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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 10-10-2011, 12:01 PM
thomasincali thomasincali is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 530i
e39 still running with key out!

Hi, maybe someone can help me here. I checked all the forum threads and could not locate anything.
I have a 2001 530i with auto. my wife took the car out today and it was raining. she said that when she stopped at the store the car turned off but the dash board lights and the daylight running lights were still on. when she got home same thing. I went out there and checked and it was on, along with the taillights and third brake lamp.

I clicked the alarm to engage it and it turned everything off. There was a engine fail safe message. Thought it cleared it but a couple of minutes later the lights came back on. I was working so I came back about an hour later and still same problem.

I started the car and drove it around and did not get any errors but my battery light is no showing in red on the dash. So i think that my battery may be going but the weird thing is, when i parked it and turned the key and removed it, it was still running!!!! what the flub?

Does anyone know why the hell the car would still be running with the key out? and some other threads spoke of the ignition not working correctly but mine has no problems like spinning or turning. Can someone lead me into the right direction? The car is still running and i think that i will not stop until the gas runs out.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2011, 12:13 PM
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Albo Albo is online now
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Have you re-inserted the key and tried cycling it On/Off a few more times. It sounds like you may have a bad ignition switch. Not the cylinder itself, bu the electronic circuit inside. A bad ignition switch can lead to a number of electronic maladies...

Read here for instructions:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=358204

And Here:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=356553

And Here:

http://forum.roadfly.com/threads/110...im-Cash-rules.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2011, 12:32 PM
thomasincali thomasincali is offline
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Thank you so much! Do you know how I can get to the relay fuse in order to disconnect the battery? It's behind my glove box and I can't get to it. Or is there a safe way to disconnect the battery while the car is running?
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2011, 12:35 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Don't d/c battery.

Remove the fuel relay or fuel pump fuse, the car will stall.

Where in Calif are you, L.A. area?
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2011, 12:39 PM
thomasincali thomasincali is offline
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No, in Sac. How do I get to the relay or the fuse? Thanks!!
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2011, 01:17 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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It could be in the trunk (or the glovebox...3 locations are listed in the fuse index)...pull down the battery compartment door and you should see a label that contains the fuse index and diagram that shows where each trunk fuse is located within the fuse box. If you don't have a fuse in the location listed for the trunk, then you'll need to pull one of the 2 locations in the glovebox area.

And in case your fuse index is missing...the glovebox AND trunk fuse indexes were just posted a few hours ago today in this post: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...14&postcount=5

Glovebox fuses (twist white knobs on roof of glovebox and the fuse box drops down)



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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 10-10-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2011, 01:25 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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This post is perplexing, how the heck in the world can an E39 run with the key out of the car!!!
Sounds like a Frankenstein movie LOL.

Any guru can explain this?
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2011, 01:31 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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More than likely a broken ignition cylinder or a disconnect between the cylinder and the ignition switch. If you've had the good fortune to change your ignition switch...there's a slot in the switch that allows you to insert a screwdriver and you can start the car by twisting the driver. If the iggy cylinder and switch have broken apart from each other...the car could still be running while the key has been removed from the steering column.

I've seen this scenario posted before on the forumns.
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2011, 01:33 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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But I thought you need two (2) requirements to start the E39:

1- the mechanical portion: ignition tumbler to start the car
2- the EWS system, with they key out, the chip in the key is out of the car, how can the car run? Maybe it is within some distance (in the owner's pocket) so the ECU can recognize it? What happens if the owner (key in pocket) walks far away from the car, does it still run?
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2011, 03:20 PM
NZ BMW NZ BMW is offline
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WIN - you now have key less go...

The key is not worn by any chance is it? I've seen this happen on high mileage cars where the tumbler pretty much just wears out.
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  #11  
Old 10-10-2011, 04:02 PM
thomasincali thomasincali is offline
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finally gave up and took the car to an Indy BMW shop. they're gonna do a diagnostic and let me know. I will followup to let this thread know. I did walk away from the car a good distance and it did not shut off, maybe it just needs to be in proximity when starting... idk
The shop was not sure, they checked the ignition like i did and didn't think it was broken, but of course with the connectors inside not seen, could be worn out, or the tumblers as was stated earlier in this thread.

Scratching my head and hoping the bill for this doesn't break me...lol

and I just picked up a sweet 98 740IL from SF last nite, clean title and looks like was garaged all of its life. Arctic Silver, every option wit 126K. Interior is PERFECT along with the exterior being PERFECT. I could not believe my eyes when i got to the Mercedes of SF Dealership after seeing the ad yesterday. It was a trade in and they had it sitting... If anyone knows SF, there is no space to keep used cars at the Mercedes lot, so it was just across the street. I drove almost two hours to get there to buy it, sight unseen over the phone and when I got there, I almost crapped my pants to see the condition of this car.

So it was worth the whole $4K that i bought it for.... lol, but the gracious great deal gods gave me one and took on another with this issue I am dealing with now... FML
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  #12  
Old 10-11-2011, 07:35 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
But I thought you need two (2) requirements to start the E39:

1- the mechanical portion: ignition tumbler to start the car
2- the EWS system, with they key out, the chip in the key is out of the car, how can the car run? Maybe it is within some distance (in the owner's pocket) so the ECU can recognize it? What happens if the owner (key in pocket) walks far away from the car, does it still run?
EWS prevents "STARTING" if the transponder isn't read...the issue here is that the car is already running...and the OP can't turn it off. Once the car is running...the DME "ignores" the loss of the ISN (individual serial number).

There's also a brief 10 second window where you can start the car with a key that has lost its EWS transponder because the DME/ECU will retain the ISN sent to it by the EWS-CM.

I assume this small window is used for quick restarts. For instance, if you pull into your drive/garage and turn the car off...then immediately remember that you forgot to pick up Ashton or Jamie from kindergarten...or you forgot to pick up that loaf of bread & gallon of milk....so you restart the car to head back out...the EWS communication between the ECU/EWS-CM/Ring Antenna/Key is cancelled and the car can be restarted without all of the EWS communication scenario taking place.

See text in red box which explains the 10 second cancellation of the "key recognition" sequence of EWS...and in the 2nd pic below...see the "WORKSHOP HINT" which warns to wait 10 seconds between checking keys because of how the ISN info is either retained or ignored during that 10 second period:



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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 10-11-2011 at 07:41 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-11-2011, 09:04 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
There's also a brief 10 second window
Amazingly, there is more detail from QSilver7 on the ignition key particulars than there is on the engine by cn90!

So as to not lose this valuable information about the 10-second rule, I just now added a link to Saint Q's post above to the bestlinks...

- How to replace the old-style BMW E39 square key battery (1) (2) (3) & how to replace the rubber key pads in the old style square keys (1) (2) & opening, charging, recoding, & battery replacement (1) of the new-style diamond key (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & converting the old-style square key to the newer diamond shaped key (1) & the details on swapping the BMW diamond key transponder (1) & proper diamond key initializing (1) (2) & what to do if your key is locked inside your bimmer (1) & a description of the various types of BMW Remote, Illuminated, Spare/Wallet, & Valet/Service keys (1) (2) & a list of diamond key EWS, FZV, & DWA functions (1) (2) & all about the 10-key limit to programming your own keys at home (1) & a description of the ignition key ISN (individual serial number) ten-second rule (1) & what to do if you lost your only diamond key (1) or what to do if your BMW key was stolen (1)
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  #14  
Old 10-13-2011, 09:01 AM
thomasincali thomasincali is offline
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Ok, found out why my e39 became possessed....lol. After taking it to the Indy, it was amusing to see 3 BMW techs standing around the car scratching their heads as to why my car was running with the key out. This did not bode well for my wallet, seeing a first time thing with pricey hourly charges accruing before my eyes. I had thoughts that they were billing me from that point on for each of the techs standing there... hahah...
anyways. Long story short... John the service advisor at EU TECH ( shameless plug but they were awesome) called me later that afternoon. Mind you, I told him about some of the things that were tried with the advice given here on this thread and this helped them start running instead of from the beginning. They tested my batter, alternator, pulled the iginition to check connections, verified that the ignition was fine and pulled fuses and checked everything. Nothing came up on the codes that gave them an idea of the problem..... but then...

the tech working on my car noticed that there is a plastic box near my cabin filter with some relays and the top was missing. upon closer inspection, he realized that it was half full of water! OMFG. Really? There was corrosion inside ( duh) and pulled the entire box, replaced that relays and ordered a top to cover it. The previous owner before me removed it at some point and forgot to put it back on and by the amount of corrosion, must have been thru at least one winter. Now I live in Cali, we don't get a lot of rain but this spring was fairly wet for us. What a dumbass, sorry, i could have made the mistake too, but come on?
I guess, the relays became shorted, sending signals to the ignition that the car was to keep running, or the info coming from the ignition was being ignored to turn the car off when i disengaged the key, so it just ran. IDK, even they were confused as to how this caused the problem.
What I did appreciate was their honesty about the repair. They could have replaced the battery, alternator and did this work and stuck me with those charges since I had NO CLUE how to correct the problem. So the mystery that baffled many was finally resolved by old fashioned eye balling. all the fancy computers could not figure it out and it took a guy just one minute to realize that this was an easy fix.
anyways, she runs fine, no problems and the service engine light went off. I should have paid more attention when it came on two weeks ago. But honestly, I would have not known what to look for since they said that there were no service codes, even tho the service engine light was on. Again, it baffled them.

So I just have to be resigned that my baby might be possessed, or the owners just dumb, and continue to enjoy her with all her faults...
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  #15  
Old 10-13-2011, 01:35 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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Thanks for the follow up. There's some tidbits I'll have to add to my mental rolodex in case something like this comes up again.

Glad you got it all sorted out.
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #16  
Old 10-13-2011, 06:13 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Wow,

This deserves the title "Mystery of the year".
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  #17  
Old 10-13-2011, 06:19 PM
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dalekressin dalekressin is offline
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Spooky indeed.
Ignition switch.
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