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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 04-30-2014, 05:42 PM
b2ke b2ke is offline
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Wheel Speed Sensor removal?

So I'm trying to remove my right rear wheel sensor to check with a multimeter to find the non functioning sensor. As I go to remove the sensor the end connecting to the black box with the blue connecter unplugs easily.

However when I trace the wire back to the wheel carrier it won't budge at all. There appears to be nothing to unscrew around the connection it just looks like you need to pull it out. I haven't tried all that much however. My question is how do I remove this end do I just need to pull it real hard out? Or is there a hidden screw somewhere.


I watched a video of someone removing theres however it was on a 528i and there we're 2 allen nuts surrounding the connection on the wheel carrier but on my 540i there appears to be nothing of that sort.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2014, 06:17 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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There's a allen screw you need to remove before the sensor will budge--and in some cases the sensor will need to be forced out even then--find the allen screw
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2014, 06:32 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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It's probably packed with brake pad dust. Be careful it's all plastic and can easily break.
Try spraying some brake cleaner or WD-40 around the sensor, then easily twist it to see if you can loosen it up.
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2014, 10:00 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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IIRC, the rear axle has a single bolt, while the front has two for the ABS-related Wheel Speed Sensors (WSS).

If it helps, I typed /wheel speed sensor f3 into the bestlinks, and this pictorial DIY came up, among others:
- How to remove and replace wheel speed sensors (1) (2)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13th January 2010, 20:12
ABS sensor replacement front DIY

Remove wheel
Turn wheel to opposite side you are working on
Open plastic cover of connector and disconnect it.

Remove the cable from front strut.

Remove bolt(s) from wheel speed sensor(early versions have 2 bolts,later ones only one,5mm in hex socket,tightening torque 10NM).

Remove wheel speed sensor.

Clean insert hole in the strut.

Grease new sensor a bit and bolt everything down.Takes about 20-30 minutes...


__________________
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2001 530iA Touring/Orient blue/tan leather

Quote:
Originally Posted by 02-28-2007, 10:19 PM
Replacing Wheel Speed Sensor
Hi guys. I posted this write-up in a separate thread, and several people suggested that I replicate it here. Between the time I first posted it (9/06) and now, I've used the procedure yet again to locate a failed speed sensor. For those keeping score, that means I've replaced three of the four sensors on my 540i in the past two years.

The actual sensor replacement is trivial; the tricky part is figuring out which sensor failed. I hope that this can help somebody!

----

Replacement of Wheel Speed Sensor
E39 BMW

Synopsis: A malfunctioning wheel speed sensor can cause the anti-lock braking and traction control systems to become disabled, among other things.

Symptoms: Three lights appear simultaneously on the dashboard: ABS, an amber BRAKE, and the triangular "traction lost" icon. Traction control is not operational, nor is antilock braking. One or more of the speedometer, odometer, or cruise control might also be inoperable.

Tools required: Multimeter capable of testing diodes. 5 mm Allen wrench. Long, very narrow probes for multimeter, or equivalent. For rear sensors, a 10 mm socket, 8 mm socket, flat-head screwdriver, and needle-nose pliers might be required to remove trim.

Difficulty: Easy

Diagnosis: A BMW service computer can isolate the source of the problem; standard OBDII code readers cannot pull the requisite information. The Peake Research code reader seems to be capable of reporting whether or not a problem exists, but there do not appear to be any codes that reveal the location of the faulty sensor. If a wheel speed sensor is suspected, and no computer is available, the identification process is one of trial and error. Jack up you car and support appropriately. Access to the sensor is considerably easier with the wheel removed, so pick a corner and remove the wheel.

It is worth noting that certain failure modes are associated with particular corners of the car. If the speedometer and odometer do not work, the driver's side rear sensor is probably bad. If the speedometer works but the cruise control does not, then the passenger side rear senor is probably bad.

Locate the sensor (mounted on the wheel carrier near the hub) and trace its wire back to a blue connector. The connector might be housed in a black plastic box. Open the hinged box if it is present. There might be a second connector next to the blue speed sensor connector; that's for the brake pad wear sensor. Pull the blue speed sensor connector out of the box and disconnect the two sides.

Deep inside the sensor side of the connector, there are two metal prongs. Now comes the tricky part. Turn the mutimeter on and to its diode testing setting (it looks like an arrow with a line in front of it). Connect one probe to one of the prongs, and the other probe to the other prong. The meter should read ~1.4-1.8 V or indicate an "open" condition (e.g., "OL"). Reverse the probes. Once again, the meter should indicate either an open condition or a 1.4-1.8 V drop, but the result should be whichever one you didn't see the first time. If you see any other result, such as 600 mV in each direction or 0.0 V in either direction, you've probably found the bad sensor; congratulations! Note that a 0.0 V drop is possibly indicative of a poor test setup; verify that you are not shorting the multimeter probes. If the sensor tests out okay, try again at a different wheel. Of course, it's always possible that one of your speed sensors has failed in a way that wouldn't present itself in this test. In the worst case, you'd have to go to the dealer anyway for the diagnosis.

You might want to try another wheel even if you think you found the bad sensor in order to confirm that your technique is good. It's sometimes a bit tricky to get a good connection to those prongs. If you think you found two bad sensors, you probably messed up.

Be sure to reconnect all of the sensors that you believe are good. Once you have identified the faulty sensor, obtain a replacement BMW part. One sensor on my 540i was $120; I've read reports of them retailing for as little as $70.

Other possible causes: Reports indicate that the cause of the sensor failure might be a frayed wheel-speed sensor wire in the wheel well; inspect the entire visible run of the cable carefully to confirm the lack of frayed or pinched wires. If frayed wires are found, attempt repair using common wire-repair techniques. Other reports indicate that a bad ABS controller might cause similar symptoms.

Replacement: With the wheel off at the corner with the broken sensor, and the sensor cable disconnected, unsnap the sensor wire from the two mount points on the steering knuckle. Follow the cable to the point where it ends at the sensor. The sensor is attached to the car with one or two small bolts. A 5mm Allen wrench is required to remove the bolts. You might have to do this blind, but it's not that hard. After the bolts are removed, gently pull the sensor straight out of its hole. Put the new sensor where the old one was, and reverse the removal process. There were two bolts holding my old front sensor, but the new front sensor included only one mounting hole. Due to the sensor construction, I don't believe it is a problem to use only one bolt. Be sure to hook the new sensor back to the other connector, and don't forget to snap the cable into the cable brackets.

Commentary: I have had three speed sensors fail on my 1999 540i. The first time, a front sensor failed. The DSC, ABS, and brake warning lights were be off when the car was first started but would turn on after driving a couple hundred feet. A year later, a rear sensor failed. The same three lights shone at startup and never reset. The Peake reader indicated code 0F 78. A few months after that, I had another rear sensor fail. I was able to use the above procedure all three times to successfully locate the failed sensor.

---

Jeff
See also:
- How to physically test & repair the Bosch ABS control module (1) & how to diagnose the BMW amber ABS BRAKE DSC/ASC trifecta or bifecta (1) & what are all known options when your ABS control module is bad (1) & why you want to only buy oem wheel speed sensors (1) & how to remove and replace the four BMW E39 ABS related WSS wheel speed sensors (1) & which wss innervates the speedometer (1) & explanations by 540iman as to why the fancy diagnostic tools always fail to properly diagnose the trifecta or bifecta (1) & where to get the fancy schmancy diagnostic tools for free once you're aware of their limitations (1) & why it's probably not the ABS hydraulic pump failing (1) & how to properly test the BPS brake pressure sensor (1) & how to properly test and replace the steering angle sensor (1) & Quick99Si's explanation of why the 10-minute wheel speed sensor diode-action quick test doesn't always work, especially on non-OEM wheel speed sensors (1) & what's this about the P0500 setting the SES (1) & why you want to wait a week before getting a smog test after removing your ABS control module (1)
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best 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

Last edited by bluebee; 04-30-2014 at 10:25 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2014, 12:45 AM
b2ke b2ke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post
There's a allen screw you need to remove before the sensor will budge--and in some cases the sensor will need to be forced out even then--find the allen screw
I will update with pictures if I don't have success after cleaning the carrier. Probably won't be till this weekend.


Also the 2nd picture bluebee posted doesn't match what I saw. It might not be of a 540i.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2014, 09:46 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b2ke View Post
I will update with pictures
That would be wonderful, especially since we will refer others to this thread when they have similar questions.

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Last edited by bluebee; 05-01-2014 at 09:59 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2014, 11:39 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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A very similar thread was opened today:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > How to remove/replace rear speed sensor??

Quote:
Originally Posted by b2ke View Post
So I've looked everywhere and can't find a solution. Pretty much when I try to remove the wheel speed sensor off the wheel carrier I can't find any screws to loosen. To make matters worse the wheel speed sensor I bought doesn't even match the one that is connected to the wheel carrier.

I've supplied a picture below, maybe there's something I'm not seeing? I've tried cleaning the area with wd-40 too.

Also it is a 98 540i on the right rear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybot View Post
That bolt head in the middle of the pic is is what is holding it on. Its an allen key type. Then the plug at the end of the cable is tucked up under the plastic wheel well cover.
Quote:
Originally Posted by b2ke View Post
I don't believe that it is the head of an Allen bolt, looks more like the end of some bolt. UNLESS the Allen hole is extremely dirty/clogged?

Here is another picture before I sprayed wd-40 all over the area. The end that connects to the carrier still appears to be a completely different design than the new sensor I bought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alex5er View Post
Use a small wire brush to clean the area around the sensor to get access to the Allen head.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex5er View Post
Also check the production date of your car. If it is before September 1998 make sure you get the correct Wheel speed sensor. One way to know , do You have ASC (1997 - 08/1998) DSC after 08/1998 button next to your lighter. ( not to sure on a 540)


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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmjd View Post
Wheel sensors: '97 & '98 have a gray connector '99+ have a blue connector. They are not compatible.
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  #8  
Old 07-27-2014, 07:09 PM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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Can someone tell me which wheel sensor controls the cruise control? I think it's one of the rear ones but not sure if it's drivers or passengers side.
Thanks
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  #9  
Old 07-27-2014, 07:53 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsrguy98 View Post
Can someone tell me which wheel sensor controls the cruise control? I think it's one of the rear ones but not sure if it's drivers or passengers side.
Thanks
It's all explained in the link referred to in post #4 above.
- How to diagnose the BMW amber ABS BRAKE DSC/ASC trifecta or bifecta (1)
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  #10  
Old 07-28-2014, 06:27 AM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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Wheel sensor

Thanks. So it says the right rear ca effect the cruise control. My question is would that be the drivers side rear or the passengers side rear?
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:07 PM
alex5er alex5er is offline
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Drive side rear wheel speed sensor controls speedo and cruse control


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Old 07-28-2014, 03:15 PM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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Cruise control sensor

I was hoping they were separate. When I get the bifecta the cruise control stops working but the speedometer still works. Any ideas?
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:22 PM
alex5er alex5er is offline
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Wheel Speed Sensor removal?

Check the cruse control actuator under the hood it's next to the mass air flow/air filter
Check the cable sometimes it breaks Follow the actuator cable to the throttle body pull on the cable and see if it has to much play on the cable or if it is broken

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Last edited by alex5er; 07-28-2014 at 03:27 PM.
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  #14  
Old 07-28-2014, 03:34 PM
alex5er alex5er is offline
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Also do you still have an ABS warning light on? If so I will also check the passenger rear wheel I that may control this cruise control. I know definitely the driver side rear wheel controls The speedo.


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Old 07-28-2014, 06:55 PM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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The lights go on and off but the cruise only stops working when the light is on.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:27 AM
Aussie528iT Aussie528iT is offline
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For a 1999 528i with the M52TU engine the cruise control is driven by the average speed from the 2 front wheel speed sensors. There is no separate actuator. Its all done via the stepper motor in the throttle body

See this link and go to p42.

http://www.beisansystems.com/misc/SE...ROL_SYSTEM.pdf

RonR
99 528iT M52TU 5HP19

Last edited by Aussie528iT; 07-29-2014 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 07-29-2014, 04:42 AM
lsrguy98 lsrguy98 is offline
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Cruise Control Speed Sensor

Ron, Thanks for taking the time to post the information on the 528i. Previous indications were that one of the rear speed sensors controlled the cruise control. This makes troubleshooting the problem a little tougher as there are quite a few components in the chain to control the cruise control. I guess I'll replace the two front wheel sensors with the cheap ones I see on Ebay and check out the results.

Thanks again.

Lsrguy98
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  #18  
Old 07-29-2014, 07:23 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie528iT View Post
For a 1999 528i with the M52TU engine the cruise control is driven by the average speed from the 2 front wheel speed sensors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsrguy98 View Post
Previous indications were that one of the rear speed sensors controlled the cruise control.
It would be nice to have a definitive answer for what each wheel speed sensor innervates.

Page 42 of the aforementioned document (cruise control) says:
Quote:
Road speed is input to the ECM for cruise control as well as ASC/MSR regulation. The vehicle speed signal for normal engine operation is supplied from the ABS module (right rear wheel speed sensor). The road speed signal for cruise control is supplied from the ABS module. This is an average taken from both front wheel speed sensors, supplied via the CAN bus.


That's a bit confusing, because it says (essentially):
Vehicle speed for engine operation == gets its speed from the ABS control module == which gets its speed from the RR WSS.
Road speed for cruise control == gets its speed from the ABS control module == which gets its speed from both front WSS via the CAN bus.

So how does that reconcile with this (my) spreadsheet, made a few years ago?


It seems that my chart may be wrong (I'm surprised nobody called us out on it?) in that both the front wheel speed sensors eventually input to the cruise control, while only the right rear wheel speed sensor inputs to engine control.
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Last edited by bluebee; 07-29-2014 at 07:37 AM.
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  #19  
Old 07-30-2014, 11:29 PM
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Another one today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Any suggestion to dig out frozen rear wheel speed sensor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westlakeoh1 View Post
Trying to replace my rear driver-side wheel speed sensor that is essentially frozen. i tried lightly prying under all the surrounding plastic base but it just chipped off leaving nothing to grab but the wire that goes into the base. I've sprayed PB blaster on it and will leave it sit for the night but the sensor is plastic and I don't know if PB blaster will really do anything. You can tell by the picture that I tried pulling on the cable and that just exposed the wires with out any movement of the sensor. You can also see that the retain screw also snapped when I initially tried removing it.

Any suggestions on how to dig this thing out?
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