Monday, April 30, 2012

99. Installing rear sunblind in a BMW E36 sedan

Original BMW rear sun blinds are quite rare, especially in sedans. I was hunting for one for almost a year. And, in the end, I got one for free, from a forum member here in Slovenia. It's almost a month now, and I still can't believe it. He really made my day nicer - no, not day - probably the whole year. And, the rear rolo is now probably my favorite part in the car.

Well, the rear blind came together with the rear shelf, but without the small pins that hold it open. I ordered those from BMW, and I paid about $20 for pair. Here are the part numbers: (found on
  • Hook left: 51 16 1 977 027
  • Hook right: 51 16 1 977 028
  • Supplementary set sun blind: 82 11 9 400 664

P.S. You can still buy the whole thing at your dealer. They don't have the retrofit set any more, but it's still available as separate parts.

If you don't buy it with a pre-cut rear shelf, you can cut your own shelf, and install the rear sun screen rolo without any trouble.

So, here's how my installation went...

I got my hooks and some plastic clips from BMW:

Then, I had to remove my rear bench and rear headrests. If you need more info on removing rear headrests, check out my last post! After that, remove the rear reading lights, c-pillar covers and the plastic trim around the seatbelts. Using a 16mm socket wrench, unbolt the seat belts at the bottom of the seat. Take care how things were assembled, so you'll put everything back in the way it was. Here's how everything looks when you take it all apart:

To fit a shelf with a sun blind rolo, you'll have to take out the foam that was under your regular shelf. Install everything the same way you took things out. Reverse order, naturally. In the end, you have to put those little hooks that will hold the sunscreen open. I couldn't find any instruction on how to mount them, and they really look weird... I thought I would have to take the roof lining off or something. But, no - they just slide in onto their spots... Between the roof lining and the roof, there are small grooves, or small metal slots or something. You can feel them with your fingers. And you just slide the hooks in between the roof and lining. Hopefully, you'll get the idea from the pictures:

And that's it. Put everything back in, and you have a nice piece of OEM equipment that's quite rare and hard to find. Here's two more shots of the completed project:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

98. Installing sport seats in my E36

I have been searching for sport seats for a very long time. Vader seats are a bit too expensive for me, and electrical seats as well. But, I did manage to find a cheap set for my E36. I paid 100$ for the whole interior.

Take  a quick peek at the next photo - you'll find out why I wanted new seats:

This is how the 'new' seats looked when I brought them home.

Believe it or not, you can pack the complete interior into your E36. And you'll still have room for one passenger. :) Well, the first thing was to take out the old interior. The front seats are held in place with 2 16 mm bolts and two 16 mm nuts each. You have to slide the seat forward, and then backward to take them out. Before that, take off the plastic covering caps with a small flat screwdriver. Seat belts are fixed to the seat with one torx screw on each side. And, the passenger seat has a passenger occupancy sensor which has to be disconnected. Note: Disconnect your car's battery before disconnecting this sensor. Wait about 15 minutes for the system to discharge.

After that, you can pull out your rear bench. And, I really mean 'pull out'. Pull the bottom part upwards, and then pull the backrest towards the front of the car. Open both rear doors to pull it out.

How to remove rear headrests on a BMW E36?

This was the most tricky part of the job. I tried to pull them out, pry them out with a crowbar, and I tried to knock them out from underneath. And they didn't pop out. Well, the trick is to raise your rear shelf for just a couple of centimeters. Under it, you'll find safety pins that hold the headrests in place. Take them out, and that's it. Take a look at the picture to see what I mean:

And that's pretty much that. Install everything back in the reverse order, and you're done. You should finish the job in under an hour. I also vacuumed my car, since it was like it has seen a world war or something. :)
Here are some more pictures...

Monday, April 9, 2012

97. E36 18 Button OBC Unlocking Secret Codes and Functions

Unlocking secret codes on the BMW E36 18 button OBC is simple, and very useful. With it, you can disable your Check Control (If your car isn't equipped with one), you can adjust your fuel consumption readout, change the language of the module and see additional real-time data about your car. And more...

How to unlock 18 button OBC board computer

  1. Press 1000 and 10.
  2. At the TEST prompt, enter 19.
  3. Press SET/RES, and you should see LOCK:ON.
  4. Press the DATE key.
  5. Add the two date numbers (month and day) together (Example - today is April 9th, so you add April (04) and 9th (09) - that gives us 13.
  6. Enter the number you've calculated (13), and press SET/RES.
  7. That should unlock the OBC :)

How to turn off Check Control Inactive message on the 18 button OBC

  1. Hold down 1000 and 10 to access hidden menu.
  2. At the TEST prompt, enter 11 and press SET/RES.
  3. You should get EINHEIT 1: ## readout.
  4. Change the EINHEIT value to 75 using 10 and 1 buttons.
  5. Press SET/RES.
  6. Change to EINHEIT 2: ## using 1000 and 100 buttons.
  7. Set EINHEIT 2 value to FF using 10 and 1 buttons.
  8. Press SET/RES and you're done.

BMW E36 OBC Menu List

  1. Display test
  2. Current consumption L/100km
  3. Current consumption L/h
  4. Average Consumption
  5. Current range
  6. Average Fuel in Tank (L)
  7. Current Speed (km/h)
  8. System Voltage
  9. Country - Language setting
  10. Check control setting
  11. Average Speed (km/h)
  12. ETA
  13. OBC Software date 
  14. Production diagnosis
  15. Production diagnosis
  16. Display vehicle specific data
  17. Alarm setting
  18. OBC Lock & Unlock
  19. Correction factor for consumption
  20. OBC Reset
Well, that's most of it - please note, that some versions have different codes. If this doesn't work for you, leave a comment, and we'll try to figure something out.