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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-30-2011, 03:57 PM
- Mover - - Mover - is offline
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Reading ABS DSC fault codes

I've read a lot of ABS DSC threads on this board and others and have found some really good writeups on how to diagnose problems with the ABS/ASC-T system.

I, like others, have an intermittent problem where the warning lights come on and then clear away when shutting down the engine. They warning lights may come back in 10 minutes or 1 hour or 1 day with no DTC being set.

My question: When the warning lights do appear, aren't there any ABS fault codes stored anywhere ?

If so, has anyone found a way to retrieve these codes ? (and what equipment was used to retrieve the codes )

I can't believe a company like BMW makes it so hard to track and read faults with their ABS/ASC-T/DSC system.
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2011, 07:56 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Generic scan tools cannot interrogate the ABS, only emissions-related faults. You need a BMW-specific scan tool.

Welcome to the world of Big Brother.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:50 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
You need a BMW-specific scan tool
Long ago, we listed all the known fault codes in the canonical ABS control module thread.
- E39 ABS DIY

Is that good enough for the OP?
- BMW_30-PAGE_DSC_COMPONENTS.PDF

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee
BMW ABS/ASC Bosch 5.7 Table of error codes:
5 Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor
6 Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor
7 Front Left Wheel Speed Sensor
14 Solenoid Valve Relay (check fuses 17 & 33)
15 Pressure Sensor/Pump Error
21 Module Memory Failure - ABS/ASC module is faulty
23 Incorrect Coding - ABS/ASC module is faulty
24 Wrong Impulse
30 Left Rear Wheel Speed Sensor
31 Open Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor
32 Open Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor
33 Open Left Front Wheel Speed Sensor
50 Right Front Outlet Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
51 Left Rear Outlet Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
54 Left Front Inlet Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
55 ASC Intake Valve - ABS/ASC module is faulty
58 Gear Box Control Unit (CAN bus error)
59 DMER1 (CAN bus error)
61 Steering Angle Sensor Identification
66 Speed Sensor Voltage Supply
67 Intermittent Interference
75 Engine Speed Fault from DME
81 Pressure Sensor
82 Open Yaw Rate Sensor
86 ASC Cut-off Valve Rear Axle
88 Precharge Pump
89 Low Voltage
90 Temporary System Deactivation
94 DDE Fault/Yaw rate sensor
97 Steering Angle Sensor
10 Brake Light Switch
108 SN Control
112 Open CAN to Instrument Cluster
114 Pressure Sensor Offset
117 Brake Light Switch Failure
118 DME Status-Internal Error
However, the OP should be advised that the fancy schmancy scan tools often (if not always) report erroneous faults (e.g., the errant P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction or the errant 51 brake pressure sensor codes, both of which I had and both of which were dead wrong).

See why in this often-repeated explanation of the problem with the fancy schmancy diagnostic tools!
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill 540iman
The main point is that any diagnostic equipment that does not test by going between the sensors and the module simply can not definitively see a bad module from a bad sensor. It is as simple as stating that a blood pressure cuff can not diagnose whether high blood pressure reading at a cuff is because of a faulty heart or a clotted artery. You must somehow get readings I suspect (certainly not a Dr.!) between the heart valves or whatever you do to isolate. If your Indy or dealer hooks up to your OBDII port or your 20 pin and definitively tells you that you have a bad wheel speed sensor, that person is full of doo-doo. Only thing you can diagnose correctly 100% of the time from either of these two points is a bad module due to a communication error or similar. They can not tell a bad input (sensor) from a bad module at these test points.
Since the fault codes reported are often (if not always) erroneous, the OP will be interested in the fact that 'most' of the ABS BRAKE DSC trifecta repairs consist of the following (trivial) tests & procedures:

1. Take ten minutes to test the four wheel speed sensors from the engine bay using a 'good' DMM (the Fluke 75 is known to work well).

2. If any are bad, test again at the wheel; if still bad, then replace the errant wheel speed sensor.

3. If all four wheel speed sensors test good, then some people test by running a hair dryer on the ABS control module in the garage and/or spraying freeze spray, to cause the trifecta to appear and disappear at will (because the steel wire lifts ever so slightly off the gold bondpad with temperature changes).

4. Some people even open up the ABS control module and use a magnetized needle to test the steel power wires for connection to their gold bondpad.

5. Either way, the solution is generally to send the ABS control module out to the rebuilders for 'repair'. If you do go that route, PLEASE contact the rebuilders when your particular ABS control module is on their test jig and ASK them what they found wrong.

We're trying to collect that anecdotal evidence (which appears, to me, to contain mostly lies from the rebuilders) over in the canonical ABS DSC BRAKE trifecta thread.

More details that you could possibly ask for are in this thread:
- E39 ABS DIY
Note: Read the whole thread - not just that single post #48.



Last edited by bluebee; 07-30-2011 at 11:56 PM.
  #4  
Old 08-03-2011, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Generic scan tools cannot interrogate the ABS, only emissions-related faults. You need a BMW-specific scan tool.
I decided to go to a local indy who has diagnostic equipment that could read the ABS fault code instead of continuing to chase the intermittent problem.

I actually began to test the sensors myself. They all showed to be working fine which was puzzling. At this point I decided chasing an intermittent problem could be a long process so I decided to find out what the actual stored fault was. The fault was being triggered by one of the front sensors.

Changed the sensor and no more warning lights.

Last edited by - Mover -; 08-03-2011 at 07:28 AM.
  #5  
Old 08-03-2011, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
I decided to go to a local indy who has diagnostic equipment that could read the ABS fault code instead of continuing to chase the intermittent problem.
And? You paid for it. What did the indy report?

Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
... test the sensors myself. They all showed to be working fine
You should post your numbers in the aforementioned ABS thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
The fault was being triggered by one of the front sensors.
I'd love to know HOW they hooked up the diagnostic tool to tell you that, for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
Changed the sensor and no more warning lights.
I am suspicious that a good DMM wouldn't have told you what you ended up paying an Indy to tell you (and for less money than the cost of the good DMM).

But, the good news is that, if it was the wheel speed sensor, that the problem is resolved.

As many have said, most of the time it's a single wheel speed sensor (which can be diagnosed with a 'good dmm') or the steel wire lifted off its gold bond pad inside the ABS control module.
  #6  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
And? You paid for it.
Of course I did ! I slipped him a 20 for his time which wasn't very long.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post

I am suspicious that a good DMM wouldn't have told you what you ended up paying an Indy to tell you (and for less money than the cost of the good DMM).

.
Are you implying my volt meter isn't good ? Careful on that statement... I'm sure its a good one.

One thing you keep overlooking is the fact that this was an intermittent problem. I wanted to know what was tripping the warning when it did show itself. It wasn't a situation where the fault was constantly there to detect, therefore, it didn't show when the sensor was measured.

Don't confuse my solution to the problem with my opinion of the writeups and documentation on the subject. They are excellent for understanding and troubleshooting without reading the fault codes.
  #7  
Old 08-03-2011, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
Of course I did ! I slipped him a 20 for his time which wasn't very long.
That was my way of discreetly asking to see the report.

With all this discussion about what the diagnostic tools can and cannot do, that report could add to the DIAGNOSTIC tribal knowledge. That's all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
Are you implying my volt meter isn't good ? Careful on that statement...
Again. No evil intent, I assure you. Again, with the focus on the DIAGNOSTICS (it always was), I'd be interested to see the wheel speed sensor readings (to compare with the report).

Without either the report, or the wheel speed sensor readings, we have no contribution to the diagnostic tree from this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
I'm sure its a good one.
BTW, what DMM did you use?

Note: I used a Fluke 75 which is known to work; however, others have had problems aplenty with other DMMs. Again, I ask for D I A G N O S T I C reasons.

Last edited by bluebee; 08-03-2011 at 06:46 PM.
  #8  
Old 08-03-2011, 12:28 PM
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You used "warning lights" (plural) in your OP. I am assuming by that you mean the combination of the DSC warning light, the amber BRAKE warning light and the amber ABS warning light. If so, be advised that the wheel speed sensor "fix" lasted me all of two weeks. After I read up on the wealth of great info here about the ABS module and had it sent off for repair, the problem has been resolved since. Good luck.
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For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
  #9  
Old 08-03-2011, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
You used "warning lights" (plural) in your OP. I am assuming by that you mean the combination of the DSC warning light, the amber BRAKE warning light and the amber ABS warning light. If so, be advised that the wheel speed sensor "fix" lasted me all of two weeks. After I read up on the wealth of great info here about the ABS module and had it sent off for repair, the problem has been resolved since. Good luck.
Sorry to hear of your misfortune.

I didn't have 3 warning lights.

The fact of the matter is that the problem I encountered is most definitey fixed.
  #10  
Old 08-03-2011, 02:30 PM
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Then perhaps you can clarify what you meant by "warning lights" for the benefit of this forum's tribal knowledge.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
  #11  
Old 08-03-2011, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
Then perhaps you can clarify what you meant by "warning lights" for the benefit of this forum's tribal knowledge.
Plural - 'more than one'. As per the title of the thread, the ABS light and the DSC light.

And, to make it clear, it is most definitely fixed.

Last edited by - Mover -; 08-03-2011 at 03:35 PM.
  #12  
Old 08-03-2011, 06:46 PM
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The thread title made no mention of any lights - only fault codes - which is why I asked the question.

Thanks anyway for contribution.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
  #13  
Old 08-03-2011, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
The thread title made no mention of any lights - only fault codes
I agree. I simply 'assumed' (incorrectly, it now appears) he had the 'trifecta'.

Anyway, I'm glad the problem is resolved - but - that's not really the point. The point is to improve our diagnostic capabilities.

It would be nice to see some of the diagnostic information that was used here so that we can improve the record.
  #14  
Old 08-03-2011, 08:01 PM
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Report ? What meter ? .... etc..etc

This isn't rocket science.

It took the indy 2, maybe 3 minutes to pull the code on screen... no fancy report.

This was an intermittent problem. I wanted to know what was tripping the warning when it did show itself. It wasn't a situation where the fault was constantly there to detect, therefore, it didn't show when the sensor was measured.

I chose to solve the problem as described. Perhaps someone else may do the same BEFORE sending their unit out for a rebuild.
  #15  
Old 08-05-2011, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
....- but - that's not really the point. The point is to improve our diagnostic capabilities.

.
No its not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
My question: When the warning lights do appear, aren't there any ABS fault codes stored anywhere ?

If so, has anyone found a way to retrieve these codes ? (and what equipment was used to retrieve the codes )
This is the point.

You seem to have a 'need' to jump into any thread that has the word ABS in it ... or worse, hijack someone elses thread.

Its obvious that its offended some by the methodology used - thats unfortunate and clear with some of the remarks made in this thread.

Perhaps you should start another thread if you are looking '.. to improve our diagnostic capabilities.'

Last edited by - Mover -; 08-05-2011 at 07:07 AM.
  #16  
Old 08-06-2011, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by - Mover - View Post
You seem to have a 'need' to jump into any thread that has the word ABS in it ... or worse, hijack someone elses thread...

Its obvious that its offended some by the methodology used - thats unfortunate and clear with some of the remarks made in this thread.
Exactly how did you come to the conclusion that your methodology has offended anyone when you haven't provided any specifics as to how you declared the issue most definitely fixed other than 1.) trust your indy when he told you it was a wheel speed sensor and 2.) gave him $20?

There are two things we do know for certain: You're the one who created a thread and requested assistance, and you can rest assured that no one who offered it to you in this thread will be doing so again.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
  #17  
Old 08-03-2011, 09:17 PM
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For many, including me, the light trifecta was also an intermittent problem. It's okay to want to trust your mechanic implicitly, though please understand that the lack of specifics makes many of us (who've seen and helped diagnose this issue repeatedly) skeptical.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
  #18  
Old 08-04-2011, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
.... to want to trust your mechanic implicitly.
'Trust my mechanic' ?? I was right there watching what he did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
.... makes many of us (who've seen and helped diagnose this issue repeatedly) skeptical.
I'm not going to even bother with that statement.

No, I didn't want to spend time putting a hair dryer to the module.... or buying freezing spray... or opening up the module and playing with the wiring.

I chose to solve the problem as described. It seems that my choice of not following a certain developed methodology is causing certain people to be flustered for not following that methodology... thats unfortunate.

Thanks to those that answered my question.

The problem is most definitely fixed.

Last edited by - Mover -; 08-04-2011 at 07:09 AM.
  #19  
Old 08-04-2011, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
please understand that the lack of specifics makes many of us (who've seen and helped diagnose this issue repeatedly) skeptical [emphasis added].
That's the word!

You successfully pinpointed my vague feelings about two strange repeated things in this thread!
- unexpected & overly defensive replies
- repeated lack of usable referenceable details

But, again, no big deal. I'm happy the issue is declared 'permanently' resolved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agent15 View Post
I don't think anyone's flustered, and we are all happy that the problem is most definitely fixed. ... What we were hoping to ascertain from you were the sensor test results, the type of scanner used, what the fault code actually was, etc. - or any details at all really - for the benefit of the ... pool of knowledge
+1

Something as simple as this:
Quote:
31 Open Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor
Or this:
Quote:

Last edited by bluebee; 08-04-2011 at 10:44 AM.
  #20  
Old 08-05-2011, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
That's the word!

You successfully pinpointed my vague feelings about two strange repeated things in this thread!
- unexpected & overly defensive replies
- repeated lack of usable referenceable details

But, again, no big deal. I'm happy the issue is declared 'permanently' resolved.



+1

Something as simple as this:
Or this:
Who made you God ???

Grow up. Not everyone is going solve their problem using the 'masterpiece' you created.

Last edited by - Mover -; 08-05-2011 at 07:33 AM.
  #21  
Old 08-04-2011, 07:19 AM
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I don't think anyone's flustered, and we are all happy that the problem is most definitely fixed. What we were hoping to ascertain from you were the sensor test results, the type of scanner used, what the fault code actually was, etc. - or any details at all really - for the benefit of the vast pool of knowledge that bluebee so meticulously maintains.
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For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
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