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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 07-15-2015, 05:13 AM
Pakasteherra Pakasteherra is offline
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Location: Finland
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Mein Auto: BMW 525d Touring
Question New tailgate - electrical problems

I just installed a new (used) tailgate on my 2001 525 Touring. That brought some electrical problems, such as

1. Trunk actuator doesn't work
2. Central locking doesn't work (both keys are dead)
3. Airbag light is on

I've checked the fuses and everything seems to be OK.

All the wires from the actuator to the fuses are fine and the actuator itself works (tested straight from the battery). However, pressing the switch only loosens the tailgate. Any ideas? The strangest thing is that it worked when the wiring was outside the tailgate, but when I put it inside the tailgate it stopped working.

Central locking is the second problem. I didn't change any parts from it and it just died Reprogramming the key didn't work either.

Third problem is the airbag light that is on when the car is running.

Any ideas how to fix these problems? Again, all the fuses seemed to be OK and the wiring is tested (especially near the hinges).

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Old 07-15-2015, 10:19 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Location: N.W. Indiana
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Mein Auto: 2002 540i sport
Easy. Is the wiring harness on the new piece ABSOLUTELY identical to the old. Same wires, same color wires, absolutely no difference between new and old piece? I bet not. Just because two connectors mate, does not mean features are identical. Central locking system will not tolerate anything, but what was associated with your vin# originally. You have to figure out what is different between two tailgates. Maybe new tailgate has an airbag the old one didn't. Best bet is to verify wiring at connectors is 100% identical and that all the old pieces from your old tailgate are transferred over to new tailgate.
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Old 07-15-2015, 12:20 PM
Pakasteherra Pakasteherra is offline
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Location: Finland
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Mein Auto: BMW 525d Touring
Only thing that is changed is the rear window heating wires (inside the frame of the glass) and the wiring from the tailgate's switch, but those wires have same colors as the old one. So everything but the rear window heating wires and that ~15cm wiring from the switch is the same. Can't figure out how that could affect to central locking?

Is there a way to test the wiring from the switch?
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Old 07-16-2015, 03:01 AM
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pudl pudl is online now
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Location: Wien, Österreich, EU
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Mein Auto: BMW E39 530dAT 2001-04
Originally Posted by Pakasteherra View Post
However, pressing the switch only loosens the tailgate.
And what do you think is supposed to happen? Elaborate on 'pressing the switch only loosens the tailgate'. Which switch? Are you talking about the trunk door or the trunk window?

Regarding key reinitialization, you need to make sure you are doing it correctly. Try it on another BMW.

You best get a code reader and reset tool for that airbag light.
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:29 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 BMW 528iT/5, S/C
Test fuse 53 above the battery

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air bag, central locking, electric, trunk

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