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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 04-11-2016, 04:02 PM
540 Hammer's Avatar
540 Hammer 540 Hammer is offline
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Location: Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 726
Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540I
Door Locks

My car is a 1999, 540I. It was fairly immaculate when I bought it a year ago with 90K. A very pesky problem has since occurred. When I first start the car and start rolling, I hear the locks automatically do their thing, lock. However, not all of them will completely go down into the locked position. The same happens when I get out of the car and use the FOB to lock all the doors, one or more don't go down all the way to the locked position.

I was doing some looking on one of the BMW OEM parts sites. I priced the locks at a shocking $550 each. Then I thought about it more. It occurred to me that it may just be the solenoids, which are about $80 each. Do any of you wizards know a way to determine what it is, or if there's a simple fix I can perform without buying new parts? Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:32 PM
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mattmar1 mattmar1 is offline
Location: Louisiana
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,617
Mein Auto: 1999 5281 5 sp msport
the actuators...they can be found cheaper'n that online. go to realoem.com, enter the last 7 #'s of your vin, find the part number for the actuators, search that. replace any actuator on your car that acts questionable at all. one of the last things you want to go thru is a door that will not unlock.
99 528i 5sp sport

be alert...the world needs more lerts
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:24 PM
540 Hammer's Avatar
540 Hammer 540 Hammer is offline
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Location: Arizona
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540I
mattmar1 - thanks for the tip. I'll be looking them up.
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:39 PM
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Wgosma Wgosma is offline
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Location: So-So-Cal
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Posts: 2,127
Mein Auto: 2000 528i M-sport 5spd
and hey, don't forget to pick up a 6-pack of Fram oil filters....just joking you know
Bill / Oceanside, CA
00 528i - 5 spd M-Sport
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:50 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Location: Sudbury, MA
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,819
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Your symptoms reflect a failing door lock actuator. However, having multiple doors fail simultaneously is a little rare. If your actuators are beginning to fail, you must replace them before they fail completely, otherwise you will need to drill the door panels to access them. These threads have the DIY to replace both front and rear lock actuators on the e39.

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Old 04-12-2016, 01:26 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
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Posts: 13,276
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Thanks for the review, Fudman!

Pesky cars!

Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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Old 04-13-2016, 03:43 PM
sealbeach740 sealbeach740 is online now
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Location: Seal Beach, CA.
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,005
Mein Auto: 2000 740iS, 2003 540iS
540 Hammer - as a suggestion that works for me, once you get your actuators replaced & working, think about having all 4 doors unlocked at once turned off if you're mainly drive your 540 alone.
That's what I did, and it saves making the 3 other doors unlock when just you get in every time. Then, just your driver's door needs to lock when you get out. Saves making the 3 other actuators works when it's just you in the car. Of course, if you need to unlock the other doors, just hit the unlock key button one more time & you're golden.

Just my $.02 input.

2000 740iS. MKIV, 16x9, DDEs controlled by Euro fog light switch, reversed steptronic +/- pattern, paddle shifters, clear corners, Basslink, iPod video with stereo audio, TV tuner, gauge rings, ///M pedals, backup camera with 'on demand' switch, quad brake lights, Dinan engine & tranny software, windows/sunroof close via remote.

2003 540iS. MKIV, 16x9, PDC, CWP, TV tuner, backup camera with 'on demand' switch, paddle shifters, windows/sunroof close via remote, iPod video & audio.
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