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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 08-14-2014, 07:36 PM
Aaron's_BMW Aaron's_BMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 1991 BMW 520i - E34
Post A few concerns

I am currently a bit concerned about some things on my baby, and was wondering if someone could give me some friendly insights/advice.


- 1991 520i M-Series (E34)



1. Under my oil filler cap, a light coloured creamy/milky substance has appeared. I generally only take her our and about around town, and she can sit for weeks in the garage. This has only begun to show up. My dip-stick has no signs of discoloration and the water level is hardly moving passed its standard position. Heaters work fine, so no obvious signs of any other problems that are noticeable to a lay-man.

2. My interior lights don't work when I open the doors. They work when I open the boot, and they work manually. In fact, they all work fine otherwise. I have looked at the fuses and they are okay.This is a bit of a puzzle.

3. My other issue is the fuel gauge. When it begins to get to the empty line, and the light comes on, it will sometimes go back to between the empty and 1/4 mark, but then goes back to the empty line, or there-about. My gauge therefore, is unreliable. Can anyone give me any clues as to what I can do to address this problem, as I never know how low my fuel in the tank actually is?



Any response will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Aaron
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2014, 09:30 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is online now
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Mein Auto: E34 540i
Welcome,

1 - The single most likely cause of the milky white foam, coolant. It doesn't take much, and my tank does not always look empty when I am still able to put 1/4 - 1/2 jug back in it. I'd be expecting a head, or head gasket issue if it were mine. Some others here may have some more in-depth knowledge to share on that.

2 - I'm thinking the dome light switch at the dome light, door micro switches ( is it same case no matter the door opened or just a one or two), or LKM. Need more info here for me.

3 - I suffer the exact same gauge fate. My instincts are the fuel level sender. My fear is my gauge cluster needing the capacitors replaced.. Maybe someone will help us both here. I don't even watch my gauge for the most part these days, as I am a diligent tripometer user, and I typically just fill-er up when I've seen the light.
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1995 E34 540ia
155,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 4/7/2014)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

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Last edited by TheEinstein; 08-15-2014 at 09:59 AM. Reason: grammar edit
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2014, 09:54 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is online now
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Mein Auto: E34 540i
I will say, the gauge malfunction for me also causes a very unsteady drop. As in, I may drive to work, and when I leave head home is when it will show the fuel level drop. So pull up to work, just over 3/4 or something. Then leaving work I'll get in the car and it will be noticeably below 3/4 as I drive away from a fairly level parking lot.

Back to that milky substance, I guess to some extent it may be fine.

Check this out: LS1Tech.com

I'd heard somewhere that milky residue on the top, may be simply accumulated moisture if something sits. And I remembered our family boat having some when dad would do an oil drain and change every spring. So if your car sits, in a cool place, with a bit of moisture/high humidity you may not have a problem there. Another good check would be to idle the engine for 5 minutes or up to op-temp, then shut it down. Pull the dipstick and verify no micro bubbles of coolant. If all's well, it should be solid color (or semi-transparent if it's fresh ). Lets not freak out yet..
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1995 E34 540ia
155,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 4/7/2014)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

OBC4 Hidden Functions : Link 1, Link 2

Last edited by TheEinstein; 08-15-2014 at 09:58 AM. Reason: Another check
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2014, 11:14 AM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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Mein Auto: '95 540i, '87 325ic
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron's_BMW View Post
1. Under my oil filler cap, a light coloured creamy/milky substance has appeared. I generally only take her our and about around town, and she can sit for weeks in the garage. This has only begun to show up. My dip-stick has no signs of discoloration and the water level is hardly moving passed its standard position. Heaters work fine, so no obvious signs of any other problems that are noticeable to a lay-man.
You could be looking at a sign of moisture condensing in the crankcase. Short,low speed trips can fail to get the oil to operating temperature, which drives out residual moisture. This kind of driving tends to be the most severe condition an engine can experience.

Take the car out on the highway for half an hour and see if the substance goes away.
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2014, 01:06 PM
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E34ZombieHunter E34ZombieHunter is offline
Nothin like an E34
Location: Lillington NC
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._Graybeard View Post
You could be looking at a sign of moisture condensing in the crankcase. Short,low speed trips can fail to get the oil to operating temperature, which drives out residual moisture. This kind of driving tends to be the most severe condition an engine can experience.

Take the car out on the highway for half an hour and see if the substance goes away.
+1, i have seen it a few times, if you have no coolant loss that is the suspect.
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  #6  
Old 08-15-2014, 05:23 PM
Aaron's_BMW Aaron's_BMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 1991 BMW 520i - E34
Thank you to these replies. I appreciate everyone's response.

I took her out on the open road, got home and the milky substance was gone; no sign of it on the filler cap at all. The dip-stick shows no discoloration, and there are no bubbles of any kind. It is its usual colour.

The dome lights all work manually, each one does it's job, and the "vanity" mirror lights work fine too. This problem is with all four doors. I must confess, LKM is a mystery to me, can you tell me what that stands for?

Thanks again for the replies and support. I do worry about my ol' girl.
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  #7  
Old 08-15-2014, 05:50 PM
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E34ZombieHunter E34ZombieHunter is offline
Nothin like an E34
Location: Lillington NC
 
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LKM, Light Control Module

BUT, i think your issue may lie in the GM, it is what controls the interior lights.
No other electrical issues? No windows that do not work, or locks?

There are three "settings" on the light switches, for them to work with the doors have them ALL the way down.
IIRC, top is on, middle off, and down on with doors.
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Gotta love an E34!!
If you want to get junkyard parts remember one thing, if it was wrecked you know it was running/driving. You may not know how well, but it was.

READ THE STICKIES AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE!!

STOMP TEST

READ ME IM THE BIBLE

FAN CLUTCH

LOCKS

ANGEL EYES

Audio

E28 v. E30 v. E34
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  #8  
Old 08-19-2014, 02:24 PM
GeneralRap GeneralRap is offline
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Mein Auto: 1990 BMW 535i
It took me a little while to figure out the lighting "problem" as well. Zombie's explanation actually just fixed that for me

You said your vanity mirrors are having light issues? Mine are as well. The driver's mirror light comes on when I turn on the headlights, and it doesn't turn off, even when the visor is up in the stowed position. I don't have this problem with the passenger's though. Is this happening to you too? It can really be the most obnoxious thing when the visor glows right into my eyes when driving at night.
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2014, 02:05 PM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Mein Auto: E23;E30;E38;E32;E34 +
The vanity light should turn off when the mirrir is covered or when the visor is stowed and the brass connectors disengage. Is the light still on when the visor is out of its clip. If so some po has by-passed the standard earth point.
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  #10  
Old 08-21-2014, 02:33 AM
Aaron's_BMW Aaron's_BMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 1991 BMW 520i - E34
Smile

All of the interior lights work as per usual, except when the doors open and close.

My thoughts are now with the General Module. The Relay Module is fine, as all connections are working and free.

All electric windows work well.

I am probably going to have to live with this issue as I expect a General Module to be quite an expensive piece of equipment, even second-hand...

I looked on-line and couldn't find anything in NZ, so it looks like I may have to go to my local BMW dealer, which will probably be more than I am prepared to pay...or can afford.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and ideas, responses and comments. You have all been a great help!
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  #11  
Old 08-21-2014, 08:29 AM
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E34ZombieHunter E34ZombieHunter is offline
Nothin like an E34
Location: Lillington NC
 
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Mein Auto: 95 540i B/B
I have a good GM, latest P/N(ending in 571), but shipping over the seas will be a bit pricey.

Get a strong magnifying glass and pop the GM open and look for any solder joints that are broken, or just do not look healthy. It may be good to look at a pin-out of the GM to help narrow down your search for that bad solder joint.
__________________


Gotta love an E34!!
If you want to get junkyard parts remember one thing, if it was wrecked you know it was running/driving. You may not know how well, but it was.

READ THE STICKIES AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE!!

STOMP TEST

READ ME IM THE BIBLE

FAN CLUTCH

LOCKS

ANGEL EYES

Audio

E28 v. E30 v. E34
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