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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 10-25-2008, 04:11 AM
540VIspd 540VIspd is offline
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99 540i Engine Failsafe Prog Idle bouncing up and down pedal has little response

Hello everyone and thanks for reading my post. I have searched and searched but to no avail. I have a 99 540i/6 I was just driving along and all of a sudden I have litte or no control of accelerator, the car idle began bouncing from (what sounds like 500 to 1500) the tach does not move, but you can hear the engine surging. Engine fail safe Prog is showing. I had to towed to my house first ,I will have it towed to mechanic if I cannot resolve it here.

I am new to the E39 family so I am trying not to assume the worst and hoping it is a sensor (but from what I read with the electronic idle the sensor in integrated into the throttle body) is this correct? I searched here as well as another forum, I have not pulled any codes yet.

Thanks for any assistance you can provide.


Pat
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2008, 11:30 AM
KTrostel KTrostel is offline
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Start by getting the codes read. If you can drive the car take it to autozone, they will read the codes for free. If you cannot drive it, find a friend with a BMW code reader. Come back with the error codes you get.
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2008, 02:35 PM
nj540i nj540i is offline
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sounds like maf
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  #4  
Old 10-25-2008, 02:39 PM
540VIspd 540VIspd is offline
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I will look into MAF

I have seen postings about cleaning the MAF, I have not seen a post that mentioned a surging idle and bad MAF. I will look into cleaning it.

Thanks,
Pat
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  #5  
Old 10-25-2008, 07:09 PM
540VIspd 540VIspd is offline
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I found the culprit!!!!

It appears to be the the sensor that plugs into the throttle body. I have included 2 pics, It looks like the sensor had been torn off by previous owner (perhaps with the engine cover the sensor was leaned on or too much pressure was put on it. It looked as though it had been glued back in place. I detached it and re-attached it and it worked fine, I know this is a temporary fix but she is running again. My next concern is this wire goes back on the left side into the forest of wires (passenger side) under cover so I am perplexed how this wire can be replaced. I will still get codes pulled, and yes I know the engine needs to be cleaned

Molto Grazie!!!
Pat
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  #6  
Old 12-27-2008, 02:37 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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The throttle assembly is a single part, http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...10&hg=13&fg=15

It's $237 at PelicanParts.com. It's easy to replace, but the procedure in the manual says the throttle adjustments in the DME have to be cleared so it can re-learn with the new throttlebody, which is a dealer deal.
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  #7  
Old 12-31-2008, 11:23 AM
ascott ascott is offline
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In chasing down my own "ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG" error, I've learned enough about the throttle-by-wire system to diagnose my own problem, and probably help anybody else.

The cliffs notes: The E39 electronic throttlebody (EDK) is not serviceable beyond cleaning. If you get the ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG warning, and your Peak tool spits out a TPS code, you need to replace the assembly and the gasket.

The long version:

I've been getting an intermittent ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG for the last couple of weeks. The car remained driveable, and it only seemed to happen when the engine was hot. I was able to make most of my trips so I toughed it out, until this morning. It went failsafe and wouldn't budge past idle.

Pulling the code with my Peak scanner, I got 0F75, Throttle Position Sensor fault, 0F76, Throttle Position Sensor 1 fault, and 0F82, Drive by wire fault.

From reading the Bentley manual and talking to people that have run into this in the past, the system works like this:

There are six wires going into the EDK. One is +5v from the DME, one is ground to the DME. Two go to the throttle motor, and two go to two potentiometers. One pot feeds the computer 0.5v to 4.5v as the throttle opens, the other starts at 4.5v and goes the other way to 0.5v.

The DME checks the two signals against input from the pots on the gas pedal and runs the motor to move the throttle blade. If one of the signals either shorts open or is different than it should be, the DME enters failsafe mode. It uses the MAF signal to guess at the proper TPS value, then uses the direct TPS reading that's closest. The car will drive normally in open loop mode. Your gas mileage will take a hit, but you'll get home.

If BOTH TPS signals are poop, the engine enters the idle only failsafe and you're stuck on the side of the road.

If you pull the cover off the EDK, you'll see this:


Circled in blue is the throttle shaft. That black gear is welded on. It may lift out if you remove the throttle blade, but there's no point because of what the arrow in red points to: The potentiometers. They are integrated. Sealed unit, both pots on the same PCB and they share a power supply and ground. So, whatever causes one to fail (over/under voltage, short, bad ground, heat, age, wear, whatever) will cause the other to fail in short order. It is not easily removable, and you can't buy the part from BMW even if you manage to get it out.

The quick test to see if the EDK is bad? Get it off the car and get a multimeter. Set it to DC Ohms in a range that'll read 0-2000. Use something to jam the throttle completely shut. Put your positive probe on pin 1 and your negative probe on pin 5. Write down the resistance. Then move your positive probe to pin 2. Write down the resistance.

Now, jam the throttle all the way open. Take readings from pin 1 and pin 2 again. They should be the reverse of your first readings. If they're off, the pots are bad and you need a new throttle valve. If they're the same, or at least within a few percent of one another, you have a wiring fault in the harness or a problem in the DME itself.

After you replace your EDK, turn the car on, but don't start it. After thirty seconds you'll hear the throttle click as the DME re-homes the mechanism. Turn the car off, then back on again, wait thirty seconds for the EDK to re-home again. Turn it back off, then turn the car on and start it. The DME should re-learn the throttle trim without having to take it in to the dealer to have the throttle trims cleared. If the old EDK was really out of whack, it may idle a bit rough for a little while, but it should smooth out pretty quickly.

It's a shame they didn't make the EDK easier to service. It's a simple design. If the pots were separate parts and easily removable, anybody with a screwdriver, multimeter, soldering iron, and half a brain would be able to repair one.
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2009, 04:10 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Reviving.

I had the problem come back. Not wanting to believe I had a bad new throttlebody, I did what I should have done a month ago - trace the wires.

I got to the DME and pulled plug 3, and found this:


The damage to the DME side of the connector is just as bad, I just couldn't get a good picture of it.

So, check your DME connections first kids. Letting this slide for a month may have cost me the entire DME. The AMP connector on the DME has holes in it and my alternator, starter, and first TPS signals are all shorted to each other.

Does anybody know how hard it is to marry a DME from another car? Can the dealer do it? I know the Odometer will light up the tamper light, but will it run at all?

Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 02-08-2009, 05:34 PM
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Adrian H Adrian H is offline
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Dealer can do it. Your looking at $1500 there. UNLESS You pull ALL The parts that the DME needs to run correctly from the same car, then do an ECU reset I think. Someone else had some dead DME parts a while ago, dunno where I read it


but - Holy **** Dude, that is SCARY
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Heh. Well, you should know if its a touring. It would have a very large badonkadonk.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2009, 07:37 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Originally Posted by Adrian H View Post
Dealer can do it. Your looking at $1500 there. UNLESS You pull ALL The parts that the DME needs to run correctly from the same car, then do an ECU reset I think. Someone else had some dead DME parts a while ago, dunno where I read it


but - Holy **** Dude, that is SCARY
Meh, there are at least two used DMEs on Ebay from the right version of the car for ~$300. If replacing the harness side connectors doesn't fix it, I'll go that route.
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  #11  
Old 02-09-2009, 08:05 AM
ascott ascott is offline
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In case anybody needs it in the future, the part number for the 52 pin AMP connector pictured above, according to Tyco, is 125217446349.

It can only be purchased through a BMW dealer, and they can't look it up without the part number. It's $3.75+tax. I don't know if it comes with the pins yet. I'll see when it gets here on Thursday.
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  #12  
Old 04-16-2009, 10:18 AM
mccuiswr mccuiswr is offline
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So I just had this same problem this morning. Turned it on this morning and started idling like I was in a washing machine. Turned it off, did some reading and found this post.

So I got under the hood and pretended like I knew what I doing. The MAF was clean so what I did do was try the whole "cylce" the car on and off without actually starting the care. I did two successive "on and off" and then on the third turned the car on and everything seemed cool.

Granted my "service engine light" is still on.

I mean, I am 'happy' this issue is 'resolved' for the moment but I fear it will return.

Any ideas based on the fact I pretty much did nothing other than cyclce the car on and off?

The thing is I've dumped a crap ton of money into this car since purchasing it and with another baby on the way this sucks. And is sucking up my pocket book.


I love this car but right now I hate it. I've been in and out of shops almost every other week with secondary air pump bs and now to this crap.


Nothing like dropping tons of money into a new suspension to watch everything else on the car break. Good times.

Any advice other than "1500 and the dealer will fix it" would be much appreciated.
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Last edited by mccuiswr; 04-16-2009 at 11:24 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-17-2009, 11:42 AM
ascott ascott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccuiswr View Post
So I just had this same problem this morning. Turned it on this morning and started idling like I was in a washing machine. Turned it off, did some reading and found this post.

So I got under the hood and pretended like I knew what I doing. The MAF was clean so what I did do was try the whole "cylce" the car on and off without actually starting the care. I did two successive "on and off" and then on the third turned the car on and everything seemed cool.

Granted my "service engine light" is still on.

I mean, I am 'happy' this issue is 'resolved' for the moment but I fear it will return.

Any ideas based on the fact I pretty much did nothing other than cyclce the car on and off?

The thing is I've dumped a crap ton of money into this car since purchasing it and with another baby on the way this sucks. And is sucking up my pocket book.


I love this car but right now I hate it. I've been in and out of shops almost every other week with secondary air pump bs and now to this crap.


Nothing like dropping tons of money into a new suspension to watch everything else on the car break. Good times.

Any advice other than "1500 and the dealer will fix it" would be much appreciated.
I've been where you are, and I understand your frustration. It looked like my car was going to be an endless money pit while I was troubleshooting mine.

Pull the passenger side cabin air filter off and get into the wiring box below it and check your DME connectors for damage, and get a code reader. The root cause of my problem was the thermostat leaking water into the connector, which wicked up the signal wires to the DME sockets, filled them with water, and shorted out the throttle body.

If you don't have emissions testing where you live, don't spend any more money on the secondary air injection system. It isn't worth the time or scratch. I disconnected mine as the solenoid pins in the DME connector are corroded into contact with the throttle valve. If I connect the secondary air solenoid, my car won't even run. I bought a used DME, but I'm not going to have it put in until something else breaks.

For me, I've replaced the thermostat. I also cut the thermostat wires in the passenger side wiring box on top of the valve cover and put insulated spade connectors in to act as a bulkhead to stop water from wicking all the way to the DME in the future.

I also did an intake manifold re-seal and the valley pan while I had the water out for the thermostat replacement. Since doing all of that, I've been code free (except for the secondary air system) for nearly 2000 miles. Gas mileage is back up to 19.5-20 mpg in city driving, and the only thing I've had to put into it except gas since is a new taillight bulb.

Last edited by ascott; 04-17-2009 at 11:53 AM.
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2009, 11:51 AM
ascott ascott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccuiswr View Post
Any advice other than "1500 and the dealer will fix it" would be much appreciated.

Additionally, $1500 for a new DME is what the dealer would charge for a new part and programming.

You can get a used DME for $200-$300 from Bavarian Auto Recycling on Ebay and your favorite mechanic with access to a GT1 can marry it to the car for 1 hour of labor. Each DME can be rewritten six times, then it's a door stop. Most are well within that limit.
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2009, 12:07 PM
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BlackBMWs BlackBMWs is offline
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Ascott, Thanks for this insight. You are definately the man for the DME feedback from this and other posts on this topic.
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2009, 12:13 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Ascott, Thanks for this insight. You are definately the man for the DME feedback from this and other posts on this topic.
You're quite welcome. Hopefully my misery will help other people not spend three months scared their car will strand them on the side of the road with an obscure electrical throttle problem.

And I don't really know much about the DME, just how it talks to the throttle body. I'm hoping nothing else breaks in an obscure way and forces me to learn more.
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  #17  
Old 04-17-2009, 12:26 PM
mccuiswr mccuiswr is offline
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Thanks for all that info! This will be quite helpful! And Yes, I ordered a Peake yesterday and it will arrive in the next couple days.

Thank you for telling exactly where to look and what to look for. I'm definitely cluess but now know exactly where to look. Someone else said I should check a salmon colored relay in there as well - have been told it can cause issues with teh secondary air system.

Unfortunately - emissions are a must where I live.

Thanks again for the advice! I'm positive I'll be back posting my codes once I get the reader and can find out more info.

I VERY much appreciate your guidance in where to look as that's an easy area of the car to get to.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:31 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccuiswr View Post
Thanks for all that info! This will be quite helpful! And Yes, I ordered a Peake yesterday and it will arrive in the next couple days.

Thank you for telling exactly where to look and what to look for. I'm definitely cluess but now know exactly where to look. Someone else said I should check a salmon colored relay in there as well - have been told it can cause issues with teh secondary air system.

Unfortunately - emissions are a must where I live.

Thanks again for the advice! I'm positive I'll be back posting my codes once I get the reader and can find out more info.

I VERY much appreciate your guidance in where to look as that's an easy area of the car to get to.
You will need a fairly large (8mm maybe?) Allen key to open the wiring box where the DME is. Be sure to have a set nearby or you won't be getting the lid off.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:03 PM
mccuiswr mccuiswr is offline
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Ok. PEAKE came today and this is what the system spit out before I reset everything:

Here are the list of codes. Any and all advice, comments, whatever are appreciated.

0F
50
51
85


If I'm reading the book correctly this is what I can tell you... "if Im right.. could be totally reading the wrong table".

Note: just changed the pre 02 sensors awhile back but only today have the codes ever been reset.

The middle two seems related to my seconary air injection nightmare?

And the last "drivebywire throttle control spring check" would probably explain my washing machine experience? It's sounds like something simple but don't want to get my hopes up?

Thoughts? Recommendations?
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:10 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccuiswr View Post
Ok. PEAKE came today and this is what the system spit out before I reset everything:

Here are the list of codes. Any and all advice, comments, whatever are appreciated.

0F
50
51
85


If I'm reading the book correctly this is what I can tell you... "if Im right.. could be totally reading the wrong table".

Note: just changed the pre 02 sensors awhile back but only today have the codes ever been reset.

The middle two seems related to my seconary air injection nightmare?

And the last "drivebywire throttle control spring check" would probably explain my washing machine experience? It's sounds like something simple but don't want to get my hopes up?

Thoughts? Recommendations?
0F is the table selection, you don't need to list that in the future. All the 9/98 and up E39s with the V8 read from table 0F.

Clear them and see if they come back.

The spring check is what caused your washing machine idle. If it comes back, you'd be wise to order a replacement throttlebody and throw it in the trunk. No TPS codes, which is good.

Have you checked your DME plugs for water yet?
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  #21  
Old 04-21-2009, 11:57 AM
mccuiswr mccuiswr is offline
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Finally got in there and took a look. Everything is nice and dry. I pulled quite a few connections out and everything looked great. I did not pull out every last connection/relay and check. Should I have done that? The box was nice and dry. I did discover the previous owner "made" his own filters.... nice...

Drove the car this morning to drop off my son and no lights popped up. Car ran great. However, I'm not sure if my secondary air injection system kicked on. Finally got warm over here.


Thanks again for the advice. That was very easy to get in there and take a look.
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  #22  
Old 04-21-2009, 12:07 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccuiswr View Post
Finally got in there and took a look. Everything is nice and dry. I pulled quite a few connections out and everything looked great. I did not pull out every last connection/relay and check. Should I have done that? The box was nice and dry. I did discover the previous owner "made" his own filters.... nice...

Drove the car this morning to drop off my son and no lights popped up. Car ran great. However, I'm not sure if my secondary air injection system kicked on. Finally got warm over here.


Thanks again for the advice. That was very easy to get in there and take a look.
Good news. The thermstat wires are in DME connector 3, that should be the only one that could possibly get wet, so you're probably good for now. You can also check the connector at the thermostat and make sure it's not damp.

But keep an eye on it, and make sure your AAA membership is up to date. Keep checking codes at least weekly for a bit to make sure you don't get any more throttlebody code. They won't always trigger the SES light.

Good luck!
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  #23  
Old 04-21-2009, 02:52 PM
mccuiswr mccuiswr is offline
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AAA is always up to date : ).

Question - Why would only DME connector 3 get wet? Just curious.
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  #24  
Old 04-21-2009, 07:53 PM
ascott ascott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccuiswr View Post
AAA is always up to date : ).

Question - Why would only DME connector 3 get wet? Just curious.
That's the connector the thermostat heater wires terminate into.
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  #25  
Old 04-22-2009, 11:43 PM
shuher-muher shuher-muher is offline
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Was your throtle motor (that black box) making high pitch noise? Can it cause stalls?
Car stalls idling and after fixing bunch of staff ECL went off but the problem still there. I took that box
apart before i found this thread so no testing was done. I noticed it was oily in a big hole of whatever its called
where the throtle body connected to the engine. Is it bad???
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