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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sat, Sep-19-2015, 11:28:36 PM   #1
Drewster
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Default How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

(Goes without saying, but I'm not responsible for any damage to your car. Do NOT do electrical work without disconnecting the battery)
Update:
Here's the basic wiring diagram - be sure to make sure that your wiring looks pretty close to mine, as I have no idea as to whether or not BMW changed their design at some point (my car is a 2003.5)
https://flic.kr/p/VSU6Kx

Here's the wire from the Aux fan you need to splice into:
I wasn't able to heat-shrink this guy without the wire shrinking it, so I had to resort to electrical tape
https://flic.kr/p/Wvr8af

If everything is working, you can test by hitting the AC- which should be enough to engage the SPAL fan relay.

Although they're in ideal proximity for the fan's ground lug, I do *not* recommend the following for grounding:
- Any of the coolant reservoir bolts (they go to plastic studs)
- The front bolts by the headlights (they get hot with the fan's current)
- Vanos bolts, as there's not enough thread with the lug there and you might strip it

I'd highly recommend that you solder the wires together rather than using butt-splices, but if you aren't comfortable soldering, I at least recommend the heat-shrink splices.

If you're cool with soldering, definitely grab:
-Heatshrink (adhesive-lined, if possible)
-Un-insulated, single core wire
-Electrical tape, since splicing the Aux fan is a pain.

To splice the heavy (12ga) wires, push them together, squeeze the strands back together, tightly wind the un-insulated wire around, then solder, then heatshrink. You should go from this:
[IMG]https://flic.kr/p/VSU3SD
To this:
[IMG]https://flic.kr/p/Wvr8b7

Even if you're not comfortable soldering, I highly recommend using the heat-shrink as a strain-relief like so:
[IMG]https://flic.kr/p/Wvr8aA
[OP]
After getting my stuff from Bimmerworld, I got a little handout of instructions that was a little less than helpful.. in fact it's pretty much wrong in every way.

Talking with Bimmerworld the first time this didn't work made it sound like you could just splice into the PWM signal from the ECU to power the coil in the relay... nope. Let the car idle and *neither* came on.

Interesting note, the signal is actually an inverse (5v) duty cycle, meaning that the ECU actually widens the LOW portion of the signal when it wants the fan to kick on... even if the ECU *could* power the relay, it wouldn't work properly.

Then, I assumed they meant you want to power the relay based on the power (grey) wire going directly to the Aux fan motor, and must've just switched the colors (since the instructions show a splice to a blue wire)... also wrong. The fan controller has a constant 12V on, not even switched, so doing this means your fan will run until the battery dies. However, it *does* switch ground (brown wire).

The trick is actually to wire the relay (hot) trigger to 12V, then wire the ground of the trigger to the negative wire going to the Aux fan's motor.

Took some pictures which I'll post later, but hopefully that helps a few people looking for advice!

Last edited by Drewster; Wed, Jul-26-2017 at 01:44:02 AM.
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 03:32:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to pics!
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 03:40:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

I ran into the same issues you did when setting up my SPAL fan and relay. There are a few different options here...

1) hook up the gray wire to ground for an "always on" application
2) wire the grey line to a switch to ground for a manual turn on application inside the cabin
3) use the SPAL temp sensor with an inline adapter to your upper radiator hose. Sensors are offered in 185F or 195F activation temps

My setup is option three if anybody has questions.
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 03:44:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

Yup, from most of the things I saw online, people just gave up and bought a thermostat. Personally, I like that the ECU has some (all) input on fan control
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 06:32:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

Nice one, waiting for pics.
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 04:54:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewster View Post
Yup, from most of the things I saw online, people just gave up and bought a thermostat. Personally, I like that the ECU has some (all) input on fan control

Either way you look at it, they are both driven by the coolant temp.
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Rogue Engineering ASP, RSM, RTABs, TM | TMS Sway Bars, Camber Arms, Pullies | Mason Race Strut, Rear X-Brace | AS 30% SSK | aFe Stage 2 | SPAL Fan
AKG FCABs, SFB | Redish Reinforcement | Turbo Toys V2 Hub | WPC Treated Rod Bearings
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 05:42:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

I actually took my spal out to fix the issue. Larger fan did not fit. Looking forward to the picutres.

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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 06:21:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

Also which relay did you purchase?

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 09:17:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

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Originally Posted by M3_mann View Post
Also which relay did you purchase?

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk
It's the Spal fan relay via Bimmerworld - should be able to post pics tonight, just got my car back together.

Part of what took so damn long was making a custom bracket for the big fan - they only fit at the edge of the rad
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Old Sun, Sep-20-2015, 10:39:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller

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Originally Posted by Drewster View Post
It's the Spal fan relay via Bimmerworld - should be able to post pics tonight, just got my car back together.

Part of what took so damn long was making a custom bracket for the big fan - they only fit at the edge of the rad
Hah yeah when i was fiddling around with the curved spal with a big motor, I could only make it fit flush along left side of radiator without bumping into the accessory belt and pulleys. You are keeping the aux fan right?
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Discussing How to (actually) wire up a SPAL fan to the aux controller in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)