successfully swapped out my 11-Button OBC for
an 18-Button in my 98 M3, and it wasn’t that hard. All functions work,
including the hidden ones. Anyone with moderate mechanical skills can
complete this conversion; I give it a two-½ wrench out of five difficulty
level. Much quicker and a little easier than installing VDO gauges. I’m an
idiot, so it couldn’t have been that tough. Special recognition should be
given to "BiMmEr JoN" who made the original OBC
Conversion post on Bimmerforums (http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...c%2A+conversion)
and whose collaboration made my retrofit possible.
conversion isn't specifically targeted to only early E36s. In fact, some of
the OBC functions won't work on pre-94 E36s because they don't have the ZKE
type security system. The 18 button OBC was an option for all year E36s that
most, but not all, buyers requested. The conversion is targeted for BMWs
that didn't get the option.
wanted a full OBC when I was shopping for an
M3. When I finally found a used one that wasn’t thrashed, I was very
disappointed that it only had the enhanced clock OBC.
What can I say? I love gadgets. When I started researching the possibility
of converting a full OBC into my Bimmer,
everything I read said either: “a swap is not possible, buy a car with it
installed”, or, “you can retrofit an 18-Button OBC,
but it will require you to tear your interior apart, install sensors, and
run long runs of wire…it is not worth the hassle”. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! This
is how I did it.
First, I have to note a few
1. This procedure worked on my
98 M3. There is no guarantee that it will work on your BMW. The Bentley
manual notes two E36 OBC diagrams: 1992-1997
(non-318ti) and 1998 (non-318ti). The 1992-1997 diagram is slightly
different. Also, the ZKE IV wasn’t available until 1994. However, you should
be able to modify these instructions to make it work on your car.
2. In the interest of brevity,
I am assuming that you know, or will be able to get instructions to remove:
2- Airbag and Steering Wheel (you can really hurt yourself if you
don’t follow safety procedures)
3- Instrument Cluster
4- Glove Box.
I am also assuming that you
will be able to figure out some sub-procedures that I will not mention, but
should be obvious.
JoN" noted in his post, you will need a working 18-Button
OBC and the white X1071
connector that the 11-Button
OBC doesn’t have. Also get an
OBC controller turn signal stalk if you want
to control the OBC with it. I ordered my
OBC and connectors from an import salvage
yard over the phone. I strongly recommend that you use a Bentley Manual.
Even though some of the electrical diagrams are not perfect, it will pay for
itself many times over in time saved.
must be familiar with the naming conventions of the connectors used in this
retrofit. The new OBC uses two connectors.
The black connector is called X1070. That is
the connector that the old 11-Button
OBC used. The white
connector is called X1071. That is the new
connector that you should have got with your new
OBC. The Instrument Cluster has two
connectors. The white connector is called X16
and the blue connector is called X17.
are the steps for retrofitting the OBC. It
does not necessarily have to be in this order. Refer to the attached diagram
labeled “18-Button OBC Retrofit Wiring
1. Remove old
OBC, Steering Wheel, Instrument Cluster, and
2. Remove the two
connectors from the back of the Instrument Cluster.
3. Tap a fresh wire
into the white/gray (WHT/GRY) wire on Pin 10 of
connector X17 and run it to the white/gray wire coming out of Pin 9
4. Tap a fresh wire
into the white/violet (WHT/VIO) wire on X16 and run it to the white/violet
wire coming out of Pin 5 of X1071. Tap a fresh wire into the white/yellow (WHT/YEL)
wire on X16 and run it to the white/yellow wire coming out of Pin 7 of
5. Remove the X16
connector cover to reveal the metal pins of
the connector. You must figure out a way to
install a new pin into the vacant Pin 21 slot. I went to the local BMW
dealership and browsed their connector bins
until I found a male pin connector that I
could modify to work. I soldiered a fresh wire onto the pin and set the pin
into the vacant Pin 21 slot in the X16 connector.
I then ran this new wire to the white/black wire coming out of Pin 6 of
6. Find the ZKE IV
Control Module behind the glove box. The Bentley manual will help you find
it. Fabricate a pin to fit into the vacant Pin 15 of this
connector. I fabricated this pin from a blue
Butt Connector. Run a fresh wire from Pin 15
of the ZKE IV to the black/green (BLK/GRN) wire coming out of Pin 1 of
7. Install the turn
signal stalk. Tap into the brown/red wire of the new turn signal stalk and
run it to the brown/red wire of Pin 4 of X1071.
8. Tap into the brown (BRN)
wire coming from Pin 17 of connector X1070
and run it to the brown wire of Pin 13 of X1071.
9. Tap into the
red/yellow (RED/YEL) wire of Pin 18 of X1070 and run it to the red/yellow
wire of Pin 8 of X1071.
10. Put everything back
together. Connect the two connectors into your new
OBC. Keep your fingers crossed, everything should work.
do all the new wires do? I’m not certain, but based upon my review of the
Bentley diagrams, my guesses are indicted below. Perhaps it may help
trouble-shoot a retrofit that isn’t cooperating. But like I said, I'm an
idiot, so trust your judgement and a good wiring diagram.
White/Gray wire: connects
OBC to speedometer sensor
White/Yellow wires: connects OBC to data
link system. This system integrates most of the electronic boxes such as
ABS, Cruise Control, EWS, ZKE, DME, OBC,
White/black wire: connects
OBC to gas gauge
OBC to AWS anti-theft device
OBC for turn signal stalk activated menu
Good luck! And don't listen to
people who say it can't be done. They don't know what they're talking about.
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