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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 09-01-2011, 08:40 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i M-Sport 6-Spd
540i/6 dead, help please.....

Ok, driving home from work yesterday, running perfectly at 45mph and the car dies with no warning. Cluster displays "Engine Failsafe Prog" and code reader pulls P0120, P0123, P0221, and P0223. The 221 and 223 codes alternate showing up on the scans, one is always there but they are never there at the same time. All the codes reference the throttle position sensor, but being a generic code reader, I dont know if it is the sensor on the pedal or the one in the throttle body. Anyway, she cranks normally, starts for about 2 seconds and then kills itself and gives me the same message. the engine sounds completely normal for the two seconds it is running, so I don't think it is anything major. I tried to do some searching before posting this, but was unable to come up with any helpful threads. Just a quick list of suggestions I have already tried with no luck: changed the battery, twice; cleared the codes (didn't think that one would work anyway); tried to crank while jumping battery with another vehicle; swapped the Mass Air Meter (had my old working unit sitting on the shelf, made no difference). I have recently done some maintenance on the car, but that was well over a month ago so I don't believe this is an issue stemming from any of that work. Just for the sake of being thorough, the list of parts replaced: Mass Air Meter, Auxiliary Cooling Fan, Spark Plugs, Valve Cover Gaskets, and all filters. Car just clocked 123,000 miles if that helps anyone with some ideas. Any help troublshooting this issue would be greatly appreciated......
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2011, 06:44 AM
bmw_n00b13's Avatar
bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Perhaps something wasn't reconnected on the intake when it was all put back together? It may help to look into setting up one of the advanced tools such as Carsoft or GT-1 or the like.
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2011, 11:28 AM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6, '90 BMW k75s
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead969 View Post
Ok, driving home from work yesterday, running perfectly at 45mph and the car dies with no warning. Cluster displays "Engine Failsafe Prog" and code reader pulls P0120, P0123, P0221, and P0223. The 221 and 223 codes alternate showing up on the scans, one is always there but they are never there at the same time. All the codes reference the throttle position sensor, but being a generic code reader, I dont know if it is the sensor on the pedal or the one in the throttle body. Anyway, she cranks normally, starts for about 2 seconds and then kills itself and gives me the same message. the engine sounds completely normal for the two seconds it is running, so I don't think it is anything major. I tried to do some searching before posting this, but was unable to come up with any helpful threads. Just a quick list of suggestions I have already tried with no luck: changed the battery, twice; cleared the codes (didn't think that one would work anyway); tried to crank while jumping battery with another vehicle; swapped the Mass Air Meter (had my old working unit sitting on the shelf, made no difference). I have recently done some maintenance on the car, but that was well over a month ago so I don't believe this is an issue stemming from any of that work. Just for the sake of being thorough, the list of parts replaced: Mass Air Meter, Auxiliary Cooling Fan, Spark Plugs, Valve Cover Gaskets, and all filters. Car just clocked 123,000 miles if that helps anyone with some ideas. Any help troublshooting this issue would be greatly appreciated......
I think 2001 was the beginning of the total "drive by wire" throttle system. Looking at these diagnostic codes, I think it'd be worthwhile to sort out what "switch A" and "switch B" do, check the connections to them, and consider replacing one or both.

P0120 = Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'A' Circuit
P0123 =Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'A' Circuit High
P0221 = Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'B' Circuit Range/Performance
P0223 = Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'B' Circuit High

I have the same car, and so I'm really interested in what you find.
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  #4  
Old 09-02-2011, 03:46 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i M-Sport 6-Spd
8/98 would be the start of the "drive by wire", so both of ours will have that system. One of the sensors is mounted to the back of the throttle pedal and as far as I've found so far, can only be replaced as a unit with the pedal assembly. The other sensor is built into the throttle body and will also require replacement of the throttle body as a unit. Unless someone can provide me with some troubleshooting procedures for either of these sensors, this will probably be a parts swapping adventure. Pedal assembly will be first as it is the cheaper of the two and mine already had part of the plastic housing broken. I will update with the results when I can afford the parts, unless someone can provide some troublshooting help other than buy a scanner that I can't afford....
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  #5  
Old 09-02-2011, 05:08 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Sorry bmw_n00b13, for whatever reason I didn't see your post before the last reply. I thought perhaps I had left a conection loose or something of that sort as well, but I already went back and checked all those connections and they all seem ok. I checked all the vacuum lines as well just to be on the safe side. As for the advanced diagnostic tools, I just don't have the money right now to buy them and the parts....
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  #6  
Old 09-02-2011, 06:01 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Ok, I guess I was distracted by the car being a BMW and forgot that it is still just a car. Went back to the country boy troubleshooting method: pulled the connector of the TPS on the pedal, scanned again and came back with the exact same codes. Now, assuming that BMWs computers think anything like the American cars I'm used to, if that wasn't the sensor that it was already seeing as bad it would have registered some additional codes. So now I'm leaning heavily toward that sensor as being the culprit in this case. I am going to the stealership tomorrow to see about getting the part, I will update with the results when I get it.
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2011, 07:18 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Before you go throwing parts at it here is some info you may not know.
The gas pedal position pot is a dual potientiometer that the DME uses for throttle control and feedback from the second pot.
There is also a dual pot inside the throttle body. The DME compares the voltage reading of both, if they don't agree you get the error you have.
When you replace these parts they need to be calibrated (GT-1 or MoDic) so the DME knows what's what.
I have got the some of the same codes for the pedal position pot in the past.
I popped off the side cover on the throttle body and sprayed the pot with volume control cleaner. Haven't had the problem since.
I spoke to the BMW shop foreman about this problem, he said that it can sometimes occur if you mash the gas pedal to the floor real quick.
The pot is under the clock spring.



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  #8  
Old 09-02-2011, 10:05 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Thank you for the tip, I will most definitely try that before spending hundreds of dollars on a hunch. Will update with the results....
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  #9  
Old 09-02-2011, 10:09 PM
GreenTiger GreenTiger is offline
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sorry, im not going to be much of help to this thread, but just curious: what do the e39 before drive by wire have?
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  #10  
Old 09-02-2011, 10:40 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i M-Sport 6-Spd
From what I understand, they had a standard throttle cable between the pedal and the throttle body to actuate the butterfly. I believe they had a TPS mounted on the the throttle body as well as the pedal so the computer could compare the signals.
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  #11  
Old 09-06-2011, 06:56 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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No luck with the cleaner, guess I will have to take it to the stealership when I get the money for the diagnostic. Thanks for the tips, I will update again when I find out what the problem is.
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  #12  
Old 09-06-2011, 07:05 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Sorry to hear that, Gearhead. Good luck getting this resolved.
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  #13  
Old 09-14-2011, 08:09 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Ok, just got the car scanned by a local German auto shop (using the GT1). But, get this, it's a toss up as to whether it is the pedal position sensor or the DME.

In the process of testing the sensor, when the only possible causes left were the DME or the sensor, the GT1 had us remove plug 4 from the DME and test the voltage across pins 9 and 14 with the sensor disconnected and the key in the run position (this was to rule out a faulty DME causing the sensor to fail the sweep test, which mine did). The specified range was 4.9 - 5.3 volts and the result was 5.7 volts. Although it doesn't look good for my wallet right now, the technician said that he wouldn't be 100% in saying that it was the DME because the voltage was close to the specification ("perhaps the calibration on the test meter could be off by that much" was the tech's point). He also said that he has only seen the voltage below spec in cases where the DME is faulty, and that a higher than spec voltage seemed strange to him.

Since the housing on my throttle pedal assembly was already cracked, I will be ordering the pedal assembly tomorrow. I figure since we aren't 100% between the two possibilities, I'll go ahead and replace the one that I needed to replace anyway. If that doesn't fix it, I guess I will be looking for a new DME.

Thats the update for now, I will post again when I know more. If anyone has any insight on this, it would be much appreciated.
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  #14  
Old 09-14-2011, 08:18 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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Sounds like a reasonable plan. Thanks for the update.
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  #15  
Old 09-19-2011, 05:24 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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No luck with the throttle sensor, so I guess it will be going to the shop on Wednesday to confirm that it is in fact the DME and we'll go from there...
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  #16  
Old 09-19-2011, 09:58 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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The assembly on the throttle plate is a known failure area. I would try to rule it out before replacing the DME. I have seen almost no reports of a validated DME failure, but there have been some on the the throttle position assembly.
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  #17  
Old 09-21-2011, 09:38 PM
gearhead969 gearhead969 is offline
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Thanks for the suggestion, but according to the GT1 at my repair facility, all is well with the sensor on the throttle body. However, they will be getting the car tomorrow to perform a full diagnostic to determine the exact problem.
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  #18  
Old 12-10-2011, 07:50 AM
Reefin' Dude Reefin' Dude is offline
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i am having the exact same problem with my 02 540it and giving an update to what i have done for others who may come across this thread. for me it started pretty rapidly one day the car had a very irregular throttle response in the first couple of miles of driving, then settled out no problem. a few days later it really started hiccuping and got the Engine Failure Prog on the hi-OBC. shut the car off. started it up, then drove fine till i stopped for lunch. of course 35 miles from home. started the car and went only a mile before the Engine Failure Prog came on again and was only allowed to drive 30mph. no SES light. i pulled out my code reader just in case, but still nothing. started it back up after eating lunch, we got it to go ran fine, so i put in new Shell 93 just to be sure it was not the rotgut gas i got in SC for $2.98 89octane. we were able to get to the boat. on the way home from the boat when i came to a hill and was approaching the top of the hill i completely eased off the gas and the car started hiccuping again. this time the SES light came on along with the EFP message. stopped at a gas station and read the codes. p0120 and p0221 were the only codes. reading the codes indicated a good chance that i was the pedal. i stomped on it a few times before starting the car again. it ran fine for a while until i got on the highway again. once again the EFP message showed up when i was coasting. hmm. stomped on the pedal a few times, then off i went again. whenever i would just start the car i would almost immediately get the EFP message. only every now and then would i get the SES light. i kept the code reader up in front with me on the way home to clear and check as soon as i could to see if anything really bad were to show up. the strange thing is that sometimes the car would run fine even though the EFP message was in the OBC. i finally got home. after about 5-6 restarts. annoying.

doing some research i decided to start with the pedal since, for me stomping on the pedal seemed to semi correct it. this all happened on Sunday. i tried disconnecting the pedal and checking all connections on the MAF and throttle body but as soon as i started the car it would hiccup and EFP would show up. i just got done installing the new pedal and resetting the computer (left neg terminal undone for about an hour or so, i was doing other stuff, so not sure exactly, but long enough to clear things out). the new pedal definitely felt firmer. not sure if this is just normal wear and tear feeling or an indicator that things are not so good with the pedal. the wagon started right up and i was able to drive about 4 miles completely trouble free. i know that it is just a short test. i will hopefully give it a better test in the next couple of days.

i was hoping to get my VAG KKL cable in before the pedal came to see what exactly is showing up on a GT1 to give even better feedback. hopefully i will not get the chance to test the GT1 with this particular problem. the next step if this does not work and i do not have the GT1 working properly would be to get a used known good Throttle body to see if that does it. though it does seem that this could be a sign that my DME is having issues. i am planning on flashing my DME anyway to get Euro lighting for the touring.

sorry, for the long post, but there is very little info on this on any forum for these codes. just hoping to help somebody in the future.

G~
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  #19  
Old 11-30-2012, 10:51 AM
blakey2000 blakey2000 is offline
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Location: raleigh, nc
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 x5
GEARHEAD, what was your final solution to this issue?

my 2001 x5 will start then dies everytime, throwing these codes:


P0120 = Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'A' Circuit
P0123 =Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'A' Circuit High
P0223 = Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'B' Circuit High

my scantool will not erease them nor will sitting w/ battery unplugged overnight.

I replaced the petal assembly and throttle body with new equipment, HELP!!!

blakeyatwork@yahoo.com
919-417-4448

someone please text me or email me!

Last edited by blakey2000; 11-30-2012 at 10:55 AM.
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  #20  
Old 12-02-2012, 02:37 AM
blingin96 blingin96 is offline
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I'm pretty sure you can reset the TPS by just turning your key switch to position two(do not start car). Wait 10 seconds. Then remove the key.
Do this procedure twice. Do not press the gas pedal during this reset procedure.
After I did this my cars idle was fine.
I had a similar TPS problems .It worked for me.
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  #21  
Old 12-02-2012, 03:35 AM
blakey2000 blakey2000 is offline
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Hey Blingin96. I tried this. No luck. Im pretty sure they arent talking to each other. When i initially turn the keythe butterfly opens an closes real quick. But then after that cannot be controlled by pedal and stays shut
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  #22  
Old 12-02-2012, 03:49 AM
blakey2000 blakey2000 is offline
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Is there 3 positions I turn my key to position 2 thinking that was the position right before startin
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  #23  
Old 02-21-2013, 07:08 PM
Gootz4u Gootz4u is offline
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Hello, so was it the throttle sensor that was wrong? This post is kinda old but I am having this trouble right now with my 2001 E39. I got the Engine FalseProg and my car will start for a second then die. After doing some research, I when to check my throttle body flap and ask someone to pump the gas to see if the flap opened and it did not open. Then we tried to start the car and it does not stay on. I still need to check my codes. Is there a way to test the throttle body?
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