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5 Series DIY
Knowledge Is Power! ~ The place for do-it-yourself threads on a variety of topics. Start a thread describing a particular job (oil change, cooling system overhaul, brakes, shocks and springs, etc.) or search for one you need help with!

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  #601  
Old 03-20-2013, 07:42 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williejr185 View Post
Well, I got it out last night. I had to call my brother with much skinnier hands, he pulled it out using no effort at all.
Now I'm having problems getting mine back in! It has been out so long, I had to come back to this thread just to figure out WHERE it goes back in..

EDIT:
I found this video, where someone else a year ago had a similar problem getting it back IN.
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  #602  
Old 03-21-2013, 04:01 PM
viking28 viking28 is offline
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Location: Chesapeake VA
 
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Awesome post, not a hard job, but as a novice gave me the confidence to do it myself and avoid the labor cost. I do have to give a shout out to Dave at dp motorwerks in Virginia beach who recommended I look at replacing this before tearing into the dash.
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  #603  
Old 04-02-2013, 12:44 PM
scott.greg scott.greg is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 528i
Thank you!!

I am pretty much a non mechanical guy. The one who typically cracks, or breaks something. Times have been a little tough lately, so when the ac/ heater blower went out we knew it had to be fixed asap, as we live in hot/cold Northern Arizona. I got on Bimmerfest and did some reading. Ordered the part online for $80.00, and got it in 2 days. Went thru your thread twice, then did the whole job in about 20 minutes, and the problem was fixed! Saved me about $250, as quoted by by local BMW dude.!!

Again, thank you a ton!!
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  #604  
Old 06-04-2013, 09:08 AM
dab753 dab753 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 540IA
Just installed a new one after our first heatwave of the year. I wish the all went that smooth

Thank you Elvis
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  #605  
Old 06-04-2013, 12:43 PM
jygesq jygesq is offline
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an other write up

www.540i6.com "they all do that" FSU
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  #606  
Old 06-07-2013, 11:24 AM
intuitivejohn intuitivejohn is offline
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RE: Getting the right resistor...there are two different ones listed ..but it's not obvious which one was right.

The only hiccup I ran into was when I ordered the FSU they sent me what the parts catalog showed...and it worked...but it had
a squarish head (all the pins were in a square area) not the triangle pattern of the new one.

The resistor worked fine...but it didn't fit in.

I figured it didn't matter much...it's inside the blower path I guess to cool the heat sink down...but I couldn't imagine it being
a big deal if it didn't fit right as far as performance.

Instead I called Autozone where I bought the part and they found another number a year newer (I have a 2000 528) and a slightly different
model (530) and it was the right one. It was about $50 and fine for my purposes.

I also learned to check the posts on this subject to make sure it was the right car. There were some other solutions...and they were
listed on E 39...but instructions were for different model. So I've learned to look at the car talked about in the thread first.

Also...be slow and patient like you said. Nothing needs to be forced.

I live where it's in the mid 90's (and often up in high 90's) so not having a/c wasn't even a consideration.

Now it's blowing hard and cool...and I love it.

Thanks for this post...very well done..thorough..I followed and it didn't take much time at all.
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  #607  
Old 06-09-2013, 03:03 PM
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bin01123 bin01123 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i 6 Speed
Its amazing all the problems we have with our AC on our bimmers. I was in my fiancee's 2012 Honda accord and her brand new car's AC did not get cooler than my 01 E39 540 with minor AC issues. Just thought that was kind of nuts.
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  #608  
Old 06-11-2013, 10:53 AM
Jaydee59 Jaydee59 is offline
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I found this thread and other stating the AC issue was the FSU, I purchases one for $110 and it worked fine for the first three days, now on the fourth day the fan does not shut off.

Everything works with the AC, lighting, climate control adjustment, front & rear air, and it blows nice and cold, but when I shut the engine off, the fan is still running. I see from other threads that going to kill my battery soon, so hopefully someone has a fix for this issue.
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  #609  
Old 06-11-2013, 06:41 PM
Jaydee59 Jaydee59 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaydee59 View Post
I found this thread and other stating the AC issue was the FSU, I purchases one for $110 and it worked fine for the first three days, now on the fourth day the fan does not shut off.

Everything works with the AC, lighting, climate control adjustment, front & rear air, and it blows nice and cold, but when I shut the engine off, the fan is still running. I see from other threads that going to kill my battery soon, so hopefully someone has a fix for this issue.

Well that didn't take to long, about 10 hours and the battery is dead. Atleast my wife was at home when it died. A neighbor helped her jump start the X5 but I made sure they removed the fuses for the Air Conditioner, and fuses 75 and 76 for the Air Blower.

Fuses 75 and 76 are large fuses 30 and 40 Amp, that connects to relays to the Climate Control. The 30Amp Fuse is utilized when the Climate Controls are the halfway position and lower. When the Climate Controls are in positions higher than half then the power is routed to the 40 Amp Fuse and different relays.

It could be the bad FSU, but it sounds more like a relay issue. Tomorrow I will take it to an Air Conditioner Specialist and see how much it going to break me.
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  #610  
Old 06-23-2013, 02:32 AM
Sapo Sapo is offline
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Elvis--thanks for the post; remarkable instructions and excellent pictures. Good job.

Sapo
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  #611  
Old 06-27-2013, 01:50 PM
rogbrown rogbrown is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 X5 and a 1988 325i c
Replacing the final stage unit/blower

Thank you so much! Very easy - 30 minutes for me. Just a little trouble getting the plug out, but went great, turned the air on and works great! Thanks again, saved me about $300.00. That is what I was told at the local BMW shop.

Roger Brown
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  #612  
Old 07-10-2013, 01:35 PM
Arthur530SE Arthur530SE is offline
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Wow 2013 and still helping with the best tread on the net

Hi All,
A little about me: I have a background in the electronics industry of about 30 odd years, so as a result I repair electronics modules for my local Independent BMW garage.

I'm simply amazed how long this thread has been going. These E39's are getting old hat now and finding out any information on them is starting to get very hard.

There are some very knowledgeable people here, and this thread in particular provides a very in-depth solution to a potentially bank breaking problem.

I have only just (last month) bought my E39 and I love it, no question the best car I have ever owned. As it seems these cars have their share of niggles and faults and as a result of reading this thread I'll be acquiring as spare FSU for the tool box.

Just as an addition to this wonderful thread here is a little extra info I don't believe I have read any where here... From the pictures found elsewhere in this forum of a stripped out FSU link: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...0&d=1363957253

I hope I don't bore anyone too much... Here goes...

These Final Stage Units are basically a PWM controller and not a resistor. The main AC control unit sends a variable voltage signal to the FSU much in the same way the brightness is controlled in a laptop or similar to the way you would adjust the lighting in your house with a dimmer switch. Basically inside your AC control unit is a digital potential divider (Variable Resistor), so with this in mind one could use a simple variable resistor modified to output the same control voltage as the AC unit. That way we have a way to test these units on the bench.

The IC you see on the board labelled Elmos 10901D seems to be an OP-Amp. Even though no datasheet is available for this IC, some searching found a Russian site claiming this IC is not special but just an LM711. It can't be anything to out of the ordinary as BMW GMBH would not release a schematic, but aftermarket pattern FSU's are manufactured by several different companies.

I would be very interested in getting my hands on an FSU in the same state as the one I have linked to so I could have ago at reverse engineering one and maybe we could all have a better understanding of why these units fail, how we could fully test one (above), suggest some sort of "beefing up" of the circuit to make it more reliable.

After all to BMW I would assume this part is basically a consumable that they can charge lots of money for. Even 40 quid is too much for something that is about 15 quid's worth of electronics, probably including the custom heatsink.

Anyway that's my ten penn'orth worth and I hope it helps.

P.S. If anyone has an FSU in the state as the linked picture and want to donate it for experimentation just let me know.

Arthur530SE
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  #613  
Old 07-18-2013, 06:02 AM
bigcletus bigcletus is offline
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As a mechanical idiot, I said why not...so I ordered a new Final stage from EAC (ACM/Sitronic). I got under the dash, unclipped the cabling..but the unlock for the Final Stage would not release. With my big hands/body, there was no way to contortion myself to use both hands. That's when a lightbulb in my little brain went on. I clipped on a set of vise grips to the old one's electrical connector, and pushed the clip with my now free hand. The weight of the vise grips moved it enough to clear the clip. I have a/c again (controllable too) ....woo hoo. Thanks to all for the pics and tips. Other than cramped quarters, it wasn't too bad.

The old one was a "BMW
GKR
Valeo"

and looks like the original "03"

PS I love my car...

PSS I could have a newer car, but I bet, not a better driving/fun to drive car.

Last edited by bigcletus; 07-18-2013 at 06:04 AM.
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  #614  
Old 07-20-2013, 02:23 PM
2003white525i 2003white525i is offline
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thanks a lot for this post, my Haynes book has a typo and I was looking for the FSU on the drivers side, spent many hours trying to get this fixed, my wife complained to no end about it. But with your post I was able to complete this in about 30 minutes and tested great, thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fyi...

My local repair shop wanted $150 USD for 30minutes of this work, so glad I never gave them that $.
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  #615  
Old 07-20-2013, 02:26 PM
bigcletus bigcletus is offline
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Apparently, on the UK models, the FSU is on the drivers side...perhaps the book was for the UK ??

As a follow-up, my a/c is now so cold I have to almost turn it to min fan speed, and jack up the dual temp settings...perhaps mine was acting up for a few years, I just didn't know it.

Last edited by bigcletus; 07-20-2013 at 02:27 PM.
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  #616  
Old 07-25-2013, 09:57 PM
britribe britribe is offline
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Found this thread, made the job an easy fix. As I was initially trying to unplug the plug from the FSU, the FSU tab released. This made it a little more difficult to wiggle the plug out from it. I was able to do so within a few minutes. I also had a little difficulty with the new FSU snapping into place. It was just barely short of snapping into place. After a handful of attempts, it finally became snapped in. So far the new FSU has worked. The old one caused the blower to act erratically at times, but worse than that, within seconds of shutting off the engine, the blower would start up or barely attempt to start over and over. This didn't happen every time, but was becoming more frequent. By morning, the battery didn't have enough juice to start the car. Because of this thread, the problem has been solved and I saved a little money by installing it myself. Thanks all.
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  #617  
Old 08-03-2013, 08:11 PM
DSTedeschi DSTedeschi is offline
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After spending a lot of time reading the excellent postings in this thread and thanks to BlueBee for the links my fan is blowing cold air. A big deal during summer in Texas.

I would like to summarize some things that would help those in the future.

First if you fan is not running or running erratic the FSU is suspect, not guilty.

Remove the FSU per the wonderful instructions presented here. Then the next thing to do is check the resistance of each pin. This requires a Volt Ohm meter. A fact of life is if you are going to do DIY repairs a good Volt Ohm meter is required period. A surgeon does not work with a straight razor, nor can the Mechanic work with a cheap meter or without one. Invest a few dollars in a good one. I have owned my Fluke for 15 years and I did pay around $200 for it. An investment that has pay for it self many times.

There are drawings in this tread that has resistance values of each of the 5 pins. BlueBee had some links also. Just set your Ohm Meter to resistance and have one probe touch the pin and the other to the longer aluminum pins in the back of the FSU.

In my case two of the pins where open, no resistance at all. BINGO I thought, it is the FSU.

Being an older Engineer I did wanted to ensure that the fan was working. I have been down this path too many times with my Engineers during lab check out, not checking everything.

To do this you need to ground Pin One on the plug connector. And take power from plug two to plug five. Be very careful the power at plug two has a 40 amp fuse. When I did this fan fired up and I was assured the the FSU was the cause. Here is the diagram of the plug. This was something that was missing in everything I looked at and is important to validated that you have a good fan.

5 (Fan High Speed)----------------4
Red/Green--------------------------Brown

3----------------------2 (Fused 40A Power)---------------1 (Ground)
Blue/Orange----------Yellow/Green------------------------Black/Green


I even soldered ends (small brass tubes) to wires so that they would fit into the plug and an alligator clip on one of the wires end to attach to a ground. I used bracket near the transmission tunnel around the carpet as the ground attach point. At one point I used paper clips and the one at the plug 2 shorted, melted and then caught the print outs I had laying on the carpet on fire. Lucky nothing was damaged and nothing burnt. LUCKY!!! and that is why I soldered ends to real copper wires.

I purchased a new FSU at the dealership and did so because Autobahn in Fort Worth gives a BMWCCA discount and when I need something I don't mind paying a little more for a part.

As of this writing the car is blowing nice cool air and 100 degrees in Texas is not an issue.

Note: if you are having issue with paying out $200 for a meter, what would be the cost just to have someone, dealership or independent, figure out what was wrong?
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  #618  
Old 08-11-2013, 10:42 AM
mrimark mrimark is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i
Hi All,
I want to order fsu from bavauto also...but they have 2 choices; the bosch oem resistor for $115 and the behr replacement resistor for $44.
I believe both should work equally well. Obviously I want to order the cheaper one and I was just wondering which one to order (I have a 1998 528i).
Thanks for any help!
mrimark

Last edited by mrimark; 08-11-2013 at 11:21 AM. Reason: grammer
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  #619  
Old 08-11-2013, 09:15 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 530i (E39) 120k
I bought a Behr FSU from AutoHausAZ and it works fine.
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  #620  
Old 08-18-2013, 04:29 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
I had my FSU out so long, that I forgot where it goes back!
I had to review all the in situ pictures of this thread to find the little clip it goes into.
Here, for others to benefit, are the best pictures showing WHERE the E39 FSU lies in place:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
You'd think I would see the bracket it goes on - but I stared for fifteen minutes upside down and didn't see it.

I'm going to go through all the pictures (some of which are mine) of the FSU when it was in place.

Then I'm gonna MARK that spot where it goes!

EDIT: I found this picture of mine from this thread in 2009 when I replaced my FSU for the first time:
It looks like the FSU was bolted to something - but I don't remember what.

Here's another of my own pictures from 2009:

And another:

This is another FSU in place, posted over here:

And, another sequence from here:


This photo below is from this thread - and it also shows it bolted in to something:

There's apparently a black tab that I'm forgetting about that is hidden up there:

This picture also shows it bolted and clipped:

This is the next shot in that sequence above:

And this is the new FSU, clipped into that same spot:

Here's another from here:

and here is another shot of that same FSU as above:

With a view of the socket from here:

and
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  #621  
Old 08-20-2013, 02:51 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, cn90 opened a good thread on TESTING the HVAC for FSU-related problems today:

In that thread, I measured the following out of my HVAC control (to pin 3 of the FSU):
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Hi Cam,
I'll be your first customer as I always wish to diagnose what's wrong before replacing any parts & I've always asked how to diagnose the FSU:
- Diagnostic hints requested for an FSU

To delve a bit into history, my first hedgehog failed on 03-26-2008, where Doru kindly pointed me to post 138 of the canonical "elvis" FSU thread.
You'll notice, my first request was for a diagnostic procedure (as I strive to never replace things before proving them bad):


But, apparently, most people "suspect" it's the FSU; they replace the FSU; and then they move on with their lives.
However, I like to diagnose things, so I started trying to figure out how to diagnose it.
When no good diagnostic procedure was forthcoming, I realized most people consider replacing the FSU their diagnostic procedure. If the new FSU works, then they consider the diagnostics done.

However in my case, the new FSU didn't work (it worked for the first five minutes when cold, and then failed when warm). Early on, I tried to figure out a good diagnostic procedure (starting, in post #16 of the canonical FSU autopsy thread (and in post #7 of this related thread); plus, I tried to determine what's the most reliable FSR out there today).

To further understand the FSU, I autopsied mine, and posted the results here:


Since then, I've had two more blower resistors fail on me, with the resulting summary being:
  1. The original GKR lasted from 2002 to 2008:
    • Symptoms were the fan just stopped working
  2. The acm replacement FSU lasted from 2008 to 2013
    • Symptoms were erratic behavior & overnight battery drain
  3. The Valeo/Sitronic/BMW/acm replacement was half dead on arrival
    • Symptoms were it worked for 5 minutes and then quit
    • Same thing, day after day; so I returned it
  4. The Valeo/Sitronic/BMW/acm replacement looks the same
    • I haven't put it in yet, as I wanted to fully test the system
Of course, the first thing one can check is the fuse; but bear in mind, that's not as easy as you would like it to be:
And, I checked the 40 Amp yellow Fuse F76:
- What is the secret to removing the diabolical connectors hindering access to Fuse 76


In preparation for a good diagnostic test, I built a sturdy test connector so that we could measure voltages & very high current (up to 40 Amps) safely & easily as detailed in this thread:
- How to build a test jig for fsu parasitic battery drain and HVAC anomaly diagnostics (1)
Note: My meter only goes to 10 Amps (but the test jig can easily handle 40 Amps)!

Here's a picture of my test jig connector:

Full details on how to build that test jig connector are in the referenced thread; suffice to say I tore down my original GKR FSU & sucked the solder out of the five pins to pull the connector off the circuit board and then I put Romex cable into the holes (they fit perfectly). The Romex cables should be able to handle the 40 amps at 12 Volts, if necessary.

Following in your footsteps, with the engine running, and the FSU not installed, I confirmed your observation that the AC compressor starts running (even with the fan off) simply by pressing the snowflake.

Since I wasn't running current through the wires, and to keep resistance low, I did NOT use the test jig above:

Instead of the test jig, I simply stuck nails into the FSU Harness connector, and then clipped my DMM leads onto the nails.

With the key out of the ignition, and the leads in place as shown above, my results were:
  • FSU Harness pin #1 to FSU Harness pin #5 = 1.0 Ohms
  • FSU Harness pin #1 to chassis ground = infinite Ohms
  • FSU Harness pin #5 to chassis ground = infinite Ohms
Note: FSU pin #1 itself has 0.3 ohms to its cooling tines but FSU pin #5 is not connected to FSUcooling tines (1.2MOhms).
  • FSU Harness pin #2 to chassis ground = 12.41 VDC
  • FSU Harness pin #2 to FSU Harness pin #4 = 12.41 VDC
  • FSU Harness pin #2 to FSU Harness pin #5 = 0 VDC
  • FSU Harness pin #2 to FSU Harness pin #1 = 0 VDC
Note: FSU pin #2 is tied internally to FSU pin #5 (0.4 Ohms between them).
  • FSU Harness pin #3 to chassis ground = 0 VDC


Then it was time to test the HVAC controller by turning the key to position 2, and testing the voltage from FSU Harness pin #3 to chassis ground:

With the key in position 2, and the FSU not installed, I tested the HVAC controller as cn90 suggested.
  1. With the voltmeter on FSU Harness pin #3 and chassis ground, and with the snowflake off,
    • I ramped the indicated fan speed from 0 dots (fan off) to 16 dots (full ramp).
  2. Then, I pressed the snowflake to turn it on,
    • and then ramped the indicated fan speed down from 16 dots (full ramp) to 0 dots (fan off).


When I got to the 16th voltage (a full ramp on the HVAC display), I then turned on the snowflake, and counted back down by pressing the fan speed down button, one dot at a time.
Since the voltages were exactly the same, with or without the snowflake, I only show one voltage for each ramp dot in the table below.
  • Ignition in position #2; snowflake off (or on); FSU Harness #3 to chassis ground:
    1. Fan indication @ 0 dots = 0.104 VDC
    2. Fan indication @ 1 dot = 1.996 VDC (delta = 1.892V)
    3. Fan indication @ 2 dots = 2.307 VDC (delta = 311mv)
    4. Fan indication @ 3 dots = 2.621 VDC (delta = 314mv)
    5. Fan indication @ 4 dots = 2.936 VDC (delta = 315mv)
    6. Fan indication @ 5 dots = 3.250 VDC (delta = 314mv)
    7. Fan indication @ 6 dots = 3.540 VDC (delta = 290mv)
    8. Fan indication @ 7 dots = 3.880 VDC (delta = 340mv)
    9. Fan indication @ 8 dots = 4.120 VDC (delta = 240mv)
    10. Fan indication @ 9 dots = 4.430 VDC (delta = 310mv)
    11. Fan indication @ 10 dots = 4.750 VDC (delta = 320mv)
    12. Fan indication @ 11 dots = 5.060 VDC (delta = 310mv)
    13. Fan indication @ 12 dots = 5.380 VDC (delta = 320mv)
    14. Fan indication @ 13 dots = 5.770 VDC (delta = 390mv)
    15. Fan indication @ 14 dots = 6.080 VDC (delta = 310mv)
    16. Fan indication @ 15 dots = 6.320 VDC (delta = 240mv)
    17. Fan indication @ 16 dots = 7.660 VDC (delta = 1.34V)
    18. Fan indication @ MAX AC = ?.??? VDC
See also this nice set of blower-motor pics in that thread:
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Note: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
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  #622  
Old 10-07-2013, 11:55 AM
Scott530i Scott530i is offline
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This is an excellent post. Thank you very much Elvis for doing this.

I actually had to refer to this post twice. I still have my 2003 530i. I replaced the FSU once with an oem part I purchased online at one of those companies that sells BMW oem parts. It lasted less than 3 years.

So this time I decided to get one from a BMW dealership online that discounts parts.

I have not read every reply but I wanted to say I found the easiest way to remove the wire harness and the FSU was to lay on my back with my legs toward the rear of the car and with my upper torso and shoulders resting underneath the glove box. Doing so I was able to get both hands in there to do the job.

-Scott
Sudbury, Massachusetts
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  #623  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:18 PM
minnfats59 minnfats59 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530i
Final stage unit/blower motor resister (E39)

This information was awesome. Identified the problem, ordered the part and fixed in 5 days!
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  #624  
Old 11-16-2013, 07:53 AM
gmak2012 gmak2012 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006-530xi; 1998-528i
Yet another FSU replacement

I'm trying this on a 1998 528i (US model). There seems to be a big @ss plastic duct in the way that is making it very difficult to reach the tab at the bottom of the FSU. I think that all the DIY posts I've seen and Youtube videos have only a small round plastic duct. Mine is like the air filter resonator box and goes from the floor up to where the FSU sits.

Has anyone had any experience with this? I'm having a very difficult time getting the leverage to push the tab down and pull at the same time. I'm going to try putting the wires clip back in and use it for leverage to pull when pushing down on the tab (the tab is very stiff and I'm not even sure it's the right thing to be pushing down on).

I'm at the stage where if this doesn't work I may have to take off the entire glove compartment and see if there is any way in from above.

Any ideas?

Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:53 AM
gmak2012 gmak2012 is offline
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Location: Ottawa, Canada
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 95
Mein Auto: 2006-530xi; 1998-528i
How I solved the Tab on the FSU

I left the wire harness attached. I have a special wrench that is angled for bleeding brakes without removing the wheel. I was able to slip one end up under the squarish plastic duct so that the end (which was at 90 degrees to the shaft) of the wrench rested on top of the tab at the bottom of the FSU.

I pulled straight down with the wrench and grabbed where the wire harness is attached (but on the opposite sides of where the clips are) and pulled. The wrench gave me enough of a purchase on the tab that pulling straight down allowed the FSU to clear it.

Whew!

Now I'm just hoping that it doesn't have any issues (the FSU) because my battery didn't have enough power to turn the engine - even though I could operate the fan, the windshield washer nozzles etc. I just got that notorious clicking sound. I have the trickle charger hooked up and we'll see later.
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