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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 12-09-2010, 07:08 PM
NCFA17 NCFA17 is offline
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How to diagnose a bad wheelspeed/ABS Sensor

my 2000 540i has the three lights on (brake,abs, and traction) Everything works fine no problems, which leads me to believe that one of the sensors isnt working. My question is, how do i determine which sensor is out. Ive heard that when it has no symptoms it is usually one of the front sensors? is there any truth to that? Im a gear head and always work on my car, but it doesnt seem like a bright idea to take it to the stealer just to pay a couple hundred dollars to have someguy point to a wheel. Any Ideas?
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2010, 07:14 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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You need to go to an indie who has a CarSoft (or similar, but comprehensive) diagnosis program....common OBD II scanners (Autozone, Peake, etc.) won`t get it....
The upside is, the repair itself is not difficult or expensive.
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2010, 07:27 PM
NCFA17 NCFA17 is offline
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indie?
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  #4  
Old 12-09-2010, 09:17 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCFA17 View Post
my 2000 540i has the three lights on (brake,abs, and traction)
Everything that you need to know is in the bestlinks sticky.
- How to diagnose a bad wheel speed sensor & ABS control module

If you want to know even more than you need to know, it too is in the bestlinks sticky.
- Isolating & fixing the ABS trifecta via a detailed ABS control module autopsy (1) (2) (3) (4)

And, contrary to what conventional wisdom would lead you to believe, NONE of the diagnostic tools is any better than a hand-held digital multimeter for this type of problem, Carsoft included. In fact, they're veritably useless for this problem (as they are incapable of isolating the problem, in and of themselves).

Yup. You guessed it. It's all in the bestlinks sticky.
- Why the diagnostic tools can't isolate the ABS control module (1)


Last edited by bluebee; 12-09-2010 at 09:25 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-09-2010, 09:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
You need to go to an indie who has a CarSoft (or similar, but comprehensive) diagnosis program....common OBD II scanners (Autozone, Peake, etc.) won`t get it....
The upside is, the repair itself is not difficult or expensive.
Hi FastBob,
There has been plenty of conclusive evidence, mostly from Bill's arguments which abound in the ABS control module diagnostic threads, that Carsoft and all the other typical scanners are veritably useless in diagnosing this problem.

They are no better - and in most cases, far worse - because of the false indications - than a simple digital multimeter.

Don't believe me ... just see the pretty conclusive proof in all the ABS threads. The whole reason we consolidated this information was to weed out all the erroneous conventional wisdom assumptions - which, in this case, turn out to be dead wrong.

So, it's highly misleading (not to mention useless) to point this guy to Carsoft (or to any other diagnostic scanner) for this problem.

Again, don't believe me ... it's in ALL the threads that we referenced above.
Specifically, see post #242 in the canonical ABS control module thread by 540iman about Carsoft in particular.

But there is plenty more in the following posts:
- Explanations by 540iman as to why the fancy diagnostic tools fail in isolating the ABS control module from the wheel speed sensors (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Good luck,
BB

Last edited by bluebee; 12-09-2010 at 09:35 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2010, 09:38 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Originally Posted by NCFA17 View Post
indie?
There is a commonly used abbreviations sticky which is the first thread in this forum.
- BMW-specific E39 acronyms (list and definition)

Look up "indy" using your browser find feature (control f); use F3 to go to the next find.

Excerpt:
  • DIY = Do It Yourself (as opposed to the Indy or Stealer)
  • Indy = Independent BMW specialist (versus the BMW-dependent dealers)
  • Stealer = BMW dealership, affectionately called the stealership
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2010, 12:15 PM
NCFA17 NCFA17 is offline
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if i pull off each sensor individually, can i test the resistance, to determine a faulty sensor? If so what am i looking for?
Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 12-12-2010, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by NCFA17 View Post
If so what am i looking for?
Oh my! I guess, by now, I should cease to be amazed. But, your question, after we already gave you the answer, still amazes me.

Read the links we gave you. The answer is clear as day what to do.

We really can not make this any simpler for you.

You have to be willing to use your left mouse button to click on the links we gave you.
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  #9  
Old 12-12-2010, 10:19 PM
NCFA17 NCFA17 is offline
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oops my bad!! just ordered my sensor. all sign point at faulty front left sensor! thanks
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2010, 06:54 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCFA17 View Post
just ordered my sensor. all sign point at faulty front left sensor! thanks
Update?

BTW, did you measure the voltage in the diode setting for the sensors?
If the front-left sensor tested bad, did you check it at the wheel?
Plus, you could have swapped the front axle sensors to see what happens.

If you didn't do this check, then buying a new sensor may solve nothing (if there was nothing wrong with it in the first place).

I don't know the actual statistics, but, it seems to me, anecdotally, about 80% of the ABS/BRAKE/DSC trifectas turn out to be the ABS control module and not a wheel speed sensor.

Let us know how it turned out.
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2013, 02:18 AM
syedfarrukhqama syedfarrukhqama is offline
e39 520i 2001
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Guys I have a problem
ASC & ABS light= ON
Speedo meter goes off sometimes (need to restart the car) some times work sometimes dont
impact=cruise control goes off sometimes if speedo is not working offcourse

i checked with the multimeter from values on left rear and right rear as well as detailed check for each tire speed sensor from abs module(contrller)
the value which i can see is aruond 19246 for all the four sensors when checked from abs module
same value when i checked the right rear and left rear sensor.
dont know what do now next ? should i check abs relay =?
or please suggest
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2013, 10:11 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syedfarrukhqama View Post
ASC & ABS light= ON
Please see my response in your other thread:
- ABS / ASC Ligh stays on/Testing Done, values are so high
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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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