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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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  #376  
Old 04-21-2011, 09:22 AM
jasonjsimon jasonjsimon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
would this be the same issue if my DSC, ABS, & SES lights are on?
Is your brake light on as well?
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  #377  
Old 04-21-2011, 12:47 PM
jcvara jcvara is offline
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no the brake light is not on
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  #378  
Old 04-21-2011, 04:30 PM
guardodoc guardodoc is offline
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BBA advice

I sent my unit to BBA. They said it could not be rebuilt and I paid another $170 to buy a remanufactured Bosch 5.7. (in addition to the / $165 i had already paid for the repair)
Any way, along with the unit came these instructions.
I put the unit in and immediately my speedometer works again. The yellow brake light went out, but I still have the
yellow ABS light. I'm trying to find someplace inexpensive to get it coded in So Cal.
Will update if any new info.
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  #379  
Old 04-21-2011, 04:39 PM
guardodoc guardodoc is offline
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Here's an invoice

It shows the contact info for BBA.
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  #380  
Old 04-22-2011, 05:56 AM
jcvara jcvara is offline
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Good info, thanks. So which lights did it fix?
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  #381  
Old 04-22-2011, 01:47 PM
guardodoc guardodoc is offline
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It fixed the yellow brake light and the speedometer. other than that ABS symbol is still on. The check engine yellow light is on (but that may be from an intake leak"
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  #382  
Old 04-22-2011, 02:54 PM
jcvara jcvara is offline
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intake leak? does your car smoke?
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  #383  
Old 04-22-2011, 08:07 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonjsimon View Post
found that same steel connection to be broken.
That seems to be the most common failure mode. With a magnetized sewing needle, you can push the steel power wire and see that it has lifted off its gold bond pad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonjsimon View Post
As I was removing the goop in the area, I damaged a few of the gold wires.
That goop is the worst part, as you found out, because it's sooooo easy to damage the gold angel hairs.
- removing "snot-like" goo from ABS circuit board-


Last edited by bluebee; 04-22-2011 at 08:08 PM.
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  #384  
Old 04-22-2011, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
SES ... no the brake light is not on
Whenever there is an SES ... you need to read the fault codes and let us know what they are.

Without fault codes, I'm merely speculating ... it's my guess ... if the SES light is related at all, it's most likely a P0500 for a bad wheel speed sensor:
P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction).

But, even that doesn't mean you actually have a bad wheel speed sensor.

You might have a bad wheel speed sensor, as Fleetman related today, over here (which he found with a DMM):
- ABS and ASC light on - Neither work - Auto trans won't shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleetman View Post
my symptoms were ... I had the ASC/ABS light on with a Check Engine light (code P0500) on as well after x-number of miles
Or, the P0500 may be bogus, which is what happened to me over here:
- Failed smog due to P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction


As for the ABS + DSC bifecta, the problem & diagnostic solution 'seems' to be the 'same' as for the ABS + DSC + BRAKE trifecta (weirdly enough) ... but see these threads for further details.

- All about DSC (1-pdf) (2-pdf) & comparisons to ASC+T (1) & how to diagnose & fix the ABS DSC (or ASC) BRAKE trifecta (1) or the amber ABS DSC (or ASC) bifecta (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) or just the DSC light (1) & what is the ABS control module testing pinout for the older E39s (1) & what is the logic of ABS diagnostics (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & how to test the brake pressure sensor (1) & how to autopsy & fix your Bosch ABS control module yourself for free (1) (2) & what anomalies occur while the ABS control module is out of your vehicle for repair (1) (2) (3) & how to replace wheel speed sensors (1) (2) & why you want OEM wheel speed sensors (1) & what happens if you don't code your VIN into a new/salvage ABS control module (1) & how to test (and align) your E39 DSC steering wheel sensors (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & how to turn off DSC traction control (1) (2).
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Last edited by bluebee; 04-23-2011 at 12:28 AM.
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  #385  
Old 04-22-2011, 09:28 PM
jcvara jcvara is offline
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That is a little confusing but yes I would pair the amber DSC and ABS lights. We did a reset on my car today and the SES light went off for a while but the amber DSC and ABS (along with no cruise, no speedo, and no odometer) continued. Any suggestions? Do you think that I will also need the yaw sensor and/or the abs module?
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  #386  
Old 04-22-2011, 09:39 PM
jcvara jcvara is offline
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this is great information BTW, thanks. Looking forward to your response. Do you have any experience with occassional white smoke. I was told that it should be the crank case vent valve, PCV valve, some hoses, and a gasket to the oil canister. The car doesnt run as if it is loosing power or anything. Also, is it normal for the cars rev limiter to be at only 5200 rpm? again thanks for the info...
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  #387  
Old 04-22-2011, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
We did a reset on my car today and the SES light went off for a while but the amber DSC and ABS (along with no cruise, no speedo, and no odometer) continued.
To my knowledge, NOBODY has ever 'reset' the amber ABS + DSC bifecta (nor the amber ABS + DSC + BRAKE trifecta). Period. If you manage to simply 'reset' it, you'd have to be a genius or verrry lucky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
Any suggestions?
Ummm. Yeah. Read post #48 of this thread for starters. That tells you what you need to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
Do you think that I will also need the yaw sensor and/or the abs module?
Verrrrry few people have to replace the steering wheel or underseat sensors. So, while you 'can' look for exotic causes - my suggestion is to follow that post (see post #48 of this thread) which tells you what you need to do.

Basically, in most cases (almost all!) it's either ONE of your wheel speed sensors (never more than one at any one time) or the steel wire lifted off the bond pad inside your ABS control module.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
Do you have any experience with occassional white smoke.
This is OT, so I'll just point you to the white-smoke threads (where you can respond there):
- Diagnosis of white smoke out of your exhaust pipe (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
I was told that it should be the crank case vent valve, PCV valve.
Again, wholly off topic, so just read these threads & post back over in those:
- How to test the crankcase ventilation (aka CCV, CVV, PCV, CPV, & OSV) pressure regulating valve system (1) often causing vacuum leaks due to holes in one or more of the five CCV hoses (1) (2) (3) or whose diaphragm tears, freezes (1) & the CCV often clogs (1) causing pressure in the crankcase and smoke in the exhaust necessitating CCV system overhaul (M54,M54,M54,M54, & M54 observations) (M52,M52) (M52TU) (M62,M62) ('99 528i) ('98 528i); usually replaced with the insulated CCV upgrade (1).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvara View Post
and a gasket to the oil canister.
Also off topic, so just read these and post there:
- The CCV is often implicated in OFH oil filter housing leaks (1) (2) (3) (4); sometimes in blowing the VCG valve cover gasket (1); and sometimes, it is said, even the head gasket (1) (2); and very often causing vacuum leaks from the five CCV hoses (1) (2) (3).
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  #388  
Old 04-23-2011, 11:46 PM
GEinfeldt GEinfeldt is offline
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I recently had the trifecta of lights come on, ABS, Brake, and the ! inside triangle inside circle. Unfortunately I don't have the equipment or time (and money) to figure out and replace the problem so I took it to a shop and they diagnosed the problem. the ABS modules was not sending power to the wheel speed sensors....so the abs system doesn't work.
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  #389  
Old 04-24-2011, 04:42 AM
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When I was experiencing the bifecta lights (ASC/ABS), the Check Engine light would also illuminate (code P0500). Although I said it would come on in x-number of miles, it seemed to be more related to the number of engine starts....after clearing the code, it would typically come back with the second engine start. Prior to replacing a bad wheel sensor, I cleared the engine code one morning before driving to work (60 miles) and no light the entire trip, however, when I started the engine for the return trip home, the Check Engine light came back before I was able to leave the parking lot. To elaborate, upon the second engine start of the day (after a 60 mile trip earlier that day) the light was off when I reversed but as soon as I started to move forward the engine light came on in about 100 feet.

When I replaced my faulty R/R wheel sensor, I also disconnected the negative battery cable (naturally after allowing the system to go to "sleep") and then proceeded to replace the sensor. Once done and battery re-connected, the ASC and ABS lights were off (came on as a bulb check as normal once the ignition switch is turned on and then off in about 3 seconds) but I also cleared the engine code prior to starting the engine....no lights on and since the sensor replacement, I've driven about 700 miles with no issues.

To check my work upon completion of replacing the wheel sensor and verifying no lights on and a working ASC system, I disconnected the R/R wheel sensor and immediately had the ASC/ABS lights on; shut down the engine, re-connected the sensor, and the lights were off when I re-started so it appears the system will reset itself. No doubt the Check Engine light would have also re-appeared had I restarted the engine a second time.

My code reader (CEN-TECH) displays engine codes but only references a MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) on in the case of the ASC/ABS system although I cannot read the code with this tool. The MIL indicator is active with a bad sensor (and disconnected sensor as a check) and disappears once repaired (or reconnected as a check).

Whew....that's a lot of typing for a Sunday morning!

Fleetman out.....

Last edited by Fleetman; 04-24-2011 at 04:45 AM.
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  #390  
Old 04-29-2011, 01:57 PM
jasonjsimon jasonjsimon is offline
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Just to report back. I received the used ABS module from a 540i and the lights remained lit. I tried to read the ABS codes with CarSoft, but it said it could not communicate with the module. I thought I was screwed, but decided to take it into the dealer anyway. They were able to recode the module for my car and all lights are off!!! Finally after a year I got rid of this problem (for now)! One more thing I need to deal with now and that's the thrust arm bushings since I have some steering vibration and I'll be a happy camper. -Might actually sell it off while there finally aren't any problems...
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  #391  
Old 04-29-2011, 05:24 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleetman View Post
When I was experiencing the bifecta lights (ASC/ABS), the Check Engine light would also illuminate (code P0500)....after clearing the code, it would typically come back with the second engine start
This is very interesting.

So far, I'm not sure if the bifecta troubleshooting is exactly the same as the trifecta. I suspect it's 'similar' but little details such as the P0500 may be diagnostically different.

If I go out on a limb and surmise why the SES light (or CEL) comes on seemingly after a certain sequence, it may very well be that it's related to the BMW "drive cycle" we analyzed (for the fuel-filler cap - but the cycle may be the same for the P0500 error).

Here's the thread that discusses the BMW SES "drive cycle" in more detail:
- How to better understand the key EPA federal test procedure (FTP) concept of the BMW SES "drive cycle" (1)

Originally Posted by RKT BMR
  • SES light will illuminate only after two consecutive drive cycles in which the fault occurs. Note that in order for operation of the vehicle to be considered a "drive cycle" for this purpose, the faulty system must undergo OBD diagnostic tests, which require particular driving conditions depending on the system in question. So, the next consecutive "drive cycle" might be after several instances of actually driving the vehicle, not necessarily the very next time it is driven.
  • Once a condition occurs for two consecutive drive cycles, it is logged as a failure with the DTC, freeze-frame data from engine operational sensors is saved, and the SES is lit. Then, if the vehicle undergoes 3 consecutive drive cycles (as defined above) without the failure reoccurring, the SES will be turned off, but the DTC and freeze-frame data will persist in the ECU, and can be read with a compatible OBDII scan tool.
  • If the vehicle completes 40 more consecutive drive cycles (for a total of 43 since the SES first lit) without a recurrence, the DTC and freeze-frame data will be erased from the ECU, and there will be no record of the failure.
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  #392  
Old 04-29-2011, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GEinfeldt View Post
I don't have the equipment or time (and money) to figure out and replace the problem
I'm glad your problem is solved but just in case others see this, it takes less time and money to debug the typical trifecta than it does to send it to a mechanic to fix.

It takes about ten minutes with a digital multimeter in the engine bay to know whether the wheel speed sensors are bad, and then it takes about two minutes to remove the ABS control module and perhaps another ten minutes to pack it up for shipping to the rebuilders. Add two minutes for re-installing it (six Torx bolts) and that's about it on time, effort, and money.

Total cost to me (including $25 shipping to ATE) was $150 USD.

Of course, it took 'me' much longer than all that - but if I were to follow the instructions again, that's how long it 'should' take.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonjsimon
I received the used ABS module from a 540i and the lights remained lit....They were able to recode the module for my car and all lights are off!.
I'm surprised. I don't remember 'recoding' ever getting rid of the lights.

Last edited by bluebee; 05-01-2011 at 10:32 PM.
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  #393  
Old 04-30-2011, 05:12 AM
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Curiosity got to me this morning and since I had to run down to my office anyway, decided I would play with the sensors and drive cycle.

Since replacing a bad wheel sensor, I have had no ASC/ABS and/or Check Engine lights on....approx 1400 miles since repair. This morning I disconnected the R/R wheel sensor and immediately had the ASC/ABS lights on but no Check Engine light. I drove to my office 60 miles south, left it running, and made the return trip north.....naturally, the ASC/ABS lights were on the whole way, no cruise control, but still no Check Engine light. Got home, shut it down, finished my coffee and re-started....still had the ASC/ABS lights on and still no Check Engine light....pulled out of the driveway for a test run and within an estimated 100', the Check Engine light came on. This was the second start of the day with a simulated bad wheel sensor so I'm surmising the drive cycle can also be associated with the number of engine starts/miles driven??

I reconnected the wheel sensor and when re-started, the ASC/ABS lights were off (after the bulb check upon ignition), cruise was back, but the Check Engine light was still on....code P0500. Cleared the engine code and no light.

One other interesting observation; I am very aware of the instant MPG gauge during my trips since there's not much else to do during the long commutes and there are some pretty steep hills to traverse on I-83. As stated in one of my earlier posts, it appears my fuel mileage improved after replacing the bad wheel sensor. This morning I noticed the gauge running lower on the steeper climbs....not by much but a noticeable difference. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe cruise control does keep a more constant throttle....my normal travel is just shy of 3k RPM's...about 77 MPH.

Anyway, just wanted to add a little more information to the bifecta/trifecta novel we've started here. Bluebee.....I hope this helps some! Unscientific testing at best but possibly useful.
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  #394  
Old 05-01-2011, 07:18 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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I tried to test resistance on the various pin pairs and never found continuity or any reading on the MM at all. I ran the wire probe into the small rectangular test ports right below the round pins holes. Touching the probes together gave a immediate reading. Nothing when testing the controller array.
Any ideas? Anyone else have this problem and/or a work around.
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  #395  
Old 05-01-2011, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleetman View Post
Anyway, just wanted to add a little more information to the bifecta/trifecta novel we've started here
This is wonderful information for all who have the trifecta/bifecta warning lights. Thank you for running that test for our benefit. It's a courtesy you extended to us that we appreciate. To quote bobdmac, this thread is a wealth of knowledge by the process of incrementalism!

To leverage it further, I'll quote it also over in this thread:
- How to better understand the BMW drive cycle & when OBDII DTC fault codes set & clear themselves (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neversaynever View Post
never found continuity or any reading on the MM ... Anyone else have this problem and/or a work around.
From memory, this has happened to about a half dozen people in this thread alone, so, you're not the first, nor will you be the last.

IIRC, we told the other half dozen people that they must be reading the meter incorrectly because if it is true that there is no reading from any of the wheel speed sensors, then no wonder they get the trifecta!

The 'workaround' we told them, in each case, was to either figure out why they were getting no reading from their digital multi meter (even going so far as to recommend Radio Shack diodes to test their technique) ... or ... to use a thinner wire ... or ... to give up on the ABS control module harness connector and simply test the wheel speed sensors at each wheel (where they connect to the junction box).

I think we also asked them to check against known good connections (e.g., power and ground); but I don't recall if we actually provided them the pins for power and ground to run that test-lead & technique test.

In summary, if my memory serves me correctly (and without re-reading the thread myself), we really never formed a definitive conclusion about WHY those users didn't get any readings.

So, I would say this is your homework (since you have the problem currently):
  1. Go through this thread and locate the people who also got no readings
  2. Figure out if any of them reported back what their problem was
  3. Write a summary in your next report back to us their problems were
From that, maybe we can figure out why you're getting no reading as when most of us do it, the readings the readings are reasonably consistent with our expectations.

Good luck -- and please -- post back what you found about the others who had the same issue!

Last edited by bluebee; 05-01-2011 at 10:51 PM.
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  #396  
Old 05-02-2011, 03:15 AM
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I originally had the problem of no readings on my DMM but playing with different "test leads" eventually solved the problem. I found a "jumbo" paper clip worked best for me whereas Bluebee used the celery tie....either one seems to work as well as the other but I wasn't in the mood for celery that day.

To Neversaynever; try your test leads again and make sure your test lead goes down into the test port far enough to make contact. You can verify contact by disconnecting the R/F sensor and ohm out the wire from the ABS module connector to the body wheel sensor connector....if you still show nothing on your DMM then you either have a broken wire or are not (what I suspect) making a good connection with the ABS module connector contacts. It took me several attempts to find a suitable test lead.
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  #397  
Old 05-02-2011, 11:41 AM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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Thanks both very much. Maybe it was because I used the celery stock in not the tie. :-)
My DMM works fine. I, as you, am certain I am not making a connection. Tell me this, when I push the wire into the test hole, do you push it firmly like replacing a fuse or inserting a 14g stripped wire into the quick connector on the back of a modern 120v plug receptacle. Or do you just nudge it into the receptacle to make surface to surface "loose" contact. (Am I speaking in tongues... sheesh)
My cruise control works fine. The sensor on the left front looks fine (I removed both left and right). I was thinking I could test the sensor at the wheel but when I pulled the blue connector apart, the pins on the sensor side are way deep in the connector and I could not (or would not) try to figure out how to make the two connections for testing.
Anyway, if you can understand any of this gibberish, please send along you thoughts. And I will dig through this massive posts for earlier info. This might be something in need Fudman to help me with. It'll just cost one good cigar.
Thanks,
Chris
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  #398  
Old 05-02-2011, 02:47 PM
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I pushed the paper clip in pretty firmly....it almost felt as if it "snapped" in.

Mine is a Fluke meter and for reasons I can't explain, also didn't give me any readings until I had the negative side clipped on the "test" lead first (alligator clips on my test leads) and then connected the positive "test" lead. After all, we're only reading DMM battery voltage reduced via a resistor. Another easy way to check that you are making a connection at the ABS connector (meaning your "test" leads are ok to use) is to probe for 12vdc at ports, 2, 3, 6 or 7 (switch your DMM to DCv) along with a good, known ground....that way you'll know your "test" leads are long/large enough to make a connection in the test port...I hope this makes sense.

You can use the smaller paper clips to test the body wheel sensor connections but it's a stretch....I used some small gauge mechanics wire (aka stove pipe wire) to probe my body connector.

Good luck and let us know.........

Man....now I feel like some celery with peanut butter!
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  #399  
Old 05-02-2011, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleetman
Another easy way to check that you are making a connection at the ABS connector (meaning your "test" leads are ok to use) is to probe for 12vdc at ports, 2, 3, 6 or 7 (switch your DMM to DCv) along with a good, known ground....
I LOVE this advice! It's definitive! It's good!

In fact, I'm gonna jump on over to this thread today where the OP (LoganWolf in that thread) has the exact same problem (no readings for all four sensors) ... and tell him what you said!
- 2000 540i BRAKE, ABS, and DSC lights on, HELP!!!

BTW, it was a long time ago (about a year), but, IIRC, I found the wires to use as probes lying around so I wasn't certain what AWG they were. So I measured them with my mic, and then looked up in the tables to surmise they were 20 AWG.

Thinking back on that, I may not have been right (I don't really know at this point). Actually, I 'still' have the wires so I could measure them again.

Anyway, we should ask anyone 'else' who tested this successfully what AWG they used to be sure of that 20 AWG that I quoted loooong ago (in post #48 of this thread).
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  #400  
Old 05-02-2011, 09:08 PM
jcvara jcvara is offline
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just replaced all 4 wheel sensors but the problems remain: ABS, DSC, SES (all amber), no speedo, no odometer, steering tilt inoperable. I guess I'm going for the ABS module next. I have it removed but how do you open it up? Who do you all recommend for the ABS module rebuild?

Last edited by jcvara; 05-02-2011 at 09:30 PM.
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