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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 08-23-2010, 06:55 AM
Matman44 Matman44 is offline
Matman
Location: brisbane australia
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 58
Mein Auto: e39, e46
dash pixels revisited 2002 e39 530i

There's been a few discussions about pixels of late. I need to get mine done, the speedo / mileage / on board computer readings ....
sometimes they are as bright as Las Vegas Lights, sometimes as dim as my brain is right now.
My question is basically about the `ribbons` that are on offer from various suppliers.
has anyone tried the `ribbon fix`? Or is the problem actually in the led circuit board.
Any advice gratefully received
Anyone used this place?
http://www.pixelfix.net/eng/

Just by the way the abs module on mine has a mind of its own, I have checked and replaced a couple of the wheels sensors, Although I have never had any problems with speedo / cruise / not working. just that the lamps come on at their own will. I drove from Sunshine Coast to Gold Coast (OZ) this morning with two pit stops for coffee etc.. no lamps. Tonight lamps on all the way home from start up..
go figure.
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2010, 08:35 PM
Luftpost Luftpost is offline
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Location: The Lou
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 2000 540/6spd, 95 525iA
I have read to great lengths on this and other boards. What I have learned is that the ribbon fix is a major gamble. Unless you are very proficient with fine electronics and have a good understanding, I would stay away from a DIY.

I have been in contact with BMWUSA. Last week they offered me 50% off parts, plus labor. Others have gotten 100% off parts, but have had to pay for one hour labor (repaired through dealership). BMW tells me they are no longer offering 100% for parts. Sad thing is that the previous owner had the pixels fixed by the dealer in 03, and they are bad again. So that tells me if you send it to the dealer, it will probably happen again as they have NOT fixed the real problem. BMW offers a 2 year warranty.

http://vdorepair.com/ on the other hand will repair the pixels and offer a lifetime warranty all for around $300. For an additional $45 they will install the chrome rings offered on the M5. To me, this sounds like the way to go. They are located in California. Ship out your instrument cluster overnight, and you will get it returned 3-4 days later.

Just noticed you live in OZ, .......shipping may vary.

L.

Last edited by Luftpost; 08-23-2010 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Update
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  #3  
Old 08-23-2010, 10:58 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,181
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luftpost View Post
they offered me 50% off parts, plus labor. Others have gotten 100% off parts, but have had to pay for one hour labor
My instrument cluster pixels were fixed 100%, including labor, under warranty a few years ago. At that time, I was told by the service department that I did not have to be under warranty (I only had a couple of miles left before it ran out).

What is the current situation?

Do they no longer replace the instrument cluster free of charge (labor & parts)?

BTW, look at this thread today... the cluster was replaced for $250.

Last edited by bluebee; 08-23-2010 at 11:03 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2010, 11:03 PM
Matman44 Matman44 is offline
Matman
Location: brisbane australia
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 58
Mein Auto: e39, e46
yep I am `down under` thanks for that I may look into contacting Bmw OZ..........i`LL SAY HAHA NOW.!

quick question does the `new`pixel cluster need to be recoded when its returned?
If not why I wonder don`t Vdo or others offer an exchange unit......... you could buy the new unit at a fee plus premium which is returned when you send old unit back.
just a thought
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2010, 04:40 AM
Luftpost Luftpost is offline
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Location: The Lou
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 2000 540/6spd, 95 525iA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matman44 View Post
quick question does the `new`pixel cluster need to be recoded when its returned?
If not why I wonder don`t Vdo or others offer an exchange unit......... you could buy the new unit at a fee plus premium which is returned when you send old unit back.
just a thought
Not sure about that, but I am sure you could drop them an email.

L.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2010, 04:44 AM
Luftpost Luftpost is offline
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Location: The Lou
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 2000 540/6spd, 95 525iA
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
What is the current situation?

Do they no longer replace the instrument cluster free of charge (labor & parts)?
Never heard or read of any out of warranty work being done for better than 100% parts.

In fact, when I contacted the dealer two weeks ago before pursuing this whole thing, he said BMW had abandoned the entire program. BMWUSA is offering me 50% on parts, plus labor.

L.
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2010, 06:06 AM
simt simt is offline
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Location: Sydney, Australia
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 22
Mein Auto: BMW 530i E39
I did the job myself. I think I got the ribbon from the place you mentioned. It was the place that operates from Hungary.
I took my display apart twice, 2nd time was far quicker than the first, as I knew what I was doing.
1st time I'd just intended to put in extra padding to press the contacts down more firmly. But I accidentally pulled the ribbon off and that was the end of that. Half the gold contacts came away from the ribbon and stuck on the board! So put everything back together and ordered the ribbon and did the job again two weeks later.
It was a bitch of a job. Admittedly though I'd never done anything like it before. It's not a nice feeling when you start drilling holes into your display. (Though you can't at all see the surgery when it's all back together.) Far and a away the hardest part is perfectly aligning the ribbon back up and then somehow sticking it down and clamping it all back up together whilst maintaining that alignment.
After a few days of perfect pixels I lost some again anyway. After a few months I'm at about 70%. In my case, I believe the reason for this is that there's three plastic tabs that hold down the metal plate that holds the ribbon down. First time I did the job, I broke one of those tabs and now there's not enough anchorage to hold the plate down properly.

My parting advice would be - if you do the job be really careful. I found that over the last nine years the plastic in the vdo has become more brittle with age.

Sim.
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  #8  
Old 09-06-2010, 04:19 PM
Tracker5950 Tracker5950 is offline
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Location: Memphis, TN
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2002 530i
I have an '02 530i. I bought the ribbon from Bulgaria and tried repairing the pixel problem myself. I drilled the holes (my torx head screws were 9's, not 10's like Edmund's, but I found a Torx head 8 would work too). I got partial pixels and ultimately after taking it apart c. 40 times (bought machine screws and nuts from Radio Shack as I stripped out leftmost threads in the cluster), I sent it to VDOrepair in California.

Biggest problem was getting new ribbon to conform to an S-shape. VDOrepair says they use a better ribbon. Another big problem is the fuel gauge and the Temp gauge don't have stops and it is easy to knock the calibration/alignment off. I also mashed the fuel gauge pointer when I put the lens housing back on. VDOrepair fixed everything (except Temp gauge does not go exactly to middle when car is warmed up) for $275 (well worth it). I also paid $31 USPS shipping with $1K insurance. They charge $35 for first gauge they replace, $25 for additional gauges (also got new dial face plate for $2 as I had bent mine). VDOrepair pays the return shipping. It has been over a month now (c. 2K miles) and the pixels read fine. Send off & return was about 1 week. Communciation was excellent.

Tracker5950

Last edited by Tracker5950; 09-06-2010 at 05:09 PM. Reason: misspelling; additional Info
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