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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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  #26  
Old 11-04-2010, 11:34 AM
vandyke50 vandyke50 is offline
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Thanks everyone, Same here with my 540 Touring, anyone heard of a bad ingnition switch in a 60s Chevy, a 90s Mazda, etc etc ? Me either so what is up with BMW!
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  #27  
Old 11-04-2010, 12:47 PM
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- SWITCH FAILS: ignition switch that fails causing electrical problems (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
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  #28  
Old 07-27-2011, 12:54 PM
abrookey abrookey is offline
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This is all very interesting. I posted earlier as well, new to all this. I have a 2002 540i, 6spd with some mods. My ONLY issue is ONLY at 1,300 rpm, sometimes the car stumbles. By that I mean it is like someone turned the ignition off and on real fast. I live in the Seattle area and an independent shop [Dinan as well ] said he thought it was the ignition switch. Ever hear of this gremlin ????? Is this one hard to replace?
Art
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  #29  
Old 07-27-2011, 01:06 PM
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bcbp14 bcbp14 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashton540 View Post
I'm currently having these same issues. Altough mine consist of only a intermintenly failing radio, airbag light, and the steering wheel controls do not work nor do they illuminate. Oh, and also my cruise control will not turn on. I also suspected a failing ignition switch and will be changing it out soon.

Same thing happened to me over about 6 months. First twice a month, then twice a week, then twice a day. I picked up one from a member in the F/S section, my girl friend no longer makes fun of me.
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  #30  
Old 07-27-2011, 01:20 PM
abrookey abrookey is offline
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I am guessing that you are saying you had, or have, the same stumbling issues? New switch fixed it? I have no other electrical issues at all, just the stumble at 1,300rpm.
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  #31  
Old 07-27-2011, 01:48 PM
vandyke50 vandyke50 is offline
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Hi Art, The switch is easy enough to change from the instructions on the site, after changing the switch I discovered it made no change in my electrical gremlins like the radio not coming on and going off after a bump in the road.
The main thing I was hoping to fix was the air-bag light staying on.
Seems that the ignition has two parts, one is for the key and the other with contacts which is what I changed, Murphy's law I guess.
The cutting out is a new one to me or at least so far I have not experienced it, by the way I paid 75 US for the contact switch I changed and brought it back to Europe with me.
Make sure the numbers match if you purchase one, seems automatics, and the European cars have a different switch but I had no problem finding at a dealer in FL.
Sorry I can't be of any help about the cutting out at 1,300
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  #32  
Old 07-27-2011, 02:00 PM
dinan5e39 dinan5e39 is offline
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Try this link, Lots of good info.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=557590
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  #33  
Old 07-27-2011, 08:36 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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At 10 years and 163k miles, my BMW tech friend suggests it is worthwhile preventive maintenance for me to have my ignition switch replaced now, before I see symptons. I ordered a factory one from an online supplier and will be having it installed in a few weeks...if I don't tackle it myself before then.
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  #34  
Old 07-27-2011, 09:59 PM
abrookey abrookey is offline
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I don't know if you had seen my post or not but my real concern was not how to install a switch so much, it is the issue of what my car is doing. It at times has a stumble at 1,300rpm and at that rpm only, and strictly BMW in Bellevue said yhey thought it was an ignition switch, I have read quite a bit here about issues people have had with the switch, all of which seem electrical, but no one had the stumbling issue like I do. My logic just can't associate a stumble at 1,300rpm with an ignition switch. Everythung works fine in my 540, but I have this stumble........
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  #35  
Old 07-28-2011, 08:39 AM
vandyke50 vandyke50 is offline
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http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/430961
I think that in many cases the battery is at fault, as this old post comments on, it makes sense from an electrical viewpoint that any electronic component not running at the optimal voltage will either fail or not work correctly.
I changed my switch and it made no difference as I wrote, my advise is keep a good eye on output voltage and earth leaks, seems a lot of us are just looking at the ignition switch.
We know those can cause faults but it may save time and money to have another viewpoint to consider.
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  #36  
Old 07-28-2011, 09:44 AM
abrookey abrookey is offline
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The battery is something to consider, as I don't have any other issues such as lights, warning lights, airbag lights etc.....just the occasional 1,300 rpm stumble. I have had the car about 1 1/2 years, same battery that was in it when I bought it. Local dealership does not think it is ignition switch either, thinking of putting on their computer and see if there is a stored code, weak coil, plug etc.....
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  #37  
Old 06-04-2012, 07:52 AM
tarokyama tarokyama is offline
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Does this sound like ignition switch problems?

my sunvisor does NOT cause my steering wheel to move

1. Drivers seat movement and Steering Column:*does not work, I checked thecontrol module under the drivers seat and the connection, it is intact and in goodcondition, I ran a volt meter to the control module and I am getting about 9-10Vat certain points.*All the fuses are intact-Passenger seat works fine-Heated seats work fine2.

2. GAUGE CLUSTER: does not work as well as mid display, no tach, no speedo, nogas, no temp. HOWEVER when I pulled the radio fuse #25 the dash magically cameback to life for a few days and everything worked fine.-I have checked my grounds and all fuses including in the trunk, engine bay, underfloor board and glove box all intact.

3. ABS DSC Brake lights:*All are lit on my Guage Cluster (when it was working)I checked my grounds, and even ran a new ground from motor to chasis, still nochange.*NOTE: Cruise Control, Tach, and Speedo are working fine*when my gaugecluster is working (occasionally) HOWEVER In fact traction control does not work.

4. RADIO*Does not power on at all, when I pull my radio fuse #25 my Guage clusterstarts working for a few days, (sometimes). Checked all other fuses, they seemfine.Are these related? Suggestions please anyone who have encountered this.Thank you
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  #38  
Old 06-07-2012, 03:29 PM
DUSTY Rhoad DUSTY Rhoad is offline
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have had similar issues with the functions on the steering wheel..replaced the ignition switch but did not solve the problem..does the car have to "learn" the new switch or is the fix supposed to be instant. I heard a crunching sound just prior to these issues but can't find anything broken though....looking for some ideas.
thanks.
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  #39  
Old 06-08-2012, 10:49 PM
tarokyama tarokyama is offline
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Ignition switch replaced,

So I replaced my ignition switch, and still all the same problems,

No tach/speedo/gas/temp, no radio, no AC, no drivers power seats/stearing wheel.

Please someone help me!!!
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  #40  
Old 12-23-2012, 04:28 PM
essex.stuart essex.stuart is offline
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Got the same issues but signal lights on the dash dont work now and fog light indicators on the dash. just one other thing the rear parking sensor beep stopped beeping is that to do with the ignition switch too??
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  #41  
Old 12-24-2012, 08:05 AM
tarokyama tarokyama is offline
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Solution,

I don't own the car anymore however,

It wasn't the ignition switch,

I think many of you are having GROUNDING issues due to
moisture or water entering the LARGE fuse box located under
the passengers seat, you have to unbolt the front of the seat
in order to access it, what I found was a rusty junction box with
wires that had rusted and actually BROKEN off these wires
are what power the guage cluster etc.

I would check this FIRST, I replaced numerous parts and checked it last....
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  #42  
Old 12-24-2012, 04:07 PM
Takechan Takechan is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW E39 520i (M52B25)
I've been hunting an intermittent long crank on my engine.

While I haven't been experiencing any electrical gremlins, I've decided to clean the ignition switch contact points following the DIY.

So far all three start-ups have been great. I'll let you know if it resolved the issue.

Here are the pictures of the pre-sanding contact points:



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  #43  
Old 12-24-2012, 04:22 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I love the pictures!

I just noticed the companion thread was listed in the bestlinks (same OP, different forum), but not this one ... so ... I just added this thread to the bestlinks so that others can easily find it in the future, long after we're gone:

- Signs of a failing ignition switch (1) (2) or ring antenna (1) & the BMW TIS for when the ignition switch spins but does not engage (1) & rebuilding a failed ignition switch (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) & what to do if your steering wheel & key cylinder locks in place (1) (2) & the BMW training on the EWS alarm drive away protection system (pdf) & erasing old keys from the locking control module (1)
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 12-25-2012 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Added pics from the other thread ...
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  #44  
Old 04-19-2013, 02:55 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For cross reference, this was posted today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigTuna View Post
Problem is fixed, by replacing the faulty ignition switch as was suggested earlier. Very easy DIY job. You can see how its done from this video : . I hope it helps to whoever encounter the same problem I did.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #45  
Old 04-19-2013, 03:54 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 528i, M52TU w/stick
I'd like to mention something that probably doesn't matter much but want it to be known.

The two small headless set screws (grub screws as some people call them) are painted over with an automotive varnish at the factory to keep them from backing out. Why would BMW use that instead of the typical threadlockers like you get from Loctite or Permatex?

My suspicion is that they didn't want any threadlocker agents coming into contact with the base of the ABS-plastic ignition switch because those chemicals are well-known for destroying such plastics on contact.

I've used the blue threadlocker accidentally on another car to lock the screws holding a dust spoiler on its ABS mounts, and that stuff completely destroyed the mount threading in a matter of hours. I've seen it mess other black plastic parts up as well.

So..... (catching breath), whatever you do with the grub screws, try not to get any threadlocker on the ignition switch casing.

I didn't have automotive varnish so I just raided my daughter's vanity case and borrowed a few drops of nail polish to paint over the tops of the screws after I had tightened them down.
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  #46  
Old 09-05-2013, 12:13 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the glovebox printout, I'd like to insert the TEXT sequence to test the ignition switch.

Is this the best succinct (yet correct) TEXT writup (written today in this thread) for how to run the vanity mirror ignition switch test?
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Another Transmission Limp Mode Problem
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrologRocks View Post
1) Turn on the ignition to position 1
2) Turn on my stereo. There is no sound now but I thought that was because the lame owner before me butchered the installation of an aftermarket stereo.
3) Open the passenger visor and slide the mirror cover so that the lights turn on
4) Completing these steps should produce sound from my stereo, which will reveal a problem with my ignition switch.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #47  
Old 09-13-2013, 10:53 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, this was posted today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by vudoo View Post
I've been having issues with my horn, alarm and radio not working. I've check all the fuses and it seems to be fine. For some reason the clock is still working on my radio. I've done some research but not sure of what to fix. Is it an electrical problem? a Ignition problem? Please help, I'm so sick of driving with no music.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
If you turn on the passenger visor light, does it affect things? If so, likely a bad ignition switch.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vudoo View Post
that's so weird. when i turn on the passenger seat light, move the visor around the radio turned on. is this because of the bad ignition switch ?
See also:
- Signs of a failing ignition switch (1) (2) or ring antenna (1) & the BMW TIS for when the ignition switch spins but does not engage (1) & rebuilding a failed ignition switch (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) & what to do if your steering wheel & key cylinder locks in place (1) (2) & the BMW training on the EWS alarm drive away protection system (pdf) & erasing old keys from the locking control module (1)
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #48  
Old 04-12-2014, 08:36 AM
Libryum1 Libryum1 is offline
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Ignition switch or not?

I recently been having electrical problems with my 2002 BMW 525i. The steering wheel controls buttons and radio work on and off at times. The radio will just power off and sometimes the steering wheel will move up and down too. And then today I received a "transmission failsafe programming" error but it went away after I restarted the car and have not seen again. The other electrical problems occur about once or twice a day. I've read that it could be the ignition switch. Does anyone know what could be the cause of all these weird electrical problems? Is it the ignition switch or something else? Thank you for your help and insight.
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  #49  
Old 04-12-2014, 01:39 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libryum1 View Post
I recently been having electrical problems with my 2002 BMW 525i. The steering wheel controls buttons and radio work on and off at times. The radio will just power off and sometimes the steering wheel will move up and down too. And then today I received a "transmission failsafe programming" error but it went away after I restarted the car and have not seen again. The other electrical problems occur about once or twice a day. I've read that it could be the ignition switch. Does anyone know what could be the cause of all these weird electrical problems? Is it the ignition switch or something else? Thank you for your help and insight.
You "read that it could be the ignition switch"....so, did you watch the video in post #1 & post #19 (the follow up video)? And if you did...were you able to replicate any of the odd electrical gremlins?
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(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

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  #50  
Old 04-14-2014, 11:35 AM
Libryum1 Libryum1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
You "read that it could be the ignition switch"....so, did you watch the video in post #1 & post #19 (the follow up video)? And if you did...were you able to replicate any of the odd electrical gremlins?
I did watch both videos and I even tried the visor thing to see if I would replicate the electrical gremlins, and I had no luck using the visor approach. However, when I pull down the visor, the light automatically comes on which is strange because it should only come on when I slide the mirror cover to the left. On the driver side visor, this does not happen. But I am experiencing all the other gremlins you mention: steering wheel moving up and down, radio shuts off or sometimes does not work, steering wheel control buttons don't work at times and same with the horn and airbag light is on, etc.. And right now it feels as if my car is driving in another gear. Do you think this is still the ignition switch?

Thank you!

Last edited by Libryum1; 04-14-2014 at 11:48 AM.
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