You have to be sure the coil you use will not draw too much current for the ignition system you have - points, pertronix, or crane. If you add a resistor, make sure you are not inadvertantly adding it to the stock one or disabling the starting boost feature - it could make all the difference one cold day.
Aaron Heinrich Asks Out of curiosity, what specs on the coil do you look at to determine what is "superior"? If we know what the specs on the stock, blue and red coils are, we should be able to get the pertinent information on aftermarket coils to make an educated decision, presumably.
The most useful performance spec would be "total energy" or "energy storage", basically a measurement in Joules or Watt/seconds. The most commonly seen specs are maximum spark voltage and primary resistance. Max spark voltage can be misleading since you can have high voltage with no current and thus no energy behind it (the actual spark voltage is determined mainly by the plug gap, anyway). Primary DC resistance is just an indirect way of getting at the primary current draw but seems to be what is most easily measured and thus is most often stated. The actual current draw in use is dependent on the inductance of the coil, but nobody knows what to do with that.
Primary current draw is usually proportional to energy storage so you can maybe use that for comparison, but a bad coil design could draw a lot of current and not make much spark, too.
from the archives Bosch lists four types of coils for induction type ignition systems
Type E(Black)6V-12V systems for 4 cylinder engines. No resistor needed. Output 13.5 KV. This was the type commonly found on small 4 cylinder engines i.e. Volkswagen, etc.
Type K(Blue)6V-12V systems for up to 6 cylinder engines. No resistor needed. Output 17.5KV. This was the type commonly found on 6 cyl VW and as a performance upgrade for 6V systems and lower power 12V systems. Should never be used on BMWs.
Type KW(Black) 12V-24V systems for up to 6 cylinder engines. Output 22.5KV. For 12V operation use ballast resistor 0.6-1.0 ohms, for 24V operation use ballast resistor 4.5 ohms. This is the coil that came standard on all BMW engines. As you can see going to a Blue coil would be a significant step backwards.
Type KW(Red) 12V systems for up to 8 cylinder engines. Output 26.5KV. Use with 1.4-1.8 ohm ballast resistor. If the ballast resistor is omitted, the points will burn up very quickly. If a transistor trigger is used, then a ballast resistor is not required.
When a resistor is required, it should be placed in series with the igniton hot (12V) lead. It should be mounted with a heat sink since it will get quite hot.
All induction coils actually contain two wire coils, a primary and a secondary.
The primary coil contains a few hundred turns of thick copper wire. Since the wire diameter is large and the wire is short, the ohm reading is very low 0.8-1.4 ohms and the coil will conduct a substantial amount of current to the points. Current flow to the points is a function of voltage, coil wire resistance and points closed dwell time. More than about 4 amps will usually destroy a set of points.
The secondary coil contains 15000-30000 turns of very thin copper wire. Since the wire is thin and very long, the resistance is high, usually about 12-18KOhms. Thats a thousand times more than the primary side. While the secondary coil does not flow high current, it does produce a very high stepped-up voltage necessary to jump gaps in the cap and spark plug gap.
Hopefully, this will settle the discussion regarding coils. For those who would like to know a great deal more about induction ignition systems, the best text is a training phamplet by Bosch called: "Battery ignition systems" part number VDT-UBE 120/3 En. It covers not only point type ignition but also transistor and CDI type ignitions. After reading the text throughly, you'll agree most information about ignitions is mere marketing hype.
The difference between the red and OE coils is probably pretty small in practice since the actual firing voltage when things are working right is under 15Kv, IIRC - I'd put the money elsewhere if my stock coil was otherwise OK. Too bad there is no info on the actual energy storage of the various coils. Even the blue coil might not be as bad as it seems.
It looks like the OE coil was essentially the "red" for the last years, at least according to the BMW blue 2002 manual I have.
I think there should be a caveat on the statement "[for the red coil] If a transistor trigger is used, then a ballast resistor is not required". I am pretty sure that applies only to the external Bosch ignitor modules (like what came on an e21 320i) but NOT ones like Pertronix. Bosch ignitors are internally current-limited (or just have a beefier switching transistor) where Pertronix ignitors are not able to handle the higher current.
At least, the OE and red coils have primary resistances that are lower than Pertronix's minimum spec. so one would be risking it to run an OE or red coil without a resistor. In contrast, I know that some of the Bosch ignitor modules are smarter than that and feature constant, optimized dwell time and will even shut off the coil current after a few seconds if the ignition is on but the engine is not actually running (thus not overheating the coil or themselves).
Just wanted to personally thank you - without your post I doubt my car would be running today.