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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 02-04-2013, 02:07 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,127
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Detailed step by step diagnostic DIY ... dead battery ... parasitic current drain

PLEASE IMPROVE THE STEPS BELOW SO ALL BENEFIT!
(Advice is always welcome!)

EDIT: Updated as per Fudman to pull the FSU rather than fuse F76.
EDIT: Updated as per 540iman that the nature of the current draw implicates certain circuits.
EDIT: Updated as per edjack in that the four doors must be shut in order for the computers to go to sleep.The last few days, twice now, I go out to the bimmer, and, ... well ... nothing.
---

No click. No lights. No horn. No nuthin'.
At first, I thought I had left the lights on or maybe I had charged too much portable electronics - but I wouldn't have done that twice.

So as to add value with every repair, here's my story, as it unfolds (so that others can follow suit in the future).

History
:
a) I had put in a new (acm Germany) FSU in, oh, about three years ago (need to check) <=== here's the thread ... 2/2/2009
b) I had put in a rebuilt (Bosch 120A) alternator & belt drive system a couple of years ago (need to check) <=== here's the thread 7/26/2010
c) I had put in a new (Duralast 49DL) battery just over a year ago (need to check) <=== here's the thread ... 9/19/2011

Definition:
Active period: The first 16 minutes after you exit the vehicle, shut all doors, and then open the trunk (as evidenced by the indicator light by the shift lever being lit).
Quiescent period: After 16 minutes, the computers shut down, and that orange indicator light by the shift lever goes off.
Note: Most say you should see something like 30 ma quiescent draw AFTER the car shuts down at 16 minutes (but I'm seeing 80 milliamps on my 2002 525i).

Flowchart: (thanks to Fudman & 540iman for updating the overall procedure)
Step 1: Disconnect & charge the battery (I use a 4 amp charger - I wish I had a 6 amp charger though)
Step 2: Drive to Autozone (or equivalent) to have the charging system tested (or test it yourself with a DMM, using this procedure).
Step 3: If it passes step 2, then measure parasitic drain (active & quiescent) with and without the FSU in series with the negative battery terminal
Step 4a: If you find double-digit current draw, then pull the FSU, and check current draw again (both active & quiescent)
Step 4b: If you find single-digit current draw, then pull fuse F56, and check current draw again (both active & quiescent)
Step 4c: If if it's neither of those culprits, then start pulling all 88 fuses, one by one, with an ammeter in series with the battery
Note: You 'can' pull the 40A yellow blower circuit fuse F76 for step 4a - but for reasons Fudman explains, it's better to pull the FSU instead.

DIY Procedure:
0. Print the fuse lists from EF1 to EF5, and from F1 to F114 for each of the six fuse panels (see detailed fuse listing below)
1. For obvious reasons, keep your ignition key somewhere safe OUTSIDE the vehicle (e.g., in the trunk lock or in your pocket)
2. Open the trunk and leave it open; shut all four doors; & lock the vehicle using the key fob (taking note of the orange light near the shift lever)
3a. With a 10mm socket on a 6-inch extension, remove the battery negative cable
3b. Optional: Discharge stored charge in the electronics by temporarily disconnecting BOTH battery cables, and shorting the two CABLES with a wrench (do not short the battery terminals!)
3c. Reconnect the battery positive cable if you performed optional step 3b above.
4a. Set your ammeter to the 20 amp or 10 amp range (whichever you have that is highest)
4b. Hook the positive (red) lead to the brown negative battery cable (use a clamp or alligator clips to attach)
4c. Hook the negative (black) lead of the ammeter to the bare negative battery post (I used a heavy gauge wire with large alligator clips on each end to attach)
5. Work the meter range down from amps to milliamps (you must be ready for up to 20 amps - but you want to see something around 2 amps active to less than 100 ma quiescent)
6. With the ammeter still connected, wait for shut down (about 16 minutes) as indicated by the automatic transmission console light going off
Note: Some DMMs shut off automatically about 10 or 15 minutes into your test, so you'll need to activate those DMMs periodically.
7. Make a note of the TOTAL current drain after shutdown (all lights should be off)
8a. If current drain is around 2 amps active and less than 100 ma quiescent, then you're probably OK
8b. If current drain fluctuates in the teens at any time (active or quiescent), then pull the FSU & retest
8c. If current drain is in the single amps (quiescent period), then pull fuse F56 & retest
9. If neither the FSU nor fuse F56 make a difference and your current draw is still greater than about 100ma quiescent, then it's time to debug by pulling the fuses, one by one
10. Disconnect your ammeter, re-connect the battery, again wait for shutdown - and then, one by one, pull the 88 fuses, putting your ammeter leads across the open contacts
Note: Unfortunately, some fuses, when pulled, will wake the car up and force you to wait anywhere from 1 minute to the full 16 minutes to continue
11. You can either remove and immediately replace each fuse, or, you can successively remove all fuses sequentially (starting with the lowest amperages first)
12. Write down the parasitic drain for each fuse & troubleshoot the circuit with the highest parasitic drain.
Unfortunately, my Fluke 75 requires me to move the leads to go from the 10Amp range down to the 300ma range (which resets the car!).
Note: You can measure total parasitic drain in series with the battery, or individually, across each fuse's terminals.

For the record, this is what the battery charger did last night & this morning:
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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; 02-09-2013 at 11:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2013, 07:03 PM
crazy4trains crazy4trains is offline
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Location: Milton, WV
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 473
Mein Auto: 2002 530i Sport
I took my alternator off the car and had it bench tested. The test showed the alternator was OK. It wasn't. Don't put all your faith in the alternator test. Your relatively new alternator could also be bad.

The saga is documented here:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...e=2&highlight=
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2002 530i
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2013, 07:21 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,127
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
It could be, as you suggest - as I don't know WHAT the problem is just yet - but - I know what to do (which is my homework).

O'Reillys said the battery & alternator were OK. Here's a picture of the O'Reillys tool in action today ...


Then I took it to Autozone, where the battery & alternator tested good a second time (showing 14.13 volts at idle):


So, now it's time to check the FSU out, even though it was replaced in 2009 (I haven't noticed any blower fan problems ... but that's the next thing I'll do).

Doing my homework, I find these quotes scattered about the forum, which relate to unplugging the FSU fuses:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
That's a single, square socket housing for two large fuses, F75 & F76, unlike the individual socket arrangements shown in the attached photos. And yeah .... it's hard to get your hand up in there (be sure to disconnect the battery first), let alone finagle the fuses upward and out with your fingers. Be sure to put the right fuse back into the right slot, too. Easily interchangeable.....
Quote:
BEHIND GLOVEBOX (look from underneath):
F75 = 50A, Auxiliary fan (some say it's red)
F76 = 40A, Heater blower (some say it's yellow) [cn90 says it should have 12V when HVAC is turned on]
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Pull the bottom plastic panel off that is under the glove box, pull it straight back toward the seat.
Then unhook the side supports for the glove box.
This is what your will see.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rog5878 View Post
To access F75 and F76 ... close the glove box and behind the glove box is a plastic panel with a hole in it (the panel is directly behind the glove box) Pull it towards you. Takes a bit of a nudge.
Then there are all kinds of wires bound together and various connectors that if you pull out will probably incapacitate the car -- who knows. I had to contort myself to lay on my back and look up in the well on the passenger side.
Yes, the two large fuses -- 75 and 76 are in the middle of this mess, and yes, it is a tight fit (took forever to locate them with the little flash light; some say they are obvious but they weren't to me; of course, now I know exactly where to look). God knows how one gets them in. To get the fuses out, I had to nudge the first fuse on each side -- couple of sparks -- God knows what those shorts did -- and finally it came out -- the fan stopped.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
1. Car dies periodically (and blower has wierdities at the same time)
2. Unplug FSU ...
3. If intermittent battery death stops, then you've pinpointed the problem
4. Replace FSU
If it's not the FSU, then I'll need to go, one by one, down all 88 fuse slots (F1 to F114).
Quote:
To measure the current drain from your battery you will need to connect your multi meter in series with the battery ... To measure current disconnect the negative terminal (I use the neg but you can use either), set your millimeter to measure amps and connect the meter between the battery terminal and the disconnected cable. If you don't have an amp meter then use a 12V test light bulb. The bulb will have a very low glow due to the current drawl from your clock, computer, etc. If the trunk light is on you will want to pull the bulb or fuse. If it is brighter then a low glow then you have a short somewhere in your car. If you want to see what the difference between a low glow (low amp draw) and a high amp draw turn on your head lights. You can pull each fuse and see if there is a change at the amp meter or pull the fuse and insert the amp meter across the fuse terminals (need to reconnect the battery of course). Checking each fuse (by pulling or direct measurement) will tell most problems except if you have a worn wire short on the hot side (positive) of the fuse box which is very unlikely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post

Here is what I think each pin does:
#1 = ground
#2 = 12V power, 40 amp fused
#3 = input to fsu from heat/ac module
#4 = output power to the blower motor? (speed 1?)
#5 = output power to the blower motor (speed 2?)

And, here is what I measured between each pin and ground (the FSU body):
#1: Old FSU = 600Kohms, new FSU = 11.2 ohms
#2: Old FSU = 3.02Mohms, new FSU = 1.22Mohms
#3: Old FSU = 2.22Mohms, new FSU = 608Kohms
#4: Old FSU = 2.14Mohms, new FSU = 602Kohms
#5: Old FSU = 3.05Mohms, new FSU = 1.28Mohms
Code:
NOTE: For the wiring diagram below:
F76 - Fuse 76 (yellow, 40 amps, under glovebox and above GM3 connector X254).
15 - Ignition power (RUN & START)
30 - Batt positive (+)
31 - Batt negative/gnd (-)
[/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjjarvis View Post
Elvis, this is a fantastic writeup and saved me money and grief. I have a couple of comments:

1. BLOWER STOPS WORKING COMPLETELY. This repair also works in at least some cases when the blower STOPS WORKING ALTOGETHER. A lot of the web-based commentary seems to imply that the FSU replacement only fixes blowers that are intermittent, or that have speed problems. In my case, the blower stopped working at EVERY SPEED. It was just like it was switched off. I followed all the commentary and tested it at all speeds -- NOTHING!! I was really afraid then, that the blower motor was kaput, and not the FSU, based on all the comments. But I decided to try the FSU first, and I'm glad I did. For $52 bucks, free shipping from autohausaz, it was really worth a try.

2. CONTORTION. For me to do this repair, I had to lower the passenger seat down as low as it would go, and move it as far back as possible, into an almost bed-like position. Then I climbed into the seat backwards, with my feet toward the back of the car, my body upside down, so I could get my head and arms underneath the dash, facing up towards the FSU. It's very close in there, but even a monstrously large person like myself (6'2", 280 lbs) managed to get in there with some difficulty. If you have a small, thin person in your family who is very flexible, you may want to engage them for the removal and installation of the FSU.

3. FUSES. Of course, the first thought is to check the fuses. Once the "easy" ones in the glovebox are checked and found to be ok, the thought is that Fuse 75 or 76 might be to blame. They are big 50 amp fuses that are located in a very difficult place, behind the glovebox. I know there is a lot of commentary out there about how to remove them. But REPLACING them is something else altogether. No one mentions that there is an aluminum brace that is in the way. After diddling around for a long time, I found that the only way to REPLACE those fuses is to jam your hand in back of the aluminum brace by force, and punch the fuses in from the top. The aluminum brace will move enough to let you get your big fat hand back in there if you use force. Of course, in my case, all of this was wasted, since the fuse was not the problem. However, to get to the FSU, it really helps to have the glovebox out of the way anyway, so all the effort was not wasted.

4. FSU REPLACEMENT. Make a mental note of the orientation of the FSU as you take it out. There is little space to work down there, and it is very difficult to keep turning the new one around trying to fit it back in. Plus the new one is not exactly the same shape as the old one. I printed out a picture of the FSU in place from Elvis' DIY and brought it with me out to the car. That really helped. Nevertheless, be prepared for some jockeying to get the old FSU out, and the new FSU in -- the only thing that I was concerned about was damaging the very soft prongs in the new one while installing. Luckily that turned out to be not a problem.

5. SOFT PRONGS. I should note that the new part, from BEHR (the old one was made by VALEO) had very soft prongs. The old one's prongs were very hard and could not be bent, but the new ones were very bendable. In fact, I thnk I accidentally bent them a little while fooling with it. I did not know whether this made a difference, but where they touched each other, I bent them back so that they did not touch, and were aligned in neat rows. Maybe this made no difference, but I didn't want to take the chance.

In my case, as soon as I replaced the FSU, everything went back to normal! It's like magic. I was dreading having to disassemble half the car and replace the blower motor -- but that won't be necessary, thanks to our friend Elvis! Really appreciate what you have done here for all of us.

--Ron
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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; 02-13-2013 at 04:27 PM.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2013, 08:18 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,127
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
PRINT this list of fuses and write down the parasitic draw for each while debugging

We should all add value before, during, and after every repair, so here's my homework assignment, so far on the 88 discrete fuse spots (not all of which have fuses in them).

(Note that F1 to F5 exist in two different locations, just to confuse you, so I'll refer to the ebox ones as EF1 to EF5, and the glovebox ones as F1-F5).

There are SIX fuse box locations in my 2002 BMW 525i E39 (here is a 1997 540i fuse location chart):
  • EF1 to EF5 <= at the back of the ebox under the passenger side cabin air filter housing (5 fuse spots)
  • F1 to F45 <= in the glove compartment top panel (45 fuse spots)
  • F46 to F66 <= directly above the battery (21 fuse spots)
  • F67 to F74 <= don't exist
  • F75 to F76 <= behind the glove compartment (2 fuse spots)
  • F77 to F99 <= don't exist
  • F100 to F106 <= above the battery positive terminal (7 fuse spots)
  • F107 to F114 <= under passenger side front seat carpet (8 fuse spots
IN THE White E-BOX UNDER PASSENGER SIDE CABIN AIR FILTER:
EF1 = 30A, MAF, Cam sensor #1, DME, T-Stat, Evap emission valve (some say it's 30A - DME, Injectors, SMG Hydraulic unit)
EF2 = 30A, Fuel injectors, Both Vanos solenoids, Cam sensor #2, SAS pump electrical valve (some say it's 30A - DME, Idle control valve, Fuel tank ventilation valve, Fuel pump)
EF3 = 20A, Cam sensors, MAF, Crank Sensor, Heated O2 sensors (some say it's 30A, others say 25A - E-box fan, Transmission RPM sensor, CPS, MAF sensor, Fuel pump relay, SAP relay, A/C Compressor relay, Fuel tank leakage diagnostic module, SMG selector lever)
EF4 = 30A, DME (some say it's 30A - Oxygen sensors and oxygen sensor heater circuits)
EF5 = 30A, Unloader relay, power to coils (some say it's 30A - Fuel injector relay)

Note: Photo courtesy of JimLev.

---
IN THE ROOF PANEL OF THE GLOVEBOX:
F1 = 30A, Windscreen wiper
F2 = 30A, Headlight cleaning system, Windscreen washer system
F3 = 15A, Horn
F4 = 20A, Passenger comp/trunk lighting, Windscreen washer system
F5 = 20A, Sliding tilt/roof
F6 = 30A, Outside mirror adjustment, Central locking system, Window lift
F7 = 30A, Cigarette lighter
F8 = 25A, ABS/ASC Control Module (Note: F8 was empty in my 2002 525i)
F9 = 15A, Air conditioner, Heated washer jets [JimLev says it handles the heated washer jets and the Check Control Module panel]
F10 = 30A, Passenger seat adjustment
F11 = 7.5A, Servotronic
F12 = 5A, Immobilizer
F13 = 30A, Driver seat adjustment, Steering column adjustment [JimLev says F13 goes to all of the motors in the drivers seat and the two steering column adjuster motors in a left hand drive gas engine E39 built after 9/'99] [cn90 shows an F13 trick here]
F14 = 5A, Engine control
F15 = 7.5A, Diagnosis plug, Engine control (JimLev adds: Oil level sensor, Data connector under the hood next to the ABS module (no data conn after ~6/2000), Alternator, Temp switch in DME box for cooling fan in bottom of DME box, Range switch for automatic tranny)
F16 = 5A, Light module
F17 = 10A, ABS, Automatic stability control
F18 = 5A, Instrument cluster
F19 = 5A, (empty) Electronic damper control [QSilver7 says F19 is in-between the ignition switch and an unloader relay terminal 15]
F20 = 7.5A, Air conditioner, Heated rear window, Heater, Tyre pressure control system [JimLev says F20 and F105 power relay K201, which itself gets power from F75]
F21 = 5A, Anti-glare inside mirror, Driver seat adjustment, Garage door opener [JimLev says F21 also powers the current cutoff relay, garage door opener, rear view mirror, park distance control module, and the cig lighter relay]
F22 = 25A, Fuel pump
F23 = 7.5A, (empty in my 2002 525i) Heater, Rear centre arm rest
F24 = 5A, Instrument cluster, Shifting gate illumination, Tyre pressure control system
F25 = 7.5A, Multi-information display, Radio
F26 = 5A, Wiper Relay I & Wiper Relay II (Note: F26 was empty in my 2002 525i)
F27 = 30A, Central locking system, Window lift
F28 = 15A, (empty in my 2002 525i) Transmission control, diesel
F29 = 30A, Central locking system, Outside mirror adjustment, Window lift
F30 = 25A, ABS
F31 = 10A, ABS, Automatic stability control, Fuel pump
F32 = 25A, Active seat, Electric seat heating, Roller sun blind
F33 = Open (empty in my 2002 525i)
F34 = 10A, Heated steering wheel (empty)
F35 = 5A,(empty in my 2002 525i) Rear A/C blower
F36 = Open (empty in my 2002 525i)
F37 = 5A, Immobilizer
F38 = 5A, Horn, Shifting gate illumination
F39 = 7.5A, Charging socket, Courtesy mirror illumination
F40 = 5A, Airbag, Instrument cluster
F41 = 5A, Brake light, Light module
F42 = 5A, Airbag
F43 = 5A, (Telephone), (On-board monitor), Radio, (Rear Washer) (Rear washer pump)
F44 = 5A, Multi-function steering wheel, MID, Radio, (Telephone)
F45 = 7.5A, Roller sun blind


IN TRUNK BATTERY COMPARTMENT:
F46 = 15A, Blower relay/Parked Car ventilation/Receiever, parked car ventilation (Note: F46 was empty in my 2002 525i)
F47 = 20A,(empty in my 2002 525i) Additional heater, independent heater
F48 = 5A, Anti-theft alarm system [Note: The alarm will sound if/when you pull this fuse]
F49 = 30A, (empty in my 2002 525i) Air suspension
F50 = 7.5A, (empty in my 2002 525i) Air suspension
F51 = 30A, (empty in my 2002 525i) Rear cigarette lighter
F52 = 30A, (empty in my 2002 525i) Cigarette lighter (AUS)
F53 = 7.5A, Central locking system [fuel door solenoid issue, which disables the central locking system] [JimLev adds Rear lid motor relay K70, Central locking & fuel door relay K121, Window motor relay K90, Diversity amp or antenna amp]
F54 = 25A, (empty) M5 Fuel pump
F55 = 20A, (empty) Rear washer, Rear washer pump
F56 = 30A, (On-board monitor), (CD changer), Radio, (Navigation system) [Black540eye adds On-board Monitor, Radio, Video Module, CD Changer, Amplifier, GPS Control Module, GPS Receiver]
F57 = 10A, (Telephone)
F58 = 10A, (On-board monitor), (Telephone), Radio, (Navigation system)
F59 = 20A, (empty) Trailer socket
F60 = 50A, (empty) Elecronic damper control
F61 = 5A,Park distance control module/ Seat heater switch, left rear/ Seat heater switch. right rear (empty in my 2002 525i)
F62 = Open (empty in my 2002 525i)
F63 = 7.5A, Radio relay/ Loud alarm relay/ Transparency relay/ Alarm control unit (empty in my 2002 525i)
F64 = 30A, On-board monitor/ Radio CD changer/ Amplifier/ GPS receiver (empty in my 2002 525i)
F65 = 10A, Transceiver (empty in my 2002 525i)
F66 = 40A, heated rear window


THESE DO NOT EXIST:
F67 = (does not exist in the E39)
F68 = (does not exist in the E39)
F69 = (does not exist in the E39)
F70 = (does not exist in the E39)
F71 = (does not exist in the E39)
F72 = (does not exist in the E39)
F73 = (does not exist in the E39)
F74 = (does not exist in the E39)

BEHIND GLOVEBOX (look from underneath):
F75 = 50A, Auxiliary fan (red) [QSilver7 says the aux fan is the electric fan in front of the radiator which also goes on when the AC is initiated.]
F76 = 40A, Heater blower (yellow) [cn90 says it should have 12V when HVAC is turned on][QSilver7 says the heater blower controls the air velocity for the cabin/interior HVAC system.]

Neither of these huge fuses is easy to remove or put back (due to the cramped location), but luckily the yellow one is the one aft, which is easier than the red to remove.


THESE DO NOT EXIST:
F77 = (does not exist in the E39)
F78 = (does not exist in the E39)
F79 = (does not exist in the E39)
F80 = (does not exist in the E39)
F81 = (does not exist in the E39)
F82 = (does not exist in the E39)
F83 = (does not exist in the E39)
F84 = (does not exist in the E39)
F85 = (does not exist in the E39)
F86 = (does not exist in the E39)
F87 = (does not exist in the E39)
F88 = (does not exist in the E39)
F89 = (does not exist in the E39)
F90 = (does not exist in the E39)
F91 = (does not exist in the E39)
F92 = (does not exist in the E39)
F93 = (does not exist in the E39)
F94 = (does not exist in the E39)
F95 = (does not exist in the E39)
F96 = (does not exist in the E39)
F97 = (does not exist in the E39)
F98 = (does not exist in the E39)
F99 = (does not exist in the E39)

ABOVE BATTERY POSITIVE TERMINAL:
F100 = 200A, Fuse panel 4, F107-F114
F101 = 80A, Power supply for fuses F46-F50 and F66
F102 = 80A, Power supply for fuses F51-F55 [wiring diagram here]
F103 = 50A, Open
F104 = 50A, Unloader relay terminal 15
F105 = ?A [JimLev says F20 and F105 power relay K201, which itself gets power from F75]
F106 = 100A, F75, Engine cooling fan relay stage 3


UNDER PASSENGER SEAT: (see more details in this thread & this thread)
F107 = 50A, SAS airpump Special Fuse: BMW PN 6113836590
F108 = ??A, [QSilver7 says this is for the ABS/DSC control unit]
F109 = ??A, [QSilver7 says this is for the DME (motor electronics)]
F110 = 80A, Power supply F1-F12 and F22-F26
F111 = 50A, Data link connector/ Ignition switch
F112 = 80A, Light control module
F113 = 80A, Power supply F13 and F27-F30/ Light Module
F114 = 50A, Data link connector/ Ignition switch
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Last edited by bluebee; 03-15-2013 at 04:23 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-05-2013, 03:52 PM
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I ran into a dastardly problem in that I can't switch meter ranges without waking up the car (because I have to disconnect & reconnect the test leads), so I can't get better granularity than that below without adding a jumper (which I don't have so I'd need to make out of heavy wire & clamps).

But, given these results ...

How do these numbers look for initial "active" (first 16 minutes) and, then, later "quiescent" (after 16 minutes) parasitic drain?
  • First 16 minutes: Active current = 2.31 amps
  • After 16 minutes: Quiescent current = 90 milliamps

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Last edited by bluebee; 02-06-2013 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:31 PM
mbell666 mbell666 is offline
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I'd recommend modifying a fuse so that you can measure the current through each circuit. A lot easier and saves a lot of running to the trunk. This is what I did.

to do this break the fuse material, then solder a wire to each term on the outside of the fuse. You can then connect multimeter to the fuse and measure current through the circuit.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:33 PM
mbell666 mbell666 is offline
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PS 90ma is a little on high side but not enough that it should cause a problem. I believe it should be around 45ma.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbell666 View Post
PS 90ma is a little on high side but not that it should cause a problem. I believe it should be around 45ma.
I wish I had done the parasitic drain test when things were working OK, so that I'd know what the nominal quiescent values are for my bimmer - because 90ma seems about double what it should be - but - as noted, it's not all that bad.

The good news is that I think I'm getting closer to the culprit. The problem appears to be intermittent, so the longer I spend diagnosing, the more I am learning.

For example, see this 30-second video taken a little while ago when I returned from an errand and started checking the parasitic drain again.
All of a sudden, the active current began fluctuating between 2.27 amps and 11.53 amps!


Here are those same clicking sounds, about every 3 seconds, taken from the cockpit just after the video above (they seem to be coming from behind the MID but I can't really be sure).


Notice the audible clicks coming from the front of the car, behind the dash somewhere, where each time you hear a click, the quiescent current jumps from about 2.27 amps to about 11.53 amps!

In that 30-second video, the current fluctuates at about 3 second intervals from:
  1. 2.27 amps
  2. 11.53 amps
  3. 2.27 amps
  4. 11.18 amps
  5. 2.27 amps
  6. 11.35 amps
  7. 2.27 amps
  8. 11.10 amps
The fluctuating current is different depending on whether the bimmer is in the initial active phase (first 16 minutes) or in the quiescent (computers off) phase (after 16 minutes); but here are two back-to-back photos taken of the current fluctuation when the clicks were heard:
Note: I was getting worried about my 10 amp meter because the current was as high as 14 amps during these regular click cycles.


To further debug:
  • I moved the passenger seat aft & lowered the back as far as it would go
  • I disconnected the battery (so that sparks wouldn't fly)
  • I removed the underglovebox panel (breaking the white tabs in the process)
  • I located the FSU in the tunnel but decided to remove the fuse instead since I have never done that before.
Here is a picture of the FSU in situ:

Then:
  • I desperately tried to disconnect the three harness connectors in the way
  • These diabolical things could foil Houdini!
  • How on earth does that big one disconnect?
    (If we could disconnect it - we'd have an easier time with the two fuses!)


Since I couldn't remove the three harness connectors for the life of me:
  • I pushed up the closest (furthest aft) F76 yellow fuse with a screwdriver

And, then I reconnected the battery to test for parasitic drain.

Guess what?
  • First 16 minutes: Active current = 1.89 amps
  • After 16 minutes: Quiescent current = 80 milliamps


In summary, the parasitic current data is hugely inconsistent depending on whether the "clicking" sound is heard.

However, I'm pretty sure the intermittent huge fluctuating parasitic current is due to the ACM FSU I bought in 2/2/2009 going bad.
With the fuse F76 removed, I'll keep an eye on the parasitics for a few days - but the evidence seems to implicate the aftermarket ACM FSU.

Meanwhile, since I KNOW it will be difficult to get F76 back in, does anyone know HOW to get those three harness connectors off (especially the largest one, which would make access muuuuch easier when removed)?
The connector seemed similar to that of the ABS control module connector, in that there is a u-shaped slider - but I could only move it so much - and then nothing else moved.

A video of someone smart enough to remove that connector would be a blessing to see!
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-05-2013 at 08:51 PM. Reason: Added detail.
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  #9  
Old 02-05-2013, 10:56 PM
vatoman vatoman is online now
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heres how to unlock those connectors
http://www.bmwgm5.com/GM3_E39_Removal.htm

I too am having the same issue. Not my fsu, just replaced. Battery is new though drained. Im thinking its fuse 4 or 9. Cant tell yet more trouble shooting to go. I get the clicky noise too even after fsu. I've read that perhaps the heater valve is the cause of the clicks. One of those fuses I think 4 controls that. Look forward to updates.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:50 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
heres how to unlock those connectors
http://www.bmwgm5.com/GM3_E39_Removal.htm
Ah! Fantastic description! Thanks for finding that.

It looks like I had already tried the right moves, but, I just didn't force it hard enough.
1. The large connector, as the description says, starts out easily - but then jams tight. It seems I need to use more force.
2. The two smaller connectors have that locking tab; I guess I just have to press down on that locking tab with more force, and then swing the lever to the left (in the picture).


Those instructions you found make it seem intuitively easy!


This closeup of the GM Module board from your reference shows the tabs that need to be overcome:


Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
Im thinking its fuse 4 or 9
Those two should be relatively easy to pull since they're both in the glovebox:
F4 = 20A, Passenger comp/trunk lighting, Windscreen washer system
F9 = 15A, Air conditioner, Heated washer jets [Check Control Module panel]

Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
I get the clicky noise too even after fsu. I've read that perhaps the heater valve is the cause of the clicks
The clicks 'do' sound weird. Nothing I've ever heard before, at least not when the car is just sitting there, doing nothing (except clicking & sourcing current). I'm lucky I caught it on video as it didn't happen all the time. The noise actually sounds like a relay kicking on and off - but I have no idea what relay that could be.

I admit, it was almost dark by the time I pulled the FSU Fuse F79, so, I'll have to look again tomorrow. I have the car outside, unlocked, with the trunk open, charging away on the charger - so I hope it doesn't rain tonight.

BTW, how much is your active & quiescent current?
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2013, 07:23 AM
vatoman vatoman is online now
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At battery car on 13.5 it will go up but not much within spec. In sleep I get odd numbers it fluctuates about .75 but it well drop then rise. Obc shows the alternator at 13.7. So good there I haven't ruled out nav or amp. All I do hear is clicking. Like the actuator flap moving. I'm dead currently going to go buy one of those jumper things sick of asking for jump.

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:10 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
At battery car on 13.5 it will go up but not much within spec. In sleep I get odd numbers it fluctuates about .75 but it well drop then rise. Obc shows the alternator at 13.7. So good there I haven't ruled out nav or amp. All I do hear is clicking. Like the actuator flap moving.
You don't mention the units - but if you used the OBC readout, you must be talking volts.
Volts are fine if you're testing the final state of charge of the battery - but for locating "parasites" causing that battery drain, you need to look at amps (essentially amps are the instantaneous slope telling you direction & magnitude whereas volts are merely the final integration of the area under the curve). Volts are great to tell you that your final state is a dead battery - but - amps are what you need to isolate parasitic leakage at any point in time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
I'm dead currently going to go buy one of those jumper things sick of asking for jump.
I would recommend against buying a portable car jumper until/unless you FIRST buy a good set of jumper cables and a digital multimeter (DMM)!
Then, buy a good battery charger and a good (long & thick, preferably with an LED on the end for night work) extension cord.

After you have those essential items, then (and only then) would I even consider spending any money on a 'jumper thing".
Personally, I think portable car jump starters are problematic for the following reasons:
  • They cost money, consume storage space, and require maintenance - all of which should first go toward the more essential tools I mentioned
  • They have batteries too - so they wear out just like any other battery - so they're more likely to be dead 10 years from now, than alive, when you need them
  • A 6A charger will charge a battery well enough to start in fifteen minutes (or so) anyway
  • There's (almost) always a 12V battery nearby for emergencies anyway, if you don't have time to charge your battery with the charger
Caveat: I'm not against tools (tools are free), so if you 'really' want that portable jump starter, by all means go get it - but - don't even think about it until you already have:
  • Good jumper cables (thick gauge wire, strong jaws, convenient wrapup)
  • Good DMM (Fluke is my preference - but Craftsman works just as well)
  • Good battery charger (my 4A charger works fine but 6A might be nicer)
  • Good extension cord (mine is 100', LED lighted, and heavy gauge wire)
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-06-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:45 AM
vatoman vatoman is online now
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Thanks fr the tips. I do have a decent dmm that's really tuned for auto electrics. Bought on Amazon cheap to. Decent cables as well. I haven't gone into through testing yet however. I live in a apartment so its hard to use a battery tender, or something similar. Perhaps I'll buy a charger just makes me nervous in my home and a very curious cat running about. This car had been good to me and this is her first real pain she has given me. I got the car unhooked now battery its near 3 volts. So it well need a jump. Once jumped she charges up. I will see when I get home if its dropped further.

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Old 02-06-2013, 09:26 PM
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It looks like pulling F76 did the trick yesterday, as I no longer hear the periodic clicking sounds and this picture sequence below shows the active and quiescent currents at a much more manageable 2 amps and 80 milliamps respectively.
I never just throw parts at a problem, so, I'll let it sit overnight, with the battery connected, and check it in the morning as the first step in confirmation of our hunch.
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-07-2013 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:45 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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I have attempted to follow this thread but honestly, I would rather replace a CCV than troubleshoot an electrical problem on an e39. Your removal of Fuse 76 appears to validate that the drain is occurring in the heater blower circuit (which includes the FSU). Have you pulled and tested your FSU yet? Even though yours was replaced a few years back, the FSU lacks a track record for reliability. Did you originally replace your FSU in 2009 with a dealer sourced part? If yes and the FSU is the cause of the problem, this would suggest that even dealer sourced FSUs have an expiration date. Just one more thing to keep an eye on...
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:49 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
I too am having the same issue. Not my fsu, just replaced.
Before you eliminate the FSU as the cause of this problem, did you buy your FSU from the dealer? There have been several postings of premature FSU failure when they are bought from non-dealer sources (like eBay). I am saying this because the symptoms (battery draining) are typically associated with the FSU and not other components within the heater blower circuit (switches, fan, etc.).
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:02 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
[B]PLEASE IMPROVE THE STEPS BELOW SO ALL BENEFIT!
(Advice is always welcome!)


I think I know what to do; so as to add value with every repair, here's my story, as it unfolds.

History
:
a) I had put in a new FSU in, oh, about three years ago (need to check) <=== here's the thread ... 2/2/2009
b) I had put in a new alternator & belt drive system a couple of years ago (need to check) <=== here's the thread 7/26/2010
c) I had put in a new battery just over a year ago (need to check) <=== here's the thread ... 9/19/2011

I think this is the drill:
Step 1: Disconnect & charge the battery
Step 2: Get the battery and alternator checked out at Autozone
Step 3: If it passes step 2, start looking for parasitic drain by pulling the FSU or its 40A fuse F76 (under the glovebox)
Step 4: If it's not the FSU, then start pulling all 88 fuses, one by one, with an ammeter in series with the battery
For your troubleshooting sequence, I would recommend pulling the FSU first rather than pulling fuse 76 for the following reasons:
1. Pulling fuse 76 will only determine if the problem to the heater blower circuit. This is helpful if we have no idea where the problem arises. But this problem (battery drain) is a somewhat common occurance in e39s.
2. The FSU has historical precedence for causing battery drain. By pulling the FSU, you might identify the cause of the problem immediately.
3. The FSU is much easier to access than fuse 76

If your current FSU is the problem and needs to be replaced, this suggests that even newer model FSUs will not last forever. Good to know.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:18 AM
vatoman vatoman is online now
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With my issue I bought an oe fsu. However I still have a drain. I agree I did the ccv and would rather do that again lol. My problem its say its not the fsu but something else on that circuit. How are we going to do that. Also ota it just me or its there an abnormal amount of battery drain post as of late.

How many mile do you have? I'm just under 79k

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Old 02-07-2013, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
With my issue I bought an oe fsu. However I still have a drain. I agree I did the ccv and would rather do that again lol. My problem its say its not the fsu but something else on that circuit. How are we going to do that. Also ota it just me or its there an abnormal amount of battery drain post as of late.

How many mile do you have? I'm just under 79k

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I have about 110K. And while by all rules of logic, your FSU should be fine since you replaced it recently with a new OE FSU. However, we are dealing with an electrical item which means the rules of logic and physics do not always apply. I would still pull your FSU and check it out. It is the only really accesible component on the heater blower circuit that has a history of causing this exact failure.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:01 AM
vatoman vatoman is online now
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I agree logic goes out the widow. Oddly enough the old one seems to be of the newer style too. I never had fan problems. Just those actuators making noise. So basically I'm going to layer up and get outside this weekend to get to the source. I'm really starting to think its something else.

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Old 02-07-2013, 05:55 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
For your troubleshooting sequence, I would recommend pulling the FSU first rather than pulling fuse 76 for the following reasons
I agree with you and will update the procedure so others don't make the same mistake I just did.
In fact, I just pulled the FSU, after decrying that the Germans are still getting back at us for what we did to Dresden in the daylight, way back in 1945, by designing that diabolical God awful FSU harness connector (which broke, again, in my clumsy hands).
You need three (tiny) hands:
1. One hand to hold the flashlight
2. Another to press the clips on the harness connector
3. And a third hand to pull the fsu away from the harness connector

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I would still pull your FSU and check it out. It is the only really accesible component on the heater blower circuit that has a history of causing this exact failure.
For others following this, I concur with Fudman that pulling the FSU is a wiser move than pulling the fuse F76 because of the following:
a) Pulling fuse F76 is a general test while pulling the FSU is a specific test
b) Pulling & replacing the FSU is actually slightly EASIER (if you can believe that) than pulling & replacing the yellow 40A fuse F76.
c) If the problem turns out to be the FSU, you have to pull it anyway to replace it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
How many mile do you have?
I have 112K miles on my 2002 which I had bought still under the factory warranty so I'm only the second owner.

In order to isolate the problem, I'm now going to run some amperage tests with the FSU removed and the fuse F76 back in place.
Here is the replacement FSU I just pulled, next to the original FSU I saved all these years (waiting for a round tuit to finally autopsy it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
did you buy your FSU from the dealer?
Unfortunately, I did NOT buy my replacement FSU from the dealer.
This receipt, from late January of 2009, that I posted to the forums shows I bought it from AutoHauzAZ (before I knew about Max).
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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; 02-07-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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  #22  
Old 02-07-2013, 06:04 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Check current draw at battery after 16 minutes (don't open or close doors or do anything to re-start sleep mode. By measuring the current drain now use your education to lead you to the problem rather than start at fuse #1 and go down the line. If current drain is 20 amps then it probably is the FSU. If the current drain is say 3 amps then the infamous fuse 56 comes into play. If not the FSU or fuse 56, then you might start going down the line. I think some have reported 150 mil draw when asleep. Evenh that would be "ok"

Also, you can't check the batteries internal impedance-resistance maybe. Don't go and get too fancy with electrical terms out of context! We don't measure battery impedance ever.

Just suggesting we apply a little more deduction based upon what draw is as measured AT THE BATTERY first and then decide which areas of the car are best suspects. Remove negative battery cable and insert ammeter there in series with cable and battery terminal.

PS. Why go to autozone to test your alternator. Just measure battery voltAge running and not. Also, instead of going to autozone just pull the damn FSU and see if your problem goes away. You'll know in under 6 hours in DVM not used or immediately if current drain is being measured. KISS

Last edited by 540iman; 02-07-2013 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:12 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Check current draw at battery after 16 minutes (don't open or close doors or do anything to re-start sleep mode.
Hi Bill,
Welcome back!
I'm going to add your advice to the original post (so others can follow your advice).
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
If current drain is 20 amps then it probably is the FSU. If the current drain is say 3 amps then the infamous fuse 56 comes into play.
It makes a lot of sense that the actual nature of the current draw implicates certain circuits, so I'll add your wonderful advice to the first post above (for the benefit of all).

For example:
a. If it's double-digit current draw, then pull the FSU, and check current draw again.
b. For single-digit current draw, pull F56, and check current draw again.

EDIT: I just tested my active & quiescent current with the FSU removed (and with fuse F76 back in place):
Active period: 1.88 amps
Quiescent period: 80 milliamps
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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; 02-07-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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  #24  
Old 02-08-2013, 06:54 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
resident, old fart
Location: N.W. Indiana
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,503
Mein Auto: 2002 540i sport
Congrats! You found your issue. 80 mil is in the normal range for your car. If you just want to be sure, you could plug FSU back in and repeat.

When you personally have an issue with your car, I'm always "here" for someone who has given so much for the rest of us. Thanks and glad you have solved your issue. You can drive with the FSU pulled, but you won't have any heat or cool as the fan won't run.
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  #25  
Old 02-08-2013, 09:01 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,127
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
If you just want to be sure, you could plug FSU back in and repeat
That's exactly what I'm going to do because I haven't been able to reproduce the clicking sound and the concurrent jumping to 14 amps as I showed in the videos in prior posts above. In fact, everything seemed "normal" when I re-plugged fuse F76. I even began to doubt what I had seen - but I watched my own videos and there it was. clicking and drawing current every few seconds.

I suspect it's temperature related or sequence related ... so I need to take the bimmer for an errand with the FSU in, and then watch the battery like a hawk when I get back.

BTW, two (minor) problems happened because of all the connections and disconnections.

1. The negative battery cable won't tighten anymore (I may have overtighted it or stripped it or bent it or whatever - but it was night last night when I realized it wouldn't tighten so I'll look today and snap a photo).

2. The FSU harness connector broke (again), so it now has only one tab and no latch. Oh well, it was a diabolically difficult connector to start with - maybe this makes it easier to disconnect. I'll see.

EDIT:
I WISH there were a good electrical test of the FSU itself, with a DMM.
__________________
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; 02-10-2013 at 10:20 AM.
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alternator, charging system, dead battery, diagnostic diy, fsu, new battery, parasitic drain


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