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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:00 PM
Yeagerr Yeagerr is offline
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Location: Michigan/Boston
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 2007 BMW 525xi
Starting Issues

2007 525XI
125,000 miles

I've been having problems with the car for the last couple months, the warranty is up and I'd like to get some DIY inputs.

Here are the chain of events leading to my car not cranking over:

For the last couple months I've had intermittent "high battery discharge" error messages on the idrive. This didn't effect the performance, but seemed kind of odd to me. The battery always read around 12V, even after sitting for a couple days.

Recently I gave the car a tune-up and replaced some of the ignition coils. The car was idling rough, and I troubleshot the problem down to two ignition coils, changed them, and it ran perfectly for about two weeks. I started my car in the morning to warm it up (it ran for about 15 min), and I noticed that it was chugging (same symptoms before the ignition coil change). I jumped in it, pressed the gas and the engine made a wierd sound and it completely died. I tried restarting but it would not crank over. Now, it gives me a "steering wheel locked (in red)" error message.

I've tried unplugging the battery to reset the computer (for the steering wheel lock error) with no luck, charging/jumping the battery, and disconnecting the IBS. I was thinking the starter, but it was started and just died when the big problems started.

Sorry about the long post....trying to give as much info as possible. Any input would be appreciated.


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Old 02-04-2013, 03:47 PM
E60black E60black is offline
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Location: Chicago
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 107
Mein Auto: 545i
Could be that little black 1x1 fuse above the battery in the fuse box or alternator.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:49 PM
Yeagerr Yeagerr is offline
Registered User
Location: Michigan/Boston
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 2007 BMW 525xi
Checked all fuses, even behind the glovebox. I don't think it's the alternator due to the battery keeping its charge. Kind of stuck on the starter....just don't want to waste money and time if there's something easier I could check first.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:47 PM
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dwlink dwlink is offline
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Location: St. Louis
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,604
Mein Auto: 435i Gran Coupe
Have you tried turning the steering wheel when trying to start the car? This usually resolves the yellow steering lock indicator, but may be worth a shot w/ the red indicator.

Push button starts utilize a solenoid to disengage the steering lock pin. A low battery may not produce enough current to pull the locking pin free - OR - if the car moved a bit, the steering column may have slightly turned which put some extra friction on the locking pin that the force from the magnetic field may not be able to overcome.

If that doesn't work, the sensor in the steering column may be faulty. If this is the case there are two possible outcomes.

1. In some instances, this has been fixed by a software update around the tune of a few $100.

2. Worst case is the $5 sensor has failed and that BMW, with its ingenious engineering, has put you in a position requiring a new steering column. I've seen instances where customers have been able to negotiate that BMW pay half the part cost.

In either case, have it diagnosed first - I may be completely wrong. If you can confirm its the steering column (worst case), you may be able to find a refurbished part online and replace it yourself. Although, I'd imagine even if you did all the mechanical work yourself, there would still need to be some sort of software calibration done by a dealer.

Good luck!

2015 BMW 435i GC MSport (ED Sept 29, 2014)
2004 BMW 530i (retired)
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:57 AM
pcy pcy is offline
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Location: Boston
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Mein Auto: '06 530i, '07 C280, ML320
Connect an OBD-II code reader and see if there are any codes set.
What is the voltage across the battery terminals now?
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525xi, cranking, starter, steering wheel lock

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