The E36 has somewhat off front positive connection terminals to control the electrics of the car. Unlike the E46 which runs a straightforward positive and negative cable from the trunk to the engine compartment, the E36’s cable runs are a bit unconventional. While E46 connection terminals have obvious nuts that screw off to attach peripherals such as a Deltran Battery Tender, the E36s positive battery terminal under the hood is more complicated and requires more finesse to properly hook up.
The main E36 positive battery terminal located under the hood is a large nut that looks conventional and easy enough to screw off, but in actuality is a permanent metal contact point and does not screw off at all. Careful! Don’t try to force this off with a socket set or you might break it loose! It’s there for simple attachment to jumper cables. Instead, BMW has additional positive terminal connections below the plastic housing of the larger positive terminal. Here, you can screw off the nuts, attach your devices, and re-attach for a permanent connection to the positive power of the vehicle.
In this video I show you where the pitfalls are and how to get around this goofy setup without too much fuss. It will take a little patience, but if you have the right tools — a long metal or plastic pick or pry tool, 10mm socket, and some finger dexterity, you can do this in 10-20 minutes and start charging your BMW from the front rather than the back.