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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 10-21-2010, 07:08 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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What are your options if/when your E39 instrument cluster pixel LEDs are dead?

What options are available for E39 instrument cluster repair?
1. BMW NA (about $400 for parts, with free goodwill labor)
2. BMW Parts Source (about $250)
3. VDO Repair (about $350)
4. ATE (about $?)
5. DIY ribbon replacement ($30 here) (tools here)
6. Salvage-yard or refurbished (about $250?)
7. bimmer.netne.net (repairs clusters for $190 + $24 shipping)
8. anything else?

DETAILS:
From this thread (where the PO illegally removed the SES, BRAKE, DSC, and ABS discrete LEDs), I found out that ATE (http://www.autoecu.com) fixes instrument clusters.

From this post, I find out that VDORepair (http://www.vdorepair.com) will repair your instrument cluster for about $350 (includes shipping & lifetime warranty).

From this thread
, I find out that Patrick, at BMWPartsSource (a sponsor) will repair the cluster for about $300 (depending on warranty). Money back if the cluster can not be repaired.

From this thread, (and this thread) I found out that some BMW dealers claim BMW has "discontinued goodwill cluster replacements"; however, others disagree and say it will cost you about $400 at the dealer to repair your cluster (2-year warranty). They also do gauges and plastic parts.

From this thread, we find the more risky DIY method costs about $40, including shipping.

And, of course, you can always get a refurbished cluster.

What other options exist for repairing dead pixels in the instrument cluster?

Note:
- How to remove the instrument cluster (1) (2)

Last edited by bluebee; 12-04-2010 at 08:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2010, 07:19 PM
bowtie bowtie is offline
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2010, 05:43 AM
xraye39 xraye39 is offline
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For my money first best option is to contact BMW and see is they will do a good will replacement. My new cluster cost me $75 for installation labor charge, part was free from BMW. Mine was replaced about 2 years ago. Hard to say if there is corporate position on BMW replacing clusters since folks have had so many varying responses from them over the years.

If you don't ask BMW then the answer is always no.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2010, 08:37 PM
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BMWNA quoted me $700 for parts sounds like they give different numbers depending on who you talk with there. I just bought a used M5 cluster coded it and works great (minus the oil temp and active tach)
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2010, 11:30 PM
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I just found another option

These Russian guys (bimmer.netne.net) say they fix the cluster for $189 + $24 shipping to Palatine IL (+1-773-715-7398, autoinfo@inbox.lv).

They fix MID pixels for the same price.

They sell the cluster ribbon cable for $30 & the MID ribbon cable for $33.

And they sell the (plastic, probably Delrin) headlight adjusters for $58 for both headlights, plus $6 shipping.

They fix the headlights without opening them up, for $220 for both headlights, including shipping.


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Last edited by bluebee; 11-20-2010 at 11:37 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2010, 11:34 PM
JasonSC540ia JasonSC540ia is offline
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I did the VDOrepair.com guys last Dec. No issues to date.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2010, 07:54 AM
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EDITED BY BB AS PER INSTRUCTIONS IN A LATER POST:

In other threads (1) (2), I just saw another option these guys offer from Hong Kong. I think they offer the pixel-repair tool. I can't tell from their web site the price, shipped to the USA, nor how good it is.

So if anyone works with them, please send us the information we need to put 'em on our list of users' options.

I haven't checked him out yet, but here's what he wrote today:

Dear Sir,
we offer bmw pixel and bmw mid pixel repair tools,pls check our website. [WEBSITE REMOVED].

We can give you very good offer.so if you need,pls contact us freely,thank you.
[WEBSITE REMOVED]
msn:REMOVED@hotmail.com
skype:REMOVED
Mobile:0086-158########
Email:REMOVED@hotmail.com

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Last edited by bluebee; 12-04-2010 at 08:24 AM.
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2010, 08:05 AM
Patrick Patrick is offline
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Bluebee:

That post by "stcardiag" was SPAM and it was reported.

They are not board sponsors, and their posts in various threads today on the Fest will be removed.

Please edit your post and remove their information.
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  #9  
Old 12-04-2010, 08:16 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
That post by "stcardiag" was SPAM and it was reported. They are not board sponsors, and their posts in various threads today on the Fest will be removed.
Hi Patrick,
I've never been in contact with a Moderator but I assume you are one. If so, maybe you and I can communicate offline about the "information" dilemma.

While I don't plan on fixing my MID myself, if there is another option, I would want to list it for the users' sake. However, I do realize spam must be controlled, and that sponsors must be rewarded.

Let's take this offline. I'll send you a PM (I just recently opened up mine even though I don't plan on this being yet another Facebook for me). If you need to remove any of my posts, please feel free to do so.

Thanks,
BB
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2010, 08:30 AM
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What about replacing it with a "low" cluster? From what I understand the problem doesn't exist with those (which I currently have without issue).
I know the high cluster is annoying, I had it fail on my E53 when it was only a few months old.
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2010, 11:17 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spydrz View Post
What about replacing it with a "low" cluster? From what I understand the problem doesn't exist with those (which I currently have without issue).
I know the high cluster is annoying, I had it fail on my E53 when it was only a few months old.
I can think of multiple things off the top of my head that would make replacing a high cluster with a low cluster a not so viable option...it would take more money and/or time & effort to make it work than having the high cluster repaired:
  1. odometer tamper dot will be illuminated due to the redundant data shared with the LCM (mileage, VIN, & SI display data)...so a totally new cluster & low MID (or removal of the NAV to swap in a low MID) would be required plus the recoding of the car's ZCS/ZKE (central electronics coding)
  2. loss of all OBC features (especially the expanded OBC features) since that data comes from the IKE in that a low cluster & high MID or OnBoard Nav are incompatible (high cluster/MID or NAV equipped e39's primary display for the OBC is the MID or NAV screen...not the instrument cluster like for e39s w/low cluster)
  3. loss of Check Control System...cars equipped w/high cluster system is set up to display the PRIORITY 1 & 2 warnings in the 20 digit alpha/numeric display of the high cluster...the low cluster is set up to receive check control warnings in it's GRAPHIC display (so without recoding the car's ZCS/ZKE...the CCS is defunct...even though it's almost moot if the cluster isn't legible...you still have the warning GONG that gives an audible that a PRIORITY warning has been detected)
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Last edited by QSilver7; 12-04-2010 at 11:19 AM.
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2010, 05:11 AM
rph74 rph74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I just found another option

These Russian guys (bimmer.netne.net) say they fix the cluster for $189 + $24 shipping to Palatine IL (+1-773-715-7398, autoinfo@inbox.lv).

They fix MID pixels for the same price.

They sell the cluster ribbon cable for $30 & the MID ribbon cable for $33.

And they sell the (plastic, probably Delrin) headlight adjusters for $58 for both headlights, plus $6 shipping.

They fix the headlights without opening them up, for $220 for both headlights, including shipping.


Does anyone have any experience with the guys? I will be in the Chicago area in 3 short weeks, and I am considering bringing this to them in person.

Chris
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  #13  
Old 12-17-2010, 01:19 PM
BlackPearlX5 BlackPearlX5 is offline
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Bad Pixels become a safety issue

TODAY, in Pennsylvania the Licensed Pensylvania inspection station will not inspect nor perform an emissions test on my 2003 X5 because they cannot read the mileage correctly. This will cause the car to basically become unusable. I wll be subject to tickets, fines, etc if I continue to drive.
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  #14  
Old 12-17-2010, 01:27 PM
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AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
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Originally Posted by bowtie View Post

Yes I am.
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  #15  
Old 12-19-2010, 01:47 PM
BlackPearlX5 BlackPearlX5 is offline
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OK. I on MY 2003 X5 I did the disassemble/Spray contact cleaner ( I didn't have any and it was late so I used Brake Cleaner). I got 100% of my Mid back. This was HUGE. The car had failed inspection. I took it back to the inspection station the next morning and they couldn't figure out what happened. They had to re-inspect it for FREE.
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  #16  
Old 01-29-2011, 10:04 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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By way of adding value, this post by QSilver7 today contains a nice summary of the reputed "BMW Class Action Suit" (which, in reality, was a "Goodwill Repair") for the instrument cluster pixels.

Quote:
After a BMW owner (whose name I forget) got royally rejected (in an official letter that can probably still be found in the archives on Roadfly) by Chuck Winik of BMW NA...JC fox & Leanora Vlaovich are the main players from both sides that ended up hammering out what is now referred to as the "goodwill replacment"...or as what you incorrectly called the class action suit that MADE BMW replace the clusters...again, that is false and not how it was played out.

To attempt to receive a goodwill replacment cluster...one should FIRST contact a BMW NA customer service rep by calling their toll free nbr: 1-800-831-1117. Ask to speak to a rep and tell them that you are having an issue with your BMW's instrument cluster. Have your car's VIN ready and also info about how long you've owned the car, the local BMW dealership you're prepared to do business with, and a contact number where they can reach you. Hopefully, you will be offered some type of "goodwill" (which is at BMW NA discretion)...of a percentage that they will pay for the instrument cluster and a percentage of labor you must pay. You can accept their offer or reject it...it's your choice, and their goodwill of offering anything at all on a component that they are not legally required to replace since the vehicle is OUT of its warranty period.

Some (like) you, may be able to get their local BMW dealership to approach BMW NA...especially if they have been through the process before...but in most cases and for a better chance at NOT being rejected...one should contact BMW NA first, then let them call the local BMW dealership as to your arrival for verification of the problem.
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  #17  
Old 03-15-2011, 06:26 PM
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Someone was extolling the virtues of VDO repair today so I slightly updated the previous links as a reference point for anyone contemplating this repair.
- Awesome MID Pixel Repair Experience with VDO

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben753 View Post
VDO's repair service for my absolutely lousy looking MID display via an eBay auction for $195
Looks like VDO's price went down a whopping amount (from $350 to ~$200) since I last researched this topic (yes, I realize it was an auction but they'd never accept business if it wasn't in their best interest).

So, that changes the price comparison a bit (which means all the prices have to be checked again - which I'm not going to do ... but I would ask the NEXT person contemplating a pixel fix do for us and report back).

The "challengers" in the pixel-repair business seem to be:
  1. BMW NA [cluster only](about $400 for parts, with free goodwill labor)
  2. BMW Parts Source (about $250, contact Patrick)
  3. VDO Repair (was about $350; appears to be around $200 now)
  4. ATE, aka autoecu, (about $?)
  5. Salvage-yard or refurbished (about $250?)
  6. bimmer.netne.net (repairs clusters for $190 + $24 shipping)
  7. DNA Speedometers BMW MID/Cluster pixel repair (?$)
  8. PixelFix.net BMW MID/Cluster pixel repair (€27 for the cable)
  9. ?anything else?
To freshen up the best links, I created this keyword-rich sentence just now:

What are all the options when your instrument cluster or MID pixels slowly die due to a press-fit pink electrical-connection tape lifting off its contacts over time (1) & how to remove the E39 instrument cluster (1) (2) & a summary of the BMW NA cluster-repair goodwill policy (1) & how to fix the MID pixels yourself (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & how to remove the MID (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) and how to test the MID (1)
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  #18  
Old 03-16-2011, 09:42 PM
turbo1 turbo1 is offline
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Here is all we need.
http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/543597

Bluebee most of these links have nothing to do with helping me repair my cluster.

To freshen up the best links, I created this keyword-rich sentence just now:

What are all the options when your instrument cluster or MID pixels slowly die due to a press-fit pink electrical-connection tape lifting off its contacts over time (1) & how to remove the E39 instrument cluster (1) (2) & a summary of the BMW NA cluster-repair goodwill policy (1) & how to fix the MID pixels yourself (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & how to remove the MID (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) and how to test the MID (1)
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Last edited by turbo1; 03-16-2011 at 09:46 PM.
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  #19  
Old 03-17-2011, 01:00 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo1 View Post
I am well aware of that link, but, since it's written for a 7-series E38, I didn't list it in the bestlinks (where E39s are favored).

I don't have the expertise to know how well an E38 MID compares to an E39 MID, so, if you think they're exactly the same, then I'd be glad to add it to the E39 links.

Are you saying the E38 mid is the same as the E39 MID?
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  #20  
Old 03-17-2011, 10:10 AM
turbo1 turbo1 is offline
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Your fist link points back to this thread, LOL.
Your second link, Server Error 404 - File or directory not found.
The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.
Third and fourth link are ok.
Fifth link, useless in repairing my pixels.
Sixth link, useless in repairing my pixels.
Like I said before posting check all you links and see if first they work then if they help or go nowhere.
I'm not knocking you, I know you're trying to help but I spent over an hour reading through all your posts and wasted a lot of time. I'm saying so others don't have to go through this you might want to double check your posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
To freshen up the best links, I created this keyword-rich sentence just now:

What are all the options when your instrument cluster or MID pixels slowly die due to a press-fit pink electrical-connection tape lifting off its contacts over time (1) & how to remove the E39 instrument cluster (1) (2) & a summary of the BMW NA cluster-repair goodwill policy (1) & how to fix the MID pixels yourself (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & how to remove the MID (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) and how to test the MID (1)
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Last edited by turbo1; 03-17-2011 at 10:16 AM.
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  #21  
Old 03-17-2011, 10:18 AM
bulldoggg03 bulldoggg03 is offline
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Call BMWNA and be nice.....Have your registration card handy. You might even want to send it via PDF to your email. Otherwise have a fax machine close by. They will ask what BMW dealership you prefer in your area. I think it has a lot to do with the dealership as well. It took them almost 2 weeks to get back to me but I got approved for a replacement and its only gonna cost me 112 bucks for the Labor.
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  #22  
Old 03-26-2011, 10:53 AM
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I just had my cluster repaired by Germanaudiotech an Ebay seller for $199 plus shipping. The work was done perfectly and am very pleased with the result. Total turnaround time of 1 week. Sent cluster next day to Cali on Monday and had it back on Friday repaired. Total cost of 300 which included next day shipping in both directions. Just another option.
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  #23  
Old 03-26-2011, 10:15 PM
Melrose Melrose is offline
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After three years of putting up with pixels that steadily got worse, BMWNA saying they might or might not pay for it, and denying all responsibility since it was out of warranty, while dismantling the dash of my 1999 540i with 125k on it, to replace the leather column boot, the pixels miraculously reappeared -- in perfect condition.

There are two possibilities:

(1) I think that hanging speedometer by its cable, since I was afraid of disconnecting it and having to have the dealer re-synchronize or recode it, I moved the connector contacts to find a good connection.

(2) The car is possessed by the devil.

The solution may be to spray the connector with De-Oxit, available from BAVAUTO before taking any expensive action.
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  #24  
Old 03-28-2011, 09:08 PM
xgmranti xgmranti is offline
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I sent mine off to http://www.speedofix.com/ on Friday. Arrived this morning and he's already sent it back out.

Should have it by tomorrow. Worked out to 310+20=$330 CDN for shipping both ways.

Kinda gave up when I got to the spot where you either drilled or removed the tach/speed needles.

Last edited by xgmranti; 03-28-2011 at 09:13 PM.
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  #25  
Old 03-31-2011, 07:20 PM
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Today someone posted yet another VDO repair unsolicited testimonial:
- Vdo Repair

So, to help others, I took the opportunity to update the list of options we have for cluster & MID repair (including EVERYTHING suggested in this thread to date):

What options are available for E39 instrument cluster repair?
  1. BMW NA [cluster only](about $400 for parts, with free goodwill labor)
  2. BMW Parts Source (about $250, contact Patrick)
  3. VDO Repair (was about $350; appears to be around $200 now)
  4. ATE, aka autoecu, (about $?)
  5. Salvage-yard or refurbished (about $250?)
  6. bimmer.netne.net (repairs clusters for $190 + $24 shipping)
  7. DNA Speedometers BMW MID/Cluster pixel repair (?$)
  8. PixelFix.net BMW MID/Cluster pixel repair (€27 for the cable)
  9. Germanaudiotech (Ebay, $199 + shipping)
  10. http://www.speedofix.com, 310+20=$330 CDN
  11. ?anything else?
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