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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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Old 12-21-2008, 01:27 PM
shockler shockler is offline
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Location: California
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 525i
Telescopic steering wheel malfunction

Before i ask my question i just want to say thanks to those who created this site, and to the ones who spend their time to help others. This is my first post, i hope to have many more only on a more positive note.

Anyway, my problem is when i hit my brakes for some reason the steering wheel will telescope forward.How can the brakes affect the steering wheel?? only thing i can think of is its a malfuction in the computer. (obc)? The memory for the steering wheel when i shut off the car has never been to reliable anyways.I sure hope this doesnt turn out to be a big time electical problem.

Any help would be appreciated

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Old 12-21-2008, 02:33 PM
QSilver7's Avatar
QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9,170
Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
If your car has the convenience exit feature (the steering wheel raises upward when you turn the ignition off)...then I would check to see if the cover (the plastic thing around the base of your driver's seat where the buttons are located) is loose or broken on either the front end or toward the back where the seat belt slides thru it.

The main seat switch that controls the forward/aft, up/down and seat back/head rest movement...also controls this convenient exit feature. If the cover is loose or broken, it allows the electrical harness for this switch to rub and the harness eventually breaks off or wiggles out of the module.

When you are power braking, this could cause the module to move, thus disturbing the harness, which in turn causes the steering wheel to move.

The switch is #7 in the diagram below:

Below are images of the back side of #7 in the diagram above...and you can see the damage that can occur when the seat cover is loose and the module behind the buttons is rubbing and the harness is coming loose:

Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:59 AM
hazelwood hazelwood is offline
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Location: delaware
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 540

Thanks for the great guide. I found two corroded pins and cleaned with contact spray.

Do you have a sililar guide for E39 PDC?
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