93 BMW 318is

Vehicle has 193K/ auto trans/ 1.8l with the usual but minor rust spots and it had been sitting unused for about a year and unmoved. The right rear wheel was tied up but it freed easily and the caliper is in good shape. It was donated to me and it is to be given to a young man stricken with MS. It started up immediately and purred after a new battery. As I was in process of the usual oil change/filter change/tranny fluid and filter change etc., the battery started to run down. I went thru all the usual diagnostics to find a drain but found none. It seemed to resolve after the battery was recharged but just before that I thought the hazard lights were weakly blinking but ignored it till I got the other tasks completed.

As I did my road testing, I noted no left brake light and left rear running light. The instrument panel light ABS indicator remains on. The turn signals, headlights, w wipers/radio/ blowers all worked.The right brake, center brake light (high level stop light),license plate lights and all the turn signal lights worked properly, as well as the backup lights, right and left.

I replaced the left brake light and running light bulbs but still no operation. I took down the housing looking for a poor ground but found all the attachments etc in excellent condition.

I then checked the fuse box and found a 5A 32v burned out in slot 21. Only place on the diagram refers to :ABS,ASC…10,21,38. I replaced it with a BMW fuse.(Given to me free of charge at BMW, I did not mention this was a charity job, either.) Returned home and the battery was dead again???

On recharge and fuse replacement, still no operational left stop light and then as the battery was reconnected, the hazard flasher went on. Upon disconnect of the hazard flasher switch, they still remain on. Only time they turn off is when the flasher/hazard relay is removed. Thinking it was a faulty relay, I replaced it with a brand new one and guess what?? still flashes with or without the hazard switch in position.

I have used Mitchell on demand, Bentley and a friend also did a down load on ALLDATA but I find no answer.


#1. Could the ABS sensor be causing the brake light loss/ or the warning hazard light problem?

#2. I note that the hood does not lock down and therefore is there a warning sensor tripping the hazard lights?

#3. Since the vehicle has only a Multi-information Display and not an On-Board Computer, I am assuming it does not have an anti-thefy circuit,although I note that in that system if the engine compartment is opened , it would activate the system.

Wow, what a mouthfull. I need a pro/Iam almost ready to give up–but not yet. He(the reciepient and myself can’t afford a BMW dealer repair).Darn…wish this was a '65 Chevy or Ford.

Thank You…



This car has to go to a BMW Tech,not for repair,but for ownership. You are right,this is not the car for a person with low level skills, Get out of it get something you are comfortable working on.

Dear oldschool: Thank you for your only reply but…I’m an old Army surgeon from Viet Nam…One day a soldier came in with more frag wounds than you could count and bleeding heavily from each one. I quickly stopped most of the obvious ones but one above the buttocks was pouring out blood. My anesthologist started peering over the screen and said the BP was starting to go. A few more heart heats and he would be a gonner. I shoved a curved gallbladder down into the wound as hard as I could and levered it around the sciatic notch and got the superior gluteal which was pumping out this kids life. He survived…Sorry, but your reply sort of struck my sciatic nerve…Good luck and give up often…!

I don’t look at saving a car the same way I look at saving a human life.I looked at who the car was ment for,the problems it has,the specific BMW knowledge the repair person has,and the much more than average cost of maintaining a BMW and concluded the best course of action was find another car. What is your level of product knowledge in regards to BMW automobiles?

There are known issues with that body style and wiring going to the left rear lights. Search the web, there’s lots of good info out there. (I was looking at buying one a few months ago and found several sites detailing your same issues)

Hey, if you are a surgeon, why don’t you do a couple of unnecessary bypass jobs to gin up the money to pay a dealer mechanic? Sorry, couldn’t resist but I have more and better.

Check out Allexperts.com under autos and auto repair. There is no resident BMW expert under the BMW link but there are two under the Auto Repair link, one with 25 years of experience and apparently willing to share it.

You might also try to find a place to post your question where more gearheads can be found. There are some in VWVortex.com. They might help you out or recommend a site.

Beyond all of that, consider that an old BMW might not be the best choice for your friend as parts and repairs are necessary more often than one might want for such a car and expensive as well. On the other hand, possibly you will stay with this car and owner to help and like a challenge.

Dear old School: Why are you so angered with me? Here I have a gift given to me for performing a very tedious and somewhat expensive task I completed for a charity organization which transports people to hospitals and doctors offices who can not afford it themselves and I am trying to gift this to a young man in rather desperate need of transportation so he can complete his education. He needs to drive only about 2 miles from his residence to the school. I assumed that the foreign cars of BMW reputation would be a God send. You are correct, I have absolutely no BMW product knowledge. I personally drive a 1998 Dodge Ram pickup and my wife drives a 2000 Caravan. I do not know of your vocation but you should know that whatever task I take on, I give it my all. I do the best I can.

Thank You for your time…and your kindness.

Hey guys, thanks, and to a few, no thanks but a simple shade tree machanic solved my two problems by listening then working on principle.

1st. Brake light problem, left not operating but the elevated and the right stop light functioned properly. Changed the bulb but no improvement. I even removed the assembly and everything looked all right…but…I should have checked the wire leading in for the stop light. It was hot when the pedal was depressed. The bulb holder: by really cleaning down on the contacts and also prying them out to make better contact to the assembly as well as scratching down on the assembly contact points corrected the problem immediately. They all looked totally non corroded but micro film blocked the circuit. Clue: should have known that the opposite side functioned.

2nd. Hazard light continously flashing inspite of replacing the relay with a new one, and the flasher switch on/ off /or removed from its holder. We shorted or jumpered between the two feeder points and it then dis engaged the flasher which was stuck. All I will need now is a flasher switch.

Lesson Learned: In the past I have treated this fellow with some miminal kindness and in 20 minutes he repaid me 20 fold. Try it , you might like it…so long and don’t give up, too easily. I promise to stop sermoning, I am not a preacher.(Thank G-d, this saga is finished and the litte runt will leave us alone)It is a problem only when there are no solutions.

Thanks for posting the resolution. Your story may help the next guy.