View Full Version : HELP with iDrive controller!!

03-02-2011, 01:12 PM
I have a 2005 BMW 645ci and had an accident the other day. I accidentally spilled some coke around the idrive controller and it started malfunctioning. At some times it spins around very erratically and will stop suddenly. The knob can be pushed up down left and right and be responsive to the screen. Controller also works when pressing on it. But turning the knob does not work anymore so I can not navigate through the menus. I think I have to change the whole controller module. Does any know where I can buy that part or what the part number is? has this happened to any body before? Any information will be greatly appreciated!!

Thank You!!

03-02-2011, 02:04 PM

03-02-2011, 02:40 PM
The iDrive controller costs about $444 full list. I would pull it out and try cleaning it with an electrical contact cleaner (available at Radio Shack etc...) Use a liberal amount of cleaner then turn the knob and then go back it spray it again.

03-02-2011, 02:50 PM
Don't forget to let it dry before installing it.

ALSO, You need to remove it before turning the ignition on again. You never know what kind of damage shorting out the controller can cause. Replacing modules will get expensive.

03-02-2011, 10:07 PM
thanks for all the information!! the link really helped and now i know where to purchase the module my self. Its funny you brought up spraying the module with the cleaning spray cus my coworker brought that same solution up today. I will definitely give it a try.

Is there any where here that shows information to a DIY way to remove th controller?

03-02-2011, 10:13 PM
please make sure to update us. dont do a drive-by.kthanks

03-02-2011, 11:02 PM
How technical are you? :D

I just checked out how to get the iDriver controller out and it is quite a bit of work. There is an online copy of the TIS (BMW factory shop manual) but unfortunately most hot-links do not work. The controller removal instruction page only has 1 single photo, but there are several pre-required steps that show you how to remove all the center console trim parts don't work.

I have the TIS on my PC and the hot-links work. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but to access the controller you have to completely remove the center console and that requires the following (probably at least 2 hours work):
1) remove trim around gear selector
2) remove storage compartment in front of gear selector
3) remove center instrument panel trim! (yes the trim around the fan and temp controls)
4) remove rear seats
5) remove rear cup holder
6) remove arm rest
7) remove a bunch of center console screws and small trim pieces
8) remove parking brake boot
9) remove center console

Then you unplug and remove the controller. That's German engineering for you.

If you think you want to try it PM me and I'll show you where to get a copy of the TIS which has detailed instructions.

Here is all I can find online:
TIS Link for removal of Controller - note the pre-required steps links do not work (http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/08/93/90)
Link for ETK picture showing center console parts (not instructions) (http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=EK13&mospid=48815&btnr=51_6866&hg=51&fg=35)
ETK link for the controller (http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=EK13&mospid=48815&btnr=65_1353&hg=65&fg=45)

03-02-2011, 11:07 PM
One other problem. The TIS says you need to carry out programming to enable the new controller. So even if you do install a new controller yourself, you will need to go to the dealer and pay another $100 or so to get them program the car so that it recognizes the new part.:mad:

03-02-2011, 11:39 PM
Wow, did i read that ryte? "Remove back seats?!?" All that just to remove the controller... ima see if i can get some help doin so... worst case scenario, is there any way at all to control idrive without the controler? I knw voice command can werk to switch through each section, but when u need to scroll through the options, it seems the controller is theonly thing that can do that. See, my climate was left on heat and i cant get it bak down to cool since turningg clockwise does not werk, just:) up down left right and pressing down... anyone know?

03-02-2011, 11:44 PM
Btw... thanks Yorgi for all that information, helps a lot! I will deifnitly PM u if i plan to do it myself, that programmimng thing kills me though...

03-03-2011, 12:19 AM
For starters I would pull off the controller knob and hit the controller with a large amount of electrical contact cleaner. Use some rags to protect the console and just soak the switch. While it's still wet spin the knob and move the joystick around to loosen the remaining soft drink.

Repeat if necessary and hopefully the controller will start working again. Contact cleaner dissolves grease and grime and it dries quickly without residue. You can use a lot of it without harming the electronics.

03-03-2011, 01:01 PM
I think my coworker and you are the same person, lol, I cam into work today asking if he can help me and he said "well lets try to spray the module with contact cleaner first and see if it will clean and make it work before we pull it out" lol i will def try it n let you know of what the outcome was... thanks again for all the information!

03-04-2011, 01:56 PM

So i bought the spray cleaner from radio shack and cleaned it this morning. When I tried it nothing changed and I was a bit bummed. Then I started driving around and it started spinning eratically again. This time though I let it spin thinking it maybe be calibrating it self. After the controller did its thing, it started working again!!! it would twitch here and there but now it seem to go back to its old ways... Lets hope it stay like that!

Thank you everyone for your input and help!!! Thanks again Yorgi for all the ideas :bigpimp: you saved me round 500-700 for a fix i dint need to dooooo, i gotta say, today is a good day....

03-04-2011, 03:14 PM
Glad it worked out for you.
Now watch where you set those cokes.:thumbup:

03-04-2011, 03:44 PM
i think ima retire all drinks from my car hahaha now i know y bmw barley hasany cup holders in their vehicles :rofl:

03-04-2011, 06:36 PM
Glad it worked out. The controller would have been a pain to replace. I am surprised the iDrive is not more water resistant considering it's just below the cup holder - an accident waiting to happen.

02-21-2016, 09:32 AM
I have a 3 seres E91, idrive knob would not respond when pressing. After reading the forums and watching a few videos since it seems to be a common fault, I decided to take apart the centre console and take out the unit. Upon opening it was filled with gunk and grease, cleaned it including contacts and put it back together. Works fine now. Contact points didn't need soldering and i didn't have to buy a new unit.