All relays are not equal. Especially in a BMW. The pin layout is standardized, but the electrical function of the pins can be different from application to application.
In my case the previous owner apparently didn’t get this and just got three cheap relays from Pelican (BMW Part # 61.36-1 391 397, these are gray) and stuck them in when he restored the AC system after removing it for AutoX duty. He was two-thirds lucky.
The burnt out connector is for the high speed fan relay. By using the wrong relay, the interlock that prevents the high speed and low speed winding from being turned on at the same time was defeated and the 30AMP fuse 41 was fed directly through the small gauge wiring feeding the relay control. So it burned up.
This connector was shot, I could not remove the burnt in pins and had to cut the connector out and splice a new one in.
For future trouble shooting and clarification, here is a diagram that details what relays go where, and what the pin functions are (this appears to hold for every year of M3, and may hold for all E36, YMMV, caveat emptor, don’t sue me etc. etc.):
The proper relays are
- High speed fan BMW #61.36-1 391 397
- Fan Clutch Relay BMW #61.36-1 389 105
- Low speed fan relay BMW #61.36-1 389 105
Many thanks to Todd at the M3 forum for taking the time to give me the part numbers for the relays that were installed in his car.