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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 02-06-2013, 09:04 AM
thisbigguy thisbigguy is offline
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Unhappy turn on key - complete power loss

I drive a 2000 528i. this has happened twice now in the last week. I get in, turn key to start car, everything lights up as it should for about half of a second then everything turns off, complete power failure. I disconnected the negative battery terminal, let it sit for a few minutes, reconnect the battery and retry the start and everything lights up and the car runs normally. My TRIP has reset, the radio has reset, so there was a complete loss of power to the entire car, but whatever it is is resetting itself possibly because i disconnected the battery, but maybe it is resetting regardless of my battery manual disconnect.

thoughts??
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2013, 09:30 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
1. Age of battery?
2. What is battery's voltage? Above or below 11.89 volts?
3. Does the battery have removable caps (or screw in caps) that allow you to check fluid around cells?
4. If yes to question above, have you checked battery fluid level?
5. If low fill with DISTILLED water only.
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http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2013, 09:37 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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In addition to what QSilver7 said, I'd suggest you drive to Autozone or O'Reillys (or whatever you have where you live) and have them check the charging system.

I went to both, just in case, just this week for this thread:
> Detailed step by step diagnostic DIY ... dead battery ... parasitic current drain

Their test takes only about five minutes, in toto ... so it's easier than doing it yourself.

However, to do it yourself, as QSilver7 noted, you'll need to measure stuff:
- DIY how to test a BMW E39 battery & alternator

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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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  #4  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:28 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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You might want to try the passenger visor test. That would indicate a faulty ignition switch.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:52 AM
thisbigguy thisbigguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
You might want to try the passenger visor test. That would indicate a faulty ignition switch.
not familiar with the Passenger visor test, however this is a COMPLETE power failure in the car, would a faulty ignition switch kill power to everything? radio, odometer computer (mpg display, average speed display, etc.), etc?
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2013, 11:40 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Don't know but if turning the key is the trigger to the malfunction, I would start looking there first.
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2013, 12:15 PM
thisbigguy thisbigguy is offline
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Fudman, what is the passenger visor test?
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2013, 01:29 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thisbigguy View Post
Fudman, what is the passenger visor test?
I typed /ignition switch F3 into the bestlinks, and I'm sure the answer is just a click away for you now ...

- 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)
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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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  #9  
Old 02-06-2013, 02:59 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Besides all the above suggestion which are all valid, you might try cleaning your battery posts and terminals. Corroded connections will interrupt power.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2013, 05:52 AM
stephen bruke stephen bruke is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 bmw dinan 540i
you have a short with you positive battery cable. that issue hunted five times before i found the solution. but next time that happens get access to you battery and tap/shake the positive cable and it will come back on.
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2013, 06:19 AM
kgorczyn kgorczyn is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 528i SP/PP
Had the same issue on my 528i - It was the battery posts. Even if they look clean, take them off, clean them very well, and reconnected very very securely.
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  #12  
Old 02-08-2013, 07:17 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thisbigguy View Post
Fudman, what is the passenger visor test?
It's #1 link from BB: http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showpos...26&postcount=1

+1 on the battery tightness check, this is a common problem.
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  #13  
Old 02-08-2013, 10:22 AM
thisbigguy thisbigguy is offline
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fantastic feedback,thank you. looks like i have several things to look at/test this weekend. I will post follow up
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2013, 10:32 AM
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dtadrian dtadrian is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 528i T Wagon
I had a similar issue. Check your battery terminals.
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2013, 07:57 AM
thisbigguy thisbigguy is offline
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OK. time for follow up: took the car to O'Reilly (Checker) and had the battery and charging system tested. both Passed with flying colors. I pulled the cables off the terminals and cleaned them with a wire brush, they looked very clean, but did it anyway. Battery is 3 years old. No view ports to check fluid levels, but it passed a load and charging test so that is not it. Several employees of O'reilly had the same idea that it is a short in the Positive battery cable, or in a breaker or a fuse right after it leaves the battery. There is a ton of stuff right there so I am not sure i will be able to isolate exactly where the problem is... may have to resort to a mechanic/dealer electronics systems test.
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