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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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  #1  
Old 07-02-2013, 08:22 PM
gman20001969 gman20001969 is offline
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Location: Atlanta, Georgia
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Check engine light won't go away!

Hey guys. I got a 1997 528i for a steal last year. I had one small problem with a misfire that I fixed by replacing the spark plugs. Still had a check engine light. I took it up to Autozone and the codes were for P1189 and P0173. I took it out to a good place near me and had the guys replace the O2 sensors. Drive it for a while and WHAM! The light comes back. Checked the system for a vacuum leak with the guys and replaced the gasket on the oil filter housing, intake manifold, etc. Still comes back. The only thing I didn't do was replace the MAF.

The guys don't like to replace cats, but they take off complete exhaust systems for melt downs. They put on a spare system and...still I get the light. I can't get this car to pass emissions with the light on. I think I spent about $900 to which I could get a pass for the year, but that's just putting off the inevitable. Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2013, 09:37 PM
edjack edjack is online now
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Location: San Jose, CA
 
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Those codes relate to fuel trim/control for the rear three cylinders. You need to find a savvy BMW tech to sort this.

What was the brand name for the O2 sensors they installed? Bosch is the only brand to use.

Which sensors did they replace? There are four, two pre- and two post-cat. They are different.
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  #3  
Old 07-02-2013, 09:56 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gman20001969 View Post
Hey guys. I got a 1997 528i for a steal last year. I had one small problem with a misfire that I fixed by replacing the spark plugs. Still had a check engine light. I took it up to Autozone and the codes were for P1189 and P0173. I took it out to a good place near me and had the guys replace the O2 sensors. Drive it for a while and WHAM! The light comes back. Checked the system for a vacuum leak with the guys and replaced the gasket on the oil filter housing, intake manifold, etc. Still comes back. The only thing I didn't do was replace the MAF.

The guys don't like to replace cats, but they take off complete exhaust systems for melt downs. They put on a spare system and...still I get the light. I can't get this car to pass emissions with the light on. I think I spent about $900 to which I could get a pass for the year, but that's just putting off the inevitable. Any suggestions?
Both these codes are fuel control codes for Bank 2: the DME is trying to correct the air fuel mixture for Bank 2 (cylinders 4,5,6) but can't because it is too far out of range.

Your 'good place' is not good enough. Replacing O2 sensors won't do anything as these sensors are the messenger, not the problem. What the heck are they replacing CATs for? They are not the problem either. Please take your car to an expert BMW shop. One with a scanner that can read fuel trims, short term fuel trims. These trims will tell them whether the mixture is lean or rich and that will tell them what procedures to use to find the problem. Too lean would probably mean a vacuum leak . Too rich might mean you have a fuel pressure regulator problem. The scanner should also be able read how much air is entering the engine according to the MAF-is it in spec of not. A really good shop will analyze these things (and more) and proceed accordingly.

Please stop guessing and throwing parts at the car. Go to a shop that is really competent.
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  #4  
Old 07-03-2013, 08:12 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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Hear, hear!

Probably not the MAF, since only one bank is affected.
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  #5  
Old 07-03-2013, 09:40 AM
vavet5308 vavet5308 is offline
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I agree with johnstern, find a decent, competent shop. Identifying that shop is the challenge.

I wonder if the rubber intake boot that connects the MAF to the throttle body could have dried out and split open. That usually throws lean codes on both banks, but perhaps it will in another few days. This is something you can look at now. If you look carefully with a bright flashlight, you might be able to see. Be sure to look at the smaller hose where it branches off and especially in the joint where it branches.
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  #6  
Old 07-17-2014, 08:22 PM
gman20001969 gman20001969 is offline
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Location: Atlanta, Georgia
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 528i
The trouble was with a blown headgasket. That's what caused the code to go off. I finally had the engine rebuilt. I had trouble with the all O2 sensors since they were clogged with coolant. After flushing them repeatedly, I finally replaced them.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:28 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by gman20001969 View Post
The trouble was with a blown headgasket. That's what caused the code to go off. I finally had the engine rebuilt. I had trouble with the all O2 sensors since they were clogged with coolant. After flushing them repeatedly, I finally replaced them.
Thanks for updating the thread.
Probably the car was overheated.

How did you finally conclude that the headgasket needed to be replaced?

Did the compression test show lousy numbers?
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Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always 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
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