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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-27-2005, 05:47 PM
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msbrown msbrown is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Mein Auto: 2002 325i
So, I feel this thunk and the dashboard lights up...

Looks like I'm off to the dealer first thing tomorrow. I'm driving with the family in the car, about 1/2 mile from home doing about 40 on a slight (very slight) incline, accelerating. Hear and feel a "thunk" (so does the wife) and the transmission feel changes (its a Step), as if it had to hunt to find a new gear.

I see on the dash:
- Battery Warning in red
- Transmission Warning (the Orange Gear)
Since I'm already moving in the direction of "home", with only one stoplight between me and the house, I decide to take to chance it instead of just stopping immediately. At the last stoplight on the rest of the 1/4 mile to the house:
- Red "Brake" light
- DSC triangle lights up as I make the left turn home.
Gas feels funny, but that's the transmission in "Emergency Mode" talking. I'm taking it easy but going to get it in the garage.

These stay on the rest of the way. Pull into the garage & shut'er down. Look up the lights in The Fine Manual just to make sure that I'm Dealer-bound (the Battery and Brake/DSC indications say "Dealer"). I haven't restarted the car to see if the lights have gone away - once I start it in the morning I'll see; mostly I'm afraid of draining the battery if the charging system is really borked.

Right now the interior lights are bright (as if the battery has good charge). None of the relevant (as far as I can tell what's relevant) fuses are blown. Drive belt *looks* fine. No burning smells or "magic smoke" from the electricals that I can see. The orange bar indicating PRNDL position turns off when the doors are locked (general module OK?).

Even if the lights are all gone when I start it tomorrow, I think I'm going in anyway. I don't have an OBD reader (never really wanted to get that deep). Car's got 46.8K on it (2002) so I'm going to let the Warranty handle it while it's still in force.

I'll let you know what I learn....
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2005, 06:10 PM
mecklaiz mecklaiz is offline
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Mein Auto: Evo IX
Sounds painful, hopefully not serious.
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2005, 05:38 AM
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Artslinger Artslinger is offline
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Good thing this happened before the warranty ran out, sounds like a expensive repair.
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2005, 08:50 AM
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msbrown msbrown is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 325i
Current state of the car

So I went to the dealer - they took me in right away, offered to check the codes while I wait. So I'm off to Kirspy Kreme, Starbucks and wireless 'net in the waiting room (Austin does things right).

They replaced the alternator while I waited, as that was what they told me the codes said, and the tests confirmed. Gave me my car back 1 1/2 hour later, washed & ready to go, so all was smiles -- until I drove it down the lot on the way out.....

No Joy. I get the DSC and orange "BRAKE" lights, and they stay on. So I turn it around and drive back into the service overhang. My SA took a look at the dash & put me in a loaner....

So far I'm still OK with things - the dealer's taking care of me. Things break, and they are being efficient on their end. Until the next phase....
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  #5  
Old 03-28-2005, 09:43 AM
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obmd1 obmd1 is offline
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So what was the explination of what the "thunk" could have been?
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  #6  
Old 03-28-2005, 11:51 AM
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msbrown msbrown is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 325i
the "thunk"

That was the Steptronic going into "failsafe" mode, in which you only have 3rd and 4th gear. It just drops right into one of those two gears, no matter where it's at when it happens. I didn't have time to ask if this is "normal" when the alternator fails, or if it took other electronics with it (which might explain the DSC/Brake problem still being there). I'll ask when I get the car back.

BTW: I did not mention in the last post that all of the indicators were out (not lit) when I started the car this morning to drive to the dealer. The codes stayed in the system though, and the "midtronic" test (whatever that is) confirmed alternator failure.

My first guess is that the DSC/Brake problem indicates that not all of the fault codes were cleared properly when they were doing my alternator, and that nothing is actually wrong with the system. But we'll see.
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  #7  
Old 03-28-2005, 11:55 AM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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Midtronics is a company that makes test equipment for car electrical systems, so the dealer probably used one of their machines to test the alternator.

I could see how a bad alternator could blow out the transmission's ECU, but you would think it would kill other systems in the process.
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2005, 05:22 PM
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msbrown msbrown is offline
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The End?

Got the car back this afternoon. SA put the DSC/Brake lights coming on as a "technician error" and all is cleared up now. She gets in the car with me and we drive 'round the lot. No lights, all appears to be fine. I sign off and away I go.

Alles Gut? Not quite...I stop for gas on the way home ($2.21/gal) and when I start up to drive away...
..the DSC and BRAKE lights (orange) come back on.

I stop, turn the car off, wait a couple of minutes. Start back up, and the lights haven't come on since. I'm just going to watch a few days & see if they come back on again. I may hit a few corners hard to see if the DSC comes on at all...
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  #9  
Old 03-28-2005, 07:08 PM
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obmd1 obmd1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msbrown
Got the car back this afternoon. SA put the DSC/Brake lights coming on as a "technician error" and all is cleared up now. She gets in the car with me and we drive 'round the lot. No lights, all appears to be fine. I sign off and away I go.

Alles Gut? Not quite...I stop for gas on the way home ($2.21/gal) and when I start up to drive away...
..the DSC and BRAKE lights (orange) come back on.

I stop, turn the car off, wait a couple of minutes. Start back up, and the lights haven't come on since. I'm just going to watch a few days & see if they come back on again. I may hit a few corners hard to see if the DSC comes on at all...
geez.... ain't owning a bimmer grand?

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  #10  
Old 03-29-2005, 11:56 AM
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msbrown msbrown is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
 
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...And the thrilling conclusion!

Went back to the dealer this a.m. anyway, on the grounds that "hoping the brakes are working properly" isn't exactly a life-extending philosophy.

Took the car in, put me in a loaner. About an hour ago, got the call: "Internally faulted front steering sensor, not related to previous repair". I've got the car back now...

...and Alles Gut again. Heck, I just discovered the dealer left a "10% Off Dealer Parts Boutique" coupon on the pax seat. They are being apologetic about having to come in twice. I don't think they needed to be, electrical faults are hard to track. I think this is an "All 5" call when it comes....
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  #11  
Old 05-07-2005, 05:31 PM
BMW528i_Bilal BMW528i_Bilal is offline
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Seriously, there are good bmw dealers out there afterall !

Quote:
Originally Posted by msbrown
Went back to the dealer this a.m. anyway, on the grounds that "hoping the brakes are working properly" isn't exactly a life-extending philosophy.

Took the car in, put me in a loaner. About an hour ago, got the call: "Internally faulted front steering sensor, not related to previous repair". I've got the car back now...

...and Alles Gut again. Heck, I just discovered the dealer left a "10% Off Dealer Parts Boutique" coupon on the pax seat. They are being apologetic about having to come in twice. I don't think they needed to be, electrical faults are hard to track. I think this is an "All 5" call when it comes....
Hey, MSBROWN i hope your problem with the car is solved. As i have read your thread i noticed how good the dealer has been with you, they even give a 10% discount voucher. I wish all bmw dealers could give this good service as yours did.
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  #12  
Old 05-08-2005, 05:26 PM
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msbrown msbrown is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Mein Auto: 2002 325i
Yup, as I noted, I'm fine now. I'm pretty happy with BMW of Austin....
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