View Full Version : 1996 BMW E39 525 TDS a.k.a. Christmas tree lights

12-31-2002, 02:44 AM
If anyone can suggest any solutions for this one firstly I would be greatly thankful and secondly you should be working for BMW!

I'm pretty good with diagnosing faults but this one has me completely stumped.

Of recent I have been leaving the car outside instead of garaged although I don't see why this would cause such problems.

The first problem I am having is starting in the morning. I do believe it is the glow plugs as it starts fine once warmed up. However, after 1 mile the engine cuts out and again takes forever to start. The problem is very annoying, fuel pump? Water in diesel? I have no idea.

Here is the interesting one, I'll run through the scenario occurring over the last week: I get out of the car, everything is switched off, but at random as if it were possessed, a reverse light comes on, then a drivers side brake light then the front drivers side headlamp, then perhaps two reverse lights stay on, then the left side reverse light and the right side brake light!!!!! Woke up this morning to a dead battery, and with the starting difficulties it was a total loss.
The lights stay on continuously and go off at random, it could be any of the above combinations and at any time, even whilst driving.
I have checked bulbs, fuses etc, and no problems. But, the basic check control does not tell me if there is a fault even if I take a bulb out. Furthermore, it is an automatic. The light which shows which mode of drive you are in i.e. P N D S 3 2 1 stays lit continually. I recall this used to switch of after a certain time delay once you exit the car.

Any good suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I can feel a hole burning in my pocket with the smell of a BMW dealership!


12-31-2002, 09:10 AM
Try http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e39/

Although diesel questions are rarely answered... :dunno:

Terry Kennedy
12-31-2002, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by Ben
Any good suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I can feel a hole burning in my pocket with the smell of a BMW dealership!
I don't have any idea about these specific issues. However - I had the dead battery and shifter light stuck on problems in a 2003 E46 and it turned out to be the General Module. I don't know if a '96 even has a similar General Module, though.

I would hope that if you took it to a dealer for an estimate they could at least read out any fault codes and tell you what it needed. At least in the US, you could then say "nope, too expensive", pay the (relatively small) fee for the estimate and diagnosis, and either swap parts yourself or take it to a 3rd party shop.

One other guess - is it possible you've got water in your wiring from leaving it outside? A friend had a Maxima with voice warnings and if he drove through a puddle he'd get a whole bunch of warning lights and the voice warnings would be all garbled - "headlights are ajar", "fuel level is open are on door", and so forth.