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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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Old 01-05-2011, 06:21 AM
pvelosoE60 pvelosoE60 is offline
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Question Abs,DTC,Brake light come on and off all at the same time.

I have a 99 323i..As im driving the abs,dtc,and brake light flash on and off very frequently as im driving...at one point the eml light actually came on too...I have a feeling that its only turning on after i go over bumps..any ideas to what it might be?? thanks in advance.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:46 AM
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1bad540 1bad540 is online now
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Time to rebuild your abs unit.
e39 540i sprt, acs type 2's,acs pdls,clrs(sold)
e65 745i sprt,21's aib's acspdls, rf splr(sold)
e46 328i 18" 335spt whls(sold)
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:49 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Wheel speed sensor, abs sensor, or abs unit
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:55 AM
pvelosoE60 pvelosoE60 is offline
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I forgot to mention..I got a flat yesterday, I have the 17" sport wheels...the spare is a 16" and im still driving it with the spare..I did some research online this is what i got for an "ABS" light on...

FAULT: ABS warning light comes on intermittently. Normal troubleshooting procedures find no defect.
CAUSE: If cars have recently had two new tires, or snow tires put on. Sometimes when the car is driven
over 50 MPH.
SOLUTION: Check all four tires on the car, make sure they are the same brand, style, and size. Check if
any of the new tires have substantially more tread than the rest. These differences may cause enough
variance in rolling diameters to confuse the ABS control unit, which intern gives a false signal to the ABS
warning light.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:45 AM
pvelosoE60 pvelosoE60 is offline
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Next day I changed the spare tire I was riding with.The lights have not returned back..Im keeping my fingers crossed..After some additional research I believe it had to do with the wheel speed sensor because i was driving with 3 17" wheel and the 16" spare....
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:10 PM
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(All this information is from teaming up with Bill (540iman) and gathering additional details from BlackBMWs, BMW_n00b13, TheStig, Edgy36-39, Max_VQ, PharoE39, freewilly, BAMF, and others).

Three solid yellow ABS/Brake/DSC lights almost always indicates a classic BMW problem:
1. Go to the first thread in the E39 forums (the VERY best of E39 Links)
2. Search for ABS (you'll find this post)
3. Click on this canonical summary in that post (in addition, see Bill's 'logic' of testing ABS sensors).
Note: The lights may come on all at once, or one at a time, and they may be intermittent, and in the beginning they may go out when you restart the car but come back; eventually they become lit solid all the time. It's all the same problem when you have the ABS Brake DSC trifecta!

Luckily, almost always, resolution is quick, simple, and reasonably inexpensive:
- Quick: In a half hour with a DMM, you'll know exactly what components failed;
- Simple: Removal of speed sensors (<$100 each) and/or the ABS control module (<$500 new) is a ten-minute job each;
- Cheap: My ABS control module rebuild cost me $150 USD, in toto, including tax & shipping (most people report successful rebuilds under $300).

In summary, the flow-chart procedure to follow (summarized from this thread) is:
a. Open the hood, disconnect the ABS control module harness & check the four wheel speed sensors with a DMM;
b. If any wheel speed sensor tests bad, doublecheck at the appropriate wheel; replace the bad one with an OE sensor (<$100, rarely more than one!);
c. If all four speed sensors are good, simply send your ABS control module to BBA/MM/ATE (recommended in that order) for a rebuild ($300-$150 in toto);
d. If the rebuilder can't repair your module (takes about 5 days overall), buy a new module ($480 from Jared at EACTuning) & have the VIN recoded at the stealer (about $120).

In almost all (if not all) ABS, Brake, & DSC light trifecta situations, it's that simple!

BTW, while your ABS control module is out of the car (about 5 days), the following anomalies may occur:
- Brake/DSC/ABS trifecta solid yellow lights (on the instrument cluster)
- Service Engine Soon (SES) solid yellow light lit (on the instrument cluster)
- No ABS (upon hard braking under low-traction conditions)
- No traction control (DSC or ASC on lateral action)
- No speedometer (use a portable GPS navigation unit if you're worried about that)
- No odometer (again, use a portable GPS unit if this bothers you)
- No tripmeter (use a portable GPS unit if it's a worry to you)
- No cruise control
- OBDII diagnostic trouble code DTC P0500, i.e., bad speed sensor (clear by driving or with an OBDII scanner)
- No possibility of passing (California at least) smog inspections (until you replace the ABS control module & clear the DTC)
- No speed-sensitive automatic door locks (if enabled at the stealer)
- No GPS (if you have navigation)
- No mileage calculations on the instrument cluster
- No fuel consumption calculations on the instrument cluster
- No range indications on the instrument cluster
- No speed-sensitive radio (if equipped)
- No speed-sensitive wipers (if equipped)
- Erratic fuel gauge (especially when near empty, so keep the tank at greater than 3/4 at all times)
- Erratic transmission shifting (if automatic; if it bothers you, switch to manual shifting)

The problem is usually a single wheel sensor goes bad (wires or the <$100 sensor), or the ABS control module goes bad (a steel resistance-welded wire lifts off its bond pad, Bill kindly ran a full autopsy here). Debugging is best done with a DMM; an OBDII scanner can ONLY find "communication errors", i.e., it cannot tell a bad speed or pressure sensor from a bad ABS control module and will often report the wrong problem because it isn't inserted BETWEEN the ABS control module and the various sensors (see extensive reports by 540iman on this). The ABS control module costs ~$150 to $300 to rebuild, ~$500 to replace; if you put anything back on other than your original ABS control module, the VIN will need to be recoded (15 minutes with a GT-1 or Autologic or similar; impossible otherwise). You'll need to clear your OBDII DTC codes after you fix everything if you plan on passing smog tests that week (ask me how I know). If you need to replace a speed sensor, don't go aftermarket; get as close to OE as possible.

Before you send your ABS control module out for rebuilding, please consider opening it up first, post pictures to Bill's ABS autopsy thread (the rebuilders say they work on previously opened ABS control modules all the time). If you fix the broken wire, post that to the thread as a success story!
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