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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 05-31-2008, 08:37 AM
jeff6645 jeff6645 is offline
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Question Electrical problem - trunk unlock & trunk lights

Bought a 1999 528i about a week ago and have an electrical problem. The trunk lights don’t work, the remote trunk unlock doesn’t work and the trunk won’t unlock using the interior button… I can hear I faint noise behind the glove box when I push the buttons.

Here's a list of what works and what doesn’t

Not Working:
  • Remote Trunk Unlock
  • Interior Trunk Release Button
  • Both Trunk Lights
  • CD Player – will eject and load, radio not recognizing it (no disk error) – may or may not be related.

WORKING:
  • All tail lights are working
  • Third break light is working
  • License plate bulbs are working
  • All interior lights are working
Two Warning Indicator Lights Are On: Right Rear Lamp Out & Trunk Open
I have checked the trunk light bulbs, both are good…. Checked the wires from the bulbs to fuse box in the trunk and they tested good…..

Thank you for your help! (my 1st post)

PS: just picked it up from the shop yesterday, they replaced most if, not all vacuum hoses, the mass air flow sensor and did a tune up. It runs like new!!! The pervious owner thought something major was wrong with the transmission (stuck in safe mode) and it idled very rough…. needless to say I think I got a deal on the car!!!
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2008, 09:17 AM
Raymond919 Raymond919 is offline
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Jeff, try checking the third (center) brake light. That can cause your light indicator to show a bad rear bulb. Sometimes corrosion in a socket will cause the dash light to come on even when the rear light is lit.
The others questions I can't help you with since I'd only be sending you on a wild goose chase. Use the 'search' feature and look up other posts on your topic.
BTW, welcome and congratulations on your purchase.
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  #3  
Old 06-02-2008, 04:34 AM
armstm0 armstm0 is offline
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On the touring the boot (trunk), actuator includes a position micro switch. Mine failed causing similar symptoms, if the actuator shaft is broken, it won't move correctly and may well telling the computer that the boot is open.

Hope that helps.
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  #4  
Old 06-02-2008, 09:20 PM
jeff6645 jeff6645 is offline
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Thanks for ideas

Thank you for your feed back, I will try these suggestions this weekend.

Did find one odd thing, the fuse in the trunk for the alarm had been removed, I replaced it, didn't fix trunk lights and trunk release, but did get the alarm working... will see what happends next...
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2008, 05:15 PM
jeff6645 jeff6645 is offline
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Fixed it!!!! Thanks to a post by bluegideon535i; looked in the rubber tube that goes from the trunk to the trunk lid had 5 broke wires! Did a temp fix and everything is working but the CD changer.

Any ideas on fixing the CD changer? It will eject and load but the radio says No Disk. Using factory made CD, not burned CD.....
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  #6  
Old 06-07-2008, 08:50 AM
bimmerman528i bimmerman528i is offline
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I read your post about fixing broken trunk to body wires with great interest. The ribbed rubber tube that holds the wires on my e39 is torn and I have several wires broken right in the middle of the torn tube. There is very little slack or room to resolder/connect several wires and insulate them.

How did you repair your wires? I am thinking I will need to splice a new section of wires somewhere in the trunk lid and inside the trunk above the right rear tire well. This way I can also replace the rubber tube to keep water out of the trunk area and protect the wires.
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2008, 09:23 PM
jeff6645 jeff6645 is offline
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Busy day…

I did what I hope is a permanent fix on the broken trunk to trunk lid wires. Have plan B if it happens again…

Fixed CD Changer: got the CD player working!!!Pulled it, took it apart, cleaned it and blew it out with the air compressor; cleaned the 6 CD holder and added a little white grease to the grooves on the side of the holder.

AM Radio Reception: Pulled C-pillar cover (driver’s side) and found a broken antenna wire, repaired and tighten up the antenna connections, they were very lose. Now have AM reception with a fairly strong signal. Can’t get the C-Pillar cover to snap back right, guess it’s off to the savage yard sometime to get a replacement …..

Removed rear window tint: The rear tint was bubbling and turning blue or some shade of purple…. used ammonia mix with water and trash bags (bag kept falling off, not sure if they helped), kept it soaked for about 30 minutes in direct sun light and it peeled right off. Make sure you cover everything to protect it from the ammonia and roll down all windows and hold your breath…. This worked for me, no guarantee it will work for you, you could damaged your rear defroster & antenna wires! Do at your own risk!

Cleared up tail light out indicators: Replaced 4 bulbs. They were working, but for some reason replacing them cleared up the indicator lights…

I found all these fixes by searching this site and reading the forums! Thank to everyone who posted their solutions!

PS: found the Mass Flow Air Sensor the on Ebay for less than $60 brand new in the box – Seller was MPG out of GA.
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  #8  
Old 06-08-2008, 06:24 AM
bluegideon1969 bluegideon1969 is offline
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Message from Bluegideon1969

I am pleased my thread helped you with your problem. its is suprising the amount of people i have spoken to with the same problem. This may be somthing for BMW to consider when developing futer cars as there is clearly a problem with the quality or design fault in this area.
Regards
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  #9  
Old 06-05-2009, 10:41 PM
nareshm nareshm is offline
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You guys are amazing. I have had a trunk open indicator ON and a broken power trunk release for over a year. I read some forums and figured it must be the actuator. I replaced the actuator but that didn't fix anything. After reading these posts, I went hunting for broken wires....sure enought! I found the main power wire severed and 4 other wires damaged. Soldered them together and taped everything back up...voila! everything works. Thanks a lot!
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2009, 02:09 AM
bluegideon1969 bluegideon1969 is offline
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I agree this forum is priceless when i comes to sorting out a problem or just to talk about an issue because you know the other members share the same passion as you...
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  #11  
Old 06-07-2009, 02:56 AM
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ganesht ganesht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff6645 View Post
Cleared up tail light out indicators: Replaced 4 bulbs. They were working, but for some reason replacing them cleared up the indicator lights…
i had a similar problem when i bought my e28, the po had replaced all the tail light bulbs with generic replacements from auto zone. all the lights worked but the obd would still complain that the lights were out. i replaced all the bulbs with bmw blubs and no more errors, the impedance is incorrect in the generic bulbs, and when the lcm tests them the returned value is outside its normal limits..
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  #12  
Old 09-05-2009, 02:17 AM
mellopete mellopete is offline
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I had the same problem, severed wires in that boot. Tail light and trunk lights weren't working, and the trunk indicator light was always on. Also found a piece of foil from a cigarette pack sitting on the leads in the tail light housing One thing I haven't fixed yet though is the trunk lid switch. I checked the switch itself for continuity and it seems to work fine. Switch inside the car, and on the key work fine. I think it might have to do with corrosion on the license plate light. Ill make a new thread about this. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Edit: Thread will be in the E46 3 Series section.

Last edited by mellopete; 09-05-2009 at 02:22 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-15-2009, 06:18 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Since so many people have weird electrical problems ultimately traced back to the trunk loom wiring insulation breaking as the trunk flexes daily, I added the information from this thread to this thread as an xref so that everyone can add value in one spot.

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  #14  
Old 09-15-2009, 09:36 AM
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ganesht ganesht is offline
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based on what i found in the wds:

Gray/Brown -> 2 @ x709 -> left license plate light positive
Gray/Black -> 2 @ x710 -> right license plate light positive
Brown -> 1 @ x709 -> left license plate light ground
Brown -> 1 @ x710 -> right license plate light ground
Red/Yellow -> 2 @ x712 -> trunk lid light positive
White/Brown -> 1 @ x712 -> trunk lid light ground
Gray/Green -> 4 @ x311 -> zv drive rear lid (positive)
Brown -> 3 @ x31 -> zv drive rear lid (ground)

everything else in the wds which has to do with the trunk seems to only be for tourings..
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Last edited by ganesht; 09-15-2009 at 02:27 PM.
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  #15  
Old 09-15-2009, 12:38 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganesht View Post
based on what i found in the wds
Excellent! What's a wds? (wiring diagrams?)

Quote:
Gray/Brown -> 2 @ x709
Thanks! What's an "x709" (is that a reference number on the wiring diagram?)

Quote:
Gray/Black, Gray/Brown, Brown, Red/Yellow, Gray/Green
BTW, is this 13-wire color scheme for the E39s or for all BMWs (I suspect just the E39).

Quote:
everything else in the wds which has to do with the trunk seems to only be for tourings..
What's a "tourings"? (What do I have?)

Thanks,
Bluebee
PS: I posted this information over on this thread to keep it all together.
E39 Electrical Problems Traced to Trunk Lid Harness Wire Chafing (DIY Diagnostic)

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Last edited by bluebee; 09-15-2009 at 12:48 PM.
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  #16  
Old 09-15-2009, 12:49 PM
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Well, here's what I can do to put the two lists together.

01. Red/yellow stripe = 2 @ x712 -> trunk lid light (positive)
02. Red/black stripe = ?
03. Gray/yellow stripe = trunk latch electronics
04. Brown/gray stripe = 2 @ 709 -> left license plate light (positive)
05. Brown/gray stripe = 2 @ x709 -> left license plate light (positive)
06. Gray/black stripe = 2 @ x710 -> right license plate light (positive)
07. Gray/green stripe = 3 @ x1377 -> trunk lid locking switch
08. Brown/white stripe = 1 @ x712 -> trunk lid light ground
09. Brown = 1 @ x709 -> left license plate light (ground)
10. Brown = 1 @ x710 -> right license plate light (ground)
11. Brown = 1 @ x1377 -> trunk lid locking switch (ground)
12. Brown = ?
13. Brown/blue stripe = ?

I wasn't sure how to handle things like:
- Red/yellow stripe = 2 @ x712 -> trunk lid light (positive)
Because mine only has one red/yellow wire ...
So I did the best guess I could.

Please advise,
Thanks,
Bluebee

Also ... how do I know to call it white with a brown stripe and not brown with a white stripe?

Last edited by bluebee; 09-15-2009 at 12:58 PM.
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  #17  
Old 09-15-2009, 02:07 PM
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ganesht ganesht is offline
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wds = bmw wiring diagram system
sedan = 4 door w/ a trunk
touring = 5 door (5th door is the hatch)

Quote:
BTW, is this 13-wire color scheme for the E39s or for all BMWs (I suspect just the E39).
BMW is notorious for switching wire colors during production but afaik these colors should apply to all lhd & rhd e39 sedans with a build date after 9 /97

nomenclature used:

(majority color[s]) / (line color) = (pin number) @ (connector number) -> what it does

as far as i know there are 3 types of wires bmw uses
a) solid color
<- Brown
b) solid color w/ line
<- White w/ Blue Line
c) base color & stripe w/ line
<- White & Yellow stripes w/ Green Line














Wire Color
ColorBLBlue
ColorBRBrown
ColorGEYellow
ColorGNGreen
ColorGRGray
ColorOROrange
ColorRSPink
ColorRTRed
ColorSWBlack
ColorVIViolet
ColorWSWhite
ColorTRTransparent
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Last edited by ganesht; 09-15-2009 at 02:56 PM.
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  #18  
Old 09-15-2009, 02:18 PM
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ganesht ganesht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
01. Red/yellow line = 2 @ x712 -> trunk lid light (positive)
02. Red/black line = ?
03. Gray/yellow line = 3 @ 1377 -> tunk lid locking switch (open signal)
04. Brown/gray line = 2 @ x709 -> left license plate light (positive)
05. Gray/Brown line = 4 @ x311 -> zv drive (lid closed)
06. Gray/black line = 2 @ x710 -> right license plate light (positive)
07. Gray/Green -> 4 @ x311 -> zv drive rear lid (positive)
08. White/ Brown line = 3 @ x311 -> ZV to luggage compartment light
09. Brown = 1 @ x709 -> left license plate light (ground)
10. Brown = 1 @ x710 -> right license plate light (ground)
11. Brown = 5 @ x311 -> zv drive ground
12. Brown = 1 @ x1377 -> trunk lid locking switch (open signal)
13. Brown/blue line = ?
let me see if i can track down the missing wires







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Last edited by ganesht; 09-15-2009 at 02:57 PM.
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2009, 01:19 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I see four of the problematic trunk-loom wires are for the "zv drive".

Having never heard of a "zv drive", I looked it up. It seems to be some kind of "ZV 300 Central Locking" system in BMW vernacular (also apparently known as "ZKE Central Locking" in some BMW documents).

There's also apparently a related cryptically named "Body Control Module" (aka "Module 3" or "GM III") which the zv wires might be going to???

Basically, I'm confused "what" the "zv" wires literally attach to ...

There is apparently a ZVM (central locking module), but, the actual "central locking module" is apparently behind the glovebox.

Interestingly, most central locking module problems seem unsolved:
- where TH is the central locking mechaninism?
- 97 '318i' How do I locate the central locking module.???
-
Central Locking and Remote Weird problem
- 2003 540 Body Control Module location
-
Central Locking out - Body Control Module?
- Central Lock not working from key
etc.
Note: I wonder if all these central-locking-module problems are actually frayed wires in the trunk loom???

However, the yellow day-glo pull tab in the trunk actuates something to override the cental locking module so maybe that's what is in the trunk that the wires attach to?

Anyway, we have the following zv-related symptoms which might be useful in the future in diagnosing the problem to be in the wiring loom:
- Key Remote Unlock does not unlock doors
- Key Remote lock does not lock doors.
- Key Remote Trunk release DOES release trunk lid.
- Key in door does unlock first driver door, then second all doors.
- Key in door does lock all doors and set alarm.
- Central lock/unlock button inside car DOES NOT work.

In summary, since the ZV module is on the firewall at the front of the BMW, what exactly do the four zv-related wires actually attach to?
05. Gray/Brown line = 4 @ x311 -> zv drive (lid closed)
07. Gray/Green -> 4 @ x311 -> zv drive rear lid (positive)
08. White/ Brown line = 3 @ x311 -> ZV to luggage compartment light
11. Brown = 5 @ x311 -> zv drive ground


Attached Files
File Type: pdf E38_Central_Locking_Faults.pdf (52.9 KB, 292 views)
File Type: pdf e36ti_98Locking.pdf (65.6 KB, 350 views)
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  #20  
Old 09-19-2009, 04:18 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee
"I wasn't sure how to handle things like:
- Red/yellow stripe = 2 @ x712 -> trunk lid light (positive)
Because mine only has one red/yellow wire ...
Oh. I though the "2" meant two wires ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganesht View Post
(majority color[s]) / (line color) = (pin number) @ (connector number) -> what it does
This explanation helps explain.

The good news is that my E39 does have the same colors you listed so we now have a pretty good idea of what electrical problems can be traced to the common fraying of the 13 BMW trunk lid wiring harness wires.

KNOWN LOOM WIRE CONNECTIONS:
01. Red/yellow line = 2 @ x712 -> trunk lid light (positive)
02. Red/black line = ?
03. Gray/yellow line = 3 @ 1377 -> tunk lid locking switch (open signal)
04. Brown/gray line = 2 @ x709 -> left license plate light (positive)
05. Gray/Brown line = 4 @ x311 -> zv drive (lid closed)
06. Gray/black line = 2 @ x710 -> right license plate light (positive)
07. Gray/Green -> 4 @ x311 -> zv drive rear lid (positive)
08. White/ Brown line = 3 @ x311 -> ZV to luggage compartment light
09. Brown = 1 @ x709 -> left license plate light (ground)
10. Brown = 1 @ x710 -> right license plate light (ground)
11. Brown = 5 @ x311 -> zv drive ground
12. Brown = 1 @ x1377 -> trunk lid locking switch (open signal)
13. Brown/blue line = ?
NOTE: (majority color[s])/(line color)=(pin number)@(connector number -> description

PURPORTED LOOM WIRE PROBLEMS:
- Trunk latch problems (not working, intermittent, weird behavior, etc.)
- License plate light problems (especially one and not the other)
- Trunk light problems (especially intermittent, fuse blown, or no power)
- Central Locking (ZV) system problems (of which there are many)
- Fuses blown related to the trunk latch, door locks, or tag lights

Each of these main problems can have weird sub problems, e.g. for the central-locking system (which relates to almost 1/4 of the wires in the loom), some of the potential problems might be:
- Key Remote Unlock does not unlock doors
- Key Remote lock does not lock doors.
- Key Remote Trunk release DOES release trunk lid.
- Key in door does unlock first driver door, then second all doors.
- Key in door does lock all doors and set alarm.
- Central lock/unlock button inside car DOES NOT work.

Anything else?
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  #21  
Old 03-05-2010, 06:51 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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We found another verifiable electrical symptom traced to broken trunk loom wires (in this thread).

The OP had the following symptom:
- Remote unlock would not work from the key fob; all other items worked.

The OP solved it by repairing the following two wires:
- 07. Gray/Green -> 4 @ x311 -> zv drive rear lid (positive)
- One of the brown ground wires
(probably 12. Brown = 1 @ x1377 -> trunk lid locking switch (open signal)

Note the prophylactic solution in that thread is to lubricate the trunk loom with something the OP called "high dielectric grease" (whatever that is).
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  #22  
Old 07-14-2012, 05:00 PM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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I had the same problems as many of you described above. First, the trunk light went out (but the bulb was good). Then the "Trunk Lid Open" warning starting popping up intermittently even though the trunk lid was closed (it eventually became permanent). Then I couldn't lock/unlock the car with the remote control. That'e when I decided I had to do something. I just spent the better part of the day cutting out the bad section of the harness and splicing in new wires (I'll post detailed, step-by-step photos later). Everything works now EXCEPT the remote lock/unlock. I cannot figure out why that isn't working. Perhaps a fuse was blown? Does anyone know where that fuse is?

The other possibility is that there are four brown wires with no stripes, one of which is labeled "ZV Drive Ground" above. Is it possible that when I reconnected all four of those brown wires that I got one of them mixed up? If so, I would think that one of the lights (trunk, left license plate, or right license plate) wouldn't work properly, but they all do.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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  #23  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:50 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
Is it possible that when I reconnected all four of those brown wires that I got one of them mixed up?
It is my understanding the brown colored insulation is for ground, so, if that's truly the case, it won't matter as ground is ground.

More details here:
- Trunklid open, check licplate light, and other trunk wiring loom woes (1) (2) (3)
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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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  #24  
Old 07-15-2012, 06:23 AM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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OK, guess I need to check all the fuses, then. I'm pretty sue the one in the trunk is OK, so I'll have to take a look at the three in the glove compartment.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:27 PM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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First, I want to thank all the people who posted on this thread (and a few others on the same topic). Without your help, I would never have been able to fix the problems and probably would have spent hundreds of bucks at a repair shop.

As I stated in an earlier post, my problems started a few weeks ago when I got a false alarm about the trunk lid being open. It went away the next day, but then I noticed the trunk light was out. I checked the bulb and it was fine. After reading the threads in this forum, I suspected the trunk harness and started messing around with it. Sure enough, the false alarm for the "Trunk Lid Open" returned. Then after wiggling the harness again, the remote door locks stopped working from the key (but worked fine with the manual lock in the driver's door). That's when I got serious and dug into the problem.

There is a full description of the problem and a good fix for it in an attachment in a subsequent post of mine, complete with step-by-step instructions and photos.

Last edited by Domer1982; 07-16-2012 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Deleted link to obsolete attachment
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