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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 01-19-2014, 10:27 AM
1lemone39 1lemone39 is offline
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Location: Blue Bell Pa
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2003 525i
Cool 2003 525i trans limp mode / flickering lights.

I just purchased a 2003 525i with 152k on the clock.The check engine lamp would come on at traffic lights when stopped occasionally along with the transmission limp mode. The code was p0720. One other odd thing was I noticed all the lamps in the car were flickering or pulsing.
The car had a rebuilt bosh alternator that did not look very old. Upon checking the alternator with an old style analog needle type meter the charging output it was swinging low to high.
I put a digital volt meter on it and it would not pick up the rapid swing in voltage.

This had every symptom of a bad alternator. I replaced the alternator with a reman Bosch unit and it seemed to be fine. 2 days later here we go again with the check engine lamp and trans light again? Same code p0720 !

I found a loose ground cable from the battery on the rear body panel that looked good until you gave it a tug. Tightened the cabe and it has been fine ever since!
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:40 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,190
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
I'm going to cross reference this to the following thread so that others find it more easily in the future ...
- One user's TFP TRANS FAILSAFE PROG automatic transmission TPF experience stuck in limp mode (1)
Note: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need, in seconds!
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flickering lights, p0720, trans failsafe message

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