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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 12-21-2011, 04:58 AM
Behmermaen Behmermaen is offline
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Airbag Warning Light?

I got a warning light this morning on my 00' e39 528i, it looks like a little stick man getting crushed by an airbag and its in the top right corner of the right cluster of warning lights. Does anyone know what it means and/or a fix for it?
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2011, 06:49 AM
jygesq jygesq is online now
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I have same car, never seen what you describe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Behmermaen View Post
I got a warning light this morning on my 00' e39 528i, it looks like a little stick man getting crushed by an airbag and its in the top right corner of the right cluster of warning lights. Does anyone know what it means and/or a fix for it?
when car is turned on to test idiot lights. PHOTO?
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2011, 11:44 AM
Behmermaen Behmermaen is offline
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Sorry for the late response. Its after the idiot light test and it hasnt come back on since that one morning. Ill post a picture once im off work.
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2011, 12:41 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Hold on...let me see if I can find it in the owners manual. I'll be back.

EDIT: Is it the warning light at the bottom of the middle column?

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Last edited by QSilver7; 12-22-2011 at 12:48 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2011, 04:05 PM
Behmermaen Behmermaen is offline
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yep thats the one, i guess ill take it to my bmw mechanic and have him search the codes. Thanks for posting this
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2011, 04:08 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Yes, do. When that light is on, the SRS is inoperative, and the airbags won't deploy in an accident.
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  #7  
Old 12-23-2011, 11:15 AM
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CoreyMNK CoreyMNK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Yes, do. When that light is on, the SRS is inoperative, and the airbags won't deploy in an accident.
In the manual it says that when this light it on the SRS system is not functioning properly and it may cause all of the airbags to go off during a crash.

In any case, OP have the codes checked out.
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  #8  
Old 12-23-2011, 11:42 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Yes, do. When that light is on, the SRS is inoperative, and the airbags won't deploy in an accident.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoreyMNK View Post
In the manual it says that when this light it on the SRS system is not functioning properly and it may cause all of the airbags to go off during a crash.

In any case, OP have the codes checked out.
I wasn't going to comment...but then on 2nd thought...I thought I should interject the following comments into this discussion.

I do agree that the OP should definitely find someone that can scan the SRS system (if he doesn't have the equipment) to see what sensor or area of the supplemental restraint system registered the fault code(s).

But when the warning light appears (and see the actual page from the owners manual)...the air bag(s) may not deploy "within its normal response range". That doesn't mean that none of the bags will deploy...but rather refers to that the system may not respond as it was designed.


For instance, if the occupancy mat sensor for the front passenger seat has registered a fault...and the car was involved in a frontal collision...the front passenger air bags (dash/door/head) may all go off even if no one is sitting in the seat (ie bags not responding "within its normal response range"). If the occupancy sensor mat can't tell if someone is sitting in the seat or not...then it will deploy the bags as if someone where (this is "not operating within the normal response range").
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2011, 11:45 AM
z168 z168 is offline
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This could just be the seat sensor right? I remember reading a thread about it...
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2011, 01:05 PM
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Trebbia Trebbia is offline
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Did the op recently fix the doors or the seats?
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2011, 04:04 PM
Blight67 Blight67 is offline
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It's likely the passenger seat occupancy sensor if you're seeing the light primarily during and after you have weight in the passenger seat. Once the light is on, it will not clear until the next drive cycle when there is no weight in the passenger seat. The sensor is a grid of wires stuck to the cushion of the passenger seat. When occupied, it is expected to have 200 ohm of resistance. If the voltage drop is outside of the expected range, you get the light.

This sensor is easily damaged. I was fixing my sunroof and was applying a lot of force on my passenger seat. This likely broke one of the sensor wires.

I have not fixed mine since it is a $200 piece and a real bear to replace. See part #9 in diagram. Replacement involves pulling out the seat and removing most of the leather covers on the seat.

There is a workaround that involves soldering 2 x 100 ohm resistors and a diode to emulate the occupied seat. This means that the passenger airbag will always deploy in an accident. The airbag is costly to replace and may even be dangerous if you have younger kids in the passenger seat.

Also, don't quote me, but I seem to recall that even if the sensor is malfunctioning, the airbag will deploy since it knows that the seat is occupied. It's just an out of spec signal being received.

Last edited by Blight67; 01-09-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2011, 04:31 PM
Behmermaen Behmermaen is offline
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Fatass friends can also damage sensor wires i bet. Thanks everyone for the information
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  #13  
Old 01-09-2012, 01:56 AM
the_carouser the_carouser is offline
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I purchased an occupancy seat bypass unit from ebay for $20. I also purchased the Peake SRS code reader to diagnose and clear codes. The code reader came up with error codes for the occupancy seat, a disconnected rear passenger airbag and firing circuit belt tensioner in the passenger side. Oh dear! me thinks.

Airbag was disconnected when I repaired and modified my window regulators, so it was an easy fix- plugged it back in till it clicked in securely. The bypass unit threw no more error codes for the occupancy mat. But the belt tensioner was a worry. I tried several times to clear the codes after ensuring there were no loose wires under the seat. After plenty of research, I knew I had to take the seat out and find out whether it was the faulty wiring harness or the belt tensioner mechanism. On a last ditched effort to clear the codes before seat removal, I plugged the seatbelt buckle into the belt tensioner mechanism and cleared the codes on the reader. Scanned for codes and all is clear! Not sure why....?

This is the first time in 3 years that I didn't have that airbag warning light constantly in my face.

Now I don't have to worry about my fatass friends messing up my car.
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  #14  
Old 01-09-2012, 12:24 PM
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Trebbia Trebbia is offline
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Mine went when I put my fatass knee on the seat while I was putting new interior bulbs in.

Moral of the story is to not put excessive force on the passenger seat cushion.
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  #15  
Old 01-09-2012, 12:50 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I placed a small piece of black electrical tape over the airbag light.....for now until I have time/energy to tackle it.
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  #16  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:38 AM
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I don't know if these will help, and maybe we need to add to these links to really help, but, just in case it's useful ... here's what's currently in the bestlinks:

- What can cause an SRS airbag light (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & what tools reset the fault (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & what happens when mechanics disconnect the airbag before the battery or they connect the battery before disconnecting the airbag in seat and window regulator repairs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & where to buy an airbag occupancy sensor bypass unit (1) (2).
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  #17  
Old 01-26-2012, 09:31 AM
MrTrouble MrTrouble is offline
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I have the B800 Code reader and scanned the SRS system. My wife has misplaced my book, in which I wrote the codes, but they are to two drivers side issues. I checked them out and everthing seems fine.

Question though. The retractor on the driver's safety belt moves REALLY slow, as if the mechanism needs to be lubed or something. I seem to remember the word "accelerator" being included in one of the codes. Could that "sticky" seatbelt be the issue?

Thanks.
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  #18  
Old 02-19-2012, 04:47 AM
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LalaRay LalaRay is offline
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so wait... basically since my airbag light is on i could say remove all my air bags ?
Since ya know they dont work anyway loosing 30lbs wouldn't hurt
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  #19  
Old 02-23-2012, 10:19 AM
Spinout Spinout is offline
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Try this...

1. open you passenger side sun visor to the down position
2. on the back side of the pass. sun visor, now open the sliding mirror door so that the mirror is exposed and the vanity light is illuminated
3. slide the mirror door closed
4. return the sun visor to the up position

Did your airbag light warning go off after that excercise?

It works for me when mine comes on. The electrical portion of the ignition switch needs to be replaced. $100 part and a 30 min DIY task.
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Last edited by Spinout; 02-23-2012 at 10:21 AM.
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  #20  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:06 AM
MrTrouble MrTrouble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spinout View Post
Try this...

1. open you passenger side sun visor to the down position
2. on the back side of the pass. sun visor, now open the sliding mirror door so that the mirror is exposed and the vanity light is illuminated
3. slide the mirror door closed
4. return the sun visor to the up position

Did your airbag light warning go off after that excercise?

It works for me when mine comes on. The electrical portion of the ignition switch needs to be replaced. $100 part and a 30 min DIY task.
Are you serious or is that a joke?
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  #21  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:12 AM
Spinout Spinout is offline
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Serious as a heart attack. I thought the same thing until I tried it and it cleared my issues.

A lot of communications go through the ignition switch contacts. Search this board, there is a lot of documentation on this (bizarre) method.
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Last edited by Spinout; 02-23-2012 at 11:14 AM.
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  #22  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:32 AM
MrTrouble MrTrouble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spinout View Post
Serious as a heart attack. I thought the same thing until I tried it and it cleared my issues.

A lot of communications go through the ignition switch contacts. Search this board, there is a lot of documentation on this (bizarre) method.
Okay, I'll give it a shot. Is that with the key on or off, while in the driver's seat or in the passenger seat? Since it is rather bizarre, I guess I should have the process down to a "T"...

LOL...
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  #23  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:36 AM
Spinout Spinout is offline
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I do it with the car running and I'm sitting in the driver's seat. You could probably have a passenger do it as well although I've never tried it.

Good luck...
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  #24  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:48 AM
MrTrouble MrTrouble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spinout View Post
I do it with the car running and I'm sitting in the driver's seat. You could probably have a passenger do it as well although I've never tried it.

Good luck...
Thanks, I'll give it shot when I'm off this evening.
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  #25  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:54 AM
George16 George16 is offline
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I tried it on mine but unfortunately it didn't work. I followed the procedure to the "T".
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