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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 10-30-2008, 09:16 AM
Al's540i's Avatar
Al's540i Al's540i is offline
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Calling QSilver! Which connection in the sterring column....

provides power to the steering column up/down movement? I want to disconnect this because mine makes an awful creeking sound (Uzi sound) whenever it moves up or down.

I've lubed it several times but to no avail. Dealer said I'd need to have the entire column replaced. Mucho dineros!

Right now to aleviate the problem, I've pulled fuse 13. I set the steering wheel to the height I like and pulled the fuse. The only problem with doing this is that I also lose power to all the seat functions .

If I know which plug is for up/down power, I could set my steering column to the height I like and then unplug....then the steering column would stay "frozen" in place but I'd still have power to my seats....

Thanks in advance to anyone's help on this...not just QSilver
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2008, 09:22 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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Hmm, if you are referring to the convenience exit feature that moves the steering wheel upward when the ignition is turned off, then back to its previous position when the ignition is turned on...then that feature is controlled by the control module behind the large rectangular seat switch.

I'm pretty sure anyone with an e39 or e38 built prior to 9/97 would be willing to swap seat switches with you. That would be the easiest way to rid yourself of that feature. Other than that, you'd probably have to go into the wiring harness and remove the wires that control it.

Again, that feature is controlled by something in the seat switch pictured below...which also communicates with the GM (general module) and the memory seat switch (in the door). The "convenience exit" steering wheel movement only occurs if you have the "specific" switch that you have...an older switch doesn't have it:



item #7 in diagram below prior to 9/97 build date don't have the convenience exit feature:
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

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Last edited by QSilver7; 10-30-2008 at 09:40 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2008, 09:34 AM
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Al's540i Al's540i is offline
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Thanks. If I get seats that don't have that switch how would I be able to move the steering column to my liking?
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Last edited by Al's540i; 10-30-2008 at 09:40 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2008, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al's540i View Post
Thanks. If I get seats that don't have that switch how would I be able to move the steering column to my liking?
The old fashioned way...with the stalk on the left side of the steering column.
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2008, 09:44 AM
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Al's540i Al's540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
The old fashioned way...with the stalk on the left side of the steering column.
Right but that moves electronically. If there is no current going to it, it doesn't move.
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  #6  
Old 10-30-2008, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al's540i View Post
Thanks. If I get seats that don't have that switch how would I be able to move the steering column to my liking?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al's540i View Post
Right but that moves electronically. If there is no current going to it, it doesn't move.
I think you misunderstood what I meant about the seat switch.

Up until 9/97 build date...the e38 & e39 steering wheel didn't move up/down automatically when the ignition was turned off/on. The only way to move the steering wheel was with it's lever on the side of the column. It always stayed where you put it.

Then BMW updated the seat switch and added the convenient exit feature. The only thing that is different between the pre 9/97 seats is the automatic movement. BMW doesn't even sell the old switch any longer...so you can only get it used from older e38s & e39s built before 9/97.

If you totally disconnect the harness from the switch...then you will lose ALL seat movement ..if you have a wiring diagram...you probably could figure out what each wire going to the harness is for...and possibly pull the ones that are connected to the steering wheel. The wiring harness to the steering wheel switch on the column would still be connected to the GM...so I would think that you'd still be able to "manually" control the steering wheel.

(this is all just supposition...I've never looked at the wiring diagrams for these connections.)
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2011, 09:43 AM
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Edgy36-39 Edgy36-39 is offline
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OK, found this thread and waking up. So, my steering wheel sometimes moves up and down, sometimes starts and stops. Occasionally, it loses all the memory settings.

Is the fuse going bad?

Note -- I'm only asking about the steering wheel, not the seat. Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2011, 10:58 AM
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All though there is a fuse for the steering wheel...if it was blown, you'd never get any movement from the steering wheel (like pulling the plug on a lamp). Erratic movement would indicate a breakdown in communications from its control modules, or electro/mechanical failure of the drives that operate the column's movement. The "commands" for the steering wheel comes over the P-Bus from the GM to the seat module:


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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2011, 11:03 AM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgy36-39 View Post
OK, found this thread and waking up. So, my steering wheel sometimes moves up and down, sometimes starts and stops. Occasionally, it loses all the memory settings.

Is the fuse going bad?

Note -- I'm only asking about the steering wheel, not the seat. Thanks!
I'd still vote for the seat switch in your case. It may have erratic contact, looseness, etc that's causing this behavior, since it also controls the steering wheel. Pretty sure the fuses either work or they don't. Anyway simple to check a fuse and replace with a spare, there are spares in the glovebox.
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Last edited by Josh P.; 01-26-2011 at 11:04 AM.
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