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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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  #101  
Old 02-03-2008, 10:41 AM
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ross1 ross1 is offline
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Glad to hear you wre made whole. Lemme' guess; BMW "as a good will gesture" has bought your car at high market value.
I'd look to ditch that bogus insurance company now.
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  #102  
Old 02-03-2008, 12:20 PM
hoosadam hoosadam is offline
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Can anyone tell me where to look/how to get at this wiring to check on my 03 530? Pics if available would be helpful. Thanks for all the great info
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  #103  
Old 02-04-2008, 09:27 AM
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1fast325i 1fast325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemer540ia View Post
BMW of North America sent an engineer to look at my car and the damages. They determined that the thermostat failed and caused a short in the electrical wiring. BMW claims that if I brought my car in for regular 'unscheduled' maintenance that they would have caught the wire aging and replaced it. Let me remind you that the wiring harnes and labor is about $1,500.00 not that I think my wiring harness would goto crap in 7 years! BMW seemed to learn something from this and are looking at ways to improve future models so this does not happen with newer models. Not much they can do for us. So my word of caution to all BMW owners; Do no rely on your car telling you to take it in for service! I always brought mine in when a check engine light came on, or it needed an oil change. This is not the case with BMW. You need to just bring it in so many miles to have a look by BMW. I can guarantee that anytime yuo do bring it in they WILL find something to replace and most likely it will cost you over $1k.

I must say BMW did offer me a favorable settlement for the damages, which I can't talk about but they did free my mind about buying another BMW in my future.

Take Care and Safe Cruising!
Beemer...
Glad to hear BMW NA got involve and assisted you. I was satisfied with my insurance result of my 540 car fire. I'm still curious to know if my fire started the same way yours did. My insurance evaluator was not required to evaluate the cause of the fire. Maybe I should of called BMWNA for their evaluation. I just hope this doesn't become a common fault for all E39s. I'm still planning to get another one in the near future. We'll see! Good luck on your next BMW.
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  #104  
Old 03-13-2008, 09:30 PM
Jsepielli Jsepielli is offline
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Hey My 750 li caught on fire while I was driving on the interstate....
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  #105  
Old 03-14-2008, 06:04 AM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemer540ia View Post
BMW of North America sent an engineer to look at my car and the damages. They determined that the thermostat failed and caused a short in the electrical wiring. BMW claims that if I brought my car in for regular 'unscheduled' maintenance that they would have caught the wire aging and replaced it. Let me remind you that the wiring harnes and labor is about $1,500.00 not that I think my wiring harness would goto crap in 7 years! BMW seemed to learn something from this and are looking at ways to improve future models so this does not happen with newer models. Not much they can do for us. So my word of caution to all BMW owners; Do no rely on your car telling you to take it in for service! I always brought mine in when a check engine light came on, or it needed an oil change. This is not the case with BMW. You need to just bring it in so many miles to have a look by BMW. I can guarantee that anytime yuo do bring it in they WILL find something to replace and most likely it will cost you over $1k.

I must say BMW did offer me a favorable settlement for the damages, which I can't talk about but they did free my mind about buying another BMW in my future.

Take Care and Safe Cruising!
Beemer...
Good for you, Seems that there is a better ending to this story. It seems bmw chooses what cases to take care of. I had to spend around 3K on my car with less then 17K miles on due to the trunk floor/subframe ripping issues and bmws reply was " Thank you for the input we will use this information to help in building cars in the future"
Max
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  #106  
Old 07-21-2008, 03:36 PM
kaichuan kaichuan is offline
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The latest victim of 540 caught fire.............

A picture worth a thousand words. It happened on 7/19/2008.

Check: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v2...uan/540onfire/.

It is my car, no one was hurt. Amazingly, alarm still works after the fire. Now my insurance is looking into it.

I did also write an email to BMW NA, hope they will really do something to fix the problem.

Thanks for your time.

Steve

Last edited by kaichuan; 07-21-2008 at 03:48 PM. Reason: typo...........
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  #107  
Old 07-21-2008, 03:50 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is online now
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Daymn

That sux...think it was the same thing the thermostat wire? Were you in it when it happened? You just so happened to have a camera with you?, or cell?

GL
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  #108  
Old 07-21-2008, 03:52 PM
kaichuan kaichuan is offline
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I was driving when I smell something is burning......

And the first set of pictures were taken by cell phone.

Those clean shots were taken on Sunday with a digital camera.
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  #109  
Old 07-21-2008, 04:10 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is online now
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Wow

Was there any other cars damaged? Dude ur lucky that didn't explode...did you get the hood open first? Or by that time was it gone...All of us feel for you dude...

Hopefully your INS is better than the OP...

GL!!
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  #110  
Old 07-21-2008, 05:14 PM
kaichuan kaichuan is offline
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No other car were damaged.....

the hood was opened by the local fire department. They just jack it open.

Thanks!! Yes, it is lucky this happened in a open parking lot, not in a parking garage or my garage.
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  #111  
Old 07-21-2008, 06:52 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Report this to the NHTSA!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaichuan View Post
A picture worth a thousand words. It happened on 7/19/2008.

Check: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v2...uan/540onfire/.

It is my car, no one was hurt. Amazingly, alarm still works after the fire. Now my insurance is looking into it.

I did also write an email to BMW NA, hope they will really do something to fix the problem.

Thanks for your time.

Steve
Steve,
If you want something done, you MUST also report this to the NHTSA! If enough of these are reported, then BMWNA will institute a recall or other remedy.

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/index.cfm

Thanks!!
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  #112  
Old 07-21-2008, 08:35 PM
kaichuan kaichuan is offline
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Just did!!

Thanks a lot for the link!!

Steve
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  #113  
Old 07-22-2008, 05:00 AM
republica republica is offline
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I'm sorry for your loss...three words: STATE FARM INSURANCE
Quote:
Originally Posted by beemer540ia View Post
Commerce has stated, quickly I might add that they are not paying for any damages caused by electrical or mechanical failures. I asked them if I had a steering rod break and I smashed into a guard rail and totalled my car would they cover me? They answered with SILENCE! Commerce is the WORST insurance company out there. I am now looking for a better company and I advise everyone out here to dump commerce!
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  #114  
Old 07-22-2008, 05:06 AM
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chivas chivas is offline
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Originally Posted by republica View Post
I'm sorry for your loss...three words: STATE FARM INSURANCE
i use 21st century part of AIG. recent accident, they are great (though it was no fault of mine at all, the other dude took full fault).
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  #115  
Old 07-23-2008, 09:34 PM
kaichuan kaichuan is offline
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Well, just an update on the latest 540 caught fire. The car is totaled. My insurance already determine the amount for the car. I think they have gave me a good deal. Now its time to do some car shopping.

Unfortunately, never heard a word from BMW USA, even though I send them an email on Monday..................
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  #116  
Old 07-24-2008, 06:17 AM
franka franka is offline
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You will have to bug BMW USA. Its a squeaky wheel thing
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  #117  
Old 07-24-2008, 06:19 AM
dbruce dbruce is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
You will have to bug BMW USA. Its a squeaky wheel thing
Yea, forget email. Have a certified letter drawn up once the insurance company discovers the cause. If it is the water pump.....tell the insurance company and let them battle BMW for it.
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  #118  
Old 03-22-2009, 02:57 PM
beemer540ia beemer540ia is offline
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To close this all out, here are the names of the people that helped me out during my BMW 540i car fire. First I would suggest you call the Department of Highway Safety, Mr. Larry Long tel. 877.536.8368 x66281 and explain your fire and tell him about Ken Pappas in Massachusetts. Also call BMW of North America. I worked with Mr. Jay Hanson tel. 201.263.8246

Both of these guys were wonderful to work this out with.

Good Luck!
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  #119  
Old 03-22-2009, 05:17 PM
chucksrt chucksrt is offline
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So the thermostat is electro-mechanical not valve and spring? What is the purpose of this? can they be converted?
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  #120  
Old 03-22-2009, 06:17 PM
SoCal528i SoCal528i is offline
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Your Fire

A fire doesnt have to be visible to be real.
The damage caused by the heat should be enough to prove to your insurance company it was there.
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  #121  
Old 03-22-2009, 06:51 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucksrt View Post
So the thermostat is electro-mechanical not valve and spring? What is the purpose of this? can they be converted?
No. The purpose is it is connected to the Motronic engine management system.
Don't start modifying the car, you will only get yourself into worse trouble. Best thing is to inspect each oil service.
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  #122  
Old 03-23-2009, 05:17 AM
chucksrt chucksrt is offline
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What is the purpose? What benifit does it offer other than making you buy a new car when it goes?
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  #123  
Old 03-23-2009, 12:21 PM
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BlackBMWs BlackBMWs is offline
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Good informative, if not tragic thread. Anyone got any pics on which wires / parts are the suspected failure points? I replaced my thermostat at 80k miles and wiring did not seem fragile.

Have anyone figured out what actually needs to be inspected/renewed? Thanks!
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  #124  
Old 03-25-2009, 07:30 PM
johnniegold johnniegold is offline
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I have been reading this thread because today on my way home the engine cut out on my '97 740i. I coasted through the intersection and pulled over to the side of the road. I saw some smoke under the hood and smelled something burning. I opened the hood and saw some smoke coming from the front of the engine cover. While looking I noticed a small flame starting. Instinctively, albeit stupidly, I looked at the small flame and blew it out.

I called my mechanic and he told me that, without looking at it, it sounds like the thermostat but he will look at it tomorrow and assess the damage. If I didn't blow out the flame, the car probably would have burned out. Well, let's see what happens. Hopefully, it's just the thermostat. The car has 74,000 miles on it and I was hoping to at least double that.
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  #125  
Old 03-25-2009, 07:54 PM
chucksrt chucksrt is offline
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man, when it rains it pours!!!! sorry to hear about your car.
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