E28 Blade Fuse Box Upgrade Kit Installation Manual

Check out the E28 Blade Fuse Retrofit Kit Install Walkthrough on YouTube.

Basic instructions:

  1. Disconnect positive terminal from the battery.
  2. Remove old fuses and relays.
  3. Remove back cover from fuse box.
  4. Unplug all wires that connect to the bottom of the bullet-style fuse holders.
  5. Remove cardboard color guide.
  6. Remove all of the bullet-style holders (destructive operation).
  7. Put new circuit board in.
  8. Replace cardboard color guide.
  9. Plug all wires back in to their original locations.
  10. Wire up the LED ground wire.
  11. Put back cover back on.
  12. Reinstall relays.
  13. Reconnect positive battery terminal.
Detailed instructions:
  1. Verify all electrics work (or not).
  2. Cover your fender with something so you don't scratch your paint while working.
  3. Disconnect positive terminal from the battery. IMPORTANT!
  4. Move out of the way: cruise control actuator, aux fuse box, and anything else that will make fondling fuse box difficult.
  5. Remove ground bolt on fender.
  6. Remove fuse box cover.
  7. Disconnect C101 and relays hanging off the fuse box.
  8. Remove two 10mm nuts holding fuse box in place.
  9. Put something soft between the fuse box and the fender. Like a cushy towel. This is to protect your fender from sharp bits on the fuse box and to prevent pointy bits on the fender from catching wires as you manhandle the fuse box.
  10. Verify you can rotate the fuse box 180 degrees BOTH directions. If you can't you still need to snip some zip ties or free up more wires.
  11. Remove all relays from the fuse box (technically you could get away with only removing the horn and high beam relays, but you'll want the rest removed for when you get to the 'going medieval' step below.
  12. Remove all old fuses.
  13. Unscrew the two Philips screws that were hidden under the horn and high beam relays. DO NOT unbolt the hex nut.
  14. Rotate the fuse box 180 degrees towards you.
  15. Pop the base cover off. A sharp screwdriver in the gap might get it started. The wires stay with the part you are not removing.
  16. You will now see the nest of wires in all their glory. If you see any hacky splices, nicked wires, or other things obviously amiss, note them and ensure they get fixed while you're in there.
  17. Unplug the three plugs.
  18. Start taking gobs of pictures. You cannot take enough pictures. You will most certainly regret not taking more. This Flickr album may help, but your fuse box may be slightly different. Note, for example how the WH/PINK wire goes to a plug labeled WH/OR and NOT the one next to it that is WH/VI. You'd THINK PINK is closer to VIOLET than ORANGE. You'd be wrong.
  19. Start unplugging. Start with the wires that are most accessible (usually those that go to the rear of car) and move to those that were more buried. To remove the wires DO NOT JUST YANK ON THE WIRE. Use the plastic pluggy thing. If needed, use a thin-bladed screwdriver to CAREFULLY pry under the plastic thingies. But be careful to NOT DAMAGE the cardboard color-coding card!
  20. You will find rotating the fuse box 360 degrees in the other direction will make getting some of the wires unplugged easier.
  21. Take more pictures as you progress and more connectors become visible.
  22. Eventually there will be no more wires connected to pins.
  23. De-pin the BR wire going to the Horn Relay. It is not strictly necessary to de-pin any of the relay connectors, but removing the pin for the BR wire that goes to the horn relay will make moving the fuse box around easier in subsequent steps.
  24. Carefully (like, really) remove the cardboard color-coding card. It is fragile. It is cardboard that was probably made in East Germany before the war. If you tear it a little that's ok, but it IS YOUR GUIDE to completing this project.
  25. Rotate the fuse box back so the business side is up.
  26. Now it's time to go medieval. The following is destructive and there's no turning back (other than acquiring another fuse box) after this point.
  27. Remove all of the bullet-style fuse holders. Use a combination of screwdrivers and needle-nose pliers to rip them out.
  28. Some will come out easy.
  29. Some will break when you try. Just push the pins through the bottom, or use needle nose pliers to pull them through.
  30. Some will have melty associated with them. You'll just need to win the fight.
  31. If you break some plastic, don't sweat. The design of the retrofit doesn't care.
  32. After removing all the bullet-style holders, use a knife to score the bases of the spare fuse holders. Use needlenose pliers to rip them off. Then use a sharp blade to cut any remaining jaggies down flat (this is IMPORTANT) because the new circuit board may sit too high otherwise.
  33. For any of the slots where fuses cause melty, use a file or knife to ensure the slot is clear and the right size.
  34. Some e12 based cars may need one or two holes cut to clear blades in the kit.
  35. Carefully set the new circuit board on top and CAREFULLY try to get the blades to slide through the slots. DO NOT FORCE IT. If it doesn't go relatively easily some of the melty needs to be cleaned up more. You may also need to CAREFULLY slightly bend some blades to line them up with their slots. Rock it back and forth gently and take your time.
  36. Once the circuit board is seated, put the fuse box cover back on. Check to ensure the new blade style fuses are not interfering with the cover. There should be 0.5-1mm gap between the inside of the cover and the top of the fuses. If there is interference the circuit board is not seated all the way (did you leave melty or parts of the spare holders sticking up)?
  37. LEAVE THE FUSE BOX COVER ON. Attach it with a screw so it's secure. If you have a pristine cover you may want to find a not-so-pristine cover to do this with... the idea is you'll be protecting the new circuit board from damage when you flip the whole thing back over again and start plugging wires back in.
  38. Flip the fuse box 180 degrees so the blades are visible.
  39. Put the cardboard color guide on. IMPORTANT: Some cars' cardboard color guide don't have pin slots for all of the pins on the retrofit kit. Use a knife to carefully cut new slots.
  40. Fix any wiring crimes committed by POs (or younger yous) now. Use proper tools and splicing methods. Seriously, don't be that guy anymore.
  41. Reconnect all the plugs onto the appropriate blades, using the cardboard color guide, your photos, and the following:
  42. - If there are two places a wire can go, wires that go to the front of the car, go on the left (towards the engine). Wires that go to the rear of the car go on the right.
  43. - Wires with white plastic thingies are "output" from fuses and thus go on the bottom (front of the car).
  44. - Wires with black plastic thingies (or just bare blades) are "input" to fuses and thus go on the top.
  45. - Wires without plastic thingies go where they were originally (check your pictures).
  46. - Start with the front of the car wiring first. Then do rear of the car.
  47. Feed the small end of the black wire that came with the kit through the grommet that goes to the front of the car. Plug the little end of this wire into the small blade poking down from the circuit board below where the spare fuses are. This is a ground wire for the status LED circuit. The LEDs will not work (but everything else will) if you skip this step.
  48. Once you are done, double-check your photos. If a little voice voiced uncertainty, listen to it. Go back and check the pictures.
  49. Plug the three plugs you unplugged above back together.
  50. Now test that you did it right.
  51. - Rotate the fusebox 180 degrees so the business end is up again.
  52. - Remove cover.
  53. - Install all relays.
  54. - Plug C101 in (you will forget to do this at some point and wonder why the car won't start).
  55. - Take a deep breath and look around ensuring you didn't forget anything.
  56. - Reconnect the positive terminal to the battery.
  57. - Three LEDs should light (fuses 4, 5, and 17). If they don't, flip the little switch between the spare fuses and fuse 4. If the LEDs still don't light, something ain't right.
  58. - Try to start the car and test that all electrics work.
  59. - Assuming it's all A-OK, button everything back up the reverse of above. When putting the fusebox back cover on, there are three posts. If you can't get it to close tightly there's probably a wire interfering with one of the posts.

The hardest thing about installing this kit is ensuring you plug all the wires back correctly. Having tons of photos really helps because even though things are color-coded, the colors don't really match after 35 years.

See this photo album for clear photos of where all the wires should be plugged back in: Holy Grail Labs E28 Blade Fuse Kit - Wire Locations

Please use the Official E28 Fuse Box Kit thread on mye28.com to ask questions and get help. Holy Grail Labs staff check the forum regularly and will respond promptly.

Installation Video:

And here's another video from the community.