Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
Headlight Switch Replacement
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

Headlight Switch Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, diagonal cutters, 8mm, 10mm sockets

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Headlight switch, zip tie straps, felt tape

Hot Tip:

Be careful not to lose trim screw caps

Performance Gain:

Headlights functions normally

Complementary Modification:

Replace headlight bulbs

The headlight switch is located on the left side of the steering wheel. I have seen this switch fail quite often. For example, if the instruments are illuminated but the headlights do not operate, this is an indication of a problem with the headlight switch.

For a quick test of the headlight switch, pull it out of the dashboard (see removal procedure below) and, with the key ON, check for power into pins 2 (green/yellow) & 4 (green/red).  With the parking lights ON, battery volts should be present at pin 11 (yellow/violet). With the headlights ON, voltage should be present at pins 10 (yellow) & 11 (yellow/violet). These pin numbers apply to my 1998 model Z3. Check that your vehicle is the same: compare it to a current wiring diagram.

In this tech article I will give you the procedure for replacing the headlight switch, which is a snap.

To avoid marring the paint and trim, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out the body or interior items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Working at the driver side knee bolster, remove the plastic trim caps (yellow arrow) from the screws.
Figure 1

Working at the driver side knee bolster, remove the plastic trim caps (yellow arrow) from the screws. Use a small flat head screwdriver and lever the caps off. Then remove three Phillips head screws. (green arrows)

Next remove the remaining Phillips head screws (green arrows) from the knee bolster trim panel.
Figure 2

Next remove the remaining Phillips head screws (green arrows) from the knee bolster trim panel. Remove the plastic caps as you did previously if they are present. I find these caps missing quite often. There should also be Phillips head screws (yellow arrow) that run along the bottom edge of the knee bolster trim panel, remove these as well.

Pull knee bolster (green arrow) down and away from dashboard and remove.
Figure 3

Pull knee bolster (green arrow) down and away from dashboard and remove.

Next you will have to remove the knee support.
Figure 4

Next you will have to remove the knee support. Remove all six 10mm bolts (green arrows) from the support. When you get to the final bolt, hold the support in place or it will fall down.

Remove the knee support from the vehicle.
Figure 5

Remove the knee support from the vehicle.

Next you will have to remove the headlight switch knob cover.
Figure 6

Next you will have to remove the headlight switch knob cover. BMW recommends using a small flat head screwdriver to lever it off. I find the covers pull right off, no tool needed.

Once the knob cap has been removed, remove the 8mm knob nut (green arrow).
Figure 7

Once the knob cap has been removed, remove the 8mm knob nut (green arrow).

Once the nut is removed, unscrew the knob counterclockwise to remove it.
Figure 8

Once the nut is removed, unscrew the knob counterclockwise to remove it.

The knob is threaded onto the headlight switch.
Figure 9

The knob is threaded onto the headlight switch. This photo shows the threads (green arrow) in the knob. This prevents the knob from falling off if the nut comes loose.

Next the switch locking tabs have to be released.
Figure 10

Next the switch locking tabs have to be released. Use a small flat head screwdriver and press the tabs, then push the switch out of the dashboard. The yellow arrows point to the tabs you have to unlock to release the switch. Then reach behind the dashboard and pull the headlight switch down.

Next, squeeze the electrical connector release tab and pull the electrical connector straight off.
Figure 11

Next, squeeze the electrical connector release tab and pull the electrical connector straight off. To install the new switch, start by connecting the electrical connector. Then install the switch from behind the dashboard. Snap the switch into place; be sure both locking tabs are engaged. You can do this by tugging on the switch from behind the dashboard, it should not move. Install the knob and interior trim panels. Check operation of your headlights when complete.

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Bob Comments: Where would I find the headlight switch threaded knob. I can find the cap for the knob but no one has the knob.
October 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it's available, depends on what type your current knob is. I found this number: 61318389547


Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Elizabeth Comments: Good evening. I have a 1996 BMW Z3. What is the name of the part below the headlight/dimmer knob which is backlit to show whether the headlights are on or off? Mine is missing. Please see part circled in red in the photo in the attached link.. http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?1867961-whats-the-part-called
June 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is probably the trim panel you are looking for, may be part of the vent.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Danny Comments: Where would one get the knob switch for this?
April 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Privacy Statement]
 [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Map to our Location] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc.

Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 02:06:38 AM