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Turn Signal Relay options

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:00 pm
by peminick
Just bought my first e12 (1979 528i) and I'm so grateful that this site exists. I think it's going to be invaluable when I get into the bigger work that my car needs, but for now I'm starting with the easy stuff. Namely, I've got a machine-gunning turn signal relay that I need to replace.

I can't believe there's not another option out there than the ~$50 replacement part that's available on Autohaus. Has anyone figured out a suitable aftermarket swap for this? I'm not above taping something in place if it doesn't have the clip that holds it to the frame under the dash. :)

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:33 pm
by Mike W.
The problem is how unusual it is combined with supply and demand, or rather lack thereof. It's a pretty complicated little device, it had two coils and sets of contacts inside and relays not just a thermal flasher. Combined with being at least relatively unique. You could probably find one for a ten spot if there was the market for 10K a year, instead it's closer to 10 instead of ten thousand. It's not worth it to anyone to reinvent the wheel.

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:23 pm
by GripGreg
Welcome to the madness, Peminic. Get a book & some metric tools!
Some parts websites are;;;; & more I can't remember at the moment.
I recommend you stay away from the 'stealership'! :wink:
The only dumb question is the unasked question! Get a book!
Have fun with us,,,,Greg
Ps,,,,Did I say get a book & tools??
I think Sears is the best bet for tools 'cause of the lifetime guarantee.
BTW; your problem just may be a bad light bulb! start cheap & go up from there.
And for some reason, it's better to get the chrome looking base bulbs than the brass based bulb. Someone here can explain better than me.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:01 am
by peminick
Thanks guys. I swear I went into this with my eyes open--hard to find parts and electrical bugaboos and all. Just wanted to make sure that I wasn't overlooking something here.

Now I'm going to go double-check my bulbs...

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:34 am
by GripGreg
I just remembered my situation when buying my Buster.
Even if your bulbs are working, replace them & lightly scrape the contact points 'cause you just don't know.
Then you will know! :wink:

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:17 pm
by CBradio
to revive this old thread...

I've noticed my flasher dash indicator kind of flickers even when I'm not flashing, but the flasher seems to work, although it makes different ticking noises at different times....

sound like a tired relay to you guys?

Also... HAS anybody attempted a SWAP for a less expensive flasher?

Maybe another 4-prong that can be used with some slight modification?

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:08 pm
by PatinaBeforePolish
I'll add that a BMW retailer can be a valuable resource. Whenever possible I buy parts from a very knowledgable parts manager at BMW of Sterling that gives CCA members an extremely reasonable discount.

BMW OEM parts are the best fit and quality possible and come with a 12 month warranty even if you install it. RealOEM has all part numbers and availability for your browsing pleasure.

I'm grateful that BMW sees value in maintaining excellent vintage parts availability - makes it way easier to keep your car running well and looking good.

There's nothing wrong with seeking a good value, but bashing the dealer is tired, worn out advise.

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:03 pm
by CBradio

I'm not sure where you're coming from.

The fact of the matter is the flasher relays for our cars are like 200 us dollars,,,
That is real money. That is expensive for a relay in my opinion. A flasher for the cherokee I owned before this cost $16.99. And I'm not even sure the relay is my issue!

I'm not sure whether you get a commission from the sale of vintage BMW flasher relays, but you can rest assured that I'm not "dealer bashing;" I'm looking for a cheaper alternative (i.e. aftermarket, reman) to this expensive flasher relay.

And, I'd love to be able to strut into the dealer and buy a relay, but times are hard on the boulevard.

Maybe somebody here has some more constructive input.

EDIT: thanks also for your input.

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:36 pm
by PatinaBeforePolish
Calm down CBRadio, I was just pointing out the value of OEM support. I would have suggested an alternative if I had one but this is likely the only choice.

Mike W provided an accurate explanation to the price level for this part. If it's any consolation, many BMW OEM parts are dirt cheap compared to other manufacturers. Ever own a 911?

I also recommend posting to the for sale / wanted section here. There's got to be one floating around. And sorry but I don't receive flasher relay commissions nor am I employed by or own a BMW dealership. But I'd give everyone here an awesome discount if I did!

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:58 pm
by CBradio

Thanks, again for the input. I realize that you took the time to type out a response and I AM appreciative of that. Truly.

Also, I too appreciate the resources made available to us, and I have ordered parts from the dealer (I got two fuel lines for under 50 dollars that were shipped from Germany in two boxes nearly the size of the car, pretty amazing)...

That being said, flasher relays go, they will only get more expensive (since the time this thread was started in 2013, the price has more than doubled) and I'm sure there are others in my situation that may appreciate some easy cheaper alternative.. if such a thing is possible.

I've managed to find OEM ones that are about 120 dollars,
but still.... bleeding here to keep this daily my daily

Turn Signal Relay Options

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:22 pm
by tonypatthou
They are extremely pricy, and the correct version will cost you in excess of $200.00 on Ebay, and all over. I forwarded you the contact info for a member on this site who helped me out for $50.00. I know he had a second Flasher Relay he was willing to also part with. He's a good guy, and an excellent resource.


Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:08 pm
by CBradio
I managed to find one for about 120 on Bavauto, but I'm not going to pull the trigger just yet since the problem seems to be isolated to my Dash.

I also posted in the SALE/WTB section

Thank you