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BMW E30 Headlight Switch Removal DIY – 325i and Others

October 28, 2010

car year: 1991
car model: 325i
How do you remove a headlight switch?

The headlight switch on the E30 chassis (3-series 84-91 -  325e, 325es, 325i, 325is, 325ic, 325ix, 318i, 318is, 318ic, M3) is relatively easy to remove. 

This photo shows the parts that you will be working with, removed from the vehicle:

*  Remove the lower dash trim panel.

Click HERE for additional info on removing the lower dash trim panel

*  Reach up behind the headlight and fog light switches and push the fog light switch out of the faceplate.  Remove the switch from the harness plug. 

*  Remove the switch knob by turning it counter-clockwise to unscrew it.

*  Reach up behind the left end of the center face plate and unscrew the knurled securing nut.

*  Remove the headlight switch faceplate lower securing nut (8mm hex).

*  Reach behind the left side of the headlight switch face plate, up to the upper face plate securing nut (upper-left of the panel – 8mm hex) and loosen it as much as you can, with your fingers.  Push on the face plate to relieve the tension on the nut.  Do not try to actually remove the nut.

*  Gently pull out the left end of the center face plate and then pull out the right end of the headlight switch face plate.  Push/slide the headlight face plate to the right, in order to slide the left-upper stud and nut out of the slot in the dash panel.

*  Use a screwdriver to push in the locking tabs on the headlight switch and pull it from the face plate mounting sleeve.  Pull the illumination bulb and socket from the amber light distributing mount.

*  Remove the wiring harness plug from the switch and remove the switch from the panel.

BMW E30 headlight switch DIY

*  It would be wise to replace the illumination bulb at this time.  Use bulb # 2721

*  Insert the new switch into the panel and connect the harness plug.

*  Install the switch into the face plate mounting sleeve.

*  Slide the face plate into place, sliding the upper-left stud and nut into the panel slot.  Install the illumination bulb and socket into the amber light mount and then fit the panel into place.

*  Tighten the upper-left face plate nut as much as you can, with your fingers (push on the plate so the you can get the nut tighter).  Tighten the lower-right nut.  Install and tighten the center face plate knurled nut.

*  Pull the fog light harness plug through the fog light switch hole and connect the fog light switch.  Push the harness and switch into the hole until the switch is fully seated.

*  Install the headlight switch knob.

*  Install the lower dash trim panel.

Headlight Switch:

Illumination Bulb:

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Categories → 3 Series 84-91 - E30, Tech Tips

  1. Damron permalink

    Well explained, very useful website Thanks.

  2. Oscar permalink

    What if u burn the wires is it easy to replace them?

    • If you have damaged wires, they can be replaced by splicing in replacement sections of wire. This can be done using quality solderless crimp connectors or by soldering and using heat-shrink insulation tubing. If the wires are damaged going into the harness plug, you’ll need to cut a plug (include enough of the wire to replaced the damaged original wires) from another car and splice it in.

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