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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 04-07-2010, 05:48 AM
racerock racerock is offline
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Mein Auto: 745Li 330i K1200LT TL ...
Trans. Failsafe, no S wheel Controls, Intermittent Seat Belt - but Trans drives fine.

Removed passenger side Headlight - then Intermittent Seat Belt Warning - then Trans. Failsafe Mode - No steering wheel controls, skeleton in the closet that has not occurred lately (non-functioning drivers seat).

Your help would be appreciated. I've done a bunch of searching last night. Hits helped me confirm troubleshoot some items, but this seems fairly unique... Here goes:

- Two nights ago - took my right front headlight out to take apart and get rid of the moisture inside it. - everything good.

- Just 10 minutes after putting it in, took it for a ride - and the seat belt warning light would come on and not go out - even with all the seat belts latched... Driver and passenger in the front. Then it went out after a stop. Next morning similar situation, then at lunch, everything o.k. Thinking microswitch in the drivers seat belt - not a big deal, right?

- that next night (last night) - wash car, test seat belt - it is sort of o.k., think there was an intermittent. Then go to move it and wham - and the yellow BRAKE light on the dash are on... WTF...

-- Check trans fluid - nice and red, full - no burnt smell

-- Clear "Trans. Failsafe Mode" by removing the battery ground for a while and turn lights on.

Common Problem #1 tested -- Test battery voltage while sitting there - 12.54 V

-- Test battery voltage/alternator after starting - 14 V ish

-- Move car, starts out o.k., then 100 yards away "Trans. Failsafe Mode" and the yellow BRAKE light on the dash are on... WTF..."

-- I drive it down the road - get this - even though it says TF Mode - it is shifting like it normally does - starts in first, etc. I have sport mode, and I can manually shift through all the gears - Trans seems fine...

This morning - here are some further clues - I notice that I have no functions on my steering wheel - No radio control, no cruise, and no horn...

Seat Belt Warning - Now the little red warning does not even come on...

Common Problem #2 tested: I did test the ground point near the air cleaner as well - Continuity from the connector to battery ground tested fine with a DVM, and to make sure, I went ahead and took the connector off the stud, no corrosion there, brushed it anyway and put it back on. (I did not think this was an issue because all of my gauges work fine.

OBD II Scan tool showed no codes at all...

Is there a major connector somewhere that could be a problem?

Is there a way to access the trans codes via the dash? For some reason I recall there might be a way. I know the OBDII scan tool (I have an Actron 9135 that is a decent one, reads and presents in english, stores the data, and you can read real time). I also have the Peake SRS tool.

Skeleton in the closet:
My drivers seat has been intermittent in the past, three times - it stopped all functions, and then when I go to check it out - works fine after testing the power to the connector under it, and resetting the connector once, the other two times - it just started working...

Time to check out the schematics at least, but seriously - if anyone has seen something like this, I would appreciate it...

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2010, 09:59 AM
racerock racerock is offline
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Mein Auto: 745Li 330i K1200LT TL ...
Hate to reply to myself here, but saw another thread on Airbag, many functions on the steering wheel, and similar gremlins:

"Started engine, then airbag light. Then, while driving, cruise disengaged, steering wheel radio controls inop, lowered visor w/mirror door open and radio shut off, int dome light came on, steering wheel rose and fell, then transmission trouble light. Btw, neither visors' lights illuminated when visor lowered w slide door open. Many anomalies kept happening while driving. Reading this thread causes me to wonder if it IS the ign sw. Cycling the sw restores some functions temporarily, only to repeat in short time, or whenever visors lowered w slide doors open. "

"Mine was very similar as time went by all the add ons showed up. started with the airbag,ending with the steering moving on its own on the run. ! the dealer said it was the seat sensor, atfter reading the forum here I changed the ignition switch. All fine now."

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...steering+wheel

Think it could be my ignition switch???

Wanted to add that I do have an airbag light that was coming on as well.
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2010, 02:21 PM
racerock racerock is offline
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Well, I'll close the loop on this for anyone else having similar problems...

Ignition Switch fixed it. Easy to replace, intstructions are in the Bentley manual, or on some threads on-line wiht pix.

$45 and everything good!. While nobody responsded, thanks go out to everyone that replied to a few other threads that helped confirm that this is a reasonable course of corrective action...
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2010, 02:48 PM
maher528 maher528 is offline
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lol.. glad its fixed
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  #5  
Old 04-10-2010, 05:14 PM
xraye39 xraye39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racerock View Post
Well, I'll close the loop on this for anyone else having similar problems...

Ignition Switch fixed it. Easy to replace, intstructions are in the Bentley manual, or on some threads on-line wiht pix.

$45 and everything good!. While nobody responsded, thanks go out to everyone that replied to a few other threads that helped confirm that this is a reasonable course of corrective action...
Glad you were able to fix it and thanks to adding to the knowledge base by posting your succesful resolution.
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  #6  
Old 04-10-2010, 06:35 PM
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Hooray! Hooray! is offline
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I think we were all holding our breath... crazy things can pop out of nowhere.
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  #7  
Old 04-12-2010, 08:35 AM
racerock racerock is offline
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Mein Auto: 745Li 330i K1200LT TL ...
Thanks for the replies, it was nice to see - was not sure if anyone was watching, wondering, waiting...

The guys at getbmwparts.com really stepped it up as well. Ordered the part on Wed at lunch, at my house on Thursday, in the car right away. (My UPS shipments are sorted and delivered from the same UPS location that picks up from them - so I get overnight service for ground rates... )

$45 ish plus shipping.

I wonder how many people out there have had a trans installed for the same issue...
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2010, 03:28 PM
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Hooray! Hooray! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racerock View Post
Thanks for the replies, it was nice to see - was not sure if anyone was watching, wondering, waiting...

The guys at getbmwparts.com really stepped it up as well. Ordered the part on Wed at lunch, at my house on Thursday, in the car right away. (My UPS shipments are sorted and delivered from the same UPS location that picks up from them - so I get overnight service for ground rates... )

$45 ish plus shipping.

I wonder how many people out there have had a trans installed for the same issue...
My question still is how did you diagnose it down to an ignition switch? Go figure that connection!

I did an "adaptive memory reset" on my EGS with the BT software and now at 64 miles, no SES! Going to change ATF but want to see if it really is a software glitch vs. a real slipping TC seal. My logic is that if the TC seal was in fact torn, it would do it quickly vs. after 50 miles. Today, I put it in S M 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 5 4 5 4 3 2, no issues, all perfect shifts...

Maybe my chrome rear tail light upgrade is causing my code 48 trans issue!
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2010, 11:23 AM
racerock racerock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooray! View Post
My question still is how did you diagnose it down to an ignition switch? Go figure that connection!
In all honesty it was everyone on Bimmerfest that had suggestions in other threads with similar situations. I was not 100% sure, because way too many people did not close the loop for us... You know - the threads that have a ton of suggestions, many responses from the OP - but NOOOOO they leave us and never come back and reply with the corrective action...

Back to the threads - Maybe not all of my symptoms were similar. In thinking about the errors/gremlins that were occurring and how the trans was not really in "Safe Mode" as it would go through all the gears fine - figured it was something electrical.

So, basically this forum is how it was diagnosed.

I do have a computer with the TIS software enroute - need to get the OPS head to get into my E66, E39, and E46... Was worried that I'd have to wait for that to arrive before diagnosing the situation with this 540i.

I was thinking about doing a beer challenge - figure out the solution (after it was already confirmed) and I'd buy the beer!
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2010, 12:33 PM
bmwbmc bmwbmc is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 bmw 520i
Damn!!! One of the few questions i would have had something to answer to and you fixed it already...
Just kidding .
Glad you solved it.
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2013, 12:31 PM
papi0757 papi0757 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i bmw
please i need help im handicap and ive checked and read al but cant find an answer my er lights start blinking after i turn the key right before i start the car anyone have this problem or no what may be the cause of it in my condition i cant get to check many different areas please help and sorry if this is a repeat thread i could not find nothing on the subject all answers will be greatly appreciated thanks in advance papi0757
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