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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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Old 05-17-2011, 02:51 AM
londonzombie londonzombie is offline
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Location: UK
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 96 523i
Question Idle Control Valve Question

Hi guys, Hope someone can clarify this for me.

I have a high idle issue, so after looking around the forum people suggested cleaning the ICV and checking hoses, I took the ICV out last night and just wanted to confirm.

When cleaning the ICV the arm/shutter inside was so free that when you shake it its like a babies rattle, there was no resistance at all, Is this normal?

As a side note the Idle is now higher if anything :-( Doh!
One of the reports suggested that the windings on the ICV were Low
is there any way to electrically test this when its out the car?

Any help would be great
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:25 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Location: Sundance Mesa, NM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,319
Mein Auto: 540/6, '16 Highlander XLE
It should rattle when you shake it when it's clean.
Resistance measurements should read:
Pin 1 to 2 = 20 ohms +/- 2 ohms
Pin 2 to 3 = 20 ohms +/- 2 ohms
Pin 1 to 3 = 40 ohms +/- 4 ohms

High idle could be an air leak somewhere.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:23 AM
londonzombie londonzombie is offline
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Location: UK
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 96 523i
Thanks Jim, Will take it back out again and check the resitance readings.
Thanks again!
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:27 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Resistance measurements should read
Aha! This is the kind of diagnostic test information we need for the misfire thread, so, I'm adding JimLev's post as a reference for the ICV!

- How to diagnose a BMW E39 engine misfire (1)

Test the idle control valve (ICV)
  • An overly rich fuel:air ratio can cause the ICV to stick (1) (2) (3)
  • A sticking ICV can lay a coat of soot on the O2 sensors (1)

Last edited by bluebee; 05-17-2011 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:40 AM
96 GGM 528I 96 GGM 528I is offline
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Location: Cleveland OH
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Mein Auto: 1997 528I Daily
This is a awesome read for me. I had the same issue when I cleaned mine out with carb cleaner and pipe cleaners. It was stuck first and after cleaning it bounced around in there. I know from previous car work it is just a stepper motor where various magnets are supplied an electrical current to determine the amount of air aloud to pass. This is a BMW though and some things on this car are strange so I was a little unsure. Thanks for the information guys
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