Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-21-2012, 03:53 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
.....I'm dead. Car died Nee Help...big time, Plzzz Help....

I had just written a thread a couple of weeks ago, about my car reaching 160k miles, and I was beginning to worry of the upcoming issues...specially tranny.

Well, it happened today. I stopped at a store, car wouldn't start. Gas was totally out, so I bought a can & poured 5 gallons of gas. Still won't start, but a little clicking noise. I thought battery is down. Got a jump and out started. But was getting brake light, traction light, ABS light flashing. I didn't stop but kept driving. In a little while I get a mssg "Trans failure"..."PROG...safe mode"... Car would not pull...very slow. In a few minutes totally died. Wouldn't start at all. Not even idle... Wth...

Does any of this relate to anything? Makes sense? What is this, and what are my options?

Plz Help.....I'm dying inside. No car for work...
2001 530i, 160k miles..

Thanks in advance!
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 09-21-2012, 04:21 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: MA
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,674
Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
I had just written a thread a couple of weeks ago, about my car reaching 160k miles, and I was beginning to worry of the upcoming issues...specially tranny.

Well, it happened today. I stopped at a store, car wouldn't start. Gas was totally out, so I bought a can & poured 5 gallons of gas. Still won't start, but a little clicking noise. I thought battery is down. Got a jump and out started. But was getting brake light, traction light, ABS light flashing. I didn't stop but kept driving. In a little while I get a mssg "Trans failure"..."PROG...safe mode"... Car would not pull...very slow. In a few minutes totally died. Wouldn't start at all. Not even idle... Wth...

Does any of this relate to anything? Makes sense? What is this, and what are my options?

Plz Help.....I'm dying inside. No car for work...
2001 530i, 160k miles..

Thanks in advance!
Sounds like you alternator died and you ran the battery down to the point that all of the electrical systems shut down. That's why you got all of the lights.
__________________

2000 540/6 Slightly tweeked...everywhere
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-21-2012, 05:07 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Sounds like you alternator died and you ran the battery down to the point that all of the electrical systems shut down. That's why you got all of the lights.
You may be right...because I jumped it 5 mins ago, going from the trunk, it started. But died again in another 5 mins of idle. Would a bad alternator have such signs.... And what does it have to do with the tranny... And "trans failure" message...???...

Also, no prior warnings....just bang...

Last edited by Newbie528; 09-21-2012 at 05:16 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-21-2012, 07:46 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: MA
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,674
Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
You may be right...because I jumped it 5 mins ago, going from the trunk, it started. But died again in another 5 mins of idle. Would a bad alternator have such signs.... And what does it have to do with the tranny... And "trans failure" message...???...

Also, no prior warnings....just bang...
Read what I write again, the computers are shutting down, not enough voltage.
__________________

2000 540/6 Slightly tweeked...everywhere
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-21-2012, 07:58 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sylvainia
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,251
Mein Auto: Z4M Coupe, 540i,Silverado
OK so ...

This sounds simple enough...Get New battery, and a new alternator...install both. Start your car and drive it where ever you please...

To make sure what I would do is measure the voltage...measure it with the car sitting not running etc...get the jump keep the car running and check the voltage again...it should be 12.6 or so not running...then running it should go over 14.1 although anything over I think it is 13.6 is considered good...

If you cannot...pull the battery take it to an Advanced Auto or Auto Zone have them check it too...may be you just need an alternator...

Good Luck
__________________
99 540i-6 Sport & 07 Z4///M Coupe
Pure
Adrenalin!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-21-2012, 09:17 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Thanks guys... I'm beginning to see some light...

I'm glad it isn't the tranny....


So, meanwhile... how do I lock/unlock the car tonight. It's parked outside. The battery is totally dead, and will take a jump.... but how what do I do to lock it, and IF I lock it.............HOW DO I unlock it, cuz the trunk or the car won't open without a jump, which I can't do, without opening the car.........CATCH 22....
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-21-2012, 09:36 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sylvainia
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,251
Mein Auto: Z4M Coupe, 540i,Silverado
uhhh...

Key in the door...then key in the pass door...and you can always manually unlock the trunk lid by turning the key all the way to the left...
__________________
99 540i-6 Sport & 07 Z4///M Coupe
Pure
Adrenalin!

Last edited by GSXRYDER; 09-21-2012 at 09:37 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-21-2012, 11:22 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,297
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
Would a bad alternator have such signs.... And "trans failure" message...
Yup. Ask me how I know:
- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
Also, no prior warnings....just bang...
Yup. See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
how do I lock/unlock the car tonight.
- How to open the hood (1) or trunk manually when you have a dead 12v car battery (1) (2) (3) & how to unlock the older E39 if the key is locked inside the trunk (1) (2)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads, where the best 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
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-22-2012, 12:25 AM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
Key in the door...then key in the pass door...and you can always manually unlock the trunk lid by turning the key all the way to the left...
Simple !!! It worked. So I was able to lock all the doors from the inside (passenger door last locked). To open the locks, I'm guessing I'll have to connect the battery from the trunk, and then use the remote to unlock the doors....right ?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-22-2012, 04:46 AM
Topaz540i's Avatar
Topaz540i Topaz540i is offline
Agnostic Priest
Location: Hillsborogh, NJ
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,025
Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6
You realize the driver's door has a key hole right?
__________________
ESS Tuning m60 version software
m60 intake manifold
a.f.e. c.a.i.
3" obx catback
full powerflex urethane setup
545 ssk
cdv delete
m5 rear sway bar
M5 chassis rods
M5 3.15 lsd
Bc-r coilovers w/ swift springs
Akebono=suck
ss braided brake lines

coming soon:

Jb lwfw

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-22-2012, 08:33 AM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
This sounds simple enough...Get New battery, and a new alternator...install both. Start your car and drive it where ever you please...

To make sure what I would do is measure the voltage...measure it with the car sitting not running etc...get the jump keep the car running and check the voltage again...it should be 12.6 or so not running...then running it should go over 14.1 although anything over I think it is 13.6 is considered good...

If you cannot...pull the battery take it to an Advanced Auto or Auto Zone have them check it too...may be you just need an alternator...

Good Luck
If it's just the alternator, should I be changing the idler pulley, tensioner, belt, etc with it. I did change these items a couple of years ago, when I did the full cooling overhaul.

Also, where's a good place (inexpensive) to get one. I did a little online search on Ebay Motor parts and came up with this - http://www.ebay.com/sch/Car-Truck-Pa...%2520Aspirated Is this any good....???... (2001 530i)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-22-2012, 10:06 AM
champaign777's Avatar
champaign777 champaign777 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Champ
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,051
Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
so small things can save so much time

http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3721-Bat...=voltage+meter

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-22-2012, 02:55 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Quote:
Originally Posted by Topaz540i View Post
You realize the driver's door has a key hole right?
Yup, but the key won't lock/unlock it. So I had tgo through pssngr door.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-22-2012, 02:57 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,297
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
If it's just the alternator, should I be changing the idler pulley, tensioner, belt, etc with it. I did change these items a couple of years ago, when I did the full cooling overhaul.
Normally you do the whole set, while you're there.

Only you can make the decision if the pulleys and belts and tensioners are relatively new.

- Recommended parts list for a complete belt drive system overhaul (1)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads, where the best 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
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-22-2012, 03:05 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
From reading all this, and talking to a friend... I feel it's the charging system. So how do I diagnose if it's the battery, alternator, or both...???

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-22-2012, 07:34 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,297
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
how do I diagnose if it's the battery, alternator, or both...
Go to the VERY best of E39 Links and type /battery F3 or /alternator F3.

You'll instantly find, among others:
- How to test a BMW E39 battery & alternator (1)

And, then, to preempt your next question, if it's the battery, see this:
- What is the most recommended battery for your E39 (1) and a simple E39 battery replacement DIY (1)

To preempt your next question, if it's the alternator:
- How to test your generator (1) & how to determine exactly what alternator you have (1) & a DIY for replacing the E39 I6 alternator (1) (2) (3) (4) or E39 V8 alternator (1) (2) (3) (4)

To preempt the question of just replacing the bearings on the alternator:
- Why rebuilding an alternator is preferable to replacing (1) & cn90 DIYs for rebuilding a 1998 air-cooled BMW Bosch alternator (1) (2) or his VW Bosch alternator (1) & cdawg246's quest for materials for a Bosch water cooled alternator rebuild (1) & Aioros' 1999 Valeo Alternator rebuild DIY (1) and his quest for materials (1) & Cn90's explanation of where to get hard-to-get alternator rebuild parts (1) & how to tell from the part number if a replacement alternator is actually rebuilt "by" Bosch (1) & a DIY for replacing the brushes in an (Audi) Valeo alternator (1) & a Bosch alternator bearing replacement from a 1997 MB S600 (1) & from a Range Rover (1).

And, to preempt the question of what else to do while you're there:

Common questions which need to be answered BEFORE you do an alternator and/or drive belt system overhaul:
- 1st: Physically, determine what type of tensioners you have (1)
- 2nd: Physically, determine exactly what alternator you have (1)
- 3rd: Determine which parts you need to buy for a complete drive belt system overhaul (1)
- 4th: Do the alternator and drive belt system DIY (belts, tensioners, pulleys, rollers, alternator) (1)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads, where the best 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
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-22-2012, 11:13 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Bluebee.... You Sir are a wealth of Knowledge........

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-23-2012, 11:14 AM
Albo's Avatar
Albo Albo is offline
Der Ursprüngliche....Albo
Location: Southern California
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 956
Mein Auto: OO=[][]=OO
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie528 View Post
Bluebee.... You Sir are a wealth of Knowledge........

Thanks!
Bluebee is not a sir.
__________________
Albo's Official Upgrade Thread: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=532572



2003 530i (Alpine White/Sand Beige) - 18x8.5 & 18x9.5 ACS Type II Wheels - BC Racing Coilovers - Eibach Sway Bars - Beastpower Sway Bar Brackets - M-Technic Replica Bumpers - Slimmbones CSL-Style Spltters - Magnaflow Muffler - Dinan CAI - TopSpeed Performance Strut Brace - Carbon Fiber Valve Cover Fascias - Zionsville Autosport Radiator/Fan Kit - Revmax Stage II Torque Converter - AMG Paddle Shifters
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-23-2012, 11:31 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Quote:
Originally Posted by Albo View Post
Bluebee is not a sir.
Hmmm... you could be more specific....
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-25-2012, 08:28 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Okay..... So today I changed a new battery. Everything lights up, as it should, car started up like it should.

However, there's a Red color Battery sign (light) lit up on the dash. Does that mean the new battery is not compatible, or is it something else. I ran let the car idle for a few minutes, and then shut it off so I won't just run into more trouble.....

Suggestions please.... Thanks....
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 09-25-2012, 08:57 PM
NZ BMW NZ BMW is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: New Zealand
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 268
Mein Auto: 2001 530i
I'm pretty sure that's saying it's not charging the battery, meaning the alternator is dead. You need to get a volt meter and check the charge between the battery terminals while the car is running. Someone will know better than I but you should see say 12V while the car is sitting (engine off) and then when it's running it should be higher say 14 volts?

A mechanic can also check this for you.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-25-2012, 10:21 PM
Newbie528 Newbie528 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: S.F. Bay area
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 288
Send a message via Yahoo to Newbie528
Mein Auto: Corvette
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZ BMW View Post
I'm pretty sure that's saying it's not charging the battery, meaning the alternator is dead. You need to get a volt meter and check the charge between the battery terminals while the car is running. Someone will know better than I but you should see say 12V while the car is sitting (engine off) and then when it's running it should be higher say 14 volts?

A mechanic can also check this for you.
Darn it....That's what I thought....Daaaangggg.. Can't believe I burnt out the alternator. Anyways, it was in the back of my mind...it was a possibility. So had bought one while I got the battery today. I was hoping to return it (if not needed). But I guess, I'll be replacing that too. I will do the volt meter check also.

I think I bought 2 new belts (drive belt & accessory belt) about 2 year ago, but didn't put them on...cuz the old belts were still fairly new. I figured since I have them, It's a good idea to put them on. How about any pulleys... should I change any pulleys too, while the mechanic is in working on it anyway. If yes, what kind of pulleys..?

Thanks a million guys... Plz keep it coming...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms